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 This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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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28 January, 2015

Violent multicultural kidnappers in Britain



A gang of kidnappers who held a man hostage and cut off his little finger when his family could not pay the £60,000 ransom were jailed today for a total of 152 years.

Victim Damien Lowe was abducted on a street in Coventry at gunpoint and bundled into a van where a group of ten masked men kept him without food or water for 31 hours.

When his family initially failed to pay the money his kidnappers demanded, the gang chopped off his finger and left it under a brick on a garden wall for his panicked relatives to find.

The kidnappers were sentenced at Leamington Justice Centre today.

Mr Lowe, 26, from Coventry, West Midlands, said: 'The moment they pulled up next to me in their van in balaclavas and bundled me into the back was the most terrifying experience of my life.

'It was so brutal I don't know how I survived. When it first happened I had no idea what was going on.

'The van was going all over the place I didn't have a chance to try and think where I was.

'When they took my phone and got me to find my brother's number I didn't know what they were going to do.

'I thought I was going to die there and then. When they told me I had to ask for £60,000 ransom I was almost relieved.

'But I knew there was no way my family would be able to pay and I thought I'd never see them again.

'My kidnappers kept disappearing and then coming back, always to beat me, harder and harder.

When they came in and covered my face I knew something bad was going to happen.

'That was when they cut my finger off. The pain was unbelievable and I was just crying out and then they just beat me again.

Mr Lowe was kidnapped from a street near his home on the afternoon of September 30 2014.

His kidnappers kept him bound and gagged in the van, which was parked in a lock-up garage, and beat him with a metal bar before severing his finger.

According to the Birmingham Mail, the gang had threatened to cut off another digit for every hour they didn't receive payment.

Mr Lowe's family scraped together £20,000 to pay the kidnappers, and the 26-year-old was later thrown out of the vehicle on a a suburban street, before being found and rushed to hospital.

Working with intelligence gathered from West Midlands Police’s Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), officers then stormed a house where the kidnappers were staying, and recovered the £20,000.

DCI Simon Wallis, from the force's Criminal Investigation Department, said: 'The family were understandably distraught at the thought of what else could happen to their loved one and immediately paid a ransom of £20,000.

'When I finally got to hospital, the doctors told me that I probably wouldn't have survived if I'd got to them just an hour later because of the amount of blood I'd lost and how dehydrated I was.

'It was like being in a violent film - I'm still scared to go out by myself. You wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy.  'These people deserve to go to jail. I'm just pleased to see justice finally done.'

Kofi Poyser, 23, Kadeem Poyser, 31, Ricardo Grant, 24, Lamar Grant, 26, and Jermaine Campbell, 24, pleaded guilty to kidnap, possession of a firearm whilst committing a schedule one offence, unlawful imprisonment, blackmail and Section 18 wounding and were sentenced to 16 years, 13 years, 15 years, 16 years and 15 years respectively.

Anthony McLeod, 34, and Ismaeel Akbar, 32, pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment, blackmail and Section 18 wounding and were sentenced to 15 years and 14 and a half years respectively.

Ralph McLeod, 37, Lewis Poyser, 24, and Yusuf Akbar, aged 33 were found guilty of unlawful imprisonment, blackmail and Section 18 wounding at Leamington Justice Centre on December 8.

They were sentenced to 18 years, 18 years and 12 years respectively.

Four of the defendants, Anthony McLeod, Kofi Poyser, Lewis Poyser and Lemar Grant will also be sentenced for their part in a brutal assault on man outside a Coventry night club which happened on June 30 2013 and was captured on CCTV.

SOURCE






Oscars scandal: stop this racial policing of art

I feel a bit sorry for the Academy. You know, that glorified golf club that hands out Oscars each year. Yes, it’s the creaking, sexagenarian hangover of an old Hollywood that thought Braveheart deserved five gongs and Titanic deserved 11. But the now routine bashing of the Academy each time the nominations are announced borders on the distasteful. Casually labelled troglodytes, sexists and racists, its members are the target for the sort of insults usually reserved for Top Gear viewers and kids who name their kids ‘Sapphire’.

The Oscar noms, once respected as the entertainment-press cannon fodder that they are, have now been imbued with a bizarre socio-political significance. Each year’s list is now a launchpad for pre-packaged polemic on a host of issues. In 2013, it was Zero Dark Thirty’s alleged pro-Bush propaganda; last year, it was Jared Leto’s ‘trans-misogyny’; and this year it’s the ‘whitewash’. That’s right, the announcement of the list revealed that all of the named nominees – from Best Actor to Best Script to Best Prosthetic Nose Technician – were white. Most of them, as it happens, were also male.

It took all of six seconds for the shitstorm to gather. It was a sad reminder, wrote one critic, that ‘the Oscar statuette is a gilded white man’. It was the confirmation, wrote another, of a ‘white backlash’, an ‘unexpressed and not-quite-conscious feeling’ that, after showering prizes on 12 Years A Slave last year, it was time to return to white-cis-heterosexual business as usual.

Given that the Oscars is little more than an annual PR exercise for Team Hollywood, it is, admittedly, incredible that the Academy let this slip through the net. Controversy is not what the Oscars do – at least, not intentionally. This was the blunder to beat Seth MacFarlane-gate. Yet more proof that the committee is painfully out of touch with our twitch-hunting age.

Even so, the reaction was more than a bit overblown. Selma, Ava DuVernay’s portrait of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting-rights marches led by Martin Luther King, was dubbed the biggest loser of the whitewash – but it’s still nominated for Best Picture. And while enraged tweeters are still feeling the need to tweet the bleeding obvious – that white men have long had a bit of a winning streak at the Oscars – the iniquities of the past shouldn’t be used as an indictment of today. Times have changed. To suggest otherwise is to allege some sort of racist conspiracy at the heart of the Academy that the blundering old sods hardly seem capable of.

The only thing ugly about this year’s nominations was the response. It was an all too common attempt to crowbar the issue of race into a cultural sphere that has all but left such petty divides behind; an indictment of the fact that, today, anti-racism seems to rest on a constant re-insistence on the importance of race, on the differences that divide us. The sad irony of it all was hammered home by the fact that it all focused on the alleged ‘Selma snub’ - a film whose subject dreamed about his children living in a nation ‘where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character’.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has responded to the furore by calling for more ‘inclusivity’. This is bad news. Art, at its best, is a wholly egalitarian space, in which work can be understood, appreciated and judged on the basis of its richness and its beauty, aside from all other concerns. It is this admirable spirit that has kept The Birth of a Nation and the DWEM-dominated European canon on film-studies syllabuses, even as the society that produced them has moved on. Not because we secretly think the KKK wasn’t all bad. Not because white-male homogeneity in the arts is at all virtuous. But because these films, in their own way, contributed something unique to an unfurling film history that has now, rightfully, opened itself up to voices, perspectives and ideas that previously went unheard.

Sure, the Oscars is hardly the highest forum for artistic judgement. The fact that this year’s noms felt the need to honour the foppish Eddie Redmayne in the category once occupied by the likes of Al Pacino, Sidney Poitier and Daniel Day-Lewis, reflects the Oscars’ less-than-discerning standards. But while the Oscar committee shuffles on in its irrelevance, we need to uphold the idea that art is about so much more than race.

SOURCE






UK: No More Page 3 is no victory for women

This week, the Sun newspaper went to print without its infamous pair on Page 3

Celebrities in lingerie and bikinis take the place of topless models in the print version, while the boobs are still available online. Cue victory cries and tears of joy from the No More Page 3 campaign, which gushed on Twitter: ‘The wall of love coming our way is really powerful this morning! Thank you all. Best Tuesday ever!’

However, not all women are behind this ‘wall of love’. Describing the campaigners as ‘comfy shoe-wearing, no bra-wearing, man-haters’, several Page 3 models spoke out against the Sun’s decision to drop Page 3, and denied feminist tweeters’ claims that Page 3 models were victims.

I see three more reasons, beyond the No More Page 3 campaign being hugely patronising, why the removal of tits from the Sun’s print version is nothing to celebrate. Firstly, in terms of the argument that Page 3 objectifies women, there surely isn’t much difference between a scantily clad woman and a scantily half-clad woman. The Sun is now covering breasts with a few triangles of lycra, and surely that means, according to campaigners’ own logic, that viewers are still objectifying women – unless the secret to women’s liberation lies in concealed nipples.

Secondly, the campaigners behind No More Page 3 are hailing this not only as a victory over the Sun, but also as a victory over Sun readers. This willingness to play the victim while stamping pedicured feet on supposedly grubby tabloid readers is far more disgusting than a morning ogle. The miserable idea that working-class men need to be shielded from bare breasts to save them from a lifetime of misogyny is not only bizarre; it also indicates the deep-seated snobbery of these campaigners.

Lastly, I find myself nodding along to the campaign slogan of the whinge brigade, ‘boobs aren’t news’. This is not because I support No More Page 3; it’s because I am utterly bored by the croc-wearing feminists now clogging up the week’s news bulletins talking about tits.

How many women actually give a toss about topless women in a newspaper? The removal of Page 3 is not progress for womankind. Rather, it treats women like mousey damsels in distress, doomed to be blu-tacked to the garage door or passed around the mini-cab office. The No More Page 3 campaign is an insult to both sexes and, most of all, it shows up feminists today to be little more than nagging, censorious whiners.

SOURCE





Generation Rent, quit your whining!

It’s official: ‘Generation Rent’ is the hot, new, pity-me identity badge for Britain’s disgruntled twentysomethings.

Towards the end of last year, the average UK rent soared to £761 per month. And this has led to renewed calls from fresh-faced campaigners for the government to step in and enforce rent controls. On 4 February, the campaign group Generation Rent is organising a day of action, Rent Freedom Day, in an attempt to liberate what it calls ‘a generation sentenced to rent slavery’.

Rather than take on the lack of house-building that is thwarting people across society, people of my age seem to be taking it personally, demanding a safe, cosier start in the adult world of renting – perhaps with some IKEA furnishings thrown in. And this sense of entitlement is only being burnished by older enablers, like Ed Howker and Shiv Malik, whose book Jilted Generation argues that the ‘loadsa money’, spendthrift antics of our parents has meant that a generation of young people are now doomed to a life of penury.

The contemporary penchant for blaming the problems of today on the lifestyles of yesterday is a worrying trend. What’s more, it’s complete bull. The only difference between the previous generation and our own is that now people from wealthy backgrounds are finding it difficult to move past renting. This is nothing new for working-class kids. And, contrary to claims from the ‘jilted generation’ brigade, the youth of today are, on the whole, enjoying far better educational opportunities and standards of living than their parents. As Frank Furedi has pointed out elsewhere, the moaners of Generation Y have never had to face the indignity of an outside loo.

You don’t have to be a Daily Mail leader writer to say that us young people really need to get off our arses and do something – because we really do. The housing crisis in the UK is not down to high rents, but a severe lack of new and adequate housing. We need to build millions more homes now. This is the kind of change the new generation needs to get out of bed for.

Generational tension has always been propellant of history. Young people have always carved out their own destinies, even when the odds were stacked against them. But Generation Y seems more interested in whinging about today than thinking about tomorrow.

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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27 January, 2015

House Republicans drop controversial abortion bill ahead of Roe v. Wade anniversary

House Republicans on Wednesday dropped a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks, abandoning legislation that at one time seemed certain to pass the chamber but fell victim to intra-party disputes over concerns that the law would alienate women voters.

The failure of the bill, which was intended to be Congress' first anti-abortion legislation of the new session, reflects divides in the GOP just weeks after it assumed control of both houses for the first time in eight years.

Instead, the House will vote Thursday -- the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision -- on a bill that would ban the use of tax dollars for abortions, the same law that was passed by the House nearly one year ago but died in the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats.

The substitute bill would make permanent the so-called Hyde amendment, which bans all federal money for abortion services. Currently, Congress simply renews the amendment each year, which it has done since the mid-1970s. Voting on the bill Thursday would provide Republicans with a symbolic act on the same day that the anti-abortion March for Life is scheduled to begin in Washington.

The failed bill, which reflected the idea that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks, would have criminalized virtually all abortions for pregnancies of 20 weeks or longer. It would offer some exceptions, including for victims of rape that have already been reported to authorities.

But some Republicans, including female members of Congress, objected to that requirement, saying that many women feel too distressed to report rapes and should not be penalized. A 2013 Justice Department report calculated that just 35 percent of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to police.

"The issue becomes, we're questioning the woman's word," Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., said earlier Wednesday. "We have to be compassionate to women when they're in a crisis situation."

There were also objections to the bill's exemption for minors who are victims of incest and have reported the incident.

"So the exception would apply to a 16-year-old but not a 19-year-old?" said Rep. Charles Dent, R-Pa. "I mean, incest is incest."

There was concern that the bill would have looked bad for the Republican Party as it struggles to court female voters in the 2016 presidential and congressional elections, and primary and general election candidates could have turned the vote around on the Republicans. The GOP also wants to demonstrate that it can focus on issues that matter to voters and not get bogged down in gridlock.

But members who backed the 20-week bill were furious that those who shied away didn't raise their objections until essentially the last minute.

“We’ve been working on this for two years. Where were they?” a source who is close to the process told Fox News on Wednesday afternoon.

The source added that it was expected that the abortion bill would be one of the new Congress's first votes of the session, and that any members suggesting otherwise are “being dishonest.” 

Thursday's debate was timed to coincide with the annual march on Washington by abortion foes marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 legalizing abortion.

In a statement, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said he was disappointed by the failure of the 20-week measure, but said he was encouraged that Congress would vote on banning taxpayer funding of abortions.

"Americans have been forced to violate their conscience and religious convictions long enough by being made to fund President Obama's massive abortion scheme," Perkins said.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., a chief sponsor of the 20-week bill, called it "a sincere effort" to protect women and "their unborn, pain-capable child from the atrocity of late-term abortion." He had also said GOP leaders "want to try to create as much unity as we can."

The White House had threatened to veto the legislation, calling it "an assault on a woman's right to choose."

Democrats were strongly against the legislation and said the measure was nothing more than a political gesture.

"This is not only insulting to the women of this country, but it's just another pointless exercise in political posturing," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. "It will never become law."

The GOP rift on the issue was discussed Wednesday at a private meeting of House Republicans, who by a large majority are strongly anti-abortion.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a brief interview earlier Wednesday that he believed the House would debate the bill as planned. But he did not rule out changes.

"We're moving forward," he said earlier Wednesday. "There's a discussion and we're continuing to have discussions."

The legislation would have allowed an exception where an abortion is necessary to save the mother's life.

Under the bill, those performing the outlawed abortions could face fines or imprisonment of up to five years.

A report this week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office cited estimates by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that about 10,000 abortions in the U.S. are performed annually 20 weeks or later into pregnancies. The budget office estimated that if the bill became law, three-fourths of those abortions would end up occurring before the 20th week.

The House approved a similar version of the bill in 2013, but the measure was never considered in the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats. Its fate remains uncertain in the Senate, where anti-abortion sentiment is less strong than in the House.

SOURCE






Britain's Nazi social workers again

Social workers seized a man aged 91 from his house and imprisoned him in a care home against his will for 17 months, a judge said yesterday.  Staging an early morning raid, they took the former civil servant away from his home of 50 years in his dressing gown.  They claimed they were taking him to a hotel – and threatened to call police when he refused.

He was then locked up in a care home, subjected to ‘continuous supervision and control’, and forbidden from seeing his friends or attend services at his church, the court heard.

But for a friend’s protests, he could have been imprisoned for life, District Judge Paul Mort said, condemning Essex County Council and its social workers, who repeatedly refused to accept independent expert reports that found he was fit to live at home.

They ignored the elderly man’s consistent pleas to go back to his house and his cat, Fluffy.  Not until the day of the final court hearing in the case did they change their minds.

Judge Mort said the treatment of the former RAF gunner was ‘inexcusable’ and ‘disturbing’. He found the man was unlawfully detained and awarded him £150,000, together with free care at home for the rest of his life. The case is one of hundreds now going through the secretive Court of Protection to challenge imprisonment of vulnerable people by councils using the controversial Mental Capacity Act.

The man was not identified, and nor were the social workers, despite senior judges saying that the courts should name social workers just as they name police officers or medical experts.

In his ruling, Judge Mort said the man lived in his home for 50 years, first with his parents and his sister, and since their deaths alone with his cat. He went to church every Sunday and had a group of friends, who described him as generous towards those in need and charities.

After he developed dementia and health problems, his friends told the council he could be vulnerable. A social worker visited, but her report said nothing about his mental state or his wishes.

Instead, she and a colleague returned at 8.30am the next day. The man ‘was wearing his dressing gown and was without trousers or pyjama bottoms’. The court heard that the social worker insisted he go with her to a ‘hotel’ – really the care home. When he refused, she told him she would call police. He was ‘very reluctant to leave’ and ‘very distressed’.

The social workers had no legal authority for this, the judge said, adding: ‘He was detained against his wishes for 17 months.’

Social workers next applied for legal control of the man’s finances, at a time when his care fees were £1,500 a month. A friend complained, and was told to take her case to the Court of Protection.  As a result, the man was finally allowed home last November.

The judge said: ‘I fail to understand why [this] was considered to be a reasonable and proportionate solution to the problem.

‘It is hard to imagine a more depressing and inexcusable state of affairs. Had it not been for the alarm raised by his friend, he may have been condemned to remain there for the remainder of his days.’

He said the social workers were ‘unprepared to countenance any view contrary to their own’.  ‘They maintained their resolute opposition to his returning to his home until the last possible moment . . . the conduct of Essex County Council has been reprehensible. The very sad and disturbing consequences for him cannot be ignored,’ he added.

SOURCE






Baker Faces Complaint for Refusing Anti-Gay Message on Cake:  Case is new twist on growing issue

A dispute over a cake in Colorado raises a new question about gay rights and religious freedom: If bakers can be fined for refusing to serve married gay couples, can they also be punished for declining to make a cake with anti-gay statements?

A baker in suburban Denver who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding is fighting a legal order requiring him to serve gay couples even though he argued that would violate his religious beliefs.

But now a separate case puts a twist in the debate over discrimination in public businesses, and it underscores the tensions that can arise when religious freedom intersects with a growing acceptance of gay couples.

Marjorie Silva, owner of Denver's Azucar Bakery, is facing a complaint from a customer alleging she discriminated against his religious beliefs.

According to Silva, the man who visited last year wanted a Bible-shaped cake, which she agreed to make. Just as they were getting ready to complete the order, Silva said the man showed her a piece of paper with hateful words about gays that he wanted written on the cake. He also wanted the cake to have two men holding hands and an X on top of them, Silva said.

She said she would make the cake, but declined to write his suggested messages on the cake, telling him she would give him icing and a pastry bag so he could write the words himself. Silva said the customer didn't want that.

"It's just horrible. It doesn't matter if, you know, if you're Catholic, or Jewish, or Christian, if I'm gay or not gay or whatever," said Silva, 40, adding that she has made cakes regularly for all religious occasions. "We should all be loving each other. I mean there's no reason to discriminate."

Discrimination complaints to Colorado's Civil Rights Division, which is reviewing the matter, are confidential. Silva said she would honor the division's policy and would not share the correspondence she has received from state officials on the case. KUSA-TV reported the complainant is Bill Jack of Castle Rock, a bedroom community south of Denver.

In a statement to the television station, Jack said he believes he "was discriminated against by the bakery based on my creed."

"As a result, I filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. Out of respect for the process, I will wait for the director to release his findings before making further comments."

Jack did not respond to emails from The Associated Press seeking comment. No one answered the door at the address listed for Jack in Castle Rock.

The case comes as Republicans in Colorado's Legislature talk about changing the state law requiring that businesses serve gays in the wake of a series of incidents where religious business owners rejected orders to celebrate gay weddings. Republican Sen. Kevin Lundberg said the new case shows a "clash of values" and argued Colorado's public accommodation law is not working.

"The state shouldn't come in and say to the individual businessman, 'You must violate your religious — and I'll say religious-slash-moral convictions. This baker (Silva), thought that was a violation of their moral convictions. The other baker, which we all know very well because of all the stories, clearly that was a violation of their religious convictions," Lundberg said.

But gay rights advocates say there is a significant difference in the cases. Silva refused to put specific words on a cake while Jack Phillips, the baker who turned away the gay couple, refused to make any wedding cake for them in principle.

"There's no law that says that a cake-maker has to write obscenities in the cake just because the customer wants it," said Mark Silverstein, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Colorado.

Phillips' attorneys had argued in court that requiring him to prepare a gay marriage cake would be akin to forcing a black baker to prepare a cake with a white supremacist message. But administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer disagreed, writing that business owners can refuse a specific message, but not service.

"In both cases, it is the explicit, unmistakable, offensive message that the bakers are asked to put on the cake that gives rise to the bakers' free speech right to refuse," administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer said.

Phillips' attorney, Nicolle Martin, said she has sympathy for Silva, arguing she is in the same category as her client. "I absolutely support her right to decline," Martin said. "I support her right as an American to pick and choose the messages she will express."

Silva said she remains shaken up by the incident. "I really think I should be the one putting the complaint against him, because he has a very discriminating message," she said.

SOURCE






It’s not color; it’s culture

Let me make myself perfectly clear: Al Sharpton is a racist.

He makes his considerable living and derives his undeserved social status by going around the country and causing trouble complaining about white people being racists when it is he and his ilk who are the racists. He’s a relic of the past who judges human character and prejudges people solely upon the color of their skin.

Well I have some breaking news for Brother Al: It’s not about color; it’s about culture.

Racism, for the most part is dead in America. Most Americans, with the notable exception of Al Sharpton and his small cadre of race baiters, no longer categorize people on the basis of skin color.  Today most of us judge others on the basis of their culture, i.e., the ideas they accept; the philosophy they live by. Black and white has nothing to do with it.

There are millions of people in America who embrace the philosophy of statism and the culture of sloth. They’re intellectually lazy, envious, dishonest, unreliable, irresponsible and ignorant. They lie, cheat, steal and often violently victimize society. Yet they see themselves as victims and like to blame others for their problems.

As opposed to producers they’re takers. They believe they’re entitled to status, money and power simply by virtue of being born but without making any honest effort to succeed. The recent case of Michael Brown from Ferguson Missouri is a perfect example of that kind. There are plenty of them, black, white and every color in-between. Al Sharpton is one of them; he represents them.

Last week Sharpton claimed that the “lily-white” Oscar nominations are “appallingly insulting.” He called for an "emergency meeting next week in Hollywood to discuss possible action around the Academy Awards."  No black skinned actors or actresses were nominated this year. "In the time of Staten Island and Ferguson, to have one of the most shutout Oscar nights in recent memory is something that is incongruous," he whined.

Now he’s threatening to meet in Hollywood this week with a group of his fellow race baiters to discuss “potential actions.” He’s going to do what he does best: use his weapon of racism as a club to shakedown businesses for money and other concessions in order to have his dishonest way with them. 

Al Sharpton is a racist. His time has passed in America. Today...

It’s not color; it’s culture.

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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26 January, 2015

King Abdullah dead: The late Saudi monarch's 'jailed' princesses

As world leaders including Prince Charles and US President Barack Obama  converged on Saudi Arabia to mark the passing of its monarch, the late Saudi King Abdullah was lionised by politicians around the world. En route to the World Economic Forum in Davos, US Secretary of State John Kerry hailed Abdullah as "a man of wisdom and vision" and a "revered leader". Similar statements were made by other western leaders.

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, even hailed the monarch as "a strong advocate for women".

That last eulogy ought to furrow brows. After all, when it comes to gender rights, Saudi Arabia's absolute monarchy is one of the most heavily criticised regimes in the world. Its draconian religious laws place limitations on everything from the clothes women can wear to the means by which they travel outside their homes. Controversially, women are still banned from driving in the country.

Ms Lagarde did qualify her comment, saying Abdullah was a reformer "in a very discreet way", credited with initiating a number of measures aimed at giving women a bigger stake in the country's economic and political life. But the change is very gradual, stymied by traditionalists who still hold sway in the country's courts. Abdullah's reforms, writes one commentator, have "all the substance of a Potemkin village, a flimsy structure to impress foreign opinion".

Closer to home, moreover, there are a few women related to the late monarch who may object to the praise being heaped upon him. Abdullah, like other Saudi royals, had numerous wives - at least seven, and perhaps as many as 30. He had at least 15 daughters. Four of them, according to news reports, live under house arrest.
Britain's Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron arrive in Saudi Arabia to offer their condolences.

Britain's Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron arrive in Saudi Arabia to offer their condolences. Photo: Reuters

The plight of the princesses Jawaher, Sahar, Hala and Maha attracted attention last spring, when details emerged of their supposedly dire condition in captivity in Saudi royal compounds in the city of Jeddah. Their mother, Alanoud al-Fayez, has lived in Britain for the past decade and a half. She was divorced by her husband multiple times, the final instance being in 1985.

Ms Fayez claims her daughters' supposed incarceration, which has gone on for some 13 years, was both a mark of Abdullah's vindictive streak and intolerance of his daughters' modern, independent upbringing. She says the four have been locked away for more than a decade, subject to abuse and deprivation.

Last year, various news stations managed to reach Sahar, 42, and Jawaher, 38, who live in a separate compound from Maha, 41, and Hala, 39. In an interview with Russia's RT television channel last May, the pair described how they were running out of food and water.

The British TV network Channel 4 ran a video, which included footage allegedly taken by one of the daughters, that depicted the depths of their neglect at the hands of Saudi authorities.

In another interview with an Arabic-language channel, the princesses described how they were being punished for championing women's rights and resisting the kingdom's strict rules mandating male guardianship over women.

Speaking to the New York Post last April, their mother claimed her daughters' continued detention was "about psychological warfare and breaking them down", and that her children "are wasting away".

There are some doubts about the extent to which the women are living in genuine captivity. When confronted with the daughters' claims, Saudi authorities have been tight-lipped, insisting that the situation "is a private matter". The women have not been formally charged with any crime.

Last June, in an email exchange with a Middle East affairs news site, Princess Sahar explained why she and her sister had been ostracised by the rest of the royal family: "We, along with our mother, have always been vocal all our lives about poverty, women's rights and other causes that are dear to our hearts. We often discussed them with our father. It did not sit well with him and his sons Mutaib and Abdulaziz and their entourage. We have been the targets ever since.

"We have been treated abysmally all our lives, but it got worse during the past 15 years. When Hala began to work as an intern at a hospital in Riyadh, she discovered political prisoners thrown in psychiatric wards, drugged and shamed to discredit them. She complained to her superiors and got reprimanded. She began to receive threatening messages if she didn't back off. The situation deteriorated, and we discovered that she was also being drugged. She was kidnapped from the house, left in the desert, then thrown in Olaysha Women's Jail, Riyadh. She soon became yet another victim of the system, as were the so-called 'patients' she was trying to help. Maha, Jawaher and I have all been drugged at some point . . . We have been told to lose all hope of ever having a normal life."

Since the series of media stories last year, reports on the condition of the princesses have dried up. On social media, their mother continues to call for their release, using the hashtag #Freethe4. She holds regular protests in London urging action.

SOURCE





In Defense of Blackface

Racism, envy, and the complicated politics of minstrelsy

Thaddeus Russell

If this Halloween is like every Halloween of the last two or so decades, at least one white college student or minor celebrity will arrive at a party wearing dark-brown face paint as part of a costume imitating a famous black person, photos of the incident will emerge on the Internet, and condemnations will rain down from authority figures.

In recent years, Facebook surveillors discovered and publicized photos of six University of Southern Mississippi students who colored their white skin to depict the Huxtable family from The Cosby Show, two Northwestern University students who painted themselves coal-black and dressed as Bob Marley and Serena Williams, Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes and his wife dressed and darkened as Jay-Z and Beyoncé, and a blonde Dallas Cowboys cheerleader appearing at a costume event as the rapper Lil' Wayne, complete with gold teeth, long black braids, tattoos, and chocolate-brown makeup covering her body.

As with all blackface performers since the civil rights era, charges against the latest range from insensitivity to outright racism. But virtually all critics of blackface agree that, as the Northwestern University president put it, the practice "demeans a segment of our community."

Some recent instances of blackface were obviously and viciously hostile toward African Americans. A photo of a 2001 Halloween party at the University of Mississippi showed a white student dressed as a policeman holding a gun to the head of another, who was wearing blackface and a straw hat while kneeling and picking cotton. A year later, two fraternity brothers at Oklahoma State were photographed wearing Ku Klux Klan robes and holding a noose over the head of another sporting black face paint and a striped prisoner's uniform.

But while blackface is nearly always assumed to be anti-black, the most common charge against contemporary blackface performers is that they are ignorant of its meaning and history—that they don't "know" that it's necessarily bigoted—which suggests that their intentions were not in fact hostile.

In fact, blackface performances are not always unambiguously antagonistic toward African Americans. Several scholars of the phenomenon have argued that blackface has usually been, to some degree, an expression of envy and an unconscious rebellion against what it means to be "white." There is substantial evidence that this was especially true in the first half of the 19th century, when white men first painted their faces with burnt cork and imitated slaves on stage in what were called "minstrel" shows.

Some early blackface minstrel performance was clearly little more than anti-black parody, but many historians see the songs and dances of T.D. Rice, Dan Emmett, Dan Rice (Abraham Lincoln's favorite), and other originators of the genre as expressions of desire for the freedoms they saw in the culture of slaves. "Just as the minstrel stage held out the possibility that whites could be 'black' for awhile but nonetheless white," David Roediger, the leading historian of "whiteness," has written, "it offered the possibilities that, via blackface, preindustrial joys could survive amidst industrial discipline." Similarly, the Smith College scholar W.T. Lhamon argues that slave culture represented liberation to blackface performers and fans, who "unmistakably expressed fondness for black wit and gestures." In early blackface minstrel shows, whites identified with blacks as representations of all the freedoms and pleasures that employers, moral reformers, and churches "were working to suppress."

The latest addition to this revision of our understanding of blackface is Yuval Taylor and Jake Austen's book Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy From Slavery to Hip-Hop. The authors focus on the many, largely unknown, African Americans who performed in blackface from before the Civil War to the middle of the 20th century, but they also rescue white blackface performance from the simplistic moralizing that normally greets it. "If you dismiss [minstrelsy] as simply 'demeaning,'" they write, "you miss half the picture."

Taylor and Austen's book is an encyclopedic record of not only the black performers who coaled their faces but also of the minstrelsy's many contributions to what is now considered respectable popular culture: "If we were to throw out every song originally composed for the minstrel stage, every joke first uttered by painted minstrel lips, every performer who blackened up, every dance step developed for the olio (variety) portion of a minstrel show, our entertainment coffers might seem bare." They show that much of American music, dance, and comedy originated in an art form that was "wildly popular with black audiences" but is now reflexively dismissed as mere racism. For whites, they argue, minstrelsy offered the opportunity to indulge in a "carefree life liberated from oppression, responsibilities, and burdens"; and for blacks it represented freedom as well. "Despite the appearance of minstrelsy as a servile tradition, there were elements of liberation in it from its very beginning, and these were instrumental to its popularity."

The enormous popularity of blackface in the 19th century cannot be explained without understanding that it coincided with a period in American culture in which Puritan values merged with Victorian ideas about work, leisure, sex, and emotional expression. Nineteenth-century children's books, school primers, newspaper editorials, poems, pamphlets, sermons, and political speeches told Americans that work in itself was a virtue, regardless of what one gained from it materially. European visitors frequently commented on what they called the American "disease of work." Typical was a popular textbook of the time, which instructed children that "Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do."

There was no such idea of work as godly in Africa, nor among American slaves. According to the African-American social scientist W.E.B. DuBois, the slave "was not as easily reduced to be the mechanical draft-horse which the northern European laborer became. He was not easily brought to recognize any ethical sanctions in work as such but tended to work as the results pleased him and refused to work or sought to refuse when he did not find the spiritual returns adequate; thus he was easily accused of laziness and driven as a slave when in truth he brought to modern manual labor a renewed valuation of life."

Slave beliefs and practices also offered an alternative to the famously repressive attitudes about sex among Puritans and Victorians. As opposed to white Americans' rigid adherence to lifelong monogamous marriage, most slaves had a far more flexible and forgiving attitude toward sexual and romantic relationships. Slave women who had sex outside marriage were not condemned as whores or "fallen" women, children born out of wedlock were not branded as "bastards," and divorce was not considered a sin.

It should therefore be no surprise that, though they certainly never expressed a wish to be enslaved, the white men who invented blackface performance often sang of a wish to be like slaves. Their songs celebrated the free, joyous, and sensual movements of slave dances—which were condemned by Victorian moralists as barbarous—and the slaves' relaxed attitudes toward love and work.

The two best-known songs of early blackface minstrelsy, Dan Emmett's "Dixie" and T.D. Rice's "Jump Jim Crow," are commonly regarded as anthems of Southern racism. But in their original versions, they were actually laments for being born white. In "Jump Jim Crow," the singer sympathizes, in slave dialect, with those "who happen to be white." It is "dar misfortune, and dey'd spend ebery dollar, if dey only could be gentlemen of color. It almost break my heart to see dem envy me." Emmett's "Dixie" was originally written as the longing of an ex-slave—whom some scholars have suggested represents Emmett himself—for his former life. Though normally regarded as post-Civil War propaganda for the "Lost Cause," "Dixie" was actually written before the war and with intentions that did not serve the interests of those who eventually adopted it. After the war, Confederate veterans' groups declared it the "official song of the Confederacy" and changed the lyrics to "more appropriate words" that made the singer a white soldier pining for his life atop the Old South hierarchy. When Emmett learned of the Confederate appropriation of "Dixie" he declared, "if I had known to what use they were going to put my song, I will be damned if I'd have written it."

Since then, the idea of "blackness"—not necessarily the actual beliefs and practices of real black people—has remained the primary representation of opposition to Puritan and Victorian values. The repressive norms that drove millions of white Americans during the 19th century to seek at least temporary refuge in the fantasy of being black remain powerful today. Belief in the virtue of work has helped drive the annual number of work hours in the U.S. far beyond that of most other industrialized nations. And observers from Europe are regularly stunned by the size and importance of American sexual scandals that wouldn't make the news there.

We will likely never know what motivates contemporary blackface performers. But those who reject the beliefs planted in our culture by Puritans and Victorians might consider the possibility that, like the originators of the practice, they are joining a 200-year, unconscious struggle for freedom.

SOURCE






Where’s the “je suis Page 3? movement?

Well, there you have it, an answer to the question: ‘How long will it take for Britain’s political and media classes to go from saying “Je suis Charlie” to being their old censorious selves, celebrating the crushing of words and images they don’t like?’ The answer is 13 days. Not even two weeks. They couldn’t keep up the pretence of being in favour of press freedom for one measly fortnight. For yesterday, just shy of the second-week anniversary of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, the right bunch of Charlies who make up Britain’s illiberal liberal set were hollering ‘Victory!’ following reports that Page 3, the Sun’s daily serving of a scantily-clad woman, has apparently been put to bed. ‘Charlie Hebdo is dead!’, shouted those French lunatics two weeks ago; ‘Page 3 is dead!’, yelp Britain’s chattering classes today.

No, there’s no comparison between two men using Kalashnikovs to murder 10 people who worked on an allegedly offensive magazine and gender-studies graduates using prudish petitions to pressure the Sun to ditch its pics of half-naked women. Murder is a heinous crime; Mary Whitehouse-style campaigning is not. But you know what can be compared? The desire of Islamists to squish images that upset their religious sensibilities and the urge of feminists and others to halt the publication of imagery they claim has a ‘negative impact’ on their ‘self-esteem’. In both cases, the esteem of small groups of people — Koran-devouring Islamist sects, bel hooks-reading feminist cliques — is elevated over the right of everyone else to publish and read what they want.

Remarkably — or not, given Britain’s opinion-forming set is famous for its double standards — the same people who stood up for Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish offensive cartoons were yesterday at the forefront of celebrating the longstanding, slow-motion and now reportedly successful questioning of the Sun’s right to publish allegedly offensive photographs. So just five days ago, the grand dame of Guardianistas, Polly Toynbee, was laying into the pope over his suggestion that Charlie Hebdo, and others, should stop offending religious people. It’s the job of raucous press outlets to ‘stick two fingers up to propriety’, she said: ‘It is a belch in the face of established taste and dignity.’ But then yesterday, in an about-face so colossal it threatens to skew the Earth’s orbit of the Sun, Toynbee was saying ‘Victory!’ about the Sun’s ‘retreat’ on Page 3. She celebrated campaigners’ smashing of images of women as ‘dumb bare bodies’. What happened to sticking two fingers up at propriety? No, no, not at Polly’s proprieties! Where Pope Francis wants to punish those who make a tit of Jesus, Pope Polly wants to punish those who show tits. Different focuses, same shit.

Or consider deputy Labour leader, Harriet Harman. Two weeks ago she wrung her hands over the possible post-Charlie Hebdo ‘chilling [of] free speech’. She hailed the ‘right to satirise, to lampoon and to criticise’. ‘No democracy can function without freedom of the press’, she said. Fast forward 13 days and she’s loudly cheering campaigners for helping elbow aside Page 3. Photos of women in their underwear is ‘not the representation of women… that I want to see’, she said. Who does she think she is? God? Muhammad? Photos of half-naked women is not what she wants to see and therefore it’s good they’ve been expunged? Her tyrannical instincts are the match of any pope’s or imam’s.

The flimsiness of the ‘Je suis Charlie’ outburst could also be glimpsed in the Independent’s joyous dancing on the grave of Page 3. This paper that just a few days back was upholding the right of cartoonists to stir and shock now features columnists crowing over the demise of ‘toxic and demeaning’ Page 3 and demanding that the Sun go even further and ditch the pics of women in bras, too. Or as a writer for the New Statesman said: ‘Now that Page 3 is gone, we just have to get rid of pages 1, 2 and 4-39.’ What intolerance! As surely as Islamists want to crush blasphemy, so they want to crush the Sun. I know, not with guns, but certainly with pressure and harassment and shame. And as Ray Bradbury said, ‘There’s more than one way to burn a book’.

The whooping over the reported end of Page 3 shows what a blip ‘Je suis Charlie’ was. There has been no shift in the mentality of the British elites. Rather, their post-bloodshed nods to the importance of free speech were total lip service, all thesaurus-fuelled gesture and no substance. So now, not a fortnight later, we’re back to business as usual. Back to the post-Leveson norm of elitist assaults on the wicked tabloids; back to living in a nation straitjacketed by hate-speech laws and the worst libel statutes on Earth; back to the era of the Twittermob getting coppers to knock on the doors of people who tell off-colour jokes; back to politicians believing with implacable arrogance that they can say what is and isn’t acceptable in the press, as if the entire demos just died and MPs accidentally became the sole determiners of truth and discussion. ‘Je suis l’état.’

Some will say, ‘Well, Page 3 was silly and outdated, so who cares?’. I agree it was silly and outdated, and it would probably have been retired by the Sun long ago if it hadn’t been for Clare Short, No More Page 3 and others unwittingly keeping it alive by turning it into a massive moral battleground. But caricatures of Muhammad are also silly, usually, and I defend the right of newspapers to publish those. The problem is not the disappearance of Page 3, but the arguments that were used to help it disappear. The anti-Page 3 campaign represents a 21st-century revival of something that is truly outdated: the pseudo-scientific, super-censorious idea that culture warps people’s putty-like minds and makes them do terrible things. With searing contempt for your average Sun reader — whisper it: white, working class, probably didn’t go to Oxford — anti-Page 3 campaigners say Page 3 ‘conditions’ the ‘behaviours’ of men, ‘encouraging negative attitudes… and at worst, acts of violence’. Monkey see, monkey do. Page 3’s demise is regrettable because it represents a victory — a long, slow victory, admittedly — for a deeply misanthropic, authoritarian outlook: media-effects theory, the notion that the public, or at least Them, lack free will and good sense and thus We must control the media and culture in order to stop Them from becoming twisted. Like every censor in history, Page 3 bashers were driven by a deep distrust of the plebs and a corresponding urge to hide certain images and words from us.

Page 3 made it through the Eighties, the high point of PC. It survived the Nineties, a decade of top-down tut-tutting over ‘lad culture’. It got through the Noughties relatively unscathed, despite that being a decade of Twitterfury over everything. But it couldn’t keep it up — no pun intended — in the 2010s, after Leveson, with the ideal of press freedom shoved in the bin, at a time when the right to be offensive has rarely been so weak, now battered by everyone from coppers to students. You might not miss those daily boobs, but you should mourn the passing of an era in which showing boobs, and in the process belching in the face of propriety, was at least a possibility.

SOURCE





Christian Lawyers and Doctors Need Not Apply

It has become a scary time to be a Christian professional in Canada

In 2014, lawyers and doctors were targeted by their own professional associations for direct attack because of their religious beliefs.

For Christian lawyers, the first salvo was fired at Trinity Western University’s law school. TWU, which exists to “develop godly Christian leaders” in a variety of marketplaces, requires its students and staff to sign a Community Covenant. This pledge, based on religious beliefs, to abstain from certain activities and behaviours during their time at TWU, includes the use of alcohol on campus, viewing pornography, and “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

For some, TWU’s biblically based principle of marriage is abhorrent. As a result, a concerted effort to block TWU’s law school was engaged by lawyers’ professional associations deciding to disapprove of its graduates. The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, the (Ontario) Law Society of Upper Canada and the Law Society of British Columbia each decided to refuse admission to TWU graduates to the practice of law because of TWU’s adherence to the biblical view of marriage. To do so, these law societies chose to disregard the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2001 decision, which ruled that a professional body could not refuse to accredit students from a TWU program because of TWU’s Community Covenant. This implies Christian lawyers are no longer welcome in the law profession. TWU is just the first step.

I did not attend TWU, but I share its biblical view of marriage. I have appeared before the Superior Court of Ontario, the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the Tax Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada for a variety of clients. 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.

With the TWU battle raging, another overt campaign to drive out or silence Christians in the legal community was commenced. The Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD) and is made up of the heads of the legal departments from more than 70 major corporations. The campaign involves its own form of community covenant by these 70+ corporations (including BMO, Ford, The Globe and Mail and the Edmonton Oilers) to restrict hiring of law firms for their legal work to those who have a commitment to “diversity” and “inclusiveness.” The LLD’s definition of these words requires approval of same-sex marriage and excludes Christians or others who might have a different opinion.

The LLD publicly opposed TWU’s proposed law school on the basis that TWU’s Community Covenant is not “inclusive.”

This direct attack on Christian lawyers is meant to create a chilling effect in the legal profession. Lawyers who work for law firms seeking to do business with these corporations will hesitate, and perhaps even be barred from voicing their religious and moral beliefs, or for acting for religious clients in human rights cases dealing with these issues. It’s a scary time to be a Christian lawyer in Canada.

For Christian physicians, the most recent attack was triggered by a series of media stories about doctors in an Ottawa clinic who do not prescribe contraceptives because of their religious beliefs.

In the wake of this coverage, the College of Physicians and Surgeon’s of Ontario (CPSO) decided to revise its policy which sets out physicians’ obligations and expectations vis-à-vis the Ontario Human Rights Code. Despite several submissions from various lawyers and organizations—including myself on behalf of two groups of Christian physicians—that set out the legal basis for which the CPSO was required to protect the religious and conscience rights of physicians, the CPSO has released a draft policy which specifically requires physicians to provide referrals for procedures, treatments, or pharmaceuticals they object to on religious or moral grounds.

For some, such referrals are as morally problematic as doing the procedure itself. If a physician has the moral or religious conviction that abortion or euthanasia is the taking of an innocent human life, then the physician who formally refers a patient to the abortionist or euthanist has contributed to the taking of that life and, therefore, the doing of harm.

If the CPSO policy is finalized as currently worded, Christian physicians are no longer welcome in the medical profession unless they are willing to compromise their religious and moral beliefs. Dr. Marc Gabel, who chairs the group which produced the draft policy, has publicly stated that physicians who refuse to refer for procedures or pharmaceuticals they object to should leave family medicine. It’s a scary time to be a Christian doctor in Canada.

Where do we go from here? As a litigator, my immediate reaction is to take these battles to court. While the law societies and the CPSO may disregard Supreme Court jurisprudence, I hope that the courts will follow it. All Canadians, lawyers and doctors included, have constitutional rights to freedom of conscience and religion.

Beyond this faith in our legal system, my instinct to fight these battles in court is founded in an awareness that for some time, many in the Christian community have been passive and unwilling to stand up for our constitutional rights. That passivity has contributed to the current state of affairs. TWU has not been passive. Physicians have also fought back. It’s time that Christians stand with other Canadians in securing our constitutional rights.

By defending ourselves when attacked, we accomplish three goals. Taking these issues to court and fighting these battles will ensure protection of our rights. Sending the message that we will no longer be bullied or intimidated will reduce the attacks. And we will be better positioned to fulfill our spiritual obligation to remain faithful to God’s Word.

You may not be a lawyer or a physician, but if you are a person of faith or conscience, then you have a stake in this fight. It’s a scary time to be a Christian professional in Canada, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

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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25 January, 2015

Civil rights








UK wide open to 'freeloading' EU migrants, warns Foreign Secretary

Britain is ‘wide open to abuse’ by EU migrants looking to ‘freeload’ on our welfare system, the Foreign Secretary warned last night.

Philip Hammond told MPs that a major reduction in EU immigration was needed to ‘satisfy British public opinion’ ahead of a planned in/out referendum on Europe.

Mr Hammond said Britain had already tightened welfare rules in order to discourage migrants, and would take further domestic measures. But he warned that changes would also be needed at EU level.

He told MPs on the Commons European Scrutiny Committee: ‘We are wide open to abuse. We have tightened up some things already and there are going to be more measures that we can introduce to make it more difficult for people from the EU to abuse our system.

‘But there will be some areas where we need changes (at EU level) to change the way the EU rules work if we are to have sufficient impact on immigration levels to satisfy British public opinion.

‘And that is what we want to do – we are politicians and we are getting a very clear message from the public that this is an issue of significant concern to them.’

Mr Hammond conceded that Britain would not be allowed to opt out of the EU’s free movement rules altogether – and said that David Cameron’s negotiations would focus on ‘the art of the possible’.

But he insisted that other EU countries were willing to be flexible because they are desperate to keep Britain in the EU.

‘I have visited 18 EU states and I am very clear that we will be able to negotiate a significant package of reform,’ he said.

Earlier, Mr Hammond told the Commons: ‘Free movement to work is one of the principles of the EU. Free movement to freeload is not one of the principles of the EU, and Britain is not the only country that is affected by this problem and not the only country determined to address it.’

Mr Cameron has pledged to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the EU ahead of an in/out referendum in 2017 if the Conservatives win the General Election.

Mr Hammond confirmed speculation that the referendum could be held earlier, saying he would like to see it take place ‘as soon as possible’.

The Foreign Secretary has previously indicated he would vote to leave the EU if the referendum were held on Britain’s current membership terms.

