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

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 This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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


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

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

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24 October, 2014

Multicultural nursing in Britain



A carer admitted hitting a vulnerable teenager with learning difficulties on the head after he was caught on a secret camera the boy's parents had put up in his room.

Zak Rowlands, 19, is the size of a 12-year-old and suffers from autism and severe learning difficulties. He was born with a chromosome disorder.

His parents decided to install a secret camera in the care home in Lancashire where he was living after they noticed their son was flinching every time he was approached. 

Stanley Nkenko, 35, admitted assaulting the teenager after he was caught on camera hitting him in his room at Oxen Barn specialist care home in Leyland in Lancashire.

Father Paul Rowlands installed the secret camera.  They decided to install the camera secretly in his room at the care home.

When Zak's father Tom Rowlands viewed the footage it showed Nkenko slapping him twice across the back of his head as he put him to bed on May 21.

The care home has branded Nkenko's behaviour as 'unacceptable' and said he had now been dismissed. The Lancashire care home said it 'fully supported' the prosecution.

In a statement it said: 'We are deeply sorry for the impact this has had on the family and are in regular contact with them to ensure all lessons are learned from this event and that their son, who continues to be resident in our home, is receiving the highest quality of care possible.”

At a hearing at Preston Crown Court Nkenko, who lives with his wife and two-month-old son in Bolton, Greater Manchester pleaded guilty to a charge of ill treatment or neglect of someone who lacked mental capacity.

The case was adjourned until November 8 and Nkenko was warned he is likely to be jailed.

SOURCE






"Recognizing" Palestine

When Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced his decision to recognize the non-existent state of “Palestine” earlier this month, he inadvertently gave the game away.

Lofven said, “A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful coexistence. Sweden will therefore recognize the State of Palestine.”

The Palestinians refuse to recognize or peacefully coexist with the State of Israel.

Like his coalition partner Hamas terror master Khaled Mashaal, and despite his sweet talk to Western audiences, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas  has pledged, repeatedly, over decades that he will never, ever recognize Israel. During his speech to the UN General Assembly last month he reverted to PLO language from the 1970s, referring to Israel repeatedly as “the occupying Power,” and “the racist occupying State.”

So when Lofven recognized “Palestine,” he joined the Palestinian campaign to destroy Israel. He used the language of the “two-state solution,” to reject the Jewish state.

Former British foreign minister and Labor MP Jack Straw went a step further this week as he addressed his Parliament before its lopsided 274-12 vote to recognize “Palestine.”

The vote, he explained, was not about advancing peace. It was a straightforward bid to harm Israel.  In his words, “The only thing that the Israeli government…understands is pressure.”

Lofven, Straw and their colleagues throughout Europe aren’t stupid. They know what they’re doing.  They know that Gaza, which Israel vacated nine years ago, is a terror state run by the genocidal jihadists of Hamas.

They know that if Israel succumbs to their political and economic warfare and cedes its capital city and historic heartland to its enemies, it will be unable to defend its remaining territory.

And they know that like Gaza, those areas will quickly be taken over by Hamas, which will use them to launch a war of annihilation against Israel in conjunction with its jihadist brethren in surrounding states.

In other words, they know that in recognizing “Palestine” they are not helping the cause of peace. They are advancing Israel’s ruin.

If they were even remotely interested in freedom and peace, the Europeans would be doing the opposite. They would be working to strengthen and expand Israel, the only stable zone of freedom and peace in the region.

They would abandon the phony two-state solution, which as Straw and Lofven revealed is merely doublespeak for seeking Israel’s destruction and its replacement with a terror state.

With strategic blindness and moral depravity now serving as the twin guideposts for European policy towards Israel, Israel and its supporters must tell the truth about the push to recognize “Palestine.”

It isn’t about peace or justice. It’s about hating Israel and assisting those who most actively seek its obliteration.

SOURCE





UK: Unemployed foreigners will be barred from claiming welfare payments

Unemployed foreigners will be barred from claiming benefits in Britain under the government's flagship Universal Credit scheme, the Work and Pensions Secretary has said.

Iain Duncan Smith said that a future Conservative government will end the "something for nothing" culture by withdrawing benefits paid to jobseekers from the European Economic Area.

Under the present system, foreigners can claim job seeker's allowance worth up to £72.50 a week after they have been in Britain for three months.

However Mr Duncan Smith plans to use Universal Credit, which will be fully rolled out by 2018, to end the "pull factor" which attracts benefit tourists to Britain.

He said: "The structure of Universal Credit is such that a person will not be claiming universal credit if they haven't established a residency here. It's different from Jobseeker's allowance. We actually lose a chunk of people that may well come. You start to lose the pull factor for being unemployed in the UK."

Sources close to Mr Duncan Smith said he is prepared to work with the European Commission to implement the proposals.

Mr Duncan Smith was speaking yesterday as the Department for Work and Pensoins announced that Universal Credit will boost the economy by £7 billion a year and help 300,000 households find work.

The Department for Work and Pensions is also preparing trials under which people could have their benefits cut unless they take up offers to work longer hours.

Universal Credit combines jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, income support, child tax credit, working tax credit and housing benefit. A total of 14,170 people are claiming the credit, with most benefit claimants likely to have transferred to the scheme by the end of 2018.

A survey by the DWP found that jobseekers are spending twice as much time looking for work under the government's flagship benefits scheme as they do under the existing "perverse" regime, a new study has found.

An analysis of 1,000 of the first universal credit claimants found that claimants spend 29 hours a week looking for work rather than 16 hours under the job seeker's allowance scheme.

The survey found that claimants are working more and 65 per cent believe that the new scheme provides a "better financial incentive" to work and is "easier to understand".

The DWP analysis also provides a stark analysis of the current benefits system, under which couples working 20 hours a week are significantly worse off than if they work 10 hours a week because of the withdrawal of benefits.

SOURCE





I hate this insidious trend for belittling men, says MELISSA KITE

Watching a recent episode of the female detective drama Scott And Bailey, I suddenly felt deeply uncomfortable.

The heroines of the ITV show — two gutsy, senior, women police officers —were discussing how to solve a crime, while their bumbling male counterparts sat around, gawping helplessly.

Whenever the men managed to get a word in edgeways, it was to suggest a course of action that was utterly stupid and they were put in their place by their female superiors.

No doubt this demonstration of ‘girl power’ is intended to make the show appeal to me as a woman, but instead, it made me feel rather queasy. There was something dishonourable about the portrayal of men as completely useless for the purposes of entertainment.

Yet the more I flicked through the channels, the more I realised that, increasingly, almost everything on TV — from comedies to reality shows, murder mysteries and even adverts — now features women as the heroines, equipped with a fine brain, while men are depicted as thoughtless buffoons, aggressors, or ineffective idiots.

Take a recent KFC advert. A dad and his two offspring are sitting at a table in one of the chain’s restaurants, waiting for Mum to bring their order over. Both children remain engrossed in their phones, as Dad unsuccessfully attempts to get their attention by suggesting activities for the afternoon.

When Mum returns and makes the same suggestions, naturally both kids answer immediately, leaving Dad looking like a twit. It gets a cheap laugh and might be easy to shrug off, were it not for the fact that any advertiser who tried to achieve sales by belittling women wouldn’t be tolerated.

It’s the same story in TV comedy. In the really big hit shows, there seems to be a pretty set formula, whereby the male characters are idiotic, if endearing, fools, saved from themselves by the women.

In Friends, for example, the male characters, Ross, Chandler and Joey, are, respectively, two well-meaning but ineffectual geeks and an unthinking lothario, while the female characters, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe, are far more well-rounded and worldly.

From Everybody Loves Raymond to Two And A Half Men, the most influential U.S. shows feature flaky men who won’t be serious, or take responsibility for anything.

The formula persists in popular British TV. In Gavin And Stacey, buffoonish Smithy, played by writer James Corden, veers between sentimental fool and drunken idiot and is, apparently, incapable of growing up. He’s constantly wrong-footed by his on-off love interest, the formidable Nessa (co-writer Ruth Jones).

In family comedy Outnumbered, Pete is the blundering dad who is constantly befuddled by his children. His wife, Sue, is exhausted and long-suffering, but far sharper, shrewder and more capable.

The trend begins early. In the wildly popular children’s cartoon show Peppa Pig, the family’s father, Daddy Pig, is a hapless bumbler, while it’s clear Mummy Pig is the boss of the household.

What all of these shows have in common is that they exaggerate the uselessness of men.

But it’s the insidiousness of this socially-acceptable sexism that’s most concerning. For it’s not overt hatred of men, rather the casual denigration of them, so often done for comic effect.

It seems belittling men barely registers any more, yet making fun of women — especially joking about violence towards women — is something we’d never stand for.

Consequently, comedienne Jo Brand is able to make jokes about men that would never be deemed acceptable the other way around. For example: ‘What’s the way to a man’s heart? Straight through the chest with a kitchen knife.’

And don’t laugh, but there is also an alarming trend for men to be portrayed as sex objects. Gone are the days when a half-naked woman could come on stage in a skimpy, lamé two-piece, smiling inanely, as a magician’s assistant.

But the amount of male flesh on display in shows like Strictly Come Dancing is staggering. Yes, the women wear skimpy costumes, too, but when the camera lingers over the naked torsos of dancers like Pasha Kovalev, the whoops from the audience are reminiscent of the Roman amphitheatre.

When Gavin Henson danced the Paso Doble topless in series eight, head judge Len Goodman congratulated him on ‘working your assets’, while Alesha Dixon declared: ‘Your body looks amazing, which helps.’ They would never get away with it if they leered over a woman’s physique so blatantly.

Is it all harmless fun? I don’t think so. In Spreading Misandry: The Teaching Of Contempt For Men In Popular Culture, Katherine Young and co-author Paul Nathanson warn that this patronising of men is now so pervasive in movies, TV, comic strips and even greetings cards, that it could have ‘disastrous consequences’ for society, and eventually provoke a serious backlash against women.

Since the mid-1990s, they argue, men have been increasingly portrayed as evil or inadequate. They have gone so far as to say there is now a culture of ‘misandry’ — literally ‘hatred of men’.

‘Our hypothesis is that, like misogyny once upon a time, misandry has become so deeply embedded in our culture that few people, including men, even recognise it,’ they write.

Feminists have rightly fought for an end to men putting women down, but we will surely never improve relations between the sexes by ushering in a new era of sexism that consists of women constantly traducing men.

Once you are aware of it, you start noticing how this culture of misandry seems to permeate everything. As I had lunch with a friend recently, she snatched up her ringing phone and began barking a tirade of abuse into it.‘What do you mean, you can’t find their football kit? I don’t have time for this! Show some initiative. I can’t nursemaid you. Don’t call me again.’

I assumed she was having bother on the nanny front, but no — it was her husband, a man who works tirelessly, in a highly-pressurised career, to support her and their children. He was off work that day and had offered to stay at home with the kids so she could go to lunch with me.

I wish I could say her diatribe was an isolated incident. I notice more and more that my girlfriends speak to their husbands and boyfriends in a derogatory manner, as if they are somehow inferior. Needless to say, they then complain that they are not ‘manly’ enough in their attitude, or in the bedroom.

I have to confess that I’m not altogether innocent. My boyfriend, Will, and I were in Pizza Express the other day, when I snapped at him to hurry up because he couldn’t decide what to order. He walked out, which was hugely embarrassing for me.

But I wouldn’t have put up with him talking to me in this obnoxious way, so why should he? I count myself fortunate to have a boyfriend who is an unreconstructed, traditional — even macho — male.

What’s particularly worrying is that a lot of my friends do not hesitate in putting their husbands down in front of the children. Surely, in doing so, they teach their daughters to denigrate and disrespect men and make their sons feel emasculated and demoralised.

Is it any wonder girls are now outperforming boys at GCSE and A-level? Girls are already ahead in most subjects by the age of five and the gap widens as they get older, the latest research shows.

Last year, there were 40,000 more female applicants for university places than male, while women outnumber men by three to two in many universities. There are also more young women entering the top professions such as medicine.

Research also suggests a quarter of UK women are now the family breadwinner — five times more than at the start of the Seventies. Female earnings have soared 44 per cent since then, compared with 6 per cent for men.

Psychologist Mark Sherman, author of Boys And Young Men: Attention Must Be Paid, says relegating men to supporting roles, such as stay-at-home dad or house-husband, is damaging.

‘Weren’t under-education, under-employment and relegation to the home among the major motivators for the modern women’s movement? Are we parents of sons simply supposed to sit back and say to our boys, “College isn’t essential, but if you do go, maybe you’ll meet a future doctor or lawyer; in fact, maybe you could be her secretary. And, listen, there’s nothing wrong with being a house-husband!”

‘Did women working far below their true abilities turn out to be a good thing? Obviously not. Then why should we expect it to be a good thing for men?’

Ultimately, if the background noise of our lives is banter about male inadequacy, while leering at their biceps, it is in no one’s interests — least of all women’s.

One of the unintended consequences of belittling men is that we women end up with the sort of men we really don’t like, if truth be told. For, when we are not lampooning men for being idiots, we seem to be attacking them for not being manly enough.

We only have ourselves to blame. If we want our men to be in any way exciting, gallant, high-earning, swashbuckling, or, indeed, protective, we have to allow them to keep their dignity and self-respect.

Running a man down never turned him into Clint Eastwood.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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23 October, 2014

UK: Rochdale taxi firm offers white drivers on request

Minicab customers in the town caught up in Britain’s biggest grooming scandal are being offered white drivers on request, it has emerged.

Residents in Heywood in the Greater Manchester borough of Rochdale have been offered the service after two local drivers of Pakistani origin were jailed for their part in the rape and trafficking of young white girls.

Stephen Campbell, the manager of Car 2000, which took over Eagle Taxis, a firm that employed drivers at the heart of the scandal, said that a consequence of the affair was that many white customers ask for white drivers – or “local” drivers, as they usually describe them.

“We have had quite a lot of customers requesting what they call a ‘local’ driver. A bit insane if you consider that most of the [Asian] lads were born in Rochdale,” he told The Guardian.

“But it’s a business and we have got a duty to do what the customer asks us to. I don’t think we can discriminate against the customer in the same way. It is a business at the end of the day. We have a large bank loan to pay back,” he said.

If he could, Campbell said, he would persuade people to take any driver. “The Asian drivers are harder working, they do what they are asked and they don’t complain about it. They have a much better work ethic. If the public could actually see these [Asian] people close up and see what they are about, I don’t think they would be asking for white drivers.”

The news emerged as MPs in areas where Asian grooming gangs have operated have expressed concern about racial tensions, which have yet to subside some six years after the scandals first emerged.

Heywood was at the centre of the Rochdale scandal after a sex trafficking gang of men of mainly Pakistani origin were found to have preyed on at least 47 girls, all of whom were white. Two drivers from the now defunct local firm of Eagle Taxis were among nine Asian men jailed for their involvement.

Ukip ran a byelection campaign in Heywood and Middleton earlier this month focusing on the issues of child grooming and immigration and came within 617 votes of overturning a near 16,000 Labour majority.

Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale, said: “This is extremely worrying and a stark reminder of the impact that grooming scandals have had on northern towns. This will not be a problem exclusive to our borough, I’m sure.”

The “white drivers on request” policy does not breach the minicab firm’s license and it can continue with the policy, a spokesman for the council said. Mark Widdup, the director of economy and environment at Rochdale borough council, said: “This is first the council has heard of this company’s policy. However, this appears to be a decision made by the company and there is currently nothing in the conditions of their license which state that they cannot operate such a policy, just as some firms choose to offer customers only female drivers.”

Campbell, 34, said his father James bought into the Heywood firm in 2011. A few months later, they realised that Car 2000 was at the centre of a major scandal as it emerged that drivers from Eagle Taxis were embroiled in grooming allegations. Mohammed Amin, 45, of Falinge, a driver for 14 years who was known as “Car Zero”, was convicted of sexual assault and received a five-year jail term.

Abdul Aziz, 41, a married father-of-three from Rochdale who was also a driver, was convicted of trafficking for sexual exploitation, received a nine-year sentence. They were two of nine men initially convicted in a complex trial.

SOURCE





Politically Correct Insanity

It is my contention that political correctness has so deeply infiltrated American society that it has affected our approach to defending ourselves against Islamic terrorism, deadly epidemics and even presidential assassins.

In the past, AIDS, which, in spite of the massive publicity campaign waged by the homosexual community, was never a great threat to heterosexuals – unless, of course, they were the really cheap and stupid drug addicts who shared hypodermic needles – nobody in public life ever had the guts to suggest that those with the disease be quarantined.

Today, because those spreading Ebola are West Africans, nobody has the gumption to suggest curtailing flights from that part of the world to America, lest we be accused of being a nation of racists. At the same time, if the epidemic was centered in Scandinavia and we stopped all incoming flights from Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen, I very much doubt if we would be condemned for practicing blondophobia.

The other major export from that particularly noxious part of the world is Islamic terrorism. Again, we are so frightened of appearances when it comes to Arabs and Muslims that we refuse to engage in racial profiling (which is otherwise known as being rational in a world in which 90% of the violence is committed by young males named Mohammad who look a great deal like Osama bin Laden) or to even risk referring to “Islamic terrorism” as such, preferring to pass it off as “workplace violence.”

That brings us to Omar Gonzalez, who hopped the Pennsylvania Avenue fence and made it all the way into the White House while carrying a knife before being brought down and disarmed. Although as my friend Ron Kessler has made clear in his books about the Secret Service, there has been a recent history of dangerous cost-cutting by a number of Service chiefs, I have my own theory as to the reason security broke down so dramatically in this case. I believe the agents spotted a Hispanic racing across the White House lawn, and instead of expecting commendations for shooting him, they envisioned being brought up before a congressional committee of political opportunists and facing trumped-up charges for over-reacting to a potential threat.

Speaking of Ron Kessler, in his latest book, “The First Family Detail,” he reports that even though they both insist they’re conservative cost-cutters and always having the American taxpayer foremost in mind, whenever Ted Cruz or Rand Paul shows up for an interview at Fox, they are invariably accompanied by an entourage of five or six aides, although the customary number of toadies, even when it comes to liberal lawmakers, is no more than two.

That is why I have come to believe that no matter how much Republicans may talk about cutting the size and cost of the federal government, they’re really only talking about when the Democrats are in charge. Besides, it goes entirely against human nature – and, all evidence to the contrary, politicians are human beings – for any politician to ever crave less power or fewer fawning acolytes on the payroll than his or her predecessor.

To absolutely nobody’s surprise, the Government Accountability Institute recently disclosed that over the past two years Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of the daily intelligence briefings. But that didn’t stop him from blaming Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for his being left in the dark about the imminent threat from ISIL.

Not that long ago, Obama had labeled the cutthroats a bunch of nobodies who thought that if they donned the uniforms of the L.A. Lakers, it would turn them into the Lakers when, as Obama cockily assured us, they were no more than a junior varsity squad. As it turned out, they proved that they could teach Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers a little something about playing offense. Of course it always helps when the other team – in this case the very Iraqi military that we had spent years and a bloody fortune training and arming – ran off the court while ripping off their uniforms.

The fact that Obama paid absolutely no attention to the facts supplied on a daily basis by U.S. Intelligence was typical of His Arrogance, and it certainly didn’t prevent him from casting Mr. Clapper in the role of every lazy student’s favorite scapegoat, the dog with an insatiable appetite for homework.

SOURCE






As His Wife Delivers Their Baby, LGBT Group Smears This Pro-Marriage Professor as International Criminal

Having a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest moments of your life. But for Bobby Lopez, an unusual figure in the marriage debate, it was a day overshadowed by fear.

His wife was in labor with their second child when Lopez received hateful phone calls and emails from LGBT rights activists.

Why?  Because two days prior, the Human Rights Campaign—a political action group whose mission is to “achieve equality” for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans—put out its latest blast email in a campaign called “The Export of Hate.”

Its main “exporter” that day: Robert “Bobby” Oscar Lopez.

Lopez, openly bisexual but married, works as an English professor at California State University-Northridge. He incurred HRC’s wrath because of his outspoken view that children do better when raised by a mother and father than they do when raised by parents of the same sex.

Lopez, 43, was raised in a household by two mothers. He drew public attention in 2012 after penning an account of that experience in an article for Public Discourse titled “Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View.”

Overall, “children of same-sex couples have a tough road ahead of them,” Lopez argued, writing:

"When your home life is so drastically different from everyone around you, in a fundamental way striking at basic physical relations, you grow up weird. I have no mental health disorders or biological conditions. I just grew up in a house so unusual that I was destined to exist as a social outcast."

Ever since Lopez went public with his story, left-leaning gay rights groups such as HRC and GLAAD, an organization that calls itself “the voice for LGBT equality,” have targeted Lopez as an “extremist.”

They have provoked those on their mailing lists to write and call his family and university, attempted to blacklist him with the media and academia, and put in public records requests to acquire his contact information.

“It was an onslaught from that point forward,” Lopez recalls in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Already effectively shunned by many student groups, other organizations and media outlets in the U.S., Lopez still speaks regularly wherever he can, including foreign venues, about three core beliefs:

All children have the right to be born free, not bought or sold.

All children have the right to a mom and a dad.

All children have the right to connect with their origins.

Having grown up in a same-sex household, Lopez says he is particularly qualified to speak on these subjects.  “This debate is ultimately about me and people like me,” he says. “If anyone has a right to weigh in on this with full academic freedom and freedom of speech, it’s me.”

And being bisexual, Lopez considers himself a member of the LGBT community.  In explaining his sexuality, which he admits is unconventional, Lopez told The Daily Signal:

"I am bisexual. I have never been ex-gay and have never tried to hide that I’m gay. I just happen to be in a relationship with a woman and I’m raising my child with her."

Lopez is fluent in seven languages, boosting his ability to promote his message internationally. He says he never intended to go international, but had no choice when HRC, GLAAD and other groups blacklisted him.

Now, HRC has responded by labeling him an “Exporter of Hate.” The attack began in September, when the organization published a hit list of “American extremists who are working tirelessly to undercut LGBT people around the world at every turn.”

Featuring FBI-style sketches of faces and videos of advocates of marriage as the union of a man and a woman—including Scott Lively, Sharon Slater and Peter LaBarbera—the campaign likens Lopez and others to international criminals.

In the campaign, Lopez says, HRC falsely claims he spoke for the National Organization for Marriage and was part of the World Congress of Families, two groups that oppose the redefinition of marriage.  “These are blatant lies,” he says.

On Oct. 6, days before his wife went into labor, HRC blasted out an email specifically targeting the professor, calling him a “rising star on the international anti-LGBT scene.” Sent to the group’s 1.5 million claimed members and supporters, the email urged them to “expose” Lopez as an “exporter of hate.”

In some versions of the email, which recipients in turn forwarded to others, the subject line read: “‘Same-sex parenting flagrantly violates children’s rights…it is abuse. Face it.’- Robert Oscar Lopez, Associate Professor, Cal State-Northridge.”

HRC’s email blast happened to coincide with the birth of Lopez’s second child.  “I actually received the worst hate mail and voice messages just when the delivery was happening,” Lopez says in a phone interview.

One YouTube user published contact information in a comment section. Four weeks later, HRC had not removed it.

Officials at California State University-Northridge received emails demanding that they take action against the professor. Some of his students told him the day of HRC’s blast email that they felt “tricked” because Lopez didn’t disclose he was “anti-gay.”

“I have people calling me s—bag at my job, on my work line,” Lopez says.  At work, he fears for his job. At home, he fears for his life.

“It’s endangering me and my family,” Lopez says of the HRC campaign. “I don’t have a lot of money, I’m not rich, and I don’t have a big organization with tons of money that can help me and support me.” He adds:

"Being completely isolated like this, and then having to worry every time I leave my home—and my wife is there with the newborn—and not knowing whether I’m going to get killed, it’s really hard."

HRC did not respond to The Daily Signal’s multiple requests for comment about the campaign, and to explain why—four weeks later—the organization has not removed Lopez’s contact information from the comment section accompanying its video.

SOURCE






Canada raises alert after 'terror' attack

CANADA has raised its national "terrorism" alert after a soldier who was run over by a suspected jihadist died in hospital.

THE alert level was raised from low to medium after authorities said a man they believed to be "radicalised" struck two officers with his car on Monday, but authorities said the heightened alert wasn't "the result of a specific threat".

"This level means that intelligence has indicated that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism," said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the Public Safety Ministry.

The assailant in the attack was identified as 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau, who was briefly detained at a Canadian airport last July when he sought to fly to Turkey, federal police said.

Police didn't have enough evidence to charge him with seeking to join a terrorist group abroad and released him.

Couture-Rouleau was fatally shot by police after he struck two soldiers with his car in a Quebec parking lot - a scenario that had been depicted only last month in IS propaganda.

At a press conference, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said the deliberate attack was "clearly linked to terrorist ideology".

"I am horrified by what took place here," he said. "This is a terrible act of violence against our country, against our military, against our values."

The attack took place as Canadian warplanes headed to bomb Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Defense Minister Rob Nicholson said the soldier's death "in a senseless act such as this only strengthens our resolve" to take on militant groups such as IS.

Couture-Rouleau smashed his car into the two soldiers in a supermarket parking lot before fleeing with police in pursuit.

He called 911 to tell emergency workers about the attack as it was happening.

Police said he then crashed his car into a roadside ditch and rolled it over. When he extricated himself from the wreckage brandishing a knife, officers shot him.

The slain soldier had been admitted in critical condition to a hospital in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, 40km southeast of Montreal.  At 53 years old, he had served most of his adult life in the military.

Officials said the injuries to the other soldier were not life-threatening.

The motive behind the attack is still being investigated.

Quebec police said Couture-Rouleau may have stalked his victims, waiting for them in his car in the parking lot for more than two hours.

They said the "terrorist thesis (was) being considered by investigators", but didn't specify any links between the suspected attacker and any outlawed groups.

Federal police, meanwhile, said the suspect "was known" to the state's anti-terrorism task force.  Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson said he had been identified as someone who "might commit a criminal act for terrorist purposes".  RCMP spokeswoman Martine Fontaine said his family had become concerned by recent changes in his behaviour, and reached out to authorities for help.

She said police were in touch with Couture-Rouleau's imam and other community members to try to reach out to the man.  "We worked with him, with the imam in the mosque he was attending and with police officers that are part of our community service to try and exert a positive influence over him," Fontaine told reporters.

"Many interventions with Mr Martin Rouleau were carried out to try and avoid, in vain unfortunately, the tragic events in Saint-Jean."

The Canada case carries an echo of the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in London in May 2013.  Rigby was run over by two Muslim converts before being stabbed and hacked to death.

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 October, 2014

Multiculturalist hides kittens in oven while raiding Birmingham home



A burglar who hid three kittens in an oven while he ransacked a pregnant friend's home has been jailed.

Omar Hussain, 20, smashed a window to break into Marian Ahmed's house while she was at a doctor's appointment.

He stashed her three cats in the unlit oven and then looted the property during the raid in Handsworth, Birmingham.

The warehouse worker even tried to cover his tracks by visiting later in the day on November 19 last year, when he pretended to show support for his distraught friend.

He was arrested when his fingerprints were discovered at the scene, but he lied to police and claimed they were left when he returned to the house to comfort Miss Ahmed.

But Hussain, of Alum Rock, Birmingham, was jailed for two-and-a-half years after being found guilty of burglary at Birmingham Crown Court.

Mr Recorder Kelly said: "This is a gross breach of trust and friendship. You became friends with Miss Ahmed and were a regular visitor to her home.

"This was a terrible thing to do to someone who showed you nothing but friendship and hospitality.

"It looks at the moment as if you are embarking on a life where you are in and out of courts and prison.

"I urge you to reflect on what you are going to do with your life while you are in prison."

Hussain hid the kittens - which were not hurt during the raid - in the oven after smashing a window at Miss Ahmed's home before returning later.

The court heard he deliberately played the role of the concerned friend in order to offer an explanation to why his fingerprints were in her house.

Prosecutor Kate Plummer said: "There was an untidy search and high value items were taken. Her three kittens were put in the oven. He knew the victim, it was pre-planned.

"He knew she would be out at the time and even went back afterwards to help and give himself a defence in court."

Trevor Meegan, defending, said: "He is Somalian and been here for 10 years and has had jobs as a warehouse worker.

"He lives with his parents and has taken a college course at Birmingham College. "He doesn't accept his guilt, but accepts the conviction against him."

SOURCE







Government to Ordained Ministers: Celebrate Same-Sex Wedding or Go to Jail

For years, those in favor of same-sex marriage have argued that all Americans should be free to live as they choose. And yet in countless cases, the government has coerced those who simply wish to be free to live in accordance with their belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

Ministers face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.

Just this weekend, a case has arisen in Idaho, where city officials have told ordained ministers they have to celebrate same-sex weddings or face fines and jail time.

The Idaho case involves Donald and Evelyn Knapp, both ordained ministers, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel. Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.

The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation.

On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined. The Knapps now face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.

A week of honoring their faith and declining to perform the ceremony could cost the couple three and a half years in jail and $7,000 in fines.

Government Coercion

The Knapps have been married to each other for 47 years and are both ordained ministers of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. They are “evangelical Christians who hold to historic Christian beliefs” that “God created two distinct genders in His image” and “that God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman.”

But as a result of the courts redefining marriage and a city ordinance that creates special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Knapps are facing government coercion.

Governmental recognition of same-sex relationships as marriages need not and should not require any third party to recognize a same-sex relationship as a marriage. Government should respect the rights of all citizens. Indeed, a form of government respectful of free association, free contracts, free speech and free exercise of religion should protect citizens’ rights to live according to their beliefs about marriage.

The Knapps have been celebrating weddings in their chapel since 1989. Government should not now force them to shut down or violate their beliefs.

After all, protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience does not infringe on anyone’s sexual freedoms. No one has a right to have the government force a particular minister to marry them. Some citizens may conclude that they cannot in good conscience participate in same-sex ceremonies, from priests and pastors to bakers and florists. They should not be forced to choose between strongly held religious beliefs and their livelihood.

What Can Be Done

At the federal level, Congress has an opportunity to protect religious liberty and the rights of conscience.

Government should not now force ordained ministers to shut down or violate their beliefs.

Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. The government should be prohibited from discriminating against such groups or individuals in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation or contracting.

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act—sponsored by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, in the House (H.R. 3133) with more than 100 co-sponsors of both parties, and sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in the Senate (S. 1808) with 17 co-sponsors—would prevent the federal government from taking such adverse actions.

States need similar policy protections, including broad protections provided by state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) and specific protections for beliefs and actions about marriage.

Indeed, Idaho has a RFRA, called the Free Exercise of Religion Protected Act (FERPA). State RFRAs prevent the imposition of substantial burdens on sincere religious beliefs unless the government proves that such a burden advances a compelling government interest that has been pursued through the least restrictive means possible.

Protecting Religious Liberty

It is unclear how the city could claim that forcing the Knapps to perform a same-sex wedding is a compelling government interest being pursued in the least restrictive way. There are numerous other venues where a same-sex couple could get married. Indeed, there is a county clerks office directly across the street from the chapel.

States must protect the rights of Americans and the associations they form—both nonprofit and for-profit—to speak and act in the public square in accordance with their beliefs. It is particularly egregious that the city would coerce ordained ministers to celebrate a religious ceremony in their chapel. The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion arguing that this action “violates [the Knapps’s] First and 14th Amendment rights to freedom of speech, the free exercise of religion, substantive due process, and equal protection.”

Citizens must work to prevent or repeal laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We must also insist on laws that protect religious freedom and the rights of conscience.

Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience is the embodiment of a principled pluralism that fosters a more diverse civil sphere. Indeed, tolerance is essential to promoting peaceful coexistence even amid disagreement.

SOURCE






Paris Opera cast refuse to perform for veiled woman

A woman wearing an full-face Islamic veil was told to leave a Paris opera house after members of the cast refused to perform if she remained in the audience, officials said.

The woman, described as “a tourist from a Gulf state”, was sitting on the front row during a performance of La Traviata at the Opéra Bastille, the deputy director, Jean-Philippe Thiellay, said.

France banned the wearing of the full-face veil, or niqab, in public in 2011. The ban was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights earlier this year.

Mr Thiellay said performers told him during the second act that they would only continue if the woman left. During the interval, an attendant told her that she could stay if she removed her veil.

"He told her that in France there is a ban of this nature, asked her to either uncover her face or leave the room,” Mr Thiellay said. “The man asked the woman to get up, they left."

He added: "It's never nice to ask someone to leave. But there was a misunderstanding of the law and the lady either had to respect it or leave."

After news of the incident, which happened earlier this month, emerged on Monday, the government said it would review its guidelines to help theatres, museums and other public institutions enforce the ban.

Women wearing a face veil in public may be fined up to €150 (£120) and compelled to attend citizenship classes. Anyone forcing others to cover their faces may be fined up to €30,000 (£23,750), or double that amount if the woman is under 18.

Most women who have breached the ban have simply been warned and few have been prosecuted.

Last year, a veiled woman stopped by police for an identity check was arrested after her husband allegedly attacked an officer. The incident sparked clashes between youths and police in two Paris suburbs.

SOURCE






Australia:  Private views create no public harm

THE Barry Spurr affair is terrifying in the shoddy treatment of Spurr; in what it says about our universities; and in the lack of outrage that either has evoked.

What is certain is that there was a gross invasion of Spurr’s privacy. To that must be added the likelihood that his emails were obtained illegally and used when it was known, or should have been known, that that is how they had been obtained.

Moreover, that use was by a publication, New Matilda, that had only recently committed the same offence; and whose journalists hypocritically denounced the wrongdoing at the News of the World and, since then, have attacked the government’s metadata proposals, with all their checks and balances, as an assault on privacy.

Of course, one expects nothing better from Wendy Bacon, who demands a moral right to invade the private emails of others without providing public access to her own. But it is disappointing that Bill Shorten, who repeatedly invoked the presumption of innocence to shield Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper, failed to show the same concern for Spurr.

And it is a scandal that the University of Sydney has suspended Spurr despite there being no claim, much less evidence, that his teaching, supervision and research have been anything but exemplary.

To make matters worse, the university has set aside Spurr’s explanation that the emails were parodies without according Spurr the prior opportunity to have that explanation tested. Whatever one may think of his emails, that explanation is scarcely implausible: parodies, satires and burlesques, often in poor taste, have peppered the correspondence of literary figures since time immemorial.

Indeed, some of the English language’s earliest comedies were private communications making fun of religious services in terms then considered blasphemous. And one does not need to dig deep in our language’s treasure chest to savour such politically incorrect gems as Paul Dehm’s parody of Robert Herrick (‘‘Whereas in jeans my Julia crams/her vasty hips and … diaphragms’’); Cyril Connolly dispatching James Bond in drag to seduce General Apraxin (‘‘one of those’’, warns M, listing the general’s hobbies as nerve gas, germ warfare and sodomy); or Alan Bennett’s brilliant spoof of James Buchan (in which Hannay decries the possibility of ‘‘a div­orced woman on the throne of the house of Windsor’’ as a ‘‘feather in the cap of that bunch of rootless intellectuals, Jews and pederasts who call themselves the Labour Party’’).

It scarcely takes much imagination to think a professor of poet­ics might similarly revel in using off-colour, if not frankly offensive, language in intimate communic­ation. But assume Spurr’s claim is a sham; that far from being banter between old friends, the emails reflected his innermost views. So long as those views do not intrude on the way he exercises his academic responsibilities, they are no more relevant to his role than the fact that TS Elliot (on whom Spurr is a world authority) was an anti-Semite.

To believe otherwise is to discard the distinction between vice and crime that is at the heart of a free society. Aquinas, although no liberal, put it well when he argued that rather than forcing men to be virtuous, laws exist to enforce the rules of justice; they should therefore not condemn mere vice but conduct ‘‘without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained’’.

Locke then made that distinction central to the philosophy of liberty, when he noted that ‘‘many things are sins which no man ever said were to be punished’’, for while objectionable, they were neither ‘‘prejudicial to other men’s rights, nor break the public peace’’. And Adam Smith, in terms familiar to JS Mill, emphasised that it was therefore crucial to ‘‘carefully distinguish what is only blamable from what force may be employed to punish or prevent’’.

In other words, Spurr is entitled to his private vices, even if repre­hensible, so long as they do not inflict public harms. Instead, the real question is how Australia’s oldest university could believe otherwise.

At the most immediate level, the answer lies in what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a great scholar and long-time Democratic senator for New York, diagnosed as the ‘‘authoritarian Left’’ spreading throughout academe. Ignorant, intolerant and incapable of contesting ideas, its only weapon is the ad hominem attack.

Sydney’s conduct, coming after the ANU’s witch-hunt against fossil fuels, is a disturbing sign of how far the spread Moynihan feared has gone. The university’s support of Jake Lynch’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, whose anti-Zionism verges on anti-Semitism, only leavens with hypocrisy its disregard for justice.

But there are also deeper forces at work. Historically, intellectual elites had every interest in freedom of expression: no matter how strongly they favoured regulating other markets, they gained from freedom in their own. Now, reduced to mere wards of the state, they clamour for restrictions on competition that enforce conformity, protect mediocrity and entrench their claim on the public purse. And they find in the similarly placed ABC, as well as in publications such as New Matilda, plenty of fellow travellers to speak on their behalf.

Set against that milieu, Spurr stood no chance. By collaborating in the Abbott government’s review of the national curriculum he signed his own death warrant. From that moment on, it was only a matter of time before he paid the price.

None of that is to give Spurr the seal of approval. He may, for all I know, hold beliefs I find abhorrent. But universities need scholars, not saints; and if integrity, in Rawls’s words, means ‘‘defending the principles of morality even when to one’s disadvantage’’, his treatment is not merely a shame: it is a disgrace.

Reversing it should be an oblig­ation, as well as a priority.

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 October, 2014

Catholic bishops scrap plans to 'welcome' gay members after landmark summit on family issues ends in deep divisions

Catholic bishops meeting to discuss 'family issues' at a two week summit have scrapped plans to welcome gay members of the Church.

Showing deep divisions at the end of the Vatican synod, which was sought by Pope Francis in part to chart a more merciful approach to homosexuals, the bishops failed to approve even a watered-down section on ministering to gay Catholics.

Midway through the summit, a draft document was released proposing remarkably progressive plans for the Catholic Church, saying unmarried couples living together can be 'positive', and gay relationships and divorcees must be welcomed.

But by the time the synod ended, the welcoming tone of acceptance had been stripped away and replaced by a paragraph describing homosexuality as a 'problem' Catholic families have to confront.

Rather than considering gays as individuals who had gifts to offer the church, the revised paragraph referred to homosexuality as one of the problems Catholic families have to confront.

It said 'people with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy,' but repeated church teaching that marriage is only between man and woman. The paragraph failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

Two other paragraphs concerning the other hot-button issue at the synod of bishops — whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion — also failed to pass.

The outcome showed a deeply divided church on some of the most pressing issues facing Catholic families.

It appeared that the 118-62 vote on the gay section might have been a protest vote by progressive bishops who refused to back the watered-down wording. The original draft had said gays had gifts to offer the church and that their partnerships, while morally problematic, provided gay couples with 'precious' support.

New Ways Ministry, a Catholic gay rights group, said it was 'very disappointing' that the final report had backtracked from the welcoming words contained in the draft.

Nevertheless, it said the synod's process 'and openness to discussion provides hope for further development down the road, particularly at next year's synod, where the makeup of the participants will be larger and more diverse, including many more pastorally-oriented bishops.'

The draft had been written by a Francis appointee, Monsignor Bruno Forte, a theologian known for pushing the pastoral envelope on ministering to people in 'irregular' unions. The draft was supposed to have been a synopsis of the bishops' interventions, but many conservatives complained that it reflected a minority and overly progressive view.

Francis insisted in the name of transparency that the full document — including the paragraphs that failed to pass — be published along with the voting tally. The document will serve as the basis for future debate leading up to another meeting of bishops next October that will produce a final report to be sent to Francis.

'Personally I would have been very worried and saddened if there hadn't been these ... animated discussions ... or if everyone had been in agreement or silent in a false and acquiescent peace,' Francis told the synod hall after the vote.

Conservatives had harshly criticized the draft and proposed extensive revisions to restate church doctrine, which holds that gay sex is 'intrinsically disordered,' but that gays themselves are to be respected, and that marriage is only between a man and woman.

'We could see that there were different viewpoints,' said Cardinal Oswald Gracis of India, when asked about the most contentious sections of the report on homosexuals and divorced and remarried Catholics.

German Cardinal Walter Kasper, the leader of the progressive camp, said he was 'realistic' about the outcome.

In an unexpected gesture after the voting, Francis approached a group of journalists waiting outside the synod hall to thank them for their work covering the synod.

'Thanks to you and your colleagues for the work you have done,' he said. 'Grazie tante.' Conservative bishops had harshly criticized journalists for reporting on the dramatic shift in tone in the draft, even though the media reports merely reflected the document's content.

Francis' gesture, and his words inside the synod hall chastising bishops who were overly wed to doctrine and were guided by 'hostile rigidity,' as well as those bishops who showed a 'destructive goody-goodiness,' indicated that he was well aware of the divisions the debate had sparked. His speech received a four-minute standing ovation, participants said.

Over the past week, the bishops split themselves up into working groups to draft amendments to the text. They were nearly unanimous in insisting that church doctrine on family life be more fully asserted and that faithful Catholic families should be held up as models and encouraged rather than focus on family problems and 'irregular' unions.

The bishops signaled a similar tone in a separate message directed at Christian families released Saturday. There was no mention whatsoever of families with gay children, much less gay parents, and it spoke of the 'complex and problematic' issues that arise when marriages fail and new relationships begin.

'Christ wanted his church to be a house with the door always open to welcome everyone, without excluding anyone,' the message read. (Oddly, the English translation was less welcoming than the official Italian, ending the sentence after 'everyone.')

Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of South Africa, who helped draft the revised final report, told Vatican Radio the final document showed a 'common vision' that was lacking in the draft.

He said the key areas for concern were 'presenting homosexual unions as if they were a very positive thing' and the suggestion that divorced and remarried Catholics should be able to receive Communion without an annulment.

He complained that the draft was presented as the opinion of the whole synod, when it was 'one or two people.'  'And that made people very angry,' he said.

SOURCE






When nanny staters say ‘choice’, what they really mean is ‘less choice’

Nannies, nudgers and various other adherents to what the UK Labour Party calls ‘the politics of behaviour’ have done a lot of bad stuff in recent years. Their smoking ban hollowed out pub life. Their fearmongering about fatness did more than any fashion mag to convince young people that chubbiness is sinful and skinniness is next to Godliness. Their jihad against junk food in schools deprived today’s kids of some of childhood’s great pleasures: having a Mars bar in your blazer pocket and taking bites out of it in between scoring goals in the playground or sharing a fizzy strawberry lace as you natter about last night’s TV.

But even worse than all that has been the way this fun-allergic lobby has warped the meaning of the word choice. Almost singlehandedly they have transformed the c-word. They have turned ‘choice’ from something individuals do for themselves, using our free will and moral autonomy to decide on a course of action that we think is best suited to our lives, into something that is done for us, by others, and which we have to be guided towards. They talk about the ‘right choice’, the ‘informed choice’, the ‘healthy choice’, and about their determination to shove us donut-scoffing plebs towards that ‘choice’. They have turned choice utterly on its head: when they say ‘choice’, what they really mean is ‘less choice’.

Consider Lord Darzi’s proposals, published this week, for how to make London a healthier city. He wants mayor Boris Johnson to ban smoking in Trafalgar Square and other squares and parks; to ban the siting of junk-food shops near schools; and to give Oyster Card users a discount if they get off their lazy butts once in a while and walk part of the way to work. It is standard, soul-destroying lifestyle-policing fare. But what was most striking was Darzi’s insistence that through restricting certain forms of behaviour - smoking in public, buying chips near a school - he is boosting people’s ability to make a choice. He says he wants us all to make what he calls ‘the healthiest choice’, but that choice isn’t ‘always easy [or] obvious’, so we have to be assisted in the making of it. Labour’s Tessa Jowell also used the c-word in a super-weird way in her backing for Lord Darzi. ‘We need to make the healthier choice the easier choice for Londoners’, she said.

So let’s get this straight: restricting someone’s ability to choose whether he lights up a fag in Trafalgar Square is actually about improving his ability to make a choice? That public officials can propose the restriction of certain behaviours in one breath and then blather on about choice in the very next sums up how emptied of meaning the word choice has become. If they were serious about choice, they would say: ‘Smoke in Trafalgar Square, or don’t smoke in Trafalgar Square, it’s your choice.’ That would genuinely entail giving the citizen a choice – not a massive, meaningful, democracy-shaking choice, no, but a choice nonetheless: to smoke or not to smoke. By contrast, saying ‘We think you should be prevented through by-law from smoking in Trafalgar Sqaure or buying chicken wings within a hundred-metre radius of a school’ is an explicit negation of choice; it’s a pummelling of the autonomy involved in making a choice. It removes choice, it doesn’t enhance it.

This is doublespeak par excellence. Increasingly, when the politicians of behaviour say ‘helping citizens make a choice’, what they really mean is ‘limiting citizens’ ability to make a choice’. So the ever-growing nudge industry talks about overhauling society’s ‘choice architecture’ in order to make it easier for people to make the ‘right health choices’, by which it means putting pressure on us to do what it thinks is right. Smoking-ban supporters and those who want a price hike in booze talk about helping citizens make ‘informed choices’, by which they mean using law or financial pressure to force us to make the choice they think is best for us. They have made the choice – you shall not smoke here, or drink too much, or eat certain foods around schoolkids – and all that remains is for them to nudge or nag or legislate the rest of us towards that choice they have made about our lives. This is prescription, not choice.

We need to reclaim the word choice. Choice is a good thing, a wonderful thing. No, not because individuals will always make good choices; some of them will make very bad choices, including the choice to get blotto every day of the week or to smoke 100 cigarettes a day, which are hardly good things to do.

But it is better for a citizen to make a bad choice using his own free will than it is for someone else to make a ‘good choice’ on his behalf and then elbow and berate him towards that ‘choice’. This is a point John Stuart Mill makes in On Liberty. He said that even though individuals ‘may not do the particular thing so well as the officers of government… it is nevertheless desirable that it should be done by them, rather than by the government, as a means to their own mental education – a mode of strengthening their active faculties, exercising their judgement, and giving them a familiar knowledge of the subjects with which they are thus left to deal’.

In short, the act of making a choice is good even if the choice one makes is bad, because it is through making a choice, through exercising our moral autonomy, that we learn, grow and become independent, fully human in fact. As Mill put it, ‘The human faculties of perception, judgement, discriminative feeling, mental activity, and even moral preference, are exercised only in making a choice’. If choices are made for us – by Lord Darzi or some other member of the informed-choice brigade – then we never get to exercise our moral muscles, far less determine our destinies. The idea that there is one choice – The Right Choice – is a contradiction in terms, and an Orwellian one at that, because choice is a conscious act carried out by an individual deciding what he should do, not a predetermined script foisted on society by those in the know. Choosing is good, even if the choice is bad, because choosing one’s path in life and learning from one’s mistakes is what being human is all about. The choice-warping politics of behaviour doesn’t only dull our fun – it diminishes our humanity.

SOURCE






GamerGate: Part I: Sex, Lies, and Gender Games

A controversy over videogames has become a battle in a larger culture war

A controversy over videogames may seem an unlikely candidate for a big story, especially with everything else in the news. Yet an epic Internet drama known as "GamerGate," now in its second month, continues to get media attention and fuel animated debate. (In its latest flare-up, Intel found itself in the crossfire last week when it pulled its ads from Gamasutra, a gaming webzine at the center of the quarrel.) While this saga has everything from sex to alleged corruption, GamerGate has also become a battle in a larger culture war. To the liberal and progressive commentariat, it's part of a reactionary white male backlash against the rise of diversity—in this case, "sexist thugs" out to silence and destroy women who seek equality in the gaming subculture. To conservatives and right-leaning libertarians, it's a welcome pushback against left-wing cultural diktat, particularly in the area of gender politics. Meanwhile, gamergaters themselves—who seem to lean left-libertarian—say that what they want is ethics and transparency in the gaming media.

As often happens, reality is more complex than any of these narratives. While the gamers' revolt has very legitimate issues, is also true that it has been linked to some very ugly misogynist harassment of feminists. It also seems clear that the overwhelming majority of GamerGate supporters reject such tactics—and that harassment related to this conflict has been a two-way street. For a supposed misogynist "hate mob," GamerGate includes a lot of vocal women—and they have their own complaints of gender-based abuse, such as being called gender traitors or even "male sockpuppets." Finally, the feminism GamerGate rebels against is not simply about equality or  diversity; it is an authoritarian, far-left brand of gender politics that views everything through the lens of patriarchal oppression and tolerates no dissent.

A disclaimer is in order: I am not a gamer, unless you count playing Space Invaders and Millipede at the student center arcade in college and a mild Tetris addiction after I got my first home computer. While I have no experience with role-playing videogames, I have some knowledge of them thanks to several (mainly female) friends who play and one who writes videogame-based fan fiction.

I do have personal experience with the gamers' mortal enemies, the so-called "social justice warriors," to know they can be a highly toxic Internet presence. Those who voice their loathing of "the SJWs" are not simply talking about people sympathetic to socially progressive causes but about cultist zealots who enforce the party line with the fervor of Mao's Red Guards, though luckily without the real-life power. In social-media discussions of art and entertainment, the "warriors" can be found sniffing out and attacking such ideological deviations as liking a heterosexual love interest for a character perceived as gay, liking or disliking a character on the wrong side of race-and-gender identity politics, or (I kid you not) using the "ableist" nickname "derpy" for a klutzy pony on the TV cartoon My Little Pony.  Let them gain enough influence in an online community, and they will poison it for anyone who wants to talk to other fans of their favorite shows, movies, or books—or games—without relentless hectoring about "privilege" and "oppression."

Back to "GamerGate" and its tangled web. (A fairly detailed, straightforward, and balanced chronicle of the events can be read on the Know Your Meme website.) The drama began in mid-August, when Eron Gjoni, a programmer and ex-boyfriend of videogame developer Zoe Quinn, made a massive blogpost accusing her of infidelities and deceptions, with screenshots of their online chats as corroboration.

Quinn, a vocal "social justice" Internet activist, had numerous enemies—many of them on the notoriously anarchic, anonymous 4Chan message board. They were quick to seize on the disclosures, portraying this as an ethics issue because some of Quinn's liaisons had possible implications of favoritism. One of her partners was later a judge in an independent videogame festival that had just bestowed an award on Quinn's game, Depression Quest; another was a videogame journalist who had given her a couple of positive mentions. Threads discussing this dust-up, some of them quite nasty, proliferated in a variety of forums.

With the focus on Quinn's sexual conduct and allegations of using sex for professional gain, the "Quinnspiracy"—as it was initially known—was inevitably seen as a sexist attempt to take down a female developer. In late August, the controversy got a boost when actor Adam Baldwin, whose politics lean right, took interest in it and tweeted links to some YouTube videos critical of Quinn—also coining the #GamerGate hashtag. Around the same time, feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, whose Tropes vs. Women video series critiquing sexist clichés in videogames had made her the gaming community's bête noire, reported that she had left her home as a precaution after a Twitter user sent her a string of rape and death threats which included her address.

For some, the attacks on Quinn and on Sarkeesian became a perfect storm of gaming-culture misogyny. On August 28, Gamasutra ran a blistering attack on "game culture" by feminist cultural critic Leigh Alexander, declaring that "gamers are over" and ridiculing them as socially inept, badly dressed young males addicted to mindless gadget-buying and "getting mad on the Internet." This was followed by a spate of online articles—both on sites devoted to gaming or "geek culture" and in general-interest publications such as Vice and The Daily Beast—attacking gamer culture or announcing its demise. The gamers struck back in the social media, finding supporters in gadfly tech blogger Milo Yiannopoulous of Breitbart London and dissident feminist/critic of feminism Christina Hoff Sommers.

More HERE





British Muslim Touts Benefits of Islamic State Rule: Tax Breaks, Slavegirls

“Now that we have the caliphate, we can have slavegirls,” said British Islamic activist Mizanur Rahman, touting some of the benefits of the Islamic State (IS) in a series of videos obtained by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Rahman, who also goes by the alias Abu Baraa, noted that enslaved women are permitted under Islamic sharia law as he addressed the question: “Can a father change the nappy of his baby daughter?”

“It’s allowed, but it’s not the normal suitable role of the father. It should be done by the mother. That is obviously part of the modesty and shyness,” he explained, adding: “If there are other women – of course it is better for them (to do it). A sister, a mother, a mother-in-law, a grandmother, an auntie – whatever, if there is somebody else it is better for them, Allah willing. Or a slavegirl.”

“Nowadays we can start to return to some of the many other rulings of Islam, which have been absent for many years," he continued. “Now that we have the caliphate, we can have slavegirls in the caliphate.”

He also pointed out what he considers one of the economic perks of living under the IS. “Do you know how much jizya (tax imposed on non-Muslims) they are charging in the Islamic State now? It is the equivalent of about 400 pounds a year.

“Living in the U.K. is expensive because of the taxes, because of the interest, because of the taxes, because of the interest, because of all the capitalist system. All that is removed and all you pay is this small amount," he said.

“Not only that, but it’s only the able-bodied man who pays the jizya,” he continued. “The disabled or elderly get a pension. They don’t pay the jizya. The women and children don’t pay any jizya ever. A woman never pays jizya. She is allowed to work, but she never pays jizya, nor does she pay any income tax. My brother, what is better for them?”

Rahman has his own website where he expounds on the teachings of Islam, including a statement that “Islam is the most ardent defender of the rights of all people of every colour, race, religion, gender and age.” He is also currently active on Twitter and Facebook.

Rahman claims that America cannot survive IS' retaliation.

"The question is not how the Islamic State is going to survive against the American airstrikes," Rahman said August 7. "How is America going to survive against the Islamic State's defense and retaliation?" he asked. "That's the real question. I don't believe they're going to survive. I think it's already over for America. They don't want to admit it, but it's over."

Rahman, a 31-year-old British citizen of Pakistani descent, was convicted in 2007 for encouraging the murder of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but was released in 2010.

He was arrested again last month with eight other British Muslims on suspicion of encouraging terrorism. "He denies wrongdoing and has not been charged,” Reuters reported.

In response to the MEMRI video, Rahman tweeted out to his over 10,000 followers: “MemriTV gets excited by the Hukm (legal regulation) of changing nappies in Islam.”

Rahman also pointed out that Christians and other non-believers “need to be humiliated” by his fellow Muslims. “Their houses will never be equal to the houses of the Muslims.” he said, adding,“They will never be allowed to ride a horse while the Muslims don’t have horses.”

“Non-Muslim men cannot ride a horse like a man in the Islamic State. They have to ride like a woman, with two legs on one side, because they need to be humiliated, and they should not be similar to the Muslims.”

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 October, 2014

Pope prepares to purge conservative cardinal in push to reform Vatican

Pope Francis is about to demote an arch-conservative cardinal who has been bitterly opposed to his reformist agenda and his call for greater acceptance of gays and divorcees in the Catholic Church.

The sidelining of American cardinal Raymond Burke comes against a backdrop of acute differences of opinion among nearly 200 bishops and cardinals who for the last two weeks have been discussing issues relating to the family at a synod, or assembly, at the Vatican.

The move suggests that the Pope, who has upset many within the Catholic Church with his call for a more flexible and "merciful" approach towards gay people and divorcees, is determined to purge the Vatican of some of his more trenchant critics.

Cardinal Burke, who has strongly criticised Pope Francis's more open attitude towards homosexuals, is currently head of the Vatican's highest court of canon law.

But he said he is preparing to be given a new, much lower profile role as the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of Malta, a Catholic charity based in Rome that traces its origins back to the Crusades.

"I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it," the cardinal, whose official title is Prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, said.  He said he had not yet received formal notice from the Pope of the demotion.

He and other conservatives were highly critical of an interim document released on Monday, halfway through the synod, which suggested that the Church should be "welcoming to homosexual persons" and open to lifting the ban on remarried divorcees from receiving Communion.

He has accused Pope Francis of harming the Church by allowing such free-ranging debate on key issues facing ordinary Catholics.

Cardinal Burke maintains the hardline, traditional Catholic approach that homosexuals are "intrinsically disordered" and that the act of gay sex is a sin. He has gone further, saying that homosexual acts are "wrong and evil".

The bishops, archbishops and cardinals involved in the synod were to vote on Saturday evening on whether to accept a final document from the two-week meeting, in which language about acceptance of homosexuality and remarried divorcees is expected to be watered down on the urging of conservatives, particularly bishops from Africa and the US.

It will then be up to Pope Francis to decide whether, and when, to make the document public.

The synod has revealed acute dissent within the uppermost ranks of the Catholic hierarchy between progressives and traditionalists.

The bishops scrapped their landmark welcome to gays, showing deep divisions at the end of the two-week meeting.  They failed to approve even a watered-down section on ministering to gays that stripped away the welcoming tone contained in a draft document earlier in the week.

Two other paragraphs concerning the other controversial issue at the synod - whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive communion - also failed to pass.

There will be more debate on both issues at a second synod to be held next October.

This month's synod has revealed acute dissent within the uppermost ranks of the Catholic hierarchy between progressives and traditionalists.

"You have some people, like Burke, who are very upset by what has been discussed at the synod," Father Tom Reese, a Jesuit priest and veteran Vatican analyst, told The Telegraph on Saturday.

"There is a large body of bishops who think the language being expressed is too accommodating and fear that it will result in ordinary people thinking that it doesn't matter whether you are divorced or shacked up with someone or whatever. They certainly don't want that to be the message."

While Cardinal Burke and others are appalled by Francis's agenda, saying that it attacks the sanctity of marriage and the Church's teaching on homosexuality, other bishops are in favour of aligning the Church more with the challenges faced by modern Catholics.

Asked during a Vatican press conference for clarification on whether the Church welcomed gays or still regarded them as sinners, an Indian cardinal said the Church should embrace homosexuals with compassion and understanding.  "Yes, I would certainly say they are part of the Church," said Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Mumbai.  "I have met gays in Mumbai and I have told them they are very welcome, that we wish to care for them."

SOURCE






Madman Kerry says Extremism Not Linked to Islam; Responsible Factors Include Deprivation, Climate Change

Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday night rejected any link between Islam and extremism practiced by the likes of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh), pointing instead to factors such as poverty among youthful Mideast populations, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – and climate change.

Addressing a reception at the State Department in honor of the recent Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, Kerry told an audience of Muslim community representatives, diplomats and others that the world was facing “a very complex time, and there are many currents that are loose out there that have brought us to this moment.”

“The extremism that we see, the radical exploitation of religion which is translated into violence, has no basis in any of the real religions,” he said. “There’s nothing Islamic about what ISIL/Daesh stands for, or is doing to people.”

The situation was “complicated, and for other reasons,” Kerry said. “We’re living at a point in time where there are just more young people demanding what they see the rest of the world having than at any time in modern history.”

He said with large youthful populations in some countries in the Middle East, South-Central Asia and the Horn of Africa, “you are going to have a governance problem unless your governance is really addressing the demands and needs of that part of the population.”

Kerry said extremist violence was just a symptom of underlying causes that needed to be addressed. He spoke in that context of a need for a partnership – to pursue peace, shared prosperity and the ability to get an education and a job, as well as “sustainability of the planet itself.”

“And that brings us to something like climate change, which is profoundly having an impact in various parts of the world, where droughts are occurring not at a 100-year level but at a 500-year level in places that they haven’t occurred, floods of massive proportions, diminishment of water for crops and agriculture at a time where we need to be talking about sustainable food.”

“In many places we see the desert increasingly creeping into East Africa,” he said. “We’re seeing herders and farmers pushed into deadly conflict as a result. We’re seeing the Himalayan glaciers receding, which will affect the water that is critical to rice and to other agriculture on both sides of the Himalayas. These are our challenges.”  [Higher levels of CO2 are in fact REDUCING the desertificaton of Sub-Saharan Africa]


SOURCE






UK: Leftist indifference to the disabled

Their one-size-fits-all ideology is all that matters to them

Yet another instance of Ed Miliband’s legendary political acumen was his attempt at last week’s PMQs to rebrand the Tories as “the nasty party”. This was on the basis of leaked comments by Lord Freud on the unfortunate effect of the minimum wage on the disabled. A transcript of what the junior welfare minister actually said at a private Tory meeting showed it to be the very opposite of what Miliband tried to convey.

In fact, he was addressing precisely a point I made here in June 1999, after being approached by a local councillor who had worked with the disabled for years. He alerted me to the social disaster that the Labour government’s new minimum wage was about to create.

It was going to prevent thousands of people with learning or physical disabilities from doing modest jobs – such as clearing litter, assembling wooden toys or stacking supermarket shelves. This work took them out into the community with a sense that they were doing something useful, but it didn’t necessarily justify their being paid the new minimum wage. So what many charity workers and social services managers proposed was that the handicapped should continue doing such therapeutic work, but for wages below the new minimum, with the difference made up by a modest change to the benefit rules.

The then government’s insistence on everyone getting the full minimum wage made nonsense of its claim that it would help the disabled, but it remained impervious to objections. I quoted the fine Orwellian twist of a reply to a Labour MP from the trade minister Ian McCartney, loftily explaining that the minimum wage “supports a culture of social inclusion”. In other words, as I wrote, to promote the “inclusion” of the handicapped, they must be socially excluded.

Sure enough, this was just what happened. In 2000 The Guardian was quoting Mencap in reporting that large numbers of handicapped people had been laid off, and were now forced to while away their time in day centres or languish unhappily at home.

This was precisely the anomaly Lord Freud was again trying to address, in those remarks for which David Cameron ordered him to apologise, on the grounds that they were “foolish and offensive”.

SOURCE






Tackled by the Language Police

Wretched excess by government can be beneficial if it startles people into wholesome disgust and deepened distrust, and prompts judicial rebukes that enlarge freedom. So let’s hope the Federal Communications Commission embraces the formal petition inciting it to deny licenses to broadcasters who use the word “Redskins” when reporting on the Washington Redskins.

Using the FCC to break another private institution to the state’s saddle for the satisfaction of a clamorous faction illustrates how the government’s many tentacles give it many means of intimidating people who offend it. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, empowered to ban trademarks that “may” disparage persons, has already limited trademark protection of the Redskins' name.

The FCC petition argues that broadcasting during prime time of the word “Redskins” has “an adverse impact on impressionable young Indian as well as non-Indian children.” (Today’s sensitivity arbiters say the word “Indian” does, too, but never mind.) Furthermore, uttering “Redskins” is “akin to broadcasting obscenity” and pornography, is “hate speech” and an “ethnic slur” that “keep[s] alive the spirit of inhumanity, subjugation and genocide” and “may” cause violence against Native Americans. Besides, it is a “nuisance,” defined as something “annoying.”

Is the FCC empowered to protect an entitlement to a life without annoyances? What if the FCC is annoying? This is complicated.

Professor Eugene Volokh, who specializes in First Amendment law at UCLA’s School of Law and supervises an invaluable website, The Volokh Conspiracy, thinks the petition refutes itself. It argues that “Redskins” is offensive because of the ideas and attitudes the word conveys. But when the Supreme Court upheld restrictions on the broadcasting of certain vulgarities (George Carlin’s “seven dirty words”), it stressed that the mere fact that speech is offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. And although the court focused on the content of the words, it did not focus on the political content or on the speaker’s opinion. “Indeed,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “if it is the speaker’s opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according [an utterance] constitutional protection,” because “the government must remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas.”

Volokh adds: “The premise of the criticism of ‘Redskins’ is precisely that it embodies a racist, demeaning message about American Indians (whether or not this is intended by those who use it), and that it offends because of this racist meaning. It thus is the speaker’s imputed opinion and supposed ‘political content’ of the word that gives offense.”

Some say “Redskins” is merely an offensive epithet with a negligible ideological message. Volokh replies that the epithet is offensive to those who are offended “because of its allegedly racist ideology, and the call to suppress it stems precisely from the perception that it conveys this racist ideology.” Anyway, the anti-“Redskins” petition is less legal reasoning than a form of bureaucratic bullying known as regulation by “raised eyebrow.” The petition’s author notes that the FCC sometimes indicates disapproval of this or that, thereby compelling broadcasters, worried about being put out of business, to practice self-censorship. So the petition seems designed to trigger this, thereby succeeding even if it fails – even if the FCC dismisses the petition.

If, however, the FCC under progressives today but conservatives tomorrow, can, in the petition’s words, define and ban particular words as “nuisances” because they “annoy” a “substantial composite” of the population, what other words will appear on an ever-lengthening list?

Today many colleges and universities have “free speech zones” – wee spaces to which the First Amendment is confined. Such institutions are run by educators whose meager educations did not teach them that the Amendment made America a free speech zone. Campuses are habitats for progressives, and the distilled essence of today’s progressivism is the use of power to limit speech. The fact that censorship is progressivism’s default position regarding so many things is evidence of progressives' pessimism about the ability of their agenda to advance under a regime of robust discussion. It also indicates the delight progressives derive from bossing people around and imposing a particular sensibility, in the name of diversity, of course.

The petition, which uses “R*dskins” (this typographical delicacy supposedly will help prevent pogroms against Native Americans), says the phrase “colored people,” too, is “now considered derogatory.” If so, some progressive has the awkward duty of notifying the NAACP that its name is “akin to” a disparagement, an obscenity, pornography, a racial slur and hate speech. The language policeman’s lot is not a happy one.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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19 October, 2014

John Kerry Blames the Jews for the Islamic State

The kind of rhetoric coming out of the Obama administration is the stuff of the KKK or al-Qaeda. Blaming the Jews for this purely Islamic movement exposes Kerry and Barack Obama for what they really are. Jew-haters. America, what have you wrought? It is the Quran that fuels recruitment to the Islamic State, not Israel.

"Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday called for a resumption of the Israel-Palestinian peace process, saying the talks were vital in the fight against extremism."It is imperative that we find a way to get back to the negotiations," Kerry said at a State Department ceremony marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha"

 Kerry has just returned from a tour of Europe and Egypt, where on Sunday he attended a conference on the reconstruction of Gaza, and where he told Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. We need "to find a way to create two states that can live together side by side, two peoples, with both of their aspirations being respected," Kerry added."I still believe that's possible, and I still believe we need to work towards it."

He said the unresolved Israel-Palestinian conflict was fueling recruitment for the Islamic State jihadist group. "There wasn't a leader I met with in the region who didn't raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation," Kerry said."People need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity," he added.

Kerry was the architect of the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process between July 2013 and April.

SOURCE  






America's most "incorrect" man reflects

"The Bell Curve" 20 years later: A Q&A with Charles Murray

October marks the 20th anniversary of “The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life,” the extraordinarily influential and controversial book by AEI scholar Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein. Here, Murray answers a few questions about the predictions, controversy, and legacy of his book.

Q. It’s been 20 years since “The Bell Curve” was published. Which theses of the book do you think are the most relevant right now to American political and social life?

American political and social life today is pretty much one great big “Q.E.D.” for the two main theses of “The Bell Curve.” Those theses were, first, that changes in the economy over the course of the 20th century had made brains much more valuable in the job market; second, that from the 1950s onward, colleges had become much more efficient in finding cognitive talent wherever it was and shipping that talent off to the best colleges. We then documented all the ways in which cognitive ability is associated with important outcomes in life — everything from employment to crime to family structure to parenting styles. Put those all together, we said, and we’re looking at some serious problems down the road. Let me give you a passage to quote directly from the close of the book:

Q. Predicting the course of society is chancy, but certain tendencies seem strong enough to worry about:

An increasingly isolated cognitive elite.

A merging of the cognitive elite with the affluent.

A deteriorating quality of life for people at the bottom end of the cognitive distribution.

Unchecked, these trends will lead the U.S. toward something resembling a caste society, with the underclass mired ever more firmly at the bottom and the cognitive elite ever more firmly anchored at the top, restructuring the rules of society so that it becomes harder and harder for them to lose. (p. 509)

Remind you of anything you’ve noticed about the US recently? If you look at the first three chapters of the book I published in 2012, “Coming Apart,” you’ll find that they amount to an update of “The Bell Curve,” showing how the trends that we wrote about in the early 1990s had continued and in some cases intensified since 1994. I immodestly suggest that “The Bell Curve” was about as prescient as social science gets.

Q. But none of those issues has anything to do with race, and let’s face it: the firestorm of controversy about “The Bell Curve” was all about race. We now have 20 more years of research and data since you published the book. How does your position hold up?

First, a little background: Why did Dick and I talk about race at all? Not because we thought it was important on its own. In fact, if we lived in a society where people were judged by what they brought to the table as individuals, group differences in IQ would be irrelevant. But we were making pronouncements about America’s social structure (remember that the book’s subtitle is “Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life”). If we hadn’t discussed race, “The Bell Curve” would have been dismissed on grounds that “Herrnstein and Murray refuse to confront the reality that IQ tests are invalid for blacks, which makes their whole analysis meaningless.” We had to establish that in fact IQ tests measure the same thing in blacks as in whites, and doing so required us to discuss the elephant in the corner, the mean difference in test scores between whites and blacks.

Here’s what Dick and I said: "There is a mean difference in black and white scores on mental tests, historically about one standard deviation in magnitude on IQ tests (IQ tests are normed so that the mean is 100 points and the standard deviation is 15). This difference is not the result of test bias, but reflects differences in cognitive functioning. The predictive validity of IQ scores for educational and socioeconomic outcomes is about the same for blacks and whites."

Those were our confidently stated conclusions about the black-white difference in IQ, and none of them was scientifically controversial. See the report of the task force on intelligence that the American Psychological Association formed in the wake of the furor over “The Bell Curve.”

What’s happened in the 20 years since then? Not much. The National Assessment of Educational Progress shows a small narrowing of the gap between 1994 and 2012 on its reading test for 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds (each by the equivalent of about 3 IQ points), but hardly any change for 17-year-olds (about 1 IQ-point-equivalent). For the math test, the gap remained effectively unchanged for all three age groups.

On the SAT, the black-white difference increased slightly from 1994 to 2014 on both the verbal and math tests. On the reading test, it rose from .91 to .96 standard deviations. On the math test, it rose from .95 to 1.03 standard deviations.

If you want to say that the NAEP and SAT results show an academic achievement gap instead of an IQ gap, that’s fine with me, but it doesn’t change anything. The mean group difference for white and African American young people as they complete high school and head to college or the labor force is effectively unchanged since 1994. Whatever the implications were in 1994, they are about the same in 2014.

There is a disturbing codicil to this pattern. A few years ago, I wrote a long technical article about black-white changes in IQ scores by birth cohort. I’m convinced that the convergence of IQ scores for blacks and whites born before the early 1970s was substantial, though there’s still room for argument. For blacks and whites born thereafter, there has been no convergence.

Q. The flashpoint of the controversy about race and IQ was about genes. If you mention “The Bell Curve” to someone, they’re still likely to say “Wasn’t that the book that tried to prove blacks were genetically inferior to whites?” How do you respond to that?

Actually, Dick and I got that reaction even while we were working on the book. As soon as someone knew we were writing a book about IQ, the first thing they assumed was that it would focus on race, and the second thing they assumed was that we would be talking about genes. I think psychiatrists call that “projection.” Fifty years from now, I bet those claims about “The Bell Curve” will be used as a textbook case of the hysteria that has surrounded the possibility that black-white differences in IQ are genetic. Here is the paragraph in which Dick Herrnstein and I stated our conclusion:

"If the reader is now convinced that either the genetic or environmental explanation has won out to the exclusion of the other, we have not done a sufficiently good job of presenting one side or the other. It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences. What might the mix be? We are resolutely agnostic on that issue; as far as we can determine, the evidence does not yet justify an estimate." (p. 311)

That’s it. The whole thing. The entire hateful Herrnstein-Murray pseudoscientific racist diatribe about the role of genes in creating the black-white IQ difference. We followed that paragraph with a couple pages explaining why it really doesn’t make any difference whether the differences are caused by genes or the environment. But nothing we wrote could have made any difference. The lesson, subsequently administered to James Watson of DNA fame, is that if you say it is likely that there is any genetic component to the black-white difference in test scores, the roof crashes in on you.

On this score, the roof is about to crash in on those who insist on a purely environmental explanation of all sorts of ethnic differences, not just intelligence. Since the decoding of the genome, it has been securely established that race is not a social construct, evolution continued long after humans left Africa along different paths in different parts of the world, and recent evolution involves cognitive as well as physiological functioning.