But on Tuesday he insisted he was open to changing his mind if the Prime Minister negotiates significant change.

SOURCE





Catholic Bishop on SCOTUS: ‘Hard to Imagine How Essential Meaning of Marriage ... Could Be Declared Illegal’

Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who heads the archdiocese of San Francisco, called attention on Friday to the “essential meaning of marriage” as “a bond which unites a man and a woman to each other and to any children who come from their union,” and which “society respects to its benefit or ignores to its peril.”

The archbishop, who is also chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, was responding to the Supreme Court’s decision to rule sometime in June this year on whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

The archbishop referred to the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling “on whether a state may define marriage as the union of one man and one woman” as “the most significant Court decision since the Court’s tragic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision making abortion a constitutional right.”

“It’s hard to imagine how the essential meaning of marriage as between the two sexes, understood in our nation for over two hundred years, and consistent with every society throughout all of human history, could be declared illegal,” he said in a statement released through the USCCB.

“To those arguing for a constitutional redefinition of marriage, one must ask: when did the Constitution suddenly mandate a novel and unfounded definition of marriage?” he said, adding, “To ask such a question is not a judgment on anyone. It is a matter of justice and truth.”

“The central issue at stake is: what is marriage? The answer is: a bond which unites a man and a woman to each other and to any children who come from their union. Only a man and a woman can unite their bodies in a way that creates a new human being. Marriage is thus a unique and beautiful reality which a society respects to its benefit or ignores to its peril.”

Archbishop Cordileone concluded, “Let us pray that the Supreme Court will be guided by right reason and render a true and just decision upholding the constitutionality of states to respect the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Pope Francis warned of the danger to the family through the redefinition of marriage over the weekend during a mass in Manila, Philippines.

“The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage,” he told the estimated 6 million people gathered for the Mass. “These realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation.”

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday, Jan. 16, that it will consider same-sex “marriage” bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee with oral arguments in April and a ruling before the end of the current term in June.

SOURCE






Christian nurse claims NHS Trust she works for did not clear her of bullying Muslim colleague because it was 'politically incorrect', tribunal hears

A Christian health worker has told an employment tribunal that the NHS trust she works for did not clear her of bullying a Muslim colleague because it was 'politically incorrect'. 

Victoria Wasteney, 37, was disciplined for alleged bullying and harassment after Enya Nawaz, 25, told managers that the senior occupational health therapist had tried to convert her to Christianity.

Today, Miss Wasteney launched an employment tribunal against the East London NHS Trust, claiming her employers discriminated against her because of her religion.

Miss Wasteney accused the NHS of making her look like a 'religious nutcase' and said she never attempted to convert Miss Nawaz.

She told the tribunal that she believed she and Miss Nawaz were friends and alleged Miss Nawaz was 'manipulated' into complaining against her by colleagues who had an anti-Christian agenda.

Today Miss Wasteney claimed the Trust had failed to clear her of wrongdoing after a nine-month disciplinary process because it would be 'politically incorrect' to find a Christian innocent.

The Trust insists the disciplinary hearing was fair and they deny they discriminated against Miss Wasteney.

Miss Wasteney told the East London Employment Tribunal that her professional career 'had been jeopardised, her reputation damaged and relations with colleagues ruined.

She added: 'I was subjected to an ordeal of persecution dressed as a "disciplinary action" for an extraordinarily long time.

'All this was a result of a manifestly false complaint and it was obvious I had done nothing wrong. I was discriminated against because of my faith.'

Miss Wasteney, who describes herself as a born-again Christian, was working at the John Howard Centre, a secure psychiatric hospital in Homerton, East London.

She said she was always careful about discussing her religion at work because her managers had warned her it could 'get you in trouble'.

After Miss Nawaz joined the hospital as a newly qualified occupational therapist in 2012, the two women discussed Islam and Christianity, as well as work done by Miss Wasteney's church to campaign against human trafficking.

Miss Wasteney told the Daily Mail this week her colleague had 'definitely initiated' the conversations, before she invited Miss Nawaz to attend church events linked to the anti-trafficking work.

She said Miss Nawaz had then come to her in tears because she was upset about health problems.

Miss Wasteney said: 'I put my hand on her knee to comfort her and asked if that was okay, and said 'Would you like me to pray for you?'

'She said yes, so I asked for God to bring peace and healing. She left the office afterwards and said she was okay.'

Miss Wasteney also gave Miss Nawaz a book, I Dared to Call Him Father, about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity, but denied it was an attempt to make Miss Nawaz convert.

She said she was shocked to learn her junior had made a formal complaint, but said Miss Nawaz had previously told her she had come under pressure from colleagues to do so.

The East London NHS Foundation Trust investigated Miss Nawaz's eight-page complaint in June 2013. Miss Wasteney was suspended on full pay for nine months while the investigation was carried out.

A disciplinary hearing dismissed some of the allegations but upheld three complaints related to the book, the invitation to church events and Miss Wasteney's offer to pray for Miss Nawaz.

It ruled that the episodes amounted to misconduct. Miss Wasteney was given a written warning, although she was not sacked and continues to work in another area of the trust. 

The claimant told the court she had been previously investigated by the Trust because of her involvement in the Discover Life Group, a Christian group for service users.

She said although the allegations were 'unsubstantiated,' the process had bred ill feeling among other staff members, who tried to warn Miss Nawaz away from her.

She told the tribunal the compliant was made against this background.

The claimant added: 'There had been a history of pressure being put on her to make a false complaint of this nature by certain people among the staff, probably motivated by religious prejudice.' 

She was suspended on the grounds of 'gross misconduct' - making her feel as though she was already seen as 'guilty' and her boss had been looking for an excuse to investigate her faith.

A hearing was held in February 2014, during which the claimant was told there had been a breakdown in the 'firewall' between her personal beliefs and her work, which she said made her faith seem as though it was a 'virus.'

She was given a final written warning as a result, which was later reduced to first written warning on appeal.

The claimant said: 'Despite these concessions, I find the outcome of the appeal unsatisfactory.

'Harassment and bullying are serious allegations, which were made against me but never substantiated.

'Simply put it was felt to be politically incorrect to find that a Christian was innocent. I am innocent of misconduct at work, and the respondent must acknowledge that.'

She returned to work in March 2014, but said staff were made to see her as a 'religious nutcase' and the 'hostility' she experienced pressured her into changing roles.

Ben Collins, representing the East London NHS Trust alleged Miss Wasteney used her senior position to pressurise Miss Nawaz into going to services at the Christian Revival Church.

He told the tribunal Miss Nawaz had said: 'I had texts from Miss Wasteney about prayer meetings. It is hard to say no to someone so senior.'

He also quoted a series of text messages between the claimant and Miss Nawaz in which she uses the fact she was 'stuck in traffic' as a reason for not being able to make a meeting.

Mr Collins told the tribunal: 'You said, “pray God to hurry you”. Could she have been giving excuses for not wanting to come?'

But Miss Wasteney said she was inviting Miss Nawaz to attend a social event at the church, which met at the O2 centre in North Greenwich, as she would invite a colleague to an exercise class.

Mr Collins told the court after a text message exchange in which Miss Nawaz described how her parents were involved in setting up a mosque in Birmingham, Miss Wasteney had responded: 'Jesus is the one who leads us into truth. I am so excited by what is being stirred in your spirit, making it into His presence is truly life changing.'

He said: 'Part of the case against you is that you are proselytising. Going back to the phrase "Jesus leads us into truth" you can see how your actions might have that effect.'

SOURCE






The curse of anti-semitism

By Bernard-Henri Lévy, who is what passes for a philosopher in France.  He is Jewish and very anti-Islam but has a substantial following in France.  He makes a very carefully reasoned case below.  It is from an address to a special plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly  -- which may get it some attention from the Left

This is one of the first times (Elie Wiesel and Jiddu Krishnamurti came before me) that a writer has stood at this dais from which so many great voices have rung out and where the cause of peace and brotherhood among peoples has achieved some of its most important and noble advances.

It is therefore with great emotion and with a deep sense of honor that I address you today.

But you invited me, this morning, not to hear me hold forth on the honor and nobility of humanity but rather to lament the renewed advance of the radical inhumanity, the total baseness, that is anti-Semitism.

In Brussels, just a few months ago, the memory of the Jews and the keepers of that memory were attacked.

In Paris, just a few days ago, we heard once again the infamous cry of "Death to the Jews!"--and cartoonists were killed for cartooning, police for policing, and Jews just for shopping and being Jews.

And in other capitals, many others, in Europe and elsewhere, faulting the Jews is once again becoming the rallying cry of a new order of assassins--unless it is the same order, cloaked in new habits.

The United Nations was founded to fight this plague.  This assembly was given the sacred task of preventing those terrible spirits from reawakening.  But they have returned -- and that is why we are here.

On the subject of this curse, on the subject of its causes and of the means by which to resist it, I would like to begin by refuting a number of current analyses that I fear serve only to keep us from looking this evil squarely in the face.

It is not true, for example, that anti-Semitism is just a form of racism. Both must be fought, of course, with equal determination. But one cannot fight what one does not understand. And it must be understood that, if the racist hates in the Other his visible and conspicuous Otherness, the anti-Semite hates his invisible and indefinable difference--and on that awareness the nature of the strategies that one will have to deploy is going to depend.

Nor is it true that the new anti-Semitism has, as one hears constantly, especially in the United States, its taproot in the Arab-Islamic world. In my country, for example, it has a double source that acts as a sort of double bind. There are, it is true, the many lost souls of a radical Islam that has become the most toxic opium invading the lost territories of our Republic. But there is also that old French monster that, since the Dreyfus Affair and Vichy, has slept with one eye open and, in the end, is not incompatible with the Islamofascist beast.

And, finally, it is not accurate to say that the policy of a particular state -- I am referring, obviously, to the state of Israel -- generates anti-Semitism in the way clouds produce a storm. I have seen European capitals in which the destruction of the Jews was nearly total, yet where anti-Semitism still thrives. I have seen others, farther away, where no Jews have ever lived--yet where the word "Jew" is a synonym for the devil. And I say here that even if Israel's conduct were exemplary, even if Israel were a nation of angels, even if the Palestinians were granted the state that is their right, even then, alas, this old, enigmatic hatred would not dissipate one iota.

To understand how anti-Semitism really operates today, we must abandon these clichés and listen instead to how it is expressed and how its supporters justify it.

Because, after all, the anti-Semites have never been content to say, "Well, that's how it is--we're bad people and we hate the poor Jews."

No.  They have said, "We hate them because they killed Christ." That was Christian anti-Semitism.

They have said, "We hate them because, by producing monotheism, they invented Christ." That was the anti-Semitism of the Enlightenment, which wanted to do away with religion altogether.

They have said, "We hate them because they belong to another species recognizable by traits observed in them alone and that pollute other species." That was racist anti-Semitism, the variety contemporaneous with the emergence of the modern life sciences.

They even have said, "We have nothing against the Jews per se--no, no, really, nothing at all. And we couldn't care less whether they killed or created Christ or whether they are a separate race or not. Our complaint is just that most of them are plutocrats bent on dominating the world and oppressing the humble people." That was the socialism for dummies that, throughout Europe, infected the workers' movement at the time of the Dreyfus Affair.

Today, none of those arguments works anymore.

For reasons having to do with the history of the terrible 20th century, very few people, thank God, remain unaware that all those anti-Semitic arguments resulted in abominable massacres and have therefore been, as a French anti-Semitic writer once said, discarded by Hitlerism.

So, for the old virus to resume its assault on people's minds, for it once again to inflame crowds of ordinary people, for great numbers of men and women to resume hating while believing that they are doing a form of good, or, if you prefer, to believe that there could be legitimate reasons to hate the Jews, a new set of arguments is needed, one that history has not yet had time to debunk.

Today's anti-Semitism says three things, at bottom.  It can operate on a large scale, convince, inflame hearts and minds, only by offering three shameful new propositions.

1. The Jews are detestable because they are assumed to support an evil, illegitimate, murderous state. This is the anti-Zionist delirium of the merciless adversaries of the re-establishment of the Jews in their historical homeland.

2. The Jews are all the more detestable because they are believed to base their beloved Israel on imaginary suffering, or suffering that at the very least has been outrageously exaggerated. This is the shabby and infamous denial of the Holocaust.

3. In so doing, the Jews would commit a third and final crime that could make them still more guilty, which is to impose on us the memory of their dead, to completely stifle other peoples' memories, and to overshadow other martyrs whose deaths have plunged parts of today's world, most emblematically that of the Palestinians, into mourning. And here we come face to face with the modern-day scourge, the stupidity, that is competitive victimhood.

Anti-Semitism needs these three formulations, which are like the three vital components of a moral atomic bomb.

Each taken separately would be enough to discredit a people, to make it abominable once more. But when the three are combined, brought into contact and allowed to form a knot, a node, a crux, a helix, well, at that point we can be pretty sure of facing an explosion of which all Jews, everywhere, will be the designated targets.

What a monstrous people, it will be said, to be capable of all three of these crimes!

What a strange picture is formed by this community of men and women adulterating what they should hold most sacred--the memory of their dead--for the base purpose of legitimizing an illegitimate state and sentencing the rest of the world's victims to silence deaf and dumb.

That is modern anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism will not return on a large scale unless it succeeds in popularizing this insane and vile portrait of the modern Jew.

It has to be anti-Zionist, it must deny the Holocaust, and it must feed the competition of pain--or it will not thrive: The logic is implacable, despicable, but compelling

To recognize that is to begin to see, symmetrically, what you can do to combat this calamity.

Let us imagine a UN General Assembly in which Israel would have its place, its full place, one country among others, no more and no less flawed than others, bound by the same responsibilities but enjoying the same rights--and let us imagine, while we are at it, that you unanimously acknowledge it to be what it truly is: an authentic, solid, and rare democracy.

Let us imagine a UN General Assembly that, faithful to its founding agreement, made itself the diligent guardian of the memory of the worst genocide conceived since man began to walk the Earth--imagine that 2015 was the year when, under your high authority and with the help of the world's most eminent scientists and scholars, the most complete, exhaustive, and definitive conference ever conceived on the attempt to destroy the Jews was convened.

And let us dream, somewhere between New York, Geneva, Jerusalem, or Durban, of a second conference--yes, a second--devoted to all the forgotten wars that cast their tragic shadow over the inhabited world but that are not talked about too much because they do not fit within the framework of the blocs or groups into which you divide yourselves.

And let us dream, then, that this second conference--by adopting the position opposite to the stupid and grotesque idea that a given heart has room for just one object of compassion and empathy--reveals what has been the real truth of the past decades: That it was by remembering the Holocaust that we immediately recognized the horror of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia; that it was when we held in mind the standard of inhumanity of the Holocaust that we understood without delay what was happening in Rwanda or Darfur.

I could multiply the examples, but this is the principle: Far from blinding us to the torment of other peoples, the will to forget nothing of the torment of the Jewish people is the best way to make salient, obvious, and unignorable the affliction of the Burundians, Angolans, Zairian, and so many more, including the Palestinians.

By adopting such a program, you would be fighting real anti-Semitism.

By first rehabilitating the Israel that the Assembly bore on its baptismal font 70 years ago; by next using your colossal authority to silence, once and for all, the negationnist lunatics; and then by aligning yourselves closely with the wretched and accursed who have been sacrified--in Durban, for example--on the altar of anti-Zionist madness; by doing those three things you would be methodically deconstructing, one by one, the components of modern anti-Semitism.

At the same time--I repeat--you would be defending universal human rights and the cause of humanity!

I would not be here if I did not believe that this forum was one of the few in the world--perhaps the only one--in which can be orchestrated that "solidarity of the shaken" of which spoke Jan Patocka, the great Czech philosopher, an idea that has been the throughline of my life.

When, in my country, the highest officials of the government recently said, "France without its Jews would no longer be France," they erected a dike against infamy.

But when, in that same country, we French saw a quarter of you, one head of state or government out of four, marching beside us to say, "I am Charlie, I am a police officer and I am a Jew," it was a reason for true hope for which we had almost stopped waiting.

Your presence here this morning, your will to make this event possible and perhaps memorable, your good faith and obvious will to act, all of these attest to the fact that on all continents, in all cultures and civilizations, people are beginning to realize that the struggle against anti-Semitism is an ardent obligation for everyone--and that is good news indeed.

When a Jew is struck, another writer once said, humanity falls to the ground.

When you go after the Jews, insisted an early opponent of the Nazis, it is like a first line crumbling under an invisible volley that eventually will hit the rest of us as it draws closer.

A world without Jews indeed would not be a world. A world in which the Jews once again became the scapegoats for all people's fears and frustrations would be a world in which free people could not breathe easy and the enslaved would be even more enslaved.

It is up to you now to take the floor and to act.

It is up to you, who are the faces of the world, to be the architects of a house in which the mother of all hates--anti-Semitic hate--will see its place reduced.

May you in a year's time, and the year after that, and every succeeding year, reconvene to observe that our mobilization of today was not in vain and that the anti-Semitic beast can be kept at bay.

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

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









23 January, 2015

Obama in State of Union: Same-Sex Marriage is ‘America at Its Best’

Homosexuality is America's greatest achievement?  I would have thought Ronald Reagan's achievements in promoting liberty in Eastern Europe was America at its best

When he was running for president seven years ago, and appearing in a nationally televised forum held by a Christian pastor at a Christian church, Barack Obama said he believed that marriage was a “sacred union” that was “between a man and a woman.”

On Tuesday night, in his State of the Union Address, Obama said that legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States is one of the things he has seen that represents “America at its best.”

“I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long,” Obama said. “I believe this because over and over in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best.

“I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California, and our newest officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, New London,” he said. “I’ve mourned with grieving families in Tucson and Newtown, in Boston, in West Texas, and West Virginia.  I’ve watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains, from Midwest assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard.  I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in 10 Americans call home.

“So I know the good, and optimistic, and big-hearted generosity of the American people who every day live the idea that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper,” he said. “And I know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example.”

On Aug. 17, 2008, two and a half months before the 2008 presidential election, Obama and his opponent, Sen. John McCain, were interviewed back-to-back by Pastor Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church in Southern California.

Warren asked Obama: “Define marriage.”

“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,” Obama said. “Now, for me as a Christian--for me--for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix.”

“Would you support a Constitutional Amendment with that definition?” Warren asked.

“No, I would not,” said Obama.

“Why not?” asked Warren.

“Because historically, we have not defined marriage in our Constitution,” said Obama. “It's been a matter of state law. That has been our tradition. I mean, let's break it down. The reason that people think there needs to be a constitutional amendment, some people believe, is because of the concern that--about same-sex marriage. I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage, but I do believe in civil unions. I do believe that we should not--that for gay partners to want to visit each other in the hospital for the state to say, you know what, that's all right, I don't think in any way inhibits my core beliefs about what marriage are. I think my faith is strong enough and my marriage is strong enough that I can afford those civil rights to others, even if I have a different perspective or different view.”

On Nov. 1, 2008, just three days before the 2008 election, Obama again stated that he did not believe in same-sex marriage.

MTV asked him his view on Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative that amended the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.

“I think it’s unnecessary,” Obama said. “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about. Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don’t contract them."

SOURCE






Tony Perkins: America Faces ‘New Cultural Revolution--Gone Mad’

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins delivered a “State of the Family Address” Tuesday night in which he cited multiple government attacks on religious freedom and said America faces a "new cultural revolution--gone mad."

“The threats America faces are not potential--they are clear, present and dangerous,” said Perkins in an address broadcast online and on American Family Radio. “Ironically, they come most sharply today not from the radical economic doctrines of Karl Marx, nor from the lights of what Winston Churchill called 'perverted science,' but from the darkness of unrestricted sexual license—a new Cultural Revolution—gone mad."

In the audience, were four American families who have seen their religious liberty attacked in recent times.

Among them were the Hahn family, who operate Conestoga Wood Specialties, a cabinet-making business in Pennsylvania. When the federal government ordered the Hahns, under an Obamacare regulation, to provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices in their employee health-insurance plan--or pay $95,000 per day in fines--they sued the administration. When the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the administration could not enforce the same regulation against Hobby Lobby, a lower court issued an injunction preventing the administration from enforcing it against the Hahns.

Barth Bracy of Connecticut and his family also attended the "State of the Family Address." Bracy, who is the head of Rhode Island Right to Life, lives in next-door Connecticut. When Connecticut’s new Obamacare exchange offered no health insurance plan that did not cover elective abortions, he sued. “Thankfully, in its second year, Connecticut offered a prolife plan,” Perkins said in his address. “The Bracys have withdrawn their suit, but they know the battle is far from over.”

Aaron and Melissa Klein of Oregon also attended the event. They own the “Sweet Cakes by Melissa’ bakery.

“When the Kleins politely declined to make a wedding cake for two women seeking to get married under a federal court ruling that struck down Oregon’s pro-marriage referendum, the women filed a complaint under Oregon labor law,” said Perkins. “The Oregon Bureau of Labor fined the Kleins $150,000, a sum that will bankrupt them and their five small children. In the state of Oregon’s view, the Kleins need to be ‘rehabilitated’ from their religious views on the nature of marriage. Needless to say, government re-education regimes are not the American way.”

Also in attendance was Victoria Miller, who owns W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pa. She “faced media scorn when she declined to provide wedding dresses for a same-sex ceremony,” Perkins said. “I am pleased to report that last month the Bloomsburg town council decided against drafting an ordinance that would have compelled businesses like Victoria’s to service an event it cannot morally support.”

Perkins argued that respect for religious freedom is central to, and essential for the preservation of, American freedom.

“A government able to bankrupt people for standing by their beliefs, on marriage or any other matter of conscience, is a government of unbridled power and a threat to everyone’s freedom,” he said.

Perkins called on Americans to rally around a number of causes the Family Research Council believes will start moving the country back in the right direction. These included:

--Paying more attention to religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy. “We propose that the Obama Administration elevates the importance of religious freedom in foreign affairs, as a basic liberty essential to peace as well as justice, with stronger enforcement of the International Religious Freedom Act through our aid programs, and for sanctions against governments hostile to religious freedom,” said Perkins.

--Enacting a federal law that would ban abortion in the United States after the 20th week of pregnancy. “The United States is one of only four nations on the planet to allow elective abortion throughout the entire term of pregnancy, including when at five months the unborn child can feel pain,” said Perkins.

--Enacting a federal law to prevent discrimination against people who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. “The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act prevents the federal government from doing to the Kleins what Oregon has done, or what a town council in Pennsylvania almost did to the Millers,” said Perkins.

--Enacting additional laws to prevent sex trafficking of women. “Abortion on demand and human trafficking compose a common league of evil,” said Perkins. “Ending that league is the abolitionist cause of our time.”

Near the end of his speech, Perkins made a plea for Christians to work for racial reconciliation in America.

He noted the presence in the audience of Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr., who is senior pastor of the Hope Christian Church in Washington, D.C., and presiding bishop of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches. In 2008, Perkins and Bishop Jackson coauthored “Personal Faith, Public Policy.”

“When we wrote our book 'Personal Faith, Public Policy' we desired to model racial reconciliation as we saw racial division within the body of Christ as a scandal—a stumbling block to secularists who long saw that the nation’s most religious regions suffered from some of its worst racial prejudice,” Perkins said.

“Over the past 50 years much progress has been made in building new bonds of solidarity in the church and in society, but looking around us today can we truly say that America has transcended the racial divide?” said Perksins. “As we wrote in our book, we are convinced that only the church can deliver our nation from the fires and fetters of racial hatred. On this question, we come not to demand more of government, but more of ourselves."

SOURCE






Rev. Graham:‘This Country Was Built on Christian Principles' Not Islam

 Reverend Franklin Graham, son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, said America “was built on Christian principles” but Christians are being pushed “to the back of the room” today, and he added that Americans need to embrace those principles, knowing that this country “wasn’t built by Islam” or “any other group” but by those “who supported and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“I agree with diversity but what’s happening with this country is all these religions are getting front row and Christians are being pushed -- and we’re the majority -- are being pushed back to the back of the room,” said Rev. Graham in an interview with WNCN News about his recent call for Duke University to end its policy on having a Muslim Call to Prayer at the campus’s Christian chapel.

“This country was built on Christian principles, it was men and women who believed in God and believed in His Son Jesus Christ who built this country,” said Rev. Graham. “We’re the greatest nation in the history of the world. It wasn’t built by Islam, and it wasn’t built by any other group. It was those who supported and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Reverend Graham went on to say that while our forefathers made mistakes and some aspects of our history are regrettable, the foundation is what is important and we must protect it from our enemies.

“[W]e’re the greatest nation in the history of the Earth,” he said, “and we have people today that want to destroy what we believe and what we stand for. I think the university needs to understand that the world in which we live today, we’ve been at war now 10 years against terrorists and the terrorists we’ve been fighting are people who support and believe in the Islamic faith.”

The Boston Marathon bombing on Apr. 15, 2013, which killed 5 people and wounded 264 other people, was carried out by Muslim radicals Dzhokhar and Tamerian Tsarnaev.

When asked about Muslims who have condemned Islamic terrorism, Graham said, “First of all, you don’t have condemnation outside of this country. You’ll have clerics in this country who’ll condemn these acts. But these acts of terrorism are not condemned by the mullahs in Saudi Arabia or in Egypt, or Iraq or Syria.”

“The reason is,” he said, “is because the Quran teaches this and so, if they condemned it, they would be condemning the Quran, and they’re not going to condemn the Quran.”

“So, the teaching of the Quran permits slavery, it permits the killing of Jews, permits the killing of Christians, and it’s a very, very dangerous world in which we live and we need to be aware of the truth,” said the reverend.

dean, hebdo
The two radical Muslim terrorists that attacked the Charlie Hebdo editorial office in Paris killed 12 people, including a French policeman who they shot in the street, Jan. 7, 2014. (Photo: AFP)

Last week, less than 24 hours after Rev. Graham called upon Duke University to reverse its policy on allowing the Muslim Call to Prayer from the bell tower of the Christian chapel on campus, the school did so. It reportedly also had received much negative reaction from some Duke alumni and donors to the college about the proposed policy.

Rev. Graham is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, based in Charlotte, N.C., and the international aid group Samaritan’s Purse. He is married, has five children, and lives in Boone, N.C. His famous father, Billy Graham, is 96 and reportedly in fairly good health and living at his family home in Montreat, N.C.

SOURCE






UK: James Blunt reignites 'too posh' row with Labour... accusing MP of provoking class war instead of helping the poor

Pop star James Blunt has attacked Labour shadow minister Chris Bryant after he criticised the number of posh actors and musicians

Singer James Blunt has fired off another shot in his war of words with outspoken MP Chris Bryant – after the Labour shadow minister criticised the number of posh actors and musicians in Britain.

Labour MP Chris Bryant claimed British culture was 'dominated' by stars like Blunt and Eddie Redmayne who went to expensive boarding schools.

The remarks, which come in the wake of Redmayne's best actor Oscar nomination last week, sparked a furious response from Harrow-educated Blunt.

The You're Beautiful star accused Mr Bryant of being a 'prejudiced wazzock' who was using the 'politics of jealousy' to win votes.

Mr Bryant hit back at the pop star's online attack - criticising him for being 'so blooming precious'.

But 40-year-old Blunt reignited the row this morning - taking to Twitter to accuse the Labour MP of failing to help people from ordinary backgrounds achieve success.

In a message posted this morning on Blunt’s official Twitter page, he wrote: ‘To help people at the bottom of the tree join those near the top, give them a ladder, not a bow and arrow.’

The message was more restrained than his online rant yesterday, in which he accused the Labour MP of being a 'prejudiced wazzock'.

In his letter to Mr Bryant, Labour's shadow culture minister, Blunt claimed that the £30,000 a year boarding school he attended did nothing to help him break into the music industry.

The Brit award-winner also claims that people in the music industry tried to get him to change his accent so he sounded less posh.

Blunt opened his letter to Mr Bryant by accusing him of being a 'classist gimp', despite the fact that the Labour MP himself was privately educated at £20,000 a year Cheltenham College before attending Oxford.

In Blunt's letter, he wrote: 'I happened to go to a boarding school. No one helped me at boarding school to get into the music business.'

He added: 'I bought my first guitar with money I saved from holiday jobs (sandwich packing!). I was taught the only four chords I know by a friend.

'No one at school had ANY knowledge or contacts in the music business, and I was expected to become a soldier or a lawyer or perhaps a stockbroker. So alien was it, that people laughed at the idea of me going into the music business, and certainly no one was of any use.'

Blunt said even in the army, which he joined after university, he was told that trying to become a pop star was a 'mad idea'.

He wrote: 'And when I left the army, going against everyone's advice, EVERYONE I met in the British music industry told me there was no way it would work for me because I was too posh. One record company even asked if I could speak in a different accent. (I told them I could try Russian).

'Every step of the way, my background has been AGAINST me succeeding in the music business. And when I have managed to break through, I was STILL scoffed at for being too posh for the industry.'

He added: 'You come along, looking for votes, telling working class people that posh people like me don't deserve it, and that we must redress the balance.

'But it is your populist, envy-based, vote-hunting ideas which make our country crap, far more than me and my s*** songs, and my plummy accent.

'I got signed in America, where they don't give a stuff about, or even understand what you mean by me and 'my ilk', you prejudiced wazzock, and I worked my a*** off.

'What you teach is the politics of jealousy. Rather than celebrating success and figuring out how we can all exploit it further as the Americans do, you instead talk about how we can hobble that success and 'level the playing field'.

'Perhaps what you've failed to realise is that the only head-start my school gave me in the music business, where the VAST majority of people are NOT from boarding school, is to tell me that I should aim high. Perhaps it protected me from your kind of narrow-minded, self-defeating, lead-us-to-a-dead-end, remove-the-'G'-from-'GB' thinking, which is to look at others' success and say, 'it's not fair'.'

Blunt signed off his letter: 'Up yours.'

But Mr Bryant accused the pop star of being 'blooming precious'.

In a letter in response, the MP wrote: 'I'm not knocking your success. I even contributed to it by buying one of your albums. I'm not knocking Eddie Redmayne, either. He was the best Richard II I have ever seen.

'If you'd read the whole of my interview, you'd have seen that I make the point that the people who subsidise the arts the most are artists themselves. Of course that includes you.

'But it is a statement of the blindingly obvious that that is far tougher if you come from a poor family where you have to hand over your holiday earnings to help pay the family bills.'

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 January, 2015

Grenade Throwing 101...

From Marine Col. Jim C. (ret) on why Marines prefer that women not be embedded in ground combat units

A hand grenade can go off in 4-5 seconds.

Ever hear the saying "throws like a girl?”

In the (new) Marine Corps (women in combat), this is what it looks like...








A truth-teller gets the chop



A top academic claims that his career was ended after he publicly clashed with Prince Charles over the issue of alternative medicine.   Prof Edzard Enrst believes that he was 'treated like dirt' after the Prince of Wales tried to 'silence' him.

His new book, A Scientist in Wonderland, features the royal row and how it contributed to the loss of his job at the University of Exeter.

German-born Prof Ernst set up the UK's first chair in complementary medicine at the University of Exeter in 1993.

But his rigorous application of evidence-based science and outspoken views soon found him at loggerheads with supporters of alternative therapies such as homeopathy, including the Prince of Wales.

After being investigated over a complaint made by Charles's former private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, he retired early in 2011 and his department was closed.

In his book, Prof Ernst describes the episode as 'the most unpleasant period of my entire professional life'.

The trouble started in 2005 when Prof Ernst publicly attacked a draft report by economist Christopher Smallwood that had been personally commissioned by Charles.

He described the report, which claimed complementary and alternative medicine (Cam) was cost effective and should be available on the NHS, as 'complete misleading rubbish'.

But Prof Ernst was himself strongly criticised for disclosing the report's contents before they had been fully reviewed and published.

On September 22, 2005, Sir Michael wrote an official letter of complaint on Clarence House notepaper to the University of Exeter's vice chancellor, citing a 'breach of confidence' after the professor had been sent an early and incomplete draft of the report for comment.

Over the next 13 months, Prof Ernst says he was subjected to interrogations, 'dozens of cross-examining emails and letters' and 'treated as guilty until proven innocent'.

Eventually he was told by the Vice Chancellor that a formal disciplinary warning 'would not be appropriate'. At the same time, he received a stern warning not to misbehave again.

He wrote: 'I had been interrogated, investigated, treated like dirt for 13 months, and exonerated in the end. But even while acknowledging that I had not been guilty of any misdemeanour, my vice chancellor had issued an unambiguous warning to me: if I even thought of applying my personal ethical standards in any similar situation in the future, I would not be so lucky as to get away with it again.

'Prince Charles's attempt to silence me, it seemed, had been successful.'

In the years that followed, he says, support for his department dried up to the point where it could no longer function.

Speaking in London, Prof Ernst said: 'I was innocent, but all support broke down. My unit of 20 co-workers was systematically destroyed.'

Asked if he felt badly treated, he added: 'Badly is an understatement. My line manager said to me "I know we're treating you like shit". That is a quote.'

Prof Ernst, who has had 48 books published and more than 1,000 articles in peer-reviewed journals, remains steadfastly opposed to unproven alternative treatments, and openly critical of the Prince of Wales.

Labour MP Paul Flynn said that by promoting ‘voodoo medicine’, Charles was putting himself in a ‘very dangerous position’ because as monarch he will have to be impartial.

‘The head of state, which he will soon be, has to remain above controversy. The only serious job of a head of state is to be above policy,’ Mr Flynn said.

‘If he wishes to lobby ministers, he should stand for Parliament or join a lobbying firm, but he should not be using his position as heir to the throne to do it.' 

In 2010, the then Labour Health Minister Mike O’Brien confirmed that Prince Charles had brought up homeopathy in meetings with Andy Burnham, who was then Health Secretary.

In a chapter of his new book entitled Off With His Head, he writes: 'Prince Charles has continued to promote alternative medicine indefatigably, often showing himself unwilling or unable to distinguish between real health care and blatant quackery, between medicine and snake oil, or between the truth and some half-baked obsessions of his own.'

Prof Ernst insists he is not against all alternative or complementary therapies, and claims there is evidence that some, including certain herbal treatments and acupuncture, can be effective. Others he dismisses as a waste of time and money and potentially dangerous.

He is especially scornful of homeopathy, which is based on extreme dilutions of substances that are supposed to help the body heal itself. Currently doctors can refer patients for homeopathy treatment on the NHS.

'For homeopathy we should be closing the book,' said Prof Ernst. 'They've had 200 years to prove that it's anything more than a placebo. That proof has failed, so let's now move on. 'Homeopathy is an example of a harmless treatment being quite harmful.'

A Scientist In Wonderland is published on January 20 by Imprint Academic.

SOURCE






Jindal: ‘Radical Islam’ a ‘Threat To Our Way of Life,’ We Must ‘Hunt Down and Kill’ It

Jindal is Indian in origin and Indians have memories of Muslim domination that stoke anger to this day

In an interview from London on Monday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) defended his earlier remarks about “no-go zones” in the United Kingdom, referencing a UK police chief and “elected officials,” and he also stressed that Sharia law is “completely incompatible” with Western civilization and that we must "hunt down and kill" the forces of "radical Islam."

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Jindal, “But are these neighborhoods that you're talking about, these so-called no-go zones, are they in London, Birmingham, other cities? Have you spoken to British law enforcement about this?”

Jindal said, “I've heard all day -- we have met with elected officials and others. And, again, a British police official, a local police chief has made these comments in the local press. It's not a surprise here that there are areas where the police are less likely to go. There are areas where women feel they have to wear veils.”

“But, Wolf, I think you're missing the bigger point,” said Jindal.  “The bigger point is that radical Islam is absolutely a threat to our way of life. This is a group that we must hunt down and kill.”

Earlier in the segment, Jindal said, “Look, you had a police chief here in London today say to the Daily Mail there are neighborhoods -- I'm not talking about entire cities, as others have tried to suggest. I'm saying there are neighborhoods where the police say they don't go as frequently.”

“There are neighborhoods where women do not feel comfortable walking without veils,” said Jindal. “We don't see that in America. We wouldn't tolerate that in America. But in America, if we continue to allow people coming in without insisting on assimilation, on integration, this is what lies in our future.”

The Daily Mail article referenced by Jindal was from Jan. 17, and ran the headline, “Murders and rapes going unreported in no-go zones for police as minority communities launch own justice systems.”

In the article, Tom Winsor, the Chief Inspector for Constabulary in London, without citing any specific ethnic or religious group, is quoted as saying, “There are some communities born under other skies who will not involve the police at all. I am reluctant to name the communities in question, but there are communities from other cultures who would prefer to police themselves.”

‘There are cities in the Midlands where the police never go because they are never called,” said Winsor.  “They never hear of any trouble because the community deals with that on its own. It’s not that the police are afraid to go into these areas or don’t want to go into those areas. But if the police don’t get calls for help then, of course, they won’t know what’s going on.”

“Honor killings, domestic violence, sexual abuse of children and female genital mutilations are some of the offenses that are believed to be unreported in some cities,” reported the Daily Mail.

A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain told the Daily Mail: ‘We all rely on the police to protect our communities and this can be only done through full co-operation and partnership.

“Co-operation is particularly important for Muslim communities who have experienced a rise in Islamophobic hate crimes,” the unnamed spokesperson said.

SOURCE






Male and female brains really ARE wired differently: Study finds women are far more affected by emotional images

It has long been said that the male and female brain is wired differently.  Now, Swiss researchers have uncovered another example of how it really is.

They found women rate emotional images as more emotionally stimulating than men do and are more likely to remember them.

Using fMRI data from 696 test subjects, the researchers were also able to show that stronger appraisal of negative emotional image content by the female participants is linked to increased brain activity in motoric regions.

'This result would support the common belief that women are more emotionally expressive than men,' explained Dr Klara Spalek, lead author of the study.

The large-scale study by a research team at the University of Basel focused on determining the gender-dependent relationship between emotions, memory performance and brain activity.

'This would suggest that gender-dependent differences in emotional processing and memory are due to different mechanisms,' says study leader Dr Annette Milnik.

It is known that women often consider emotional events to be more emotionally stimulating than men do.

Earlier studies have shown that emotions influence our memory: the more emotional a situation is, the more likely we are to remember it.

This raises the question as to whether women often outperform men in memory tests because of the way they process emotions.

A research team from the University of Basel's 'Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences' Transfaculty Research Platform attempted to find out.

With the help of 3,398 test subjects from four sub-trials, the researchers were able to demonstrate that females rated emotional image content – especially negative content – as more emotionally stimulating than their male counterparts did.

In the case of neutral images, however, there were no gender-related differences in emotional appraisal.

In a subsequent memory test, female participants could freely recall significantly more images than the male participants.

Surprisingly though, women had a particular advantage over men when recalling positive images.

Using fMRI data from 696 test subjects, the researchers were also able to show that stronger appraisal of negative emotional image content by the female participants is linked to increased brain activity in motoric regions.

'This result would support the common belief that women are more emotionally expressive than men,' explained Dr Klara Spalek, lead author of the study.

The findings also help to provide a better understanding of gender-specific differences in information processing.

This knowledge is important, because many neuropsychiatric illnesses also exhibit gender-related differences. 

SOURCE








For and against - but standing for what?

World leaders stood shoulder-to-shoulder in Paris this week following the gruesome slayings at the Charlie Hebdo offices. But amid the placards and pencils borne by the multitude, which principles were they professing to defend?

For example, it was ironic that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry should be among the pencil wavers defending freedom of speech: Australian journalist Peter Greste still lingers in an Egyptian prison on trumped up charges of supporting terrorism.

And Hamas thought it wrong of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to take to the streets of Paris in solidarity with other world leaders to march, ostensibly, against terror. "First [Abbas] should take care of his own people," said senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar.

Never mind that President Abbas, hailed in Europe as a hero of peace, has himself done plenty to promote terrorism, persecute journalists, and foment hatred against Jews.

But whilst the Charlie Hebdo killers were motivated by a desire to avenge the Prophet, what did the four Jewish shoppers slaughtered in a kosher supermarket have to do with the offending cartoon images?

Clearly, Islamic militants were not only offended by a satirical magazine. They were also offended by the mere existence of Jews. As they are, notes Lawrence Franklin, by the existence of anyone considered a 'disbeliever' or an 'infidel'.

The greatly feared anti-Muslim backlash never materialised, either in France or anywhere else. Life for Muslims went on much as before after the Islamist slayings - even though the Hebdo massacre was quickly followed by an Islamist massacre in Nigeria.

Things were not so straightforward for France's Jews, however.  "In reaction to the murders in Paris," Lawrence observed, "the French capital's Grand Synagogue was closed for the first time since World War II."

A posting on the US-based Israel Project's Facebook page read: "When terrorists attack Paris, the world rallies against terror. When terrorists attack Israel, the world rallies against Israel. Why?"

Western media is often uncomfortable drawing attention to the anti-Semitic character of Islamist terror. It doesn't fit the progressive narrative of Palestinian victimhood so favoured by many European and US foreign policy makers and commentators.

Paris was not the first time that the Jewish community has borne the brunt of Islamist hatred in Europe. It is unlikely to be the last.

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 January, 2015

Mother who is being investigated by child services for letting her 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter walk home alone defends herself on TV

Cripes!  I walked to and from school by myself for my entire childhood.  It even involved crossing a main road.  So what harm did I come to?  None

A mother under investigation for letting her two young children walk a mile home from the park by themselves has spoken out to publicly defend 'free-range parenting'.

Danielle Meitiv appeared on the Today show Monday morning with her children Rafi, 10, and Dvora, six. Just before Christmas, the two children were walking about a mile home from a park near their Maryland home when police officers stopped them and asked why they were alone.

The officers escorted the Meitiv children home, launching a Child Protective Services investigation into Danielle and her husband Alexander's competence as parents.

But Mrs Meitiv doesn't think she they did anything wrong in giving her children a little independence.

'We're just doing what our parents did. It was considered perfectly normal just one generation ago,' she said on Today.

Mrs Meitiv admits that the walk back from the park was longer than her two kids had taken before, but says she wasn't worried because they have been on several shorter walks together with no issues.

'Well I've walked home from school before. Not with my sister, but I've done it alone,' 10-year-old Rafi said. 'We walked around the block a lot and we walk home from another park which is just around the block.

The Meitivs describe themselves as 'free-range parents' who encourage their two children to take journeys without supervision in order to build confidence and teach them about the outside world.

Usually they have the kids carry around a card that reads 'I'm not lost. I'm a free range kid' but they left them behind that day when they went to the park that was a bit further away from their house.

Someone saw the two kids walking alone and called 911, and about three police officers stopped the children as they were about halfway home.

While Mrs Meitiv says her children assured the officers that they knew where they were going, the police escorted them home to talk to her husband, Alexander Meitiv.

Mrs Meitiv wasn't home at the time, but says the officers were aggressive to her husband, and that her son called her crying, fearing that he would be arrested.

'He was shocked. He sees three police officers with our kids. And they didn't really explain what was going on so it was kind of uncomfortable. They asked for ID. He said he felt they were really aggressive,' she said.

When Child Protective Services later showed up at the house, she says they threatened her husband if he didn't sign a form, promising to supervise his children at all times until a follow up appointment.

'He said I don't want to sign this without talking to a lawyer or talking to my wife. And she said if you don't sign this we're going to take the children right now and she called the police,' she said.

The Meitivs are still under investigation by CPS. Mrs Meitiv says she understands why other parents wouldn't let their children walk alone, but doesn't believe her decision to give her children more freedom makes her a bad mother.  'I think what's really unfortunate is we're really overestimating the danger and underestimating our children.

'And in fact what's really sad is that by driving our kids instead of letting them walk, we're actually endangering them more because the number one cause of death for children this age are actually car accidents. 'So letting children walk is not only good for their health, it's actually safer than driving.'

Alex and Danielle have yet to learn whether any further action will be taken against them, but say whatever happens next, the experience has left them furious.

Mrs Meitiv previously told the Washington Post: 'I think what CPS considered neglect, we felt was an essential part of growing up and maturing.

'We feel we’re being bullied into a point of view about child-rearing that we strongly disagree with.'

A CPS spokeswoman told the Post that they couldn't comment on individual cases, but pointed to state law which says children under eight must be left with a responsible person aged at least 13.

Police said they could not find information on the case, but a spokeswoman said that when concerns are reported, 'we have a responsibility as part of our duty to check on people’s welfare.'

SOURCE






Sexism row as star female lawn bowls player is banned from competing for her local team because she is a woman

A female lawn bowls player has been banned from competing for her local team, because the league claims women are 'not as good as men'.

Claire Williams, 51, helped get Burway Bowling Club in Ludlow, Shropshire into the top lawn bowls division in the county last year.

However, the Shropshire Premier Bowling League (SPBL) has a strict male-only policy and its president has today pledged to 'fight vehemently' to keep her and other women players out.

Ms Williams' club are appealing to overturn the 21-year-old rule after branding the league regulations old-fashioned and outdated.

But Mike Hinton, 73, president of the SPBL, has said there is 'no way' the league will allow a change in the rules and allow women to play.

'The plain fact is we don't think they are good enough,' Mr Hinton said, adding that Burway Bowling Club made a similar - unsuccessful - appeal for change last year. 'I would put my house and £1,000 on it not being passed again this year.

'I will be fighting vehemently to make sure women are not allowed to join our league.

'One of the middle leagues changed the rules and they started putting women's names down on the team sheet before men, I couldn't believe it.

'I have been president for 13 years and I am standing down tomorrow, but there is no way we will let this rule change pass.

'The simple reason is because men are generally better players than women.'

Ms Williams, who works for the Ministry of Defence, led her side to the top of the Flowfit Ludlow & District Bowls League last year, allowing the team to play in the top county league.

However, this achievement also meant that Ms Williams had to be dropped from the team because of the men-only rule.

When the issue was raised at the Shropshire Premier Bowling League annual meeting last year, many teams had not held their annual general meetings to discuss the matter, so it was voted down.

Yesterday Duncan Pressley, captain of the Burway Bowling Club, said it was time the sport caught up with the times.  He said: 'We put a letter in last year asking why women couldn't be included in teams in the league.

'Obviously it was in our interest to have Claire as part of our team.  'She was one of the best players we had and not just of the ladies - she's better than a lot of the men.  'Claire doesn't play for us anymore, but it wasn't just about her.

'Somebody has got to be the first one to put up their hands and say in this day and age should we still be doing this?

'It's probably the only league in the county which doesn't allow women to play. Ludlow and District has been a mixed league for 15 to 20 years.

'Most sports that aren't intensely physical these days are coming round to the idea that women can be allowed to compete alongside men.  'Look at golf, where women are now allowed in the club house at St..Andrews.

'There are ladies' leagues, obviously, but just within localised areas as far as I know.

'I know of several clubs that wouldn't have a problem with this, we have women that are good enough players just stood on the side watching.  'I think these things need to be looked at in today's world.'

SOURCE






Suspended and sent for 'equality training' - Christian magistrate who said: 'Adopted child needs mum and dad - not gay parents'

A Christian magistrate has been disciplined by a Tory Cabinet Minister for expressing the belief that children should be raised by both a mother and a father.

Richard Page told colleagues behind closed doors during an adoption case that he thought it would be better for a child to be brought up in a traditional family rather than by a gay couple.

He was shocked a week later when he found he had been reported to the judges’ watchdog for alleged prejudice, and was suspended from sitting on family court cases.

Mr Page, an experienced NHS manager, has now been found guilty of serious misconduct by Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling – who previously spoke in support of a Christian couple who turned away a gay couple from their B&B.

He has also been ordered to go on an equality course before he is allowed back in the courtroom.

The married 68-year-old was told he had broken the oath sworn by all Justices of the Peace (JPs) as well as Labour’s controversial Equality Act, by being guided by his religious views and discriminating against the same-sex adoptive parents.

Last night, critics said the case was another example of how people who hold traditional Christian views feel they have no freedom of speech and find it difficult to hold public office in modern Britain.

Mr Page told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is tremendous pressure to keep quiet and go along with what is seen to be politically correct. 'Everyone else seems to be allowed to stand up for their beliefs except for Christians.’

Mr Page was called on to consider an adoption order at a family court last July.  As a lay judge he is not required to be legally qualified and is meant to ‘bring a broad experience of life to the bench’ in making decisions. Because of the controversial secretive nature of such hearings, The Mail on Sunday cannot publish details of the case.

But as is standard in such cases, social workers presented their report on the adoption case in the courtroom then Mr Page went into a separate meeting room with fellow magistrates to discuss whether or not to approve the placement order with the prospective parents.

It was at that point, behind closed doors, that Mr Page said he raised several questions about whether or not the adoption was appropriate, and also mentioned his view as a Christian that it would be better for the child to be raised by a mother and a father rather than the prospective parents who were two men.

‘I think there is something about a man, a woman and a baby, that it’s natural and therefore the others are not. That is the comment that I made,’ he said. ‘Therefore, since my task as a magistrate is to do the best for the child, my feeling was, quite reasonably, that a man and a woman would be better.’

A strict law means the detail of the disciplinary complaint against Mr Page must remain confidential.

Mr Page has been a magistrate for 15 years, with an unblemished record, and his views as an evangelical Christian had never caused problems before, either on the bench or in his former job as a manager at an NHS mental health trust.  He and his wife, who have three grown-up children, had been foster parents themselves and he hoped this background would prove useful when he became a JP.

So he was ‘gobsmacked’ when he discover a week later that a formal complaint had been made about his allegedly prejudicial comments in the private meeting, which was not attended by the same-sex adopters.

Mr Page said: ‘What I was staggered by was that they were saying I was a Christian and therefore I was prejudiced. They were far more prejudiced in their complaint than I was in what I said.’

Mr Page said he had thought the discussion was just like any other that happens between magistrates when they disagree on a case and have to use their judgment to make a decision.

‘Why do you have magistrates if there isn’t a different view that they can have? We all have views and that’s what you have to bring to decision-making, and mine are Christian views.’

He accepted his decision was coloured by his religious philosophy but insisted: ‘That’s allowed because that’s what we’re here for.

‘Our job is to do what’s best for that child and that must be something to do with the magistrate’s views rather than just ticking the box.’

Mr Page was brought before a local conduct panel, where he was told he had broken the judicial oath, which requires magistrates to ‘do right to all manner of people’, ‘without fear or favour, affection or ill will’.

But he pointed out the oath also includes the words ‘so help me God’, and therefore he was abiding by the oath as he was doing the best for the child with the help of God.

Andrea Williams, head of the pressure group Christian Concern that has advised Mr Page, added: ‘There’s no understanding that he could be acting out of compassion for a child. They just think that he’s prejudiced and that people who hold this view should not be in public office.

‘We need more people like Mr Page in public life. Why should he, after all these years of service, suddenly have some kind of mark on his record for believing a child should live with a mother and father?

‘Christians have to decide if they want to stay silent, say nothing, because if they reveal what they think and say supposedly controversial things such as children need a mum and a dad, at that point they can find themselves in trouble with their employers and professional bodies.’

Officials tried to stop The Mail on Sunday investigating the story of the JP being disciplined for expressing his Christian views.

After this newspaper was alerted to the very brief official summary of the case against Richard Page, we tried to speak to people who knew more about it.

But a senior court official, Malcolm Dodds, the clerk to the justices for Kent, warned that journalists could not even ask questions about what had happened – and would be breaking the law if they revealed what had gone on in the disciplinary hearing.

Mr Dodds left a message on a journalist’s mobile phone stating: ‘It’s confidential under Section 139 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.’

But open justice campaigner John Hemming MP said last night: ‘The whole process needs more transparency. They should explain what’s going on.’  Why can't the voice of Christians be heard?

The highest law officers of the land have not only issued a reprimand to Mr Page but require him to receive remedial training. This smacks to me of the ‘re-education’ camps so beloved of totalitarian Marxist states.

Is this the way to promote liberty or is freedom of speech and belief only for a liberal elite with politically correct views?

SOURCE






Don't like the PC mob? Well now that makes YOU a terror threat

By Peter Hitchens

Using the excuse of terrorism – whose main victim is considered thought – Theresa May’s Home Office is making a law which attacks free expression in this country as it has never been attacked before.

We already have some dangerous laws on the books. The Civil Contingencies Act can be used to turn Britain into a dictatorship overnight, if politicians can find an excuse to activate it.

But the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, now slipping quietly and quickly through Parliament, is in a way even worse. It tells us what opinions we should have, or should not have.

As ever, terrorism is the pretext. Yet there is no evidence to suggest that the criminal drifters, school drop-outs and drug-addled losers who do much terrorist dirty work (and whose connections with vast worldwide conspiracies are sketchy to say the least) will be even slightly affected by it.

In a consultation paper attached to the Bill, all kinds of institutions, from nursery schools (yes really, see paragraph 107) to universities, are warned that they must be on the lookout for ‘extremists’.

But universities are told they have a ‘responsibility to exclude those promoting extremist views that support or are conducive to terrorism’.

Those words ‘conducive to’ are so vague that they could include almost anybody with views outside the mainstream.

What follows might have come from the laws of the Chinese People’s Republic or Mr Putin’s Russia. Two weeks’ advance notice of meetings must be given so that speakers can be checked up on, and the meeting cancelled if necessary.

Warning must also be given of the topic, ‘sight of any presentations, footage to be broadcast, etc’. A ‘risk assessment’ must be made on whether the meeting should be cancelled altogether, compelled to include an opposing speaker or (even more creepy) ‘someone in the audience to monitor the event’.

Institutions will be obliged to promote ‘British values’. These are defined as ‘democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs’. ‘Vocal and active opposition’ to any of these is now officially described as ‘extremism’.

Given authority’s general scorn for conservative Christianity, and its quivering, obsequious fear of Islam, it is easy to see how the second half will be applied in practice. As for ‘democracy’, plenty of people (me included) are not at all sure we have it, and wouldn’t be that keen on it if we did.

Am I then an ‘extremist’ who should be kept from speaking at colleges? Quite possibly. But the same paragraph (89, as it happens) goes further. ‘We expect institutions to encourage students to respect other people with particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010’.

These ‘protected characteristics’, about which we must be careful not to be ‘extremist’, are in fact the pillars of political correctness – including disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, sex and sexual orientation.

The Bill is terrible in many other ways. And there is no reason to believe that any of these measures would have prevented any of the terrorist murders here or abroad, or will do so in future.

They have been lifted out of the box marked ‘try this on the Home Secretary during a national panic’, by officials who long to turn our free society into a despotism.

Once, there would have been enough wise, educated, grown-up people in both Houses of Parliament to stand up against this sort of spasm. Now most legislators go weak at the knees like simpering teenage groupies whenever anyone from the ‘Security’ or ‘Intelligence’ services demands more power and more money.

So far there has been nothing but a tiny mouse-squeak of protest against this dangerous, anti-British, concrete-headed twaddle. It will go through. And in ten years’ time we’ll wonder why we’re locking people up for thinking. We’ll ask: ‘How did that happen?’ This is how it happens.

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 January, 2015

Ladies first? Has feminism come full circle?

"Ladies first" is a traditional courtesy, the sort of courtesy that feminists once condemned.  But now one feminist wants to bring it back.  I am reasonably happy with that rule but feminists are not ladies so I would not apply it to them.

Women should be heard first in the classroom, a forum on misogyny at Dalhousie University heard Thursday.

“Men should not be allowed to monopolize these forums,” Saint Mary’s University management professor Judy Haiven said.

Seven panelists spoke to the crowd in the Dalhousie Student Union Building’s largest conference room on Thursday to discuss misogyny on university campuses.

Haiven suggested several ideas to combat misogyny, all of them centred on promoting female participation in events.

Her idea that women should always speak first in classroom discussions and at public events was brought up several times during the forum.

Haiven said she already tries to apply this idea in her own classroom.  “(In) the management department, women get to speak first. I think that that is a primary issue that we actually have to look at, how to do question and answer (periods). And we can start today.”

The misogyny forum was held on the same day that Halifax Regional Police said it would not pursue a criminal investigation in the Dalhousie dentistry scandal, after reviewing controversial Facebook posts.

Haiven’s idea was met by a round of applause, but not everyone agreed with her suggestion.

The panel fielded a question from Twitter asking whether the idea would just “perpetuate the problem the other way?”

“Yes, I suppose at some point that could happen,” Haiven said. “But right now what we see is … women generally don’t come forward and speak up at meetings … we see women taking a backseat.

“We see that there has to be some kind of affirmative action so that women, I hope, take a more active role in the classroom, in running things, in various student affairs. We’ve got a real problem.”

More women are graduating with university degrees than ever before, and often take up the majority of classes, “yet you wouldn’t know that.”

Jacqueline Skiptunis, vice-president academic and external for the Dalhousie Student Union, said she personally has been hesitant to talk in group discussions. When she did speak up, her statements were often questioned, and believed only when a man agreed with her.

Jude Ashburn agreed with Haiven.  “I think that women of colour should speak first in class,” Ashburn said after the panel discussion.

Ashburn is an outreach co-ordinator for South House, a gender and sexual resource centre in Halifax, and identifies as a “non-binary trans person.”

“When I do activist circles or workshops, I often say, ‘OK, if you’re white and you look like me and you raise your hand, I’m not going to pick on you before someone of colour.’ So I do give little disclaimers, like people of colour will have priority, or if you’re a person with a disability, you’re pushed to the front … I mean, you know, bros fall back,” Ashburn said with a laugh.

SOURCE





Christian nurse, 37, says she was sacked for 'harassment and bullying' after PRAYING for a Muslim colleague

A Christian nurse claims she was sacked for 'harassment and bullying' after she prayed for a troubled Muslim colleague.

Victoria Wasteney, 37, a senior occupational health therapist at a mental hospital in east London, offered support to a fellow nurse when she was unwell.

Miss Wasteney says she put her hand on young colleague Enya Nawaz's knee and asked if she could pray for her, saying: 'God, I trust You will bring peace and You will bring healing.'

The pair had been on friendly terms for months, so Miss Wasteney, who describes herself as a 'born-again Christian', was furious when she was suspended from work for 'harassing' Miss Nawaz.

East London NHS Foundation Trust suspended her for nine months on full pay, gave her a written warning and told her not to discuss her faith with co-workers.

But the nurse, from Buckhurst Hill, Essex, will on Tuesday begin a legal challenge against the trust for discriminating against her for her religion.

Miss Wasteney, who worked at the John Howard Centre - a mental hospital in Homerton, east London - told the Sunday Telegraph: 'I'm not a hard-line evangelical. I'm not anti-Muslim. I believe in freedom of speech, but I've always believed we should be sensitive to one another's beliefs and feelings.'

The nurse had previously invited Miss Nawaz, who had personal and health problems, to her church and had given her the book I Dared To Call Him Father, which is about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity.

They had a shared interest in the issue of human trafficking, a problem Miss Wasteney's church was trying to tackle, but now she fears society has reached a point where colleagues cannot invite each other to events 'for fear of offending'.

When Miss Nawaz, 25, came to her Christian colleague in tears as she was due to go into hospital for treatment, Miss Wasteney said she offered her a shoulder to cry on.

She said: 'She was very emotional and tearful and was talking to me about her fear of dying. I put my hand on her knee to comfort her – asking her if that was all right – and prayed with her, asking God to heal her.

'It was a natural and open thing for me to do and she didn't object in any way.'

But Miss Wasteney claimed that over the following weeks Miss Nawaz came under pressure to file a complaint against her on religious grounds.

In June 2013 she submitted an eight-page document accusing Miss Wasteney of trying to convert her to Christianity, telling her she would not recover from her illness and 'laying hands on her'.

Since handing in the complaint, Miss Nawaz has left her job and Miss Wasteney has left the hospital to take up a position at the trust's head offices.

Miss Wasteney denies all the accusations and says she has been singled out for her strong faith.

In documents handed to the coming week's tribunal, she said: 'My professional career has been jeopardised, my reputation damaged, relations with colleagues ruined and I was subjected to an ordeal of persecution dressed as "disciplinary action" for an extraordinarily long time. I was discriminated against because of my faith.'

East London NHS Foundation Trust said it was inappropriate to comment ahead of the tribunal.

SOURCE






Victims Frantically Search for Offense

Microaggression. The word may soon be knocking on your door to demand supplication or another form of payment. Microaggression is the new politically correct campaign being launched by “disadvantaged” elites who are running out of even vaguely real transgressions to complain about.

What You Can Expect to Be Accused Of

Microaggression is unintended discrimination that demeans the “disadvantaged” even if the perpetrator does not intend to do so and is well-meaning. Coined in 1970 by Harvard psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce, it described unconscious racial insults delivered by whites to minorities. An example is a white teacher who asks a black student if he needs help with a math problem.

The concept includes micro-insults or insensitive communication such as asking an Asian coworker where she comes from; the question allegedly suggests she is a foreigner and not a true American. It also includes micro-invalidations that negate the feelings or reality of a black, such as speaking well of Southern cooking; the comment allegedly suggests an approval of past slavery. These behaviors lead to micro-inequities; the behaviors are conveyed through unconscious messages that allegedly devalue the “disadvantaged” in the subtle communication of facial expressions, gestures, tone, word choice, nuance and syntax.

In 1973, MIT economist Mary Rowe expanded Pierce’s term to focus on discrimination against women. A classic example of microaggression against women is using the pronoun “he” to indicate people in general when it is also a gender-specific term. Merely substituting the pronoun “she,” however, is microaggression as well because it sweeps the insult of the original situation under the rug.

The “disadvantaged” now include racial minorities, women, sexual minorities, the poor, the disabled ... that is, any group considered to be marginalized. It includes almost everyone but white males or any white female who disagrees with political correctness.

Who You Can Expect to Accuse You

A predictable vector of transmission is PC feminism. And, as with the current gender insanity, it will begin on campuses. In fact, it already has. But seeing microaggression in everyone everywhere is not limited to feminists.

In 2013, Prof. Van Rust was fired from UCLA due to microaggressions against black students. Susan Kruth of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education reported (Jan 8, 2014), “Rust’s alleged offenses comprise his seemingly typical feedback on students’ work. As demonstration leader ... Kenjus Watson argued, Rust created a hostile climate in his class by, among other things, correcting “perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies.” Another of the alleged microaggressions appears to be that Rust required students to use The Chicago Manual of Style ...” In other words, he insisted that university students use the standard spelling and grammar they would need in professional life.

On December 5, Princeton University students set up a “Tiger Microaggressions” service through which students can anonymously report and publish microaggressions. The page calls this form of discrimination “papercuts of oppression” that are “small but slice deep.” The National Review (Dec. 11, 2014) quoted the service operators as saying “microaggressions are all around us” and literally anything can qualify as a microaggression because “there are no objective definitions to words and phrases.”

As a columnist for the Miami Herald commented (Dec. 29), “So if I write, The sky is blue you are perfectly within your rights to assume that what I actually meant is, ‘Everybody but white guys should writhe in Hell for all eternity’. Because, really, who’s to say?” His example may sound extreme ... but it is not because there is no reductio ad absurdum possible with political correctness.

That became clear in a column by microaggression advocate Jessica Valenti in The Guardian (Dec. 10) in which she claims to love everything about Christmas. Except one thing. Gender oppression makes her responsible for wrapping presents for family and loved ones. While women are being trafficked in Africa, raped in Afghanistan, killed for ‘honor’ and having acid thrown in their face, the gender oppression of Western women devolves to being surrounded by what Valenti says is a loving family who hopes you wrap your presents to them. That expectation, in her own words, makes Christmas into “a godd*mn clusterf**k.”

Why the Utter Madness?

A seeming simply question, the answer is multi-layered. Addressing just two aspects of the madness:

1) “There are no objective definitions to words and phrases.” Without becoming philosophical or providing details, this statement comes from the belief that there is no reality whatsoever beyond what is constructed by the culture through its language, texts, history, assumptions of biological sexuality, philosophy, legal theory, etc. Objectivity and conclusions through reason and evidence do not exist; only the subject narrative presented by voices exists. In order to radically change society, it is necessary to deconstruct the current narrative and replace it with a desirable one; it is necessary for their voices to be the ones that are heard. The deconstructionist approach dates back to the postmodern philosopher Jacques Derrida and has been adopted in a wholesale, cartoon version by gender feminism.

2) Politically-correct victims are desperate to preserve their own victimhood. In terms of gender feminism, this means preserving the myth of the “rape culture”; this is a culture that so profoundly encourages rape, “rape” becomes the one word defining the culture. This may be an appropriate description of Afghanistan but it is palpably untrue of North America. In order to sustain the myth, therefore, it is necessary to define more and more innocuous behavior as sexual assault so that words, attitudes and other non-violence become assault. Equally, in order to sustain the myth that the “disadvantaged” are being constantly victimized, it is necessary to define more and more innocuous behavior as acts of violence. Or, even worse, the need for definition is being trashed and a victim now self-defines him—or herself by an entirely subjective standard.

As insane and vicious as it seem to reasonable and decent people, micro-aggression is the new cutting edge of political correctness and its subset of gender feminism.

Conclusion

The claim of microaggression is a justification for censorship and social control. To advocates, the slightest hint of insult becomes evidence of epidemic oppression in society. What you say, what you don’t say, when you do not show up either to speak or stay silent ... all of these can be evidence of microaggression. That is, as long as the act or non-act is committed by a white male or by someone who disagrees with the PC theory of victimhood.

The actual oppression occurs, of course, when micro-victims band together and harm those who have been “constructed” as oppressors, as they harmed Prof. Van Rust for requiring proper grammar. Those targeted by the micro-warriors are the true victims. And the self-righteous crusade of the privileged masquerading as the oppressed will continue until one thing happens. Individuals (especially white males) need to stop feeling guilty for their innocuous acts and non-acts. They must stop apologizing for the whiteness of their skin, their genitalia, their system of belief ... Individuals must stop apologizing for the hubris of peacefully occupying space on the planet.

Your guilt is the main weapon wielded by the politically correct. Take it away.

SOURCE






Multicultural Suicide

Fueling the Western paralysis in dealing with radical Islam is the late 20th century doctrine of multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism is one of those buzzwords that does not mean what it should. The ancient and generic Western study of many cultures is not multiculturalism. Rather, the trendy term promotes non-Western cultures to a status equal with or superior to Western culture largely to fulfill contemporary political agendas.

On college campuses, multiculturalism not so much manifests itself in the worthy interest in Chinese literature, Persian history, or hieroglyphics, but rather has become more a therapeutic exercise of exaggerating Western sins while ignoring non-Western pathologies to attract those who see themselves in some way as not part of the dominant culture.

It is a deductive ideology that starts with a premise of Western fault and then makes evidence fit the paradigm. It is ironic that only Western culture is self-critical and since antiquity far more interested than other civilizations in empirically investigating the culture of the other.  It is no accident that Europeans and Americans take on their own racism, sexism, and tribalism in a way that is not true of China, Nigeria or Mexico. Parody, satire, and caricature are not Chinese, African, or Arab words.

A multicultural approach to the conquest of Mexico usually does not investigate the tragedy of the collision between 16th-century imperial Spain and the Aztec Empire. More often it renders the conquest as melodrama between a mostly noble indigenous people slaughtered by a mostly toxic European Christian culture, acting true to its imperialistic and colonialist traditions and values.

In other words, there is little attention given to Aztec imperialism, colonialism, slavery, human sacrifice, and cannibalism, but rather a great deal of emphasis on Aztec sophisticated time-reckoning, monumental building skills, and social stratification. To explain the miraculous defeat of the huge Mexican empire by a few rag-tag, greedy conquistadors, discussion would not entail the innate savagery of the Aztecs that drove neighboring indigenous tribes to ally themselves with Cortés. Much less would multiculturalism dare ask why the Aztecs did not deploy an expeditionary force to Barcelona, or outfit their soldiers with metal breastplates, harquebuses, and steel swords, or at least equip their defenders with artillery, crossbows, and mines.

For the multiculturalist, the sins of the non-West are mostly ignored or attributed to Western influence, while those of the West are peculiar to Western civilization. In terms of the challenge of radical Islam, multiculturalism manifests itself in the abstract with the notion that Islamists are simply the fundamentalist counterparts to any other religion. Islamic extremists are no different from Christian extremists, as the isolated examples of David Koresh or the Rev. Jim Jones are cited ad nauseam as the morally and numerically equivalent bookends to thousands of radical Islamic terrorist acts that plague the world each month. We are not to assess other religions by any absolute standard, given that such judgmentalism would inevitably be prejudiced by endemic Western privilege. There is nothing in the Sermon on the Mount that differs much from what is found in the Koran. And on and on and on.

In the concrete, multiculturalism seeks to use language and politics to mask reality. The slaughter at Ford Hood becomes “workplace violence,” not a case of a radical Islamist, Major Nidal Hasan, screaming “Allahu Akbar” as he butchered the innocent. After the Paris violence, the administration envisions a “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism,” apparently in reaction to Buddhists who are filming beheadings, skinheads storming Paris media offices, and lone-wolf anti-abortionists who slaughtered the innocent in Australia, Canada, and France.

The likes of James Clapper and John Brennan assure us of absurdities such as the Muslim Brotherhood being a largely secular organization or jihad as little more than a personal religious journey. Terrorism is reduced to man-caused violence and the effort to combat it is little more than an “overseas contingency operation.” The head of NASA in surreal fashion boasts that one of his primary missions for the hallowed agency is to promote appreciation of Muslim science and accomplishments through outreach to Islam. The president blames an obscure film-maker for causing the deaths of Americans in Benghazi (when in reality, it was a preplanned Al-Qaeda affiliate hit) — and then Obama makes it a two-fer: he can both ignore the politically incorrect task of faulting radical Islam and score politically correct points by chastising a supposedly right-wing bigot for a crime he did not foster.

What is the ultimate political purpose of multiculturalism? It certainly has contemporary utility, in bolstering the spirits of minority groups at home and the aggrieved abroad by stating that their own unhappiness, or failure to achieve what they think they deservedly should have, was due to some deep-seated Western racism, class bias, homophobia, or sexism otherwise not found in their own particular superior cultural pedigree that was unduly smothered by the West.

For the useful idiot, multiculturalism is supposedly aimed at ecumenicalism and hopes to diminish difference by inclusiveness and non-judgmentalism. But mostly it is a narcissistic fit, in which the multiculturalist offers a cheap rationalization of non-Western pathologies, and thereby anoints himself both the moral superior to his own less critical Western peers and, in condescending fashion, the self-appointed advocate of the mostly incapable non-Westerner.

Multiculturalism is contrary to human nature. Supposedly if Muslims understand that Westerners do not associate an epidemic of global terrorism and suicide bombing with Islam, then perhaps Muslims — seeing concession as magnanimity to be reciprocated —  will appreciate such outreach and help to mitigate the violence, all the more so if they also sense that they share with the more radical among them at least some legitimate gripes against the West.

So multiculturalism is the twin of appeasement. Once Americans and Europeans declare all cultures as equal, those hostile to the West should logically desist from their aggression, in gratitude to the good will and introspection of liberal Westerners. Apologizing for the Bush war on terror, promising to close down Guantanamo, deriding the war in Iraq, reminding the world of the president’s Islamic family roots — all that is supposed to persuade the Hasans, Tsarnaevs, and Kouachis in the West that we see no differences between their cultural pedigrees and the Western paradigm they have chosen to emigrate to and at least superficially embrace. Thus the violence should cease.

At its worst, multiculturalism becomes a cheap tool in careerist fashion to both bash the West and simultaneously offer oneself as a necessary intermediary to rectify Western sins, whether as a -studies professor in the university, an activist journalist or politician, or some sort of community or social organizer.

It is always helpful to turn to Al Sharpton for an illustration of the bastardized form of almost any contemporary fad, and thus here is what he once formulated as the multicultural critique of the West: “White folks was in the caves while we [blacks] was building empires. … We built pyramids before Donald Trump ever knew what architecture was … we taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”  Note that Sharpton was not calling for new mathematics academies in the inner city to reclaim lost African arts of superior computation. Note also that Sharpton himself did not dream up  these supposed non-Western superior African achievements.

In the psychological sense, multiculturalism also serves as a way of dealing with affluent Western guilt: one does not have to put his kids in an inner-city school, visit the barrio to shop, or invite undocumented aliens over for dinner, when one can both enjoy a largely affluent and apartheid existence in the concrete, while praising the noble Other in the abstract.  In the European context, the liberal French or British elite welcomes in the Muslim Other for low-wage jobs and to feed his multicultural sensitivities — only to outsource the immigrants to outlander suburbs that devolve into no-go zones even for the police. In the Clinton context, when Hilary lectures us that we must understand and even empathize with the minds of our enemies, we assume that Chelsea is not on the barricades trying to fathom what drives the violent Other.

Ultimately multiculturalism is incoherent, claiming that all cultures are equal, but then (privately) disturbed that Iranians behead gays or Saudi women cannot drive a car — or radical Muslims prefer to live in Europe than among the believers in Yemen.  Yet even multiculturalism cannot quite equate honor killings with the glass ceiling.

Radical Muslims both emigrate to the West and yet, once there, seek through Sharia law to destroy the very foundations of what made the West attractive to them in the first place. Clean water, advanced medicine, entitlement support and free speech ultimately cannot exist in a society that routinely assassinates the outspoken satirist. In a less dramatic sense, the entire open-border, La Raza movement is based on the anomaly that the United States is such an inhospitable and racist place, while Mexico is such a benevolent homeland, that 11 million risk their lives to reach the former and abandon the latter.

In the end what is multiculturalism? A global neurosis. For its elite architects, it is a psychological tic, whose loud professions square the circle of enjoying guilt-free the material comfort that only the West can provide. For the rest, multiculturalism is a sort of fraud, a mechanism to blame something that one secretly desires in lieu of addressing the causes of personal or collective self-induced misery.

For Muslims of the Middle East, there is a clear pathway to economic prosperity and a secure lifestyle; countries as diverse as South Korea, Japan, and Chile are proof of it. Within wide parameters, success only asks adherence to a mostly free market, some sort of freedom of expression, religious tolerance, a separation of science from orthodoxy, the rule of law, and consensual constitutional government — along with a cultural ethos of rough parity between the sexes, merit-based evaluation instead of tribal favors, and tolerance for ethnic and religious minorities.

Fail that, and human misery follows of the now familiar Middle East sort, in turn followed by the tired blame that the Jews, the Americans, the Europeans, or the West caused these self-generated pathologies.

If the Western establishment were truly moral, it would reject multiculturalism as a deductive, anti-empirical, and illiberal creed. It would demand that critics abroad first put their own house in order before blaming others for their own failures, and remind Western elites that their multicultural fantasies are cheap nostrums designed to deal with their own neuroses.

Finally, it would also not welcome in newcomers who seek to destroy the very institutions that make the West so unlike the homelands they have voted with their feet to utterly abandon.

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 January, 2015

Some multicultural mothering



A NEWBORN baby girl was set on fire in the middle of a road near Philadelphia. She later died.  Now a New Jersey woman, believed to be the mother of the child, has been charged with murder.

Burlington County prosecutors said Hyphernkemberly Dorvilier, 22, of Pemberton Township was jailed on $500,000 bail.

Police responded to a Friday night call about a fire in the middle of a residential road in the township, about 50 kilometers east of Philadelphia.  Officers found the baby in flames and put out the fire.

The child reportedly was alive and breathing at the time she was flown to a hospital in Philadelphia, said Joel Bewley, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. She died about two hours later, he said in a news release. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

Authorities believe the mother doused her baby with an accelerant then set her on fire, Bewley said. They do not have a motive. The woman was taken into custody Friday night.

Prosecutor Robert Bernardi said details of the baby’s birth were still being investigated. The baby’s age has not been disclosed. Bernardi would not comment on whether the mother has a criminal record or if she has been involved with child welfare officials.

Dave Joseph, 45, of Pemberton Township told The Burlington County Times that he saw a young woman get out of her car and light something on fire in the middle of Simontown Road. He said the woman told him she was burning dog waste.

Joseph said the woman appeared calm and soon tried to flee the scene, but residents stopped her.  “It was just mind-boggling,” Joseph said. “It was a nightmare even if you have a strong heart.”

SOURCE






What freedom of speech?

The photos of 40 of the world’s government leaders marching arm-in-arm along a Paris boulevard on Sunday with the president of the United States not among them was a provocative image that has fomented much debate. The march was, of course, in direct response to the murderous attacks on workers at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by a pair of brothers named Kouachi, and on shoppers at a Paris kosher supermarket by one of the brothers’ comrades.

The debate has been about whether President Obama should have been at the march. The march was billed as a defense of freedom of speech in the West; yet it hardly could have been held in a less free speech-friendly Western environment, and the debate over Obama’s absence misses the point.

What’s going on in France, and what might be the future in America, is the government defending the speech with which it agrees and punishing the speech with which it disagrees.
In the post-World War II era, French governments have adopted a policy advanced upon them nearly 100 years ago by Woodrow Wilson. He pioneered the modern idea that countries’ constitutions don’t limit governments; they unleash them. Thus, even though the French Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, French governments treat speech as a gift from the government, not as a natural right of all persons, as our Constitution does.

The French government has prohibited speech it considers to be hateful and even made it criminal. When the predecessor magazine to Charlie Hebdo once mocked the death of Charles de Gaulle, the French government shut it down -- permanently.

The theory of anti-hate speech laws is that hate speech often leads to violence, and violence demands police and thus the expenditure of public resources, and so the government can make it illegal to spout hatred in order to conserve its resources. This attitude presumes, as Wilson did when he prosecuted folks for publicly singing German songs during World War I, that the government is the origin of free speech and can lawfully limit the speech it hates and fears. It also presumes that all ideas are equal, and none is worthy of hatred.

When the massacres occurred last week in Paris, all three of the murderers knew that the police would be unarmed and so would be their victims. It was as if they were shooting fish in a barrel.

Why is that? The answer lies in the same mentality that believes it can eradicate hate by regulating speech. That mentality demands that government have a monopoly on violence, even violence against evil.

So, to those who embrace this dreadful theory, the great loss in Paris last week was not human life, which is a gift from God; it was free speech, which is a gift from the state. Hence the French government, which seems not to care about innocent life, instead of addressing these massacres as crimes against innocent people, proclaimed the massacres crimes against the freedom of speech. Would the French government have reacted similarly if the murderers had killed workers at an ammunition factory, instead of at a satirical magazine?

And how hypocritical was it of the French government to claim it defends free speech! In France, you can go to jail if you publicly express hatred for a group whose members may be defined generally by characteristics of birth, such as gender, age, race, place of origin or religion.

You can also go to jail for using speech to defy the government. This past weekend, millions of folks in France wore buttons and headbands that proclaimed in French: “I am Charlie Hebdo.” Those whose buttons proclaimed “I am not Charlie Hebdo” were asked by the police to remove them. Those who wore buttons that proclaimed, either satirically or hatefully, “I am Kouachi” were arrested. Arrested for speech at a march in support of free speech? Yes.

What’s going on here? What’s going on in France, and what might be the future in America, is the government defending the speech with which it agrees and punishing the speech with which it disagrees. What’s going on is the assault by some in radical Islam not on speech, but on vulnerable innocents in their everyday lives in order to intimidate their governments. What’s going on is the deployment of 90,000 French troops to catch and kill three murderers because the government does not trust the local police to use guns to keep the streets safe or private persons to use guns to defend their own lives.

Why do some in radical Islam kill innocents in the West in order to affect the policies of Western governments? Might it be because the fruitless Western invasion of Iraq killed 650,000 persons, most of whom were innocent civilians? Might it be because that invasion brought al-Qaida to the region and spawned ISIS? Might it be because Obama has killed more innocent civilians in the Middle East with his drones than were killed by the planes in the U.S. on 9/11?

Might it be because our spies are listening to us, rather than to those who pose real dangers?

What does all this have to do with freedom of speech? Nothing -- unless you believe the French government.

SOURCE






Islamophobia Is a Myth

Why do liberals fear the working class and ignore anti-Semitic murder? Because they are bigots.

The British press has never seemed as out of touch as it is today. All our broadsheet papers are packed with pleas to the people of France, and other European populations, not to turn into Muslim-killing nutjobs in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The Guardian frets over “Islamophobes seizing this atrocity to advance their hatred.” The Financial Times is in a spin about “Islamophobic extremists” using the massacre to “[challenge] the tolerance on which Europe has built its peace.” One British hack says we should all “fear the coming Islamophobic backlash.” And what actually happened in France as these dead-tree pieces about a possible Islamophobic backlash made their appearance? Jews were assaulted. And killed. “Don’t attack Muslims,” lectures the press as Jews are attacked.

Across Europe, among the right-thinking sections of society, among the political classes, the response to the massacre of the cartoonists and satirists has been the same: to panic about how Them, the native masses, especially the more right-wing sections of the French population, might respond to it. The blood on the floor of the Charlie Hebdo offices was still wet when brow-furrowed observers started saying: “Oh no, the Muslims! Will they be attacked?” It’s the same after every terrorist attack: from 9/11 to 7/7 in London to last year’s Sydney siege to Paris today: Liberals’ instant, almost Pavlovian response to Islamist terror attacks in the West is to worry about a violent uprising of the ill-educated against Muslims. The uprising never comes, but that doesn’t halt their fantasy fears. What’s it all about?

The unreal, unhinged nature of this elite preemption of mass Muslim-bashing has been thrown into sharp relief by the foul events in Paris over the past few days. The massacre of journalists by Islamists was followed today by a violent hostage-taking in a kosher shop in Port de Vincennes by a gunman reported to be part of the same small cell of Islamic extremists from which the Kouachi brothers, who shot up Charlie Hebdo, sprung.

Why invade a kosher shop? Well, it’s very likely there will be Jews in there, and if there’s one thing Islamists love more than executing those who insult their prophet, it’s attacking Jews. The kosher-shop siege and hostage situation is now over, and while the information coming out of France is sketchy, Reuters says four of the hostages — who may well have been Jews — are dead. So the gulf between the fears of he multicultural elite and the reality on the ground in France is colossal. “Leave Muslims alone,” they plead as the news wires report that four kosher shoppers have been killed. Many European observers seem far more exercised about the possibility of Islamophobic violence than they are by the reality of anti-Semitic violence.

It’s not surprising that there is such a gaping chasm between liberals’ hand-wringing over a potential violent and sweeping Islamophobic backlash and what is actually happening in France and elsewhere. Because the idea of Islamophobia has always been informed more by the swirling fantasies and panics of the political and media elites than by any real, measurable levels of hate or violence against Muslims. Yes, some dud grenades were thrown into the courtyard of a mosque in the French city of Le Mans after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, though mercifully they didn’t explode and no one was around to be injured. That is a foul act and the person or people who did it should be found and punished. But fears about widespread anti-Muslim violence, about the spread of toxic Islamophobic hate through the streets and in workplaces, are unfounded, because their driving force is the anti-natives, anti-pleb prejudices of the elites rather than any hard evidence of extreme hostility to Muslims.

Liberals’ angst about violent anti-Muslim uprisings always proves to be empty. So after the 7/7 Tube and bus attacks in London, there were wide and wild warnings of a violent backlash against the Muslims of Britain. Journalists predicted bloodshed. National Health Service workers were encouraged to keep their eyes peeled — i.e., spy — for any signs of anti-Muslim agitation among their patients. But there was no spike in anti-Muslim crimes. According to Crown Prosecution Service crime figures for 2005–06, covering the months after 7/7, only 43 religiously aggravated crimes were prosecuted in that period, and only 18 of those crimes were against Muslims. “The fears of a [post-7/7] rise in offences appears to be unfounded,” the Director of Public Prosecutions later admitted.

After the Boston Marathon bombings there were loads of media panic about the “ignorance and prejudice [that arise] in the aftermath of a terrorist attack” and concern that Muslims in America would get it in the neck. But Muslims have not been assaulted en masse by stupid Americans in recent years, including in the wake of 9/11. According to federal crime stats, in 2009 there were 107 anti-Muslim hate crimes; in 2010, there were 160. In a country of 330 million people, this is exceptionally low. After the Lindt café siege in Sydney at the end of last year, there was once again heated fear on the pages of the broadsheets about dumb Aussies going crazy and attacking brown people. Nothing happened. No mob emerged. Muslims were not attacked.

Islamophobia is a myth. Sure, some folks in Europe and elsewhere no doubt dislike Muslims, just as other losers hate the Irish or blacks or women. But the idea that there is a climate of Islamophobia, a culture of hot-headed, violent-minded hatred for Muslims that could be awoken and unleashed by the next terror attack, is an invention.

Islamophobia is a code word for mainstream European elites’ fear of their own populations, of their native hordes, whom they imagine to be unenlightened, prejudiced, easily led by the tabloid media, and given to outbursts of spite and violence.

The thing that keeps the Islamophobia panic alive is not actual violence against Muslims but the right-on politicos’ ill-founded yet deeply held view of ordinary Europeans, especially those of a working-class variety, as racist and stupid.

This is the terrible irony of the Islamophobia panic: The fearers of anti-Muslim violence claim to be challenging prejudice but actually they reveal their own prejudices, their distrust of and disdain for those who come from the other side of the tracks, read different newspapers, hold different beliefs, live different lives. They accuse stupid white communities of viewing Muslims as an indistinguishable mob who threaten the fabric of European society, which is exactly what they think of stupid white communities.

SOURCE






Labour's private hospital stitch-up: Shocking evidence of how the Left sabotaged NHS success story

Shocking evidence of how Labour and union figures had the first privately run NHS hospital declared a failure has been uncovered by the Daily Mail.

There are growing calls for an inquiry into how Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire was rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission watchdog – only months after winning an award for patient care.

But the Mail has learned that:

    Individuals who helped draw up the CQC’s damning report have close ties to the Labour Party and unions which oppose NHS privatisation.

    The local NHS body, which suddenly slashed the hospital’s funding and imposed arbitrary fines, is heavily influenced by Labour activists.

    The watchdog’s lead inspector, Dr Jonathan Fielden, was previously a senior member of the doctors’ trade union, the British Medical Association, and has warned of the dangers of privatisation.

    A second inspector, Dr Nigel Sturrock, has been associated with the Keep Our NHS Public group.

    And a doctor employed by the hospital who is suspected of briefing the CQC about its supposed failings happens to be the Labour candidate to be the area’s MP. Dr Nik Johnson is believed to have influenced the report’s severe criticism of children’s services in the A&E unit.

The inspection report by the CQC last week led to Circle, the firm running Hinchingbrooke, withdrawing its contract. The hospital has now been placed in special measures and could be closed down.

MPs whose constituents include hospital staff and patients are urging the Health Secretary to begin an inquiry into the inspection. They say the report’s findings are entirely at odds with an award last May naming it as the best performing NHS trust in the country.

David Campbell Bannerman, Tory MEP for the Eastern Region, said: ‘This is a Labour stitch-up. I wonder how many of the CQC’s other inspectors are quietly sympathetic to keeping the NHS public

‘I’ve heard the local union reps are delighted. These people would rather the hospital closed down than see it succeed under private management.’

Steve Barclay, Tory MP for North East Cambridgeshire, said: ‘It is important that patients receive reassurance that the review conducted by the CQC has been conducted in a professional manner.’

The CQC has previously been severely criticised for missing major scandals in hospitals and care homes, including the appalling abuse of adults at the Winterbourne View care home in Bristol in 2011.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, said: ‘We stand fully behind our assessment that safety, caring and leadership at Hinchingbrooke Hospital were inadequate. There is no reason to question the integrity of any member of the inspection team.

‘Our findings highlight the significant failings at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. They are not a judgment on the role of the private sector in the NHS or on franchise arrangements. Our priority is the care that patients receive. Where hospitals are failing to promote good care, we will say so regardless of who owns and runs them.’

SOURCE

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

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

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

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18 January, 2015

Fascist British social workers again

Charged with neglect for leaving our 12-year-old son with friends: Middle-class couple tell of 'police state' treatment after holiday to Spain

Before they went to Spain to prepare their small cottage for the summer rental season, Sarah and Simon Johnson made what they thought were scrupulous arrangements for the care of their 12-year-old son.

They contacted a close family friend, a man they'd known for 20 years, and asked if he and his wife could take care of Henry and run their small B&B for a week. In return, they offered the friend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, the guesthouse profits.

He agreed, and the night before the Johnsons left, they showed him the room they'd made up for him and his wife, and ran through the basics of taking care of their paying guests, as well as Henry, who knew the couple well.

A straightforward arrangement, it would seem — and when the Johnsons jetted off to Spain on May 6, 2013, they believed their son was in safe and capable hands.

That, however, was until they received a phone call from Cumbria Police a few days later, accusing them of abandoning Henry and informing them that they would be questioned on suspicion of child neglect upon their return.

What went wrong with the couple's childcare arrangements is something we shall examine later, but the events that followed will strike horror into the heart of any respectable, loving parent who's considered leaving their child in the care of others.

Arrested when they returned to the UK and forbidden to see or contact their son, they were placed in police cells, questioned and then charged with child neglect.

During the agonising year that it took to bring the case to trial, Henry was sent — against his will — to live hundreds of miles away with his biological father.

Bail conditions meant that Sarah was permitted only a handful of brief supervised visits, while no arrangements were put in place to allow Simon to see the boy he had raised for six years.

When the case finally did reach Carlisle Crown Court last year, it was swiftly thrown out after a defence barrister double-checked a list of text messages taken as evidence by police and found that, among dozens, just one text message on the friend's phone had been deleted. It was the text they'd initially sent to ask their friend if he could help them out.

'Could we persuade you and (his wife) to run the B&B 6th-13th May. Henry will be there. £150 cash. Maybe more,' it said.

The friend called the Johnsons after receiving it to say that he would be delighted.

Judge Paul Batty QC ruled the evidence presented by the Crown Prosecution Service to be 'inconsistent, unsound and unsafe' and instructed the jury to deliver a 'not guilty' verdict. He also described Sarah and Simon as 'excellent' parents.

'But by then, our lives had been trashed,' says Sarah. 'Henry has been put through utter hell, and so have we.'

Despite being completely exonerated, the parents' lives will never be the same again. They are speaking out in the week they launched formal complaints against Cumbria Police, the CPS and children's services. Though vindicated, their family remains torn apart.

Having settled into a new school, Henry, having been uprooted and forced to live with his natural father for a year, has decided to stay with him rather than face yet another upheaval.

Although the Mail has not used their real names to protect the boy's identity, we can reveal that 'Sarah' is a teacher, while 'Simon' is a former social worker who now works as a consultant.

While awaiting trial, he was unable to work, losing a £60,000 contract after his Criminal Record Bureau certification was black-marked.

'There were times when Sarah was suicidal,' says Simon. 'The grief of being parted from Henry when we knew we'd done nothing wrong was unbearable for both of us. We nearly went bankrupt.

'What happened to us is utterly staggering. You would have thought we were living in a police state, not 21st-century Britain. Someone needs to investigate what happened, and stop it happening again.'

So how on earth did this solidly middle-class couple find themselves caught up in such a nightmare?

They've revisited the events leading up to their trip to Spain a thousand times while struggling to fathom how things could have gone so awry.

Before their week-long trip to Spain, they first texted their friend to ask if he could help out. Then, when he agreed, they called him to firm up arrangements.

'We could have taken Henry with us,' says Sarah, 'but as responsible parents, we didn't want to take him out of school. There were plenty of friends to ask to care for him. If we couldn't find anyone, then I would have stayed and Simon would have gone to Spain alone. But our friend agreed. We couldn't have made it clearer that he was to look after both our B&B and Henry.'

The first two days of their trip passed without incident. Both nights they chatted to their son via Facebook and on the phone and were happy that he was fine. They were unaware that while the friend had checked on him in the evening, he and his wife hadn't stayed overnight. Nor did Henry mention it.

Incredibly, when B&B guests arrived in the evening, Henry just showed them to their rooms.

'I asked him if everything was OK with the friends, and he said everything was fine,' recalls Sarah. 'It might seem strange that we didn't ask to speak to our friends directly, but Henry is very mature. We chatted about school.

'Everything was clearly OK. If we'd thought for a minute that there was something wrong, of course we'd have contacted our friends directly.

'At that point he'd been alone for one night, but he said nothing about it. I think he'd just taken it in his stride. Henry's not easily fazed. It's terrible that he was left alone, but a credit to him that he coped so well.'

On the Wednesday, however, during a discussion about signing off his homework diary, Henry told a teacher that his parents were abroad. When asked who was looking after him, he said he didn't really know — a comment which was relayed to the school's 'safeguarding' officer, whose job it is to decide if concerns about a child's welfare are serious enough to contact social services.

While the law doesn't specify an age when you can leave your child at home alone, it is an offence if it places them 'at risk', and NSPCC guidelines state children under 16 should not be left alone overnight.

Recalls Sarah: 'I received a phone call from the staff member on the Wednesday, asking me who was looking after Henry. I told them and asked if they needed numbers, and she said she didn't.

'I asked if there was a problem and she said no. I didn't think anything was wrong. I just thought the school was being responsible and checking as a matter of routine.'

A few hours later they received another call — this time from the wife of the friend they'd asked to care for Henry, telling them that the 12-year-old had been on his own overnight (they later discovered it was in fact two nights) — and that she would make sure that her husband was actually with him that night.

'I wasn't happy — there'd clearly been a misunderstanding,' says Sarah. 'It was obvious his wife didn't know about the arrangement, but now everything was OK. I knew Henry wasn't the kind of boy to be upset. I thought we'd deal with it when we got back.

'We spoke to Henry by phone and, as ever, he was entirely relaxed.'

Later, they received a light-hearted text from the friends telling them not to worry, that Henry had 'packed his toothbrush and his teddy' — from which they concluded he was staying with them at their house — and to enjoy the rest of their trip.