The best summary of the evidence is found in the early chapters of Nicholas Wade’s recent book, “A Troublesome Inheritance.” We’re not talking about another 20 years before the purely environmental position is discredited, but probably less than a decade. What happens when a linchpin of political correctness becomes scientifically untenable? It should be interesting to watch. I confess to a problem with schadenfreude.

Q. Let’s talk about the debate over the minimum wage for a moment. You predicted in the book that the “natural” wage for low-skill labor would be low, and that raising the wage artificially could backfire by “making alternatives to human labor more affordable” and “making the jobs disappear altogether.” This seems to be coming true today. What will the labor landscape look like in the next 20 years?

Terrible. I think the best insights on this issue are Tyler Cowen’s in “Average Is Over.” He points out something that a lot of people haven’t thought about: it’s not blue-collar jobs that are going to be hit the hardest. In fact, many kinds of skilled blue-collar work are going to be needed indefinitely. It’s mid-level white-collar jobs that are going to be hollowed out. Think about travel agents. In 1994, I always used a travel agent, and so did just about everybody who traveled a lot. But then came Expedia and Orbitz and good airline websites, and I haven’t used a travel agent for 15 years.

Now think about all the white collar jobs that consist of applying a moderately complex body of interpretive rules to repetitive situations. Not everybody is smart enough to do those jobs, so they have paid pretty well. But now computers combined with machines can already do many of them—think about lab technicians who used to do your blood work, and the machines that do it now. For that matter, how long is it before you’re better off telling a medical diagnostic software package your symptoms than telling a physician?

Then Cowen points out something else I hadn’t thought of: One of the qualities that the new job market will value most highly is conscientiousness. Think of all the jobs involving personal service—working in homes for the elderly or as nannies, for example—for which we don’t need brilliance, but we absolutely need conscientiousness along with basic competence. Cowen’s right—and that has some troubling implications for guys, because, on average, women in such jobs are more conscientious than men.

My own view is that adapting to the new labor market, and making sure that working hard pays a decent wage, are among the most important domestic challenges facing us over the next few decades.

Q. In the book you ask, “How should policy deal with the twin realities that people differ in intelligence for reasons that are not their fault and that intelligence has a powerful bearing on how well people do in life?” How would you answer this question now?

I gave my answer in a book called “In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State,” that I published in 2006. I want to dismantle all the bureaucracies that dole out income transfers, whether they be public housing benefits or Social Security or corporate welfare, and use the money they spend to provide everyone over the age of 21 with a guaranteed income, deposited electronically every month into a bank account. It takes a book to explain why such a plan could not only work, but could revitalize civil society, but it takes only a few sentences to explain why a libertarian would advocate such a plan.

Certain mental skillsets are now the “open sesame” to wealth and social position in ways that are qualitatively different from the role they played in earlier times. Nobody deserves the possession of those skillsets. None of us has earned our IQ. Those of us who are lucky should be acutely aware that it is pure luck (too few are), and be committed to behaving accordingly. Ideally, we would do that without government stage-managing it. That’s not an option. Massive government redistribution is an inevitable feature of advanced postindustrial societies.

Our only option is to do that redistribution in the least destructive way. Hence my solution. It is foreshadowed in the final chapter of “The Bell Curve” where Dick and I talk about “valued places.” The point is not just to pass out enough money so that everyone has the means to live a decent existence. Rather, we need to live in a civil society that naturally creates valued places for people with many different kinds and levels of ability. In my experience, communities that are left alone to solve their own problems tend to produce those valued places. Bureaucracies destroy them. So my public policy message is: Let government does what it does best, cut checks. Let individuals, families, and communities do what they do best, respond to human needs on a one-by-one basis.

Q. Reflecting on the legacy of “The Bell Curve,” what stands out to you?

I’m not going to try to give you a balanced answer to that question, but take it in the spirit you asked it—the thing that stands out in my own mind, even though it may not be the most important. I first expressed it in the Afterword I wrote for the softcover edition of “The Bell Curve.” It is this: The reaction to “The Bell Curve” exposed a profound corruption of the social sciences that has prevailed since the 1960s. “The Bell Curve” is a relentlessly moderate book — both in its use of evidence and in its tone — and yet it was excoriated in remarkably personal and vicious ways, sometimes by eminent academicians who knew very well they were lying. Why? Because the social sciences have been in the grip of a political orthodoxy that has had only the most tenuous connection with empirical reality, and too many social scientists think that threats to the orthodoxy should be suppressed by any means necessary. Corruption is the only word for it.

Now that I’ve said that, I’m also thinking of all the other social scientists who have come up to me over the years and told me what a wonderful book “The Bell Curve” is. But they never said it publicly. So corruption is one thing that ails the social sciences. Cowardice is another.

SOURCE






Fascist Leftists in Houston

There are at least three outrageous things about the Houston city government’s recent actions pushing an ordinance to allow men and women to use each other’s public restrooms.

The first is the substance of the ordinance itself, which allows men and women, irrespective of their biology, to use bathrooms designated for the opposite sex. The major driver of this law was Houston’s lesbian mayor, Annise Parker.

Have we just become completely insane in this country? Is nothing sacred anymore? Is there no limit on the demands of radical leftists to force the rest of us to normalize their bizarre behavior?

These people obviously want to dilute natural distinctions between genders and force us to accept their warped view that one’s gender is merely a matter of one’s mindset. They are even casting it as a law to prevent discrimination against gender-confused people – as if they are yet another protected class. In more stable times, this would be so self-evidently absurd that I’d hardly need to write a column on it.

Think of it as sort of a reverse slippery slope ploy. The proponents of the ordinance doubtlessly figure that if they can force their fellow citizens to live with the notion that biology is wholly irrelevant to gender, then they will have taken one more giant step toward achieving society’s approval of same-sex marriage.

It doesn’t seem to bother supporters of the ordinance one whit that it allows sexual predators to pretend they are of the opposite sex in order to sneak a peak (or worse) in the bathrooms of the other gender.

Putting this in perspective, some critics have called the ordinance the “Sexual Predator Protection Act.” Indeed, what about the rights of people who want to be protected from predators? What about the interest of citizens who want to protect their families – their children – from being exposed to the dangers of sexual predators? What about their views and their values? Are they entitled to any protection, or is it only those who subscribe to extreme leftist positions who are entitled to the law’s protections?

Nothing can be permitted to interfere with the left’s fast march to coerce society into accepting its preferences into law. If a few women or men are assaulted in the process or if their privacy is violated, that’s a small price to pay on this historic path to dilute our natural gender identities – a path that will further endanger the nuclear family, which is a bedrock institution that lends moral stability to society.

The second outrage is that the city has greatly overreached in subpoenaing the pastors of the city for copies of their sermons and their communications to their congregations to determine whether they have violated this Godforsaken ordinance. Lest you think this was a mistake, the mayor tweeted, “If the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game.”

There is no constitutional prohibition against pastors discussing politics. This issue only comes up in connection with tax laws and regulations, but even those don’t preclude pastors from discussing policy issues. The only arguable limitation concerns overt endorsements of candidates.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the pastors, said the city’s effort to compel disclosure of the requested information is completely improper. Not only are the pastors not a party to the lawsuit, which was brought by voters to challenge the validity of the city’s adoption of the “equal rights ordinance,” but the materials they are seeking aren’t reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, and their motion is overly broad.

The third outrage is the city’s lawless disqualification and rejection of valid petitions filed by voters to challenge the law. Voters submitted more than three times the legally required number of petition signatures to require city action (17,269 were required, and the voters submitted a whopping 55,000), and the city secretary initially certified them as sufficient in number. But the mayor and city attorney outright rejected the petition anyway, on the specious grounds that the petition signatures weren’t valid.

Increasingly, we see leftists in this country openly defying the law if it does not serve their ends and trampling the Constitution and rights of those who don’t march in lock step with their demands. Leftists talk a good game about honoring the will of the people but habitually ignore and suppress that will when it doesn’t conform to their own, from activist liberal judges who continually defy the express will of the voters in rejecting same-sex marriage to this bona fide, good-faith challenge to Houston’s overreaching ordinance process.

The extreme left, whose natural political habitat is the Democratic Party, is growing ever more intolerant, excessive, coercive, intimidating, lawless and frightening. People of ordinary sensibilities and traditional values and others are awakening to the fascism of extreme leftists in this country, which is one of the many reasons we’re going to see a tsunami of voters voicing their outrage against such un-American behavior in November.

SOURCE





Catholic League chief Bill Donahue: “Liberals defend Islam because they don’t like Jews”

That's certainly part of the story.  As far back as Karl Marx Leftists have been critical of Jews, even though Marx himself was of Jewish origin

Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League, said Tuesday that one of the reasons that liberals defended Islam was because they shared common enemies: The United States and Jews. On NewsmaxTV, host Steve Malzberg asked Donohue to respond to the recent spat between actor Ben Affleck and comedian Bill Maher.

"Well, in 1999, Ben Affleck starred in the anti-Catholic movie Dogma, which said that the Virgin Mary had a daughter through sex with Joseph and that she went and worked in an abortion clinic," he remarked. "They asked him about this, 'is it anti-Catholic?' He said it was definitely meant to push some buttons. So we know he is not going to push the buttons of Muslims, just Catholics."

"They're always bashing us. If they only showed one ounce of the sensitivity to Catholics they show to Muslims I wouldn't even have a job."

"Liberals are afraid to criticize Muslims, but that is not the only reason they support the Islamic faith.", Donahue claimed.

"I think there is also a sense here, a lot of these people really don't like America," he explained. "What does Islam have in common with the left? Maybe not in terms of ideology, but in terms of an animus against this country, and I think it's palpable, and they don't like Jews either."

"And I'm so fed up with these phonies - (like) Chris Hayes on MSNBC - they don't care at all about Catholic bashing."

SOURCE

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

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

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

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17 October, 2014

'Racist' French cinema hit 'too politically incorrect' for UK and US audiences

British and American cinema-goers will not get to see a hugely popular French comedy because it has been rejected by film distributors who deem it politically incorrect and possibly racist.

"Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu?" (Serial (Bad) Weddings) tells the tale of two stuffy, white, Catholic parents whose daughters horrify them by marrying men of other religions and ethnic backgrounds.

Three are already wed - to an Arab Muslim, a north African Jew, and a Chinese man - and Maman and Papa place all their hope in their youngest daughter, only to discover that she has promised herself to a man from Ivory Coast.

The movie has been seen by more than 12 million French but will not make it across the water because, according to the production company behind it, English-speaking audiences "would never allow themselves these days to laugh at blacks, Jews or Asians."

"The people [in US and UK distribution companies] we spoke to found it politically incorrect," Sabine Chemaly of TFI International told Le Point magazine.

The film got mostly rave reviews in France, with one critic praising it as a "sort of hymn to the melting pot of France, an efficient comedy that uses self-derision to promote multicultural tolerance".

The film's message appears to be that even if the French are sometimes a little racist, common sense will prevail and everyone can in the end get along.

The director, Philippe de Chauveron, said his film was about "deflating" the prejudices peddled by the anti-immigrant Front National party, whose support has been growing rapidly in France in recent years.

But the few reviews that have appeared in the English-language film trade press were negative.

"The majority of the jokes are extremely heavy-handed -- the Jew calls the Arab "Arafat" and then is karate-chopped by the Asian," said the Hollywood Reporter, while Variety magazine noted that the film had been criticised for "perpetuating racist stereotypes and feeding into France's ambient xenophobia".

The 2011 French film, The Intouchables, touched upon similar topics as Serial (Bad) Weddings and grossed nearly $400 million worldwide, but it's hard to see Weddings honeymooning far outside the usual Francophone hotspots," added the Hollywood Reporter.

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How the Free Speech Movement Stopped Moving

This month marks 50 years since Mario Savio stood atop a police car at UC Berkeley and gave an impassioned speech to throngs of young pampered radicals that launched what is now preserved in amber and lionized as the “Free Speech Movement.” Barefoot and presumably smelly, Savio famously orated something about the “machine”—apparently it was “odious”—and how you had to place your body in the machine’s gears to stop it from working.

And in a sense, it worked. But more precisely, the machine only shifted gears. The net result a half-century later on college campuses nationwide is that you are now permitted to say “fuck” but no longer allowed to say “nigger.”

In an email forwarded to Berkeley’s faculty, staff, and students early in September of this year, school chancellor Nicholas Dirks acknowledged the Free Speech Movement’s Golden Anniversary, but with reservations:

"…the commitment to free speech and expression can lead to division and divisiveness that undermine a community’s foundation. … Our capacity to maintain that delicate balance between communal interests and free expression…will be tested anew. Specifically, we can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so, and this in turn requires that people treat each other with civility."

Cutting through that verbal wall of bullshit, Dirks appears to be saying that free speech ends where the “community” begins. He also seems to imply that one person’s right to feel “safe and respected” may trump another’s right to say what’s on their mind.

It is no coincidence that one of the prime movers and shakers of the original Free Speech Movement was Bettina Aptheker, the daughter of dedicated Stalinists and a woman who, despite all the lip service she paid to “free speech,” openly supported thought-squashing socialist regimes throughout the 1960s, the sort of tyrannical state entities that would rip your tongue out of your throat for making the merest bird squeak of dissent. Aptheker is now a professor of feminist studies at UC Santa Cruz and recently wrote this in a Berkeley alumni magazine:

"On the occasion of this 50th anniversary of the FSM…it is worth pausing for a moment to consider the ways in which gender, race, class, and sexuality may effect [sic] one’s access to freedom of speech. Although the First Amendment embraces a universal ideal in its wording, it was written by white, propertied men in the 18th century…."

Lady, if I was against free speech, I’d tell you to shut the hell up right now. But I’ll let you prattle onward and downward, because you’re only proving my point.

What a despicable group of tyrants the freewheeling leftists of the early 1960s have become. Those who rose up against the “machine” back then are still working from the old operator’s manual. Miraculously, they still manage to convince themselves that they have not become the machine against which they once railed. And somewhere along the line they concocted the screwball idea of “hate speech”—I doubt such a concept so much as existed in 1964—and began fallaciously arguing that it was a fundamentally different thing from free speech.

They spun a magical illusory world where “civil rights” and “civil liberties” are somehow at odds with one another. They even convinced untold numbers of otherwise intelligent people that if you stopped calling blacks dirty names, those benighted and oppressed descendants of slaves would perform better academically.

They still whine about McCarthyism, which would be fine if they were able to point to a single Nazi screenwriter currently employed in Hollywood. In their childish quest to avoid creating a “hostile environment,” they’ve engineered an environment that is brutally hostile to the merest wisp of dissent. They have engineered a coddled, over-medicated world where mild disapproval of anything is “hate speech.” In the service of “sensitivity,” they have fashioned a modern educational system that is an uninterrupted blood libel against white males. They have achieved ethnic, gender, and sexual diversity—at the almost complete expense of ideological diversity. It is a world where feelings overrule ideas at every turn. Ideas—at least ones that diverge a millimeter from official indoctrination—are viewed as threats.

The mind of a censor is a dark and frightened space. Censors are motivated not by a certainty that their targets are wrong but a fear that they may be right. The end result of the Free Speech Movement has been to create a generation of graduates whose minds are bolted shut and paved over with cement.

In the interest of delusional and unquantifiable intangibles such as “equality” and “social justice,” the totalitarian wolves in free-speech clothing who arose in Berkeley fifty years ago have created a suffocating environment that is more hostile to the free exchange of ideas than perhaps at any time in American history.

SOURCE






Former Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom quits party because it is too 'politically correct'

Controversial former Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom has quit the party saying he now considers it too politically correct.

Mr Bloom, a former flatmate of Nigel Farage, said he was leaving with a "heavy heart" but had "had enough" after being banned from speaking because of his controversial views.

He warned Ukip’s first elected MP Douglas Carswell that he could be knifed in the back by his new party if he was not careful.

The former MEP, who was first elected to Brussels in 2004, said: “I was a founding member of Ukip and I’ve been a significant donor.

“But now I find that instead of being the libertarian party, the party of common sense, I’ve been banned from speaking.  “So, yes, it’s a very sad day for me. But the party seems to have gone astray."

He added: "Quite what’s going on I couldn’t say, but I’ve had enough.  “What kind of party are we supposed to be? The whole point and the reason we are doing so well is because we were supposed to something different.  “We seem to be drifting towards the politically correct mainstream like everybody else.

“I’ve had enough of party politics. I don’t think party politics is for people who tell it like it is.”

Mr Bloom caused an outcry in 2012 after saying that foreign aid is sent to "Bongo Bongo Land".  It came after he sparked accusations of sexism after saying: “I just don’t think they clean behind the fridge enough”, a remark which ultimately led to his downfall.

When female Ukip activists said they were too busy to “clean behind the fridge” Mr Bloom told a fringe meeting at the party’s 2012 conference: “The room is full of sluts!”  The remark was meant as a joke but caused fury. Mr Bloom then hit Mr Crick over the head with a Ukip conference programme outside the fringe event in a row about racism.

Furious party leader Nigel Farage said Mr Bloom’s antics had ‘destroyed’ coverage of the party’s annual conference, and he was suspended from the party just two hours after giving his keynote address as Ukip’s defence spokesman.

Ukip has been trying to move away from its politically incorrect image and appear more mainstream, although Mr Farage attracted criticism last week when he called for people who have tested positive for HIV to be banned from migrating to Britain as a “good start” in controlling the UK’s borders.

SOURCE





Hercules Actor: ‘Being a Christian in Hollywood, You Get Attacked’

Kevin Sorbo, star of the 1990s TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, as well as the 2011 movie Soul Surfer and this year’s highly successful God’s Not Dead, said there is a huge audience for Christian-themed movies and Hollywood would profit if it understood that audience, but he added that if you are a Christian and a conservative in Hollywood, “you will get attacked.”

Sorbo, who sometimes comments on current events, also said he believes there is a hostility towards Christians by some media and they spend an inordinate amount of coverage on topics such as “global warming” instead of focusing on more immediate issues such as the persecution and beheading of Christians by radical Muslims.

In an interview with CNSNews.com about the new movie Let the Lion Roar, in which he plays the 16th century Protestant John Calvin, Sorbo talked about the appeal of Christian movies in the marketplace and how the media are hostile toward people of faith.

CNSNews.com asked Sorbo if the criticism he has faced stemmed in part from the fact that he is an outspoken Christian.

“Yeah, sure,” he said. “I think being a conservative in Hollywood and being a Christian in Hollywood, you get attacked. It’s so strange to me that the media sits there and protects the things that they protect, or they ignore the things that they ignore, and they go after stories like global warming -- like that’s more important than what’s going on in the world right now with these terrorists.”

“Am I saying that all Muslims are bad? Of course not all Muslims are bad,” said Sorbo.  “That’d be a silly thing for me to say. There’s what, 1.2 billion of them out there? But they’ve estimated 300 million of them are radical and ready to behead every single person who doesn’t believe the way they believe, including fellow Muslims.”

“That’s a far bigger problem for me with terrorists in the world than the things that they [media] want to pick on, attack, and I’m tired of racism being used as a card or bigotry or anything,” he said. “It’s like, give me a break.”

CNSNews.com then asked, “In the interviews I read some of the things you talked about was some of the resistance in Hollywood or New York to making Christian movies or pro-Christian movies, even though a lot of these, if they’re done well, they tend to be popular and profitable. You seem to be saying that there’s an animus against Christian movies in Hollywood -- why do you think that is?

Sorbo said, “You know, it’s interesting, I went to see Noah. I got invited to Paramount and one of the producers came up there. Well, number one they hired an atheist director, which to me is a weird choice. I mean, look, the movie was very interesting, it was beautifully shot. But as my wife says, it was Waterworld Meets Transformers. But I think it only made $100 million in America; I say only but they had $200 million into it. Worldwide they did very well. I think they still ended up making a $100 million profit. Not a bad profit, you know?”

“But ultimately it did very well opening week and in every one country that opened it,” he said.  “But if you look at it, that movie dropped off 50, 60, 70% in every country the following week. Word of mouth was like, ugh, it doesn’t really speak to us. And I say us, I’m saying Christians who went to, who flocked to the movie to see it.”

In analyzing why the appeal of Noah diminished quickly with audiences, Sorbo referenced, for contrast, Mel Gibson’s hugely popular 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ.

“I go back to Mel Gibson, only saying that if you look back at stories -- I’ve been saying this stuff, you can see the stories that were printed up -- Hollywood not being very happy with Mel’s portrayal [of Christ’s Passion],” said Sorbo. “Well, he shot it for $30 million and the darn thing made –what? -- $500, $600 million worldwide?”

“So, with the believers in God it obviously struck a positive chord, much like my movie God’s Not Dead did this year,” he said.  “I mean, we had a $2 million budget, the thing made $64 million and we did very well overseas.”

He continued, “So you know there’s an audience out there, is all I’m saying. I think Hollywood, I don’t think they on purpose don’t do it, I mean it’s called show business and they want to make money too and I know they’ve got more things coming down the pipe.  … But I just think, I don’t think they have people around that understand it, that get it because maybe they’re not believers in God, maybe they’re not Christian, maybe they’re not whatever -- and I think you’ve got to hire people like that to put movies out there that will appeal to the audience.”

Sorbo then noted the phenomenal success of Christian-themed or God-based television series.

“I mean, you look at 7th Heaven, Highway to Heaven, Roma Downey’s show Touched by an Angel, those shows all went 8, 9,10 years and there’s been nothing like that on TV for a long time.,” said Sorbo. “Why?  There’s an audience out there that would love that stuff, that has a moral compass that they want their children to see and follow, as well. To me, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

“I don’t know why Christians get bashed,” he said. “Christians aren’t the ones beheading children and blowing up churches and buses with women and children on board. So, I don’t understand why Christians get attacked and we sit here and protect Muslims, say, ‘oh well, can’t judge them all.’”

“Wow, it’s so strange to me,” he said, “what we protect and what we go after right now in this country through the media.”

Kevin Sorbo’s latest film project, Let the Lion Roar, examines how the Bible was changed by some anti-Jewish writers throughout history and presents its message that the Jewish people and Israel are vital in God’s plan for man’s salvation. The movie was released on Blu-ray/DVD with an accompanying book in September. In addition to Sorbo, other actors in the film include Oscar-nominated Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), John Schneider (October Baby), and Stephen Baldwin.

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 October, 2014

Some Christians are promoting death for Muslims

An amusing rant from a Leftist atheist below.  He fulminates at great length about a small number of Christians who want to take the battle to Muslims but says that Muslim sadism, terrorism etc is no cause for action.  Why?  Because "They can't invade us, occupy us, or overthrow our government. They pose no existential threat to America or to the world".  Tell that to the Kurds and the Yazidis!

So he is quite relaxed  about a vast and merciless barbarism that is right now taking lives on a large scale while being very censorious about a bit of trash talk from nobodies.  Very Leftist

He is right that what YHWH commanded of the Israelites when they took Canaan is similar to what Jihadis think they are doing today.  He fails to mention however that Mohammed took a lot of his thinking from the Bible and that is one part of it.  Christians and Jews have however almost entirely outgrown those ideas whereas Muslims have not.  Theologically, the settlement of the land of Israel was a one-off event, not any kind of precedent for other times and places


A leading Evangelical magazine is calling for the destruction of Islam. It's not the outlier we might like to think. Recently, Charisma magazine, a major media outlet for evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, published an open call to genocide. The article in question, titled "Why I Am Absolutely Islamaphobic" [sic] and written by Gary Cass, begins with the premise that "every true follower of Mohammed" wants to "subjugate and murder" non-Muslims, and therefore it's impossible for Christians to live together peacefully with them.

Cass proposes three solutions to this problem. One is for Muslims to undergo mass conversion to Christianity; the other is mass deportation combined with eugenics - either "force them all to get sterilized" or kick them out of America "like Spain was forced to do when they deported the Muslim Moors." But he says both of these plans are unlikely to work, so "really there's only one" solution, which is:

Violence: The only thing that is biblical and that 1,400 years of history has shown to work is overwhelming Christian just war and overwhelming self defense.

Notice Cass' statement that war has been "shown to work" by "1,400 years of history." The only thing he could be referring to is the Crusades (presumbly beginning with the Spanish Reconquista, around 700 AD), which often entailed the massacre of civilians in captured areas. Most of us know the Crusades as a bloody and barbaric era in our history and think that a repeat is something to be avoided at all costs, but Cass is openly cheering the idea.

"Overwhelming self defense" is another bizarre and disturbing contradiction in terms. By definition, anything more than the minimum amount of force to stop an imminent threat isn't self-defense. The idea that self-defense requires waging "overwhelming war" on entirepopulations, rather than against specific aggressors, is the hallmark of paranoid and racist fantasies which believe civilization is under threat by "the other" and must be protected at all costs.

Like many deluded, macho wannabe crusaders, he fantasizes about the collapse of society, urging his readers to buy guns and form militias:

First trust in God, then obtain a gun(s), learn to shoot, teach your kids the Christian doctrines of just war and self defense, create small cells of family and friends that you can rely on if some thing catastrophic happens and civil society suddenly melts down.

Finally, he closes with a bloodcurdling statement that can only reasonably be interpreted as a call for genocide against Muslims:

Now the only question is how many more dead bodies will have to pile up at home and abroad before we crush the vicious seed of Ishmael in Jesus’ Name? …May we be willing to take the lesser pains now so our children won’t have to take greater pains later.

Notice, again, that he envisions "pil[ing] up" dead bodies, and not just "abroad", but also "at home." Most assuredly, the irony of this escapes Cass, but he himself is advocating exactly the same thing as what he accuses his enemies of wanting. He wants to subjugate or kill Muslims (with either mandatory sterilization and deportation, or "overwhelming war"). Most chilling, he calls this the "lesser pains" and says it's necessary so that we won't have to take even more drastic actions later.

After facing a storm of criticism from both Christians and atheists, Charisma pulled Cass' article down. But there's no explanation, no retraction, no apology; the original link now just goes to a 404 error page. Rather than reflect on what that led them to consider this piece reasonable to publish in the first place, or acknowledge they were wrong to run it and say what they'll do differently in the future, they chose to flush it down the memory hole, to try to pretend it never happened. (It's still available at its author's personal website, where it's prefaced with a banner that reads "Why We Cannot Coexist" - further proof that he's advocating violence against Muslims in general and not merely those who commit acts of terrorism).

Cass is by no means the first or the only Christian to defend genocide. Phil Robertson (star of the reality TV show Duck Dynasty) appeared on Sean Hannity's show recently to argue that we should either "convert them or kill them", referring to ISIS. Ironically, this is exactly the choice that ISIS offers to religious minorities under their dominion - either convert to their brand of Islam or die. Robertson, like Cass, is the mirror image of the radical theology he claims to despise.

The roots of this genocidal mindset come from the Bible itself. In the Old Testament, after the Israelites escape from Egypt, they arrive at the promised land only to find that it's already populated by the Canaanites and other pagan peoples. What follows, according to the biblical book of Joshua, is a campaign of slaughter in which God instructs his people to invade and massacre everyone already living there:

“When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; and when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.” —Deuteronomy 7:1-2

And, according to the Bible, God's people did as they were instructed:

"And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain… So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded." -Joshua 10

Prominent Christian apologists such as William Lane Craig have defended these ghastly verses, arguing that if God commands you to do it, you're justified in committing any act of violence, up to and including the slaughter of helpless men, women and children. (In fact, Craig argues that the most morally troubling part of this is the psychological toll that would have been inflicted on the Israelite soldiers who were tasked with carrying out the mass execution.) As we see with Cass, this genocidal, God-is-on-our-side mindset isn't purely a matter of ancient history, but continues to inform the beliefs and ideas of Christians today.

Of course, there's no question that Islamic terrorism does exist. Groups like ISIS are extraordinarily violent and brutal. Moreover, they seem to take sadistic glee in broadcasting proof of their own atrocities, like the killings of journalists. But in the final accounting, they're no more than a bunch of thugs with guns. They're no match for America's military. They can't invade us, occupy us, or overthrow our government. They pose no existential threat to America or to the world. But they count on us overreacting, lashing out with disproportionate and irrational panic (which is, after all, why they're called "terrorists" - they seek to accomplish their aims by creating terror).

Meanwhile, mundane, ordinary, everyday gun violence kills more Americans every year than international terrorism ever has or ever will.

If ISIS and similar groups are a threat to anyone, they're first and foremost a threat to other Muslims, who've suffered the most from their ruthless and violent quest to impose a harsh theocratic state. But, again, the starkly black-and-white worldview of American fundamentalists doesn't allow for this kind of nuance. In their eyes, all Muslims think and believe the same way, want the same things, and are all equally and irredeemably evil. Conversely, they believe all true Christians are good and righteous by definition. Good and evil, in the worldview of both Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, has no relation to your actions; it's solely a matter of whether you profess allegiance to the right side.

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More Than 1,800 Pastors Advocate For Political Speech Rights in Church

There's plenty of political speech in universities courtesy of the taxpayer so why not in churches courtesy of the taxpayer too

So far this year, more than 1,800 pastors across the United States have participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, an annual event hosted by Alliance Defending Freedom that advocates for pastors’ right to speak on politics from the pulpit without fear of losing their churches’ tax exempt status.

Pulpit Freedom Sunday, which started Oct. 5 and runs through Election Day on Nov. 4, first began in 2008 with only 33 participating pastors.

So far this year, Alliance Defending Freedom, the Arizona-based Christian activist group that started the event, reported pastors in more than 1,500 churches in all 50 states and Puerto Rico have preached sermons “representing biblical perspectives on the positions of electoral candidates” since the event began nearly two weeks ago.

Another 242 pastors have signed a statement declaring that “the IRS should not control the content of a pastor’s sermon,” the ADF stated.

ADF Legal Communications Director Kerri Kupec explained the event is a nationwide protest of the Johnson Amendment, a provision in the U.S. tax code which states that pastors of churches who fall under the federal government’s 501(c)(3) non-profit tax exemption cannot expressly endorse or oppose political candidates.

Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code states, “Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes” may qualify for tax-exempt status, provided that “no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

The restriction on political endorsements was first proposed by former-President and then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and added to the tax code in 1954.

According the Internal Revenue Service's online explanation of the restrictions for non-profit groups, churches are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

The IRS adds churches are restricted from “voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.”

But Kupec maintains that the language in the Johnson Amendment is vague and opens the door for the federal government to monitor and restrict pastors from speaking on biblical issues during sermons under the guise of enforcing restrictions on political speech. These restrictions, she said, ultimately curb a pastor’s First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.

“Pastors do not surrender their First Amendment free speech rights when they take the pulpit,” Kupec explained.

“If you use that language [in the law], it’s whatever that means,” Kupec continued. “And no one knows what that means. There aren’t any guidelines. There aren’t any parameters set out.”

Kupec added the law creates an environment of fear for many pastors who are “afraid to cross some invisible line” when it comes to talking about politically sensitive issues, such as marriage and abortion, which may be linked to a particular candidate’s platform.

“There’s been a history of vague and unequal enforcement throughout the years of this Johnson amendment,” she said. “It’s been used as this tool of intimidation, almost this cloud of bullying. But nobody really knows what that line is, so the knee-jerk reaction is to not say anything, because [pastors] are afraid. And the IRS knows this.”

The ultimate goal of Pulpit Freedom Sunday, which has had more than 3,800 participants since its inception in 2008, is to eventually challenge the Johnson Amendment in court, Kupec said.

“The goal of the event is to get pastors to exercise their constitutional rights, and if the IRS decides that they’ve crossed some line and they decide to pursue some action against them, we’re here to represent those pastors in the court,” she explained. “It’s a way of getting the Johnson Amendment into the court, because it’s an unconstitutional amendment.”

Kupec said ADF has drafted a “legislative fix” for the amendment that clarifies what pastors can and cannot say from the pulpit without risking their church’s tax-exempt status, thus eliminating any gray area currently surrounding the issue. But the end goal, she explained, is to win pastors the same freedom of speech behind the pulpit as they would have anywhere else – including the ability to speak on specific candidates.

“Ultimately, they shouldn’t not be able to speak freely from the pulpit,” Kupec said.

But the event is not without its critics, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist watchdog group that recently filed a lawsuit against the IRS for allegedly not enforcing the current restrictions against political endorsements in churches.

In a news release published on the FFRF’s website, the secular group accused ADF of “inciting illegal acts” and “treating church pastors like pawns” through the Pulpit Freedom Sunday event

"Churches and their pastors are not above the law,” said FFRF co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor in a news release on the group’s website. “Ministers who claim to be moral leaders should realize it's not only illegal for tax-exempt groups to endorse political candidates, it's unethical. It's an abuse of the public trust."

The news release said FFRF has been “given assurances” that the IRS has “authorized procedures and ‘signature authority’ to resume initiating church tax investigations and examinations.”

SOURCE






Goodbye Columbus, Goodbye America

Columbus may have outfoxed the Spanish court and his rivals, but he is falling victim to the court of political correctness.

The explorer who discovered America has become controversial because the very idea of America has become controversial.
There are counter-historical claims put forward by Muslim and Chinese scholars claiming that they discovered America first. And there are mobs of fake indigenous activists on every campus to whom the old Italian is as much of a villain as the bearded Uncle Sam.

Columbus Day parades are met with protests and some have been minimized or eliminated.

In California, Columbus Day became Indigenous People's Day, which sounds like a Marxist terrorist group's holiday. While it's tempting to put that down to California political correctness, in South Dakota it was renamed Native American Day.

The shift from celebrating Columbus' arrival in America to commemorating it as an American Nakba by focusing on the Indians, rather than the Americans, is a profound form of historical revisionism that hacks away at the origins of this country.

No American state has followed Venezuela's lead in renaming it Día de la Resistencia Indígena, or Day of Indigenous Resistance, which actually is a Marxist terrorist group's holiday, the whole notion of celebrating the discovery of America has come to be seen as somehow shameful and worst of all, politically incorrect.

Anti-Columbus Day protests are mounted by La Raza, whose members, despite their indigenous posturing, are actually mostly descended from Spanish colonists, but who know that most American liberals are too confused to rationally frame an objection to a protest by any minority group.

About the only thing sillier than a group of people emphasizing their collective identity as a Spanish speaking people, and denouncing Columbus as an imperialist exploiter is Ward Churchill, a fake Indian, who compared Columbus to Heinrich Himmler. Ward Churchill's scholarship consists of comparing Americans in past history and current events to random Nazis. If he hasn't yet compared Amerigo Vespucci or Daniel Boone to Ernst Röhm; it's only a matter of time.

The absurdity of these attacks is only deepened by the linguistic and cultural ties between the Italian Columbus Day marchers and the Latino Anti-Columbus Day protesters with the latter set cynically exploiting white guilt to pretend that being the descendants of Southern European colonists makes them a minority.

If being descended from Southern Europeans makes you a minority, then Columbus, the parade marchers, the Greek restaurant owner nearby and even Rush Limbaugh are all "people of color."

Italian-Americans are the only bulwark against political correctness still keeping Columbus on the calendar, and that has made mayors and governors in cities and states with large Italian-American communities wary of tossing the great explorer completely overboard. But while Ferdinand and Isabella may have brought Columbus back in chains, modern day political correctness has banished him to the darkened dungeon of non-personhood, erasing him from history and replacing him with a note reading, "I'm Sorry We Ever Landed Here."

But this is about more than one single 15th century Genoan with a complicated life who was neither a monster nor a saint. It is about whether America really has any right to exist at all. Is there any argument against celebrating Columbus Day, that cannot similarly be applied to the Fourth of July?


If Columbus is to be stricken from the history books in favor of ideological thugs like Malcolm X or Caesar Chavez, then America must soon follow. Columbus' crime is that he enabled European settlement of the continent.

If the settlement of non-Indians in North America is illegitimate, then any national state they created is also illegitimate.

It is easier to hack away at a nation's history by beginning with the lower branches.

Columbus is an easier target than America itself, though La Raza considers both colonialist vermin. Americans are less likely to protest over the banishment of Columbus to the politically correct Gulag  than over the banishing America itself, which was named after another one of those colonialist explorers, Amerigo Vespucci. First they came for Columbus Day and then for the Fourth of July.

The battles being fought over Columbus Day foreshadow the battles to be fought over the Fourth of July. As Columbus Day joins the list of banned holidays in more cities, one day there may not be a Fourth of July, just a day of Native Resistance to remember the atrocities of the colonists with PBS documentaries comparing George Washington to Hitler.