But behind the scenes, events were moving apace. Henry's school had informed Cumbria Police and child protection agencies. The call from the police came on the fifth day of their break. 'I thought something terrible had happened to Henry at first,' says Sarah. 'When they mentioned child neglect, I couldn't take it in.

'We tried to tell them that it was a ridiculous misunderstanding, but they wouldn't listen. We were told they'd contact us when we returned, and in the meantime not to contact Henry or our friends.'

The couple flew back to the UK, arriving home in the early hours. The B&B was locked up (booked guests had been forced to turn away when no one answered the door), while Henry had been taken from the friends' house to his biological father's home 300 miles away.

At 8 am there was a knock at their door. Three police officers had arrived to arrest Sarah and Simon.  'We were placed in the back of a marked van in front of our neighbours,' says Simon. 'We were in utter shock. We just couldn't understand what the hell was going on.'

At the police station, DNA samples and fingerprints were taken, before the pair were put in separate cells.

Unable to speak to their friends, they didn't know exactly what had gone wrong. When they were questioned, they insisted they'd made arrangements for Henry's care.

'We were reluctant to start blaming our friends when we didn't know what had happened,' says Sarah. 'We kept saying that we all needed to sit down and talk it through, but no one would listen.'

To this day, the couple have not spoken to their friends, who were to become prosecution witnesses, for fear of being accused of harassment. In the absence of facts, they have their own suspicions.  'I think that when they got a call from the police, they were worried they'd be in trouble,' says Simon.

In court, the friend denied he'd been asked to look after Henry, but the case collapsed when the defence barrister found the deleted text message requesting his help on the friend's phone. Though this message was a somewhat cursory one, the parents insist it was followed up with more detailed arrangements about Henry's care.

The case was thrown out but the damage had been done — most of all to Henry, who, for weeks after his mother's arrest, while he knew about the police case, had not been told that she was not allowed to contact him.

They still do not know why Henry was never told this. His frantic Facebook messages to his mother went unanswered because she was too terrified to respond for fear of being arrested.

'Hi … don't act like I'm not here,' he pleaded, soon after her return from Spain.'MUM JUST TALK TO ME!'

Then, minutes later: 'Please.'

Later messages read: 'Mum I haven't been able to talk to you for over a month. Stop running away and just talk to me.' Then: 'Mum I love you I really do, but it gets so frustrating when I can tell you're online and you don't talk to me.'

On that occasion, Sarah collapsed on the floor, sobbing. 'It was like torture for her,' Simon explains.

Then, Simon realised that owing to a mistake made in his bail conditions, unlike his wife he wasn't banned from contacting his stepson.

'I immediately sent him a message via Facebook to explain that Sarah wasn't allowed to contact him; that we loved him very much and that we'd sort it all out.'

Henry's natural father, who was monitoring his son's computer usage, saw the message and felt obliged to tell the police.

Consequently, Simon was threatened with re-arrest and had his bail conditions changed to stop him contacting Henry again. While awaiting trial, Sarah saw her son during a handful of supervised visits near Henry's father's home, but they weren't allowed to discuss the case.

She grimaces at the memory of preparing a birthday picnic and having to politely pass a slice of cake to the social worker watching over them. On another visit, she paid for a different social worker's lunch while taking Henry out to his favourite restaurant. At the end of each visit, mother and son would hug each other. 'He would tell me he loved me, and I told him I loved him,' she says, her voice breaking with emotion. 'He kept saying he wanted to stay at home with us, but I had to tell him that he couldn't.'

Then, by the time the court case collapsed, Henry had been settled into his new life for a year and had made new friends. He didn't want to be uprooted again, and chose to remain with his father.

'A year might not seem a long time, but it was for him,' says Simon. 'His voice had broken. He'd grown sideburns. He'd grown up. He's very happy in his school. The upheaval of returning to another was too much.'

Now they speak to Henry every day and he spends school holidays with them, including three weeks at Christmas. 'It was wonderful,' says Sarah. 'But so painful when he went. It's agony seeing the school bus each morning without him on it. Our home seems empty without him, but if it's right for him to stay where he is, then we have to support that.'

In the meantime, they are pursuing their complaints against the authorities involved in the case.

'It was as if, from the start, the police were afraid to admit they were wrong,' says Simon. 'They were determined to go for a prosecution at all costs, even telling Henry that if he refused to give evidence for the CPS, then he would receive a witness summons. It was barbaric.'

Henry eventually had to give evidence by video link.

The couple may take legal action in their quest for an apology, and compensation for the estimated £100,000 they have lost in earnings and legal costs, but they are not allowed to do so before they have followed Cumbria Police's own complaints procedure.

Their initial complaint was turned down in December. They have appealed, but may have to wait months to hear the outcome before deciding whether to launch a civil case. Any money they get back will be used to set up an education trust fund for Henry.

He, too, has made his own separate official complaint against Cumbria Police, the CPS and the two children's services departments involved in his case, in the hope of receiving an apology.

'I have been torn from my mother's protection, made to start a new life in a new area, and work even harder at school while I have adapted,' he wrote. 'It has been mortifying for both my family and me.

'This is horrendous considering it could have been avoided if the police had just spoken to and listened to the following people: my mother, father, stepdad and 'the friend'. It could have been sorted out easily and quickly in days, not years.'

His complaint was turned down at the same time as his parents', and he has also appealed.

Lib Dem MP John Hemming, chair of the Justice for Families campaign group, has also backed the family.

'The parents had done everything to make sure their child was looked after, so why did it take two years to work out they hadn't done anything wrong?' he asks.

Simon adds: 'What makes us so bitter is that all of this was supposedly done in the name of child protection. Where was the protection for Henry? It is only because of who he is that this hasn't totally wrecked his life.'

SOURCE






RIBA’s anti-Israel posturing: built on shaky foundations

In March 2014, the Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) called for its Israeli counterpart organisation, the Israeli Association of United Architects, to be suspended from the International Union of Architects. This bureaucratic stance, far from advancing a principled political position, would actually have closed down dialogue between the international architectural community and practicing Israeli architects.

RIBA has now changed its position. Stephen Hodder, president of RIBA, said ‘we got it wrong’. The vote is a defeat for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which had promoted the original motion back in March as part of a protest at the building of illegal settlements in the West Bank.

However, the recent volte-face by RIBA does not suggest a mature reflection on the politics of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Rather, the original vote, promoted by a former RIBA president and only narrowly won, proved incendiary for RIBA’s relationships within the British establishment. The vote was passed days after UK prime minister David Cameron had visited Israel. RIBA’s adopted policy called into question its charitable status and its Royal Charter. Pro-Palestinian lobbyists attacked RIBA for its continuing engagements in Israel.

Moreover, RIBA’s anti-Israel position brought charges that RIBA was singling out Israel, and ignoring other undemocratic and repressive regimes where British architects make lucrative returns. After all, since the recession called time on growth and development in the UK, RIBA’s members have sought refuge in international markets, trading in places like China, Russia, Qatar and Libya. Indeed, if the logic of disengagement from regimes with distasteful politics were to hold, then it would be reasonable for UK architects to be critical of Britain’s often armed interventions overseas. Bringing the British establishment to account for its own role in assorted global conflicts is surely the most progressive contribution British citizens in all walks of life can make to the international struggle for democracy and rights.

Leaving RIBA’s woes aside, there are clear principles at stake. Architects and built-environment professionals should be free from the moralising of their professional bodies when deciding where to work, how to build relationships with international colleagues, and how to participate in politics at home and abroad. Bans and boycotts reduce the opportunity for movement and engagement across borders and between people: a precondition for political dialogue.

Two key points are lost in this affair. First, the distinctive political contribution of architects should be to produce great architecture. Second, political solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict lie with the people of the region: they will not be crafted in wood-panelled halls in London.

SOURCE






Je suis Charlie? Then challenge the Islamophobia industry

The accusation of ‘Islamophobia’ is designed to strangle critical thinking

If Europe really wants to pay tribute to the journalists and cartoonists massacred in Paris last week, it could do worse than ditch the term ‘Islamophobia’. For this empty, cynical, elitist phrase, this multicultural conceit, has done an untold amount to promote the idea that ridiculing other people’s beliefs and cultures is a bad thing. In fact, the widely used but little thought-on i-word has pathologised the very act of making a judgement. It has turned the totally legitimate conviction that some belief systems are inferior to others into a swirling, irrational fear — a phobia — worthy of condemnation and maybe even investigation by officials. That those two gunmen thought Charlie Hebdo’s ‘Islamophobic’ cartoonists deserved punishment isn’t surprising — after all, they grew up on a continent, Europe, that is so riven by relativism, so allergic to making moral judgements, that even saying ‘Islamic values are not as good as Enlightenment values’ is now treated as evidence of a warped, sinful mind, as a crime, effectively.

Never has the disconnect between the claims of the Islamophobia industry and the reality on the ground in Europe been as starkly exposed as over the past week. The blood on the floor of Charlie Hebdo’s offices was still wet when, moving on with callous speed from worrying about the terrible fate of 10 journalists, the respectable media started fretting about the danger now faced by European Muslims. We should all fear ‘the coming Islamophobic backlash’, said one hack. The Guardian thunderously warned that ‘Islamophobes [will] seize this atrocity to advance their hatred’. But no Pavlovian backlash came. Aside from the chucking of some dud grenades into the courtyard of a mosque in Le Mans — a terrible act, yes — there has been no mob fury with Muslims. The unreality of the Islamophobia industry’s claims became startlingly clear following the murder of four Jews in a shop by an accomplice of the Charlie Hebdo killers. Even after this act of anti-Semitism, observers continued to fret about the mortal threat allegedly facing Muslims from the ill-educated Euro-mob. Yesterday, as the bodies of the four Jews were being prepared for the flight to Israel, George Clooney told a bunch of fawning journos how worried he is about ‘anti-Muslim fervour’ in Europe. It’s surreal; real through-the-looking-glass stuff.

The factual chasm between the fears of the Islamophobia panickers and what actually happens after a terrorist attack reveals a seldom-grasped truth about the idea of ‘Islamophobia’: it is not in fact a description, far less an accurate one, of the rise of racist thinking or the state of community relations in Europe; rather, it is a term that developed and spread to chastise the moral criticism of certain belief systems. The now Europe-wide concern about Islamophobia differs from all other modern campaigns against racism and prejudice in one important way: it is the creation of political elites rather than being a grassroots campaign to win equality or liberty for a particular minority. Islamophobia is in essence a multicultural conceit, the invention of infinitesimally small, aloof, crisis-ridden elites keen to clamp down on any heated or overly judgmental discussion of non-Western values.

Unlike the civil rights movement in 1950s and 1960s America, where vast numbers of blacks fought tooth-and-nail against racial segregation and pervasive state violence, or the anti-racist movements in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, when communities agitated against discrimination, the concern with Islamophobia came not from the streets but from the rarefied, removed world of think-tanks and professional handwringers. The current understanding of ‘Islamophobia’ comes in large part from a 1996 report produced by the Runnymede Trust, a UK-based race-equality think-tank. This report’s definition of Islamophobia — ‘a shorthand way of referring to the dread or hatred of Islam’ — is now the most widely accepted, not only in Britain but in much of Europe. Tellingly, the Runnymede report was based, not on any serious measurement of real-world discrimination against Muslims, but predominantly on an analysis of the media depiction of Islam and its followers. That is, from the very outset the term Islamophobia was more concerned with media and moral judgement of a belief system — with apparently problematic words and ideas — than with actual physical or institutionalised prejudice against Muslims. Even more tellingly, 3,500 copies of the report were distributed among, as one author describes it, ‘metropolitan authorities, race equality councils, police forces, government departments, unions, professional associations, think tanks and universities’. The great and good. These were to be the watchers for any expression of ‘dread of Islam’, the policers, in essence, of criticism of or disdain for a belief system.

The Runnymede report makes clear the key concern of those who invented the idea of Islamophobia: that it is wrong to be judgmental about non-Western values or to elevate the West’s way of life over other people’s ways of life. As this defining document puts it, one sure sign of ‘Islamophobia’ is a view of Islam as ‘inferior to the West’. Those who speak of a ‘clash of civilisations’ contribute to the climate of Islamophobia, it said. In order to challenge Islamophobia, Runnymede suggested to the cliques of academics, coppers and officials it sent its report to that they should encourage people to understand that Islam is ‘distinctively different, but not deficient’ and is ‘as equally worthy of respect [as Western values]’. Furthermore, it said, we brave warriors against Islamophobia must challenge the idea that Islam’s criticisms of the West are without foundation and should instead encourage people to consider and embrace ‘[Islam]’s criticism of “the West” and other cultures’.

What we have here is not any traditional campaign against racism, launched by communities themselves and aimed at irrational prejudices; rather, this is a censorious assault on certain ways of thinking, on moral judgment itself, launched by the most upper echelons of Western society. In chastising the belief that Islam might not be as great as what are called Western values, but which are in fact the pretty universal values of democracy and liberty, and insisting that Islam is in fact worthy of ‘equal respect’, the Runnymede report was designed to promote relativism and self-censorship, not equality or social progress. The term Islamophobia, from the very outset, encapsulated even the act of saying ‘this way of life is better than that’ or ‘Islam is not a fantastic belief system’ — completely legitimate moral viewpoints, whether you agree or not.

This cynical use of the ‘phobia’ brand to harry and even criminalise anyone who argues that secularism and freedom are better than the Islamic outlook has grown and exploded since 1996. Now, everything from expressing disdain for the burqa to blaspheming against Muhammad is described as ‘Islamophobic’, as wrong, wicked, deserving of opprobrium. This can be seen in the constant branding as ‘Islamophobic’ commentators who simply criticise aspects of Islam. So in recent years, European race watchdogs have reprimanded journalists for describing the Koran as providing ‘scriptural cover for judicial barbarity’ and even slammed the BBC for describing Osama bin Laden as an ‘Islamic fundamentalist’, on the basis that actually his acts were ‘un-Islamic’. Even pointing out the religious origins of certain terrorists is seen as ‘Islamophobic’, since it apparently casts moral aspersions on Islam. And of course, that is what Charlie Hebdo was in recent years slammed for doing, by everyone from Barack Obama to French politicians and courts: casting moral aspersions on Islam, blaspheming against Islam, expressing a morally superior viewpoint about Islam. We have created a climate in which even criticising Islam is seen as foul, racist, mentally deranged, and then we wonder why some Islamic hotheads seek to punish those who dare to do it.

The conceit of Islamophobia is at the cutting edge of the ideology of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism embodies the modern West’s reluctance to elevate any culture, even its own, above any other. Multiculturalism makes a virtue of a moral vacuum, turning the negative inability of the modern West to say ‘Our way of life is good’ into a pseudo-positive celebration of all cultures as ‘equally worthy of respect’. Multiculturalism is about evading any serious discussion of values or ideas in favour of saying ‘all are good, none should be ridiculed’. Islamophobia takes this to the next level, through demonising the very desire to judge. Far from a progressive war on racism, the Islamophobia industry is a deeply illiberal and cowardly attempt to squash debate, and to sneak rules against blasphemy back into Europe.

But we must be free to blaspheme. And to ridicule. And, most importantly, to discuss and judge and discriminate between values we think are good and those we think are less good. Western societies will never rediscover their sense of purpose or mission, far less the Enlightenment spirit, so long as the very act of bigging up one’s own democratic and liberal values over the views of others is treated as tantamount to a speech crime. Je suis Charlie? Then challenge the very thing that contributed to the massacre of those Charlies: the stifling new culture of relativism and self-censorship that has given some people in Europe the foolish and dangerous idea that they have the right to go through life without ever hearing a sore word about their belief system.

SOURCE






Tony Perkins: NYT Suggests No Place for Christians in Positions of Authority

Apparently, The New York Times is in favor of faith in the public square – if the purpose is to mock it. Editors at the Times poured gasoline on the fire of Atlanta's latest controversy with an editorial that should shock even their most liberal readers. Just when you thought the media couldn't sink any lower, the Times takes on the same First Amendment that gives it the freedom to print these vicious attacks on Christians.

In a stunning column yesterday, the newspaper argues that men and women of faith have no place in public management of any kind. The piece, which shows a remarkable disinterest in the facts, claims that Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran didn't have permission to publish his book on biblical morality. Not only did Cochran have permission from the city's ethics office to publish his book, but he only distributed it in his personal capacity at church – where a handful of his coworkers attend.

But the shoddy journalism didn't end there. Editors insisted that Cochran's book was full of "virulent anti-gay views" – when in fact, the 162 page book only mentioned homosexuality twice. And both times, the conversation merely echoed the Bible's teachings on the subject. For that – privately espousing a faith that a majority of Americans share – Kelvin was fired.

"It should not matter," The New York Times conveniently suggests, "that the investigation found no evidence that Mr. Cochran had mistreated gays or lesbians. His position as a high-level public servant makes his remarks especially problematic, and requires that he be held to a different standard." And what is that "standard," specifically? That he has no First Amendment rights? If so, that's the height of hypocrisy for these editors, who just days ago championed the press's freedom to ridicule religion in the public square. Apparently, The New York Times believes in the freedom of the press to attack faith, but not the public's right to hold a faith in the first place.

"Nobody can tell Mr. Cochran what he can or cannot believe," the editors say (somewhat ironically, since that's what they seem to be doing). "If he wants to work as a public official, however, he may not foist his religious views on other city employees who have the right to a boss who does not speak of them as second-class citizens." At no point did Kelvin Cochran "foist" his views on anyone. And if you follow the Times's suggestion to its natural conclusion, then there's no place in this country for Christians in any position of authority!

Yesterday, hundreds of Cochran supporters spilled into the rotunda of the Georgia Capitol to stand up to the city's religious intolerance – and then marched to Mayor Reed's office where they left nearly 50,000 petitions from citizens across the nation. Together with Atlanta's religious leaders, black and white, Republicans and Democrats, I urged Americans to fight this notion that Christians have to check their faith at the workplace door.

"This past weekend the world marched in Paris recognizing that free speech is the cornerstone of a truly free society. A realization is now sweeping Europe that political correctness has become lethal and it is an avowed enemy of true freedom. But whether a journalist in France satirically writes about religion or a fire chief in Atlanta, Georgia writes about the sacred teachings of his faith, the silencing of either is a threat to the freedoms of all...Chief Cochran has spent a lifetime, ready at a moment's notice to fight the fires that threatened lives and property, today he stands ready to fight the flames of intolerance fueled by our own government that threaten our most fundamental freedoms."

It's time for the city of Atlanta to end its campaign of discrimination against Christians, whose only crime is exercising the same liberties our forefathers came to these shores to protect. The New York Times is calling for public servants to be held to a different standard when it comes to their freedom of speech and religion. But I think most Americans are quite happy with the standard that we've had for the last 226 years – the First Amendment!

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 January, 2015

While Jews are slaughtered, the Left worries about Islamophobia

BRENDAN O’NEILL

THE parallel moral universe inhabited by Europe’s chattering classes and celebs was starkly ­exposed last week.

In Paris, shortly after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, an extremist stormed a kosher store, terrorised its patrons, and murdered four of them. Their crime? Jewishness.

And yet as this act of anti-Semitic barbarism was taking place, what were the opinion-forming set and the right-on glitterati worrying their well-groomed heads about? Islamophobia. The possibility of post-Charlie Hebdo violence against Muslims.

They fretted over violence that hadn’t occurred, rather than violence unfolding before the world’s eyes in a store frequented by Jews.

So we had the bizarre spectacle of British newspapers thundering about a possible outburst of anti-Muslim madness at precisely the moment an outburst of anti-­Semitic madness was taking place. Beware “Islamophobes seizing [the Charlie Hebdo] atrocity to advance their hatred”, hollered The Guardian as an anti-Semite was seizing a kosher shop to advance the world’s oldest hatred.

The day after the assault on the kosher store, three of the top 10 most-read articles on The Guardian’s website were dire warnings about potential Islamophobic violence post-Charlie Hebdo. Some folk seemed more concerned about possible attacks on Muslims than they were about actual ­attacks on Jews.

The gaping disconnect between observers’ fears of what would happen in France after the Charlie Hebdo massacre and what actually did happen was summed up in comments made by George Clooney. On Monday, as the ­bodies of the four murdered Jews were being prepared for the flight to Israel, Clooney was telling fawning hacks about the scourge of “anti-Muslim fervour” in ­Europe. It got to a point where it wouldn’t have felt surprising to hear a journalist say: “Oh no, Jews have been attacked — will this cause yet more problems for ­Muslims?!”

Of course, it’s entirely legitimate to worry about a backlash against Muslims in the wake of Islamist terror. That some blank grenades were thrown into the courtyard of a mosque in France suggests there are indeed Muslim-loathing hotheads. But there’s no escaping the fact that observers struggle to acknowledge the seriousness of anti-Semitism.

They find it easier to fantasise about a mob-led war on Muslims than to confront the real, growing problem of Jew-baiting.

We saw this last year, too, when there were numerous anti-Semitic outbursts during the Gaza conflict. Those who pose as progressive, who instantly reach for political placards whenever Muslims or ­another minority suffer abuse, didn’t say much.

They fidgeted, ermed and aahed, or, worse, offered an apologia for the new anti-Semitism. “If Israel didn’t treat Palestinians so badly, maybe Jews wouldn’t get ­attacked”, they hinted. This ugly excuse-making for anti-Semitic violence reared its head again this week when a BBC reporter in Paris, Tim Wilcox, said to a shaken French Jewish women that “the Palestinians suffer hugely at ­Jewish hands as well”.

In short: maybe there’s a logic to anti-Semitic violence. Maybe it’s just a reaction to Israeli — or as Wilcox put it, “Jewish” — wickedness. Maybe you deserve it. Wilcox expressed a common view in right-thinking sections of society: that anti-Semitism isn’t quite as bad as other forms of racism because it’s often misfired anger with Israel.

We’re witnessing the terrifying meshing together of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, with those who claim merely to hate Israel often slipping into expressions of disdain for “the Jews” and targeting Jewish shops for boycotts.

Indeed, if Amedy Coulibaly, the killer in the kosher store, thought a simple shop was an appropriate place to act out his foul radicalism, it isn’t hard to see why: anti-Israel protesters have been targeting Israeli-linked or just Jewish-owned shops for years now. Jewish produce, Jewish shoppers — all fair game, apparently.

The increasingly unhinged nature of many leftists’ loathing for Israel has led them to problematise the Jews themselves. They speak darkly of Jewish lobbies, of super-powerful forces making our leaders kowtow to Israel. Their swirling, borderline conspiratorial fear of Israel means they often cross the line from yelling at Israel to wondering about the trustworthiness of the Jews.

It’s a rehabilitation of the idea of the Jewish burden. Once, Jews were made to carry the burden of having “killed Christ”; now they’re forced to shoulder responsibility for everything Israel says and does. They’re marked, suspect, not as sympathetic as other minorities.

This is really why many ­European leftists find it hard to stand up to the new anti-Semitism: because they played a key role in unleashing it.

SOURCE






MSNBC's Maddow Shows ‘Piss Christ’ But Not Latest ‘Charlie Hebdo’

On MSNBC Tuesday night Rachel Maddow described the cover of the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo because,  “NBC News will not allow us to show it to you.” A different perspective than Maddow and MSNBC had in 2011 when showing the image of the “Piss Christ” photo by Andres Serrano.

“The cover is a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed shedding a tear beneath the words ‘all is forgiven’ he’s also holding a sign that says ‘Je suis Charlie’", Maddow said on her program. “The reason I’m describing it to you rather than showing it to you – is because we operate under NBC News rules and NBC News will not allow us to show it to you.”

On April 18, 2011 Maddow and her network had no difficulty showing and discussing the “Piss Christ” photo by Andres Serrano after it was destroyed in a museum in France by protestors upset with the image of a crucifix submerged in urine.

After showing the image onscreen, Maddow said, “Museum officials say they will reopen tomorrow in order to put the destroyed pieces –still destroyed - on display so that people can see the damage that was done to them.”

“Inanimate art cannot yell back, it cannot hit back. The only way art wins against force if you can put the attack itself on display. See how that looks in the bright light of day, see how that holds up to history,” Maddow continued.

CNN joined MSNBC yesterday in declining to show images of the new Charlie Hebdo cover, citing fear of offending Muslims.

SOURCE





How the Supreme Court Reacted to This Town Allowing Politicians Bigger Signs Than Churches

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, a challenge by a church to a town ordinance regulating signs.

Like most other towns in America, Gilbert, Ariz., regulates when, where and how many signs may be displayed. Temporary noncommercial signs are classified by their content, and each category has its own set of regulations.

Real estate signs, for example, may be up to 80 square feet, and political signs may be up to 32 square feet; political signs may be displayed for 4 1/2 months before an election, including in the public right of way; and homeowners’ association event signs may be displayed for 30 days.

The Good News Community Church, which holds services at different facilities such as local schools because it doesn’t have a permanent church, uses signs to invite people to services. Because the signs include directional information (i.e., an arrow pointing to the location of the service), they may not be bigger than 6 square feet and can go up only 12 hours before their Sunday services start, meaning the signs are posted late on Saturday night when they are hard to see in the dark.

The church challenged the town’s sign code in 2007 as an impermissible content-based restriction on speech in violation of the First Amendment. The district court upheld the sign code, and an appellate court agreed, finding that there was no evidence that the town adopted its sign code for a discriminatory purpose.

Now, the case is before the Supreme Court, which previously held that the First Amendment forbids the government from favoring some noncommercial speakers while discriminating against others based on the content of their speech.

As the church posited in its brief:

Gilbert must explain why a 32 square foot sign displayed in a right-of-way virtually all year long is not a threat to safety and aesthetics if it bears a political message, but it is such a threat if it invites people to Good News’ church services.

If a sign says “Vote for McCain,” it can be 32 square feet … [b]ut if it says ‘Learn Why Voting Matters, Visit Good News Community Church,’ it can only be 6 square feet. If this does not qualify as content-based discrimination, it is difficult to conceive of something that would.

Many of the Supreme Court justices seemed skeptical of the reasons being given by the town to justify its different treatment of political, ideological, directional and other types of temporary signs. At one point, Justice Stephen Breyer remarked that it seemed like the town was being a bit “unreasonable,” and at another point he seemed so surprised by the town’s answer that he exclaimed “my goodness.”

Justice Antonin Scalia asked the town’s lawyer why town leaders did not limit the number and size of political signs if they were so concerned about clutter. After the lawyer said that the ordinance complied with state law on political signs, Scalia raised a laugh in the courtroom when he said, “So your answer is that the state made us do it?”

Justice Samuel Alito seemed shocked that the town thought that there was nothing wrong with only allowing the church to put up its sign at 10 p.m. on Saturday before an 8 a.m. Sunday service.

The town’s lawyer conceded that the effect of the local ordinance might “seem rather silly,” and things seemed to go downhill from there.

The town argued that a court ruling against it would cause chaos and make it very difficult for towns and cities to regulate signs. But the church said that it just wants to be treated the same as others and cited many examples of constitutional sign ordinances that satisfied its concerns, including the sign ordinance of the District of Columbia.

The court should issue a decision in the case by the end of June. Based on the questions of the justices at today’s oral argument, it seems likely that Gilbert’s elected officials may need to go back to the drawing board.

SOURCE






Nigel Farage: Ghettos in French cities have become no-go zones for non-Muslims

Most big French cities have areas which have become "no-go zones" which non-Muslims and even police cannot enter, Nigel Farage has said.

The Ukip leader said that Britain and European countries have suffered from "moral cowardice" and allowed "big ghettos" to develop.

He said: "It's happening right across Europe. We have got no-go zones in most of the big French cities. We've been turning a blind eye to preachers of hate that have been coming here from the Middle East and saying things for which the rest of us would be arrested.

"In parts of northern England we've seen the sexual grooming of under-age girls committed by Muslim men, in the majority, and for all of these things we are seeing the law not being applied equally, we're seeing the police forces not doing their job because we've suffered from moral cowardice.

"We have through mass immigration and through not checking the details of those people who have come to our countries, we have allowed big ghettos to develop and when it comes to confronting tough issues we're run a mile and that is why we're in the mess we're in, we've been led very badly."

Mr Farage said that he is "hoping and praying" that similar no-go zones do not develop in British cities.

He said that "tens of thousand of young women" have been victims of female genital mutilation in the UK.

He said: “We even, a few years ago, had some quite clear examples where the immigration services were actually allowing women to come into Britain from Pakistan and elsewhere to join polygamous marriages something that is against our law.

“So wherever you look, wherever you look you see this blind eye being turned and you see the growth of ghettos where the police and all the normal agents of the law have withdrawn and that is where sharia law has come in and you know it got so bad in Britain that our last Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of our church, actually said we should accept sharia law.”

He made the comments after a commentator told Fox News earlier this week that Birmingham has become a totally Muslim city. David Cameron called him a "complete idiot".

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

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





15 January, 2015

BBC reporter faces calls to resign after he tells daughter of Holocaust survivors after Paris attacks: 'Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well'

Typical Leftist refusal to see the whole picture -- that Arab deaths at Israeli hands would stop if they stopped attacking Israel

A BBC reporter has faced calls to resign after he told the daughter of Holocaust survivors in Paris: 'Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well'.

Journalist Tim Willcox sparked anger during his coverage of yesterday's rally in Paris, held in memory of the 17 victims of last week's terror attacks, including four Jewish people in a siege at a Kosher supermarket.

During a live report from the streets of Paris, Willcox was speaking to a number of participants in the march, including one woman who expressed her fears that Jews were being persecuted, and 'the situation is going back to the days of the 1930s in Europe.'

Willcox was speaking to this woman, named as Chava, at the Paris rally who expressed her fears that Jews were being persecuted, and 'the situation is going back to the days of the 1930s in Europe'

To this, Willcox, who was broadcasting on the BBC News channel replied: 'Many critics though of Israel's policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well.'

When the woman, shaking her head, responded saying: 'We can't do an amalgam', he told her: 'You understand everything is seen from different perspectives.'

She was identified during the broadcast as 'Chava', and told Willcox when she was introduced on screen that she had lived in France for 20 years, but was originally from Israel.

She said her parents were from Poland, and came to Israel after the Second World War. She had attended the rally with a friend, Aziz, who is French-born and comes from a Muslim background, with his parents being originally from Algeria.

Willcox has today apologised for his comments, taking to Twitter to say he had not meant to cause offence.

He wrote: 'Really sorry for any offence caused by a poorly phrased question in a live interview in Paris yesterday - it was entirely unintentional.'

But many viewers also used the social network to express their anger and concerns over Willcox's rally coverage, including historian and BBC presenter Simon Schama.

He wrote on Twitter: 'Appalling of @BBCTimWillcox to imply any and all JEWS (not Israelis) responsible for treatment of Palestinians by hectoring lady in Paris.'

And added: 'Then he had gall to patronise her at the end - "you see people see it from all sides" That Palestinian plight justifies anti-semitic murder?' 

Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard also joined the debate, tweeting: 'What is @BBCTimWillcox's problem with Jews? Once is problematic. Twice is a pattern.'

The Campaign Against Antisemitism, which works to combat anti-Semitism in Britain, has circulated footage of the incident, and has called on those offended by it to formally complain to the BBC.

Director of communications, Jonathan Sacerdoti, told MailOnline Willcox's Twitter apology was 'not really good enough'. 'It's an admission he has done something wrong, but it's incumbent on the BBC to make an on-air apology and to investigate his behaviour.'

There have also been calls for the reporter to resign. Twitter user I Support Israel said: 'Retweet if you believe @BBCTimWillcox should be fired for making this anti-Semitic suggestion'.

The comment was re-tweeted 41 times, while others expressed their views on the controversy, adding the hashtag #WillcoxMustGo.

An online petition was also set up, demanding that Willcox 'personally apologise', and calling for 're-assurance that this constant anti-Semitic behaviour from the BBC will come to an end'.

The petition authors said: 'It was the wrong time and place to ask such a disgraceful question. The unity march was a time for France and the rest of the world to come together and unite against the rising threat of terrorism and anti-Semitism, as well as an opportunity to mourn and remember those killed in the horrific attacks.

'Nevertheless, Mr Willcox showed no sensitivity and asked a tasteless question on live TV which has outraged those who have seen the clip, as well as leaving the interviewee speechless and defenceless.'

It is not the first time Willcox has been accused of anti-Semitism.

In November during a review of the following day's newspapers on the BBC News channel, Willcox, who was anchoring the discussion, faced criticism after discussion of a story about Labour leader Ed Miliband reportedly losing Jewish support.

A guest on the programme, political observer Jo Phillips, had referred to a 'Jewish lobby', which had abandoned support for Labour over his condemnation of Israeli attacks on Gaza.

There was anger that Willcox had not pulled up the guest on her comments, and had added: 'A lot of these prominent Jewish faces will be very much against the mansion tax'.

The BBC defended the comments, and said: 'It was clear that he was not suggesting that Jewish people in particular are against the mansion tax.'

Mr Sacerdoti said his organisation and 33 individuals had complained to the BBC about the November broadcast.

'The BBC said there was no anti-Semitism in what he said, but according to the MacPherson definition, if a minority group feels it is anti-Semitic, it should be considered as such,' he said.   'It's obviously offending people.'

He added: 'And now he's done it again in an extreme example when people are mourning the deaths of four Jews, among the other victims, and his reaction is to say this to a Jewish woman who is saying it's like the 1930s.  'To somehow bring in mitigating circumstances, is terrible.

'The EUMC's [European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, now the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights] working definition of anti-Semitism includes collective blaming of Jews for the actions of Israel.'

Alex Benjamin, Executive Director of Brussels-based group European Friends of Israel, told MailOnline he would 'echo the calls for Willcox to resign'.

'I was not the only one who was utterly disgusted at the deeply patronising, offensive and frankly partisan way he hassled this woman - a woman who as a Parisian Jew is genuinely concerned for her well-being – seeking to justify the abhorrent murders of four jews in Paris with the Israel Palestinian conflict,' he said.

'It was tactless, arrogant and he should at resign.'

A BBC spokesman said: 'Tim Willcox has apologised for what he accepts was a poorly phrased question during an in-depth live interview with two friends, one Jewish and of Israeli birth, the other of Algerian Muslim heritage, where they discussed a wide range of issues affecting both the Muslim and Jewish communities in France. He had no intention of causing offence.'

SOURCE






Oxford University Press bans sausages and pigs from children’s books in effort 'to avoid offence': Bizarre clampdown branded 'nonsensical political correctness'

Schoolbook authors have been told not to write about sausages or pigs for fear of causing offence. Guidance from leading educational publisher the Oxford University Press prohibits authors from including anything that could be perceived as pork-related in their books.

The bizarre clampdown, apparently aimed at avoiding offence among Jews and Muslims, emerged yesterday during a discussion about free speech on Radio 4’s Today programme. It was immediately branded ‘nonsensical political correctness’.

Presenter Jim Naughtie – whose writer wife Eleanor Updale is in talks with Oxford University Press (OUP) over an educational book series – said: ‘I've got a letter here that was sent out by OUP to an author doing something for young people.

‘Among the things prohibited in the text that was commissioned by OUP was the following: Pigs plus sausages, or anything else which could be perceived as pork.

‘Now, if a respectable publisher, tied to an academic institution, is saying you've got to write a book in which you cannot mention pigs because some people might be offended, it’s just ludicrous. It is just a joke.'

Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said: ‘I absolutely agree. That’s absolute utter nonsense. And when people go too far, that brings the whole discussion into disrepute.’

The OUP says its guidelines exist because it needs to make its educational material available to as many people as possible.

A spokesman said: ‘Many of the educational materials we publish in the UK are sold in more than 150 countries, and as such they need to consider a range of cultural differences and sensitivities.

'Our editorial guidelines are intended to help ensure that the resources that we produce can be disseminated to the widest possible audience.’

But last night the publishing rules were ridiculed amid doubts either Muslims or Jews would be offended by mention of farm animals in a children’s book. Tory MP Philip Davies said: ‘How on earth can anyone find the word “pig” or “pork” offensive?  'No word is offensive. It is the context in which it is used that is offensive.’

He added: ‘On the one hand you have politicians and the great and the good falling over each other to say how much they believe in freedom of speech and on the other hand they are presiding over people being unable to use and write words that are completely inoffensive. 'We have got to get a grip on this nonsensical political correctness. ‘The political correctness brigade appear to have taken control of our schools.

'The Secretary of State needs to get a grip over this and make sure this ridiculous ban is stopped at once.’

He added that perhaps one good thing to come out of the Paris terror attacks was a groundswell of support for freedom of speech.

The chief executive of campaigning group Index on Censorship, Jodie Ginsberg, said: ‘It is difficult to imagine any context in which images of everyday objects – like pigs – or the word itself should be banned from being used in a children’s book.’

A spokesman for the Jewish Leadership Council added: ‘Jewish law prohibits eating pork, not the mention of the word, or the animal from which it derives.

SOURCE






Warning over rising tide of anti-Semitism in Britain with one in eight people claiming that Jews talk about the Holocaust to get sympathy

Nearly half of Britons think at least one anti-Semitic view presented to them was 'definitely or probably true', a survey has revealed.

One in eight said they thought Jews talked about the Holocaust to get sympathy, the poll found.

One in four believed Jewish people 'chase money more than others', while one in six felt Jews thought they were better than other people and had too much power in the media.

Some 269,000 Jewish people live in Britain, or 0.4 per cent of the population, according to the CAA.

Last year saw the most anti-Semitic incidents recorded by police since records began 30 years ago, the campaign said.

Chairman Gideon Falter said: 'The results of our survey are a shocking wake-up call straight after the atrocities in Paris. Britain is at a tipping point.'

The survey found that one in four Britons think Jewish people chase money more than others while one in six claimed that Jews thought they were better than others and had too much power in the media.

One in ten said Jews were not has honest in business and one in five said they questioned their loyalty to Britain due to their connection with Israel. Ten percent of those questioned would not be happy if a relative married a Jew.  

In a separate survey carried out by the CAA, more than half of British Jews feared they had no future in the UK and a quarter said they have considered leaving the country in the last two years.

The poll of 2,230 British Jews found 56 per cent felt that anti-Semitism now echoes the 1930s, while 58 per cent believed Jews may have no long-term future in Europe.

Some 45 per cent felt their family was threatened by Islamist extremism, while 63 per cent thought authorities let too much anti-Semitism go unpunished.

Mr Falter added: 'Britain is at a tipping point. Unless anti-Semitism is met with zero tolerance, it will grow and British Jews will increasingly question their place in their own country. Britain's Jews must be shown that they are not alone.'

Jonathan Sacerdoti, who is also from the campaign, said: 'Jewish people have contributed to almost every part of British life, yet rising anti-Semitism here and across Europe means that now more than ever Jews are afraid. Some are even reconsidering their future here.  'British values of tolerance and pluralism must be upheld, so that minority groups like Jews feel comfortable and protected.'

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: 'Jews are an important part of the British community, and we would be diminished without them.  'Anyone who peddles anti-Semitic views is attacking Britain and British values.

'This Government has done much to enhance Britain's status as a safe, tolerant place for Jewish people but we are not complacent. We remain committed to tackling it wherever and whenever it occurs and continue to take a zero-tolerance approach.  'Those who commit hate crimes will be punished with the full force of the law.'

SOURCE






Snowden leaks incite vigilantes: Former MI5 chief claims Britons will seek to defend themselves against jihadis if government does not pass new anti-terror laws

A former head of MI5 last night warned the revelations by CIA fugitive Edward Snowden had left Britain at risk of ‘vigilantism’ because it was less able to protect itself from Islamist fanaticism.

Breaking his silence on the devastating impact of the security breach, Jonathan Evans said: ‘The result of this can only be that the overall risk of a successful terrorist attack in this country has risen.’

In a chilling intervention, he also warned that events in Syria and Iraq had given jihadis a ‘jolt of energy’ and the Government must complete the ‘unfinished business’ of giving the security services extra surveillance powers – or risk ‘vigilantism’ on the streets as citizens look to protect themselves.

Lord Evans said: ‘Inadequate security will breed vulnerability and fear and that in turn will tend to limit people’s ability to contribute to civil society, will tend to provoke vigilantism and will tend to diminish people’s ability to exercise the very civil liberties and human rights that we wish to sustain.’

The ex-spy chief’s comments came amid a warning from the EU’s security chief that Europe faces its ‘most serious’ threat since 9/11. Rob Wainwright, the head of Europol, revealed there were between 3,000 and 5,000 EU nationals who posed a terrorist threat after travelling overseas to countries such as Syria.

He told MPs: ‘Clearly, we’re dealing with a large body of mainly young men who have the potential to come back and have the potential or the intent and capability to carry out attacks we have seen in Paris.’

Lord Evans, who stood down as head of MI5 in April 2013, used his maiden speech in the House of Lords last night to deliver a devastating analysis of the harm caused by Snowden, who stole and leaked thousands of documents detailing intelligence-gathering techniques used by Western intelligence agencies.

The revelations, printed in The Guardian, have led to terrorists changing the way they communicate. They have also made internet companies less willing to co-operate with MI5 and GCHQ for fear of upsetting privacy campaigners.

Lord Evans, who sits as an independent crossbench peer, said: ‘When I left MI5 in 2013, I felt cautiously optimistic that we were over the worst as far as Al Qaeda and Islamist terrorist attacks were concerned.  ‘It seemed to me that we were making significant progress. Regrettably, subsequent events have proved that judgment to be wrong.

‘The atrocious killing of Fusilier Rigby in May 2013 demonstrated the reality of the threat we face in this country and the brutal murders in Paris last week demonstrate that this is a European and international problem, not one we face alone.

‘The revelations made by Edward Snowden . . . have clearly led a reduction in the ability of the security agencies both here and overseas to access and read the communications of terrorists internationally, with the result that as the threat from terrorism has gone up in the last two years, the ability of the security agencies to counter those threats has gone down.’

Lord Evans also warned the current situation of extremists returning to the UK from Syria – 600 have travelled out, according to MI5 – put him in mind of the Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan before 9/11.  He said: ‘On their return, many of them were even more radical than they had been when they departed.

‘They had experience of combat and had been trained in violence and they had an international network of support on which they could draw. Those circumstances led to a series of attacks internationally and over a long period, and I fear we may be facing the same situation.’

Mr Wainwright said the terror threat was the ‘most serious’ the continent had faced since the fall of the Twin Towers more than 13 years ago.

He told the Commons Home Affairs Committee that Europol had been building a database of EU citizens who had travelled overseas to fight. So far it has collected 2,500 names of suspects from security agencies across member states – but he believes as many as 5,000 may have gone abroad.

It came amid a continued row at the top of Government over surveillance powers. On Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron said a future Conservative government would pass laws which aim to deny terrorists a ‘safe space’ to communicate online.

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg reiterated his party’s opposition to a ‘snoopers’ charter’, saying Britain will not be kept safer by keeping records on grandmothers visiting ‘garden centre websites’.

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

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




14 January, 2015

Football needs to grow a pair and defend Ched Evans

The furore over Evans is quite a witch hunt -- made all the more remarkable by the fact that he was convicted on very flimsy grounds.  The sex was consensual but a court in its wisdom decided that the woman was too drunk to give consent.  How was Evans to know that?  There are no standards for how drunk a woman can  be before being unable to consent. If there were, millions of normal conceptions might have to be called products of rape.  In our society alcohol often accompanies sex.  To Evans the woman seemed no drunker than normal.  If so the mens rea (guilty intent) is absent and no crime was committed. 

To those who condemn Evans the Bible has a good warning:  "Judge not, lest you be judged" (Matthew 7:1).  And a learned man once said:  "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone" (John 8:7).  How will all of Evans' abusers look if the re-examination of his case presently underway decides that he was wrongly convicted?

More details of a very flawed case here


Football is quite literally awash with balls. White balls, orange balls, indoor balls, training balls, and now, in the FA Cup, pink balls. But, ironically, one thing conspicuously absent from modern football is ‘balls’ in the moral-fibre sense. Football is suffering from a deficit of cojones. Whenever football is faced with bad publicity or a baying Twittermob over the latest moral shitstorm, the default reaction these days is to cave in. Whether it’s Nicola Anelka’s ‘quenelle’ goal celebration, Malky Mackay’s inappropriate text messages, Dave Whelan’s clumsy comments about Jewish and Chinese people, or Mario Balotelli’s supposedly racist tweet, nobody in the game appears to have the guts to stand up to the moralists and the language cops.

Nowhere is this lack of balls more evident than in the case of Ched Evans. First Sheffield United backtracked on its offer to allow Evans to train with them. Then Hartlepool issued a statement saying they wouldn’t be signing the player 24 hours after manager Ronnie Moore said he was open to the idea. Now Oldham Athletic have pulled the plug on a deal to sign Evans after coming under ‘unbearable pressure’ from online petitioners, sponsors, police commissioners, journalists and even Labour leader Ed Miliband. The club said that a combination of ‘sponsor pressure’ and threats to staff and families led them to pull out of the deal. In other words: another victory for pitchfork justice.

Why should Ched Evans be allowed to resume his football career? It’s a matter of principle. Having served his time for rape, Evans should be allowed to get on with his life and return to work. The concept of rehabilitation for ex-offenders is a hallmark of a civilised society. When NFL quarterback Michael Vick was released from prison after serving time for organising dog fights, President Obama defended his right to resume his football career, saying he believes ‘in the idea of redemption, that people can get a second chance’.

Another valued principle of a civilised society is the rule of law – not the vengeance of the lynch mob. A court has imposed a punishment on Evans and a parole board has released him from prison. Legally he is free to return to his previous profession. What is abhorrent is that the frothing Twittermob trying to dictate his future by kicking up a stink whenever any football club shows an interest in signing him. He’s been punished by a court, but now the vengeful e-petitioners want Evans punished again – this time an extrajudicial punishment. This is nothing less than medieval mob justice and it should have no place in a modern, democratic society.

Of course, no self-respecting member of this mob of e-vigilantes would openly trash the idea of rehabilitation. Like all bien-pensant, Guardian-reading progressives, they pay lip service to the principle, but, they say, there are exceptions. They argue that Evans has forfeited his right to a second chance. Why? Because he has shown no remorse. Or because professional footballers are role models. Or because his supporters have harassed the victim. That’s the trouble with these illiberal liberals.There are always ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ when it comes to matters of principle. Whether it’s freedom of speech or the right to a second chance, there’s always a get-out clause.

Let’s examine these objections in turn. Firstly there’s the argument that rehabilitation is not possible due to his lack of remorse. Evans did express regret for his act of infidelity but steadfastly maintained his innocence on the matter of rape. His failure, until this week, to apologise to the victim was, in effect, the wrong kind of remorse. But why should his lack of contrition debar him from a second chance? His release on parole wasn’t conditional on an admission of guilt – and quite rightly so.