These documentaries already exist, they just haven't gone mainstream. Yet.

We celebrate Columbus Day and the Fourth of July because history is written by the winners. Had the Aztecs, the Mayans or the Iroquois Confederation developed the necessary technology and skills to cross the Atlantic and begin colonizing Europe, the fate of its native inhabitants would have been far uglier. The different perspectives on history often depend on which side you happen to be on.

To Americans, the Alamo is a shining moment of heroism. To the Mexicans who are the heirs of a colonialist empire far more ruthless than anything to be found north of the Rio Grande, the war was a plot to conquer Mexican territory. And neither side is altogether wrong, but choosing which version of history to go by is the difference between being an American or a Mexican.

A nation's mythology, its paragons and heroes, its founding legends and great deeds, are its soul. To replace them with another culture's perspective on its history is to kill that soul.

That is the ultimate goal of political correctness, to kill America's soul. To stick George Washington, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, James Bowie, Paul Revere, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and all the rest on a shelf in a back room somewhere, and replace them with timelier liberal heroes. Move over Washington, Caesar Chavez needs this space. No more American heroes need apply.

Followed of course by no more America.

This is how it begins. And that is how it ends. Nations are not destroyed by atomic bombs or economic catastrophes; they are lost when they lose any reason to go on living. When they no longer have enough pride to go on fighting to survive.

The final note of politically correct lunacy comes from a headline in the Columbus Dispatch about the Columbus Day festival in the city of Columbus, Ohio. "Italian Festival honors controversial explorer with its own Columbus Day parade".

Once the great discover of America, Columbus is now dubbed "controversial" by a newspaper named after him, in a city named after him. And if he is controversial, how can naming a city after him and a newspaper after the city not be equally controversial?

Can the day when USA Today has a headline reading, "Some cities still plan controversial 4th of July celebration of American independence" be far behind?

SOURCE





The dubious rationale for homosexual marriage

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday” to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision to let stand a number of judicial rulings overturning the acts of legislators and/or voters in 16 states, famed advocate Ted Olson offered the kind of reasoning that, in his former incarnation as a conservative, he would have scorned. “Over 59 percent of Americans now believe that marriage equality should be the law of the land,” he proclaimed. Seconds later he seemed to contradict himself: “We have a Constitution and Bill of Rights precisely because we want protections from majority rule.”

Which is it: a fundamental right that ought to be recognized without regard to majority views, or a popular view that deserves to be enshrined in the Constitution by the courts just because it’s polling well? If it’s true that large majorities have changed their minds on same-sex marriage, why not leave the matter to state legislatures and voters rather than undemocratically taking the question out of their hands?

When his opponent, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, asked Olson what the purpose of marriage is, Olson dodged the question and spoke instead of courts recognizing a “fundamental right that involves privacy, association, liberty…” Repeating the boilerplate offered by judges is non responsive.

Olson sprinkles his language liberally with emotionally laden expressions such as “dignity” and “respect,” as if to say that those who resist same-sex marriage are opposed to those civilities.

Asked about where he would draw boundaries on who should be permitted to marry if it’s “only about love,” Olson changed the subject, mentioning the “tens of thousands” of children being raised in same-sex households who “deserve the right to equality and the same respect and decency that other people have that are living right next door.”

“People Next Door” has become the chief talking point of the same-sex-marriage advocates. Chris Wallace asked it of Perkins (not that he was taking sides, he was fair): “You and your wife live happily in this house; there’s a same-sex couple living here. What’s the damage to you?”

This is the nub of the argument. As Olson claimed, “There’s no heterosexual couple that is going to decide to get divorced or not to get married or not to raise children just because another couple next to them is treated equally and with respect and decency under our Constitution.”

But it does affect the larger culture. If it didn’t, there would be no need for debate. Homosexuals comprise a tiny fraction of the population (just over 2 percent according to the CDC). I wish them nothing but happiness and peace, but they are a side issue. Of course they deserve “dignity” and “respect,” but changing marriage is not the way to get there.

Families began disintegrating and failing to form long before gay marriage became a cause celebre. But the movement for same-sex marriage pushes our culture in exactly the wrong direction because it forwards a damaging conception of marriage. Marriage, Olson says, “is about being with the person you love.”

Not so. Marriage is about the welfare of children. The state confers benefits on opposite-sex couples because they conceive and raise children, and it believes that strong families are the foundation of strong polities. Libertarian claims that the state should remain aloof from family matters overlook the fact that when couples divorce or part ways, the state becomes involved in property division and custody, so it’s unrealistic to keep the state out.

The problem with endorsing same-sex marriage is that it conveys to heterosexuals that mothers and fathers don’t really matter. If two men who love each other or two women who love each other are equally good for children’s welfare, then the argument that men and women should marry and remain faithful to the partner with whom they conceived children loses its force.

The “being with someone you love” case fits nicely on a greeting card, but it also contributes to the divorce culture, because the implicit message is that when you no longer love someone, the purpose of the marriage is over. Adults' feelings will trump all, as they too often do already.

The move for same-sex marriage was never about marriage. It was about social acceptance.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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15 October, 2014

Vatican’s top judge: Keep kids away from ‘wrong, evil’ gays for their own protection

The former Archbishop of St. Louis and current Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Raymond Burke said in an interview published Thursday that families have a responsibility to protect their children from exposure to LGBT people. Family members or not, he said, people who "suffer from same-sex attraction" are "inherently disordered" and their relationships are "always and everywhere wrong, evil."

Alongside headlines like "My husband divorced me for his gay lover - then took our children" and "Medical Board revokes license of notorious abortionist for severely injuring 18-year-old woman," Cardinal Burke responded to a question by an Australian family as to whether or not their gay son should be invited to the family's Christmas celebration.

Burke - who ranks second only to Pope Francis in the Catholic church's judicial hierarchy - said the family should shun and isolate their son, but in a "calm, serene, reasonable and faith-filled manner." They should do it, he said, because it will harm the family's youngest members to see someone who is LGBT being treated like a normal person.

"If homosexual relations are intrinsically disordered, which indeed they are - reason teaches us that and also our faith - then, what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person?" he asked.

"We don't want our children," Burke said, to get the "impression" that such relationships are normal and acceptable rather than as "gravely sinful acts on the part of a family member."

"We wouldn't, if it were another kind of relationship - something that was profoundly disordered and harmful - we wouldn't expose our children to that relationship, to the direct experience of it," he went on. "And neither should we do it in the context of a family member who not only suffers from same-sex attraction, but who has chosen to live out that attraction, to act upon it, committing acts which are always and everywhere wrong, evil."

The family, he said, must find a way to stay close to their gay or lesbian family member so as to "draw the person away from a relationship which is disordered."

Conservative Catholic organization Voice of the Family echoed Burke's sentiments in a statement that said, in part, "The unqualified welcome of homosexual couples into family and parish environments in fact damages everybody, by serving to normalize the disorder of homosexuality."

SOURCE





British MPs back move to recognise Palestine as a state... but fewer than half attend symbolic vote

MPs last night backed a symbolic call for Britain to formally recognise the state of Palestine.  In a landmark move, MPs voted by 274 to 12 to urge the Government to ‘recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel’.

But fewer than half of MPs voted on the backbench motion. And the Government, which abstained, is not bound by the vote.

Formal recognition of Palestine as an independent state is opposed by Israel, and several MPs said it should be granted only as part of a wider negotiation.

Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood said that although the UK supported a two-state solution to the Middle East crisis, ministers would grant Palestine formal recognition only when the time was right. He said the timing of the move was ‘critical’, adding: ‘You can only play this card once.’

Labour has been thrown into turmoil by the issue in recent days, after Ed Miliband indicated all Labour MPs would have to back the call.

But shadow ministers were yesterday told they could stay away from the vote, after some said they were uneasy about backing a unilateral intervention in the troubled Middle East peace process.

The Labour leadership also backed an amendment to last night’s Commons motion from former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, which was designed to draw the sting from the debate. It said that recognition of Palestine – which is opposed by Israel – would be only ‘a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state settlement’.

Some Labour MPs said they had originally been told that a three-line whip had been placed on last night’s vote, which would have forced frontbenchers who disagreed to quit their posts.

A senior Labour source denied this was true and said that although unilateral recognition of Palestine was now Labour policy, MPs who had reservations about the move had been told they could ‘stay away’.

Labour’s Grahame Morris, who called the debate, said the ‘small but symbolically important’ step of recognising Palestinian statehood was the only way forward in attempts to secure a peace deal based on a two-state solution.

Mr Straw said the vote would send a ‘strong signal’ to Israel that Parliament backed a two-state solution. He said: ‘I support the state of Israel, I would have supported it at the end of the 1940s.

‘But it cannot lie in the mouth of the Israel government of all governments to say that they should have a veto over a state of Palestine when for absolutely certain the Palestinians had no say whatsoever over the establishment of the state of Israel.

‘Today’s debate will, I hope, send a strong signal that the British Parliament stands four-square behind the two-state solution set out in the road map.’

Former Tory foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said the vote was ‘premature’ because there were questions surrounding how a Palestinian state could operate in keeping with norms associated with a state.

He said efforts by other UN nations to recognise Palestine had had little impact beyond 24 hours of publicity, adding: ‘I simply say there’s a very great risk that we will today make ourselves feel important, our own frustration will lead us to vote for a motion which will not have the desired effect and will perhaps make the problems that have to be addressed in reaching a two-state solution more difficult to realise.

‘Symbolism sometimes has a purpose, it sometimes has a role, but I have to say you do not recognise a state which has not yet got the fundamental ingredients that a state requires if it’s going to carry out its international functions and therefore, at the very least, I would respectfully suggest this motion is premature.’

SOURCE





Calling a Tail a Leg Doesn't Make It a Leg

The latest leftist assault on common sense and traditional norms brings us to Nebraska, where a training document titled “12 easy steps on the way to gender inclusiveness” instructs teachers at Irving Middle School in Lincoln to avoid using terms like “‘boys & girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids' attention.” The general rule, the document states, is this: “Always ask yourself … ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?’”

Ideologically instigated nonsense is more like it. Item No. 5 instructs teachers that when it becomes necessary to reference gender, “[S]ay ‘Boy, girl, both or neither.’” Item 7 instructs them to “call out” and “interrogate” media examples that “reinforce gender stereotypes of binary models of gender.”

Teachers were also supplied with a companion handout from the Center for Gender Sanity,“ was also part of the mix. It depicts a gingerbread-like character replete with four graphs explaining the ranges of gender identity (from women to genderqueer to man), gender expression (female-androgynous-masculine), biological sex (female-intersex-male), and sexual orientation (heterosexual-bisexual-homosexual).

Adding insult to injury, Lincoln Superintendent Steve Joel had the nerve to say, "We don’t get involved with politics.” After the predictable national outcry, Joel was far more defensive, insisting nothing had been “mandated,” adding, “There’s no policy, there’s no procedure, there’s [sic] no changes being made to bathrooms in schools.”

One suspects Joel and his ideological soul-mates were taking their cues from the epicenter of ideological insanity, more familiarly known as California. In August 2013, Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill allowing kindergarten-through-12th grade students to use whichever bathroom and locker room they prefer, as well as the right “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” based on self-perception, irrespective of birth gender.

Yet even Governor Moonbeam and his California comrades are a bit behind the curve. At Bellevue College in Washington state, no less than seven gender choices are included in two questions about students' sexuality contained in the school’s application form. They include bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer, straight/heterosexual, other and prefer not to answer.

This New World Order has attendant complications, especially when it comes to sports. A proposal to allow students to play on teams based on their preferred gender rather than the sex assigned to them at birth led to an outcry in Minnesota, temporarily delaying a vote on the policy until December. There’s also been blowback in the world of mixed martial arts. Fallon Fox, a male-to-female transsexual, is currently undefeated and some of his/her opponents have had the temerity to suggest that a former man successfully beating up women might be a tad unfair. One of them, UFC fighter Matt Mitrione, was suspended for “trans-phobic” remarks.

Apparently, acknowledging reality is now considered offensive.

Is anyone truly surprised? With the exception of extremely rare cases of hermaphroditism, there are only two genders: male or female. That such designations raise the ire of leftists speaks to their insidious efforts to impose their anything-goes agenda, even one that kicks nature to the curb. Even history can be “amended” – in 47 states and the District of Columbia, a person can change his or her birth certificate to reflect a sexual conversion.

Moreover, it is an agenda that knows no boundaries. A recent article in The New York Times insists current law with regard to pedophilia is “inconsistent and irrational,” and that it is time to “revisit” categorical exclusions contained in the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibited pedophilia from receiving the same kind of protection afforded other mental disabilities. The writer is gracious enough to separate practicing pedophiles from “inactive” ones and even admits that, in making accommodations for employment, a pedophile “should not be hired as a grade-school teacher.” Yet given the incrementalist march of leftist insanity, one might be forgiven for thinking such a restriction might be temporary at best.

The doyens of “social justice,” who not only expect tolerance but approval of their agenda – with all the attendant contempt and vituperation aimed at those who dare to resist – will inevitably demand nothing less.

In Nebraska, the effort to deny gender instructs teachers to “Create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple penguins’ to meet at the rug.” They’ll have to do better than that: Penguins themselves are both male and female. Perhaps “amber amoebas” would work. Or perhaps Americans uninterested in having their children marinated in such a despicable garbage will remember a relevant quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

SOURCE






Marriage Is Still Being Argued in the States

In Juneau, Alaska, voters are hoping the Last Frontier doesn’t become the final frontier for redefining marriage, as a fresh round of arguments kicked off in federal court [Friday] morning. For locals, the case is especially meaningful since Alaska was the first U.S. state to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and woman. Like so many leaders, Alaska’s are determined to keep fighting. “The definition of marriage,” it insists, “is an issue for the states and the will of the voters of each state should govern – regardless of whether the federal government or a federal court agrees.”

Elsewhere, governors and local officials are trying to contain the chaos of runaway judges, who seem intent on skirting the higher courts and green-lighting same-sex “marriage” licenses in counties where it isn’t legal. In South Carolina, the state Supreme Court tried to put the brakes on the ceremonies – at least for now. After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a handful of cases, county judges tried to take matters into their own hands, only to run into the brick wall of state Attorney General Alan Wilson, who urged the state’s high court to intervene (which it since has).

In Missouri, voters weren’t so lucky. Their chief law enforcer, state Attorney General Chris Koster, is refusing to defend Missouri’s laws. But not for long, if House Speaker Tim Jones has anything to do with it. He and his colleagues in the state senate say they’re weighing their options to go around Koster, if necessary, and stand up for the rights of the 72% of Missourians who defined marriage a decade ago.

In nearby North Carolina, the controversy stings more than most, since the ink is barely dry on the constitutional amendment voters passed in 2012. Like his counterpart in Missouri, House Speaker Thom Tillis is pulling out all the stops to shield his state’s law. Tillis’s actions are particularly encouraging, as liberals do their best to paint North Carolina’s battle as a lost cause – in part because its sister state in the case, Virginia, is already issuing same-sex “marriage” licenses. As far as Tillis is concerned, nothing is impossible with one of the top legal teams in the country, led by renowned attorney John Eastman. He and his allies are ready to go to the mat for marriage in the Carolinas, where Eastman is convinced the Supreme Court’s word is not the final say.

“Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision to block the overturning of Idaho’s marriage ban is a pretty strong indication that this is not resolved,” Eastman told reporters. To this notion that states have to take their cues from more liberal states, he says hogwash. “I find it particularly troubling that in North Carolina, the attorney general says he is bound by a Virginia decision, a case in which his state had no say.” These are “concessions,” he explains, “that no reasonable attorney would ever make. We will not be making those concessions.”

Neither should the GOP. While the RNC, governors, senators, and plenty of state officials are drawing a line in the sand on marriage, plenty of House leaders have yet to speak up on an issue that continues to poll on their side.

Governor Mike Huckabee is just one of the conservatives sick and tired of their spinelessness. “I am utterly exasperated with Republicans and the so-called leadership of the Republicans who have abdicated on this issue when, if they continue this direction they guarantee they’re gonna lose every election in the future,” he warned. “If the Republicans wanna lose guys like me, and a whole bunch of still God-fearing Bible-believing people, go ahead and just abdicate on this issue, and go ahead and say abortion doesn’t matter, either. Because at that point, you lose me, I’m gone. I’ll become an independent, I’ll start finding people that have guts to stand, I’m tired of this.” Trust me, Governor Huckabee is not alone.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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14 October, 2014

Clueless About Columbus

By Michael P. Tremoglie

Columbus Day was first celebrated by the Italian immigrant population of New York City on October 12, 1866.  The Italian –American population of San Francisco celebrated it in 1869. It was not until 1905 ( or 1906 or 1907 sources differ), that a state, Colorado, observed a Columbus Day and in 1937 FDR proclaimed October 12 as the Columbus Day federal holiday.

Today Columbus Day is disparaged by liberal multiculturalists who distort the history of Christopher Columbus and they have been doing so since 1992.

An October 2, 2003 post to the Portland Independent Media Center addressed the issue of Columbus Day by saying “Columbus was a slave trader (he kidnapped them and then sold them to the portugese (sic)... he was also responsible for the deaths of over fourteen MILLION carribean (sic) islanders while he was the governer (sic)....” (italics mine)

The references to the kidnapping of slaves and the fourteen million deaths while Columbus was governor are anti-American shibboleths. The figure of fourteen million was not from any census data I could locate. Historian David Henige’s book “Numbers from Nowhere” addresses this issue of the fantastic number of Native American deaths attributed to Columbus. Essentially, he says these figures are more from anti-European and anti-American bias than scholarship.

A decade earlier in 1993, in Philadelphia, a leaflet was distributed to an elementary school class by their teacher. It was titled: “Gifting the White Man..Despite the Betrayals. " The document stated: “Far from being the savages Christopher Columbus described in his log, native peoples of the Americas were advanced in many ways -- and were more civilized than their discoverers. From the moment Europeans set foot in the West, the world has been enriched by Indian achievements and wisdom. In return, native peoples have been paid back with five centuries of cruelty, betrayals, and relentless attempts to take their lands and destroy their culture. “

The paper then lists in two separate columns: “ Indian Gifts to White Men “ and “ White Man’s Gifts to the Indians.” Under the column of Indian Gifts is government. According to the leaflet’s authors, “ The American Federal system derives not from Europe -- whose nation's knew nothing of democracy -- but Indian tribal organizations..”

Europeans knew nothing of democracy? Obviously, these revisionists did not know that democracy is a Greek word. They obviously never heard of Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Burke, deGroot, or Plato.

Under the column of “ White Man’s Gifts,” there is a chronology of atrocities and betrayals. Consider the following: “ 1492 -- Columbus discovers America and immediately enslaves native peoples. On Haiti Indians over 14 were required to bring a certain quota of gold or their hands were cut off.”

The whole paper is rife with distortions. It is designed more to incite than to inform-- more propaganda than history. The proof is in the identity of the authors. This is revealed in the last paragraph that refers to a political action group known as the Native American Rights Fund. Obviously, the handout is nothing more than a fund-raising letter distributed to elementary school students by a Philadelphia schoolteacher as a history lesson.

The multiculturalists would rather perpetuate the myth of the Noble Savage. This is deceitful. Warfare and conquest of foreigners was a common practice among Native Americans – even those with whom Columbus first came into contact.

If the multiculturalists wanted to be fair and balanced they should teach about the practice of human sacrifice by the Aztecs and the practice of cannibalism by the Caribes. Indeed our modern word “cannibal” is derived from the mispronunciation of the name Caribe by the Spanish.

As British historian Hugh Thomas points out in his seminal work "Conquest," the Taino Indians of Cuba had conquered and enslaved the Ciboney, who had displaced the Gauanhatabey. The Tainos in turn dreaded the Caribs, who had already conquered the Igneri. Yet, the multiculturalists do not teach such things in school. If they did it would discredit their actual objective, which is to demonize Western culture.

If multiculturalists really want to educate students about slavery, then they should teach not only about the enslavement of Native Americans and Africans by Europeans, they should teach about the enslavement of Native Americans by other Native Americans. They should teach that slavery was practiced among the Aztecs, the Incas, and the Mayas, as well as Tlingit, the Haida, and other tribes.

If multiculturalists really want to educate students about slavery, then they should teach about the African roots of the transatlantic slave trade. They should teach that slavery was a well-established practice in Africa before the Europeans were involved. They should teach that Africans enslaved one another.

Cicero once said, “The first law of the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth…there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice.”

If multiculturalism is intent on elevating some cultures at the expense of others, it should be abolished. Until multiculturalist historians heed the words of Cicero, the PC torchbearers will continue to divide rather than unite.

Via email





Air hostess refuses to hang up Army Ranger’s jacket



A US Airways flight attendant had the brass to prevent a decorated Army Ranger from hanging up his uniform jacket in a first class closet.

First Sgt. Albert Marle asked a flight attendant if she would hang up his coat on a four-hour flight Thursday from Portland, Ore. to Charlotte, NC, said Charlotte TV station WSOC.

But Marle was traveling coach — and the closet was for first class passengers, the airline said.  “If the space is available, our Crew will allow you to use,” the airline said in a tweet meant to explain its closet policy.

But that’s not what the flight attendant told Sgt. Marle, passengers told the TV station. Instead, she simply said, “Our airline policy says I’m not going to do it, so I’m not going to do it,” recounted first-class passenger Brian Kirby.

“I was really appalled at not only the way she looked at him but the way she spoke to him in an angry type of attitude,” said Kirby.

Marle did not raise a fuss, and did not comment to reporters. But others on the plane complained on social media.

“We hold all those serving our country in the highest regard and apologize for any offense caused,” the airline said Friday in another tweet. It said it is reviewing the incident.

SOURCE






How UK liberals helped police hack the press

As further revelations of the police hacking journalists’ phone records come to light, it is tempting to update an old warning to the UK’s liberal political and media class: ‘First they came for the Sun, but you did nothing, because you hate the Sun. Then they came for Mail on Sunday, but you did nothing, because you hate the Mail papers possibly even more than the Murdoch press. Then they came for…?’

But in fact that wouldn’t be fair. Because our supposedly liberal-minded politicians, media and lobbyists did not ‘do nothing’ as the police targeted the tabloid press. No, they were far worse than that. They encouraged the authorities to take firmer and more wide-sweeping action against the popular press, using the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World as the pretext. They even pressed the police to use the full force of the ‘national security’ Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to pursue the Murdoch press and tabloid journalists.

Now these same public figures are apparently up in arms about the Met’s use of RIPA secretly to hack into journalists’ phone records, protesting that these are the methods of a police state. If so, it is a police state that was armed and invited to curtail press freedom by our illiberal liberals.

We now know that the Metropolitan Police hacked into the phone records of the Mail on Sunday, and trawled through thousands of calls made from that paper’s news desk. The secret police did it in order to track down the confidential source of a big MoS story, about Lib Dem cabinet minister Chris Huhne getting his then wife Vicky Pryce to take the blame for his speeding offences.

These revelations follow hard on the heels of the Met’s admission that it hacked the phone records of the Sun news desk and its political editor, in order to hunt down and sack the officers who gave the paper the ‘Plebgate’ story about Tory cabinet minister Andrew Davies – even though prosecutors admitted that the whistleblowers had committed no crime and had acted in the ‘public interest’.

That Sun case confirmed, as we said on spiked, that phone-hacking is officially deemed neither a crime nor a scandal, so long as it’s the secret police hacking the Sun. The MoS hacking case shows how the Met have gone further still.

To hack the Sun, the Met got around the legal niceties of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), which involve a tiresome process of asking a judge for permission to access phone records, dealing with the other side’s lawyers, and probably having to accept the protection of the journalist’s confidential sources. To short-circuit all that nonsense, the Met ignored PACE and went straight in with RIPA, which allows them secretly to access phone records and identify sources simply with the legal ‘authorisation’ of a police superintendent. So that’s all right then.

In the case of the Mail on Sunday, however, the Met made the mistake of going through the PACE procedures. The judge agreed to grant them access to the call records, but ruled that the name of the source must be ‘redacted’ – blacked out – from the documents. Police ignored that caution, moved the goalposts, and used RIPA secretly to trawl through thousands of journalists’ calls and identify the MoS source. Britain’s secret police insist that this was all legal (if not entirely above board). No doubt the Stasi could have said much the same thing.

These revelations have unsurprisingly scandalised prominent liberal-minded politicians, media people, and civil-rights lobbyists. Yet they should hardly be surprised. After all, it was these same spokespersons for our liberal elite, filled with fear and loathing of the popular press and the populace it appeals to, who demanded that the state crack down on tabloid journalism in the wake of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Are they really naive enough to imagine that the police would only accept and act upon their invitation like gentlemen? Pigs might fly first.

Leading Labour MP Keith Vaz now protests that the police phone-hackers have ‘struck a serious blow against press freedom’. Noble words. Could this be the same Vaz who, as chairman of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee of MPs, lambasted the Met from 2011 onwards for ‘not doing enough’ to crack down on the excesses of tabloid journalism? Indeed it could.

Elsewhere the Liberal Democrat conference has adopted a policy of reforming RIPA and other laws to restrain police action against the press and ‘protect responsible journalism’. This apparently liberalising motion was drafted and pushed by the former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris, now the parliamentary lobbyist for the tabloid-bashing Hacked Off campaign and PR suck-up for Hugh Grant and Steve Coogan. Having championed the authorities’ crackdown on the ‘irresponsible’ popular press, Harris and Co. seemingly worry that the Met might act against the sort of well-behaved journalism of which they approve.

Perhaps as bizarrely, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and his star writer Nick Davies have also complained about the police attacks on tabloid journalists’ sources. Davies, who led the crusade to expose and punish hacking at the NotW, says that the police have ‘cheated’ by using the RIPA to hack phone records. It’s just not cricket, you chaps!

Yet as Davies makes clear in his recent self-congratulatory tome, Hack Attack, his role throughout the phone-hacking scandal was to act, as my review on spiked put it, ‘as the Provisional Wing of the Metropolitan Police, urging them to crack down harder on the Murdoch papers and informing the Met that a stricter interpretation of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) would enable them to arrest more members of the press. Which seems a novel interpretation of the journalist’s role of “speaking truth to power”.’ Having eventually accepted the lead that he offered them, Davies of the Guardian now appears surprised that the Met have gone even further than he suggested in using RIPA to treat tabloid journalists like jihadists.

Meanwhile Liberty, the UK human rights lobby, has expressed half-hearted support for the ‘Save Our Sources’ campaign launched by Press Gazette in response to the Met hacking revelations. This might be more convincing but for the fact that Ms Liberty herself, Shami Chakrabarti, sat as a handpicked panellist alongside Lord Justice Leveson throughout his inquiry into the ‘culture, practices and ethics’ of the UK press.

It was the Leveson Inquiry, a showtrial in which the tabloids were found guilty before proceedings began, that gave the green light for the state to launch its war on the press, rounding up 63 tabloid journalists, many of whom are still facing the threat of legal action years later. Yet all of the alleged liberals who worshipped at the feet of their good lord justice Leveson, and demanded that the police and courts take action against that ‘different breed’ known as tabloid journalists, now protest that the authorities have taken up their invitation with such gusto by hacking in search of sources.

As Sun editor David Dinsmore puts it, in an interview to be published shortly on our Free Speech Now! site, their attitude brings to mind Michael Caine’s famous admonition that, ‘You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!’.

The lesson of all of this is not that the Met has gone ‘too far’ or ‘cheated’ in its use of RIPA. It is that press freedom is an indivisible liberty that we defend for all or none at all. You cannot pick and choose which bits of the media you want to be ‘free’. And that in practice the state will only ever ‘support’ a free press in the same way that a rope supports a hanging man. No agency of the state, from the police to parliament, the courts to a judge-led inquiry, can be trusted to protect the freedom of the expression and of the press that is the lifeblood of a civilised society.

Despite the best efforts of the secret Met hackers on his behalf, Huhne and his ex-wife were both eventually jailed for their attempt to pervert justice. On his release, the former Lib Dem minister moved into a column at the Guardian, where he took the liberty to blame his downfall on… an anti-democracy conspiracy by the Murdoch press and the Mail group. Wherever could the police have got the idea that it was all right to treat the tabloids like terror groups?

SOURCE






Two cheers for the Tory war on the human rights Act

UK human-rights law doesn't need to be reformed – it needs to be abolished

On Friday, the UK Conservative Party caused a furore with its proposals for changes to Britain’s human-rights laws. It was frontpage news, and the tabloids went to town. ‘End of human-rights farce’, said the Daily Mail; ‘Human-rights madness to end’, said the Daily Express; the Sun even referred to ‘the hated Human Rights Act’. On the other side of the human-rights debate, the former Conservative attorney general, Dominic Grieve, who was sacked in July’s reshuffle, described the proposals as ‘almost puerile’, and a Guardian editorial defended the Human Rights Act against the Tories’ new proposals, calling it ‘a civilised and a civilising law’. Human rights, it seems, are today considered either toxic or the hallmark of a civilised society.

The key point to grasp about human-rights laws is that they are gateways for judges to play a political role. Under existing human-rights law – as established in the Human Rights Act, which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law – members of the public can take public bodies to court for failing to respect or uphold their human rights. Once a person’s grievance against a public body gets through the gateway, it becomes a judicial function to determine whether the body is or isn’t in breach of human rights. This decision will be made by judges exercising an extraordinary degree of latitude. The political gateway function explains why views on human rights tend to be polarised. The human-rights lobby is wary of democracy, lest the majority should oppress a minority, so it sees the judiciary as a necessary means of fettering majoritarianism and of safeguarding civilised society. On the other hand, vesting judges with a political role is something that many people find wrong in principle.

Even if the point of principle is ignored, the recent history of judicial political interventions has caused many to question whether judges should have been given such formidable powers under the Human Rights Act. The human-rights lobby has cheered each time another issue has passed through a human-rights gateway to be overseen by judges. Assisted suicide, extradition, care-home admissions, local-authority domiciliary care, prisoners voting, suing the Ministry of Defence, suing the police and welfare benefit reforms are just some of the many issues that the judiciary is now empowered to rule on under the rubric of human-rights law.

A number of recent policies that were, effectively, created by these judges have been received as absurd. The best known absurdity being the recent ruling that UK law on prisoner enfranchisement is unlawful and, say the courts in Strasbourg and the UK, should be changed. But there have been many other examples of problematic human-rights judgements, such as: when the courts have claimed that dementia sufferers receiving good care are living in ‘gilded cages’; when the courts allowed the police and the Ministry of Defence to be sued for negligence; and the attempts by some judges to nudge parliament to legalise assisted suicide.

It was clearly time for a backlash. The Conservative Party has recognised that human-rights laws have grown like Topsy and need to be reined in to establish an appropriate demarcation between politics and law. To this end, the Tory policy takes aim at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which has meddled in so many political issues. The Tories are proposing that the ECHR’s rulings should only have an advisory status. And if this arrangement proves to be unacceptable to the ECHR then, the policy paper says, ‘the UK would be left with no alternative but to withdraw from the ECHR’.

But it isn’t just judges in Strasbourg whose powers the Tories propose to clip. The current practice whereby almost anyone with a grievance against a public body can turn it into a human-rights claim would be tackled with four measures affecting UK judges. Firstly, the Tories propose to prevent acts of parliament from being effectively rewritten by judges. Secondly, they propose to limit the use of human-rights laws to ‘the most serious cases’. Thirdly, rights will be balanced against responsibilities, so that, for example, a foreign national who takes the life of another person will not be able to resist deportation by relying on the human right of respect for family life. Fourthly, human-rights laws will be limited to dealing with issues arising in the UK, so as to prevent British armed forces overseas from being subject to persistent human-rights claims.

The human-rights lobby responded with apoplexy. And, in their attempt to shoot down the Tories’ plan, human-rights proponents used the arguments they are most comfortable with: legal ones. A string of practising and academic lawyers claimed the proposals were legally incoherent. Within 36 hours of the Tory announcement, the Labour Party deployed its big bazooka: an opinion from two ‘eminent QCs’ from Matrix Chambers who claimed the proposals were ‘wholly unworkable, legally contradictory and inherently inconsistent’. The implication of these legal critiques is that Britain, a supposedly sovereign state, should not be allowed to have an elected government that has the power to rein in human-rights law. It is a telling feature of the human-rights lobby that it is quite comfortable with the anti-democratic stance on which its legal arguments are founded.

No doubt the Tory proposals would give rise to legal issues, although it should be noted that Britain’s best-known commentator on the law, Joshua Rozenberg, said the proposals were ‘legally coherent’. Far more interesting, however, are the political principles that inform the Conservative proposals.

From a political perspective, the proposals are muddled. Human rights either have a special constitutional quality or they don’t. The European Convention on Human Rights, which the Tories propose to retain in a new British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, is aimed at setting out rights that should always be applied. The Conservative proposals attempt to square the circle. On the one hand, the policy claims that ‘protecting fundamental human rights is a hallmark of a democratic society’, and yet, on the other hand, the Tories propose to deny these ‘fundamental human rights’ to persons with human-rights violations that are not deemed ‘serious’, or to claimants who have breached their responsibilities.

This muddled thinking disappears once it is accepted that today’s notion of human rights do not warrant a special constitutional status. Contrary to what the Tories claim, human rights are not ‘a hallmark of a democratic society’. There are certain rights that may warrant a special constitutional status, namely rights that constrain the state’s power so as to ensure the liberty and freedom of the citizen. These are civil and political rights such as free speech, the right to a free press, freedom of conscience, the right of association, the principle of innocence until proven guilty, and the right to have any guilt determined by a fair process. Each of these rights, in a democracy, could have a special constitutional status on the basis that without them democracy is abridged.

But the human rights that have developed under the ECHR do not underpin democracy. Take for example, control orders, or TPIMs (Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures) as they are now. It is an affront to democracy that anyone can be held under house arrest without being found guilty of a crime. It is a power that the state in a democracy should not possess. Yet, despite numerous human-rights challenges to control orders, the notion of indefinite house arrest for an innocent person was found to be compatible with human-rights laws. Following various human-rights challenges in 2007, the then minister of state for security, Tony McNulty MP, was correct to claim that the courts have ‘endorsed the principles of the control-order regime’.

Or, take the case of free speech, which John Milton famously described as the liberty ‘above all liberties’ and which is appropriately codified in the American Bill of Rights, whereby ‘Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press’. Human-rights laws have not prevented parliament or public bodies from abridging freedom of speech. They have, for example, upheld hate-speech laws; failed to prevent the exclusion or deportation of religious fanatics; and have allowed for the banning of allegedly anti-gay Christian adverts.

Instead of underpinning democracy, human-rights laws undermine it. Far from constraining the state to make democracy possible, human-rights laws seek to transfer issues from the political sphere, where they are subject to democratic accountability, to a legal sphere that is beyond democratic accountability.

A politically coherent human-rights proposal would recognise that human-rights laws are inherently problematic. And it would recognise that, whereas there are some civil and political rights that are hallmarks of a democratic society, the human rights that have developed under the ECHR certainly do not have that required quality.

We must brick-in the human rights gateways so as to deny judges the ability to play a political role.  The new Conservative proposals, however, argue instead for them to be narrowed, to be tilted in a different direction, and for the gatekeepers to be UK judges rather than European ones.

Despite its political flaws, the Tory policy could sound the beginning of the end for the human-rights discourse that has developed almost without challenge over the last decade or so. The human-rights lobby has rarely been challenged on its open-ended theory ‘that every human being is entitled to fundamental rights simply because they are human’. This ‘theory’ allows its adherents to widen the gateways ad nauseam.

Having, since 2000, encouraged judges to create so many ‘fundamental rights’, the human-rights edifice stands discredited, and could easily topple. Even signed-up members of the human-rights lobby find it increasingly difficult to justify many human-rights judgments which stray away from issues of ‘fundamental rights’ and which express contentious political perspectives.

The human-rights discourse has always been an elite project of the middle class: lead by lawyers, championed by some judges and cheered on by campaign groups, all of whom have little purchase with the rest of society. As one of the project’s leading lights, Professor Francesca Klug, pointed out: ‘The reality is that it [the Human Rights Act] has never been sufficiently “owned” by British people as truly “theirs”.’

As the human-rights lobby has grown, the gateways through which judges can make laws, with little or no popular support, have widened. It’s time that these gateways were closed. It’s possible that the Tories’ latest proposals for changing human-rights laws could, despite some muddled thinking, be the beginning of the end for the human-rights discourse. In the cause of democracy, let’s hope so.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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13 October, 2014

Multicultural thieves in Britain



The ringleaders of one of the country's largest ever banking scams have been jailed after police seized £6.5million in stolen and fake cheques.

Charles Nyongo and Onais Hove led a country-wide team of fraudsters who intercepted cheques in the post before altering the recipient's details to steal cash.

The men, who are both 43, were jailed for nine years each at Bradford Crown Court after the seizure of more than 3,000 fake cheques - the largest haul ever recorded by the banking industry.

The court heard how the criminals, from Leeds and Hove respectively, intercepted cheque books and reproduced their pages after creating templates for different banks.

They would photograph a page in the middle of the book and duplicate the details before posting the book on again to its intended recipient to evade suspicion.

By the time the account holder had reached the page in their cheque book where the fraudsters started, they would likely have moved on to a new target.

Hospices, schools and elderly, vulnerable people were among victims of the scam which started in Scotland before spreading across the UK.

An investigation carried out by the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit found more than 3,000 cheques at addresses across the UK.

Nyongo and Hove denied conspiring to defraud UK banks and possessing articles for use in fraud, but were found guilty of all charges and sentenced to nine years each in prison.

Det Chief Insp Perry Stokes, head of the DCPCU, said: 'We have dismantled a highly organised and professional fraud gang - one of the largest of its kind ever seen in the UK.

'As the ringleaders, Hove and Nyongo were ruthlessly indiscriminate in selecting their victims. 'Their knowledge of the bank cheque system was considerable, and our investigation revealed a series of fraud factories across the country.

'We are delighted to have brought these criminals to justice and to have removed the threat they posed to British banks and their customers.'

SOURCE





Moving to Oklahoma?

Oklahoma is the only state that Obama did not win or even carry one county in the last election.

While everyone is focusing on Arizona's new law, look what Oklahoma has been doing!

An update from Oklahoma:

Oklahoma passed, 37 to 9, an amendment to place the Ten Commandments on the front entrance to the state capitol.

The feds in D.C., along with the ACLU, said it would be a mistake.

Hey this is a conservative state, based on Christian values! (HB 1330)

Guess what? .......... Oklahoma did it anyway!

Oklahoma recently passed a law in the state to incarcerate all illegal immigrants, and ship them back to where they came from unless they want to get a green card and become an American citizen.

They all scattered. (HB 1804).

This was against the advice of the Federal Government and the ACLU; they said it would be a mistake.

Guess what? ............ Oklahoma did it anyway!

Recently we passed a law to include DNA samples from any and all illegal's to the Oklahoma database, for criminal investigative purposes.

Pelosi said it was unconstitutional. (SB 1102)

Guess what? ......... Oklahoma did it anyway!

Several weeks ago, we passed a law, declaring Oklahoma as a Sovereign state, not under the Federal Government directives.

Joining Texas, Montana, and Utah as the only states to do so.

More states are likely to follow: Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, both Carolinas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Florida.

Save your confederate money, it appears the South is about to rise up once again. (HJR 1003)

The federal Government has made bold steps to take away our guns.

Oklahoma, a week ago, passed a law confirming people in this state have the right to bear arms and transport them in their vehicles.

I'm sure that was a setback for the criminals.

The liberals didn't like it.

But ....Guess what? ............ Oklahoma did it anyway.

Just this month, the state has voted and passed a law that ALL drivers license exams will be printed in English, and only English, and no other language.

They have been called racist for doing this, but the fact is that ALL of the road signs are in English only.

If you want to drive in Oklahoma, you must read and write English.

Really simple.

By the way, the liberals don't like any of this either.

Guess what?... who cares? ... Oklahoma is doing it anyway!

SOURCE






Why it’s bad to be protected from offence

The fight for freedom of speech has never been easy.’ So concludes Greg Lukianoff, president of the US-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), First Amendment attorney and free-speech advocate, in his latest offering, Freedom From Speech.

In this sharp, insightful pamphlet, Lukianoff outlines what he sees as the main threats to free speech today. As one would expect from the president of an organisation that works specifically in higher education, much of the book focuses on campus censorship, with trigger warnings and ‘disinvitation season’ (the annual Spring standoff between college commencement speakers and students who want to get them, well, disinvited) getting special attention. Lukianoff rails against the right not to be offended and decries colleges for their tiny free-speech zones. These campus-based examples are then used to highlight a general anti-free speech trend in society at large.

In his exploration of the growth of disinvitiation season, Lukianoff shows that those perceived to be on the political right are far more likely to be disinvited than those on the left. Recently, speakers including Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Condoleezza Rice have either found themselves disinvited, or have voluntarily withdrawn from college speaking engagements as a result of student pressure. Lukianoff uses disinvitation season to reveal that it is so-called progressives and liberals who are more likely to call for gags and bans these days. He argues that disinvitation season is part of an underlying academic move towards reinforcing an ‘expectation of confirmation’. This refers to the idea that a student’s views are beyond contradiction and that they are comfortable only hearing from those with whom they broadly agree. spiked has clocked numerous examples of this expectation recently. From the banning of lads’ mags and raunchy pop songs on UK campuses, to a London university’s gagging of a Nietzsche club, it seems that on both sides of the Atlantic, striving for emotional protection and a safe and comfortable learning environment is now preferred to a challenging and robust education.

The book is equally concerned with the appearance of so-called trigger warnings. Lukianoff traces the insidious rise in college trigger warnings, from their emergence in niche online chat rooms and forums to their current ubiquity on campuses across the US. For those not familiar with trigger warnings, they are warnings attached to anything from books to articles that advise students of the potentially traumatic content contained within. Such warnings touch upon a range of issues, from sexism and racism, to rape and suicide. Lukianoff sees trigger warnings as another key component of the shift towards protecting students from the potential discomfort they may feel as part of a rigorous academic experience, an experience that is no longer celebrated as an essential part of university education. In fact, as Lukianoff argues, if this shift continues, it is more likely that the goal of higher education will be to provide students with a comfortable and ‘safe’ learning environment, rather than one which takes them out of their comfort zones.

Lukianoff reminds us that ‘college is where you are supposed to learn about the world as it truly is, which includes some horrific and dreadful topics’. Moving beyond the realms of campus, he describes the rise of trigger warnings as part of a more general rise in what he describes as a ‘limitless care ethic in which outsiders are responsible for safeguarding the emotional state of all’. As many spiked writers have also argued, basing policy decisions on the need to protect those most easily offended sets a dangerous precedent, one which strikes directly at the heart of freedom of speech and expression.

Trigger warnings and disinvitation season are examples of what Lukianoff calls a more general ‘problem of comfort’: ‘People all over the globe are coming to expect emotional and intellectual comfort as though it were a right. This is precisely what you would expect when you train a generation to believe that they have a right not to be offended. Eventually, they stop demanding freedom of speech and start demanding freedom from speech.’ Lukianoff sees this as leading to a distinct polarisation within US culture. He argues that we are more likely to seek out likeminded individuals and congregate with them, be it in internet chatrooms or in physical locations, than seek out those with whom we disagree.

He makes an intriguing comparison between physical comfort and intellectual comfort, suggesting that both may be part of the same historical progression. But while physical comfort seems eminently desirable, Lukianoff reminds us that intellectual comfort is actually quite dangerous. Describing intellectual comfort as the desire to live in a harmonious environment free of debate, in which disagreement is best avoided, Lukianoff points out that this is antithetical to what has allowed civilisation to flourish. Rather than avoiding debate and challenging ideas, he encourages it: ‘The idea that we can truly tackle hard issues while remaining universally inoffensive – an impossible pipe dream even if it were desirable – seems to be growing increasingly popular.’

    ‘College is where you are supposed to learn about the world as it truly is, which includes some horrific and dreadful topics’

Throughout this engaging book, Lukianoff makes two points that are worth particular attention. As a Brit living and working in the US, I am fascinated by the constitution and how it plays a part in daily life. I am also concerned that the First Amendment is used to end debate on free speech (not to mention the other four First Amendment protections). That is, because of the First Amendment, we don’t need to worry about free speech as it is already guaranteed. Lukianoff seems to share my concern: ‘Though often used interchangeably, the concept of freedom of speech and the First Amendment are not the same thing.’ Indeed, the danger of relying on the First Amendment is, dare I say it, a possible catalyst to the problems described in this book. If we are to stand up for true free speech, we should not be relying on Supreme Court justices, or judges anywhere else in the world, to protect such freedoms. It is up to us, the people of a cultured and civilised society, to stand up for free speech and tolerance.

A second important point addresses the supposed guardians of the potentially offended. Readers of spiked will be familiar with our distaste for those intent on protecting us from the big bad world, and their pious concern for the poor, easily offended rabble. spiked editor Brendan O’Neill recently described these new-age moralists as the offencerati. Lukianoff skewers them, calling them ‘self-righteous censors… who must protect society from the objectionable opinions of the unenlightened masses’. Be it Sun-reading builders in the UK or Fox News-viewing hillbillies in the US, the idea that any of us need protection from ‘dangerous’ thoughts or opinions is one that we must all fight against in order to protect free speech for everyone, on both sides of the Atlantic.

SOURCE





State Department Endorses Handbook Calling Jihad ‘Noble’

Handbook so controversial Canadian cops rejected it

The U.S. State Department endorsed on Wednesday a controversial anti-terror handbook published by Canada's Muslim community that refers to jihad as "noble" and urges law enforcement to avoid using terms such as "Islamic extremism."

The handbook, published earlier this month by two Canadian Muslim community organizations, was so controversial that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) flatly rejected the manual and ordered its officers not to use it.

Yet the State Department's official anti-terrorism Twitter feed, called Think Again Turn Away, appeared to endorse the controversial handbook on Twitter and linked to a positive article about it.

The handbook, titled United Against Terrorism, has become a contentious issue for the RCMP since its release. Several sections of the guide instruct Muslim community members not to cooperate with police while others claim jihad "is a noble concept."

The RCMP ultimately decided to reject the book, citing its "adversarial tone."

"After a final review of the handbook, the RCMP could not support the adversarial tone set by elements of the booklet and therefore directed RCMP Manitoba not to proceed with this initiative," the police force said in a statement posted on its website.

The handbook itself recommends that "intelligence and law enforcement officials" should "avoid terms such as ‘Islamist terrorism', ‘Islamicism', and ‘Islamic extremism' in favor of more accurate terms such as ‘al Qaeda inspired extremist,'" according to one section of the handbook, which still bears RCMP's official logo.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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12 October, 2014

Can prejudice ever be eliminated?

The story below is the standard one among Leftist social scientists.  It is very one-eyed however.  For a start it claims that prejudiced attitudes are highly general, when they are not.  Critics of Jews, for instance, are often not critical of blacks etc. See e.g. here  And what one might call positive bigotry (patriotism) is regularly shown to be unrelated to negative bigotry (dislike of other groups).  That alone shoots down most Leftist theories -- which usually claim that bigotry is caused by (or at least associated with) high regard for the ingroup.  That holds true  among psychology student samples but not among general population samples. In a representative sample of London people , for instance, the correlation between patriotism and attitude to West Indians (negroes) was found to be .18, which was not statistically significant

There is however perhaps some substance to Bronner's claim that bigotry is more frequent among conservatives.  But the reason for that is that Leftists skip right past bigotry and land straight on hate.  Leftism in fact seems to be founded on hate. Their constant rage hardly permits of any other explanation. ALL conservatives bloggers know what sort of comments and emails we get from Leftists.  It is extreme abuse with rationality conspicuous by its absence.  Everybody dislikes somebody or some class of people and Leftists froth with such dislikes.  Yancey has documented the almost insane hate that Leftists pour out at Christians

But what Leftists hate most, of course, is their own country. Harvard University students recently declared  America as a bigger threat to world peace than the Islamic State.  And they were not alone in that declaration.  And Obama has done more damage to America's prosperity, power and prestige than any foreign enemy ever accomplished.

And one has to laugh at Bronner's claim that bigots are "reacting against modernity".  Greenies anyone?  Greenies are undoubtedly the main fountain of reaction against modernity in our society.  And since Greenies and Leftists go hand in glove it seems obvious from which side of politics most bigotry comes. Bronner is amusing at times. 

And who else was it that deplored modernity and glorified a romanticized rural past?  It was the National Socialist German Workers' Party, better known as the Nazis. And they were socialist in deed as well as in name  -- with their policies of regulating and controlling everything in Germany.  Hitler was only to the Right of Stalin -- in that Germans were allowed somewhat more personal freedom -- but he was to the Left of everyone else.  It is amusing therefore that the Communist perspective -- of Hitler being "Right wing" -- has become the conventional wisdom among those who know no history:  A great tribute to decades of relentless Soviet disinformation and infiltration.

I could go on but I think I have said enough to show that the claims below are all tired old Leftist boilerplate with the usual Leftist lack of reality contact


Stephen Eric Bronner, the author of "The Bigot", discusses the defining features of bigotry and how it can be tackled.

What is a bigot? The dictionary definition is "a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people or ideas", but how are these hatreds manifested in everyday life, how do they change over time, and what do they say about society? The question of how to define bigotry is explored in a new book by Stephen Eric Bronner, a Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University. The Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists analyses bigotry as a systematic, all-encompassing mindset, and concludes that it has a special affinity for right-wing movements. Here, Bronner discusses his findings.

Can you generalize about prejudice?

Much has been written about prejudice and bigotry, and the different ways in which they express themselves - anti-Semitism or sexism or racism. But there is very little that has been done that brings them together. That's important because it's very rare that a bigot is only prejudiced against one group. The Nazis, for example, had a hierarchy of groups that they hated. Policies against people of color, against women, against gays, usually go together in an overriding agenda.

What are the defining features of bigotry?

There are certain common features. The bigot uses stereotypes and myths, and particular experiences which are then universalized. All of this rests on a basic fear of modernity that threatens the privileges that the bigot feels he has or had. So the bigot is basically concerned with resisting globalization and modernity. Whatever his primary target of hatred, he is opposed to diversity, opposed to a multicultural outlook, opposed to social and economic equality, opposed to political democracy, and usually opposed to a cosmopolitan secular view. I think that's true for all forms of bigotry.

You're positing bigotry as a fear of modernity. Can you be a left-wing or secular bigot?

Oh sure. Anyone can be a bigot historically. That's just obviously true. Whether one looks at the Enlightenment or the labor movement or new social movements, blacks can be racists, Jews can act like anti-Semites, and women can act as sexists. However, if one simply says "bigotry is part of human nature, there's not much you can do about it", one doesn't get anywhere. The question then becomes which groups tend to be more attracted to prejudice. It's true that not every conservative is a bigot. It's also true that bigotry has a particular affinity with conservative and reactionary movements, and I think that's empirically true both historically and sociologically.

You say in the book that bigotry is driven more by self-pity than hatred.

Or, at least driven as much by self-pity as hatred. The bigot tends to believe that he is being unfairly treated. For example, many reactionaries in the US don't believe they are being bigoted against people of color, but that people of colour are bigoted against them. The power relation and existence of privilege gets erased. The bigot usually tries to justify this - the person of prejudice is drawn to conspiracy. Something is working behind the scenes: the invisible hand of Jews, or bankers, or Jews and bankers. We can keep adding to the list. Obviously conspiracies sometimes take place. But for the bigot, the entire world is defined by conspiracies. The further along the spectrum one goes to fanaticism, the more intense the preoccupation with conspiracy.

Why is that?

The bigot, in reacting against modernity, tends to create an imagined community that was the best of all possible worlds. In that community, the bigot and his predecessors retain their privileges. Women are in the kitchen, gays are in the closet and people of colour at best perform menial tasks. The key is that in the vision of the bigot, this is what these groups are naturally created to do. They like it. So how does one explain when these groups mobilize against the prejudiced political and social system? There's really only one answer to this: somebody is riling them up from the outside. For example, in the south, during the civil rights movement, it was common parlance for southern reactionaries to say "we know what our negroes want, they are happy with the way things are, and it's those Yankees coming from up north who are causing trouble and riling them up". This is a very common situation. It could be the intellectual, it could be the foreigner, it could be the religious heretic, the Jew. There is always somebody from the outside destroying the organic community which, for the bigot, is the best of all possible worlds.

Why do certain groups consistently become the target of prejudice?

This is purely a matter of expediency. Imagine a religious universe dominated by Christians in Europe. The primary target of hatred will be Jews and perhaps Muslims, because they challenge the absolutism of the Christian belief. One of the defining criteria for targets of prejudice is a group that's visible but without power. But bigotry is not about the target of prejudice; it's about the psychology of the bigot, and the historical circumstances in which he finds himself.

The term "bigot" is generally understood as an insult. Does that make it difficult to have a public discussion about the views you describe?

Oh very difficult. We are in a situation today where the bigot is on the defensive, or in other words, progress has actually been made. Nobody likes to identify himself or herself as a bigot, soo the language and the style change. The goose-stepping stops, the swastika is out of fashion, explicitly racist books no longer make it in the established mainstream. So the bigot adapts to this situation and he or she supports policies that disadvantage the old targets of his hatred, whether it's people of color, or women, or gays. But there will be a justification for those policies: I'm preserving liberty by opposing the welfare state, I'm preserving moral values by opposing gay marriage, I am preserving fair elections by introducing voting restrictions. The bigot becomes very elusive. We have to change our focus and look at what the bigot does rather than what he says. Particular individual racist acts still occur obviously, but to simply remain at that level obscures what's really going on.

How can bigotry be tackled?

The idea that we can simply eliminate prejudice is utopian. There are too many wounds, too many habits, too many superstitions, too many stereotypes inherited from the past. What can be done, though, is to marginalize prejudice. That's already been done to a certain degree. My suggestion is a multi-frontal approach. It's a cultural offensive that privileges values of tolerance. It's a political approach that highlights the need for the inclusion of previously excluded groups into the public sphere. It's also socioeconomic, so that excluded and disadvantaged groups have the wherewithal to actually participate in society. There's one other element - one has to be open to the new. Some of the groups that will express their grievances tomorrow aren't necessarily seen today. If you think back 30 or 40 years, most people didn't know about transgendered people, or perhaps even the possibility for transgendered lives. But in the last decade or so that has changed. We have to be open to the possibility that other groups are going to come out in the future even if we don't see them today.

Are you optimistic that the battle against prejudice will be won?

To make progress on the economic front doesn't necessarily mean one is making progress on the political front; and progress on the political front it doesn't necessarily mean progress on the cultural or ideological front. That's why we have to be cognizant of all of these different factors. It's a complicated matter. But I think there's hope. Changes have been made that are positive, and there is at least the open possibility for continuing to make them in the future. At the same time, every reform that was achieved in the past can be rolled back in the future.

SOURCE







The British people have spoken.  In Nigel Farage they have found a spokesman to tell the politically correct politicians what they want

David Cameron and Ed Miliband are being told to ‘wake up’ to public anger over uncontrolled migration following Ukip’s stunning by-election advances.

Nigel Farage’s party caused a political earthquake by seizing one Tory safe seat and coming within a few hundred votes of taking another from Labour.

Conservative MPs warned the Prime Minister that he must now harden his stance on free movement within the European Union.

There have been calls for David Cameron to break up the coalition early and make a pact with Ukip at the next election, while Jack Straw told Ed Miliband he has a 'lot more' to do

Frank Field, another Labour ex-minister, warned the party’s core vote had been so neglected that even supposedly safe seats could be lost next May.

On a day of extraordinary political drama:

Mr Miliband was ridiculed for refusing to give interviews or talk to locals – after speaking about the need to reconnect with voters;

Mr Farage suggested that Ukip would refuse coalition with either Tories or Labour if it won a string of MPs next year;

The Lib Dems were humiliated, with the lowest share of the vote for any major party in an English by-election since 1948;

Controversy raged about Mr Farage’s call to ban migrants with HIV – a call his new MP Douglas Carswell refused to back.

Early yesterday, Mr Carswell, who defected from the Tories over the summer, became Ukip’s first elected MP, cruising to victory in Clacton, Essex, with nearly 60 per cent of the vote.

His majority of 12,404 was higher than he achieved as a Tory in 2010, with the Conservatives in second on 8,709 votes, Labour in third and the Greens pushing the Lib Dems into fifth.

In Heywood and Middleton, Labour suffered embarrassment when, after a recount, Ukip came within 617 votes of defeating its candidate Liz McInnes.

Mr Farage, who celebrated the results by staying out drinking until 4.45am, declared Ukip was now a national party.  ‘We could find ourselves next May in a position where we hold the balance of power,’ he claimed.

Mr Cameron said the general election would be the most important in a generation. ‘If you see a big Ukip vote, what you will end up with is Ed Miliband as PM, Ed Balls as Chancellor, Labour in power,’ the Prime Minister said.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, increasingly tipped as a replacement for Mr Miliband, insisted the results had not been a ‘disaster’ for Labour.

But he added: ‘There is more we need to do to listen to people who are voting Ukip, particularly on immigration. I can’t defend on the doorstep, and actually I haven’t tried, the sending back of benefits to people who come to work here.

‘It doesn’t meet most people’s test of basic fairness, you know, that you haven’t contributed but then you can take out.’

Veteran MP Sir Edward Leigh said Mr Cameron should collapse the coalition with the Lib Dems and set out clearer ‘red lines’ for a proposed renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU.

SOURCE





Which Came First, the Racism or the Tension?

Ever since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer, tensions have been high in the St. Louis suburb. Protests and even some arrests continue. And according to The Washington Post, it’s forcing the city’s whites to confront racial tension they never knew was there: “They have discovered that blacks and whites here profoundly disagree about the existence of racism and the fairness of the justice system. And now, whites who once believed their town was an exception in a country struggling with racial divisions have to confront the possibility it is not.”

Is it possible that racism has been bubbling under the surface, completely unbeknownst to white residents until a white police officer shot a black teen thug? Perhaps, but doubtful. Because instead of rationally handling the situation, professional race hustlers like Al Sharpton fomented racism among blacks to perpetuate the need for their own services.

Now, the city faces even more chaos if Officer Darren Wilson is not charged in Brown’s death. To top it off, there is more rioting because, on Wednesday, another white police officer shot and killed an armed black teen thug.

SOURCE






Confronting PC: Some Will Financially and Politically Die

I caught a bit of an interview with conservative actor Kevin Sorbo promoting his movie, "God's Not Dead" on the Sean Hannity radio show. Sorbo lamented that political correctness operatives continue to bully Americans with little push back. He cited a recent incident in which a little girl was kicked out of school for saying "God bless you" when a classmate sneezed, punished for religious talk in school.

My wife Mary told me about a U.S. soldier who was told by a school never to walk his child to school in uniform again. I am sure all of you could share horror stories of political correctness operatives overruling common sense and bullying people into submission.

Admittedly, I continuously rant about this topic. Folks, while I have evolved into somewhat of a sophisticated responsible adult, my roots are in the hood, the projects of east Baltimore. Living in that extremely tough environment, I knew if you did not deal with (confront) bullies, you would forever be their chump. As a 9 or 10 year old, I detested watching bullies push people around. I still detest seeing snooty intellectual liberal wimps with their big microphones and big stages get away with terrorizing people into submission.

When we were kids, though he was a little wild and crazy, my cousin Jimmy taught me the value of a strong military and how to deal with bullies. Two kids were taking my lunch money. Jimmy got in their grills and threatened to kick their butts. That was the end of that nonsense.

Six foot something high school varsity football star Broadus ordered me out of my seat beside pretty Barbara Jean on the school bus. Had he asked, I would have given him my seat. Even as a four foot something tall seventh grader, I instinctively knew I would lose something inside if I allowed Broadus to order me around. I told him no, I was not moving.

Once off the bus, Broadus began pounding my head into the gravel road. My mom saw the attack from a block away. She began running, but said it felt like she was running in place, unable to get to us fast enough. Incredibly, Broadus and I later became friends.

So yes, I have this "thing" about bullies.

Liberals, Democrats and the complicit MSM have hijacked the word "bully" to exclusively refer to anyone who dares to push back against their aggressive attempts to force their socialist/progressive agenda down our throats. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, Leftists call us bullies when we reject allowing them to bully us. Very clever, insidious and evil.

I worked at a major ABC affiliate TV station in Baltimore for 15 years. Thus, I have witnessed from the inside the MSM arrogant superior mindset which dominated the TV station and their intention to force their agenda on the public. The general consensus at the TV station was that the public was a bunch of yahoos and we were the sophisticated smart guys.

The TV station launched a campaign titled, "Family First". On the cover of the brochure, I used a silhouette of a traditional family holding hands; father, mother, a girl and a boy. Public Relations axed my cover design claiming it was insensitive and offensive because families come in all configurations, two men, two women and so on. There was no agenda behind me selecting the image other than it worked for the theme of the campaign. I seriously doubted that the image of a traditional family on the cover of the station's brochure would have sparked mass outrage from the public.

And yet, the PR representative acted as though I was attempting to push my Christian values on the public. She used her authority to bully me into changing the cover design. I later learned that she was a lesbian.

Folks, I realize that I sound like a broken record continuing to write about the Left bullying us into submission. It just sticks in my craw. Allowing them to get away with it is an anathema to my spirit; like allowing Broadus to order me out of my seat. We must push back. We must say no.

In the Clint Eastwood movie, "Pale Rider", the locals were terrorized by bullies. They asked a mysterious stranger portrayed by Eastwood to lead them into battle against the bad guys. Eastwood consented, but also informed the locals that some of them were going to die tomorrow.

Make no mistake about it folks, confronting evil, pushing back against political correctness operatives is serious business. Our Nemesis are extremely vicious and relentless. They take no prisoners. Just as Eastwood warned the locals, I warn you. In the battle to take back our freedom, some will sacrifice themselves for freedom. They will financially and politically die.

Brave U.S. troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice have shown us that freedom "ain't" free. Are the fruits of freedom, self-respect and dignity, worth it? Absolutely.

Political Correctness is a horrible destructive cancer eating away at the core of our American culture. The miracle cure is courage.

SOURCE






Should We Silence Those Who Monitor Anti-Semitism on Campus?

Virtually every university or college allows its students to rate their professors and the results of these surveys are usually published. Their contents are always of debatable quality but give incoming students a rough idea of what they are up against when they choose teachers and their courses. The prevailing principle of caveat emptor is generally accepted if not always enjoyed by the faculty. Yet the publication of a guide that attempts to give students and their families an idea about whether college faculty and courses are engaging in and/or supporting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity in the classroom appears to have aroused the ire of an influential group of Jewish academics.

As the Forward reports today, 50 North American Jewish Studies professors have signed a joint letter denouncing the work of the AMCHA Initiative. AMCHA is a Jewish campus-monitoring group that seeks to expose those academics that support boycott initiatives against Israel or who otherwise engage in anti-Semitic activity. It then publishes this information on its website. Those students who wish to avoid being trapped in such classrooms and donors to academia can draw their own conclusions from AMCHA's writings.

AMCHA's existence can be credited largely to the fact that over the past few decades, Middle Eastern studies in this country has become largely the preserve of scholars who not only espouse anti-Zionist views but who use their academic perches to both propagate their ideology and to intimidate students who dare to disagree. This activity often crosses the boundary between academic debate into open anti-Semitism and has encouraged the growth of groups on campus that seek to silence or intimidate pro-Israel and Jewish students. At a time when attacks on such students are becoming more commonplace and pro-Israel views are struggling to be heard in academia, it would seem as if the least the Jewish community could do is to arm its young people for this struggle. Families deserve information about what is happening in such programs and what exactly is being shoved down their children's throats. The same applies to those who are asked to fund such programs.

But to the group of Jewish studies professors who signed the letter attacking AMCHA, this sort of effort is nothing less than an attempt to start a new academic boycott of critics of Israel that is no less contemptible than those that seek to isolate Israelis. They believe AMCHA's efforts stifle academic freedom. They also contend that the definition of anti-Semitic activity used by AMCHA is so broad as to be meaningless. Are they right?

Let's concede that any debate about what is being taught on campuses must be conducted in such a way as to not be construed as suppression of academic freedom. The Jewish studies professors are correct when they say free exchanges of ideas are the lifeblood of any university as well as a free society such as Israel.

If their letter against AMCHA stuck to these principles, it might have made some sense. But they go further than that and make the following very interesting demand:

    The institutions where we teach, as well as many others we know well (including those appearing on AMCHA's list), offer a broad array of courses dealing with Israel and Palestinian affairs. None of these, whether supportive or critical of Israeli policy, ought to be monitored for content or political orientation.

In other words, what they are really afraid of is not so much that anti-Israel or anti-Semitic academics will find themselves ostracized as they are of the entire concept of accountability for institutions of higher learning. That ought to be a bridge too far even for those who are least likely to care about the spread of incitement against Israel and Jews on the college campus. Their stand is not so much against a putative Jewish thought police as it is against any scrutiny of what goes on at universities and colleges. That is an absurd stand that deserves the contempt of the public and donors to such institutions, not their support.

We also need to ask whether the academic critics of AMCHA are right about the criteria used by the group to determine what is or is not anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. If AMCHA were merely labeling criticism of Israel's government as beyond the pale, they'd be right. But that's not the case. Here are AMCHA's criteria for defining such behavior:

 *   Denying Jews Their Right to Self-Determination
 *   Using Symbols and Images Associated with Historical Anti-Semitism
  *  Comparing Jews to Nazis
 *   Accusing Jews and Israel of Inventing or Exaggerating the Holocaust
  *  Demonizing Israel
 *   Delegitimizing Israel
  *  Holding Israel to a Double Standard
 *   Promoting Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Against Israel
 *   Condoning Terrorism Against Jews, Supporting Terrorist Organizations
  *  Targeting Jewish Students for Discrimination, Harassment, or Intimidation

Do any of the group's critics really want to argue that anyone who is guilty of behaving in this manner is not anti-Israel?

Let's also understand that the attempt by this group to paint AMCHA as the forerunner of a new spirit of McCarthyism on campus is looking at the situation through the wrong end of the telescope. If anything, it is pro-Israel academics that are the endangered species on campus, not the Israel-haters. That is especially true in the field of Middle East studies where scholars who do not accept the anti-Zionist point of view or who in any way support the right of the Jewish people to self-determination and the right of self-defense in their ancient homeland find it impossible to get tenure or obtain employment. The fact that Arab and Muslim potentates increasingly fund many Middle Eastern studies departments makes this uniformity more understandable if not defensible.

More to the point, this is a moment in history when a rising tide of anti-Semitism that often seeks to cloak itself in criticism of Israel is sweeping through Europe and finding beachheads in North America, principally in academia. At such a time, it is more important than ever not only to combat this virus of hate but also to understand exactly who is promoting it and where such activity is condoned if not supported.

Let's also understand that contrary to the aggressive and sometimes violent anti-Israel activities that take place in academia, all AMCHA does is publish a website which labels Israel-haters as such. Its critics are not so much disputing the problem of the growth of anti-Semitism that the BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) movement is fronting as they are merely asking that Jews keep quiet about it and not seek even to hold those who promote such hate accountable for their actions. That is a prescription for complacency that will only aid the movement these professors say they oppose.

Rather than seeking to silence AMCHA, Jewish academics need to find the guts to speak up against the growth of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic activity on campuses. If they don't, sooner or later Jews will find that it won't just be Middle Eastern studies where they are unwelcome.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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10 October, 2014

Greedy Corporation Stops Ebola Spread in Liberia

While governments and nonprofits have been stymied in their efforts to stymie the spread of the Ebola virus, Firestone Tire & Rubber has apparently succeeded among its 80,000 Liberian employees and their families. When a wife of a Firestone employee showed up ill after caring for an Ebola victim, the staff of the evil capitalist corporation leaped into action.

“None of us had any Ebola experience,” he says. They scoured the Internet for information about how to treat Ebola. They cleared out a building on the hospital grounds and set up an isolation ward. They grabbed a bunch of hazmat suits for dealing with chemical spills at the rubber factory and gave them to the hospital staff. The suits worked just as well for Ebola cases.

Firestone immediately quarantined the family of the woman. Like so many Ebola patients, she died soon after being admitted to the ward. But no one else at Firestone got infected: not her family and not the workers who transported, treated and cared for her.

Company employees built a 23-bed isolation facility, and in recent months treated 48 patients (mostly from outside the rubber plantation), managed to save 18 of them, and were able to prevent the spread of the disease. They also launched a door-to-door education campaign.

NPR’s report puts emphasis on Firestone’s financial resources, but I think they miss the “X” factor that causes these private-sector employees to succeed outside of their bailiwick: They’re accustomed to setting goals, achieving results and being rewarded based on actual accomplishments. In addition, they’re innovative, and know that one must often improvise and create rapid prototypes on the way to the ultimate product.

The sick and suffering people of Africa don’t need more political speeches, government press releases and empty promises.

They need more Firestones.

SOURCE






Online trolls: Who’s hounding whom?

What is the greatest menace to the liberty and liveliness of the internet? Is it, as we’re forever being told, ‘trolls’, those mostly anonymous saddos who live on Twitter and lurk in discussion threads, hurling offensive and sometimes abusive comments at people? Or is it the trollhunters, the self-styled cleansers of internet culture who have marshalled the media, the police, the courts, the prison system and the political class to their mission of exposing trolls and mopping up the online world?

It’s the latter. Trollhunters are the scourge of the internet. Yes, trolls can be annoying, and even scary sometimes. I’ve had my fair share of emailed death threats, discussion threads devoted to telling me what a cock I am, and even a bag of shit with one of my articles in it hand-delivered to my office (old-school trolling). But the trollhunters, from misogyny-policing feminists to the papers that splash photos of trolls across their front pages to the police who arrest them in dawn raids, do something far worse than any vocab-challenged bloke with a grudge and an internet connection could ever hope to achieve. They chill and sanitise the internet, and invite the criminalisation of more and more forms of online speech.

This morning it is reported that Brenda Leyland, a 63-year-old who was suspected of trolling the parents of murdered schoolgirl Madeleine McCann, has been ‘found dead’ in a hotel room. It is thought she committed suicide. If this is true, we may never discover why: as the Samaritans never tire of telling us, there is rarely one single cause to a suicide. But we do know that Ms Leyland’s death followed her exposure as a ‘troll’ by Sky News. A Sky reporter doorstepped her and informed her she was one of ‘dozens’ of trolls whose anonymous online behaviour had been reported to the police by supporters of the McCanns and was now being investigated.

What happened next was blackly ironic: Ms Leyland was trolled. She was, as Anorak magazine described it, ‘monstered’ by the media and by tweeters sympathetic to the McCanns. Images of her made to look like a blood-stained monster spread through Twitter. She was branded old and ugly and a bitch. A Mirror columnist called her a ‘twisted, fucked-up bitch’. The rest of the media was more polite but nonetheless had a field day at the expense of this ‘churchgoing mother-of-two’ and ‘well-spoken middle-class woman’ who was secretly writing ‘vile’ tweets about the McCanns. Her photo appeared everywhere. And so was the troll trolled, the monster monstered, the woman suspected of writing disgusting tweets subjected to disgusting tweets, the witch burnt. A few hours after this tsunami of anti-troll trolling came her way, Ms Leyland was found dead.

The online mob, the giddy, foul-mouthed organisers of the darkly ironic trolling of this alleged troll, are not responsible for Ms Leyland’s death. If she took her own life, it was her decision, her action. But her treatment over the past 48 hours nonetheless shines a harsh light on the new national bloodsport of hunt-the-troll.

Firstly, it exposes how presumptive and intolerant trollhunting can be. It is not yet known if Ms Leyland wrote any tweets about the McCanns that would count as being actually illegal, whether libelling them or threatening them with violence; all that the news reports say is that her tweets were ‘abusive’. And yet she was ‘unmasked’ by the media (the media’s own word), as if she were some gangster or drug lord, and she was hounded by an online mob of self-righteous troll-haters, who couldn’t possibly wait to discover if she had done anything illegal before branding her an old, twisted, fucked-up bitch. In the world of the trollhunter, the norms of justice count for little – ‘burn the troll’ is their unofficial motto.