If that was the case then no prisoner who claimed they were wrongfully convicted would ever be eligible for parole. He wasn’t legally obliged to apologise to the victim. So what gives Ed Miliband, the Twittermob or anyone else the right to stipulate the terms of his rehabilitation? Evans has now issued an apology ‘for the effects that night in Rhyl has had on many people, not least the woman concerned’. But, judging by the reaction on Twitter, it is too little too late for many of his critics. ‘Ched Evans has a great deal more to do before he can find acceptance again as a professional footballer’, says Guardian football writer, David Conn. The goalposts of redemption seem to keep shifting.

What about the claim that Evans is a role model, idolised by thousands of fans, and shouldn’t be allowed to return to such a high-profile profession? This argument, too, is complete bunkum. Firstly, we cannot have legal rights for some but not for others. All citizens should be treated in the same way under the law, irrespective of their profession or public profile.

Secondly, the specious notion that footballers are moral templates deserves booting into row Z. It’s based on a degraded view of football fans, who are considered so susceptible and dim-witted that, if their team’s star striker hero has a rape conviction, they are likely to believe that rape is a good thing.

Footballers, moreover, are not and should not be expected to be role models. Their job is to win football matches. End of. They have no responsibility for the moral education of our children. I’m with former basketball star Charles Barkley here. ‘I am not a role model. I’m not paid to be a role model. I’m paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.’

What about the harassment of the female rape victim by some of Evans’ supporters? She has reportedly been forced to change her identity five times and, according to her father, is ‘living her life on the run’. There’s no justification whatsoever for the vilification and naming of the victim on social media. Nor is there any excuse for the tweeting of rape threats to Jessica Ennis-Hill after she publicly opposed Sheffield United’s offer to let Evans train at the club. But two wrongs don’t make a right. Evans shouldn’t be punished for the abhorrent conduct of a minority of his supporters. Although Evans has now publicly condemned the ‘abusive and vindictive’ behaviour of his so-called supporters, it remains to be seen whether this is enough to appease the Twittermob.

Standing up for the right of Ched Evans to return to professional football isn’t an easy gig, as Oldham Athletic have found to their cost. Anyone who sticks their neck out will be accused of condoning rape culture. As I said, it takes balls to defend the principle of giving a second chance to a convicted rapist. But it’s the right and proper thing to do. It’s about time football stopped running scared. It’s time to grow a pair.

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Cities Throw in the Towel on Bathroom Bills

The Left calls them “fairness ordinances” – but for whom? Certainly not Christians, many of whom are being hauled before city commissions as casualties of them – or worse, losing their jobs and businesses altogether. No, these aren’t fairness ordinances. They’re a license to discriminate against anyone who holds the mainstream view of marriage or sexuality.

Thanks to a very public clash in Houston that pulled back the curtain on the LGBT’s agenda, Americans are starting to wake up to the nightmare of these ordinances, which slipped through too many cities when voters weren’t paying attention. Now they are – and their pushback is throwing a major wrench in the Left’s plans. In states where these measures might have snuck by, more churches and families are on guard, ready to go to the mat against a movement disguised as “equality” but delivering anything but.

[Last] week in Starkville, Mississippi, members of the city council voted 5-2 to rescind a special rights ordinance. People on the ground knew there was storm brewing when Human Rights Campaign came to Starkville and convinced the Mayor to back it. “I just think he hoodwinked the Board,” said Buddy Smith of American Family Association, whose headquarters are in Mississippi. “They didn’t know what they were passing. You know it’s all dressed up in ‘discrimination language’…” “We all know that the mission of the Human Rights Campaign is to create special rights for those who are choosing the homosexual lifestyle – to kind of force this as something that’s good and natural among those who don’t believe that’s good behavior.”

In Fayetteville, it took a groundswell of voters to undo what the liberal council had done. But ultimately, those voters prevailed, voiding a measure by a 52-48 margin that, among other things, would have allowed men to use the girls' public showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms. The ordinance even made it possible for business owners to face criminal prosecution for failing to follow the government mandates.

For now, Arkansas’s courage seems to have spread all the way to Arizona, where local officials are rethinking a measure that would unfairly punish businesses and conservatives for their faith. Desperately trying to avoid the clash that stole headlines in other areas, the city of Glendale is putting the brakes on their proposal until they can weigh the fallout. Hopefully, they’ll come to the same conclusion as Starkville and avoid Houston’s mistakes, which led to an intrusive, unprecedented attack on area churches.

Over in Plano, Texas, community leaders are digging in their heels. While the consequences play out in other towns, Mayor Harry LaRosiliere insists, “The Equal Rights Ordinance states that Plano is against discrimination, bullying, and hatemongering.” Maybe, depending on who the targets are. If they’re Christians – like Atlanta fireman Kelvin Cochran – the bullying isn’t just ignored, but encouraged.

That’s why Texas pastors, who are starting to realize the power they have to galvanize their local communities, are leading the charge. Pastor Rafael Cruz, Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) dad, is seizing the opportunity to call for more people of faith to become involved in the political arena – whether that’s on the local school board, PTA, city council, or legislature.

“We believe the Plano City Council is attempting to silence people of faith in the workplace,” Pastor Mike Buster told reporters at a rally this week. And they aim to stop it. With just 3,822 signatures, the voters of Plano can either force the City Council to repeal the ordinance or put it on the May ballot. Either way, voters will have the final say. Which is exactly how it should be.

Roots of Florist Suit Now Personal

If you’re wondering what the effect of these special rights ordinances actually is, ask Barronnelle Stutzman. The owner of Washington’s Arlene’s Flowers, a fixture in the community for years, is staring down a lawsuit that could take away – not just her business, but her home and all of her personal assets. [Last] week, a Benton County Court ruled that Stutzman could be personally sued because she politely declined to participate in a same-sex “wedding” order from two longtime customers.

In an almost unprecedented move, AG Bob Ferguson made the attack personal, launching a second legal challenge to hold Barronnelle personally and financially responsible. The move, a bold and aggressive one, wasn’t considered all that viable by some experts, who thought Stutzman would be shielded by the Consumer Protection Act.

Not so, ruled Judge Alex Ekstrom. In a 35-page decision, he said the state could move forward with its campaign to financially destroy the Washington grandmother. “The Court concludes that the legislature intended to allow the attorney general independent unfettered authority to bring this action.” In other words, this judge is suggesting that the state should be able to rob you of your home, livelihood, and anything else of value simply because you hold a different political view than the people in power!

That’s a horrifying precedent, one that flies in the face of our basic liberties. But unfortunately, these liberals are echoing what the Houston mayor said: this is personal. And the Left is willing to take down sportscasters, educators, athletes, small businesses, wedding vendors, firefighters, and anyone else to send the message that they will not tolerate disagreement.

As our friends at ADF said, does that sound like freedom to you? Does it sound like fairness? Americans need to wake up and realize that the Left is playing for keeps – and in the case of these special ordinances, those keeps include everything Christians own.

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UK: Is it time to bring back BORSTAL? Tough discipline, education and military role models do a better job than prison, claims star of TV trial

Like so many of the troubled teenagers she sees, Jenny Molloy, an education and social care expert, was once in care.

Today, she is the author of two books and is appears in a TV experiment which sees 13 troubled teens volunteer to become guinea pigs for a modern version of borstal.

Ms Molloy, who took on the role of matron during the trial, is convinced of its merits, saying the harsh regime of tough discipline and ex-military staff worked wonders on the boys left in her care.

'So many care leavers are just devoid of any hope,' she explains. 'They end up in prison and you see them just give up.'

Many would have once ended up in Britain's borstal system. The youth detention centres, all intended to reform young delinquents, were once widespread in the UK but were shut down en masse in 1982.

While the famously harsh regime dealt out to the young offenders in their care attracted its fair share of critics, Molloy says routine and rules are essential if troubled teens are to be turned around.

'They need the right discipline,' she explains. 'You have to put boundaries in place immediately but it is about making it a safe place to grow and learn.

'A lot of these lads have never had this. In care, you move around and different people have different rules so they never have the chance to establish a set of boundaries.

'There needs to be firm boundaries in place and I never once budged from mine during the experiment.

'Teenagers need to learn the world has rules. But if they don't have boundaries, they just think the world is unfair and give up.'

That, says Molloy, leads to petty crime as a result of the children feeling hopeless, unloved and unsure of their place in the world.

Although the problems aren't limited to care leavers, Molloy says she is heartbroken by the numbers that end up in youth offenders institutions or in prison.

'I worked in prisons and young offender institutions and what broke my heart was number of care leavers,' she explains. 'I hope this experiment shows the public that they shouldn't be written off.'

BORSTAL EXPLAINED

Borstals, a type of youth detention centre run by the prison system, were once widespread in the UK.

They were first mooted by the Gladstone Committee in 1895 and the first one opened at Borstal Prison in the Kent village of the same name in 1902.

The regime was intended to be educational rather than punitive, although the routine was famously tough with a focus on discipline.

Corporal punishment was meted out to miscreants, although it was limited to the birch - in which an offender is beaten on the bottom using a slim wooden rod.

Reoffending rates were low, with just 30 per cent going on to a life of crime compared to an estimated 75 per cent of those to pass through young offenders institutions.

Nevertheless, the borstal system was shut down en masse in 1982 and replaced with the young offenders institutions still in place today.

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Moral Panic 2.0: the era of progressive censorship

Moral panics used to afflict those of a conservative disposition. They would typically protest displays of modern art, music and literature deemed offensive to religious feelings and traditional moral values. When James Joyce’s Ulysses was published in 1922, an article in the Quarterly Review stated: ‘From any Christian point of view this book must be proclaimed anathema, simply because it tries to pour ridicule on the most sacred themes and characters in what has been the religion of Europe for nearly two thousand years. And this is the book which ignorant French critics hail as the proof of Ireland’s re-entry into European literature!’

But over the past couple of decades, the nature of moral panics has changed. We are now in the era of Moral Panic 2.0. It’s no longer concerned social conservatives doing the moral panicking — it’s progressive liberals. A prime example of progressive liberal outrage was the anti-racist protest against Exhibit B at the Barbican Centre in London at the end of last year. Moral panic also prompted the authorities in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, to remove a Banksy mural depicting pigeons waving anti-immigrant placards at a lone swallow. Of course, just as Exhibit B was critical rather than supportive of racism, so the Banksy mural mocked rather than supported anti-immigrant sentiments — not that that stopped the progressive censors.

Unfortunately, outbreaks of Moral Panic 2.0 are not limited to the UK. Last August, Danish performance-art group Global Stories was scheduled to perform Through Different Eyes at the Malmö Festival in Sweden. The central idea of Through Different Eyes is to invite members of the public to change their ethnicity, race or gender using make-up and then to experience the reactions from other people. While the idea behind it was to ‘celebrate diversity’ and ‘combat discrimination’, more than 200 Swedes were so offended by the idea that they successfully petitioned the festival to cancel the performance.

The demand from non-state actors to censor offensive art is the tragicomic enactment of a cartoon by Wiley Miller, entitled ‘The politically correct school for comprehending the arts’. This fictional school is based on three principles: ‘Step one: Misinterpret; step two: Proclaim offence; step three: Get it banned.’ This is precisely the logic that has allowed Moral Panic 2.0 to move from activism into the courtroom. In 2012, for example, a Congolese man asked Belgian courts, albeit unsuccessfully, to ban the cartoon book Tintin in the Congo on account of its racist and stereotypical presentation of the black Congolese population.

While this Belgian activist failed to solicit the law to his cause, Swedish anti-racist activists were more successful. In July 2014, Swedish police raided an art gallery, seized several offensive artworks and arrested the artist — notorious provocateur Dan Park — as well as the gallery owner, and charged them with defamation and violating Sweden’s hate-speech laws. On 19 August, Park was sentenced to six months in prison, while the gallery owner received a suspended prison sentence. Just for good measure, the court also ordered the offending artworks to be destroyed. The court said that Park ‘had an obligation to avoid being gratuitously offensive to others’. Clearly thinking Park’s incarceration was insufficiently punitive, on New Year’s Day a group of masked men, alleged to be ‘anti-fascists’, beat him up. The attack on Park shows that, all too often, today’s insistence on ‘tolerance’ is really a rallying cry for intolerance.

Park’s artworks could be considered offensive to just about all groups, including Catholics, Roma, Muslims, Jews and blacks. One of his art posters included the words ‘Hang on Afrofobians’ and a picture of a number of prominent Swedish anti-racist activists with ropes around their necks, as well as a placard with the words ‘Gypsy crime is a good thing’. But while each of the posters can be seen as racist, bigoted and offensive, they also function as a sarcastic commentary on current events and a criticism of what Park believes to be the culture of excessive political correctness based on hypocrisy and double standards.

For instance, one of the people depicted with a rope around his neck is a prominent member of the Afro-Swedish National Association (ASNA). ASNA has a long history of progressive censorship. It recently launched an online petition demanding the sacking of the opinion editor of Swedish newspaper Expressen because he published a column arguing that colonialism had positive results; it filed a complaint against the Stockholm Pride Festival for incitement to hatred because a white participant dressed up as a Somali pirate; and it filed a complaint of incitement to hatred against a black Swedish woman touring with a popular stand-up show called A Negro’s Swedish Upbringing.

Park insists the actions of groups like ASNA are the real targets of his sarcastic commentary, not minority groups. Yet the Swedish court, and his masked assailants, insisted on ascribing the worst motives to Park, misrepresenting his works, proclaiming offence, and ultimately seeking to ban his art.

By targeting offensive art with criminal sanctions, Moral Panic 2.0 activists have also succeeded in blurring the lines between liberalism and authoritarianism. Liberal democracies have a long tradition of celebrating diversity in art, whereas authoritarian states view non-conformist art as subversive and dangerous. Elvis Presley’s music and suggestive dance moves were considered too daring by East Germany’s Communist rulers. As an alternative to subversive rock’n’roll, East German bureaucrats created the ‘Lipsi’, a more orderly and less sexual dance, which was greeted with ridicule and disdain by East Germans craving the real deal available on the other side of the Berlin Wall.

Or take Russian female punk band Pussy Riot: its members were imprisoned after staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin in an Orthodox cathedral. Pussy Riot members were convicted of ‘hooliganism’ motivated by ‘religious hatred’. The Russian Orthodox Church, instrumental in the case against Pussy Riot, found the band’s actions offensive and ‘blasphemous’. The prosecutor echoed these sentiments by arguing that Pussy Riot had attempted to ‘incite religious hatred’ against the Church.

An even more worrying example is the ill-fated exhibition Caution, Religion at the Sakharov Museum in Moscow in January 2003. This featured religious symbols and messages turned into Pop Art, including: a Christ figure with a road sign instead of a face; an icon of Christ with openings in the face and hands, so visitors could put themselves in the icon and take photos; and a crucified woman with an icon of the Virgin Mary between her legs. After much publicity and vocal protests, several Russian Orthodox hooligans entered the museum and vandalised the exhibition. The hooligans were initially arrested, but thanks to the intervention of the Orthodox Church and several members of the Duma, they were then let go. After a petition signed by thousands, museum director Youri Samadourov was charged with inciting ‘religious hatred’.

Both Pussy Riot and Youri Samadourov quite rightly received support from progressives in the West, who were appalled that an unholy alliance of Russian politicians and reactionary religious groups had been able to censor political speech and artistic expression. But there is no reason to believe that the Russian Orthodox Christians protesting these ‘blasphemous’ and ‘hateful’ artists were less offended than the anti-racists who protested Exhibit B, Banksy, Dan Park or Through Different Eyes. This highlights another striking feature of Moral Panic 2.0: selective outrage.

From Mozart to hip hop, from Gauguin to Piss Christ, from Ulysses to Harry Potter, artistic expression has always offended the sensibilities of particular groups. But once particular groups are allowed to dictate the limits of artistic expression, we will soon discover that the list of offendable groups is endless. Accommodating them all will lead to a cultural life about as vibrant as the Lipsi.

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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 January, 2015

The whole truth






Anger as Rupert Murdoch says ALL Muslims should be held responsible for terror attacks in France

Go Rupert!

Rupert Murdoch has sparked backlash online after saying all Muslims should be held responsible for the actions of jihadists.

The controversial media mogul took to Twitter after three days of terrorist atrocities in Paris.

The News Corp boss suggested that even peaceful Muslims must take responsibility for the actions of terrorists until the 'jihadist cancer' is destroyed.  He wrote: 'Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.'

He then maintained his stance, arguing that 'political correctness' made for 'denial and hypocrisy'. He added: 'Big jihadist danger looming everywhere from Philippines to Africa to Europe to US.  'Political correctness makes for denial and hypocrisy.'

His words sparked a storm on the social network, with many Muslim users outraged by Murdoch's ignorance. One user said: '"they" as in most Muslims????? You can't hold an entire religion of billions responsive for the actions of a few'

Erwin Renaldi said: 'I'm really sad reading this. Insulting my faith and I have nothing to do with the extremists and I can do nothing.'

Others questioned Murdoch's own morals, and cited his role in the phone-hacking scandal at the now-defunct News of the World newspaper.

Michael Monan replied: '@rupertmurdoch In the same way that you must be held responsible for ordering the hacking of the voicemails of dead school children?'

SOURCE






Islam, you have a very serious problem

Rita Panahi comments from Australia

EVERY attack perpetrated by Islamic extremists is an attack against freedom of speech — whether they’re terrorising journalists and cartoonists at a magazine in Paris or bystanders having a quiet coffee in Sydney.

These callous cowards seek to silence dissenting voices by waging a war of terror against anyone who dares question their twisted, totalitarian world view.

The time for weasel words and treading on eggshells is over. We owe it to the growing number of victims to open our eyes and ­acknowledge the unmistakable reality that radical Islam and

Western values cannot coexist peacefully. These extremists despise our way of life — our freedom, openness and diversity is an affront to their despotic, backward attitudes.

We must stop pretending these incidents have nothing to do with Islam. They quite clearly have everything to do with extremist Islam and the sooner we admit this truth the better we can work to protect our people and values from this scourge.

The viciousness of these subhuman savages was on display on the streets of Paris as they walked up to an injured policeman lying helpless on the ground and shot him dead at point blank range without missing a step.

It mattered not that Ahmed Merabet was a Muslim. They didn’t care that his arms were raised in surrender. He was shown no mercy.

These are not people who can be reasoned with or counselled into adopting our values of humanity, tolerance and liberty.

We in the West must stop blaming ourselves for these acts of brutality. There are those among us, the so-called “progressives”, who seek to explain the behaviour of terrorists by pointing the finger at the victims.

According to these enlightened souls, homegrown terrorism is our fault. We are to blame for not being welcoming enough, for creating an underclass of disenfranchised young men, for being part of the US-led coalition in the Middle East, for supporting Israel’s right to exist, for printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, for raising the terror alert level — indeed if you rationalise hard enough any act can be considered provocation to Islamic ­extremists.

Let’s not forget that it’s other Muslims who are the biggest victims of Muslim extremism

This victim blaming is an insult not only to the victims but also to the overwhelming majority of Muslims migrants, who appreciate the abundant freedoms and opportunities available to them in countries such as Australia.

It’s a mistake to presume that all Islamic people want us to change our ways or laws to better fit the values of their homeland.

But there is undoubtedly a minority of troublemakers who seek to change our free societies into the type of place they fled from and, as we have seen around the world, it only takes one radicalised attacker to cause wide-scale mayhem.

The barbaric death cult that is Islamic State has inspired a new legion of radicalised Islamic men, and even some women, to commit atrocities in the name of Allah against Western targets.

But let’s not forget that it’s other Muslims who are the biggest victims of Muslim extremism. On the same day three heavily-armed gunmen butchered 12 innocent people in Paris, there was another terror attack in Yemen, where a suicide bomber killed dozens of police recruits outside a station. The death toll stands at 37 and will grow.

However, it’s when these acts of base brutality occur in Western nations that many fully appreciate the threat radical Islam poses to the world. We should feel comfortable to readily call out elements within any culture or religion that are incompatible with our cherished values of equality, freedom and democracy.

It’s time politicians, including the Prime Minister, stopped tiptoeing around issues involving cultural or religious sensitivities for fear they’ll be labelled intolerant.

Nothing is gained by pandering to extreme elements in the vain hope that we’ll impress upon them that the path to assimilation is preferable to fundamentalism. The fear of Islamophobia and an imagined mainstream backlash against the Muslim community has become a bat used to beat down all valid criticism.

It is worth noting that, while the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo poked fun at Islam, it also regularly satirised Christianity and Judaism. And yet there have been no attacks by enraged Catholics or Jews.

This reveals the lie that all religions are equally bloodthirsty; in the 21st century only one religion is at the centre of terror attacks around the world.

We have followers of one religion who think they are entitled to butcher those who offend their prophet?

Frankly, if your all powerful deity is so fragile a cartoon poses a threat then you may want to reconsider your belief system.

The editor of Charlie Hebdo, Stephane Charbonnier, said in a 2012 interview, a year after his magazine’s headquarters were firebombed by Muslim extremists angry with a satirical cartoon, that they would continue “until Islam is made as ho-hum as Catholicism”.

Shamefully, at the time, there was no shortage of progressives willing to blame the magazine and its staff for “inciting” the attack.

In the same interview Charbonnier said: “I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.” Tragically he was among those murdered this week by Islamic extremists.

We cannot be scared into ­silence or intimidated into self-blame; the problem lies with radical Islam — not our Western democratic societies.

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UK: Was the first privately run NHS hospital victim of a stitch-up by opponents of business providing healthcare? 

The first hospital to be run by a private firm has been put into special measures following a damning report by the NHS watchdog.

Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS trust, in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, was rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission, which gave it the lowest ever score for patient care.

Hours before the report was published, Circle, the firm which has run the hospital since February 2012, announced it was pulling out.

Last night there were fears that the hospital was the victim of a stitch-up by opponents of private enterprise in the NHS.

The decision by Circle and the CQC report are major blows to the Government which is aiming to increase the private sector’s involvement in the NHS to improve services.

The hospital had been hailed as a ‘miracle cure’ for the NHS – and the report flies in the face of glowing patient surveys and a recent award for best NHS trust for patient care.

Circle’s withdrawal triggered a political row, with Labour blaming the Conservatives for handing the contract to the firm despite flaws in its business plans.

The Tories pointed out it was Labour and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham who had decided Hinchingbrooke should be run by a private firm. As health secretary, he put the contract out to tender in 2009 when the hospital’s financial failures were so bad that it was threatened with closure.

The CQC report found serious failings in the A&E unit and warned it is ‘potentially unsafe’ for children due to a lack of specialist doctors and nurses.

Crucially, the watchdog rated it ‘inadequate’ for caring – the lowest score so far given to a trust.

The CQC also warned that food, drink and call bells were being left out of patients’ reach, and some were denied pain relief.

Circle is challenging the findings and believes it has been judged unfairly as part of a tougher, new inspection system. The Mail also understands that at least one of the 35 inspectors is a member of campaign group Keep Our NHS Public and may have been unfairly critical.

But the damning report was the final straw for Circle which also blamed funding problems and the ongoing A&E crisis for its decision to pull out of the deal.

The firm said the local group of GPs, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, had slashed its budget by 6 per cent last year and imposed unfair financial penalties.

The CCG wanted to fine the hospital £5million for apparently missing a series of targets on A&E, waiting times and cancelled operations, even though performance was far better than neighbouring trusts. The firm negotiated the penalty down to £1.3million but this year the CCG is threatening to fine it £2million for missing A&E targets.

Hinchingbrooke had been one of the few hospitals to hit the A&E target of 95 per cent of patients treated within four hours. But in mid-December this began to slip when there was a sudden surge in attendances.

The CQC’s findings are at odds with an award given to the hospital in May for being the best trust in England for quality of care, by the data monitoring firm CHKS. It has also performed consistently well in the ‘friends and family test,’ a survey asking patients if they would recommend the hospital to loved ones.

But Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector, said there were ‘a number of serious concerns, surrounding staffing and risks to patient safety, particularly in the A&E department and medical care’.

‘There were substantial and frequent staff shortages in the A&E department,’ he said. ‘There were a number of other areas of concern, some related to the way in which the trust is led and run.’

He added: ‘Where hospitals are failing to promote good care, we will say so, regardless of who owns and runs them. They are not a judgment on the role of the private sector in the NHS or on franchise arrangements.’

Hinchingbrooke will be handed over to the NHS Trust Development Authority – a watchdog that will discuss urgent improvements with managers. One option would be to put the contract out to tender to other private firms. Alternatively, it could be taken over by the neighbouring and much larger Peterborough and Stamford NHS Trust – which could see it lose A&E and maternity services.

Mr Burnham said: ‘Patients who rely on Hinchingbrooke will be worried … ministers must provide urgent reassurance and set out a plan to ensure the continuity of services … It was the decision of the Coalition in November 2011 to appoint Circle and they must take responsibility for this mess.’

SOURCE






Sowell: Inequality is Driven By Failed Government Policies, Not the "Legacy of Slavery"

In a recent interview with "Uncommon Knowledge" host Peter Robinson, famed economist and syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell expanded on a favorite research topic of his: Namely, race in America.

Last November, for example, he wrote this:  "New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof asserts that there is "overwhelming evidence that centuries of racial subjugation still shape inequity in the 21st century" and he mentions "the lingering effects of slavery." But before we become overwhelmed, that evidence should be checked out. [I]f we wanted to be serious about evidence, we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state.”

And in that interview with Brooks, Dr. Sowell attempted to do just that.  He explained that contrary to the unsubstantiated and fact-free theories of revisionists, blacks were generally better off before LBJ’s ‘Great Society’ programs were rolled out and adopted.

He gave several statistical examples to defend his contention.

“In 1960, which would be almost a hundred years after the end of slavery, 22 percent of black kids grew up in homes with only one parent,” he said. “Thirty years later, after the liberal welfare state, that number had more than tripled.”

“We can speculate on how much that 22 percent was due to the legacy of slavery,” he conceded. “But we know that that tripling was not due to the legacy of slavery; it was due to the legacy of a whole different set of policies.”

What's more, he also gave two educational examples to prove his point.

“Stuyvesant High School in New York, as you know, you get into it by only passing a very tough exam,” he said. “In 2012, the percentage of black students who had gotten into Stuyvesant High School was less than one-tenth of the percentage of black students who had gotten into Stuyvesant High School 33 years earlier.”

But Stuyvesant was by no means an outlier, he pointed out.

“Dunbar High School in Washington [was] an elite black high school for a very long time,” he added. “In 1993, the number of kids out of Dunbar High School who went on to college was less than it was 60 years earlier, which would have been in the depth of the Great Depression.”

Translation: Failed government policies are (mostly) to blame for, as Kristof put it, “inequity in the 21st century." Slavery, according to Sowell, is a much smaller factor.

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

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




12 January, 2015

Sick British judge sparks anger by claiming violent rapist did not pose risk of 'serious harm' to future victims

A judge has sparked fury after jailing a rapist who attacked three different women for just nine years, claiming the man did not pose a 'serious' risk to future victims.

Despite leaving the women 'terrified and shaken', Marc Partridge did not pose the risk of 'serious harm', Judge Andrew Woolman told Preston Crown Court.

The 28-year-old from Accrington had been found guilty of raping two women and harassing another, with the latter two offences taking place while Partridge was on bail for the first.

The court heard how Partridge, a scaffolder, taunted one woman: 'How does it feel to be locked inside a house with a rapist?' before raping her, muzzling her cries for help. At the time he was on bail after being arrested on suspicion of raping another victim.

Months later he harassed a third woman, pouring a cup of boiling tea over her body and slapping her over the face.

But despite such 'intimidating and bullying behaviour', the aspiring PE teacher was found not to pose a serious enough threat to warrant a longer jail term.

'In some senses your conduct shows that you may be a dangerous individual but although you are a risk of causing harm you are not at risk of causing serious harm and I trust that after a period in prison those risks will be reduced,' Judge Woolman told the court.

'You clearly have a real problem in dealing with relationships with women. It may be that you need psychiatric help.  'The victim personal statements from each of the girls show they were terrified as a result of what you did and are left shaken. It may be that the effect on them does not go.'

One of the man's victims lambasted the sentence as 'a joke'. 'It is a joke and I do not understand how the judge does not see him as a danger to the public,' the woman said.

'I think it’s a very light sentence compared to what this man has done. The judge has been extremely lenient.  'Partridge was smirking and laughing as he went down. I suppose I should be just happy because he is not walking the streets anymore.'

The court had heard how Partridge raped his first victim after threatening: 'If you want me to show you that I'm a man I will show you.'

He went on to bombard the woman with 1,500 text messages in one month. He was arrested but released on bail, allowing him to lock a second woman inside his home to rape her.

Neighbours told police the woman's muzzled cries were similar to those 'of an animal in pain' while she was being attacked.

'He held her down despite her telling him no, he told her to take the pain,' prosecuting counsel Sarah Johnson said.

'He covered her mouth to muffle her complaints. She submitted. After he acted as if nothing had happened. 

'The woman grabbed the keys to the door in a bid to flee but was pursued and caught by Partridge which was witnessed by a neighbour who saw him pick the victim up and carry her back into his house as she screamed for help.'

Later he launched a campaign of harassment on a third victim, pouring scalding tea over her body, slapping her across the face and throwing her over a table.

The 28-year-old admitted two charges of rape and one of harassment. He was issued restraining orders banning him from contacting any of the women who brought charges against him.

A spokesman for Rape Crisis, said victims' confidence that the legal process will bring offenders to justice is crucial. 'The criminal justice process can be extremely difficult for survivors of this kind of crime,' Katie Russell, national spokesman for the charity said.

'If levels of reporting are ever going to significantly increase, survivors of sexual violence need to feel confident that engaging with the criminal justice process is going to be worthwhile.'

SOURCE






Children are NOT born nice: Researchers claim that environmental factors play a major part in altruism

Are children born nice?  It is one of the most debated concepts in psychology, whether altriusm is a result of nature or nurture.

Now, a pair of Stanford psychologists has conducted a new series of experiments that show altruism has environmental triggers, and is not something we are simply born with.

Researchers enlisted 34 one- and two-year-olds and split them into two groups.

In the first group, the experimenter would roll a ball back and forth with the child and chat.

After a few minutes, the experimenter would 'accidentally' knock an object off the table, and observe whether the child would help pick it up, exactly as in the 2006 study.

The difference was in the second group.

Here, the experimenter and the child would each play with their own ball, known as 'parallel play,' while the experimenter engaged in the same kind of chitchat.

Again, after a few minutes, the experimenter would knock an object off the table.

The children who engaged in reciprocal play were three times more likely to help pick up the items as the children who had engaged in only parallel play.

In 2006, a study involving toddlers found that the 18-month-olds were willing to provide a helping hand to the experimenters without being prompted.

This expression of altruistic behaviour in such young children aligned with what many scientists believed to be an expression of innate altruism, and the findings have served as the basis for dozens of studies since.

However, Rodolfo Cortes Barragan, a psychology graduate student at Stanford, and Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, suspected there might be more to the story.

The researchers behind the 2006 study engaged in a few minutes of play with the children, in order to make them comfortable with new people in a new setting, they found.

But this interaction, however brief, might have primed the toddler subjects toward altruistic behaviour and affected the outcome of the experiment, they believe.

'Kids are always on the lookout for social cues, and this is a very prominent one,' said Barragan, the lead author on the research paper.

'Does the person's play indicate that they'll care for me? These actions communicate a mutuality, and the child responds in kind.'

When the scientists repeated the experiment under slightly different conditions with older children, the reciprocal-play group was two times more likely to lend a hand.

The results suggest that altruistic behaviour may be governed more by relationships, even brief ones, than instincts.

'I think the findings will stir up some controversy, but in a good way,' Dweck said.

'People often call something 'innate' because they don't understand the kinds of subtle experiences that can make something, like altruism, flourish. Rodolfo has discovered a really subtle experience that has a powerful influence.'

One of the arguments for innate altruism was that it was an evolutionarily beneficial adaptation – instinctively caring for others would result in reciprocal care, improving one's own chances of survival.

And there might still be evolutionary pressures toward altruism, Dweck said.  'I think, as humans, our claim to fame is our flexibility – our ability to adapt to new situations.'

The researchers said that more studies are needed to verify the findings, particularly in children younger than 18 months. 

'Following the reciprocal play, children felt a sense of trust in the other person,' Barragan said.

'If children trust the people in their world, they may have an easier time learning the culture of that world – effectively making it easier for them to achieve new levels of personal and interpersonal success.'

SOURCE






Some homosexual couples’ children oppose same-sex marriage, tell of unpleasant upbringings

Most of the children of gays and lesbians who have filed court briefs in same-sex marriage cases say their parents’ inability to marry has deprived them of legal protections and hampered them from living their otherwise typical lives.

But four adult children of gay parents — acting as a “quartet of truth” — have submitted briefs to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opposing same-sex marriages, with several saying that growing up under the rainbow was neither normal nor pleasant. The court, which is considering whether to uphold the man-woman marriage laws in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, will hear arguments in New Orleans on Friday.

There are “two rights” that every child shares when they arrive in this world, Katy Faust wrote in her brief. “First, the right to live. Second, the right to have a relationship with his/her father and mother.”

Dawn Stefanowicz said her gay father was so preoccupied with sex that when she was in high school and brought home a male classmate, both her father and his lover propositioned him for sex.

B.N. Klein said her mother and lesbian partner disdained heterosexual families completely, and she didn’t have a clue about the daily interactions of a husband and wife until she went into foster care.

Robert Oscar Lopez said his two lesbian mothers were conscientious about his upbringing, but he became so emotionally confused that he turned to gay prostitution as a teen and gay and bisexual relationships as an adult.

In her brief to the 5th Circuit, Ms. Stefanowicz said her life was anything but normal. “You end up never having a real home,” she wrote.

“Our home environments have unique and unstable characteristics” due to the presence or absence of biological parents, legal parents or guardians and different sex partners of parents, wrote Ms. Stefanowicz, who spent the first 30 years of her life associated with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual subcultures and has communicated with dozens of adult children raised by gay parents.

“Your childhood is divided to please the adults,” she wrote, explaining that many adults — even former sex partners of a parent — feel they can talk about “where you live, who you visit, what schools you attend, which doctors you see, what medical procedures you have, what faith/religion you practice.”

Ms. Stefanowicz said she “absolutely” loved her father, who died of AIDS in 1991, but he was a troubled man who sexually abused both her and her twin brother and brought countless men into their home.

“I was exposed to overt sexual activities like sodomy, nudity, pornography, group sex, sadomasochism and the ilk,” wrote Ms. Stefanowicz, adding that her father sometimes took her on his “cruising” visits to gay art galleries, nude beaches and public parks.

Like other daughters of gay men she has talked with, Ms. Stefanowicz said she felt she — and her femininity — were not valued or affirmed.

“Ultimately, I was seeking his love and acceptance. [But] I was not allowed to freely question him, bring up moral arguments or hurt his feelings, or I would face long-term repercussions,” Ms. Stefanowicz wrote.

“While I do not believe all gays would be de facto bad parents, I know that the gay community has never in my lifetime put children first as anything other than a piece of property, a past mistake or a political tool to be dressed up and taken out as part of a dog-and-pony show to impress the well-meaning,” wrote Ms. Klein, adding that her mother and her partner of 25 years were both deceased and can “never hurt me again.”

Ms. Klein said she was expected to pay “constant homage and attention” to her mothers’ gayness and believe that gays were “much more creative and artistic” because they weren’t sexually repressed.

The heterosexual culture of marriage and children was held in “utter contempt” by the gay adults in her world, Ms. Klein wrote. In fact, the isolation from the “inferior” heterosexual world was so complete, she wrote, that “I had no idea how two heterosexuals behaved toward their children as mother and father” until she was placed in foster care over a medical issue when she was a teenager.

Mr. Lopez said he and other children of gays feel “pain” — but it’s because there’s a “missing biological parent,” not because people lack legal marriage.

He said his childhood exposure to radical Catholic liberation theology and talk about “the beauty of homosexual relationships” led him into years of sexual experimentation, including taking money for sex with men.

A reunion with his long-estranged father led to his escape from the “toxic” gay family life, said Mr. Lopez, who is now married to his girlfriend and a father.

Ms. Faust differed from the other three in that she doesn’t have a single criticism of her beloved mother and her lesbian partner, but she is still urging the 5th Circuit to uphold the man-woman marriage laws.

SOURCE






Anti-Israel Australian media

They will twist anything to push their message of hate

Qanta Ahmed

On a recent trip to Australia I was booked by Ch7?s Weekend Sunrise to discuss Project Rozana, an Israeli-Palestinian initiative to train West Bank physicians (predominantly Palestinian Muslims)in Israel’s Hadassah hospital. As an ambassador for the Project, I was lock step with my ideals both as a physician and as an observing Muslim opposed to virulently anti-Semitic Islamism.

A veteran media commentator, my suspicions should have been raised when the producers didn’t indicate the nature of my interview, nor even confirm that I would be discussing Project Rozana. Minutes before live broadcast, the young segment producer Maddy still ‘didn’t know’ what the anchors would be asking.

The cameras began rolling and I described my experiences at The Technion, The RamBam Medical Center and at Hadassah Hospital, responding to the anchors’ evident curiosity. The close knit and fully integrated coexistence with which Israeli and Arab Palestinian scientists and physicians interact with their equally diverse Israeli and Arab Palestinian patients surprised my interviewers.

Later we discussed Islamism, a movement which as a Muslim I recognise masquerades as the great monotheism of Islam but is starkly totalitarian in ideology with a foundational tenet of subjugating democracy. More significantly, Islamism harbors cosmic enmity to all Jewish and by extension Israeli entities and institutions. It is because I am an observing Muslim that I can emphatically reject Islamism – neither anti-Semitism nor anti-Zionism have basis in Islam.

Ending the segment, the anchors were broadly smiling and engaged. This had been the last of 27 scheduled commitments for my eight-day visit. Satisfied I had been informative and shared a novel perspective, I moved to exit the studio.

An elegant woman stopped me in my tracks. Meeting her blue-gray eyes, I was surprised to find tears filling to the brim. Touching her heart, she said: ‘I am the senior producer of this segment. My name is Iman. I am very close to the Palestinian people of Gaza, but after hearing you speak, you have opened me to new ideas.’ She confirmed she was of Egyptian heritage and like me, also Muslim. Intrigued, I suggested coffee.

Tears promptly dissipating, Iman grabbed her wallet. Over lattes we compared notes, talked about the Project and spoke about Gaza. Iman mentioned that she had formed an independent documentary production company. Immediately, I invited her to collaborate with Project Rozana – by chance the Project is keen to do a documentary on Israeli medicine to reveal the kind of coexistence to which I had referred. We left on a high note. I felt my work in Australia had ended in the best possible way.

Hours later, I received the link of the broadcast (you can watch it here). The shock was physical as I witnessed my exploitation. At each description of the pluralism and egalitarianism I had witnessed in Israeli medicine, the screen split to show the rubble of decimated North Gaza during the Israel-Hamas war, or the launching of an Iron Dome interception missile.Then the screen split to the Security Wall, shown from the Palestinian, not Israeli side.

The war footage had clearly been assembled in advance of my live interview without prior knowledge of what I would say. In an unseen control room, to the producers’ signal, as I responded with words like ‘coexistence’, ‘integration’ or ‘pluralism’, a technician pulled the trigger and rolled the stock ‘Israel as a terrorist state’ footage; detonating my truthful and universal message.

I had been reduced to an instrument of rank media opportunism. Worse, it was possible the tearful Iman had been the architect of my on-air vivisection. Self-described as the senior producer and ‘very close to the Palestinians of Gaza’, Iman had withheld remarking on this footage during our 30 minute coffee.

In my ignorance, I had unwittingly collaborated in my own exploitation by the Australian broadcaster who chose to cast me not as an anti-Islamist Muslim physician volunteering in pursuit of coexistence but as a vapid tool serving the malignant media construct of a two-dimensional anti-Semitic caricature of Zionism. This was a deliberate and opportunistic objectification of my identity as a Muslim and a physician, of the Jewish state reduced to an anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist mannequin, and of my political position as an opponent of Islamism; a position which entails significant personal and professional risk. This is neither journalism nor broadcasting; it’s pure pro-Hamas propaganda .

The producers hadn’t bothered to insert Hamas foot-soldiers which include recruited Palestinian children and youth who wage war on Israelis, nor reveal the damage wrought by its hundreds of rockets on Israeli civilians (of whom 23% are non Jewish – mostly Sunni Muslim), nor did Australians see the industrially rendered labyrinth of Hamas tunnels so central to the recent conflict. Weekend Sunrise prostituted my goodwill in the service of personal or official anti-Israeli and pro-Hamas propaganda.

This is what Israel faces, that which no other nation embattled with the lethal threat of Islamism wrestles: the battle over narrative. While Pakistan wages a far more indiscriminate campaign against Islamists in tribal areas, while Afghanistan has been under siege by the Taliban for a decade and a half, while Britain, Canada and America target, prosecute and eliminate Islamists, while Egypt wages war on Islamists and criminalizes their ideology, while Saudi Arabia incarcerates Islamists, while France defends Mali from Islamists, while Kenya and Nigeria flail against Islamists, only Israelis are to be dehumanized, judged apart from humanity as they face Islamist threats on every border. Only Israel must be denigrated, reviled and excoriated in her efforts to secure citizens and territories from the ambitions of genocidal anti-Semitic Islamism.

I felt intensely angry. To be whored out as I strive as an ambassador for a philanthropic mission with universal reach, to be debased as an instrument despite my decades long authority as a physician and Muslim humanist is nothing but obscene.

An on-air apology wouldn’t come amiss.

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

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









11 January, 2015

Gen. Thomas McInerney on Paris attack: ‘Political correctness is killing us’

Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney had a blunt assessment of the terror attacks that killed at least 12 in Paris on Wednesday, telling a Fox News audience that a major driver of the violence was that those in positions of leadership refused to face the realities of radicalized Islam.

"Political correctness is killing us," he told "Fox & Friends," adding that the nation's leaders needed to wake up to the dangers of the religion in order to keep America safe.

The attacks left two police officers and several members of the Paris-based satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, dead. Witnesses said they heard the attackers shout out "the Prophet has been avenged," and "Allahu Akbar," various media reported.

France President Francois Hollande, meanwhile, has labeled the attack an act of terror and placed the city on high alert.

The newspaper - firebombed in 2011 after it published a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed - had actually just printed a new cartoon on Wednesday morning that depicted Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at a podium, making a statement.

SOURCE






Now It’s Really Time to Stop Pretending Liberals Want You to Live Your Life How You Want
   
GLAAD Condemns Lifestyle Choice of Mormon Families

GLAAD, an aggressive LGBT lobbying group, hasn’t been following the above act for a while — and nor have plenty of liberals — but its latest campaign is as good an example as any of the Left’s open intolerance for orthodox religion and any dissent from sexual liberation.

TLC is about to show a one-hour reality program on a few Mormon males who say they’re attracted to men but have chosen to marry women and have children.

GLAAD thinks broadcasting these grown men’s choices — and, by all accounts and appearances, happy, healthy lives — is simply too “dangerous,” and “downright irresponsible” of TLC. (You might be hazily thinking, wasn’t there a show about religious people handling lethally poisonous snakes that was broadcast basically without hiccup? Yep, there was.)

The group has found 88,000 ostensibly tolerant liberals also trying to keep the show off the airwaves, who have signed a petition asking TLC “to stop telling America that LGBT people should lie to themselves and to their faith communities about who they are and who they love.”

If you’re thinking these petitioners should stop telling these four random Americans that they’re betraying their faith communities and lying about who they are and whom they love . . . well, good luck explaining that to GLAAD.

“The men featured in this show deserve to be shown compassion and acceptance,” the petition demands — compassion and acceptance here, I guess, defined as “telling a few random strangers their lives and faith are dangerous and dishonest.”

The crux of GLAAD and other organizations’ complaint is that TLC’s show promotes “ex-gay” therapy, to reverse homosexual attractions, because GLAAD, alongside a number of state governments who’ve banned the therapy, thinks it’s dangerous. Oddly, it’s not even clear that is featured in the show, or that these men believe therapy can change their attractions (a scientifically controversial concept). The entire point of the show is that the men say they still have homosexual attractions but choose to live by other values. This, by GLAAD’s lights, is obscene.

Of course, conservatives protest against obscene content, too, because they believe some things are wrong and dangerous, too. We’re just long past time when the cultural Left could begin to claim its opponents were the real orthodox censors, indicting helpless individual heretics. The culture war is two-sided — at best.

And yes, here, GLAAD isn’t trying to wield the power of the state to suppress religion and demean individual conscience. It and its backers have the right to sign all the petitions they want. In fact, maybe they should go right ahead: They’re doing a nice job clearing up where there’s no tolerance to be had these days.

Look, all GLAAD’s asking of these guys: Just keep your true self in the closet. Along with your wife and kids.

SOURCE






The right to protest–against abortion

The Spiked Online group of journalists appear libertarian in many of their instincts. I remember attending talks by many of these people back in their Marxist days in the early 1990s. Yet Ann Furedi, former Marxist, writer for Spiked Online, and head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, now opposes the right of opponents of abortion to protest outside clinics! She references JS Mill in her opposition to such protests.

Her recent article argues that “bubble zones” should be created outside abortion clinics within which demonstrations should be illegal—presumably she wants state power to enforce this. While she admits the number of protesters is vanishingly small, the small number of protests that take place should lead to arrests, according to her.

Ann Furedi is trying to have things both ways. She says:

"Another unfortunate and predictable consequence is that many in the media have been prone to present the women bpas is defending as ‘victims’—firstly for needing abortion, secondly for facing bullying and harassment at the clinic’s entrance. This is just the image of women that bpas has fought hard to counter. In truth, most bpas clients are ordinary women in need of straightforward, simple clinical treatment in a place where their privacy and confidentiality is respected and they are answerable only to those who provide their care."

In other words, she has long claimed that abortion is a straightforward medical procedure, akin to sorting out an ingrown toenail, and that the women involved are not “victims” and should not be subject to the type of counselling that assumes there is a moral problem with a decision to have an abortion. In other words, abortion is a normal decision made by a grown-up woman who doesn’t need her hand held. She goes on:

"When women say they are reduced to tears and feel unable to cope with the challenges made to them by protesters, when they say they feel vulnerable and distressed, this is not an expression of their weakness as women, nor is it evidence of the alleged awfulness of making abortion decisions. No, even the strongest among us can feel brittle and scared when we are about to undergo a medical procedure – even one that is not as emotionally loaded as abortion."

Clearly she is also arguing that such women are too vulnerable to be able to give short shrift to protesters outside abortion clinics. I would argue that, reading between the lines, she does look down on the women attending abortion clinics, and views them as fragile victims who should never be confronted with the fact that other people regard abortion as evil.

I could imagine a libertarian perspective—not mine—that said that abortion should be legal on demand, but that demonstrations immediately outside the clinic must be accepted, and the women should be prepared to run the gauntlet of protest if they wish to kill the foetuses inside them. I would also argue that Ann Furedi and other employees of BPAS should be arrested (and imprisoned) for wasting police time if they ever call for police assistance in an unwarranted fashion: there is a law against harassment, but the bar for a harassment suit is necessarily high in a free society, and the police should not be summoned to prevent a woman from facing protest alone.