And secondly, the treatment of Ms Leyland shows how utterly warped is the depiction of trolls today. Ms Leyland and the other tweeters of shocking stuff about the McCanns have been depicted as awesomely powerful people who destroyed the McCanns’ lives and poisoned the internet. This is the same narrative presented to us during every trolling scandal. Whether it’s well-known female columnists being subjected to sexist tweets or politicians being sent vulgar, violence-tinged messages, again and again we are told that trolls are holding the internet to ransom and damaging fragile members of the media and the political class. This is so opposite to the truth that it is almost surreal.

In reality, the power, the real power, rests with the trollhunters, not the trolls. All of the trolls that have been exposed in recent years have been quite sad individuals: Liam Stacey, a student with a drinking problem who was jailed for 56 days for writing abusive tweets about the then ill footballer Fabrice Muamba; John Nimmo, a 25-year-old ‘jobless hermit’ with ‘some level of learning difficulties’ who was jailed for six weeks for sending abusive tweets to feminists; and now Brenda Leyland, a rather sad-seeming woman from a small village in Leicestershire. These people wield no power whatsoever. The people with power are the trollhunters, the well-educated, well-connected columnists, activists and politicians who have signed up the entire media, both tabloid and broadsheet, to their shrill campaign of hunt-the-troll, and who have got the police to carry out dawn raids on people’s homes, the CPS to press charges against them, and the courts to bang them up in jail.

The trollhunters’ self-flattering depiction of themselves as lone, brave warriors against mobs of harmful abuse-spouters is an Orwellian warping of the reality – which is that it is the trollhunters who lead a mob, a mob of mediamen, coppers and prosecutors who get a much-needed collective political and moral kick from hunting down and jailing sad individuals whom they depict as a threat to the online, social and moral fabrics.

Perhaps the worst thing about the trollhunters is the censoriousness they have unleashed. They have painted the internet as a cesspit of foul and damaging speech that must be monitored and cleansed by the authorities. They claim only to target violent speech – threats of rape and death – but this isn’t true. For example, Nimmo, jailed for sending abusive tweets to a feminist campaigner, was not found guilty under the law that forbids the ‘writing’ or ‘uttering’ of a death threat, which is the Offences Against the Person Act.

Rather, he was found guilty under the Communications Act 2003, which criminalises speech that is ‘grossly offensive… indecent, obscene or menacing’. In essence, his crime, like that of most other trolls arrested and fined or imprisoned, was to be horribly offensive. No wonder the police in Scotland could recently warn abusive tweeters of tennis player Andy Murray, and the rest of us, that ‘there is no place for personal abuse of any kind on [social media]’.

That the police can make such a sweeping, dictatorial statement, essentially decreeing that you must never be abusive or offensive online, is pretty terrifying. And it is entirely down to the trollhunters, the scourge of the web, who have nurtured mob-like behaviour, authoritarianism and intolerance across the internet.

SOURCE





Conservatives on SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Decision: Judicial Activism All Around

 Conservatives are reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday not to review any of seven petitions ruled on by lower courts, which found state laws banning homosexual marriage unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex marriages to be conducted in 30 states.

Of the 25 states where homosexual marriage was put in place before the high court let stand the lower case rulings in five others, only three states have legalized it by popular vote. Fourteen states allow it by court decision and eight states legalized the practice through the state legislature.

The court’s move will add Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia to that list. (To see a complete list of states and gay marriage click here).

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), said in a statement that the Supreme Court’s decision silences “the voice of the people.”

"Unfortunately, by failing to take up these marriage cases, the High Court will allow rogue lower court judges who have ignored history and true legal precedent to silence the elected representatives of the people and the voice of the people themselves by overturning state provisions on marriage,” Perkins said. “Even more alarming, lower court judges are undermining our form of government and the rights and freedoms of citizens to govern themselves.

“This judicially led effort to force same sex 'marriage' on people will have negative consequences for our Republic, not only as it relates to natural marriage but also undermining the rule of and respect for law,” Perkins said.

Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), gave three reasons the Supreme Court made the wrong decision.

“First, the entire idea that marriage can be redefined from the bench is illegitimate. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman; it has been this throughout the history of civilization and will remain this no matter what unelected judges say,” Brown said in a statement. “Second, it's mind-boggling that lower court judges would be allowed to impose the redefinition of marriage in these states, and our highest court would have nothing to say about it.

“Third, the effect of the lower court rulings is to say that a constitutional right to same-sex ‘marriage' has existed in every state in the union since 1868 when the 14th Amendment was ratified, but somehow nobody noticed until quite recently,” Brown said.

Both Perkins and Brown called on Congress to address the issue.

"Congress should respond to today's announcement by moving forward with the State Marriage Defense Act, which is consistent with last year's Windsor ruling and ensures that the federal government in its definition of marriage respects the duly enacted marriage laws of the states," Perkins said.

Brown agrees, but thinks congressional action should involve amending the U.S. Constitution.

“It is critical not only to marriage but to the republican form of government in this country to amend the Constitution to reaffirm the meaning of marriage,” Brown said. “We therefore call on the US Congress to move forward immediately to send a federal marriage amendment to the states for ratification.”

Two members of Congress issued their own statements on the high court’s decision not to hear any of the marriage cases in five states where the voters banned the practice.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to let rulings by lower court judges stand that redefine marriage is both tragic and indefensible,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a statement. “By refusing to rule if the States can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution.

“The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing,” Cruz said.

“This is judicial activism at its worst,” he said. “The Constitution entrusts state legislatures, elected by the People, to define marriage consistent with the values and mores of their citizens.

“Unelected judges should not be imposing their policy preferences to subvert the considered judgments of democratically elected legislatures,” Cruz said.

“Nothing in the Constitution forbids a state from retaining the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said in a statement. “Whether to change that definition is a decision best left to the people of each state — not to unelected, politically unaccountable judges.

“The Supreme Court owes it to the people of those states, whose democratic choices are being invalidated, to review the question soon and reaffirm that states do have that right,” Lee said.

The Rev. Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization, took a more religious approach to the court's decision.

"It's painful to see the U.S. Supreme Court take another step away from the biblical values this nation was founded on," Graham said. "With their refusal to even hear challenges to same-sex marriage, they threw the gates wide open to making it the law of the land.

"God help us," Graham said.

SOURCE






Islamic Studies: a Cold-War-Style Influence Operation??

The launch of a new Center for Global Islamic Studies at the extremely liberal University of Florida in Gainesville may have been planned as a purely academic affair, but the announcements in the local and national media, including AP and Fox News, exhibited more than a purely academic interest in this event. To compare, one doesn't often see national media announcements about, let's say, a local center for the study of viruses - unless the virus is Ebola. And just like with any news about Ebola studies, any news about studies of Islam attract attention from the general public who want to know if there's a hope for the cure, containment, and safety from danger.

Unfortunately, these may not be the kind of Islamic Studies that answer those hopes. The Center opened on September 18th with a conference on "Global Islam and the Quest for Public Space," headlined by none other than Georgetown professor John Esposito, a known apologist for radical Islam and founding director of the Saudi-sponsored Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

A small group of protesters picketed the event outside the Pugh Hall on the university campus, with a dozen creative posters and a vinyl banner pointing out that John Esposito and the leader of ISIS both hold PhD in Islamic Studies: "Same goal, different tactics." The video of the protest can be seen online.

Islamic Studies

The protest organizer, Randy McDaniels of ACT for America and the Counter-Terrorism Advisory Group, stated that our students certainly need to study Islam, as long as such studies are based on scientific objectivity and critical analysis. But the presence of John Esposito as the keynote speaker indicated that the new Global Islamic Studies Center was likely to go the way of many other universities, opening their doors and exposing our children to political Islam under the guise of education, with programs funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other state sponsors of Islamic fundamentalism.

While many among the liberal faculty and the students were visibly upset with the protest, complete with occasional angry obscenities, a few others were interested in the message and asked for a flyer. Some of them asked, "What's wrong with having an Islamic Studies Center, even if it's financed by foreign money?"

The short answer would have been to compare such a project to active measures undertaken in America by the KGB during the Cold War - except that, unfortunately, most American students aren't familiar with this term. Their knowledge of the Cold War has been thoroughly sanitized by the liberal faculty, especially if the professors are Marxists who used to root for the other side. The resulting perceived absence of the Soviet subversion, propaganda, disinformation, and other influence operations inside the U.S. and around the world create the impression of an ideologically neutral world, in which America's response to protect liberty can very easily be misconstrued as imperialist aggression against the innocents.

Ignorance about the enemy leads to confusion about one's own nation's role in the world, regardless of the historical era or the current adversary. Whether we admit it or not, we are now in a new global conflict that has many parallels with the Cold War; it is often fought by similar means and sometimes even by the same actors.

Now, just as it was then, we're up against a supremacist collectivist ideology whose goal is to establish a totalitarian utopian society on a global scale. The two deadly pipe dreams - global communism and global caliphate may have their differences, but in practical terms they both view the United States as the main obstacle in their quest of world domination. There is no reason why one can't learn from the other's vast experience in subverting this country.

Both foes have made claims that they stand for peace. The problem is that Marxists understand peace as the absence of opposition to socialism, just as the Islamist supremacists understand peace as the absence of opposition to Islam. Eventual peace will theoretically ensue once they subjugate the rest of the world to their totalitarian rule.

In both cases, tolerance is a one-way street: everyone must be tolerant of their "superior" views, while they retain the right to self-righteous intolerance of the "inferiors." Both ideologies generate a variety of wild-eyed conspiracy theories as a means to retain loyalty, boost morale, recruit new members, and demoralize the opponent.

The Soviets didn't necessarily hate Americans or wanted to kill them off; they only wanted to "convert" our economic and political system for our own good. Likewise, the Islamists feel morally justified: they don't view terrorism as the murder of innocents, but rather as a collective punishment for being foolish in resisting Islam. This makes mass murder a moral virtue, absolving them of all sins and encouraging them to keep punishing us, "the inferior fools," until we see the light and either convert or accept their supremacy. They'd rather convert than kill, so if we force their hand, it's "our own fault."

More HERE

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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 October, 2014

A realistic woman



When it comes to the cinema sensation Gone Girl, it appears that most of us fall into one of two camps – those who have seen it, and those who are about to see it.

The thriller, which topped the UK film charts, taking £4.1million in its opening weekend, is the story of an unhappily married woman who goes missing – leaving her husband accused of murder.

At its heart is British beauty Rosamund Pike, 35, who plays Amy, the wife of Nick Dunne, portrayed by US star Ben Affleck, 41.

Even though she is not married herself, Miss Pike has revealed forthright views on matrimony during interviews about the movie.

The actress, who is expecting her second child with partner Robie Uniacke, said we demand too much of our spouses nowadays, telling Spectrum magazine: 'People have ridiculous expectations of a mate.

'In my grandmother's day, you wouldn't expect your husband to fulfil the same need in you as your sister, or girlfriends, or colleagues at work. You'd have different needs met by different people.

'Now we want all our needs met by one person, and I don't believe that's possible. Or rather, it is, but I don't think it's universally achievable.

'I do think separation is key to a relationship. I go out with my partner and we are put next to each other – there's a feeling of, 'What, you don't think we can't operate without each other?' I don't need him as a crutch. Of course, he's the person I want to go home with but he's not necessarily the person I want to sit next to. I'd rather meet someone new, and he would too.'

SOURCE





Is the West to blame for trouble in the Middle East?

FOR at least a decade, attempts to understand why some young Muslims living in Western countries turn to violence in the name of religion have raised questions about Western foreign policy in the Middle East.

Many blame the United States' foreign policy.

The Islamic State uses anger and grievance against Western intervention as a powerful recruiting tool.

But is it really fair to blame Western foreign policy for the state of affairs in the Middle East?

THERE is some truth to the argument that anger at foreign policy and the West's engagement with the Arab world is at the heart of Muslim anger, as well as a driver of radicalisation among Muslim youth.

American and British intelligence agencies have both reported that the US-led invasion of Iraq has actually increased the number of Islamist terrorists.

The belief that the war on terror was a thinly disguised attempt to attack Islam was no longer limited to conspiracy theorists and 9/11 "truth seekers".

Instead, it became popularised among Muslims around the world.

However, to solely lay blame for the rise of a global and increasingly violent Jihadi movement on Western intervention ignores other crucial factors that allow extremism to take root and spread.

The origins of extremism

In his book A Fundamental Fear: Eurocentrism and the emergence of Islamism, Dr S. Sayyid describes five arguments that explain the spread of what is commonly called Islamic fundamentalism, Islamism or militant Islamism.

Islamism is a response to the failure of Arab leaders to deliver meaningful outcomes to their people.

Lacking opportunities for political participation, Arab citizens turned to mosques as public spaces for political discussion. As a result religion became the language of politics and of political change.

Post-colonialism also failed the Arab middle class, as the ruling elite continued to hold power and wealth.

Rapid economic growth in the emerging Gulf States increased the influence of conservative Muslim governments. At the same time, the expansion of the oil-based Gulf economy brought about uneven economic development, the response to which was growing support for Islamism as a mode of expression for internal grievances.

Finally, the spread of Islamism has also been due to the effects of cultural erosion and globalisation contributing to a Muslim identity crisis.

So the current state of affairs in the Middle East is not simply an outcome of Western intervention and the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Western foreign policy in the region has no doubt influenced the current situation. But the conditions for the spread of militant Islamism have come from attempts to deal with the crisis within: a crisis that is as much political in nature as it is religious.

Filling a power vacuum

In terms of politics, the traditional seats of power in the Arab world have been toppled, creating a void and opening opportunities for other Arab nations to vie for power.

With the decline of Egyptian power and ongoing chaos in Syria and Iraq, the Gulf states have emerged as the most economically and politically stable influences in the region.

Egyptian protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir square in 2011
Egyptian protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir square in 2011

Gulf state competition, particularly between Abu Dhabi and Doha, has become one of the defining features of the Middle East.

While Doha supports the Syrian revolution as well as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, Abu Dhabi stands guarded against a foreign policy approach that strengthens Islamists.

Qatar, on the other hand, has been known to provide significant financial assistance to violent Islamist groups, including groups linked to Al Qaeda.

It has also failed to act on wealthy citizens accused of financing terrorist organisations to the tune of millions of dollars.

Angered by its support for extremist groups, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia all withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar in March this year.

The political struggle for power has also played out as a struggle for religious space in the Arab world.

Here, the declining role of Saudi Arabia as the traditional seat of religious authority and knowledge has contributed, as Saudi Arabia also struggles to contain extremist Islamist elements within its own brand of Islam.

Links have been made between Wahhabi Islam that originated in Saudi Arabia and the ideological frame of the jihadist movement.

Such accusations have prompted Saudi Arabia to examine the Wahhabi Jihadist connection, leading to a review of religious programs and school curricular in the kingdom.

Seeing beyond a 'clash of civilisations'

The Middle East is a complex mix of culture, religion, politics and history.

To continue to engage with the Arab world on the basis of flawed assumptions that neatly divide it into the camp of moderate Islam and the camp of extreme Islam feeds into an equally flawed analysis of the conflict as a clash of civilisations.

It may be tempting to oversimplify the conflict as a battle of the West against Islam, just as it is tempting to overstate its origins in the history of Western intervention and foreign policy.

However, more nuanced analyses should also take into account the various internal factors that created the conditions for the spread of extremist Islamist ideologies in the first place.

Such analyses are necessary to developing understanding of how to address the ongoing threat of non-state terrorism to national and international security.

SOURCE





Porn is super-empowering: just ask the Duke University porn star

She looks young, younger than her 18 years. Sitting on a bed in a hotel room wearing baggy pajamas, glasses, and a far-away look, she looks at the camera and says bluntly, “A lot of s**t in my life has been ruined because of sex.”

It is then that you see her eyes. They look somehow old.

Hundreds of thousands of fans know her as Belle Knox, one of the most popular names in porn. The media often refers to her as the “Duke University porn star,” after a classmate revealed that she was paying her tuition by starring in porn shoots. We later discovered that the name her friends and family know her by is Miriam Weeks.

She has been touted far and wide as proof that porn can be empowering and evidence that feminists can sell their bodies as objects and still be, well, “feminist.” Here, porn supporters told us with satisfaction, is a nice girl from a Catholic home who loves to do porn just because she loves sex. Porn is, as Weeks told the cameras, “empowering” and “freeing” and “the way the world should be.”

And then, recently, Weeks did a series of interviews for an upcoming documentary. In them, she paints a much different picture than the freeing, empowering, sex-fueled fantasy world her fans and porn supporters claim she inhabits.

Is it any wonder that many fathers have a harder time connecting with their daughters, when they spend countless hours watching girls their daughters’ age being beaten up, raped, and subjected to every imaginable type of sexual degradation?
“The sex industry has a way of making you very cynical and very bitter,” a tired-looking Weeks tells an off-camera interviewer, “In a way I’ve started to become kind of a bit bitter and a bit cynical.”

Why? “It teaches you to be street smart and not to trust people…I’m so used to being on the lookout for scammers, people who are going to try pimp me out or traffic me. I think my experiences have aged me. I don’t have the mind of an eighteen-year-old. I have the emotional baggage of someone much, much older than me.”

Some of this baggage is what propelled her into the porn industry in the first place.

In many interviews, Weeks talks obsessively about how porn gives her control over her own sexual destiny: “In porn, everything is on my terms. I can say no whenever I want to. I am in control.” Later on, we discover why this is so important to her: Weeks reveals that she had been raped. “What porn has done for me,” she says firmly, “is it has given me back my agency.”

Even amidst the perverted adulation of porn-addicted fans, however, she still bears the scars of self-loathing. In some cases, literal scars. One day looking in the mirror, she became so overcome with self-hatred that she smashed the mirror and cut herself, slicing the jagged letters “FAT” into the flesh of her thigh. Thus, the reactions of many who found out that she had done porn shoots – who called her “ugly” and “a dumb whore” and said that she “should die” - proved devastating to Miriam. It is this ugly misogyny that increasingly fuels many porn viewers, and gives delusional publications like Salon the excuse they need to claim that working in porn has not hurt Miriam Weeks, but only opponents of porn who try to “shame” her.

Listening to Miriam tell her story, it boggles my mind that people can still defend the porn industry, or call it “empowering” or “the way the world should be.”

Miriam herself admits that her first scene, shot for a company she refers to as “Facial Abuse,” was “a really, really rough scene. I wasn’t prepared for how rough it was. It was weird having some random photographer watch me have my a** kicked on camera.” She talks about getting literally torn up during porn shoots. She admits that porn shoots in which she was physically beaten up until she sobbed were probably shoots she should have refused. Yet she didn’t.

The control is a myth too, of course. The porn industry has many ways of coercing the human beings they market into doing what they want. For one shoot, Miriam recalls almost tearfully, her agent wouldn’t tell her who she had to “work with.” When she arrived at the set, she realized he was fifty years old. She wanted to leave, but then she’d have to pay a 300 dollar “kill fee,” the director would have been furious, and, she says, she could never have worked for that company again. So she did it.

“I felt like crying during the entire scene and afterwards I was really, really upset,” Miriam says tearfully to the camera, looking like nothing more than the hurting 18-year-old girl she is. “I just thought of my mom, who was always there for me and always protected me…I think about my mom a lot when I do porn scenes. Just how sad she would be that her little daughter was doing this.”

And Mrs. Weeks’ little daughter does these things in part because of the demand. The demand of creepy grey-haired men twice her age or more who line up to get her photo autographed at porn conventions. Is it any wonder that many fathers have a harder time connecting with their daughters, when they spend countless hours watching girls their daughters’ age being beaten up, raped, and subjected to every imaginable type of sexual degradation?

Miriam Weeks, we see in her heart-breaking interviews, is just a hurting 18-year-old girl being used by an industry that takes girls like her, exploits their insecurities, promises them empowerment, and then subjects them to abuse and degradation until they can’t handle it any more. Then the carnivorous recruiters simply go out looking for fresh flesh to feed the baying cannibalistic mob, burning with insatiable lust and shouting their demands for new girls, new girls to degrade and discard.

A new day, a new human sacrifice at the altar of Eros.

The more fortunate girls realize they need to leave the industry. One of Miriam’s friends has told her that when she can no longer distinguish between her porn alter-ego and herself, it’s time to leave. Miriam is not quite sure what this means, she tells the interviewer, but she finds it interesting.

“People see Belle, but they don’t see Miriam,” she says sadly, “I think I’m…Miriam right now?”

And for all the world, she sounds as lost as our morally bankrupt culture.

SOURCE





National suicide by political correctness

Barack Obama said "ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing if innocents."

That definition includes: al- Qa'ida, Abu Sayyaf, Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Hamas, Hizballah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e Tayyiba, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Asbat al-Ansar, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Jemaah Islamiya, Ansar al-Islam, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Shabaab, al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula, Boko Haram, al-Nusrah Front, Ansar al-Shari'a in Benghazi, Ansar al-Shari'a in Darnah, Ansar al-Shari'a in Tunisia - Well, you get the idea.

As noted recently by Diana West, Americans continue to be perplexed as to how the Obama Administration and the media keep repeating the politically correct propaganda that Islam has nothing to do with jihad. Such widespread, politics- and mass-media-driven brainwashing is not new.

Just as today's politicians, journalists and academics seek to separate Islam from its radical impact; brutal conquest, forced conversion, sex slavery and beheadings. Past opinion-makers worked equally hard to separate communism from its own brand inhuman impact; brutal conquest, forced collectivization, concentration camps and mass murder.

Few Americans realize that political correctness, a policy implicitly promoted by Democrats and established as the de facto totalitarian legal system on American universities, was designed by communists in the 1930s to undermine western civilization and democracy while disguising the nature of the threat.

After the successful 1917 communist revolution in Russia, it was widely believed that a proletarian revolt would sweep across Europe and, ultimately, North America. It did not. The only two attempts at a workers' government in Munich and Budapest lasted only months.

As a result the Communist International began to investigate other ways to create the state of societal hopelessness and alienation necessary as a prerequisite for socialist revolution.

The single, most important organizational component of this conspiracy was a Communist think tank called the Institute for Social Research, popularly known as the Frankfurt School. The task of the Frankfurt School was first, to undermine the Judeo-Christian foundation of Western civilization that emphasized the uniqueness and sacredness of the individual and, second, to determine new cultural forms which would increase the disaffection of the population.

Political Correctness is cultural Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. Just as in classical economic Marxism, certain groups, i.e. workers and peasants, are a priori good, and other groups, i.e., the bourgeoisie and capital owners, are evil. In the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness certain groups are good, such as feminist women, blacks, ethnic minorities and those who define themselves according to sexual orientation. These groups are deemed to be "victims," and therefore unquestionably good. Similarly, white males and, by extension Western civilization, are determined to be automatically evil, thereby becoming the equivalent of the bourgeoisie in economic Marxism.

Perhaps the most important, if least-known, of the Frankfurt School's successes was the shaping of the electronic media of radio and television into the powerful instruments of social control which they represent today.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, American universities now represent the largest concentration of Marxist dogma and political correctness in the world. This is not the academy of a republic, but Hitler's Gestapo and Stalin's NKVD rooting out deviationists in the guise of racial, ethnic, gender and cultural sensitivity.

The policies of the Obama Administration reflect what David Horowitz described as an unholy alliance between leftists and radical Islam. They have been brought together by the traits they share - their hatred of Western civilization and their belief that the United States is the embodiment of evil on earth. While Islamic radicals seek to purge the world of heresies and of the infidels who practice them, leftist radicals seek to purge society's collective "soul" of the vices allegedly spawned by capitalism -- those being racism, sexism, imperialism, and greed.

Given the existential threat posed by such ideologies, political correctness can no longer be considered merely a peculiarity of cowardly politicians, a biased media or tenured radicals, but a dangerous subversive element of an anti-American and anti-Western strategy.

But frankly, Mr. Obama, I don't care if ISIL is "Islamic" or not. Wanting us all dead is a sufficient reason to take the war directly and aggressively to 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

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







8 October, 2014

Lancet editor apologises for Gaza article by scientists who promoted Ku Klux Klan

What was a medical journal doing bloviating about Gaza anyway?    They have form however.  They also railed against GWB and the Iraq war

The editor of The Lancet has expressed his “deep regret” to Israeli doctors after his journal published a controversial letter in the wake of the Gaza war co-authored by two scientists who had previously circulated Ku Klux Klan material.

Addressing the physicians and staff at the Rambam hospital in the northern city of Haifa, Israel on Thursday morning at the end of his three-day visit to the country, Prof Richard Horton began by saying that he intended to “set the record straight” about his views and those of his colleagues.

Last month, The Telegraph published an article about the extreme opinions expressed by some of the authors of the British medical journal's ‘Open letter for the people of Gaza’.

Two of the authors - Dr Paola Manduca and Dr Swee Ang - had previously circulated and promoted a link to a video clip featuring an anti-Semitic diatribe by David Duke, a white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard.

In the footage, Duke claims that “the Zionist Matrix of Power controls Media, Politics and Banking” and that “some of the Jewish elite practices racism and tribalism to advance their supremacist agenda”

In another email to his contacts, Dr Manduca forwarded a message suggesting that the Jews were responsible for the Boston marathon bombings.

“Let us hope that someone in the FBI us smart enough to look more carefully at the clues in Boston and find the real culprits behind these bombings instead of buying the Zionist spin”, the email stated.

“First, I deeply deeply regret the completely unnecessary polarisation that publication of the letter by Paolo Manduca did. [ ....] this outcome was definitely not my intention”, Prof Horton said.

“I was personally horrified at the offensive video by two of the authors of that letter. The world view expressed in that video is abhorrent and must be condemned and I condemn it”, he added, to the applause of the auditorium.

Prof Horton, who is editor-in-chief of The Lancet, added that he has made his views very clear “directly to those two individuals” - and said that he will publish “what I have just said in The Lancet next week”.

But Prof Horton made no mention of the other controversial aspect of The Lancet’s open letter, which wholly ignored Hamas’s role in the recent Gaza war - a fifty day conflict which was partly triggered by rocket fire on Israel from the coastal territory controlled by the Palestinian faction.

Following the publication of the letter, the staff of Rambam hospital were outraged and sent their own letter in response, which was not published by The Lancet, Prof Rafael Beyar, the Director General of the hospital told The Telegraph in an interview on Thursday morning.

“But we believed, and said ‘let’s invite him. It seems like he doesn’t know many facts about this region. Let’s invite the editor in chief of The Lancet to Rambam to see the reality of medical life [in Israel]”, Prof Beyar said.

During his three day visit, Prof Horton has met the staff of the hospital, over a quarter of whom are Israeli Arab citizens of Israel, as well as the Israeli, Palestinian and Syrian patients being treated there. Prof Horton also attended meetings with minority communities in Haifa, Acco and Tel Aviv.

Enthusiastically logging his visit with photos on his twitter feed, Prof Horton mentioned in his speech that he was particularly moved by a meeting with the imam and the rabbi of the city of Acco, in northern Israel.

“Yesterday, I had the huge privilege of visiting Acco, and meeting the imam and the rabbi of the city and seeing how they work together”, he said.

“At end, I asked the imam, ‘so what should I do?’ And he said to me very directly [...] you must work with Israelis, you must work with Palestinians and you must work to encourage to bring those two peoples together.” [...]

“I will simply say the whole of my time, from landing here to being here today has been a turning point, for me in my relationship with this region - and I thank you for it”, said Prof Horton to the medics.

Prof Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor - a Jerusalem-based research institute - which last month published an investigative report about The Lancet’s authors, expressed surprise at Prof Horton’s speech.

“I expected when Richard Horton came on Monday to hear a whitewash - to hear from someone trying to save his position, because for many years he has been the centre of a lot of demonisation of Israel through the Lancet and through false medical claims”, he told The Telegraph immediately after the lecture.

“What I heard was a changed man, someone who expressed regret - some would say it could have been greater, but the fact that he did this was very important.”

At the conclusion of his visit, Prof Horton said he hoped to “open a new chapter” in the relationship between The Lancet and Israel, whilst emphasising the importance of closer Israeli-Palestinian ties and understandings.

“The people of Gaza[...] don’t represent a terrorist regime. [...] [T]hey are just people who are trying to live their lives as peacefully and as safely as possible. Just like you, there is a hope for a different future - a future of success, prosperity, safety and peace. They want it, they try to live it, and it’s our hope that we can work with them, and with you, to achieve it”.

SOURCE





PC: As Deadly as Ebola

The poisonous political correctness embraced by the American Left and the Obama administration has metastasized. It is now being elevated above containing Ebola, one of the most lethal viruses in the world.

The insanity began in 2010, when the Obama administration abandoned quarantine rules set in motion five years earlier by the Bush administration in response to the avian flu. Those rules would have given the government expanded powers to detain potentially sick patients in “preventive quarantine,” require airlines to report ill travelers to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and maintain data on passengers in case it was needed at a later date. Unsurprisingly, the ACLU applauded Obama’s move. “The fact that they’re backing away from this very coercive style of quarantine is good news,” ACLU legislative counsel Christopher Calabrese said at the time.

Last Wednesday, the White House upped the ante, insisting there would be no travel restrictions or the introduction of new airport screenings to prevent Ebola from entering the country. Press Secretary Josh Earnest added that screenings in West African airports and passenger observations in America are sufficient to prevent a “widespread” epidemic of Ebola. “The reason … is that it is not possible to transmit Ebola through the air,” he said. “The only way that an individual can contract Ebola is by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is exhibiting symptoms.”

Earnest and the White House are zero-for-two. Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan did something the politically correct among us apparently can’t fathom: He lied on his questionnaire, saying he never came into contact with an infected person when he had. As for the impossibility of non-contact transmission, try this exchange between CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden and CNN’s medical expert Sanjay Gupta:

Gupta: “I am within three feet of you. Wouldn’t I be considered a higher risk? My understanding reading your guidelines, sir, is that within three feet or direct contact – if I were to shake your hand, for example – would both qualify as being contact.”

Dr. Frieden: “We look at each situation individually and we assess it based on how sick the individual is and what the nature of the contact is. And certainly if you’re within three feet, that’s a situation we’d want to be concerned about.”
In other words, three feet becomes “touching”? Frieden wasn’t through embracing politically correct nonsense. The following day he tweeted another seeming non-sequitur: “The impulse to isolate countries may make Ebola epidemic worse. Must use tried & true public health means to stop it.”

One might be forgiven for thinking that another word for isolate is “quarantine,” as in Rule Numero Uno for containing infectious diseases. As for “tried and true public health means,” one wonders if that refers to entities like Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, which initially diagnosed Duncan, but sent him home, despite knowing he had traveled to Africa in the last four weeks. In the interim, Duncan came into contact with approximately 100 people, including five schoolchildren.

Enter our Praetorian Guard media, ever eager to downplay anything negative that might stick to the Obama administration. In one of the more reprehensible developments in this saga thus far, CNN network correspondent Gary Tuchman interviewed children at a middle school attended by one of the children of Duncan’s girlfriend, who he was visiting when he became ill. Tuchman assured one of the children, “You don’t have to worry, OK?”

No, it’s not OK.

That was Thursday. On Friday, we found out Duncan’s girlfriend, Louise Troh, who was quarantined under armed guard because she refused to stay in her apartment with her three children (they have since been moved to a secluded location in Dallas), had “checked in” on Facebook from Ebola hotspot Monrovia, Liberia, on Aug. 11. Despite Ebola’s 21-day incubation period, Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas' chief executive, assured us there is “zero risk” among the family members, because they are “asymptomatic.”

What we haven’t found out? Whether Troh and her family are here legally or illegally. We contacted the Dallas Morning News, which said they were checking, but didn’t know. A spokesperson who requested anonymity told us Troh has been in America “for a long time.”

Friday was also the day the Obama administration assured us everything was under control. Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, gushed about the quality of U.S. health care, before turning to the subject of travel restrictions. “Dozens and dozens of people have been stopped from getting onto planes,” she said. “We have now seen tens of thousands of people [arrive in the U.S.] since March to the current day, and we now have this one isolated case.”

Not quite. Two more people with Ebola-like symptoms were hospitalized in Kentucky.

Not to worry though. In another mind-boggling dose of PC, the refusal to ban flights from Liberia was rationalized, once again on CNN. After insisting “isolating” nations doesn’t work, author David Quammen went right over the PC cliff. “I mean, we in America, how dare we turn our backs on Liberia given the fact that this is a country that was founded in the 1820s, 1830s because of American slavery.” he declared. “We have a responsibility to stay connected with them, and help them see this through.”

Texas authorities at a Saturday CDC briefing demonstrated an equal level of PC-induced cluelessness, pleading with the public not to “shun” people being evaluated for Ebola. “The people who are being monitored are people just like your family,” said Judge Jenkins.

Where intelligent safety measures end and “shunning” begins is anyone’s guess. Saturday we also found out that a 10-member team of CDC doctors, nurses and epidemiologists had come to Dallas this week to track down all of the people who had been in contact with Duncan, who is now in critical condition. One is left to wonder how many 10-member teams are available for such work in the event the outbreak expands – along with a possibly exponential number of contacts for each infected individual.

Still more insanity? Nursing assistant Aaron Yah who visited Duncan after he was admitted to the hospital has been told he can return to work – even as his wife, Youngor Jallah, and the couple’s four children must remain in quarantine. Jallah, who is Duncan’s “step-daughter-to-be,” touched him when she gave him tea. Apparently we are supposed to believe Yah never touched her – mostly likely because he said so. And once again in his case, the 21-day incubation period is apparently being ignored.

One can go on but the picture is clear: Political correctness trumps everything else, even when a lethal virus is involved. Moreover, it is exacerbated by what National Journal’s Ron Fournier describes as the “scariest thing” about Ebola: a nation that faces a “crises of leadership and trust.” Unfortunately, Fournier misses the forest for the trees, contending the failure of our institutions to adapt to the changing times is the culprit.

Baloney. It’s the double-shot disaster of political correctness. The first shot obliterates common sense and common decency. The second shot seeks to suppress, ridicule or destroy those who would dare to question the utter lack of common sense and common decency among its worshipful adherents. With the backing of the American Left and its cheerleaders in media, government and academia, it has become a plague every bit as deadly – if not more so – than Ebola.

SOURCE





Church of England vicar denies backing ‘anti-Semitic hate-fest’ in Iran

Jewish leaders have accused an Anglican Vicar from Surrey of supporting an “anti-Semitic hate-fest” by speaking at a conference in Iran at which claims of “Zionist” involvement in 9/11 were aired.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews is demanding an investigation by the Church of England into why Rev Dr Stephen Sizer, of Virginia Water, Surrey, attended the event in Tehran at which a video of the anti-Jewish French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala was also shown.

But Dr Sizer, who is a prominent campaigner against Israeli policy in Palestine, insisted that even though he strongly disagreed with many of the things others said, he was there as an “ambassador for reconciliation”.

He repudiated claims that the Second “New Horizon” festival in Tehran in September was anti-Semitic, although strong anti-Zionist views were expressed, and said he was there to present a Christian point of view.

The conference programme includes details of discussion on themes such as “Zionist Fingerprints on the 9/11 Cover-up” and other conspiracy theories about Israel.

Jonathan Arkush, Vice President of the Board of Deputies, said: “His appearance at a conference sponsored by a regime that actively persecutes Christians and other minorities is inexplicable.

“The Iranian Government denies the Holocaust and openly calls for the destruction of Israel, which is tantamount to bringing about another Holocaust.

“Rev Sizer’s participation might be seen as lending pseudo credence to an event whose premise is clear from its programme: to lay blame on Israel and Jews for the world’s ills, including, it would seem, 9/11.

“The Church of England should investigate why one of its ministers deemed it appropriate to take part in an anti-Semitic hate-fest.”

But Dr Sizer, said: “Jesus called his followers to be ambassadors of reconciliation – and ambassadors work on foreign soil.

“Iran is foreign soil and I was there as an Englishman but also as a Christian leader where Christians and Jews are a minority and ambassadors are needed.

“I was seeking to build bridges within a faith context to help to improve relationships for minorities and between our countries.

“Those who criticise this kind of conference must think very carefully of the consequences of their words for Jews and Christians in countries like Iran.”

Last year Dr Sizer and the Board of Deputies reached a mediated agreement to end a long-running dispute over postings on his blog about Israel and Palestine.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Guildford said: “We are aware of the statement by the Board of Deputies regarding the recent attendance by Revd Dr Stephen Sizer of the ‘Second New Horizon’ conference in Tehran.

“In 2012/13, the Diocese facilitated a process of conciliation between Dr Sizer and the Board of Deputies, and will seek to clarify whether the conciliation agreement has been contravened.”

SOURCE






Feminism as envy

(Nick Clegg is the leader of the British Liberals)

Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam has said that by choosing to be a working mother she does not “want to have it all” but instead “to have what men have”.

Miriam González Durántez, a high profile lawyer, said that choosing the right partner to have children with was the most “crucial” decision of a woman’s life.

Ms González who has three children with Mr Clegg said that having a children and a job is what men “choose” to do and is not seen as “having it all” and that women should be faced with the same choice.

“So if many men have children and a job, and that's what they choose, I do not know why I cannot have that, if that's what I choose." she told BBC News.

Speaking at the launch of "Inspiring Women in Scotland" she said: "If you want to have children... if in a family you have children there is an issue if you want to work, as to how you are going to organise childcare.

"I think it was Sheryl Sandberg (the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook) that said the most important decision in your life is who you have children with, so of course that is crucial.”

She added on Sky News: "Lots of men have a successful professional life - or what looks like success to them - and they fit it together with a family and that is what I want to have."

The Deputy Prime Minister's wife tends to keep a low profile role in her husband's political career to a minimum however earlier this year she raised some eyebrows when she stood up at his press conference to declare that people who look after their children have “more cojones”.

At the Cityfathers event Mr Clegg was leading in April Ms González added that it was only “dinosaurs” who think men shouldn’t share childcare. Mr Clegg was quick to agree with his wife.

Mr Clegg has previously talked about how he prioritises time with his three sons and does the school-run before attending Cabinet meetings.

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 October, 2014

"Liberal" bishop was a horny old goat



When priests in churches across the Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton stood in front of their congregations on Saturday evening last weekend and delivered a message from their bishop, they were met with a stunned silence.

In an open letter to his flock, the Rt Rev Kieran Conry announced his resignation and confessed that for several years he had been “unfaithful to my promises as a Catholic priest”.

The shock felt by Roman Catholics across Sussex and elsewhere turned to bewilderment the next day, when details of the bishop’s private life were revealed.

Not only had he been indulging in an intimate friendship with a married woman 20 years his junior over the previous 12 months, he had an affair with another woman, six years previously.

It quickly became clear that 63-year-old Bishop Conry had fallen far short of both the vow of celibacy taken by all Roman Catholic priests and the ideal of preserving the sanctity of family life.

Now the reverberations caused by the bishop’s conduct are to deepen, after the discovery that the most recent relationship was with a married mother of two who teaches at a prominent Catholic convent school.

The woman, in her 40s, exchanged love letters and texts with the bishop after the two grew close following difficulties in her marriage.

According to a private detective hired by her husband, the pair were seen shopping together in Brighton in June and she spent at least three nights at the bishop’s extensive home, in the village of Pease Pottage, near Crawley. The Bishop denied the relationship was physical. However, he admitted they had been to the British Museum, a Matisse exhibition and the ballet, though he insisted the reason for his resignation was not their friendship, but the relationship he had six years ago.

The woman with whom he was most recently involved is a respected teacher at a convent school in southern England.

The fee-paying school is attached to a convent, whose nuns are on hand to offer spiritual advice and teaching to the students.

The bishop was a frequent visitor to the school, acting in his capacity as the diocese’s spiritual leader, and his involvement with one of its teachers is thought to have caused deep embarrassment among both staff and parents.

Last year Bishop Conry accompanied the teacher and a party of girls from the school on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, one of the most important shrines in the Catholic faith.

A picture taken on the trip shows the bishop with his arm around the teacher and another woman, next to other members of the group in front of Lourdes Cathedral.

The woman’s pupils have been shocked by news of her closeness to the bishop and a picture of Bishop Conry previously displayed at the school is understood to have been taken down following the announcement of his resignation.

The school said the teacher was “a valued member of staff” who was receiving support “at this difficult time”.

The woman’s husband, a banker aged 44, reportedly filed for divorce last month and accused the bishop of being blind to the emotional impact of his behaviour.

He said: “The bishop is supposed to set the best example for a lot of people. To think that this is a person to who people turn to for marriage advice is unbelievable. It makes him a hypocrite.”

It has also emerged that Bishop Conry’s affair six years ago was with a mother of three whose marriage appears to have run into difficulties some time earlier.

The woman, who is now in her early 50s and works in education, was active in the Diocese of Arundel at the time.

She said: “This is really difficult for me to comment on. We have been friends, but as I understand it there’s an investigation going on with the Church and I’ve been asked not to comment.”

The revelations have raised troubling questions over how much more senior figures in the Catholic Church knew about Bishop Conry’s lapses. The woman’s husband has accused the Church of covering up his behaviour over a number of years in the vain hope of avoiding another scandal.

Although Bishop Conry denied last week that anyone in the Church knew about his relationships with the two women, sources have disclosed that his “womanising” was an “open secret” in the diocese and beyond. “It was widely known he was living a double life,” said one source.

As well as causing a potentially irreversible rift in the teacher’s marriage, the relationship – along with his affair with the other woman – has prompted much disquiet and soul searching across the large diocese, which covers most of Sussex and parts of Surrey, and where Bishop Conry was widely regarded as a modernising, as well as a liberal, influence.

At the bishop’s seat in the 19th century cathedral of Arundel – where a photograph of him has been replaced with the terse Latin phrase Sede vacante, or “vacant position” – visitors expressed a mixture of compassion and disappointment over his fall from grace.

One woman in her 60s from the nearby village of Rustington, who gave her name only as Joan, said: “People are shocked and saddened. The bishop took his vows of celibacy as a priest and many feel he should have stuck to them. Then again he is a man and we have to wonder whether celibacy should still be a requirement of the clergy.”

She added: “Some of the older, more traditional members of Arundel’s congregation will be horrified by what he has done. But the younger ones will take it more in their stride, as something that just happens.”

It was a mood reflected at the church of St Mary of the Angels, near Worthing town centre.

“It’s very sad,” said one parishioner. “He was a tremendous bishop. Some people feel very let down by his behaviour. But personally, I would rather be led by a sinner than a saint. It’s very difficult for someone to stay celibate all their life.”

Rosa Hensby, 75, was among the shocked congregation at St Francis Roman Catholic Church, in Brighton, when Bishop Conry’s statement was read out before evening mass last Saturday.

The retired cleaner said: “The bishop’s vows should have been sacred and I’m stunned to hear he has broken them. It’s a real shame, but if he feels it’s not fit to carry on then that is up to him. For believers it’s truly annoying as we all looked up to him to lead us in our journeys with God and he has let us down.”

Senior figures in the Catholic church have strongly denied they knew anything about the bishop’s private life until his surprise announcement last weekend.

One said: “There has been no cover-up,” adding, “There is great sadness that the bishop has been unfaithful to his vows, but that sadness is coupled with compassion and understanding.

“People in the diocese will be praying for all those involved in this matter. That is how we respond.”

SOURCE






Antiques Roadshow rides into storm over fox hunting ban

The Earl of Lonsdale was delighted when asked by the BBC if the Antiques Roadshow could be filmed in the grounds of his ancestral home, Lowther Castle.

However, members of the aristocrat's family are said to have been horrified when informed they would not be allowed to show off their magnificent, but politically contentious, collection of hunting memorabilia.

'Some of my family were very upset,' the 65-year-old Earl, Hugh Lowther, tells me. 'My ancestor was mad about hunting and used to ride to hounds all over England.'

The family, whose seat is near Penrith, believes the BBC thought it would offend animal rights campaigners to feature fox hunting, which was banned by Tony Blair's government in 2005.

Hunts have continued to meet since then, taking advantage of 'loopholes' in the law through which foxes can be legally killed by dogs if it is unintentional and by accident.  Last week, Environment Secretary Liz Truss called for the ban to be repealed.

The Roadshow, presented by Fiona Bruce and due to be broadcast in the spring, will display a portrait of the fifth Lord Lonsdale, who was a celebrated hunting figure.

He became known as the 'Yellow Earl' on account of his estate livery, and when he was made first president of the Automobile Association, the AA adopted his family colours.  'Yellow has always been the Lonsdale estate livery,' explains the 8th Earl, whose family have had several masters of the Ullswater Foxhounds in recent times.

Says Lowther: 'He [the 5th Earl] had three Rolls-Royces in case two of them broke down, but he always preferred a horse.'

The 8th Earl hit the headlines in May when he put Blencathra, a mountain in the Lake District, on the market to help pay off a £9 million inheritance tax bill. The new owner of the 2,850ft peak would acquire the title Lord of the Manor of Threlkeld.

He says: 'One of the groups trying to buy the mountain is The Friends of Blencathra. They say they want to ban hunting from the estate, but they're not allowed to. It's one of the listed local amenities which have to be preserved by law.'

The BBC insists that fox hunting is not banned from the hugely popular programme. 'The BBC does not have a general policy on hunting antiques,' says a spokesman. 'We have featured hunting memorabilia, such as stirrup cups, in the past.'

SOURCE






Anglicans sign mass ‘love letter’ to gay bishops - urging them to come out

More than 300 Anglican priests, parishioners and other Christians have signed an open “love letter” to bishops in the Church of England who are secretly gay urging them to “come out” about their sexuality.

In one of the most unusual petitions ever addressed to the leadership of the established church, they have issued a direct plea to members of the episcopate who are gay or bisexual to have the “courage and conviction” to acknowledge it publicly.

The signatories, who include at least 160 priests and several members of the Church’s governing General Synod, pledge to “welcome and embrace” those bishops who decide to go public but strongly object to any attempt to involuntarily “out” anyone.

It follows the publication of a new book by the serving Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt Rev Dr Alan Wilson, last week which said that around one in 10 of his colleagues could be gay but unwilling to speak publicly.

The book sets out a theological argument for a major reassessment of the Church of England’s teaching on homosexuality accusing the hierarchy of “hypocrisy” and “duplicity” on the subject.

Dr Wilson remarked that there are currently “said to be a dozen or so gay bishops” but that events had left many trapped behind “episcopal closet door”.

The letter, disclosed today in The Sunday Telegraph, will reopen an intense debate within the Church over its stance on sexuality.

The Church of England officially teaches that any sexual relationship outside of traditional heterosexual marriage is “less than God’s ideal” - an Anglican euphemism for “sin”.

But the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, has pledged to clamp down on homophobia in the Church of England.

Although Anglican clergy can be in same-sex civil partnerships, they must claim to be celibate if they wish to become bishops.

There are no openly gay bishops in the Church of England and the current Dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffrey John, who is in a celibate same-sex relationship, was twice forced to turn down promotion to the episcopate because of opposition linked to his sexuality.

The Rev Dr Keith Hebden, a priest from St Mark's and St Peter's Church in Mansfield, Notts, has been gathering signatures for the letter which will be formally submitted to the Church’s House of Bishops.

Last night 282 Anglicans, 29 Methodists and around 25 members of other Christian Churches, as well as representatives of Jewish groups, has already signed the letter. Dr Wilson is among the signatories.

It acknowledges “growing pressure” on gay bishops to come out publicly but expresses strong opposition to any threat to “out” them.

“We write to assure those bishops who may choose to openly acknowledge their sexual orientation as gay or bisexual that you will receive our support, prayer, and encouragement,” the signatories pledge.

Bishops who have kept their sexuality secret have, they say, having borne a particular personal “cost” and could face “hostility by a vocal minority” if they were to go public.

But they add: “We have no doubt that the vast majority of Anglicans will welcome and embrace those of you who are gay or bisexual for your courage and conviction if you come out: weeping with you for past hurts and rejoicing in God’s call as witnesses to Christ’s transforming love and compassion.

“If you stand out we will stand beside you.”

Rev Hebden said: “I’m a straight, white middle class man – I’m not saying to particular individuals ‘you should come out’.

“What this letter is saying is that if you feel it is the right thing, through your thought and prayer and conversations with people you love, there is an immeasurable number of people out there who will love and support you.”

The Rev Colin Coward, director of the Anglican campaign group “Changing Attitude”, said: “It is really important for bishops both straight and gay to live with integrity and openness about their identity and their beliefs about the full inclusion of lesbian and gay people in the church.

“Those of us who are lesbian and gay long to be supported by openly gay bishops and we know from our own experience how much energy and Christian integrity is released when you live openly with your sexuality.”

SOURCE





Clash of the Progressive Pieties

A lesbian couple complains that its baby is the “wrong” race. This should be good

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a ribeye, extra rare, and the chef or the waiter or somebody messed it up. I sent it back to the kitchen. A lesbian couple near Uniontown, Ohio, ordered a baby, extra white, and their order got messed up — the sperm bank mistakenly gave them the product of a black man, with the result that their daughter, Payton, is half black. And that’s the problem with treating children as consumer products: You cannot send them back to the kitchen.

Good thing fertility doctors don’t work for tips.

Naturally, there is a lawsuit — for breach of warranty, among other things. The couple say that they are suffering stress from raising their mixed-race daughter in an overwhelmingly white community. I can picture the scene: A mob of angry Ohioans, torches and pitchforks at the ready, menacingly reads a declaration: “We, the town fathers of Obscurity, Ohio, were perfectly ready to be accepting, supportive, and welcoming of this lesbian couple’s test-tube baby. But when that lesbian couple’s test-tube baby turns out to be half black — well, that’s a bridge too far for the decent people of Ohio.” I suppose they might then burn half a cross — Ohio’s pretty weird.

While one must pity the poor little girl who is being treated like a defective Honda Civic, it’s a delicious clash of progressive pieties. The mother — and somehow I suspect that I’ll be informed five minutes from now that it is wicked to call the half of the couple who carried the child and gave birth the “mother” — Jennifer Cramblett, among other things complains that it is difficult to find a place to get her daughter a decent haircut. It should be a hoot watching her make that case in court. I’m a white, conservative guy from Texas, and even I know better than to go skipping merrily into the cultural minefield that is black women’s hair, a subject that calls to mind my favorite cowboy proverb: “Never miss a good chance to shut up.”

Same-sex couples are riding a wave of cultural ascendency, but we should not kid ourselves: This is America, and race still trumps everything. You doubt me? In 2008, I reported in National Review about the case of an adoptive couple who had raised several children with severe disabilities but was denied the opportunity to adopt another disabled child because the authorities doubted their commitment to preserving the girl’s cultural authenticity — they’d said they intended to raise their children to be “colorblind” — and because their community in Alaska was judged to be too white, something that might damage the girl’s self-esteem.

The girl in question suffered both from fetal-alcohol syndrome, which had left her mentally disabled, and from Russell-Silver Syndrome, a form of dwarfism that left her with an asymmetrical body, a triangular face, a malfunctioning digestive system, and other problems. It is unlikely that she would ever develop the mental capacity to feel racial alienation, much less that that would ever become a top-ten problem in her life. But race is the alpha and the omega to some people. If only we had a good word for people like that . . .

The disassembly, now complete, of the triangular linkage of sex, marriage, and procreation is going to present us with even more awkward questions than whether you can sue for breach of warranty if your daughter turns out to be racially other than as originally specified. There is some evidence already of sex-selective abortion in the United States — the opening salvos in an actual war on women — particularly in subcultures that have a strong preference for sons, though data about that is scarce. The reason it is scarce is that we refuse to collect it, and the reason we refuse to collect it is, presumably, that we do not wish to know.

If we ever develop a test for a hereditary inclination toward, say, homosexuality, we’ll probably have gay-selective abortions, too. Lawsuits involving byzantine claims and counterclaims by surrogates and those who contract them are common. It is probable that in the near future testing unborn children for such undesirable qualities as merely average IQ or height will be as common as home pregnancy tests. If the near-elimination of people with Down syndrome through abortion is any indication, things are going to get even bloodier than they are.

One feels for same-sex couples who long for children, as one feels for heterosexual couples with fertility problems who likewise long for children. But parenthood is not simply another experience that you purchase, like a vacation, and children are not — not yet — products to be built to your specifications. A model of parenthood dominated by the mandate to satisfy the parents’ needs rather than those of the children will be forever defective. But it is, increasingly, the model we have. It’s a perverse consequence of the times in which we live: Cultural and economic pressures see to it that many young women spend their most fertile years trying desperately to avoid motherhood and then spend their least fertile years trying, with the same desperation, to conceive. It’s cruel.

A strange thing: Nothing in the modern world has contributed to the devaluation of women as pitilessly as has the reduction of motherhood to the status of a take-out order of ovum foo young, and yet nothing is held so sacred by feminists. I cannot imagine that when the early feminists wrote about the “commodification of women” that they ever imagined it would get so literal, with product warranties and all.

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 October, 2014

Austria Aims to Stop Funding for Islam, Promote Standardized Version of Qur’an

 Amid growing concern across Europe about the threat of spreading jihadism, Austria’s coalition government on Thursday unveiled far-reaching legislation which aims to stamp out foreign influence on and funding for Austria’s Muslims, and also envisages a standardized German-language version of the Qur’an.
A major consequence of the law, which is due to come into effect from January, would be the rescinding of permits for scores of Turkish imams, or religious teachers, paid for by the Turkish government.

Austrians of Turkish descent make up the biggest group of Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic country, followed by those of Bosnian background. Muslims comprise about six percent of the population.

Like those in many other European countries, Austrian authorities are deeply concerned about Islamist radicalization of Muslim citizens at home and abroad. As many as 140 Muslims who are Austrian citizens or residents are believed to be fighting with jihadist groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL).

Foreign Affairs and Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz said Thursday there should be no contradiction between being a devout Muslim and a proud Austrian.

The draft bill, which aims to regulate Muslims’ rights and obligations and revises a 1912 law that officially recognized Islam, states that religious doctrines, institutions and practices must not conflict with the laws of Austria. If teaching institutions promote negative views of society or jeopardize public order, their recognition may be withdrawn.

Foreign funding of operating costs for mosques, schools and other Islamic facilities will be prohibited.

As in many other European countries, Austrian officials are concerned about foreign imams who speak little of the local language, are not well-integrated into local society, and who may be spreading radical views.

Imams working in Austria will be expected to have Austrian theological training so as to better connect with the local community. Religious organizations will be required to show a unified German-language version of their doctrine and religious texts, including the Qur’an.

The Qur’an proposal is potentially controversial, since Muslim scholars teach that the Qur’an – in the original Arabic – is the actual divine revelation given by Allah to Mohammed over a 23-year period in the 7th century. Translations in any other language are considered no more than approximations of the meaning, and not the Qur’an itself.

Kurz said in a recent radio interview there were “countless translations, countless interpretations” of the Qur’an, and having a uniform German translation would help to prevent extremist “misinterpretations.”

It was in the interests of the Muslim community, he said, that words in the text are not “incorrectly interpreted and reproduced.”

Other provisions in the draft law cover issues like religious holidays, dietary matters and cemeteries. Genital mutilation is forbidden, although circumcision is expressly permitted.

The bill was drafted in consultation with two recognized Islamic bodies, the mainstream Islamic Religious Community in Austria and a body representing Alevis, a Muslim sect sometimes viewed as heretical by Sunnis, originating in Turkey.

The Vienna daily Wiener Zeitung noted in an editorial that some of proposed new regulations, such as the ban on foreign funding, were not applicable to other religions.

“But as long as murderers refer to Islam at the beheading of helpless hostages, Islam is just not a religion like any other,” it said. “Every law is a child of its time.”

In response to the rise of ISIS, the Austrian government last month announced a ban on ISIS symbols, plans to revoke the citizenship of any dual citizens who join the jihad, and new rules making it harder for minors to travel outside the European Union.

Earlier this year Austrian media reported on cases of teenage girls of Bosnian origin who traveled to Syria to “marry” jihadists and then join the fight, after being radicalized by an imam at a Vienna mosque.

SOURCE





Being a crank is not a crime

Now you don't even have to break the law to be banged up for what you say

Over the past month, people across the Midlands and northern England have had strange leaflets stuffed through their letter boxes. The leaflets aim to bring public attention to what the leaflets refer to as the ‘evils of homosexualism’. The leaflets state that ‘Homosexuality is not natural’ and that Gay Pride marches are ‘lewd, silly and simply satanic; the delight of demons’. The unpleasant literature has appeared in Preston, Lincoln, Leicester and Chester, coinciding with Gay Pride events in each of the towns.

Earlier this year, the leaflets also showed up in towns in the south of England.  Witnesses in Lincoln told local press that they saw a man dressed in a monk’s habit delivering them. The description matches reports of a man who was seen posting similar flyers in Brighton during the summer.

You’d hope that the prospect of one nutter disseminating weird leaflets would spark little more than bemusement – and it’s likely that the majority of recipients simply brushed the whole thing off. Yet police forces across the North have been inundated with calls in recent days from offence-seekers demanding that something be done.

The calls for a crackdown on these offensive materials was bolstered by Gay Pride organisers. Lincoln Pride spokesman Adam Shorter told the Lincolnite: ‘As a community organisation, we fully respect every person’s right to free speech and opinion in a public forum. However, this method of posting such distasteful leaflets at someone’s home is disrespectful and should not, in our opinion, be allowed… it worries us that this type of propaganda could negatively affect a person’s wellbeing or make them question their sexuality or identity.’ Meanwhile, Preston Pride organiser Steve Griffin told the BBC that the flyers’ fire-and-brimstone rhetoric ignored the New Testament teaching of ‘love thy neighbour’ – he is seemingly unaware of the New Testament’s numerous prohibitions on homosexuality.

It’s disheartening to see gay-rights organisers be so blasé about calling on the law to censor views they find offensive. It was not too long ago that the law was used to crackdown on any public expression of homosexuality for precisely the reason that it offended the status quo. It was not until 1982 that the last vestiges of the Buggery Act (1533) were repealed. Section 28 of the Local Government Act, which banned local authorities from ‘promoting homosexuality’, was not repealed until 2003.

Nowadays, UK police forces are particularly overzealous when it comes to investigating speech crimes. Twitter trolls have been subject to dawn raids for tweeting nasty things to celebrities while football fans have been banged up for singing politically incorrect songs. But what about offensive speech that isn’t illegal? What about when it’s just, as in this case, one nutter professing his odd, old-fashioned religious beliefs? Well, if this case is anything to go on, this technicality needn’t get in the police’s way.

In response to the anti-gay leaflets, Lancashire police vowed to investigate ‘with a view to discussing the impact the leaflets have had’. While Lincolnshire police said that, while they recognised the right to freedom of speech, ‘when that expression causes others offence and worry, we will step in’.

Of course, the content of these leaflets will have, understandably, offended some people. But it’s deeply concerning that a section of the public think being offended is enough to go to the police and demand those responsible be punished – especially when no laws have actually been broken. Going to the cops over trivial matters would once have been ridiculed. Now it seems that it is something to be encouraged, both by nominally liberal gay-rights organisations and the police themselves.

Shorter’s suggestion that the content of one leaflet could potentially pose a threat to gay people’s ‘wellbeing’, speaks to a common assumption today that offensive speech can cause genuine emotional and mental harm. But if there is someone who could be so perturbed by the bile of one nutter that they’d be left mentally scarred, then all the laws in the world can’t protect them.

The police’s reaction to what are, in effect, nuisance calls about a non-crime shows that they no longer see their role as enforcing the law so much as pandering to the complaints of the easily offended. Such an attitude can only have a stifling effect on the very same values of tolerance and freedom that Gay Pride organisations claim to champion.

Postscript: Since this article was written, it has been announced that a 53-year-old man has been questioned by police in Stoke-on-Trent in connection with the anti-gay leaflets. He has not been charged, but the Harborough Mail has reported that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is under under pressure to bring charges against him.

SOURCE






Fined $13,000 by State, Farmers Are Fighting Back Against ‘Discrimination’ Ruling

A couple who declined to allow a same-sex wedding ceremony on their family farm in upstate New York filed an appeal today that their attorney says will challenge “every facet” of a recent discrimination ruling against them.

In September 2012, a lesbian couple approached Cynthia and Robert Gifford about holding their wedding on the Giffords’ Liberty Ridge Farm. The Giffords, who both grew up in Clifton Park, N.Y., declined, citing their religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Because Liberty Ridge Farm is open to the public for seasonal activities, such as its annual fall festival, the state of New York classifies it as a public accommodation that cannot discriminate on the basis of certain personal characteristics, including sexual orientation.

The lesbian couple, who recorded a telephone conversation with Cynthia Gifford, complained to the New York State Division of Human Rights, which is specifically chartered to prohibit “discrimination” based upon sexual orientation, among other characteristics.

In July, an administrative law judge found the Giffords had discriminated against the couple and ordered fines totaling $13,000—$1,500 mental anguish fine to each of the women and a $10,000 civil damages penalty to the state.

The Giffords didn’t know about the official complaint until a TV reporter showed up to interview them about it.

“There was the reporter and the camera person, and I thought, ‘Oh great, we’re going to get some publicity about our fall festival,’” Cynthia Gifford recalled. “And the reporter asked if we could step away from the customers—I did not understand why.”

The state human rights commissioner’s final order Aug. 8 required the Giffords to pay the $13,000 within 60 days, plus accrued interest of $195.  The Giffords also had 60 days in which to appeal the ruling.

Gifford told The Daily Signal this week in an exclusive interview that she and her husband decided to fight the charges because they were “disappointed” by the judge’s narrow view of both the evidence and the law.

Their attorney, James Trainor, who is associated with Alliance Defending Freedom, said the family was “appealing every facet of the judge’s decision” and that he is confident their “constitutional rights and religious beliefs will be fully considered.”

Melisa Erwin and Jennifer McCarthy, the lesbian couple who filed the complaint, declined comment to The Daily Signal. They did speak out in a 2012 interview with WNYT.

The Giffords’ refusal to book their wedding ceremony “makes you feel like people out there are judging and think [a same-sex marriage] is wrong,” Erwin said.  “People are people and everyone should be treated fairly,” added McCarthy.

The Giffords contend their decision was not about the couple’s sexual orientation but about upholding their own religiously based views on marriage.  “We open our doors for a certain part of the year for everyone to come and enjoy God’s country that we’re so blessed to live on,” Cynthia Gifford said.

“We feel the judge did not consider our religious beliefs or the Constitution, so we were very disappointed in that fact and decided to appeal hoping we would have the opportunity for a court to consider our religious rights and constitutional rights,” she said.

We just believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman, and we do not want to hold a [same-sex] marriage ceremony here on our family farm because the state tells us we have to do it.

The $13,000 in fines “took a punch financially on us,” Cynthia Gifford said, and led them to another decision that will cost them more money: to stop holding wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge Farm.

Otherwise, she said, the Giffords would be required to institute anti-discrimination re-education classes and procedures for their staff.

The Giffords will continue to hold receptions at the farm, she said, but the decision “is likely to affect our business dramatically” since most area couples book ceremonies and receptions together.

Mariko Hirose, the lawyer for Erwin and McCarthy, declined to comment for The Daily Signal. In a previous interview with Religion News Service, Hirose said:

"All New Yorkers are entitled to their own religious beliefs, but businesses cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation any more than they can based on race or national origin."

Lourdes Centeno, director of external relations at the New York State Division of Human Rights, declined to comment, saying “the order is out and that’s all we have available at the moment in terms of public information.”

Trainor, who doesn’t expect a ruling on the appeal until next July, said he will build his case around guarantees of religious freedom and free speech built into the federal and state constitutions.

[The judge’s decision] is forcing them to both practice their beliefs a certain way, as well as express or speak an affirmation of the state’s version of marriage by hosting these things in their home. What does that tell an observer? That they totally agree with it—that they’re totally in favor of it. So it forces that type of speech but it also doesn’t allow them to carry out and practice their own religious belief that marriage was designed to be, by God, between one man and one woman.

Ryan T. Anderson, who researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty as the William E. Simon Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, echoed Trainor’s argument.

“While Americans are free to live as they choose, no one should demand that government coerce others into celebrating their relationship,” he said. “All Americans should remain free to believe and act in the public square based on their beliefs about marriage without fear of government penalty.”

Asked what she would say to Erwin and McCarthy about the Giffords’ decision to appeal, Cynthia Gifford said:  “I would hope that they would understand that we respect everyone for who they are, and that we would like to have respect for our religious beliefs to be acknowledged as well.”

SOURCE





Australia: Muslims need to stop playing the victim

RAIDS by Australia’s counterterrorism units continued yesterday in Melbourne and come just weeks after the raids across eastern Australia in ­response to an allegedly imminent terrorist attack in Sydney.

On Wednesday last week, Australia woke to news that a Victorian police officer had shot dead a youth during a horrific attack at a suburban Melbourne police station that left two policemen seriously wounded, one of whom nearly lost his life.

Predictably, there were calls from a few Islamic community leaders for an “open and independent” investigation into the police shooting.

It occurred to me that I have never heard the Catholic or Anglican archbishop make a similar call when one of their flock is gunned down attempting to murder a police officer.

Just as predictable was the stampede of senior police, politicians and other identities placating Islamic leaders after the shooting.

Of course, what would a terrorism-related incident be without some mention somewhere of the youth being “disenfranchised” from mainstream society?

These disenfranchised youth have access to free health, free education, subsidised medicines, public housing and transport. They are free to practise any religion they want, marry whom they want and, if they feel inclined, work for a fair wage and get to live in one of the safest nations on Earth. And did I mention that they also get free legal representation?

What a burden of rights, gifts and privileges these disenfranchised youth have. It must be this burden that makes so many of them want to leave and go to countries in the Middle East that are the complete ­opposite of ours.

The Islamic community needs to own up to the not so insignificant problems that they have, ask for help and stop playing the victims.

A final note on this current situation comes via Fairfield Local Court, which handed a man a two-year good behaviour bond for possessing a stun gun — an offence that can carry up to 14 years’ imprisonment.

The man, Ahmad Rahmany, was arrested and charged during Sydney’s counterterrorism raids. According to his lawyer, the charge had nothing to do with terrorism.

It must have been unfortunate for Ahmed Rahmany that the police who conducted the raids on his house were from a counterterrorism unit.

Mr Rahmany was quoted as saying the raid on his house was “horrific” and “unAustralian”.

Am I missing something?

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 October, 2014

Islam's highest religious authorities preach hatred of Israel and the Jews

Since its founding in 973 C.E., Al Azhar University (and its mosque) have represented a pinnacle of Islamic religious education, which evolved into the de facto Vatican of Sunni Islam. Unfortunately, during that same millennium, through the present era, Al Azhar and its leading clerics have represented and espoused the unreformed, unrepentant jihad bellicosity and infidel hatred at the core of mainstream, institutional Islam.

Al Azhar's contemporary espousal of sacralized Islamic animosity has been directed, unsurprisingly, against Jews and Israel, dating back to the 20th century origins, and ultimate creation, of the modern Jewish State. Despite nearly universal willful blindness by media, academic, and policymaking elites, this critical issue of sacralized incitement of Muslim Jew-hatred by Islam's Sunni Muslim Vatican, remains center stage.

Islam's canonical texts-the Koran itself (see here), and the "traditions" of Islam's prophet Muhammad (the hadith, and sira; see here)-are redolent with Islamic Jew-hatred. This hateful material was catalogued-and extolled-by the late Sunni Muslim Papal equivalent, Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, who served as the Grand Imam of Sunni Islam's Vatican, Al Azhar University, for 14 years, from 1996, till his death in March, 2010. Tantawi's "academic" magnum opus, a 700 page treatise entitled, "Jews in the Koran and the Traditions", includes this summary Koranic rationalization for Muslim Jew-hatred:

[The] Koran describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah [see Koran 2:61/ 3:112 ], [and see al-Azhar Sheikh Saqr's contemporary Koranic citations, "Jews' 20 Bad Traits As Described in the Qur'an"] corrupting His words by putting them in the wrong places, consuming the people's wealth frivolously, refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness...only a minority of the Jews keep their word...[A]ll Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims [Koran 3:113 ], the bad ones do not.

More ominously, Tantawi's exhaustive modern analysis of Islam's defining, canonical sources concluded by sanctioning these bigoted-even violent-Muslim behaviors towards Jews:

[T]he Jews always remain maleficent deniers....they should desist from their negative denial...some Jews went way overboard in their denying hostility, so gentle persuasion can do no good with them, so use force with them and treat them in the way you see as effective in ridding them of their evil. One may go so far as to ban their religion, their persons, their wealth, and their villages.

Tantawi's successor, Ahmad Al-Tayeb, current Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, publicly reiterated this sacralized, Jew-hating bigotry. During an interview with Al-Tayeb, which aired on Channel 1, Egyptian TV, October 25, 2013, he gave a brief explanation of the ongoing relevance of the Koranic verse 5:82 which has been invoked-"successfully"-to inspire Muslim hatred of Jews since the advent of Islam:

A verse in the Koran explains the Muslims' relations with the Jews...This is an historical perspective, which has not changed to this day. See how we suffer today from global Zionism and Judaism...Since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago, we have been suffering from Jewish and Zionist interference in Muslim affairs. This is a cause of great distress for the Muslims. The Koran said it and history has proven it: "You shall find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers to be the Jews..."

Now, less than a year later-consistent with his belief in (and promulgation of) Islam's "sacralized," conspiratorial Jew-hating canon-Grand Imam al-Tayeb is insisting that the scourge of jihad terrorism, ravaging the Middle East, epitomized by IS/IL, is due to the machinations of "Global Zionism," i.e., Jews. During a televised statement which aired on Channel 1 Egyptian TV, September 8, 2014, al-Tayeb intoned:

All the [fundamentalist terrorist groups] are the new products of imperialism, in the service of global Zionism in its new version, and its plot to destroy the [Middle] East and tear region apart.

Both Tantawi's and his successor Ahmad Al-Tayeb's career trajectories to the apogee of Sunni Islamic religious education, despite their own public endorsements of virulent, if "sacralized" Islamic Jew-hatred, reflect the profound moral pathology at the very heart and soul of mainstream, institutional Islam.

SOURCE






Arrogant and authoritarian British social workers again

A judge has condemned a council which unlawfully took an autistic 19-year-old woman into care for more than a year and banned her parents from seeing her alone.

Lawyers acting for the family from Yeovil, Somerset, accused the council of committing ‘one of the most serious cases of the deprivation of liberty’ ever seen by a court.

The disabled woman - known only as P - was supposed to go into respite care with Somerset County Council for just two weeks while her parents went on a break.

The young woman, who cannot speak, had injured herself at school three days earlier and her worried mother had alerted respite staff to self-inflicted bruising on her chest.

But with her family out of the country, staff concluded the injury had been caused by ‘someone or something other than herself’ and decided to take her into care.

Her desperate parents were then banned from unsupervised contact with her and forced to battle for 14 months to get her released.

A judge at the Court of Protection has now criticised the council and ruled it acted unlawfully. The council has apologised but the couple are suing them for damages.

The court heard how P was on a residential school placement before the separation, but had regular contact with her family.

While on a school trip in May 2013 she was in an ‘extremely distressed condition’ after staff saw her ‘breathing heavily and hitting herself on the sternum area’.

She displayed behaviour described as ‘severely challenging behaviour’ and had to be restrained by staff and taken home early.

Her mother noticed bruising on her chest and, after consulting her GP, took her to an arranged respite placement in Yeovil three days after the school incident.

Despite alerting respite staff to the bruises, the teenager was taken to Yeovil District Hospital within days, but staff declined to tell the doctor - Dr K - about her previous incident at school.

As a result Somerset County Council was called in and they decided to take P into full-time care. Her parents returned from holiday to hear of the decision in their absence.

But after a nine-day trial earlier this year, His Honour Judge Nicholas Marston found the council had unlawfully deprived the teenager of her liberty.

He said the lack of a ‘proper investigation’ showed a ‘systematic failure’ by the authority.  He said: ‘[The doctor’s] report said “the bruising is felt to be comparable with a blow or blows to P’s anterior chest with a significant force or fall onto an object.

‘”This would be an unusual injury pattern to have been self-inflicted but if this was the case then it would be expected that such self-harm, which would have been demonstrably significant and painful, would have been witnessed”.

‘These are very significant words given that members of staff at the school had observed [previously] P breathing heavily and hitting herself on the sternum area.

‘This information was easily available but was never passed onto Dr K nor was further information that on the class trip P had displayed severely challenging behaviour pulling hair, kicking seats and that staff on that trip had been "taken to the ground" by P and she had had to be restrained in the approved holds for physical restraint on the trip.

In delivering his judgement that the council had unlawfully deprived P of her liberty, His Honour Judge Marston criticised the council for its systemic failure, its corporate failings and its misguided philosophies

‘Instead, at a strategy meeting, as a result of the conclusions of the medical report that it was “highly likely that P has received a significant injury from someone or something other than herself....” so instead it was decided she would not be returned to her mother.’