Ann Furedi says:

"Women attending an abortion clinic should not have to face anyone whose intention is to interfere with them or engage with them. They should not need to face people on the street asking about their circumstances or decisions. They should especially not need to face individuals with banners, placards and cameras, determined to ‘counsel’ them about what an abortion involves. A clinic entrance is not a debating forum or a street theatre. Bpas clients are not seeking a political discussion about abortion with anyone; they are seeking advice or treatment from a provider that they have chosen, and they should be able to access that service without people arguing that their decision is wrong or right."

Women having an abortion should not have to face anyone seeking to engage with them? Time to get out the cotton wool, girls!

All this is based on a distinction between “the right to freedom of speech” and “the right to freedom of protest”. Ann Furedi argues:

"Traditionally, within the classical liberal tradition of John Stuart Mill, the right to protest was understood to be ‘contingent’, and as such is different to freedom of speech, which is ‘absolute’….

Freedom of speech, as properly understood (that is, the freedom to state one’s views for the purpose of being understood), cannot curtail the freedom of others because it impinges on no one but the speaker. It is sometimes described as ‘self-regarding’, in that its purpose is self-expression. For Mill, the premise for freedom of speech was ‘affirmation and respect for the individual’s moral agency and autonomy’. In short, to take away someone’s ability to express their thoughts through speech was to deny them a means to express their internal contemplation—their inner life….

Freedom to protest is different. It can impede others’ rights and freedoms; indeed, that may be its very intention—and when it does, the question of whose freedom triumphs rests in the balance of a number of factors. The law may limit the right to protest by curbing access to certain areas; or brute force may impose limits, as was the case in clashes between fascists and anti-fascists in the 1930s, or between loyalists and republicans in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s—or, indeed, in a milder way by local residents outside the bpas clinic in Southwark in London recently."

Clearly, the right to free speech, which includes private speech, is absolute. To be arrested for private comments would be monstrous in a free society. The right to freedom of protest is, as she points out, subjects to considerations of appropriate venue and timing. An anti-abortion protest that insisted on blocking the M25 every Friday would be tiresome—as it would go well beyond the form of protest required to make a political point and would disrupt other people’s legitimate activities.

The reason why this consideration does not apply to an abortion clinic is that there is a debate over where abortion is a legitimate activity. Protesters outside BPAS centres are not seeking to make political points—but, rather, to persuade the women not to kill their foetuses. It is a last chance to appeal to the girls to do the right thing. I think the legalisation of abortion in 1967—a legalisation the terms of which are commonly ignored by doctors who hand out abortion on demand (which is not legal)—did not envisage a situation where abortion was to be regarded as a normal medical procedure. It was legalised as a bad last resort—and nothing should be done (including the criminalisation of protest outside abortion clinics) to imply to the girls that nothing abnormal is going on inside the clinics.

Ann Furedi’s clinics offer destruction of life: while I don’t wish to attend protests myself, I do admire those who feel strongly enough to do so. If they persuade even one girl to turn back, then their work is worthwhile.

The abortion issue is, for me, one of the key problems with Spiked. On many questions, their views have evolved since the winding up of the Revolutionary Communist Party (of which Ann Furedi was a member) in 1994. Yet on this issue (and on immigration), we see unreconstructed propaganda from the 1970s—possibly because Ann Furedi makes money from abortion.

It would make more sense in the context of the evolving views of Spiked to tell the girls to take charge of their own fertility—by using contraceptives and morning after pills—and to accept the consequences of their own actions otherwise. These “girls” are meant to be adult women, but as long as there are never any consequences to their chosen forms of behaviour, they will remain infantilised, adult-sized girls, which calls into question the whole of the feminist agenda.

SOURCE






The Black Brunch Brats

America's social justice movement has reached a critical turning point. The left's bravest young warriors for change have turned ... back to 1989 and borrowed costumes from Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation" music video.

Clad in black-ops black from head to toe with fists held high, stylin' members of the so-called "Black Brunch" brigade look like they're ready to break into some old-school New Jack Swing dance moves. And 5, 6, 7, 8!

But seriously, all you hate-mongering, racist oppressors. You must banish your colonialist, imperialist and patriarchal impulses to mock. The "comrades" (yes, they really call themselves that) who don the solidarity-enhancing Black Brunch costume are sending a revolutionary, transformative message: This is war! On your omelettes.

This weekend, an organizing manual obtained and published by the Weasel Zippers blog (which was subsequently knocked offline for 12 hours by retaliatory activists) explained the Black Brunch agenda. Only those who are "black and of the African diaspora" received the guide. Black Brunch, they were told, is "a form of resistance and a direct action tactic" to "reclaim our humanity and right to unapologetically hold space in public."

By "holding space in public," they mean storming into a private business and screaming in your face while you're spending your hard-earned money as other hardworking people try to make a living serving up a nice meal.

The farce, of course, is that this impudent "resistance" movement deliberately chooses marshmallow-soft targets where they will encounter absolutely no resistance of any kind to their trespassing.

Black Brunchers didn't stomp their way into truck stops, police cafeterias or military bases. They targeted privileged liberal enclaves in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Baltimore and New York City over the past month to raise the consciousness of unsuspecting midmorning diners. The Black Brunch bunch earned their badges of courage by barging into coffee shops, blocking lines at hummus snack stands and even grandstanding at an Apple computer store (huh?) where sympathetic hipsters and pliant employees simply rolled over.

Note: The only clubs the enemy enslavers wielded were their club sandwiches. The only sticks in sight were cinnamon cocoa stirrers.

While annoyed parents covered their hungry toddlers' ears, the grievance-mongers whipped out their smartphones to document their disruption of "white spaces." Protest pics STAT! One defiant Black Brunch marcher asserted on Twitter: "We take up the space that's so often denied us in society and grieve collectively." Another intrepid combatant courageously castigated her enemy (from the safety of her keyboard):

"ATTN WHITE Man, I have no guilt disturbing your brunch. Its (sic) YOU that has no right to be here."

Actually, several photos of the protests showed non-white customers and employees suffering along with the rest of the Privileged White Supremacists. But no matter. No justice, no quiche!

Opposing racism now means practicing it in the most obnoxious manner possible. The Black Brunch bigots painted every innocent customer as a practitioner of "genocide." One participant ordered people of color to "STAND in deference and solidarity." Another accused a black restaurant manager of "internaliz(ing) white supremacy."

This self-indulgent overreach is a hallmark of modern leftist organizers. During the Bush administration, the illegal-alien activist movement was overrun by reconquistadors burning American flags and chanting La Raza hate slogans as they demanded full amnesty and government benefits. Under President Obama, Occupy Wall Street devolved into a circus of rape tents and defecators.

Post-Ferguson, the social justice mob has now looted and burned down stores in its own working-class neighborhoods, cheered the execution of white and minority police officers, and alienated its erstwhile allies with destructive temper tantrums. In Portland, left-wing agitators threw a hissy fit at Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden's town hall — just as a 100-year-old veteran was being honored for his World War II service.

These entitled thugs have beclowned themselves, plain and simple. Their worst enemies are the ones in the reflections of the windows they're smashing. The worst racists are the ones smirking in their own Instagram selfies.

Earth to Black Brunch brats: You're not righteous. You're just rude.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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9 January, 2015

Maybe I shouldn't laugh

In a vast article titled "Judgments About Fact and Fiction by Children From Religious and Nonreligious Backgrounds" Kathleen H. Corriveau and friends have discovered that children who are taught to believe in spirit beings do tend to believe in spirit beings.  They will probably set out to prove that grass is green next.

Why the study was done and why it was published I have not yet figured out.  It seems to be some sort of attempt to diss Christians but I cannot see how it does that. Statistician Briggs is also having a laugh at the study.







We must stop blaming ourselves for Islamist terror

We’d forgotten about Charlie Hebdo. In 2011, the satirical magazine, firmly rooted in the anti-clericalism of the French left, was firebombed after it published an edition poking fun at Islam: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter”, read the cover.

At the time, unthinkable in the light of today’s attack on Charlie’s office, there was “debate” over whether the magazine’s cartoonists and editors had “gone too far”.

Bruce Crumley, a correspondent for Time, rushed to condemn not the bombers, but the scribblers.  “Not only are such Islamophobic antics [as publishing cartoons] futile and childish,” he wrote, “but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction?”

He went on: “Do you still think the price you paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody on the logic of ‘because we can’ was so worthwhile? If so, good luck with those charcoal drawings your pages will now be featuring.”

Others sought to contextualise the attacks against the backdrop of alienation felt by many French Muslims.

Underlying all this was a persistent assumption. Islamist attacks are only ever reactions, only ever brought about by provocation from the West. All the way back to the Ayatollah Khomeini’s contract on the head of Salman Rushdie in 1989, we have accepted the idea that it is up to authors, artists and cartoonists to justify themselves in the face of threats and real violence.

Rushdie himself even apologised for his supposed “insult” to Islam, in fear for his life.

If the rise of Isil has taught the world one thing, it is that the provocation is beside the point. Jihadists kill because that is what they do. It does not matter if you are a French cartoonist or a Yazidi child, or an aid worker or journalist: if you are not one of the chosen few, you are fair game. Provocation is merely an excuse used by bullies to justify their actions, while ensuring the world bows to their will.

In October last year, imprisoned Syrian journalist Mazen Darwish managed to smuggle a note from his Damascus cell to the free speech charity English PEN. Darwish had been singled out for an award by PEN and Salman Rushdie, and he took the opportunity to address Rushdie directly, writing:

“[W]e committed an unforgivable sin in the Arab world when we responded with indifference to the fatwas and calls for your death. So indifferent were we that we colluded – even if just by our silent complicity – in excluding and eliminating difference, while acting as if the whole thing had nothing to do with us. And so here we are today, paying the high, bloodsoaked price of that collusion, and finding ourselves the main victims of the obscurantist ideology now infiltrating our homes and our cities".

What a great shame that it has taken us all of this bloodshed to arrive at the belief that we are the ones who will pay the price for preventing those with whom we disagree from expressing their views – and that we will pay with our lives and our futures. What a shame this much blood has had to be spilled for us to realise, finally, that we are digging our own graves when we allow thought to be crushed by accusations of unbelief, calling people infidels, and when we allow opinion to be countered with violence.”

Today’s obscenity may shock us, but we must not be rendered speechless.

SOURCE






What about Arab War Crimes against Palestinians?

    And who ever heard of the case of Zaki al-Hobby, a 17-year old Palestinian who was shot and killed last weekend by Egyptian border guards? Had he been shot by Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border, the EU and UN would have called for an international commission of inquiry.

    The stories of the Palestinians tortured to death in an Arab prison have also failed to win the attention of the Western media. Nor have the EU and the UN, which called for an investigation into the death of Abu Ein -- who died of a heart attack while in a confrontation with an Israeli soldier -- deemed it necessary to tackle the plight of the Palestinians being killed and tortured to death in Syria and other Arab countries.

    As far as the Palestinian Authority is concerned — and the media, the EU, the UN and human rights groups — the only "war crimes" are being committed by Israelis, and not by Arabs who are killing, torturing and displacing tens of thousands of Palestinians. And all this is happening while the international community and media continue to display an obsession only with everything connected to Israel.

More than 2,500 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the conflict in Syria three years ago, according to a report published this week by the Working Group for Palestinians in Syria. It revealed that 2,596 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the conflict in that country in 2011.

But this is a news item that has hardly found its way into mainstream media in the West. Even Arab media outlets have almost entirely ignored the report about Palestinian casualties in Syria.

The reason for this apathy, of course, is clear. The Palestinians in Syria were killed by Arabs and not as a result of the conflict with Israel.

Journalists covering the Middle East do not believe that this is an important story because of the absence of any Israeli role in the killings.

Arabs slaughtering, executing and torturing Palestinians is not sensational enough to grab a headline in a major Western or Arab newspaper. That is why most Middle East correspondents have chosen to turn a blind eye to the report.

According to the report, the victims include 157 women who were killed in the fighting between Bashar Assad's army and various opposition groups in Syria. It also said that 268 Palestinians were killed by snipers, while another 84 were summarily executed. Another 984 Palestinians were killed when their homes and neighborhoods were shelled by the Syrian army and the opposition groups.

The report also reminded the international community that the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus has been under siege by the Syrian army for the past 547 days. Approximately 160 residents of the camp have died as a result of the siege, the report said.

It also pointed out that the camp has been without electricity for more than 620 days. Camp residents have also been cut off from water for the past 117 days, the report added.

In addition to the deaths, some 80,000 Palestinians have fled their homes in Syria due to the ongoing conflict. Nearly 15,000 have crossed the border to Jordan, while another 42,000 have fled to Lebanon, the report disclosed.

As if that were not enough, last week Muslim terrorists executed six Palestinians from Yarmouk camp after finding them guilty of "blasphemy."

A senior PLO official in Syria, Anwar Abdel Hadi, said that the Palestinians were executed by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated An-Nusra terror group.

Abdel Hadi said that only 15,000 Palestinians remain in the refugee camp, which until three years ago was home to some 175,000 people.

Another report published recently revealed that 264 Palestinians have died as a result of torture in Syrian government prisons over the past few years.

The most recent deaths in Syrian prisons occurred last month, when three more Palestinians died after being tortured. The three were identified as Bila al-Zari, Mohamed Omar and Mohamed Masriyeh.

These Palestinians were arrested by the Syrian authorities on suspicion of helping anti-Assad forces in different parts of the country.

The stories of the Palestinians tortured to death in an Arab prison have also failed to win the attention of the Western media. Had any one of them died in an Israeli prison or in a confrontation with Israeli soldiers, his story and photo would have appeared on the front page of many newspapers and magazines in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

By contrast, when a top Fatah official, Ziad Abu Ein, recently died of a heart attack after an altercation with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, his story immediately caught the attention of the international media and human rights organizations. Many foreign journalists covering the Middle East covered the story of Abu Ein from every possible angle and conducted interviews with his family members and friends.

In an incident widely reported by international media, Fatah official Ziad Abu Ein (center) is shown suffering a heart attack while sitting on the ground, moments after an altercation with Israeli soldiers. Abu Ein later died. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

But the Palestinians who are being killed and tortured to death in Syria and other Arab countries have never received the same attention from the same journalists and human rights activists. Nor have the EU and UN, which called for an investigation into the death of Abu Ein, deemed it necessary to tackle the plight of the Palestinians in Syria.

And who has heard of the case of Zaki Al-Hobby, a 17-year-old Palestinian who was shot and killed last weekend by Egyptian border guards? The Palestinian teenager was killed because he came too close to the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Witnesses said he was shot in the back and died instantly.

Once again, Al-Hobby's story has hardly received any coverage because Israel was not involved in that incident. Had he been shot by Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border, the EU and UN would have called for an international commission of inquiry. But the teenager was unfortunate because he was shot by Egyptian soldiers, making his story "insignificant" in the eyes of the international community and media.

That Palestinians are being killed by Arabs does not seem to bother even the Palestinian Authority, whose leaders are busy these days threatening to file "war crimes" charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court. As far as the Palestinian Authority is concerned — and the media, the EU, the UN and human rights groups — the only "war crimes" are being committed by Israelis, and not by Arabs who are killing, torturing and displacing tens of thousands of Palestinians. And all this is happening while the international community and media continue to display an obsession only with everything connected to Israel.

SOURCE






Muslim leaders justify attack on Charlie Hebdo

AUSTRALIAN extremists have spread their vile hatred online justifying the horrific attack on a satirical magazine in Paris because they insulted the prophet.

Perth-based firebrand Junaid Thorne tweeted within hours of the attack that killed 12 at Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris that insulting someone’s prophet would cause a “backlash.”

The self-styled Sheik, who has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook, chillingly said those that want freedom of speech could expect other to exercise ‘freedom of action.’

“Insulting someone’s Prophet is very likely to stimulate some kind of response. It is not allowed under any context/religion.”  “If you want to enjoy ‘freedom of speech’ with no limits, expect others to exercise ‘freedom of action.”

Another Australian Islamic convert tweeted the magazine’s cartoonist got what they deserved because they drew a picture of Mohammed naked.  “This magazine #CharlieHebdo drew pictures of #Muhammed(saw) naked with his genitiles visable as such they got what they deserve, (SIC)” the man with more than 2000 followers said.

“Muslims should be proud of what the Mujahideen in France did a country which has done everything in it’s power to fight Islam”.

Notorious UK based hate-cleric Anjem Choudary said freedom of expression did not extend to insulting the prophet.  “May Allah allow all Muslims & non-Muslims live together under divine law where the honour of citizens & Prophets is protected #ParisShooting," Choudary said.

The murdered Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier was on a ‘’dead or alive" list in al-Qaeda’s English magazine. The jihadist propaganda magazine’s March 2013 edition called its followers to “defend the prophet.”

The magazine also puts targets on academic Salman Rushdie and right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders who visited Australia in 2013.

Charbonnier was famously defiant to the threats once saying ‘I’d rather die standing than live kneeling.’

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 January, 2015

Boris attacks 'multi-culti balkanisation' of British society which means thousands of people do not speak English

Boris Johnson today attacked the ‘multi-culti balkanisation’ of British society which means thousands of people do not speak English.  The London Mayor insisted people who come to the UK should learn the language, stressing it is ‘is unbelievably easy to get the hang of’.

He condemned the ‘disastrous approach’ of teaching children in other languages and the ‘nonsense’ of offering translated versions of official documents.

Census figures from 2011 show there were 138,000 people in England and Wales who could not speak any English.

Mr Johnson said it was ‘huge wasted opportunity’ for those people who are not able to ‘participate’ in the UK economy.

Speaking on LBC radio, he said: ‘I think everybody in London, everybody who comes to work in our economy should be able to speak English.’

In an apparent attack on the last Labour government he went on: ‘We went through a long period in Britain of having kind of multi-culti balkanisation of our society and we thought it was a very good idea to teach kids in their own language in primary school classes in London.  ‘I think that’s a disastrous approach, they should be in English.

‘As far as the mayoralty is concerned, we have dropped a lot of those ‘we’ll offer to translate our document into umpteen languages’. I think its complete nonsense.’

He said it was a ‘great shame’ that the last Labour government cut funding for teaching English.  ‘We whacked some dosh back in from city hall because I think it’s an absolute priority.’

He said that in many parts of the capital whole communities do not speak English.

‘You go out into Tower Hamlets, places like that, you can find people who have been then there several generations who still don’t speak English.

‘One of the reasons is the media is so massive now but so disparate, so diffuse, that people can be tuned to their own communities and not fell the need to learn the common language of this city, of this country.  ‘I think that is a great, great shame, it’s a huge wasted opportunity for them.

‘I think everybody in this country, particularly people working in our public services, should speak English.’

Boris Johnson insisted learning English was easy.  He told LBC: 'It is not a difficult language. The great thing about English is it has so many, very short simple words. 'Our grammar is unbelievably simple, we have about twice as many words as French or German.  'English is unbelievably easy to get the hang of. Look at the way I can string these sentences together with barely a verb...'

His remarks come after Ukip leader Nigel Farage suggested doctors who cannot speak 'very good English' should be banned from practising in the UK.

The Ukip leader said it was 'scandalous' that not enough doctors and nurses were being trained in Britain, meaning thousands are brought in from overseas.

However, he appeared unaware that two years ago the General Medical Council announced new checks to be carried out on the language skills of medical staff. All NHS doctors have to pass a language test.

Mr Johnson added: ‘I’m amazed by reports that people cannot make themselves understood in English in this country to people working in the NHS. That is completely wrong.

‘I’m sure that the NHS will be taking steps to sort it out. I think that we should have a culture in this country that if you come here, you do as the Romans do and you learn English, you speak English.

‘I don’t mean this by the way in a sort of punitive sense. I’m not saying that everybody should be punished if they fail, this is a wasted opportunity for these companies. They are not able to participate.

‘This is a country where English has been spoken for many centuries.

‘I don’t want to be hostile towards speakers of other languages, other languages are beautiful things, but this is a country that happens to speak English and the way to participate in the London economy, to make a success of your life, my message to everybody whose English is a bit rusty, is go out, find a course for English speakers of another language, they are available.

‘I think that it is completely right that as part of the citizenship test that we have now in British is you should have a pretty good mastery of English.  ‘I think everybody should be trying to get up to that standard.’

SOURCE







One chart that shows Boris and Nigel Farage are right about immigrants speaking English

Boris agrees with Nigel.  Mr Johnson, the Mayor of London, has energetically backed the Ukip leader on the need for people living in Britain to speak English.

Public bodies like councils have made it too easy for some people to live in the UK without mastering English, Mr Johnson said.

How many people are we talking about here? How many people are in Britain unable to speak English fully?

According to the 2011 Census, there are 41.8 million adults in the UK who speak English as their main language. That's 92 per cent of the population.

There are another 2.9 million who are considered "proficient" in English, 6 per cent of the country. And finally, the group that Mr Johnson and Mr Farage are really talking about, the "non-proficient" number 785,000, just under 2 per cent of Britain.

What difference does this make? Perhaps the biggest is in employment. Unsurprisingly, people who don't speak English are much less likely to be in work than those who do.

People who were "non-proficient" have an employment rate of just 48.3 per cent, compared with 65.4 per cent for those who were proficient and 71.9 per cent for those whose main language was English.

Break those figures down by sex, as in the chart below, and the differences become even more stark. Only 34.3 per cent of women who don't speak English are in work.



Now, there may be lots of reasons for that. Some of those women may be from more traditional backgrounds, families that are happy for women not to do paid work. But it seems reasonable to guess that some of those women who are not in work would like to be in work. Speaking English would remove one of the (numerous) obstacles they face.

And just in case it needs saying, working is almost always better than not working. People in paid employment are richer, happier and healthier than those who are not. Oh, and they generally pay more tax too.

So yes, people living in the UK should speak English. Because it's good for them.

SOURCE






Racial double standards

Last week's column focused on the ways liberals use blacks in pursuit of their leftist agenda, plus their demeaning attitudes toward black people. Most demeaning are their double standards.

It was recently reported that Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House majority whip, spoke at a 2002 gathering hosted by white supremacist leaders when he was a Louisiana state representative. Some are calling on Scalise to step down or for House Speaker John Boehner to fire him. There's no claim that Scalise made racist statements.

Hardly anyone blinks an eye at the Rev. Al Sharpton's racist statements, such as: "White folks was in the caves while we (blacks) was building empires. ... We built pyramids before Donald Trump ever knew what architecture was. ... We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it."

Sharpton again: "So (if) some cracker come and tell you, 'Well, my mother and father blood go back to the Mayflower,' you better hold your pocket. That ain't nothing to be proud of. That means their forefathers was crooks." Sharpton also offered, "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house."

Despite such racism, President Barack Obama has made Sharpton his go-to guy on matters of race. But not to worry. Obama himself spent 20 years listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's anti-Semitic and racist sermons. The news media and intellectual elite don't condemn Sharpton or Obama, because they have two standards of behavior: one for whites and a lower one for blacks.

The news media's narrative about the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, is that a white cop shot and killed an unarmed black man who was holding his hands up. Their New York City narrative is that a white cop used a chokehold that killed a black man. The news media people and their liberal allies know the facts, but they need to promote the appearance of injustice to keep black people in a state of grievance.

During grand jury testimony about the Ferguson incident, seven black witnesses testified that Michael Brown was charging the policeman when he was shot. 

The autopsies, performed by three sets of forensic experts, including one representing Brown's family, confirmed Officer Darren Wilson's version of the event. The news media's narrative of Eric Garner's death in New York is that he died because a chokehold had stopped his breathing. He actually died later, in an ambulance, where his heart stopped while being taken to a hospital. The chokehold was instrumental in triggering Garner's pre-existing health problems of acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity and heart disease, but he was not choked to death as claimed by the media.

Both Brown and Garner would be alive today if they had not resisted arrest. But pointing that out would not serve the purpose of keeping blacks in a perpetual state of grievance.

I'm old enough to remember the racist lynching mentality of yesteryear. Regardless of the evidence, if a white woman merely accused a black man of raping her, the man was all but dead. Emmett Till, a Chicago teenager visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, during the summer of 1955, was accused of flirting with a white woman. Klansmen took him to a barn. They beat him and gouged out one of his eyes. Then they shot him in the head and tossed his body in the Tallahatchie River.

The New York Times published the street name on which Officer Wilson lived. Had the frenzied mob caught up with him, regardless of evidence, he might have suffered the same fate as Till.

Multiethnic societies are inherently unstable, and how we handle matters of race is contributing to that instability. Decent Americans should see the dangers posed by America's race hustlers, who are stacking up piles of combustible racial kindling, ready for a racial arsonist to set it ablaze.

SOURCE






Domestic violence an equal opportunity killer

For me the most tragic image of 2014 was watching a father break down crying "My babies, my babies" at a memorial service for his children, two of eight child victims of a Cairns domestic house of horrors. The alleged killer was mother to seven of the children, and the aunt of another.

In Brisbane, another woman was charged in December over the deaths of two children, and the attempted murder of two others.

And we must not forget the mother who attempted to kill her newborn baby in Sydney just weeks before by dumping him down a stormwater drain. Fortunately he survived for six days before being discovered and rescued.

If something is to be learned from all of these incredibly sad cases, it is that domestic violence is an equal opportunity killer. Women are just as capable of killing in domestic circumstances as men, especially when children are involved.

This is borne out by the latest statistics from the Australian Institute of Criminology. These show that between 2008 and 2010, in family related murders of children, more than 45 per cent of the killers were the mother.

Last year, when I wrote about domestic violence against men, I was contacted by a solicitor friend who was keen to discuss the matter. He had been a police prosecutor for 10 years before going into practice for himself. He ruefully admitted that in those ten years he had never charged a woman with domestic violence, notwithstanding the fact over one third of domestic violence victims are men.

Upon reflection, he agreed there was an inherent bias in the way police treated female perpetrators of domestic violence.  They usually get a free pass.

The problem with this is that we know people who commit acts of domestic violence are likely to escalate their crimes over time, unless they are brought in check. It follows that every time Queensland Police give a woman a free pass on domestic violence, because she is a woman, they may be creating a future domestic killer.

Unfortunately, while our enlightenment about the dangers of domestic violence is growing, it is not matched by an equal enlightenment about who might actually commit that domestic violence.

Dr Elizabeth Celi, a psychologist and author on men's health, has some interesting insights into the issue. She says public awareness of domestic violence often falls short of portraying the whole story.

"Decades of rightly raising public awareness for female victims of domestic violence, have simultaneously lacked in accurate public education that women can also be abusive and violent, toward other women, men and children," she says.

She also points out that turning a blind eye to women who commit domestic violence puts children at risk.

"Children are affected by abusive and violent behaviour regardless of the perpetrator's gender. Our children don't deserve to be put at risk by overlooking women's abuse and violence."

It is time to admit that all domestic violence is to be deplored, irrespective of who commits it, or who is the victim.

It is also time for Queensland Police to change their ways. They have no right to effectively condone domestic violence against men and children by refusing to charge offenders if they are women. If the police are happy to charge women with armed robbery, drug trafficking or extortion, why are they not equally willing to charge them with domestic and interpersonal violence?

Equal opportunity for women must also mean equal responsibility for their actions, including their crimes.

Domestic violence is not a gender battleground, or at least it shouldn't be. It is about keeping people safe, especially children.

How many more children must suffer or die before we learn this lesson?

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

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







7 January, 2015

How sharpie Sharpton gets paid to not cry ‘racism’ at U.S. corporations



Want to influence a casino bid? Polish your corporate image? Not be labeled a racist?  Then you need to pay Al Sharpton.

For more than a decade, corporations have shelled out thousands of dollars in donations and consulting fees to Sharpton’s National Action Network. What they get in return is the reverend’s supposed sway in the black community or, more often, his silence.

Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal met with the activist preacher after leaked emails showed her making racially charged comments about President Obama. Pascal was under siege after a suspected North Korean cyberattack pressured the studio to cancel its release of “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of dictator Kim Jong-un.

Pascal and her team were said to be “shaking in their boots” and “afraid of the Rev,” The Post reported.

No payments to NAN have been announced, but Sharpton and Pascal agreed to form a “working group” to focus on racial bias in Hollywood.

Sharpton notably did not publicly assert his support for Pascal after the meeting — what observers say seems like a typical Sharpton “shakedown” in the making. Pay him in cash or power, critics say, and you buy his support or silence.

“Al Sharpton has enriched himself and NAN for years by threatening companies with bad publicity if they didn’t come to terms with him. Put simply, Sharpton specializes in shakedowns,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal & Policy Center, a Virginia-based watchdog group that has produced a book on Sharpton.

And Sharpton, who now boasts a close relationship with Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio, is in a stronger negotiating position than ever.

“Once Sharpton’s on board, he plays the race card all the way through,” said a source who has worked with the Harlem preacher. “He just keeps asking for more and more money.”

One example of Sharpton’s playbook has emerged in tax filings and a state inspector general’s report.

In 2008, Plainfield Asset Management, a Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund, made a $500,000 contribution to New York nonprofit Education Reform Now. That money was immediately funneled to the National Action Network.

The donation raised eyebrows. Although the money was ostensibly to support NAN’s efforts to bring “educational equality,” it also came at a time that Plainfield was trying to get a lucrative gambling deal in New York.

Plainfield had a $250 million stake in Capital Play, a group trying to secure a license to run the coming racino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Capital Play employed a lobbyist named Charlie King, who also was the acting executive director of NAN.

Sharpton has said that most of the Plainfield contribution went to pay King’s salary.  King’s company, the Movement Group, was paid $243,586 by NAN in 2008, tax records show.

Harold Levy, a former New York City schools chancellor who was a managing director at Plainfield at the time, has denied the contribution was made to curry favor with Sharpton or anyone else. But a year later, as the battle for the racino license heated up, NAN raked in another $100,000 from representatives of the AEG consortium, which was the successor company to Capital Play.

One AEG member emailed another in 2009 saying, “Sharpton lobbied [then-Gov. David Paterson] hard over the weekend on our behalf,” according to the state inspector general’s 2010 report on the corrupt racino licensing process.

In order to discredit SL Green, one of the rival bidders whose plan included a Hard Rock Hotel, an AEG executive sent another email outlining tactics to conscript local leaders to its cause.

“We are going to need it, and we are going to need . . . Sharpton to piss on hard rock,” according to the undated email cited in the IG’s report.  Sharpton denied he lobbied on behalf of AEG.

The donations, meanwhile, came at an opportune time for Sharpton, as NAN was deep in debt to the IRS in 2008. It owed $1.3 million in unpaid federal, state and city payroll taxes including interest and penalties.

AEG viewed its payments to Sharpton as more of an insurance policy so he wouldn’t scuttle its chances by criticizing the group, said a source familiar with the racino controversy.

Sharpton raised $1 million for NAN at his 60th birthday bash in October, with donations rolling in from unions and a corporate roster of contributors including AT&T, McDonald’s, Verizon and Walmart.

Companies have long gotten in line to pay Sharpton. Macy’s and Pfizer have forked over thousands to NAN, as have General Motors, American Honda and Chrysler.

NAN had repeatedly and without success asked GM for donations for six years beginning in August 2000, a GM spokesman told The Post. Then, in 2006, Sharpton threatened a boycott of GM over the planned closing of an African-American-owned dealership in The Bronx. He picketed outside GM’s Fifth Avenue headquarters. GM wrote checks to NAN for $5,000 in 2007 and another $5,000 in 2008.

Sharpton targeted American Honda in 2003 for not hiring enough African-Americans in management positions.  “We support those that support us,” Sharpton wrote to the company. “We cannot be silent while African-Americans spend hard-earned dollars with a company that does not hire, promote or do business with us in a statistically significant manner.”

Two months later, car company leaders met with Sharpton, and Honda began to sponsor NAN’s events. The protests stopped.

Sharpton landed a gig as a $25,000-a-year adviser to Pepsi after he threatened a consumer boycott of the soda company in 1998, saying its ads did not portray African-Americans. He held the position until 2007.

As for Sony, Sharpton denied that his meeting with Pascal resulted in a donation to NAN.  “I have had no discussion with her about money,” Sharpton told The Post. “There was never even a remote discussion about money.”

SOURCE






Civic Virtue in Decline

As we enter 2015, it's worth looking back on some key cultural indicators from 2014. Here is one bad omen: According to a 2014 Associated Press-GfK poll, Americans' sense of civic virtue is in serious decline. "I don't see any recovery," said Rutgers University Professor Cliff Zukin. "The people who were 40 two decades ago aren't as engaged as the people who were 60 two decades ago. This generational slippage tends to continue."

The poll was a reprise of questions asked in 1984, and it focused on six civic-oriented activities: voting, volunteering, jury service, reporting crimes, knowing English and keeping on top of news and public issues. Only voting and volunteering were embraced as enthusiastically as they were 30 years ago, yet even those numbers are not particularly encouraging. Only 28% of Americans consider volunteering a "very important obligation." And while 75% characterize voting a central obligation of citizenship, talk is cheap: Voter turnout in the last presidential election dipped to 57.5% of eligible citizens compared to 62.3% in 2008.

Voter turnout in 2014? The 36.4% of eligible citizens who bothered to vote represented the lowest turnout in any election cycle since World War II.

Most Americans do feel some sense of duty to the nation, with 90% characterizing the reporting of a crime one has witnessed, voting in elections, knowing English and serving on a jury when called as "somewhat important" obligations of citizenship. And a majority of Americans consider them "very important" obligations. Yet with an exception for voting, those majorities have declined by an average of approximately 13 percentage points over the last three decades.

Leading the pack are adults under 30 years of age. In every category except volunteering, they were less likely than elder generations to see any obligation, and also felt less obligated than young people of the past. Even more ominously, nearly one in four feel no obligation to keep informed, volunteer or speak English.

Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, suggests one possibility for the decline. "There are a lot of arguments about how our society has shifted toward a rights focus instead of an obligation focus," he explains -- even as he remains relatively unconcerned, adding, "It's a little early to pull the alarm bells about the demise of our civic culture."

No, it's not. And while a rights focus versus an obligation focus may account for some of the decline, the 800-pound gorilla is far more obvious: The American Left has virtually removed the concept of American exceptionalism from the classroom, and cheapened the concept of citizenship itself.

With regard to exceptionalism, the New York Post explains that the teaching of civics has been "largely abandoned" in today's public schools, and according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which bills itself as "the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas," those students are less proficient in American history than in any other subject.

Furthermore, what little history they do learn has been twisted to conform to the leftist agenda. As we reported in July, the College Board, the company responsible for the SAT exams and a number of Advanced Placement (AP) exams, has radically redesigned American history curricula to dispense with such things as learning about our nation's Founders. Mark Alexander noted, "The College Board, which sets the curriculum-testing bar, makes only two references to George Washington, one to Thomas Jefferson, and nowhere to be found are Benjamin Franklin and James Madison, among others." In their place, students will learn about class, race and gender wrongs.

One such example is that set by the cities of Seattle and Minneapolis, where Columbus Day has been kicked to the curb in favor of "Indigenous People's Day" -- in all its grievance-mongering glory.

Thus the obvious question arises: Why would one be expected to feel a sense of civic virtue toward a nation one either knows little about, or has been taught to view with contempt?

As for cheapening citizenship, what could be more obvious than the Left's obsession with granting many of its privileges to illegal aliens? Once again California leads the way, as illegal aliens can now get driver's licenses in that state beginning this year. Not to be outdone, the New York City Council is considering a bill to allow non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. That follows Mayor Bill de Blasio's signing of a bill last July providing municipal ID cards to city "residents," regardless of immigration status, beginning this year. De Blasio also signed a bill in November barring the city from alerting federal authorities to illegals in city custody and subject to deportation proceedings, except in rare cases.

And last, but certainly not least, Barack Obama unilaterally decided he will not enforce immigration law against five million illegal aliens -- illegals who have and will compete with American citizens for jobs, and many of whom already receive government services, including welfare and Medicaid.

And legal immigrants who were once expected to assimilate into America's "melting pot" society have been told to "celebrate their differences," which goes a long way toward explaining the reluctance to learn English.

The concerted effort to tarnish the civic pride that American exceptionalism engenders, coupled with the effort to denigrate citizenship itself -- which is exactly what creating politically motivated exemptions for lawbreakers represents -- are all the explanation necessary as to why civic virtue is in decline.

In the same 1961 speech in which Democrat President (and leftist icon) John Kennedy uttered the words "ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country," he also told the nation that "[w]e dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first [American] revolution." Six years later, Ronald Reagan made it clearer in his inaugural address as California governor: "Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction." Civic virtue and the obligations of citizenship cannot be separated from the preservation of freedom. We allow their continued deterioration at our own peril.

SOURCE






Is 2015 The Year History Rebels Against Progressivism?

Is the “arc of history” straining against its preordained leftward course? Or, to use a pop culture reference, has progressivism finally jumped the shark?

Recent events all seem to be either going against basic Progressive assumptions or exposing their imperial ideologies as having no clothes. For a conservative, progressivism has become the gift that keeps on giving.

Does progressivism put too much stock in the abilities of scientific elite to manage the collective? Think Jonathan Gruber and all the climate change science shenanigans. Is Keynesianism a failure and the free market the way to go? Think the economic stimulus vis a vis the oil boom as the true driver of job creation. What about President Obama’s “reset” button with Russia and the assumption that the world would get along if only America would give up its dominance? Think, well, every international event since then.

Is it progress to get “the people” to link arms as they march into the glorious future and share their collective burdens, like, in health care? The realities of Obamacare and the recent election have another thing to say about where “the people” really are at. Or how about the various “narratives” driving Progressive cultural thought—on black-white relations, on campus rape—all falling apart one by one, exposed as the deceptions they are. They can’t even get the world to warm up a bit!

Progressivism’s problems go even deeper, to the very foundations of its ideological assumptions.

Progressivism was birthed from the marriage of Darwinism and social gospel millenarianism. The belief was that God had pre-programmed human DNA to bring about His kingdom as humanity evolved to higher consciousness. This kingdom would emerge through collective political action guided by scientific experts and engineers, an organic whole moving as one, no different than the bats or bees.

It might seem as if the pendulum is swinging back to the Right. Yet, that doesn’t factor in an arguably far more important factor, and that is culture.

That vision simply doesn’t hold anymore. Progressives falsely premised their movement on the unassailable assumption that the only way to attain a collective vision is through centralized government action. Meanwhile the Internet is changing our thinking about education, health care, and investment in ways that make the original vision of progressivism seem, well, ridiculously outdated. It can collectivize action in far less dictating, far more personal, and freer ways. It’s allowing parents like me to say, “Hey! Twofer! My kids can learn online and not get killed.”

If enough people start thinking this way, soon an entire education industry goes the way of the horse and buggy. The same potential exists for health care, retirement investment, and charity, all things the Government Party believes are best managed by, well, government. The trending reality is that the younger the person, the less likely are they to expect Washington to manage their lives. They’d rather look to their smart phones and manage their own lives. Think Uber drivers versus street cars.

So it might seem as if the pendulum is swinging back to the Right. Yet, the above analysis doesn’t factor in an arguably far more important factor, and that is culture, specifically pop culture or media culture. This takes us beyond the politics of the day into spiritual and psychological mechanisms, the determinant forces in our daily world shaping us as people. On this score, we have a ways to go to be considered Rightward. And this isn’t just a reference to gay marriage and transgenderism, even if those are indicators. It has to do with the generally Gnostic nature of American spirituality as reflected in its pop culture.

American Pop Culture’s Gnostic Meta-Narrative

When social commentators employ the word “Gnostic” to describe the leftward tilt of our culture, they don’t mean Americans are joining the Ecclesia Gnostica (in California, of course) or personally giving their heart to some divinity in the Gnostic myth, some Cosmic Christ or Sophia figure. They mean that it’s the ultimate meta-narrative, an overarching context, a cosmic framework in which we place events and persons to make meaning of our world. Insofar as American culture is driven by pop culture, that meta-narrative is Gnostic.

The Gnostic meta-narrative is essentially the heroic journey of Self against the stifling oppression of this world’s ‘systems’ and ‘powers-that-be.’

The Gnostic meta-narrative is essentially the heroic journey of Self against the stifling oppression of this world’s “systems” and “powers-that-be.” According to ancient Gnosticism, the known world is the creation of a lesser demiurge—what most call “God”—as the result of a grand cosmic mistake. This demiurge, along with his “archons” (literally the “powers-that-be”) set up all the systems of the world and its various laws and ruling principles.

Importantly, language is a critical part of the grand crime because it denominates reality, the fabric of which Gnostics deny. Through language the evil demiurge traps our minds into delineated patterns of thought, all rooted in what we falsely think is reality, like little micro-narratives we each have due to our cultural context and from which only a few enlightened ones can escape. (I paraphrase from one Gnostic text proposing liberation from language itself: “aaaeeeieiiiaaaaoooooooooaaaiieeee!!!” Not so different than some of the speaking-in-tongues voodoo otherwise known as leftist thought out there today. Goodness, spend a few awe-inspiring moments at this parade of logical fallacies doubling as an anthem to absolute nonsense.)

Beyond this delusive cosmic arrangement exists the good “God,” the true source of our Selves—ultimately an echo of our Selves—a pre-cosmic, unable-to-be-named (we’re beyond language here), universal “Self field” (Carl Jung’s term) that we’re all collectively part of prior to our births. I am now a Self, a spark of God, trapped in a physical body, but if I wake up to my origins in this other plane, I can begin my journey “home.” This happens when I attain “gnosis,” an esoteric knowledge transcending the current cosmic arrangement. I pretend a beyond-narrative perspective, because I believe I see everything sub specie aeternitatis.

Gnostic Progressivism’s Non-God God

This latter trait has always marked the Progressive mind, this claim to possess a knowledge transcending culture-bound dogma and philosophy. But more than that, the Progressive takes the next step and establishes this knowledge as prescriptive for society. It’s why progressivism has become a species of godless fundamentalism: Sure, we know there’s no God but we also know these absolute truths about what we should do with the environment, economics, and culture. Somehow meaningful assumptions sneak into their necessarily meaningless cosmic architecture, all with a patina of scientific reasoning: Studies show bats all work together; it’s where evolutionary psychology would have led you, too, if you weren’t so dumb and conservative. As if dumb conservatives are an evolutionary anomaly the Left needs to fix, because, um…who appointed them?

We know there’s no God, but we also know these absolute truths about what we should do with the environment, economics, and culture.

This is where their “God” comes in. They grant themselves, somehow, an absolutist cosmic framework by which they determine we’re something other than randomly evolving sludge. If they were consistent with their scientific, materialistic assumptions, they would conclude our species has a destiny no different than previous species destroyed by a meteor. A meteor? Global warming due to man’s individualism? What’s really the difference? Nature—both astronomical and human—is a capricious bitch. Yet somehow Progressives imagine a cosmic truth transcending cold reality—No, really, we are destined to work together and make a difference!—and can’t understand why the rest of their less enlightened species goes on with life as if it’s all what Darwin said, survival of the fittest, adaptation, and—what do all the teens say? Random.

Does this not summarize the lessons we’ve learned over the course of Barack Obama’s presidency? In a sense, Progressives are playing chicken with human nature, believing that if they unmoor humanity from the notion of a God their evolved DNA will lead them to paradisiacal islands where love rules. Of course, only faith can affirm such thinking, and here Progressives would be loath to recognize they are a species of nineteenth-century Evangelicalism. In truth, random evolution could just as well take the ship of humanity careening toward the Bermuda Triangle, where, well, Vladimir Putin, the Islamic State, and other realities prove far more enduring.

Rebelling Against the Elites—Or Co-opting Them

Let’s move along to another theme in the Gnostic meta-narrative, the archetypical role of the archons (the powers-that-be) and their “systems.” A Gnostic’s Weltanschauung is filled with the dark reality of these various systems of suppression: The evil Koch brothers and Halliburton are the archons running the world and setting up systems of control! And on and on. Patriarchy, the law of economic scarcity, the biological reality that male and female are reproductive designations, the twin-cylinder engine of meritocracy and self-interest that drives socialization, the stubborn persistence of ethnic and national boundaries, the language oppressively dictating our reliance on labels and designations for true communication: all these systems, the Gnostic says, are essentially evil.

Take church and ‘change its paradigms’ from doctrines, rituals, and sacraments to images, music, and emotion.

Rebellion, or antinomianism, or deconstructionism against these systems becomes the obvious next step. Burning bras; upending marriage law; screaming at economic realities like scarcity, meritocracy, and self-interest; rioting; treating national borders like arbitrary designations; reducing thought to image-based engagement; such iconoclasm constitutes the necessary breakdown of the old order and its systems.

But let’s back up a bit. There have historically been two kinds of Gnostic. One believes this world can’t be fixed, so why change it? For him life is a desperate quest to escape this earthly veil of tears. We’ll leave this kind of Gnostic alone in the mountains, monastery, or his mom’s basement; he’s harmless. The other kind concerns us, because he believes that, once we awaken to the demiurge’s overlordship of this world, he can take the reins and run the world for the good of humanity—a good, of course, understood only by the Gnostic.

These latter Gnostics are those who embarked on the “long march through the institutions.” Are marriage, church, state, language, and the free market evilly-conceived archons guarding the gates of their various systems, preventing the liberation of Self? Don’t destroy these institutions; deconstruct them, and then construct the new order under their old names. Take church and “change its paradigms” from doctrines, rituals, and sacraments to images, music, and emotion. Take marriage and make it so unidentifiable that positive law becomes its only support. Take the forms of constitutional rule and make them roving lodestars for constantly changing penumbra. Take over the magical powers of marketing but use these powers to take back Kansas for the good guys.

Forging New, ‘Benevolent’ Powers: the Narratives

For the Gnostic-progressive, everything boils down to competing meta-narratives; everything is about “optics.” There is no essential reality, only interpretations according to various narratives. The game is just one big power quest of who will control the narrative? Likewise, there are no flesh-and-blood people filled with good and bad, but only two-dimensional characterizations according to the Gnostic archetypes.

Gnostics believe life is the story of the Self’s liberation from (or reconstituting of) family, church, economic, national, linguistic, and bodily realities in order to pursue the heroic journey of Self-divinization.

Darren Wilson and Michael Brown were not flesh-and-blood people possessed of the capacity for good or evil seen in the light of what actually happened, but symbolic characters in the narrative which preordains the interpretation of their actions: evil cop (archon guarding the gates of the “system”) suppresses innocent black man (an oppressed Self seeking liberation) engaged in lawlessness (Self iconoclastically breaking bonds of the oppressive system of property ownership, racial hierarchy, or whatever).

The same is true for the college rape narrative, the facts be damned. Or the narrative pinned to murder done by an American Muslim screaming allahu akbar! No terrorism to see here; Islam is a peaceful religion; go back to your regularly scheduled programming. Shut up and accept what the pretty people on the news tell you to believe.

Or consider gay marriage and transgenderism according to the Gnostic meta-narrative. The idea that sex can be abstracted from the physical body, based on something science calls the reproductive system, and reconstituted in its current weird ways is nothing short of madness. (Try doing this to the digestive system, say, by institutionalizing public post-meal vomiting at Bob Evans as a form of “alternative eating.” Hey, who are you to say bulimia is a “disorder”? Didn’t psychology call homosexuality a disorder until 1973?) The only way we can arrive at this point is through the Gnostic reading of humanity, which says the Self has nothing to do with the physical body, but rather the body is nothing more than vesture to be tailored any way one wants.

It’s all rooted in the narrative of one’s “Self” being liberated from the stifling oppression of the body and its various determinations (like genital), rooted in the Gnostic notion that life is the story of the Self’s liberation from (or reconstituting of) family, church, economic, national, linguistic, and bodily realities in order to pursue the heroic journey of Self-divinization.

Pop Culture and the Gnostic Meta-Narrative

Pop culture elites almost always assume this meta-narrative. It criss-crosses American culture at all points. It explains neo-evangelicalism’s “New Reformation” focused on self-esteem and “changing paradigms” of worship, trading 2,000 years of tradition for the Swedish self-massage otherwise known as “contemporary worship.” It explains the dominance of pop existentialism in Hollywood’s scripts, existentialism being a species of Gnosticism (see Hans Jonas). It explains deconstructionism and the decline of language, to be replaced by the magical use of language, or cynically using it for social manipulation. It explains the decline of logic and linear or propositional thinking, to be replaced by memes, symbols, logos, and other such sigils. It explains the liberating role given over to the erotic, music, and drugs. It explains our addictive society, ever seeking that buzz, that ecstasy, that utopian life which, of course, can’t happen—nature and reality being what they are. That leaves only melancholy and depression, another sign of America’s pathological Gnosticism. Recall the general melancholy, even suicidal ideation, following the movie “Avatar” a few years back. Returning to real life was downright depressing.

So long as our minds marinate in electronic wonderlands and see the regular burdens of reality as a prison cell to escape, the American soul will always be slouching toward political and cultural collectivism, because we will ever be susceptible to promises that things can “change for the better” or that the world can become “a better place” provided we support some person or movement promising the fulfillment of that hope. We’ll also be ever seeking that charismatic leader sold as the voice and promise of the collective vision.

The Gnostic meta-narrative pretends non-conformist individuality, its focus on the Self and all. It seems so rebellious and antinomian, but only in the way a television ad convinces you and 20 million other people you’re being unique by rebelling against convention and buying these jeans. The dynamic defines so much of Leftism: Rebel against convention, be yourself, and now join that throng of zombies linked arm-in-arm to save the world while the emotive chords of “Imagine” tinkle in the background. Because together we can make a difference! It goes back to Martin Heidegger himself, who after midwifing existentialism became a fascist. Go figure.

Can the Right Take Control of the Narrative?

Can the Right take hold of the meta-narrative and craft its own conservative archetypes and storylines? Can the Right own popular culture? Based on decades of evidence, no, because the facts of life are not a narrative, or the product of optic-crafting or image-manipulation. They just are, and that doesn’t captivate or sell advertising. Pop media is escapist, and who wants to escape back into reality?

To redeem nature or rebel against it. Is that not really the question marking the difference between conservativism and progressivism?

In Gnostic terms, the facts of life are the enemy. So long as our minds are saturated in the meta-narrative that reality and the facts of life are cosmic antagonists in our personal heroic journeys, we’ll never truly embrace—I mean in a long-term, fundamental way—the conservative orientation. True, every day people come to realize the facts of life are something to redeem and not rebel against, but until we see a mass movement of Americans rebelling against mass media itself, or popular culture, these will be exceptions to the rule.

To redeem nature or rebel against it. Is that not really the question marking the difference between conservativism and progressivism? If it is, the fault lines of how this question is answered go back a long, long way, to the question whether the Divine Logos took on human nature to redeem it, or whether, as the Gnostics said, God is so outside this cosmic framework that he couldn’t and wouldn’t do such a ghastly act.

SOURCE






No contraception, no dole

By former Australian Labor Party politician GARY JOHNS.  As so often happens, Gary has drifted Rightward over the years

IF a person’s sole source of income is the taxpayer, the person, as a condition of benefit, must have contraception. No contraception, no benefit.

This is not an affront to single mothers or absent fathers, or struggling parents. Such a measure will undoubtedly affect strugglers, it undoubtedly will affect Aboriginal and Islander people in great proportions, but the idea that someone can have the taxpayer, as of right, fund the choice to have a child is repugnant.

Large families of earlier generations were the result of the combination of absent contraception and the need to have many children, in order that some survive to care for parents in old age.

These conditions do not now apply. Infant mortality is minuscule in all sectors of society, and the taxpayer picks up the tab for aged care.

Therefore, there should be no taxpayer inducement to have children. Potential parents of poor means, poor skills or bad character will choose to have children. So be it. But no one should enter parenthood while on a benefit.

It is better to avoid having children until such time as parents can afford them. No amount of ‘‘intervention" after the fact can make up for the strife that many parents bring down on their ­children.

As commissioner Tim Carmody wrote in the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry report in 2013, ‘‘some families will never rise to the challenge or have the capacity or commitment needed to take responsibility for the children they bring into the world".

And so it was that taxpayers were confronted with two cases over Christmas. Both happened to be indigenous, but of course, many non-indigenous cases abound. The first, in Cairns, involved a single mother with nine children from five fathers.

The usual allegations of failure to support were levelled at authorities. Gracelyn Smallwood, the enduring indigenous north Queensland activist, wanted ‘‘a 24-hour culturally appropriate service" for such mothers.

Indeed, all manner of culturally appropriate support has been forthcoming, but as Carmody found, ‘‘the growing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care has severely outpaced the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers".

Better this woman had fewer children. Better men on benefits also could be prevented from having children.

Which recalls the second case, in Redfern, of contested parenting between the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and a grandmother for her daughter’s, and an absent father’s, six children.

Until June, the grandmother was caring for her six grandchildren and two of her daughters at different times, in a small two bedroom house in Redfern.

The department had taken the children and placed them in foster care.

The facts suggest the outcome was fraught, whatever the court’s decision about who ultimately cared for the children.

The grandmother, the mother and the absent father have been long-term alcoholics and drug abusers. But again, the large number of children made the burden intolerable.

The department outlined a long list of issues that faced the grandmother, for which it suggested multiple interventions.

These included help with her parenting; child protection counselling; drug and alcohol relapse prevention; literacy and numeracy assistance; respite care service; medical, dental and school appointments for the children; issues with the children’s behaviour; issues with people (including family members) staying overnight in the home; children spending time with the parents; children spending time outside the home; housing problems; fin­ancial problems; and other concerns about the safety or welfare of the children.

Other than that, everything was just fine.

The department had a long history of involvement with the grandmother from when she was 16, with her first child.

The grandmother had started drinking alcohol at age 12 and went on to use a range of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and heroin. The grandmother was not focused on her children when they were young. Indeed, her mother was the main carer of her first three children.

The mother acknowledged drinking alcohol to excess, being subjected to assaults by the father and leaving the children unsupervised. There had been a number of ‘‘risk of harm" reports related to both parents’ abuse of alcohol and poor supervision, for example, leaving the children unattended while they were at the local pub.

There was serious domestic violence between the parents.

Some families, some communities, some cultures breed strife. Governments cannot always fix it. Compulsory contraception for those on benefits would help crack intergenerational reproduction of strife. As for inadequate non-beneficiaries, we just have to grin and bear 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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6 January, 2015

How Britain was wrecked in 1965

Fifty years ago the UK was socially, morally and culturally a very different country. In some ways we are a better people. In others, far worse

One moment that captures how much Britain has changed in the past 50 years was the death on Sunday, January 24, 1965, of perhaps the finest leader in our history.

‘Tonight, our nation mourns the loss of the greatest man any of us have ever known,’ the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, told the British people that evening.

He was referring, of course, to Sir Winston Churchill, the man who had led Britain through the darkest hour in our history and onwards to victory.

And in the days that followed, more than 300,000 people waited patiently in the cold to pay their respects to their fallen hero.

‘I have stood for half an hour,’ the BBC’s Richard Dimbleby told his audience, ‘watching this silent flow of people, imagining who they were and where they came from, and realising that this is simply the nation, with its bare heads, and its scarves, and its plastic hoods, and its shopping bags, and its puzzled little children.’

When, six days later, Churchill’s state funeral took place at St Paul’s Cathedral, it seemed like a farewell to an entire era.

As the Labour Cabinet minister Richard Crossman wrote in his diary: ‘It felt like the end of an epoch, possibly even the end of a nation.’ Only now, half a century later, is it obvious how right he was.

For when you look back at Britain in 1965, it seems in so many ways an utterly different country, not just in its skylines, fashions and faces, but in its moral and cultural attitudes.

It was a country in which older men still wore hats and carried umbrellas; in which millions of children sat the 11-plus exam to decide whether they went to grammar school or to a secondary modern; in which pornography was almost unknown, most people did not even have a telephone, and thousands of working-class families still had outside toilets.

At the end of 1964, Wilson’s Labour government had come to power, promising to build a new Britain in the ‘white heat of the scientific revolution’.

But the technological gadgets so familiar today would have struck the vast majority as the stuff of fantasy. Most had never even been on an aeroplane.

Indeed, if you want a symbol of how much Britain has changed in the past five decades, then just think about the difference between today’s Premier League football stars - often foreign-born, living in gated communities and earning as much as £300,000 a week - and by far the most feted player of the day, who hung up his boots on February 6, 1965.

Almost incredibly, Stanley Matthews was still turning out for Stoke City at the age of 50. He played not for money or attention, but for sheer love of the game.

As one friend put it, he remained ‘for all his fame, as down-to-earth as the folk who once adorned the terraces in the hope of seeing him sparkle gold dust onto their harsh working lives’.

To Matthews, who interrupted his career to serve in the RAF during World War II, the antics of today’s spoiled Premier League superstars would have seemed inconceivable.

But he belonged to a generation that has vanished completely: reticent, dutiful and quietly conservative.

Like the death of Churchill, the retirement of Matthews - who was knighted in January 1965 as a reward for his extraordinary career - seemed to represent a threshold between old and new.  In sport, in culture, even in architecture, all the talk was of change.

Modernisation was all the rage, not least in the great cities of the North, where councils were competing to tear down the old Victorian streets and erect great high-rise monstrosities instead.

Partly this was driven by liberal hubris - the belief, long since exploded, that politicians needed merely to flash their chequebooks to banish the ills of the past and remake their world around them. But it was also driven by a profound sense of insecurity.

As everyone knew, Britain was no longer top dog - not militarily, not culturally and not even economically.

As one commentator wrote after Churchill’s funeral: ‘This was the last time that London would be the capital of the world. This was an act of mourning for the Imperial past. This marked the final act in Britain’s greatness.’

The Empire was no more, and the Colonial Office, which had opened in 1854, now had virtually nothing to do.

Already, the Ministry of Defence was drawing up plans to scrap Britain’s military presence in Asia and the Middle East, or ‘east of Suez’, as it was known.

The most galling reminder of Britain’s reduced status, though, came in one of the few possessions it still had left - the colony of Southern Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe.

Rhodesia was a country of almost seven million people, the vast majority of them black Africans.

But it was run by some 275,000 whites, who controlled every lever of political and economic power through a system that even visitors from South Africa (then under apartheid) thought excessively harsh.

Britain was determined not to grant the Rhodesians independence unless they embraced democracy, which would inevitably mean black Africans ruling themselves.

But the white Rhodesians refused to give ground.  On November 11, their leader, Ian Smith, launched the constitutional equivalent of a coup d’état, issuing an illegal Unilateral Declaration of Independence and severing all links with Britain.

Once, Britain’s response would have been swift and decisive. The UN General Assembly even voted to approve British military action if necessary.

But nothing happened. As Harold Wilson knew, he no longer had the military resources to bring the Rhodesian rebels to heel. And so the rebellion festered on for another 15 years, a humiliating reminder of the collapse of British power.

Even if Wilson had had the soldiers, though, I suspect he would have hesitated to use them. A cautious man who hated confrontation, he was much more interested in transforming life at home - with, as it turned out, hugely controversial consequences.

At the top of his list was education. In 1965, many children still took the 11-plus, the crucial test that decided whether they went to a grammar school, which often meant university, a decent job and a leg up; or a secondary modern, which usually meant no university and a crushing sense of failure.  Almost everyone agreed that the 11-plus, which hung over families’ heads like a sharpened sword, had to go.

But many local authorities were rightly proud of their grammar schools, among them Labour authorities who saw them as a crucial avenue of social mobility for bright, working-class children.

Until now, the politicians had allowed local areas to choose for themselves if they wanted to keep their grammar schools or adopt a comprehensive system.

But in January 1965, Wilson appointed a new Education Secretary, the dissolute, arrogant and immensely condescending Anthony Crosland - himself, of course, the product of a public school.

For Crosland, as for so many high-minded, self-righteous progressives through history, what ordinary people wanted was entirely irrelevant. He was determined to impose comprehensive schools on every corner of Britain, whether parents wanted them or not.

In July 1965, he issued his notorious Circular 10/65, using his department’s financial muscle to force local authorities to scrap their grammars and go comprehensive.  ‘If it’s the last thing I do,’ he gleefully told his wife, ‘I’m going to destroy every f*****g grammar school in England.’

This was a shameful moment in our recent history. It is not just that Crosland wilfully destroyed many good schools which had worked wonders to improve the life chances of children from poor, working-class homes.  It is that he saw his role as that of a petty dictator, using the power of Whitehall to trample on local objections.

And ever since, from schools and hospitals to housing developments, politicians have followed his example, giving us the most absurdly over-centralised government in the Western world.

At the time, alas, too many politicians believed that the future lay with gigantic Whitehall super-departments, which would drag Britain kicking and screaming into a brave new world of modernisation - whether people liked it or not.

For Crosland’s generation, their moment seemed at hand. It was in July 1965, for example, that one of his Oxford contemporaries, an earnest moderniser called Edward Heath, became leader of the Conservative Party.

As a grammar-school boy from a humble working-class background, Heath was himself the supreme symbol of social mobility.

Yet like Crosland, he had nothing but contempt for people who wanted to cling on to Britain’s quirky local traditions.

Indeed, the new Tory leader already had a grand plan for Britain, which can be summed up in one word: Europe.

Meanwhile, another old Oxford chum was poised to enter centre-stage.  For it was in December 1965 that the sleek, self-satisfied figure of Roy Jenkins took over at the Home Office, promising to build what he called the ‘civilised society’, but everybody else called the ‘permissive society’.

For the time being, Jenkins’s grand plans - the abolition of hanging, the end of censorship, the reform of the divorce laws and the legalisation of homosexuality - lay in the future.

Indeed, the government had kept remarkably quiet about them during the 1964 election campaign, conscious that their working-class voters had conservative moral attitudes.

But change was coming, all the same. Indeed, on November 13, 1965, there was an omen of the looming moral transformation.

In a late-night debate on a BBC1 satirical show, the theatre critic Kenneth Tynan sparked outrage by using the word ‘f***’.

In fact, it had been used twice before on television, by an Irish playwright and an Ulster railings-painter, but nobody had noticed.  This time, though, all hell broke loose.

No fewer than 133 Labour and Tory backbenchers signed a Commons motion condemning Tynan, while the moral campaigner Mary Whitehouse even wrote a letter of complaint to the Queen.

But nothing came of it. Indeed, Tynan’s career went from strength to strength, a sign that Britain’s increasingly liberal establishment were no longer shocked by the taboos of the past.

But if the Tynan furore suggested Britain was losing its innocence, it was as nothing compared with the terrible revelations in the North-West, where in October 1965 the police began to discover the bodies of children on the moors outside Manchester.

As the journalist Pamela Hansford Johnson put it: ‘A wound in the flesh of our society had cracked open, we looked into it, and we smelled its sepsis.’

For the Spectator magazine, the Moors Murders were a terrible warning.  It was time, the magazine said, ‘to call a halt to the restless belief that change itself is the only ultimate good, and to seek instead a period of social and intellectual stability during which we can once again put down roots and gather strength’.

Those words look grimly ironic today. For in the half-century since 1965, change has been the only constant.

And though much of it has been for the good - the improvement of ordinary people’s living standards, the growth of tolerance, the decline of racism and the wealth of cultural opportunities through the development of technology - it has not all been beneficial.

We may live longer and richer lives than we did 50 years ago. But we are also more anxious, more insecure, more impatient and more unequal.

Old communities have been uprooted, old courtesies have been sacrificed and old traditions have been destroyed.  When we tore them down, we lost something that can never be replaced.

The Britain that died with Churchill that cold day in 1965 was not all good. But it was not all bad either.

And when we look back, we should never be so blind, so arrogant or so self-righteous as to think that we have nothing to learn from the past.

SOURCE






From the chip shop customer banned from pouring his own vinegar to parents told not to sit babies on their laps at nativity play - Elf and Safety authorities claim it wasn't them

Heard the one about the golf course which banned golf buggies? Or the chip shop which stopped customers using salt and vinegar?

They might sound like bad jokes - but they are actually just some of the bizarre excuses which have been trotted out in the name of health and safety.

In the most recent example, a customer in Northumberland was told he could not put his own salt and vinegar on his take-away fish and chips.

It later emerged that the shop had stopped customers using the shakers because they were not sure where customers' hands had been.

The bizarre incident was referred to the Health and Safety Executive's 'myth busting' panel, which works to ensure rules are not used irrationally.

Since it was set up in April 2012, the panel has dealt with nearly 350 cases of gone-wrong health and safety rules, once described by David Cameron as the 'national neurosis'.

Another example from last month's panel included a primary school banning parents from bringing young babies to sit on their laps during the nativity play.

But the panel concluded that the school had probably just made the ruling to prevent the children disturbing the performance - and that it had nothing to do with health and safety.

This year, Brighton and Hove City Council also decided to close the beach on Christmas Day over 'safety fears' after a swimmer had to be rescued while taking part in the event three years ago.

The so-called 'myth busters' at the HSE are now calling on businesses to stop blaming health and safety for poor or over-the-top decisions.

It comes as researchers at the University of Exeter found that half of all cases came related to shops, cafes and leisure centres - which the HSE said is usually a cover-up for poor business practice.

Judith Hackitt, Chair of HSE and the Myth Busters Challenge Panel, said: 'HSE wants to encourage everyone, especially those working in leisure and retail, to make a resolution to stop using the health and safety catch-all excuse.

'Give the real reason for the decision you take. We want people to be honest - giving health and safety the blame is lazy and unhelpful.

'Customers are at the heart any business. Getting rid of over-the-top decisions blamed on health and safety will improve the service customers receive and enable the business to prosper.'  

In another bizarre incident this year, a DIY store refused to cut a door to size, claiming that cutting the wood would compromise the strength of the door, thereby contravening health and safety legislation.

A customer was also left baffled when a trolley assistant on his train journey insisted she had to put the coffee cup on the table rather than handing it to him, again for 'health and safety'.

Earlier this year, a local furniture store told a customer's wife that she could not collect her foot stool from the store due to health and safety - even though the item would have fitted perfectly in her car.

The business stated that the item had to be delivered, which cost around £30. The panel concluded this was a 'poor excuse'.

In another incident, a high street clothing store would not open their fitting rooms on the first day of a sale, apparently due to health and safety.

And a customer who bought some headphones from a high street store was told that if the packaging was opened the headphones could not be returned, even though they had not been used.

Researchers found that 60 per cent of cases were due to a generic 'better safe than sorry' risk averse mind-set, which was especially strong in instances of poor customer service.

In 32 per cent of cases, there was an assumption that there is a rule in place when there is not.

And the study also found that 20 per cent of the health and safety myths affect children, meaning they were 'frequently prevented from engaging in activities in educational and leisure settings on the grounds of health and safety that are found to be baseless'.

Dr Claire Dunlop said: 'Identifying these trends will enable the HSE to develop more focussed communications strategies that tailor advice and raise awareness in specific sectors and about particular populations.

'It will also enable them to support organisations to address the weaknesses in capacity that make health and safety myths more likely.'

In previous cases, a local council was refusing to allow hanging baskets for a Village in Bloom competition until engineers had assessed the lampposts to show they were capable of holding the bracket and basket.

The panel ruled this was a 'classic case' of rules being applied in an 'overly-cautious and inappropriate way'.

Earlier this year, a six-year-old from Hampshire was also told that she could not take a baby chick into school for a presentation amid fears that children could contract bird flu.

The little girl's father, Mike Montgomery, described the rule as 'ridiculous' and said he had even offered to bring in gel for the children to clean their hands with.

In another case, a local council in Scotland banned a dog training club over allergy fears.

The club, which had been running in a community hall for 60 years, was banned because the council claimed that those using the hall next door might be allergic to dogs or catch a disease from the pets.

The myth buster panel said: 'This is a clear example of health and safety being misused. Any concerns about allergies and cleanliness can be easily managed.'

In June last year, a mother in Gloucester was told by the headteacher that her seven-year-old daughter was no longer allowed to wear her homemade frilly socks because they could become a tripping hazard.

But the Health and Safety panel again dismissed the rule.

A spokesman said: 'There is nothing in health and safety law which stipulates how long or short frills on school girls' socks should be.  'These socks are unlikely to be a serious hazard unless they are torn and trailing on the floor. If you tried to ban everything children could trip over, they wouldn't be able to do anything.

'Schools are free to set their own uniform policies but these decisions shouldn't hide behind spurious references to health and safety law.'

In the golf example, buggies were prohibited because they were not 'health and safety authorised'.

Other examples include a council which stopped a nursery teacher taking children to an allotment, and a manager who banned a woman from wearing flip flops in the office because they did not have enclosed toes and a supported back.  

Department for Work and Pensions Minister Mark Harper said: 'The Health and Safety Executive has done fantastic work over the past 40 years to keep working people safe.

'Elf n safety' myths get in the way of what the law is for – saving lives, not stopping people living them.

'No employer or worker should hide behind the health and safety excuses, if they act in a sensible way. If you hear of a bogus health and safety myth, report it to our panel.' 

Set up in April 2012, the myth-busting panel invites those who believe they are victims of a ludicrous health and safety ruling to email in and get a professional view.

The panel may then contest decisions made by insurance companies, local authorities and employers. There have been nearly 350 cases. 

SOURCE







Now Charles' schoolmate declares war on the RSPB claiming the charity has 'lost the plot and are out of control'

One of Scotland’s biggest landowners has joined Sir Ian Botham in attacking the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for wasting millions of pounds in donations and failing to protect wildlife.

John Mackenzie, who was at Gordonstoun school with Prince Charles, has erected signs across his 50,000-acre Gairloch and Conon estate reading: ‘RSPB not welcome here either.’

In November, The Mail on Sunday published an open letter from Sir Ian to the RSPB, in which the former England cricket captain accused the charity of wasting millions of pounds worth of donations, being misleading in its marketing and proving ineffective at helping birds.

Mr Mackenzie told this newspaper: ‘The RSPB has lost the plot and are out of control. They seem more intent on continuing to raise vast sums of money rather than performing their primary role of conservation and promoting the growth of protected species.

‘I admit it is years of frustration and anger boiling over. Landowners, farmers and gamekeepers have always been an easy target, blamed by the society for the poisoning and shooting of raptors. But the RSPB itself is doing damage.

‘They are so big and so powerful now, someone has to try to make them stop and think. If we can make them have a rethink, then at least we will have achieved something.’

Mr Mackenzie revealed that not everyone agrees with his protest; two of his signs have been torn down, while another has been damaged. Undeterred, the 70-year-old, who has been joined by Peter Hingston of the Fairburn Estate, says he has encouraged estates in Evanton, Ardgay, Marybank and the Borders to add their names to his campaign.

Mr Hingston, who has erected two of the signs on his 18,000-acre estate in Ross-shire, said: ‘The intention is to raise awareness of the fact there are some people who are unhappy about the way other people are being treated by the RSPB. I feel strongly about it.

‘They seem to be getting out of control and spending an extraordinary amount of money on publicity. They seem to be going the same way as the RSPCA: taking as much trouble to stop hunting and other sporting activities that irritate them.

‘We have red kites and I was unaware that the RSPB come and visit the sites. I’ve got no objection to them coming but find it irritating to discover they have been driving around looking at things themselves.’

He added: ‘As far as I can see they can do what they like. It rather suggests the RSPB don’t trust landowners to look after their land properly when we do so much for them.

‘I don’t like it when people seem determined to try to catch us out rather than discuss any problems they have with us.’

A spokesman for the RSPB said: ‘While we would prefer a constructive dialogue with anyone who disagrees with our charitable work, it is of course the right of any individual to erect a sign on their private land expressing their opinion.

SOURCE






Australia’s Islamic leadership: condemning alcohol and regretting the death of a murderer

by Bernard Gaynor

Australia’s Islamic leadership: condemning alcohol and regretting the death of a murderer
Sigh.

Sometimes I despair for the future. It is difficult not to. Especially when supposed news organisations publish articles about the Lindt Café Islamic State murderer with the following quote:

“why exactly he took 17 people hostage inside a busy Sydney cafe with a gun and a fake bomb strapped to his chest, we may never know.”

We all know why Man Haron Monis did these things. He was following the blueprint laid out by Mohammad.

What we cannot possibly answer is this: why is news.com.au allowed to pretend to be a ‘news’ organisation? The only way anyone would know that what it publishes is allegedly ‘news’ is because it has the word ‘news’ in its web address. Otherwise, sensible people would simply assume they had stumbled upon the deluded musings of a bunch of 15 year old school girls and their cool, gay BFF. And sensible people would then flee from the site and never return.

I hate to say this, but news.com.au very often makes the ABC look like a bunch of professionals. And that is scary.

At least the good news is that Tony Abbott has called for a complete, thorough and transparent investigation into Man Haron Monis and how and why he ended up here in Australia and was then able to walk into a café with a shotgun.

I support this inquiry.  If it does what it should.

But I will also point out that it is likely to cost millions. And at the end of it we will probably be told that, unfortunately, there is nothing much we can do in a peaceful, democratic society to stop the Man Haron Monises of the world from doing what they do. And that would be a complete waste. So, free of charge, here is all the Prime Minister needs to know.

We need to stop the bleeding hearts from allowing people who believe that Mohammad was a good guy from coming into our country. And then these problems will disappear.  It’s that simple.

Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen and we’ll get a bunch of multicultural mumbo-jumbo.

And I will say bollocks to that right here and now. Peaceful and democratic does not mean unable to do anything to defend oneself. Mr Monis was only here because, under governments both Liberal and Labor, bleeding heart public servants decided that security was less important than stupidity.

I will say that again.  Our nation has made a virtue of stupidity.

As a result, people who hold the same beliefs as the Taliban and Osama bin Laden have been allowed to settle in Australia, claim social security payments and then plot and plan the death and destruction of the rest of us. They have even been able to write foul and abusive letters to the families of slain Aussie Diggers. And get away with it.

Given that, it is no surprise that they have now started taking lethal pot shots at innocent civilians.

This is the entirely logical outcome of the public policy settings of the last decades based on the assumption that multiculturalism is infallible.

And like they say in the movies, assumptions are the brothers of words starting with f and ending in up.

That is exactly what we have seen over the past few days.

And with ‘news’ organisations like news.com.au running around and setting the public agenda, not much is likely to change in the future. Because, for the most part, the journalists are a bunch bleeding heart morons with a death wish for this nation.

They can’t even report the news. They make up fairy tales instead. Like the ‘fact’ that the leadership of the Islamic community has condemned the ‘Lone Wolf’ Monis.

It has done no such thing. Instead, it has tailored its message for the audience. The Islamic community has been exhorted to withstand the heat and informed that ANIC regrets the way the siege ended. It’s the rest of Australia that’s been told the siege was not Islam at work.

And Monis had more social media followers than Australia’s Grand Mufti. So I don’t really know who the Grand Mufti speaks for anyway.

We can see the media’s bulldust when we look at the webpage of the Australian National Imam’s Council (ANIC).

For your information, ANIC are the same bunch of imams that wrote to the Federal Senate in October to tell our nation’s parliament that laws prohibiting the advocacy of terror infringed their religious freedom.

Not that you would know that. That little admission was not deemed ‘newsworthy’.

Yet it is the smoking gun, fired by the nation’s most senior Islamic cleric, that proves Islam is a violent ideology. No other religious organisation felt compelled to tell our 76 Federal Senators not to vote for new anti-terror laws because it impacted on their religious freedoms. I’m guessing that’s because none of the other religious organisations follow a religion that advocates terror. But, you never know, maybe the Islamic leadership were simply trying to defend their peaceful beliefs from the nutters out there offering to ride with oppressed hijab wearing women on the local bus.

Anyway, ANIC’s press releases over the last 8 days are very revealing.

In short, one has condemned a fake imam. And the other has expressed regret at Man Haron Monis’ demise. One has condemned alcohol. And the other has told the Islamic community to remain strong after one of its members murdered two Australians at Christmas time.

As this link shows, ANIC had a go at a fake imam on 10 December. His name is Mostafa Rashed. And he preached that you can drink alcohol as long as you don’t get drunk.

It is a message so outrageous that Australia’s Islamic leadership were compelled to act. Rashed has been named, shamed and condemned. And, guess what? The Koran was even quoted.

But can you find any press releases on ANIC’s website naming, shaming and condemning Monis? Or even quoting from the Koran about why coffee shop slaughter is not halal?

No. No. No and No.

There’s not one having a go at him for sending abusive letters to the families of Australian Diggers.

Not one having a go at him for being a fake sheikh.

Not one having a go at him for setting his ex-wife on fire.

There is not even a press release having a go at Monis after he was charged with 40 criminal sexual offences. For your interest, there is a press release praising marriage laws in Lebanon. They allow old men to make brides of nine year old girls.

In fact, there is no press release having a go at Monis for killing two people in the Lindt Café either.

There is a press release, however, expressing regret at the way the siege ended. I suppose that makes sense. After all, every Muslim in the Lindt Café was slain. That’s Islamophobia for you and it would also explain why ANIC then told the Islamic community to call the Multicultural hotline if they feel the slightest bit threatened by all the racist Australians out there.

So there you have it. Australia’s Islamic leadership have shown the capability and intent to name, shame and condemn fake imams when they break Islamic law. On alcohol. But not when other fake sheikhs make national news headlines for murder. Or sexual offences. Or sending letters to the families of Australia’s war dead.

ANIC obviously thinks that prohibition of alcohol is more important than coffee shop killings. That’s moderate Islam for you.

Now there’s a real news story. And that’s why you will never see it on news.com.au.

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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5 January, 2015

Multicultural boyfriend turns out to be not a good choice



At least this lady did better than Nicole Brown Simpson

A teen in Ohio says she was ambushed by six women who took turns brutally beating her on Christmas Eve — then spread photos and videos of the attack on social media to humiliate her.

Cheyanne Willis, 19, says she was pulling into the parking lot of a suburban Cincinnati mall with her then boyfriend, Quincy Gardner, when he parked and pulled her out of the car.

A group of six women, including two she knows, was waiting for her and allegedly took turns kicking and beating Willis, slamming her face on a car hood and shaving her head, WCPO reported.

Willis is heard pleading and crying in a video of the incident while others in the group shout angrily, according to the station.

The attackers wrote 'I got my a** whopped' on her forehead with eyeliner and signed their names, the video shows.

Willis says they took her purse with $50 and her cell phone, then destroyed her driver's license and threatened to kill Willis if she reported the crime.

'I am scared to leave my house still,' Willis, who was left with a black eye and multiple concussions, told DailyMail.com on Friday.   'I still haven't been to sleep— I hate to fall asleep because I have nightmares.'

Gardner, 20, and Cheyenne Fisher, 21, were charged with robbery in connection with the incident, according to WCPO.

SOURCE







The Year in Art Censorship, Hate Speech and Gender Consent Laws

The statists were busy in 2014

Perhaps it was inevitable: Freed from first-hand experience with either mid-century authoritarianism or the excesses of 90s political correctness, millennials have been enthusiastic about using state power to enforce preferred social and cultural norms. Taken together with the portion of the population that will always embrace big government—sex-fearing social conservatives, sex-fearing feminists, narcissistic idealists of all stripes—these well-intentioned but deluded young statists have been busy busy busy ushering in an era of neo-victorianism.

Unfortunately, this neo-victorianism hasn't involved any economic deregulation, making more drugs available over-the-counter (though freeing birth control from its prescription shackles was a major theme for enterprising Republicans around election time), or a renewed fancy for French cuisine. (All Victorian-era elements I could get behind!) Rather, it's taken the form of fighting to shield delicate sensibilities from "offensive" ideas, limit the parameters of free expression, and return women to the realm of dainty dolls needing special protection. Here are four ways neo-victorianism has reared its ugly head in 2014:

Art Censorship

This year's seen an array of high-profile cases of art censorship, albeit not at the hands of the state. These days, it's more generally commercial or non-profit institutions—a university, a gallery, a theater—caving to public pressure to ban some art work. Brendan O'Neill catalogued 10 such instances from 2014 here.

There's nothing new about places succumbing to public outrage over offensive art. But in the past, this outrage tended to be the purview of conservatives or religious types, and their objections centered on material deemed sacrilegious, sexually explicit, or just plain "vulgar". These days, calls for art censorship come largely from the left, who object to works perceived as racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise intolerant and triggering.

The thing is, there's little market for intentional and explicitly hateful art these days, and it's not works of this variety that receives the wrath of our nouveau Anthony Comstocks. Ironically, the art modern progressives deem beyond the pale tend to be pieces aimed at challenging bigotry, misogyny, etc. In one recent instance, students at the University of Iowa demanded—and the administration obliged—that a visiting professor's installation highlighting race-based violence be removed because it involved the "real and scary symbol" of a Klu Klux Klansman. In London, protesters demanded that the Barbican shut down an exhibition designed to "confront colonial atrocities committed in Africa" for being racist.

Kara Walker, a black artist whose work often deals with racial stereotypes, was criticized harshly for a Brooklyn sculpture dealing with racial stereotypes. Artist Allen Jones' pieces designed as commentary on the objectification of women got him roundly panned as a misogynist. In New York, the Metropolitan Opera's production of "The Death of Klinghoffer"—a play concerning the murder of an American Jew by Palestinian terrorists in 1985—was met with protests for being anti-Semitic because it "humaniz(ed) the terrorists' actions."

Scotland-based writer and sociologist Tiffany Jenkins summed up the travesty of all this nicely in a recent piece for The New Republic. "Underlying these protests ... is the idea that we, the audience, are not capably of empathy, and that the purpose of art is not is not to create and convince people of other worlds but to reflect the reality as the self-selecting chosen ones see it," wrote Jenkins. "It is an exclusive and divisive outlook, and it is one that ultimately negates the basis of art."

Sex-Trafficking Hysteria

In America and around the world, prostitution prohibitionists have been embracing a new rationale for why it's imperative to criminalize the sex trade. Gone are the days when it was good enough to simply say "the dirty whores have it coming" because they're dirty whores, or allude to some vague "societal ills" that prostitution causes. These days, the culturally correct way to criminalize prostitution is to define all sex workers as de facto victims and all clients as committing "violence" against them—hence the need to make purchasing sex illegal and selling sex slightly less illegal. It's a theory of prostitution law that started in Sweden and Norway and officially came to Canada this year with the passage of Bill C36. It's also begun to assert itself in American cities through the employ of "prostitution diversion" programs, special sex-work courts, and an increased focus on punishing (and publicly embarassing) johns.

In order to make these strategies more publicbly palatable, anti-prostitution advocates (and the lawmakers who love them) have been doing their damndest to drum up fear about the great sex-trafficking menace. Sure, sex trafficking exists, and like all human trafficking it's terrible. But it's nowhere near as prevalent as these folks would have us all believe. Time and time again, their numbers and rhetoric have been debunked; in 2014 alone, the "true stories" of several famous sex-trafficking victims-turned-advocates have fallen apart. But this doesn't stop politicians like Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) from pushing "anti-sex trafficking" legislation that conveniently "saves" women by expanding federal wiretapping authority and web censorship capabilities. As I've said before, when the government goes after "sex trafficking", somehow everybody becomes a little less free.

What does all this have to do with neo-victorianism? The ideas that 1) no woman could possibly consent to sex work, and 2) sex traffickers are lurking around every corner are tenets that both took hold in the Victorian era. Before this, prostitution was seen as the purview of wicked harlots who delighted in defiling the husbands of God-fearing women, but a shift in Victorian England social mores soon branded prostitutes as victims—forced into it by hard times, or perhaps ignorant of the error of their ways (what today's zealots might call "false consciousness"), or most likely made to do it by evil men.

Back then, no one used the term "sex trafficking" but instead spoke of women sold into "sexual slavery"—and by the time this meme hit America it was a 'hide-your-kids, hide-your-wife, they're making everyone sex slaves!' kind of panic. As Thaddeus Russell detailed in Reason's May 2014 issue, "thousands of newspaper articles, books, sermons, speeches, plays, and films depicted a vast underground economy of kidnappers and pimps" leading young women to their ruin, but "there is scant verifiable evidence of American women being kidnapped and physically forced into prostitution." Nonetheless, "the claims made by the movement against 'white slavery' helped create, expand, and strengthen the police powers of an array of government agencies."

Hate Speech Hoopla

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), has called ours a "new age of sensitivity and compassion." He doesn't seem to mean that as a compliment. It's not that sensitivity and compassion aren't worthy norms, but in trying to enforce them by fiat, today's progressives—particularly of the sort vocal on Twitter and on college campuses—"are echoing, in rationale and substance, the thinking of the old Victorian censors both in the UK and the United States," Lukianoff told the British mag Spiked. "Campaigners in both eras share this idea that there are certain moral ends which are so much more important than someone’s measly right to freedom of speech."

Today, the way around normally robust respect for free speech in America is to label something "hate speech." Who could be for hate speech? With that rhetorical construction, it's a politically toxic thing to defend. But of course for the First Amendment to mean anything, noxious sentiment is exactly the kind of speech it much extend protections to.

This is a hard sell, however, to young progressives and Twitter mobsters, who seem to a) take defending "free speech" as code for "I hate blacks, women, trans people, gays, and I rape puppies", b) believe it's possible to definitively classify what is and isn't "hate speech", and c) restrict or punish hate speech without (unacceptable) unintended consequences.

Obviously, I reject all three of those ideas. The first is patently ridiculous; the last reflects hubris and shortsightedness. The second reminds me of a book I'm reading right now on the history and future of privacy law (Intellectual Privacy, Neil Richards).

In the late 1800s, one of the main motivations in conceiving of invasion of privacy tort law was to prevent newspapers from publishing any info on the "private" realms of (rich) people's lives. Though the distinction between private and public facts was surely a blurry one, lawyers Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis wrote in their famous 1890 paper on the issue, certainly it was something courts and law enforcement could easily sort out on a case by case basis.

"The right to privacy was born as a reactionary defense of the status quo," wrote Stewart Baker at the Volokh Conspiracy. "Then, as now, new technology suddenly made it possible to spread information more cheaply and more easily. This was new, and uncomfortable. But apart from a howl of pain—pain 'far greater than . . . mere bodily injury'—Brandeis doesn’t tell us why it’s so bad."

That privacy-invading speech caused unquantifiable emotional costs, and that these warranted the overrule of normal First Amendment protections, was at the core of early privacy tort law. And circling this were cries for civility and worry over the ways new cameras and publishing mores were enabling crimes against it.

Sound familiar? The rational for banning/criminalizing hate speech is that it's so emotionally traumatizing it serves, even in the absence of any incitement or physical consequence, as a form of violence, and this trumps free speech concerns. When Professor Steven Salaita had a tenured job offer rescinded over comments he made concerning Israel and Palestine this summer, many insisted that it wasn't his political opinions but his uncivil tone—his "hate speech"—that was unacceptable. When folks rush to take a legislative sledgehammer to problems like sexting or digital harassment, it's done under the logic that the Internet, smart phones, and social media have imbued the issue with a completely new and unprecedented urgency.

As a Supreme Court justice in the 1920s and '30s, Brandeis came to reject his early privacy paper's possibility of a court system equipped to separate privacy-infringing speech from permissible speech. And its concept of a legal scheme built on separating private and public spheres turned out to contain some pretty nasty assumptions about gender roles and a sexist, inflated concern for women's purity and protection. The hindsight of the past seems to hold at least some considerations relevant to speech-limiting efforts today.

"We may well be an increasingly ill-mannered society, one that's soaking in violent video games, instantly available online porn, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo like our mothers used to soak their hands in Palmolive liquid," wrote Nick Gillespie earlier this year in a defense of vulgarity. "But we are also a society in which youth violence, sex, and drug use are all trending down. If that means putting up with, you know, ladies cursing and other examples of unambiguously crass behavior, it seems a small price to pay."

We are also a society that—for all the way's social media's microscope may make it appear otherwise—is becoming more tolerant, more open-minded, less bigoted, less homophobic, and less accepting of sexual violence. Now is not the time to panic, and certainly not to trample rights; why make bigots into free-speech martyrs? If tolerance and equality truly are winning on their own merits (and I think they are), then letting their opponents freely express their grievances with them can only help.

Gendering Consent

In the Victorian era though parts of last century, men were considered unable to be raped. Prostitutes were considered unable to be raped, as were female slaves. Married women were unable to be raped by their husbands. And the logic behind these all dismissals lay in the fact that rape's criminalization had naught to do with its general violation of bodily autonomy. Rape was, rather, a very specific offense rooted in the guarding of (white) women's purity. Rape was considered wrong only so far as it defiled a "good" girl or woman.

This is obviously a shit way to look at rape, and certainly one that none (or at least few) now wish to return to. For decades, feminist-minded folk have been working to obliterate the more entrenched distinctions, arguing that things like sexual history or a prior relationship with a perpetrator are irrelevant. And while some more radical feminists object, mainstream feminists have also been leading the charge to recognize sexual violence against men as real, too.

But in recent years, something subtly undermining of these concepts has been brewing, and it reached a tipping point in 2014. This is the year that The Great Campus Rape Crisis became front-page news, as California passed "affirmative consent" legislation and the Obama administration mandated new ways for universities to handle sexual assault. These developments haven't been universally bad—the way colleges handle sexual assaults does deserve examination, and encouraging young men and women to think about the way they give and express consent could be a worthy endeavor. Yet as Reason's Robby Soave, Cathy Young, Shikha Dalmia, and I have all elaborated on here previously, the way we've been going about these things is something of a disaster.

I won't rehash all our particular complaints (which are myriad) with California's affirmative consent legislation and many university sexual-conduct codes. For my purpose here, the part that matters is the gendered double standards. In everything from the way people talk about these rules to the way they're written, male students are almost always presumed to be the aggressors, and female students the victims. In the realm of words, perhaps this isn't so pernicious—it is the more common scenario, and we have to be able to talk without 1,000 caveats sometimes. But often the talk belies deeper things than just a need for shorthand. In practice, we see things like female students being deemed unable to give legal consent if they're intoxicated, while intoxicated male students are considered totally legally culpable. We see the idea that saying "no" to unwanted sexual encounters may be too taxing for women to handle—and thus we should come up with new legal standards rather than teaching women to toughen up and assert their own sexual wishes. We get a scenario where rape means one thing for women, and something different for men.

When you add in the class element at play here—women on college campuses experience equal or lower levels of sexual violence than similarly aged women not in college, yet our focus on "ending rape" and teaching consent has centered almost exclusively on collegiate sex lives this year—a picture disquietingly similar to the old rape law disparities begins to emerge. Men and many women are considered to retain their agency when drinking, considered strong enough to voice non-consent when they're non-consenting, and to report sexual violations without coddling; but some young women, our elite young women, are just too delicate for these type of expectations.

SOURCE






The politician, the coach, and the Founding Father

Honesty and integrity in the face of temptation is so rare that it made big news

by Jeff Jacoby

IN A CHRISTMAS DAY update to his email list and Facebook followers, Governor-elect Charlie Baker touched all the right notes: gratitude to Massachusetts voters who elected him, admiration for "the ideas and the genuine commitment" he encounters in his travels across the commonwealth, sobriety regarding the gaping hole in the state budget ("the only outstanding question is how big it will be"), and optimism about the "smart, experienced, and unabashed" individuals who have agreed to join his new administration.

But the most valuable part of Baker's message was his celebration of Derek Herber, a track coach at North Attleborough High School, who led his team to a second consecutive Division II state championship last spring — only to realize after the trophy had been awarded that a scoring error had given North Attleborough too many points.­­

"Herber didn't hesitate," Baker wrote. "He called state officials and notified them that Central Catholic from Lawrence had actually won the meet, and his team had finished second. Then he faced his kids — to inform them about what he had done and what it would mean. And everybody got it."

Baker is by no means the first to extol Herber's sportsmanship. After relinquishing the trophy, the coach told the Boston Globe, he was interviewed 34 times — which was 33 more interviews than he gave after winning the state title in 2013. To be praised for his probity by the incoming governor, however, was especially significant.

Some months back I deplored Baker's choice of "loyalty" as the quality he most valued in others. Loyalty in the abstract is a fine trait, but loyalty-above-all is an invitation to corruption, particularly in politics. The favoritism and venality in the Probation Department scandal, I wrote at the time, were only the latest reminder of what can happen when loyalty trumps integrity. So it was heartening to see Baker make a point of singling out Coach Herber for putting integrity first and giving his young athletes a demonstration of honor far more valuable than any mere trophy.

When such exemplars of good character are "recognized for what they are and what they mean," Baker wrote, "we all benefit." That is absolutely right, and it can't be emphasized enough. Which is why I hope Baker will seek out more opportunities to celebrate standout models of admirable character, and to make clear that the inculcation of good character is as important a policy goal as economic development or reducing opiate addiction.

"The development of character is perhaps the central task of any civilized society," affirms Richard V. Reeves in a recent essay in the journal National Affairs. To a generation raised to think that it is no business of the state to concern itself with shaping the civic virtue, prudence, and integrity of its citizens, it may seem radical or illiberal to claim otherwise. In reality, argues Reeves, a British historian and philosopher now based at the Brookings Institution, to focus on the importance of character is to "echo classical liberal ideas about what government is for" — ideas stretching from the ancient Greek and Roman republics to the thinkers who inspired America's founding fathers in the 18th century.

Good character reveals itself in the choices individuals make, above all when those choices pit integrity against expediency, self-discipline against temptation, or ethical standards against popularity or personal advancement.

"Every man has his price!" exclaims the ambitious Richard Rich in the opening scene of "A Man for All Seasons" Robert Bolt's classic play about Sir Thomas More. "In money.… Or pleasure. Titles, women, bricks-and-mortar, there's always something." The only defense against that cynical worldview is good character, and only where good character is cultivated can freedom and democracy thrive.

Over and over the founders underscored the indispensability of character to liberty. At his inauguration next week, Baker, like his predecessor, will take an oath to "bear true faith and allegiance and … support the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts." The principal author of that constitution was John Adams, and his remarkable charter — the oldest still in effect anywhere in the world — directly links character and democratic statecraft.

"Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people," the constitution declares, are "necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties." Accordingly, it is "the duty of legislators and magistrates … to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings … among the people."

When good character is scarce, social problems multiply, opportunity shrivels, and freedom recedes. Every society needs more Coach Herbers, and the integrity they exemplify. "Let's be great again, Massachusetts," exhorts the incoming governor. It will take a lot to make that happen, but character is where it starts.

SOURCE






This TV Star Doesn’t Consider Herself a Feminist



Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting doesn’t consider herself a feminist. “The Big Bang Theory” star danced around the question in a new interview. “Is it bad if I say no?” she told Redbook magazine. “It’s not really something I think about.”

Then she elaborated: "Things are different now, and I know a lot of the work that paved the way for women happened before I was around. … I was never that feminist girl demanding equality, but maybe that’s because I’ve never really faced inequality."

Cuoco-Sweeting, who is 29, has a point: Feminists from past eras did achieve many of the goals.  We’re no longer stuck in an era where women can’t hold many jobs or receive the same level of education as men.

In fact, today young women often are outpacing young men. Consider this data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in a study released in March: “By 27 years of age, 32 percent of women had received a bachelor’s degree, compared with 24 percent of men.”

That’s a sizeable gap.

Young women also are earning more than their male peers in some situations: “Census data from 2008 show that single, childless women in their 20s now earn 8 percent more on average than their male counterparts in metropolitan areas,” wrote American Enterprise Institute’s Christina Hoff Summers in a 2012 U.S. News and World Report article.

In fact, Cuoco-Sweeting herself is a prime example of a successful woman: She makes $1 million per episode.

Now, it’s true that not every feminist goal has been achieved. Although it’s certainly possible fewer women than men would like to be executives or politicians, it would be great to live in a world where more than 5 percent of the CEOs of Fortune 500s were women and where more than one out of five senators were women.

It’s also concerning that we live in a nation where legislation that would have banned abortion on the basis of sex selection couldn’t pass in the House of Representatives two years ago. Shouldn’t feminists want to make sure that unborn girls aren’t discriminated against?

But for many, perhaps even most, women, serious sexism isn’t a problem they have to face in their day-to-day lives.  That’s something we should celebrate: that women don’t have to spend time and energy fighting for equality anymore, that they are free to focus on other things instead.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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4 January, 2015

Branded racists, bigots and homophobes at the age of THREE

How thousands of children are being blacklisted by schools for using innocuous playground taunts

Children as young as three are being branded racists, homophobes and bigots over playground taunts.

Thousands of pupils are being reported for so-called hate crimes after using innocuous words such as ‘Chinese boy’, ‘Somalian’ or ‘gay’.

Teachers also log insults like ‘doughnut’ and ‘fat bucket of KFC’. Even calling a pupil a ‘girl’ can be classified as abuse.

Schools file the incidents for local education authorities. The details are also passed to Ofsted inspectors who are required to assess how teachers deal with bullying.

Records of a child’s ‘prejudice-related’ behaviour can be passed to their next school, potentially casting a shadow over their secondary education.

Alleged offences by more than 4,000 pupils were logged in just 13 council areas – meaning the national total may stretch into the tens of thousands.

Civil liberties campaigners warned the practice could have serious consequences for any children labelled as bigots.

Josie Appleton, of the Manifesto Club, a civil liberties group, said: ‘Particularly worrying is the expansion of incident recording and reporting to ever-greater categories of prejudice, which seem limited only by the strange imagination of education officials.

‘One primary school pupil calling another a girl suddenly becomes a sign of gender image prejudice, subjected to recording requirements more thorough than accompanying most burglaries. A reality check is urgently required.’

The reporting of racist incidents in schools became recommended practice for local education authorities across the country under Labour.

The Coalition government made clear that schools were no longer under obligation to submit these reports to LEAs and should exercise their own judgment in deciding whether to record.

However, data published by the Manifesto Club – and gained under the Freedom of Information Act – shows that reporting and recording has continued and in some cases has been expanded.

The 30 LEAs who recorded the most abuse under Labour were surveyed and 13 continue to collect racist incident reports from schools and six have expanded their recording to include a broader range of ‘prejudice-related’ bullying.

The majority say they ask, recommend or encourage schools to keep their own records.

In 2012-13 – the latest available statistics – 4,348 incidents were reported to the 13 LEAs.

Of the 1,909 incidents where the age of children involved was specified, over half were in primary schools and astonishingly, four were in nursery schools.

In one case, at a Brighton school nursery, a child aged three or four was the subject of an incident report and given counselling.

Looking at pictures of people with different eye colours he had said ‘yuk not black’ and discarded all the black faces.

SOURCE






Divorce laws should be tougher on women because young girls think that the key to success is to marry a rich footballer

British divorce laws have made marriage into prostitution

Britain's divorce laws should be tougher on women because they are encouraged to shun work and 'find a footballer' to marry, a female peer has said.

Baroness Deech, who is standing down as the chair of the Bar Standards Board, believes the divorce system is 'terribly unfair' and needs urgent reform.

She says as the law stands young women are sent the 'bad message' to find someone rich and 'once you are married you need never go out to work'.

'Never mind about A levels or a degree or taking the Bar course — come out and find a footballer,' she told the Financial Times.

She believes that couples should settle the terms of their divorce before their wedding and this would stop women marrying successful men and then running off with a large share of their wealth.

The peer is currently backing a House of Lords bill that would make prenuptial and postnuptial agreements agreements legally binding.

She said: 'We have a whole area of law which says once you are married you need never go out to work, [that] you are automatically entitled to everything you might need even if that marriage breaks down and it's your fault.'

The system is in sharp contrast with calls for equality where women should get half the posts on FTSE 100 boards and the Supreme Court, she said.

Last month the husband in Britain’s biggest ever divorce case should receive the lion’s share of the £870million fortune at stake because he did most to make their fortune, a judge ruled.

Sir Chris Hohn, son of a Jamaican motor mechanic, will take more than half a billion pounds from the wreck of his marriage due to his extraordinary achievements as an ‘activist investor’.

His City coups were worth billions and included a profit of more than £600million from the takeover that led to the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as a £100million profit from last year’s botched privatisation of Royal Mail.

Sir Chris’s wife Jamie Cooper-Hohn is likely to appeal against the decision by Mrs Justice Roberts to deny her an equal share of the couple’s vast wealth.

Mrs Cooper-Hohn, who has been awarded £330million, raised their four children and ran the charitable foundations into which her husband poured most of the money made.

The judge said, however, that he had also played a major role in managing the charities and that the couple would have no fortune to divide without him. 

Lady Deech has previously argued that changes to divorce laws would also better protect career women.

She said on Radio 4’s Sunday Programme earlier this year: ‘Lots of young women these days are working, earning well, and would feel it extremely unfair if a young man who they marry and perhaps leaves them is going to take with him a sizeable chunk of what they have worked so hard for.

‘The position of women has changed in the last 40 years and it’s time to recognise that in this country, like virtually every country in the world, two people who are getting married ought to be able, if they want, to make a contract about how their assets are to be divided if they divorce.’

SOURCE






There WAS an Establishment cover-up of child abuse as the powerful looked after themselves, says former inquiry chief

There was an Establishment cover-up of horrific child abuse because powerful figures looked after themselves, former judge Lady Butler-Sloss warned today.

Senior members of British society in the past did not think child abuse was as serious or important as protecting politicians and other members of the elite, she suggested.

Lady Butler-Sloss was forced to quit as chairman of the wide-ranging inquiry into allegations of a cover-up because her brother was in the Cabinet in the 1980s.

But she insisted if she had stayed in post and been able to run the inquiry she would have 'cut the whole thing open'.

Lady Butler-Sloss's resignation in July came less than a week after David Cameron agreed to an inquiry into allegations that politicians, the police, the judiciary, celebrities, the BBC, the NHS and the Church conspired to cover-up abuse over several decades.

It followed concerns that her brother Michael Havers sat in the Cabinet as attorney general during the 1980s - the period on which claims of a cover-up are focussed.

Lady Butler Sloss insisted she could have done the job, arguing that 'as a judge with 35 years' experience on the bench, I was quite able to be independent and say that people got it wrong and to be critical of them'.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, which she guest edited today, she said abuse over decades was kept from public view.

'I do believe the establishment has in the past looked after itself, partly because people did not really recognise the seriousness of child abuse and they did not think it was so important, and it was important to protect members of the establishment,' she said.

'So I would want to go in with a knife and cut the whole thing open and expose it, as to what happened, bearing in mind, of course, that the views of those people are not the views of people today and that is a difficulty.'

She said she took the job of chairing the inquiry not because she want to do it but it 'needed to be done'.  'It never crossed my mind that my brother would be an impediment.'

In October the second chairman of the inquiry, Fiona Woolf, was forced to resign after failing to declare the extent of her links to Tory peer Leon Brittan, who was allegedly handed a dossier detailing abuse.

But Lady Butler-Sloss said that effectively giving campaign groups the final decision on who chairs the inquiry 'creates real problems'.

She said: 'I worry that the victims, survivors - for whom I have the most enormous sympathy, and as a judge I tried a great many child abuse cases, I really have huge sympathy for them - but for them to be deciding who should become the person chairing it creates real problems.

'Because if you did not have, in the past, a position of authority, how are you going to be able to run the inquiry?

'You need someone who knows how to run things and if you get someone from an obscure background with no background of establishment, they will find it very difficult and may not be able, actually, to produce the goods.'

She also defended the decision to make Fiona Woolf a Dame in the New Year's Honours List, so soon after her resignation.  She said criticism of the honour was 'very unfair' as it was in recognition of her term as Lord Mayor of London. 'The very least that the honours system could do would be to honour a woman who has got such a distinguished post.

'Unfortunately she had, like myself, a brief period where she had agreed - for goodness sake, she had agreed to do a very disagreeable job to become chairman.  'And because she happened to know Leon Brittan, she was unacceptable to the survivors and therefore she stood down.'

But Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who exposed the Cyril Smith child sex scandal, said the damehood 'seems inappropriate', adding: 'I can think of many more worthy recipients … once again it looks like the Establishment are looking after their own.'

SOURCE






HarperCollins apologises for 'offensive' omission of Israel from atlas and promises to pulp all remaining copies

Publishing giant HarperCollins has apologised for omitting Israel from an atlas and has vowed to destroy any remaining copies.

A spokesman said the company 'regrets' the omission from the Collins Middle East Atlas and has removed it from sale. All remaining stock will be pulped.

HarperCollins was criticised for not labelling the country on the map - bought by English-speaking schools in the majority-Muslim Gulf, while clearly marking Gaza and Jordan.

Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins, had told The Tablet that including Israel would have been 'unacceptable' to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated 'local preferences'.

But in a statement, a spokesperson told MailOnline: 'HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas.

'This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. 'HarperCollins sincerely apologises for this omission and for any offence caused.'

Bishop Declan Lang, chairman of the Bishops' Conference Department of International Affairs, told The Tablet: 'The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel's belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world.

'It will not help to build up a spirit of trust leading to peaceful co-existence.'

US-based HarperCollins Publishers is is a subsidiary of News Corp, whose executive chairman, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is famously pro-Israel.

Dr Jane Clements, director of the Council of Christians and Jews, told The Tablet: 'Maps can be a very powerful tool in terms of de-legitimising "the other" and can lead to confusion rather than clarity.

'We would be keen to see relevant bodies ensure that all atlases anywhere reflect the official UN position on nations, boundaries and all political features.'

Maps which recognise Israel include Google Maps, Apple Maps, MapQuest, National Geographic, Peters World Map, Yahoo! Maps and Lonely Planet.

New York-based HarperCollins is one of the world's leading English-language publishers.

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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2 January, 2015

Lone wolves, stray dogs and leaderless resistance

THE lone-wolf attack on the Lindt cafe in Martin Place, Sydney, reflects a pattern of jihadist act­ivity that merits much closer analysis than it receives from sec­urity agencies and Western governments. Instead, in the aftermath of such attacks a left- leaning commentariat, security agencies that often failed to keep the lone actor under surveillance and terrorist experts dismiss the incident as the one-off act of a deranged lunatic.

Indeed, to take such actors seriously, it is alleged, only plays into a socially divisive politics of fear. Thus, The Guardian’s Yassir Morsi considers Man Haron Monis “a desperate man with a violent past” and academic experts such as Clive Williams inform us that Monis received “no direction from the Islamic State”, while Greg Barton contends “it’s a one-off home-grown incident”.

The propensity to regard religiously motivated violence as the actions of deracinated loners is not confined to Australia. A similar complacency characterised the Canadian response to the attacks in October by Martin Rouleau in Quebec and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau in Ottawa and the US response to Zane Thompson’s hatchet attack on New York pol­icemen in the same month.

This response dismisses too quickly a strategy by Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as al-Nusra Front, that Western governments need to address forcefully. From the Tsarnaev brothers’ attack on the Boston Marathon and the murder of Lee Rigby in south London in 2013 to this year’s Ottawa and New York attacks, the Lindt cafe assault and the hit-and-run attacks in France before Christmas, such incidents have become the new normal.

They achieve what Cold War terrorist organisations sought, namely “many people watching and not many dead”. Violence motivated by the Irish Republican Army or the Palestine Liberation Organisation in the 1970s thrived on the oxygen of publicity. Such tactics increasingly suit the social media agenda of Islamic State to keep the West off balance by striking at its cosmopolitan heart.

It is not a coincidence, then, that an Islamic State online fatwa in September required potential jihadis to “kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever … in any manner or way”. The potential assassin requires no authority for the deed because: “It is immaterial if an infidel is a combatant or a civilian. The sentence is one” — and it is, of course, death. The attacks in New York, Canada, Sydney, Dijon and Nantes predictably followed in the wake of this social media appeal.

In other words, although security services and the media dismiss the actors as “stray dogs” rather than lone wolves, their attacks serve a wider strategic purpose and reflect the thinking of the most important jihadist tactician since 9/11, Abu Musab al-Suri. Al-Suri possesses impeccable Islamist credentials. Syrian in origin, he gained Spanish citizenship through marriage in 1984. Subsequently he spent time in Peshawar, as al-Qa’ida began to take shape, with Osama bin Laden’s mentor, the Palestinian Abdullah Azzam. Moving to Londonistan in the early 90s, he joined the al-Qa’ida-linked group al-Muhajiroun.

After 9/11 al-Suri recognised that the global Islamic resistance movement required a more flexible strategy than al-Qa’ida had pursued. After 2003, al-Suri’s new third-generation jihadism promoted leaderless resistance. In 2005, he published online his Global Call to Islamic Resistance. It called for spontaneous, self-radicalised actions, “which will wear down the enemy and prepare the ground for waging war on open fronts … without confrontation in the field and seizing control of the land, we cannot establish an (Islamic) state, the strategic goal of the resistance”. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence arrested al-Suri in 2007 and renditioned him to Syria.

American Islamist Anwar al-Awlaki, however, published five articles extracted from Global Call in Inspire, the English online journal that made jihad hip. Significantly, the Syrian government released al-Suri in 2011 and his thinking now directly influences the online strategy of Islamic State and al-Nusra.

Yet, as with its ideology, Islamic State derives its strategy from anti-democratic Western sources. While the Islamist death cult draws on totalitarian ideologies for its sanctification of violence, the concept of leaderless resistance derives from the strategic thinking of American white supremacists. Ironically, it was Aryan Nations strategist Louis Beam who in the 1980s promulgated the concept of leaderless resistance where “individuals and groups” serve the ideological end, but “operate independently of each other”. Meanwhile the lone-wolf attacker first appeared in William Luther Pierce’s Hunter (1989). It inspired Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 attack on the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City.

The media, security agencies and academe did not consider McVeigh insane. They took the bomber and the ideology motivating right-wing extremism seriously. By contrast, faced with a far more determined and ubiquitous Islamic State, an oblivious commentariat presents the current wave of home-grown attacks as isolated events, ignoring the group’s broader strategic purpose.

This wilful neglect underestimates the politically destabilising intent of lone-actor violence. Al-Suri and Islamic State have considered tactics and a strategic goal.

In response, Anglosphere governments engage in a discourse of denial leading to a disjuncture between what Islamists say, what the media and security community say they mean and what Islamists actually do. Such self-delusion will ultimately prove self-defeating.

SOURCE






I'm one of the 99.7%

UKIP is Britain's most conservative political party

In the media, we hear a lot about the 0.3% - those candidates for Ukip who've said or done stupid things, things which neither Ukip nor anyone else in the country would. They've had the oxygen of publicity for far too long. I want to talk about the 99.7%, about what we believe.

We're the champions of democracy, the people who believe that if your MP is involved in a scandal you should, if you have enough support, be able to force a vote to remove them. We're the people who put that into practice: when Douglas Carswell MP and Mark Reckless MP joined Ukip, both of them immediately put themselves before the voters in their constituencies and asked them to re-elect them. They did. But before Ukip came along, politicians who defected never bothered to consult the people that matter: you. We're the people who want the public to be able to force politicians to listen through calling a referendum on key issues, to drag democracy kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

We're the people who believe there's a wider world out there, and that we should be part of it. We shouldn't be part of yesterday's club, looking only to a declining Europe when the globe is changing. We should be developing trade links internationally, with emerging markets like China and India. We should be helping the world's poorest nations through trade - not through policies which send aid yet trample on their ability to develop their own economies.

And whilst we're on the subject, our bloated foreign aid budget of £1billion a month has been going to Argentina, to countries with nuclear and space programmes, and even to countries in the G20. Ukip believes that aid should have a focus on relief from disaster rather than creating dependence. Humanitarian and other aid should be used quickly and efficiently; how many lives could have been saved from Ebola if the political will had been there sooner?

We're the people who are sickened that hard-working people on the minimum wage are subject to Income Tax, and would raise the tax threshold so that no-one doing a standard working week on minimum wage would pay a penny piece. We're the people who believe in tax simplification, the people who think the small business of today is the big business of tomorrow, the people who don't believe that multinationals should be able to lobby for excessive legislation to give them a competitive advantages over the small businesses which just can't cope with it.

We're the people who want an energy policy that's planned for the long term, not the short-termism where renewables are pushed before they're competitive and prices spiral so that millions are in fuel poverty and many pensioners have to choose between heating and eating. We're the ones who believe in developing technology on renewables, getting it to work properly and then introducing it.

We're the people who are bitterly disappointed that so few children from working-class backgrounds make it to universities like Oxford and Cambridge, and who are committed to changing the education system to give everyone a real chance in life. We're the people who believe in grammar schools - not the system of the 50s and 60s which saw underfunded secondary moderns fail young people, but a system where individual needs are taken into account and where proper vocational training is an option, allowing young people to learn skills and trades.

We're the people who want us to take tougher action on crime, to keep our streets safe and - yes - because it's actually in the best interests of those who might be tempted into a life of crime if a line is drawn in the sand and society makes it clear that repeat offending won't be tolerated. We're the people who believe you can have both punishment and rehabilitation in the same system, that you can protect the public and punish the criminal whilst giving them every opportunity to change their ways.

We're the people who want to honour our Armed Forces who risk their lives in the service of this country, to make sure that those who have served long enough have a guaranteed job in civilian life when they come out. We're the people who would offer our ex-servicemen who have suffered injuries or psychological trauma in the line of duty priority medical treatment. We abhor the fact that so many of our prison population are ex-Armed Forces: that shows just how poor care for our veterans really is. We're the people for whom the Military Covenant is serious, not a gimmick.

We're the people who want to safeguard our NHS, to oppose Labour's private finance deals and to protect it from health tourism whereby those who haven't paid into the system come to the UK to get something out. We're the people who would scrap hospital car parking charges, which have become little more than a tax on the sick.

We're the people who are in tune with public opinion on immigration. YouGov recently polled this issue in detail. 71% of people agree with immigration from those who are wealthy and bring money into the country; so do we if they improve our economy. 68% believe in allowing foreign students at our universities; so do we - but they must pay their way just as British students overseas do. 63% of people believe people with high education and skills should be allowed into the UK; so do we as long as those skills are needed in the British economy. For those coming to work in patient care in the NHS opinions are more split: 50% support this. In our view they must speak English well enough to do the job - and we want to train more medical staff here. We're also worried that importing NHS staff from poorer countries can deprive those countries of much-needed workers.

By 48% to 38%, people believe we should help those fleeing war or persecution. We believe that we should do our fair share, but we also believe that international law should be respected - and that people should claim asylum in the first safe country they come to. That's why we aren't happy with the camps of potential immigrants at Calais seeking to sneak into the UK.

And just 13% believe that those with no skills and low education should be allowed to move to the UK. We side with the people here too; we've seen the problems that an unlimited supply of migrant labour from 27 other EU countries has had. We know that it causes wage compression and impacts on the ability of people to get a job. We're the people who want a fair, ethical, colour-blind immigration policy which makes the right distinctions.

We're the people who want to end British taxpayers' money subsidising bullfighting, and to ban the cruelty that is the live export of animals. We're the people who don't want the UK interfering in foreign wars, or British soldiers dying in pursuit of unclear military objectives.

We're the 99.7%. The soul of Ukip runs through us. You may or may not agree with us, but that's what's in our DNA. We are the beating heart of Ukip, the people offering a new way of doing politics. Don't judge us on a tiny minority, judge us on the 99.7%.

SOURCE






British Labour Party elite thinks Northerners are stupid, Labour MP complains

It's a common British prejudice

Ed Miliband's inner circle think people with northern accents are stupid, a Labour MP has claimed.

In a discussion of the Labour Party’s fortunes, Ian Lavery said he was “frightened” by a ruling “elite” in Westminster that has never held a manual job and looks down on working class people.

It came as Labour MPs embarked on fresh infighting over the direction of the party, after Tony Blair, its most electorally successful leader, warned Mr Miliband is leading it to defeat.

Mr Lavery, the MP for Wansbeck in Northumberland, is a former president of the National Union of Mineworkers, taking part in the 1984-85 strike. He was elected in 2010.

The remarks were made during a fringe event at a conference organised by CLASS, a left-wing think tank funded by the trade unions. He was speaking during a discussion on Labour’s welfare policy, in which he said the Labour Party is “in the wrong place” on the issue.

He said the elite in Westminster have not “done anything” in their lives, and think people with northern accents do not “really know too much”.

He also warned there is a dearth of ethnic minority and disabled MPs.

“I’ve got to say there are some superb MPs, Labour party MPs. Sadly there’s not enough MPs who’ve actually worked on the coalface, on the factory floor.

“We haven’t got enough ethnic minorities, we haven’t got enough disabled people in, who have actually been there. We’ve got an elite in, we’ve got an elite in Westminster which quite frankly frightens me. They haven’t been anywhere or done anything, and when you’ve got an accent like mine they think well that man doesn’t really know too much.”

In a statement today, Mr Lavery said: "My comments were about the need for more working-class MPs and in no way a criticism of Ed or his office.

"For the record, I believe Ed Miliband is absolutely the right man to bring in policies that will be of great benefit to people in the North and across the country."

Mr Blair insisted that his apparent warning of a Labour defeat had been “misinterpreted”, and he has confidence in Mr Miliband.

The former Prime Minister had told the Economist magazine that May’s general election risks becomes one in which a “traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party, with the traditional result”.

Asked by the Economist magazine if he meant that the Conservatives would win the general election in those circumstances, Mr Blair replied: “Yes, that is what happens.”

David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham and a likely contender for the London mayoralty, urged colleagues to listen to Mr Blair “very seriously indeed”.

He said Labour must be the party of aspiration and enterprise, and “not give the impression that we are solely focused on the public sector.”

He added: "I don't think that anyone should underestimate a leader of the Labour Party that won three consecutive elections and fought hard to make Labour electable again after 18 years in opposition.”

But Mr Blair was slapped down as yesterday’s man by Lucy Powell, one of Mr Miliband’s closest shadow cabinet allies.

"Tony Blair, he has his experience and his knowledge from his era as leader of the Labour Party and that is not the era that we now live in,” she said.

Paul Kenny, the general secretary GMB union, a major Labour donor, said: “Tony Blair is now a very wealthy person sitting on top of the pile and is disconnected from the lives of ordinary people.”

Mr Blair said in a Tweet: “My remarks have been mis-interpreted, I fully support Ed and my party and expect a Labour victory in the election."

Charlie Whelan, a former press aide to Gordon Brown, responded: “Don’t be surprised if no-one believes you.”

SOURCE






Australian radio jock loses lengthy legal battle with Muslim leader Keysar Trad:  Tribunal rules that calling Lebanese men ‘vermin’ and ‘mongrels’ constituted racial vilification

Jonesy was clearly a bit too sweeping. "Some" is a magic word.  He should use it more often

Alan Jones has lost his lengthy legal battle with the Muslim leader Keysar Trad and been ordered to pay him $10,000 plus costs after a tribunal ruled that calling Lebanese men “vermin” and “mongrels” constituted racial vilification.

In a 2005 broadcast on his popular 2GB morning radio program, Jones described Lebanese men as “idiots” who hated “our country and heritage”.

The inflammatory comments went to air when Jones read a letter he said he had received from a listener. The letter, which he also commented on, was in response to a story on Nine’s A Current Affair program the night before about young men taunting police and showing disrespect for the Anzac tradition.

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal said in its judgment: “The assertion is made that these men simply rape, pillage and plunder a nation that’s taken them in. They are then described in sub-human terms as ‘vermin infest[ing] our shores’.

“These words, which are highly insulting and inflammatory, portray Lebanese men in an extremely negative way, suggesting that they rape and are warlike and violent. The words ‘vermin’ also carry the inference that they are unwanted parasites. Lebanese males are a threat – a ‘national security problem in the making’.”

The tribunal said although Jones claimed to be reading from a listener’s letter he was responsible for the statements that were read out.

“It was Mr Jones who had the ultimate choice as to which letters and emails to read out and who to speak to,” it said. “There is no doubt that Mr Jones endorsed the views of the correspondent.”

The tribunal found that because of Jones’ high profile and status “his opinions are respected and carry significant weight with his listeners”.

An allegation by Trad that the letter was written by Jones himself or a member of his staff was never proven but 2GB’s owner, Harbour Radio, failed to produce evidence the letter existed.

On 19 December the tribunal found Trad’s complaint of racial vilification against Jones and 2GB was substantiated and ordered them to pay the applicant damages of $10,000.

The tribunal also ordered 2GB to undertake a critical review of its 2005 programs and policies on the prevention of racial vilification “with a view to developing and implementing revised programs and policies aimed at eliminating unlawful racial vilification”.

In its judgment, the tribunal rejected Harbour Radio’s assertion that it provided regular training to all presenters and production teams and that in 2004 – before the incident – Jones had attended training which covered the offence of racial vilification.

“This evidence is very general and does not satisfy us that Mr Jones has received professional training in relation to what does and does not amount to racial vilification,” the tribunal found.

Trad’s battle to hold Jones responsible has been a long one with many twists and turns. In 2009 the tribunal found that part of his complaint of racial vilification under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) against Jones and Harbour Radio had been substantiated and ordered they pay him $10,000.

But subsequent legal challenges by Jones and Harbour Radio resulted in the tribunal’s order being set aside and in November 2013 Trad was ordered to repay the $10,000.

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 January, 2015

UN rejects Palestinian resolution for statehood

A Palestinian draft resolution calling for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territories by late 2017 was defeated in UN Security Council

The United Nations Security Council has rejected a Palestinian resolution demanding an end to Israeli occupation within three years.

The resolution on Tuesday failed to get the minimum nine "yes" votes in the Security Council.

It received eight "yes" votes, two "no" votes - including one from the United States - and five abstentions including Britain.

The United States, Israel's closest ally, reiterated its opposition to the draft resolution earlier on Tuesday. It has insisted on a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, not an imposed timetable.

China, France and Russia were among the eight countries that voted in favor of the text, but the resolution failed to garner the nine "yes" votes necessary for adoption in the 15-member council.

The resolution set a 12-month deadline for Israel to reach a final peace deal with the Palestinians and called for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories by the end of 2017.

"This resolution sets the stage for more division, not for compromise," said US Ambassador Samantha Power.

Security Council member Jordan had requested the vote on the measure drafted by the Palestinians, who are seeking to expand the role of the United Nations in Middle East peace efforts.

"This text addresses the concerns of just one side," said Power.

US Secretary of State John Kerry had lobbied in the days leading up to the vote, calling 13 foreign ministers to explain US opposition.

Washington was not, however, compelled to resort to its veto power to block the measure - a move that could have undermined US standing in the Arab world.

A US veto risked angering key Arab allies, including partners in the US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

The vote caps a three-month campaign by the Palestinians at the United Nations to win support for a resolution that sets a timeframe for ending the Israeli occupation.

On Monday, the Palestinians presented changes to the text, toughening up language on East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state and demanding an end to Jewish settlement building.

SOURCE






HarperCollins omits Israel from school atlas

HarperCollins, one of the world's largest publishing houses, sells English-language atlases to schools in the Middle East that omit Israel.

Collins Middle East Atlases show Jordan and Syria extending to the Mediterranean but do mark the position of the West Bank.

“The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel’s belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world. It will not help to build up a spirit of trust leading to peaceful co-existence,” said Bishop Declan Lang, the chairman of the Bishops' Conference Department of International Affairs, to The Tablet.

“Maps can be a very powerful tool in terms of de-legitimising 'the other' and can lead to confusion rather than clarity. We would be keen to see relevant bodies ensure that all atlases anywhere reflect the official United Nations position on nations, boundaries and all political features," added Dr Jane Clements, director of the Council of Christians and Jews.

However, Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, said that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated “local preferences”.

The Tablet said it had discovered the customs officers in one unnamed Gulf country only permitting the import of school atlases once Israel had been deleted by hand.

SOURCE






Hounded by the RSPCA: When protesters reported a wealthy hunt to Britain's top animal charity it smelt blood. Now it's going for the kill... in a court case using charitable donations

Just before 11am on a crisp March morning, 30 men and women from one of England’s most fashionable hunts gathered near Dorchester.

Resplendent in their distinctive ‘True Blue’ livery, Dorset’s Cattistock Hunt members passed around the stirrup cup for the traditional toast before the huntsman blew his horn and the riders cantered off, following their yelping hounds.

At the fore was the hunt’s joint master, the Honourable Mrs Charlotte Townshend. Known affectionately to her friends as Blot, Mrs Townshend is rightly proud of the hunt’s 254-year history.

In the past both Viscountess Galway and Lady Teresa Agnew have been masters, and today its 250 members include entrepreneur Johnnie Boden, who is vice-president of its pony club, and supporters include actor Martin Clunes, whose daughter was also a member of the pony club.

On that damp morning of March 11, huntsman Will Bryer decided to take the hunt through picturesque Hardy country on to land west of Weymouth, above the famous Jurassic Coast, where – in keeping with hunting laws – a scented trail had been laid earlier for the hounds to follow.

But what none of those riding that morning could have known was that the day’s events would threaten to become a cause celebre, which is now the subject of a court battle.

The Cattistock Hunt, one of the richest in the country, has long been a target for anti-hunt protesters determined to prove it flouts hunting laws and that, instead of ensuring the hounds follow the trail, the Cattistock willingly allows them to chase foxes whose scent they pick up.

And in this pursuit, the anti-hunt campaigners have a willing partner: the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Many in the hunting fraternity believe that the court case, in which a member of the Cattistock is accused of a single count of breaching the hunting ban by pursuing a wild mammal with hounds, is the result of collusion between the activists and a partisan RSPCA.

They are convinced that the charity has become an increasingly politicised lobby, bent on pursuing an obsessive and costly vendetta against England’s hunting elite. As one insider observed: ‘The lunatics are running the asylum. The RSPCA has become indoctrinated in an animal-rights philosophy, and that is its downfall.

‘The charity is a massive institution with 1,400 employees and an income of more than £120 million, and yet it is run by a board of 21 trustees, few with experience of running a business, and some who are, frankly, staunch animal-rights activists.’

It has even been suggested that, abetted by animal-rights activists, the RSPCA has been targeting well-heeled hunting communities in a cynical bid to raise its profile.

Many, too, are concerned that the charity is ‘wasting’ too much of its fortune – made up mostly from donations and legacies – chasing minor misdemeanours.

Already it is responsible for 80 per cent of animal-welfare prosecutions in England and Wales, more than half of which are thrown out of court or result in acquittals.

The Mail on Sunday reported in October that the RSPCA had spent £22.5 million on prosecutions in two years, and today we can reveal that the charity has been forced to take out an overdraft facility with its bank, Coutts, for the first time in its 190-year history.

The Cattistock case epitomises the battle for the soul of the British countryside. So far as the hunters are concerned, they have today become the hunted – followed and filmed by a battery of anti-hunt activists including Dorset hunt saboteurs, the anti-hunt group Protect Our Wild Animals, and monitors for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

They hand over yards of footage to the RSPCA in the hope that it will provide evidence upon which the charity can press charges.

In the dock is Will Bryer, Mrs Townshend’s fellow huntmaster. Mr Bryer has pleaded not guilty at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court to breaching the hunting ban and will mount a vigorous defence when the case comes to trial in the spring.

His solicitor, Jamie Foster, insists Mr Bryer is innocent. ‘He will vigorously contest what appears to be an extremely weak case,’ he says. ‘I am very surprised it has made it this far.’

The prosecution’s case will hinge on footage filmed as the hunt passed the picturesque village of Langton Herring. Taken with a hand-held camera by Kevin Hill, from the IFAW, it was subsequently passed to the RSPCA rather than to the police or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). It is said to depict Mr Bryer allowing two hounds to chase a fox, allegedly in breach of the Hunting Act 2004.

The IFAW has been delighted by the prosecution. Its members and fellow activists have long disliked the Cattistock Hunt, seeing it as symbolic of hunting’s aristocratic past.

As one anti-hunt activist explains: ‘It is run along feudal lines. Landowners and farmers are encouraged to give permission for the hunt to make use of their land – there might, for example, be the offer of the loan of some farm equipment you especially need.’

Mrs Townshend has been singled out as someone who represents everything the activists despise about Britain’s hunting history.

A committed wildlife conservationist, Mrs Townshend has already been targeted by animal-rights activists, who mistakenly believed she supported trials for the Government’s badger cull and would allow one to take place on her Dorset estate.

She was forced to make a ‘painful decision’ to step down as patron of the Dorset Wildlife Trust, fearing that the work of the charity, founded by her grandfather more than half a century ago, would be compromised by her continued presence. Activists inundated the DWT’s Facebook and Twitter pages with abusive messages. It became a systematic campaign eventually linked to the discovery of ‘suspicious figures’ hanging around Mrs Townshend’s home.

Security had to be stepped up after a picture of the house was published on Stop The Cull’s website with the words ‘Badger killer Charlotte Townshend’ written, graffiti-style, in bright red.

As for the court case, it is understood that even Kevin Hill, who shot the footage, is privately doubtful that Mr Bryer will be convicted. He has admitted to friends that the film was taken from some distance and identification will be disputed.

Whatever the outcome, the case will once again turn the spotlight on the close relationship between the RSPCA and the animal- rights movements.

During the autumn, an independent report by Stephen Wooler, a former chief inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, recommended that the charity should pass on any evidence of law-breaking to either the police or CPS. Since then, the charity has indicated that in future it will abide by the Wooler recommendations.

The case, however, calls that commitment into question. Why, for example, is the RSPCA mounting this prosecution and not the police?

Tim Bonner, director of campaigns for the Countryside Alliance, said: ‘It clearly cannot make an objective decision. We believe this decision involving Cattistock has a blatant political element to it.

‘The Cattistock has been harassed by employees of animal-rights organisations carrying out covert surveillance for almost ten years and, until now, there has not been a single prosecution, let alone a conviction.’

He believes the Cattistock has no case to answer. ‘We have every confidence that Cattistock was operating entirely legally on the day in question and we don’t believe the evidence justifies the prosecution,’ he says.

Even Graham Forsyth, an anti-hunt supporter who regularly monitors hunts and reports his finding to the charity, admits that the Cattistock Hunt is well organised.

‘I would say it is one of the better managed and more disciplined hunts, despite some of the incidents recorded against it in the past,’ he says.

‘Generally speaking, if Charlotte and her husband are out riding, things tend to be calmer because they tolerate us – although they ignore us – and try to ensure none of the others gets involved either.’

So why is the RSPCA so keen to prosecute Mr Bryer? Its official explanation is that ‘there is a public interest in bringing such a prosecution’. A charity spokesman added: ‘We look closely at whether the quality of the evidence meets the usual tests too. We take our enforcement role seriously.’

But one animal-rights supporter with knowledge of the case believes much of it is a face-saving exercise.

‘The RSPCA was very keen to run this one up the flagpole in the wake of the Wooler report to prove it was still a force to be reckoned with,’ he said. ‘But we’re not confident it will go the distance and if it does, we don’t think it will result in a conviction.

‘Proving identification is incredibly difficult at the best of times. And this isn’t the best evidence. They know that. But they think there is a chance.’

Certainly, as a charity the RSPCA is under pressure to explain its prosecutions policy. And internally it is riven with disagreements between the old guard, who fear donations will dry up if it becomes too political, and hardline activists. Although the charity, whose patron is the Queen, remains one of the wealthiest in the UK, with investment assets of £82 million, much of this cash is thought to be tied up in long-term deals.

One person involved in animal rescue said: ‘I have been told the past three months have been like a white-knuckle ride in making payments and that the RSPCA has had to go to the bank and agree an overdraft for the first time.’

In a statement, the RSPCA confirmed it had made ‘contingency plans to ensure efficient cash flow’ and had negotiated an overdraft, but insisted: ‘We have not used this facility and do not foresee any reason to use it at this present time.’

For the Cattistock Hunt it was business as usual for the Boxing Day meet. ‘They are quietly confident that Mr Bryer will be acquitted eventually,’ says one local landowner. ‘If the court has any sense, the case will be thrown out. That is the thinking around here.’

SOURCE






In 2015, have cojones: say no to self-censorship

People gagged themselves too willingly in 2014 – let's make next year different

If there was an award for Most Brazen Exercise of Double Standards, Britain’s chattering class would win it every year. These are people who take to the streets to yell and scream if Israel so much as sneezes in the direction of Gaza, yet who will then head off for a fabulous lunch with some former Labour minister whose government destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia when it was in power. These are people who stand outside the embassies of foreign nations to protest against the undermining of press freedom in said nations, yet who cheered and even conspired with a British lord’s war on the UK tabloids and his proposal for state-backed regulation of the press.

And now, to top it all, these folk have ended 2014 slamming North Korea for using online intimidation to crush culture — having themselves spent much of 2014 using online intimidation to crush culture! Apologies for quoting from the rabble’s press, but you couldn’t make it up.

Sony’s scratching of the cinema release of its North Korea-mocking movie The Interview, in response to online threats and hollers of ‘That’s offensive!’ from a group calling itself Guardians of Peace, has caused much head-shaking in right-thinking circles. It isn’t hard to see why. For a film company to dump a film just because a foreign dictator, or at least his fanboys on the internet, finds it offensive is an act of self-censorship that sets a dangerous precedent. It gives a green light to other offence-takers — who are legion in this super-sensitive young millennium — similarly to strive for the extinguishing of words or images they find foul.

It’s not yet known if Guardians of Peace is a front for Kim Jong-un or just a bunch of troublemaking hackers, but whoever it is, it has successfully elicited a craven act of self-gagging from one of the largest film corporations. And as everyone from President Obama to the Guardian to every tweeter with a conscience has pointed out, this is very bad.

All of which would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that Sony’s capitulation is far from the first act of self-censorship this year, and also for the fact that many of those condemning Sony’s cave-in said next to nothing about the numerous other cave-ins of 2014. This has been the year of self-gagging, a year in which dumping content in response to cries of ‘You can’t say that!’ from angry cliques has been all the rage. And those currently taking an oh-so-brave stand against North Korea’s (alleged) winning of self-censorship through ‘online intimidation’ either said nothing about such self-gagging or actually helped facilitate it. They paved the way for Sony’s self-censorship, which has not occurred in a vacuum but rather in a new intolerant climate in which the feelings of the offended are increasingly elevated over the freedoms of artists, writers and entertainers.

So where was the angry-with-North-Korea brigade when a UK mob of virtual prudes used ‘online intimidation’ to force ITV2 to cancel Dapper Laughs’ TV show on the basis that it was sexist? There’s barely a cigarette paper’s difference between what the Guardians of Peace did to The Interview and what these self-styled guardians of womankind did to Dapper: both utilised the uglier, shriller aspects of online activism to try to destroy a cultural product that repelled them. Yet Sony’s ditching of a comedy on the basis that some North Koreans would find it offensive is railed against, while ITV2’s pulling of a TV show that some feminists hated is notched up as a strike for progress and equality.

Not only did the Sony-bashers fail to take a stand against ITV2’s caving-in to the online offencerati — they were a part of that online offencerati. The Guardian editorialised angrily against Sony’s climbdown, arguing that ‘cancelling the release of a film because of online intimidation’ undermines free speech. Yet Guardian writers were central to whipping up the ‘online intimidation’ that led to ITV2 ditching Dapper, and far from penning leaders criticising ITV2’s self-censorship, the Guardian celebrated it with the words: ‘Dapper Laughs is not laughing anymore after ITV turn-off.’ Currently, Guardian writers are responding like hormonal schoolgirls to George Clooney’s condemnation of Sony for failing to stand up to online bullies, having themselves played the role of online bullies in relation to ITV2. You almost have to admire people who have so completely jettisoned the emotion of shame that they can slam North Korea for allegedly doing what they themselves definitely do, and not even turn the palest pink with embarrassment.

Where were the Sony-bashers when the London Barbican pulled its racism-exploring Exhibit B in response to a measly 200 protesters who turned up at the opening night to holler and wave placards? Index on Censorship is currently railing against Sony, yet its first response to the Barbican’s pressure-won self-gagging was to publish a piece lambasting the Barbican’s ‘mindset’ in failing to consider ‘the possibility of a hostile response [to the exhibition]’. The Barbican must do more ‘engagement and dialogue’ with possibly affected constituencies before hosting controversial art, it said. By the same token, maybe Sony should have asked for North Korea’s permission to make The Interview, and maybe Salman Rushdie should have run The Satanic Verses by the ayatollahs before publication, and perhaps the Sex Pistols should have sent advance copies of God Save the Queen to the queen for her majestic approval. The insistence that all artists and institutions should consider ‘the possibility of a hostile response’ is to institutionalise self-censorship, to make an article of faith of pre-emptive self-gagging just in case someone takes offence.

Where were Sony’s critics when Christ Church College at Oxford dumped an all-male debate on abortion at the behest of 300 Facebook feminists who threatened to turn up with ‘instruments’ to disrupt it? The college agreed with the angry agitators that to allow two men (one of whom was me) to discuss abortion would potentially threaten the ‘mental safety’ of students, especially female ones, and that, as one of the censorious students said, ‘the idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalised groups’. That is strikingly similar to what the Guardians of Peace have said: that The Interview had to be strongarmed out of cinemas because it was a case of awesomely powerful America using free speech to attack poor, little, marginalised North Korea. So it isn’t only tinpot tyrants that demand censorship and big corporations that comply — Oxford students also clamour, complete with ‘instruments’, for censorship, and Oxford colleges comply. Self-censorship is now such an established Western institution that one of the highest seats of learning in the West practices it.

There are loads of other examples of pressured self-censorship this year, many of them lobbied for by the very same folk now saying ‘WTF’ to Sony. During the Edinburgh Fringe, a theatre dumped an Israeli-funded play in response to a letter-writing campaign by luvvies and daily protests by Israel-bashers. Down Under, the hilariously misnamed Festival of Dangerous Ideas ditched an Islamist speaker who was judged to be just that bit too dangerous by the right-on inhabitants of Twitter. The Economist officially withdrew a controversial book review in response to a ‘Twitter riot’ (that is how one of The Economists’s critics actually referred to the censorious uprising). Colleges in America disinvited controversial speakers in response to students kicking up a fuss, and outrageously Brandeis University cancelled an honorary degree for Ayaan Hirsi Ali after a gaggle of students and tweeters branded her ‘anti-Muslim’. And on it goes.

Where were Obama, David Cameron, George Clooney, the Guardian and the other newly self-styled handwringers over apologetic self-censorship when all of this was happening? They were either keeping schtum, or they were actually in the fray, in the mob, demanding the silencing of offensive material. Which means their slating of Sony rings very hollow, for Sony has only done what it has become absolutely the fashion to do: gag oneself, shut oneself up, censor one’s words and thoughts on the grounds that someone somewhere might be offended.

Self-censorship is the worst form of censorship, for it encourages people to internalise illiberalism. It plants a secret censor in every boardroom and newsroom and gallery and even in people’s minds — an invisible tut-tutter constantly warning us ‘don’t say that’ and ‘don’t show that’ because, in the words of Index on Censorship, there’s ‘the possibility of a hostile response’. It nurtures risk-aversion, even moral cowardice, and it discourages people from taking great leaps of the mind or pushing culture in a new and provocative direction. It stultifies the soul. It hampers the human spirit itself. And worst of all, it inflames the intolerant: the more people self-censor, the more the censorious will demand it, whether it’s Oxford students, Guardian feminists, or foreign tyrants. If Guardians of Peace really is North Korea, then that shows that the West has become so allergic to liberty that even that tyrannical hermit state is taking lessons from us, borrowing from our book of using online intimidation to make offensive speakers apologise and retract.

In 2015, we need more courage, more cojones. We need to stick by what we say and produce, and cultivate a climate in which people feel they can be daring again without having to second-guess ‘the possibility of a hostile response’ or cave in to the offended. We need to rediscover the celebration of courage that was the foundation stone of the Enlightenment. As Kant said: ‘Have the courage to use your own reason… walk firmly.’

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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HOME (Index page)

BIO for John Ray






(Isaiah 62:1)


Political correctness is Fascism pretending to be manners


Political Correctness is as big a threat to free speech as Communism and Fascism. All 3 were/are socialist.


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


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


Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And the command in Leviticus 20:13 that homosexuals should be put to death makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in Romans chapter 1 that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil


The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties


Religion is deeply human. The recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe sugges t that it was religion not farming that gave birth to civilization. Early civilizations were at any rate all very religious. Atheism is mainly a very modern development and is even now very much a minority opinion


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


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


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


"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)


So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”


Children are the best thing in life. See also here.


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


Consider two "jokes" below:

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

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

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

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


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


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


A modern feminist complains: "We are so far from “having it all” that “we barely even have a slice of the pie, which we probably baked ourselves while sobbing into the pastry at 4am”."


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


"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms.

You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE


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


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

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


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


Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans






Index page for this site


DETAILS OF REGULARLY UPDATED BLOGS BY JOHN RAY:

"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


BLOGS OCCASIONALLY UPDATED:

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


BLOGS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED

"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
OF INTEREST (2)
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues


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