A spokesman for the family’s lawyers said P was now back at the family home and ‘settling in well’.

She said: ‘The council did not take account of several possible explanations for the cause of the bruising, not least the fact that she had been observed hitting herself in that area and that she had also taken a member of staff to ground whilst out on a school trip.  ‘Crucially, the young woman herself was not given the opportunity to explain how the bruising had occurred.’

She added: ‘In delivering his judgement that the council had unlawfully deprived P of her liberty, His Honour Judge Marston criticised the council for its systemic failure, its corporate failings and its misguided philosophies.

‘The council continued to pursue an unsubstantiated case against the family, and unreasonably refused to drop allegations made against them.’

Somerset County Council said it accepted the judge’s ruling and comments. A spokesman said: ‘We were completely motivated by serious concern for the young lady’s welfare.

‘We have apologised to the family for the distress that our actions caused and are working closely with them to provide the right care and support for their daughter now and in the future.

‘We have also taken urgent steps to ensure that all adult social care staff learn from this case and this situation never arises again.’

SOURCE






Britain’s Paul Weston Faces 2 Years In Prison For Offending Muslims By Quoting Churchill

Winston Churchill was scathing about Islam and his experience of Muslims. He fought Jihadis in the late 19th century

As Great Britain drowns in a flood of Islamists demanding Her Majesty’s Government cave to every halal whim, Prime Minister David Cameron continues to apologize to and for abusive Islam.

While Cameron sympathizes with the hordes of Muslims sucking his country dry of welfare and oppressing its Western culture, British politician Paul Weston is speaking for the outraged people he represents.

Weston is no stranger to radical Islam and the choke-hold it’s putting on the UK. Admitting he was a racist and Islamophobe to silence his critics, he gained undying support as leader of the Liberty GB Party.

Earlier this year, Weston was arrested and charged while quoting Sir Winston Churchill, Britain’s most revered PM and activist against Islam. Weston was arrested in the public square because he allegedly failed to obey dispersal order and was causing distress. Those charges were dropped, but he was later charged with a racial aggravated crime.

Now, a fearless Weston has taken to the streets again to rally supporters together against extremism, a notion that is quickly taking over Great Britain.

Weston called Cameron a “coward” and “traitor,” and bashed him for siding with radical Muslims instead of his country.

Weston was particularly angered by Cameron’s accusation that there are too many Christian faces in British Parliament, and that the government and police force should include more Muslims.

As the Muslim population grows, Weston surely faces threats and accusations of racism and fear-mongering, but he continues to trek on. Perhaps Weston is the sort of 21st century Churchill Great Britain desperately needs.

SOURCE






Bibi as anti-PC hero

Roger L. Simon

In case you non-Jews haven’t noticed, we Jews bicker a lot.  Some of us even have bad things to say about Albert Einstein.  A fair number of us have bad things to say about Karl Marx.  Or about Milton Friedman — to go the other way. (Yes, I think Friedman was a lot smarter than Marx.)

So it should be no surprise that Benjamin Netanyahu is only intermittently popular in his home country.  At the height of the recent Gaza war, he was a hero on the level of King Solomon, but then, after things quieted down with a relatively indeterminate conclusion, he was, well,  just another pol.

But he’s not.

This man, whatever his failings, is better able to articulate the global situation than any political leader currently in a position of power in any country by yards.  In fact, virtually no one else is even attempting to do it. (Tony Blair did for a while before he turned, but he’s not in Bibi’s league.)

Netanyahu may not be Churchill when it comes to courage, but he is Churchill, or close, when it comes to a precise mastery of the English language, ironic since he is the prime minister of a Hebrew-speaking nation. 

He is able to tell the truth about the important issues, when all others, including, notably, our president and secretary of State, are prevaricating or spinning, trying desperately not to offend the reprehensible, and he did it again the other day at the United Nations.  He told the truth about radical Islam to a half-empty house whose Moslem delegates had left and whose remaining attendees sat there terrified of agreeing publicly with the Israeli prime minister lest some imam or dopey liberal NGO accuse of them of Islamophobia.  He made that speech at an institution that has institutionalized anti-Semitism, not world peace or even basic common sense, as its modus operandi,  as its very raison d’être.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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3 October, 2014

Amazon adds Tom & Jerry to its online streaming service – but warns users the classic cartoons are RACIST

Fans of classic Tom and Jerry cartoons have been warned that episodes of the iconic show may depict scenes of 'ethnic and racial prejudice'.

Subscribers to Amazon Prime Instant Video are now met with a caution before viewing certain episodes of the long-running cartoon.

It follows concerns that the representation of a black maid on early episodes of the cartoon show - which made its first episodes in the 1940s - was an example of the era's prejudices.

Tom and Jerry: The Complete Second Volume is accompanied by the caution: 'Tom and Jerry shorts may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.'

One fan took to Twitter to say: 'watched Tom and Jerry since the 60s this is the 1st time I've ever heard the R word in relation to it. PC madness!'

Another fan wrote: 'I loved Tom and Jerry as a kid and it never made me think poorly of ethnic minorities or want to smoke cigars.'

Cultural commentator and professor of sociology Frank Furedi, of the University of Kent, said that the warnings show a 'very sad' tendency to read history backwards by judging people in the past by our current-day values.

He said: 'These warnings caricature and misinterpret what 40 year old cartoons communicated. 'Through reading history backwards novels, films and cartoons can be denounced for the language they use and for communicating values that appear to violate those of today. 

The cartoon has attracted controversy in the past over racial stereotyping

The warnings follows concerns that the representation of a black maid on early episodes of the cartoon show - which made its first episodes in the 1940s - was an example of the era's prejudices

'Even Tom and Jerry cartoons are carefully vetted to warn the current generations about images and words that contradict 21st century sensibilities.'

'Amazon's warnings are in fact a performance of false piety,' he added. 'Its purpose is to indicate that Amazon is 'aware' and takes its responsibilities seriously.

'Instead of engaging with the moral predicament of our era it prefers to moralize about the attitudes expressed by Tom and Jerry.'

Never short of an opinion, self-styled social commentator Katie Hopkins also expressed outrage at the warnings.  She Tweeted: 'Old Tom and Jerry cartoons to carry warnings of 'racial prejudice'. Give me strength. I am a foreigner in a culture I no longer understand.'

Tom and Jerry was first produced by the MGM film studio in 1940 with a series of 114 shorts that ran until 1957.

The cartoons, directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and produced by Fred Quimby, included slapstick comedy and chase scenes set in the homes and gardens of suburban America.

Since the there have been numerous re-launched television versions of the series with varying styles and in 1992 Tom and Jerry: The Movie became the series' first feature length film.

The original shorts have been subject to controversy on several occasions over themes including representation of women, the glamorization of smoking, racial stereotypes and even cannibalism.

In 2006, scenes that appeared to glamorize smoking were edited out of the cartoons following complaints to Ofcom, saying that they are not appropriate to be shown to children.

In Texas Tom, the cat tries to impress a female feline by making a rollup cigarette. Then in Tennis Chumps Tom's opponent is seen smoking a large cigar in a match.

In its ruling, Ofcom said: 'We recognise that these are historic cartoons, most of them having been produced in the 1940s, 50s and 60s at a time when smoking was more generally accepted.

'We note that in Tom and Jerry, smoking usually appears in a stylised manner and is frequently not condoned.'

Last year, Tom and Jerry fans were infuriated to hear that two 'inappropriate' episodes were removed from a new collection because they feature the cat and mouse 'blacked-up'

Warner Brothers' Golden Collection Volume Two was intended to be an uncut series of the popular animation in chronological order. But offending episodes Casanova Cat made in 1951 and Mouse Cleaning from 1948 were pulled.

Fans posted angry messages on websites where you can pre-order the Blu-ray DVD such as Amazon explaining why they will not be buying the discs.

One message reads: 'Culture is always reflected in cartoons, and while this may not have been right, it existed.

'It is a shame to omit pieces of history in a collection simply due to PR getting shaky boots over the past.'

When a Looney Tunes Golden Collection was released in 2005, actress Whoopi Goldberg was asked to explain why certain episodes were kept in the collection.

She said at the time: 'Removing these inexcusable images and jokes from this collection would be the same as saying (these prejudices) never existed.

'So they are presented here to accurately reflect a part of our history that cannot and should not be ignored.'

SOURCE





Poverty In The Black Community Is The Result of Culture Not Racism


The Author, Patricia L. Dickson

I have often been accused by friends (black, white and all others in between) of being too logical, to the point that I am inhibited from seeing other people’s point of view ( I am not sure if that is a compliment or insult). They say that I enter into discussions with the false assumption that others are just as logical and rational as I am. I have been told this so often that I have conceded that perhaps they are telling the truth (they know me well enough to make such claims). Because I have finally accepted the charge against me, I often consult friends on matters that I find perplexing.

A black female friend and I once discussed how our historically unemployed (lazy) relatives often claimed that we were rich simply because we had things that they did not. I said to her that surely they understood that we worked for everything that we have. Her response to me was that they did not understand how we acquired what we had. I told her that it was illogical for someone not to correlate money or possessions with work, and I refused to believe it. Well, a short time later, my friend’s comments proved true.

 A female relative of mine came to live with me for a short time. One day when I came home from work, she asked me where everyone in the neighborhood was. She said that during the day, she would go outdoors looking for someone to talk to and no one was around. I told her that they were at work, and I asked her how she thought the neighbors could pay for their homes if they did not go to work (just as I was going to work every day). She looked at me with a confused look on her face. Up until that point (she was nearly sixty years old), she had lived in neighborhoods where everyone (including her) received some kind of government check and therefore did not work. She always had someone to shuck and jive with because everyone was at home all day long. She told me that she was bored living in my (middleclass working) neighborhood.

 A male relative of mine once tried to play the guilt trip on me in order to get money from me by lamenting about how tired he was of being broke. He told me that I did not know how it felt to be broke because I have always had money. He was in his early fifties and had spent his entire adult life mostly unemployed and in and out of jail for petty crimes. I asked him: did he think that money grew on trees? I told him that I have worked all of my life for everything that I have. He walked away with his tail between his legs.

If poor blacks cannot correlate money and possessions with work, there is no wonder that they think that they are entitled to the same things as working people. Most liberal voters are immature and live in a fantasy world. They believe that everything that working people have fell from the sky, and they somehow were not around to catch some of it. Therefore, they believe that it is not fair that they do not have the same things. Is that why it is so easy for the race baiters to go into these communities and claim that the rich have stolen from them?

Many black conservatives have said that Republicans need to go into the black communities in order to win the black vote. However, my concern is with how our message of hard work will be received by individuals in these liberal bastions who have never witnessed anyone consistently going to work every day.  Liberals have inoculated these individuals against work and responsibility by continuously plying them with government handouts.

I once had a discussion with another black female friend about the unemployment history in the black inner city neighborhoods. I asked her why the blacks in these neighborhoods did not apply for jobs at the establishments that they frequent. She told me that the reason why they did not apply for jobs is that poor blacks do not think that the jobs are for them. I asked her what she meant by for them. She explained that poor blacks have been programmed to believe that jobs are only for white people and not for them, so therefore they do not apply.  I do not know how my friend came to that conclusion; however, it was not long before her statements also proved true.

A young black man was lamenting to me about the lack of job opportunities for black men in corporate America. He told me that although he had a college degree, he was unable to obtain employment. Assuming that he had been applying for jobs, I asked him where he had applied. He told me that he had not applied anywhere. I asked why had he not applied and he said that he did not fit the description that the employers were looking for. He went on to claim that society, through television and movies, portray white men in suits as successful executives, therefore, he concluded that he did not fit the description for corporate America. I will concede that there is some merit to the argument that television and movies portray white businesspersons in suits as successful; however I cannot logically understand why someone would not at least apply for jobs. If poor blacks really believe that jobs are not for them, who is it that taught them that?

Most of the things that individuals are taught comes from the culture in which they were raised, whether it be work ethic, habits, or beliefs. Growing up in the South, my parents could not afford to buy me designer clothes and shoes. After joining the military, I purchased my first pair of designer sneakers and wore them home on my first leave after boot camp and job training.  My older male cousin looked down at my sneakers and asked me what I was doing wearing them. He said that black people were not supposed to wear those type of shoes. It has been over 26 years since he made that statement and I remember it just like it was yesterday. He had been programmed by the culture that he was raised in to think that even if you have the money to purchase something, you were not supposed to have it. I often talk with successful blacks who think that they do not deserve what they have. One black male friend that lives in an affluent neighborhood told me that when he and his family are walking around in the town center, he feels that he is not supposed to be there.

Until the black community looks inward to solve its problems, nothing will change. Many problems in the black community are the result of a self-imposed inferiority complex. That is why it infuriates me so much to hear race baiters telling poor blacks that they are victims. The victim mindset causes complacency and impotence of action in an individual. One reason that the black community has regressed instead of progressed is due to the victim mindset that has caused cognitive blindness and mental paralysis. Blacks cannot continue to blame society for how blacks Americans are perceived.  The black community must examine its culture and its effect on the lives of the individuals in the black community.

SOURCE






Bill Maher: ‘Liberal, Western Culture is Not Just Different – It’s Better’

Comedian, political commentator, and outspoken atheist Bill Maher strongly defended the right to free speech in Western societies versus the limited speech and draconian legal practices in some Muslim countries, stressing that, despite some of the distasteful displays of expression in America, “liberal, Western culture is not just different – it’s better.”

Maher, the host of HBOS’ Real Time With Bill Maher, often mocks Christianity and other religions. In the “New Rule” segment on his Sept. 26 show, Maher showed a picture of a 14-year-old boy from Everett, Penn., who had been arrested for desecration: He had climbed atop a statue of Jesus on church grounds and simulated oral sex. (The boy later apologized to the church.)

Maher said the teen’s actions “may not be in good taste” – then joked about praying -- and then used the photo as a starting point to riff on why the freedoms, culture,  and legal structure in Western societies are better than in some other countries that brook no tolerance for certain types of speech or political expression.

“It may not be in good taste, I certainly don't condone this type of behavior — praying, I mean,” said Maher, in reference to the boy atop the statue.  “But it speaks volumes about why liberal Western culture is not just different.  It's better.”

“Saudi women can't vote, or drive, or hold a job, or leave the house without a man,” he said.  “Overwhelming majorities in every Muslim country say a wife is always obliged to obey her husband.  That all seems like a bigger issue than evangelical Christian bakeries refusing to make gay wedding cakes.”

Maher continued, “91% of Egyptian women have had their clitorises forcibly removed.  98% of Somalian women have.  Ayaan Hirsi Ali grew up in Somalia, and is one of them.  She was scheduled to speak at Yale last week, but the school's atheist organization — my people — complained that she "did not represent the totality of the ex-Muslim experience.”

“Meaning what?” said Maher.  “The women who like mutilation?  You're atheists!  You should be attacking religion, not siding with the people who hold women down and violate them, which apparently you will defend in the name of multiculturalism, and then lose your s---  when someone refers to Chaz Bono by the wrong pronoun. “

“Donald Sterling isn't allowed to own a team because he told his mistress not to post pictures with black guys.  Okay,” said Maher.  “But if we're giving no quarter to intolerance, shouldn't we be starting with the mutilators and the honor-killers?  Or will that divert us from the real problem:  that when Mel Gibson drinks, he calls women ‘sugar tits’?

Maher describes his political views as “progressive,” and he regularly criticizes conservatives, although he occasionally takes a few swings at liberals on his program. He publicly supported Barack Obama for president in 2008, and he thinks marijuana and prostitution should be legal. Maher wrote and starred in the 2008 film, Religulous, which mocked religious belief. He is a graduate of Cornell University, class of 1978, where he double majored in English and History.

SOURCE






Racial Disparity is a Bitch

No matter how hard the president tries to persuade the country that black people are the real victims of racial violence, black people will just not cooperate.

Saturday night the resident was telling members of the Congressional Black Caucus about how police are constantly picking on black people. For no reason whatsoever.

And this racial disparity means police have to change -- arresting fewer black people, for starters. Or more white people.

At almost the exact moment the president was repeating this standard litany of racial grievance, two black suspects in Ferguson shot a cop. They did not appreciate it when the cop found them burglarizing a business.

To some, the fact that black violent crime is wildly out of proportion might disrupt the resident’s carefully crafted gospel of grievance. But to this crowd, it was easily explained. Congressman John Conyers did just that just a few weeks prior.

Conyers was reminding the audience of a congressional hearing about the ins and outs of racism: How it is conscious and subconscious. How it is everywhere. All the time. And how that explains the enormous disparity in crime rates between black and white people.

“With enough time and officers in a certain location, it is only a matter of time before they find reasonable suspicion to stop, detain and arrest someone -- or many people,” said Conyer, presaging the president’s remarks.

This was not gotcha moment: The racist criminal justice system was all Conyers and the other member of the Black Caucus talked about during this hearing.

No one is denying that protestors in Ferguson, unhappy with shooting of Michael Brown, have been threatening police with violence. Regularly for weeks. They just say this shooting had nothing to do with that.

And neither did another shooting later that night: A carful of people shot a gunful of bullets at an off-duty Ferguson officer while he was driving on the freeway. Disparity is a bitch.

While the president and his buddies at the Black Caucus try to figure out whether racist conditions cause black people to commit more crime, or whether racism causes police to arrest them more often -- for no reason whatsoever -- victims of black mob violence are hoping they figure it out fast.

At the exact moment the president was hitting his stride about how black people are victims of relentless racism, members of a neighborhood group in North Minneapolis were struggling with the opposite problem on their Facebook Page:

A friend and I were leaving Fair State Brewing Coop around 9:30 pm (on Central and Lowry) tonight and were both assaulted by a group of 5-6 young men. We got away without more than 1-2 punches each, and quickly had the Police there to make a report (since the station is not much more than a block away).

As we were waiting for the Police to arrive one of the workers of the brewery said it has been happening often there. It was completely unprovoked and without reason.

[Admin: Also, nearly a week after a male had his skull shattered by 3 males with a baseball bat, on Sept. 18 at 26th/University, we still have zero media coverage on that incident, nor any alerts from the MPD about it, nor about any of the other incidents, if, in fact, this type of thing is regularly occurring in the area. Why?]

The administrator wondered why no one thought that was important. But this much we know for sure: Everyone involved was black. Except the victims. And oh yeah, that has been happening there for a long time. Not just in that neighborhood. But throughout Minneapolis.

That did not matter much to some members of this largely white neighborhood group. Several did not deny the criminals were black. Or deny black violence was astronomically out of proportion in Minneapolis. They just denied that anyone should notice.

One member of the group offered her solution: Add more “No Parking at Any Time” signs. Denial is not limited to public officials and reporters.

Another piped up with her story: “My neighbor told my husband and I tonight that 3 young males mugged her mother,” she said, almost apologetically. “A neighbor saw it happening and tried to interject but the 3 guys threatened him as well.”

Still others posted links to other Facebook pages where people were beat probably by the same group of people. At least one member of this group tried to inject some reality into the discussion: “It's called the knockout game,” said Mark LeVitre “You’ve really never heard of it?”

The president and John Conyers never have. At least to speak of.

Same in Seattle: Just a few days before the president’s speech, a large group of black people surrounded and taunted and beat a gay white man walking through a park in a predominately white neighborhood.

A surprising number of people at the KOMO news web site declared the victim was at fault because he had no business being in that park in the middle of the day. He was probably trying to buy drugs or cause trouble, said another.

Whatever he was doing there, he ended up in the hospital beaten so badly he does not remember it. But the neighbors remember. They saw it. And they say it was the same group of black people who “are always causing problems” there. Other neighbors did not deny it. They just condemned anyone who noticed the perpetrators were black.

It surprises many to hear that Seattle is a center of racial violence -- and media denial. But both are documented in that scintillating best seller White Girl Bleed a Lot, and in several articles by that bold, award-winning author thereafter. Or on that same intrepid reporter’s YouTube channel: What is up with Seattle?

Surely you have not forgotten about the group of black people who attacked the pregnant woman on a Seattle bus? On video? Or the group of black people who killed a white soldier? Or the … aww, just look at the stories and videos.

And you will wonder why Seattle has gotten such a pass for so long.

The night before the resident and the Black Caucus were reveling in the enormous amount of racial violence directed at black people, it happened again, this time in Kansas City.

Readers of American Thinker will not be surprised to hear about another episode of black mob violence in Kansas City. It was documented here, not too long ago.

But people who live in Kansas City by now know their town is a center of racial violence at the upscale entertainment district called the Country Club Plaza, the Zoo and neighborhoods throughout the city.

Yes, even the Zoo.

They tried everything to fix it: Get a new police chief. New mayor. New tactics. But nothing changed: Black mobs continued rampaging, assaulting and creating violent mayhem at The Plaza. Finally they tried a curfew -- against the advice of a former mayor of Kansas City, Emanuel Cleaver, who is now a member of the Congressional Black Caucus:

 “All we are going to do is make a lot of black kids angry,” said the Congressman. He was right.  Black mob violence proceeds in Kansas City and no one seems to be able to stop it.

Over the weekend, at a black high school, several people were arrested after large-scale violence disrupted a football game. A teacher was attacked and taken to the hospital after “several people took issue with her telling them what to do,” i.e. asking for tickets.

Several others were arrested after “conflicts” with police, i.e. they assaulted the police.  (This Google translator comes in handy.) All the while, black mob violence and mayhem continued in and out of the stadium. One local observer, the wag at Tony’s Kansas City website, was not surprised at the violence. He was surprised that anyone in Kansas City might be surprised.

In Providence, black mob violence was so widespread and intense Saturday night that state officials called an emergency meeting for Sunday to close one of the night clubs at the center of the mayhem.

In Indianapolis, a few hours after the president’s speech, large-scale black mob violence ensued when a group of black people tried to enter a birthday party at the VFW club.  Police say more than 50 shots were fired and four people were wounded.

In Miami, a few hours after the president’s speech, black mob violence preceded a gun battle where 15 black people were wounded. Most were teenagers or pre-teens.

At 3:15 a.m., the morning after the president’s speech, four black people were wounded with a knife, one fatally, after a large fight broke out at a teenage birthday party.

Closer to the president’s speech, 18.5 miles away at Six Flags America amusement park in suburban Maryland, a large group of black people fought and created mayhem during and after Fright Fest -- and during the president’s speech.

A spokeswoman for the park said nothing much happened, despite what anyone might have heard on TV or in the newspapers. The Washington Post attributed some of the violence to the “teenagers” whose parents dropped them off at the park while they attended the nearby Evangel Cathedral for Saturday night services.

The church has a white pastor but the congregation is predominately black. The Friday Night service is called R.I.O.T. Youth Service.

Parents and witnesses to the mayhem at Six Flags took to the NBC News website to tell what really happened.

 One black parent was not buying the “nothing to see here” explanation from the park: “This spoke person lied. My children and their friends was there and they were not top priority as stated. My son was running with the crowd so he would not get tramped on and a cop/guard tacked him to the ground. Handed cuffed him, cut up his card and put him out the park. This was done to several of the people there. It was more than a fight because someone was stabbed and shot.”

Another parent called it a mini-riot. Others said it was a full-blown riot, “just like you see on TV.”

Still others (that’s reporter talk for me) said this was just another night, in another week, in another month, where black mob violence is now so common it is considered normal. At the football game. The park. The fairgrounds. Big cities. Small cities. And a dinner featuring the President of the United States.

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 October, 2014

CBBC sketch 'inaccurately' painted Florence Nightingale as racist, BBC Trust finds

The Seacole legend is 90% a Left-concocted myth.  Seacole was mostly white by ancestry and she ran a bar, not a hospital.  Details here

The BBC has been accused of “insulting” the achievements of Florence Nightingale, after inaccurately showing her racially discriminate against fellow nurse Mary Seacole in a Horrible Histories children’s programme.

The show, a comedy aimed at primary school children, showed Nightingale rejecting four applications from Jamaican-born Seacole to join her nursing corps, saying it was only “for British girls”.

Viewers complained the show was “insulting to Nightingale”, debasing the memory of her achievements in order to bolster the reputation of Seacole.

The BBC Trust, which examined the complaint, has now partially upheld the accusations, confirming Horrible Histories portrayed Nightingale’s actions inaccurately.

In fact, it said, there was no sound evidence to suggest she had rejected Seacole’s application, nor that she had acted in a “racially discriminatory manner” towards nurses.

The sketch, originally broadcast as part of the Vile Victorians series in 2010, and subsequently hosted on the BBC’s Learning Zone website, showed the pair visit an outlandish PR consultant to discuss their respective images.

The actors showed Nightingale as going down in history for her many achievements, while Seacole was forgotten because she was “just a poor, penniless black woman”.

The PR goes on to empathise “That’s terrible, after everything you did”, before going on to promise her a statue, a place in the history books, and fame.

The sketch showed the two nurses squabbling and jostling as the entered the room, in what the complainant called a “totally fictional and offensive misrepresentation”.

Seacole character is seen to say: “All the history books about the Crimean War only seem to mention one nurse. Did you forget about me? Four times me try to join old Lamp Face [Nightingale] in the Crimean War, and four times she said no.”

A dismissive Nightingale replied: “The nursing corps was for British girls. You’re from Jamaica.”

The BBC Trust has now ruled “the clip’s depiction of Florence Nightingale in relation to racial issues was materially inaccurate”.

Saying a charge of racism was “very serious”, it added the severity of “any imputation of racism” against Nightingale should have made it “incumbent on the programme makers to ensure that there was sound evidence”.

“In the Committee’s view, the programme makers had provided no such evidence,” it said.

In fact, the committee found, while Seacole did make five approaches to join the nursing corps, Nightingale was not personally involved in any of them.

It added children were “unlikely to regard the Seacole and Nightingale characters as representing anyone other than their historical counterparts”, saying the programme should have done more to make it clear.

The original complaint was made by members of the Nightingale Society, including Prof Lynn McDonald and Dr Eileen Eileen Magnello, who argued it was unfair to bolster Seacole's achievements at the expense of Nightingale for reasons of "political correctness".

Prof McDonald said it had been a "long struggle" against the BBC, which had fought the accusations "all the way".

"They seemed to think that because Horrible Histories is funny, it doesn't matter if it is inaccurate and you can just malign people," she said. "It is thoroughly dishonest. The portrayal of Mrs Seacole was a complete fabrication, and it made Florence Nightingale out to be a racist."

Dr Magnello said the Horrible Histories books, which originally told the story, had been accurate, only to be unfairly adapted by the television series.

"They have remodelled her as a person she never was," she said. "Children watching it will think what's right in front of them; that Florence Nightingale was racist."

The committee had now found there was no evidence to show Nightingale said or believed nursing was only for "British girls", making it “materially inaccurate” and leaving the young audience believed the racial discrimination was “established historic fact”.

Children, it concluded, would be left with the “overall impression that Florence Nightingale had acted towards Mary Seacole in a racially discriminatory manner”.

The report, now published, noted it did not want to limit Horrible Histories from engaging young people through comedy, but emphasised that “making a charge of racism is very serious”.

It rejected a complaint that Nightingale jostling with Seacole also suggested racism, saying viewers would have understood their comic squabble for historical precedence.

The two minute, 34 second-long clip has since been removed from the BBC Learning Zone website.

A spokesman for the BBC said: "We note and accept the findings of the Editorial Standards Committee.

"The intention of this “Horrible Histories” sketch was never to undermine the reputation of such an important historical figure like Florence Nightingale, but to open up a discussion of some of the attitudes of the time.

"The Learning Zone has withdrawn the sketch from their website and the episode of Horrible Histories will not be repeated in its present form."

SOURCE





Amusing:  An atheist church

Will we have atheist hospitals and charities soon too?

September 28th was a very a special day. On September 28th 35 towns across the world launched new Sunday Assemblies. What’s amazing is that the figure stood at 33 on Monday, but then we heard Budapest and Utrecht were starting too. Nearly three dozen towns around the world, including in the U.S. and France, launched their first “Sunday Assembly,” also known as the atheist church, on Sunday.

Assemblies are kicking off in the UK (7), the US (16), Belgium (1), Netherlands (4), New Zealand (1), Canada (2), France (1), Hungary (1) and Germany (2). Our 28 existing Assemblies welcome these new congregations to the Sunday Assembly family. Thanks for joining our mission to build radically inclusive communities that help everyone find and fulfil their full potential.

The Guardian reported on Sunday that the meeting in France had a “festive atmosphere” and featured a message of joy to about 130 Parisians who gathered. The hour-long event, modeled not unlike religious church gatherings, included sing-alongs, a party game, and a moment of silent reflection before coffee was served.

And the world certainly needs more community: social isolation and loneliness are on the rise with 40% of US adults say they are lonely compared to 20% in the 80s and 1 in 10 UK adults say they have no close friends. This has massive effects on society, and on the health of society with studies showing that loneliness has comparable impacts on your health as smoking and obesity, it impairs immune function and boosts inflammation and can contribute to arthritis, type II diabetes and heart disease.

The Sunday Assembly is proud to fight this decline in sociability with communities powered by karaoke, kindness and cake. If you want to come along to your local Assembly, you can find them below.

Belgium: Brussels; Canada: Toronto, Ottawa; France: Paris; Germany: Berlin, Hamburg; Hungary: Budapest; Netherlands: Amsterdam, Apeldoorn, Rotterdam, Utrecht; New Zealand: Christchurch; UK Bournemouth, Glasgow, Lancaster, Norwich, Southampton, Swansea

US: Baltimore & Howard County, Bellingham, Bloomington, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus OH, Denver, Detroit,Madison, Minneapolis/St.Paul, Phoenix. Pittsburgh, Rochester, Sacramento, Tulsa, Washington DC.

If you can’t find them here, then sign up on our Expression of Interest Form, on our website and we’ll help you start one, like we helped these folk. Thanks to everyone who is involved in the Sunday Assembly, whether you have started one yourself, attend regularly, support us online or just say nice things about us behind our backs. Thank you all. Together we are building something that will help an awful lot of people, for a very long time.

SOURCE







RSPCA should stop prosecuting hunting and animal cruelty, report finds

Their donations have slipped badly after they spent great amounts of charity money on political prosecutions

The RSPCA should no longer prosecute hunting and animal cruelty suspects to prevent further damage to the charity’s reputation in light of high-profile failed court cases, an independent report argues.

The charity operates in an “unstructured and haphazard” way that damages public confidence and lacks transparency and accountability, the report, published Wednesday, says.

Accusations that the charity had become too politicised – following a series of controversial prosecutions - led the charity last year to commission Stephen Wooler, a former Crown Prosecution Service investigator, to write the report.

Mr Wooler recommends that hunting prosecutions should largely be handed over to police and the CPS, with the RSPCA only pursuing cases where other bodies fail to act.

Other RSPCA prosecutions should also be curtailed to avoid “conflict with commercial and campaigning activities”, The Times reported the review as saying.

Currently the RSPCA is responsible for 80 per cent of animal prosecutions in England and Wales, with 1,600 people taken to court last year.

But Mr Wooler says that this should stop to avoid such conflicts as well as overlaps with the role of public bodies. It also recommends that its prosecutions should be supervised by the Attorney-General's Department, with inspectors' actions goverened by statute.

Four out of five attempts by the RSPCA to prosecute hunts failed, a study found, costing taxpayers at least £70,000. And last year a judge criticised the charity for wasting court time after a hunting prosecution was called off at the last minute.

Mike Tomlinson, chairman of the RSPCA, said: “We are determined to ensure that we operate an enforcement process fit for the 21st century. The public and the animals deserve no less.”

SOURCE





Innocent people accused of sex crimes could be granted anonymity, Chris Grayling suggests

About time.  This is mere justice

People accused of sex crimes could be granted anonymity to stop their reputations being ruined if they are innocent.

Chris Grayling, the Justice secretary, told an audience at the Tory party conference in Birmingham that he would consider changing the law “very carefully”.

It comes after a number of public figures like the entertainers Freddie Starr and Jimmy Tarbuck were found not charged after long running police investigations into alleged sexual offences.

The Justice secretary was asked about whether people who were accused of sex allegations should be allowed to remain anonymous before any charges are brought, or a trial starts.

Speaking at a Telegraph fringe meeting, Mr Grayling said: “There are strong arguments on both sides – it is a really difficult issue.

“We have not decided to make a change – it is something that I continually think about and will continue to look at and consider very carefully.”

Mr Grayling said that the issue was a “very difficult one” with “arguments for and arguments against”.

He continued: “Sometimes the publicity around the case leads to justice being done because other people have come forward and said ‘it happened to me too’, when that might not otherwise have been the case.

“Sometimes we end up with people who end up being found not guilty and having their reputations besmirched publicly. “

In March, the comedian Jimmy Tarbuck was told he will not face historic sex abuse charges.

The 74-year-old entertainer, was initially arrested in April last year by North Yorkshire Police over allegations that he had assaulted a young boy in Harrogate in the 1970s, but was later investigated over claims relating to six alleged victims.

In May, Freddie Starr, the veteran comedian, who learnt he will not be prosecuted over sex allegations after spending 18 months on bail.

Nigel Evans MP, who was cleared by a jury of sex attacks on men this year, said: “I am pleased that Chris Grayling is acknowledging the stress and torture that falsely accused people go through.

“Freddie Starr aged enormously by being accused. By changing the law we would give the same protections to the accused that the accuser gets, and gets for life.”

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 October, 2014

Ten Percent Is Not Enough

The black/white experiment has failed.

For almost 150 years the United States has been conducting an experiment. The subjects of the experiment: black people and working-class whites. The hypothesis to be tested: Can a people taken from the jungles of Africa and forced into slavery be fully integrated as citizens in a majority white population?

The whites were descendants of Europeans who had created a majestic civilization. The former slaves had been tribal peoples with no written language and virtually no intellectual achievements. Acting on a policy that was not fair to either group, the government released newly freed black people into a white society that saw them as inferiors. America has struggled with racial discord ever since.

Decade after decade the problems persisted but the experimenters never gave up. They insisted that if they could find the right formula the experiment would work, and concocted program after program to get the result they wanted. They created the Freedman’s Bureau, passed civil rights laws, tried to build the Great Society, declared War on Poverty, ordered race preferences, built housing projects, and tried midnight basketball. Their new laws intruded into people’s lives in ways that would have been otherwise unthinkable. They called in National Guard troops to enforce school integration. They outlawed freedom of association. Over the protests of parents, they put white children on buses and sent them to black schools and vice versa. They tried with money, special programs, relaxed standards, and endless handwringing to close the “achievement gap.” To keep white backlash in check they began punishing public and even private statements on race. They hung up Orwellian public banners that commanded whites to “Celebrate Diversity!” and “Say No To Racism.” Nothing was off limits if it might salvage the experiment.

Some thought that what W.E.B. Du Bois called the Talented Tenth would lead the way for black people. A group of elite, educated blacks would knock down doors of opportunity and show the world what blacks were capable of. There is a Talented Tenth. They are the black Americans who have become entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors and scientists. But ten percent is not enough. For the experiment to work, the ten percent has to be followed by a critical mass of people who can hold middle-class jobs and promote social stability. That is what is missing. Through the years, too many black people continue to show an inability to function and prosper in a culture unsuited to them.

Detroit is bankrupt, the south side of Chicago is a war zone, and majority-black cities all over America are beset by degeneracy and violence. And blacks never take responsibility for their failures. Instead, they lash out in anger and resentment. Across the generations and across the country, as we have seen in Detroit, Watts, Newark, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and now Ferguson, rioting and looting are just one racial incident away.

The white elite would tell us that this doesn’t mean the experiment has failed. We just have to try harder. We need more money, more time, more understanding, more programs, more opportunities. But nothing changes no matter how much money is spent, no matter how many laws are passed, no matter how many black geniuses are portrayed on TV, and no matter who is president.

Some argue it’s a problem of “culture,” as if culture creates people’s behavior instead of the other way around. Others blame “white privilege.” But since 1965, when the elites opened America’s doors to the Third World, immigrants from Asia and India–people who are not white, not rich, and not “connected”–have quietly succeeded. While the children of these people are winning spelling bees and getting top scores on the SAT, black “youths” are committing half the country’s violent crime–crime, which includes viciously punching random white people on the street for the thrill of it, that has nothing to do with poverty.

The experiment has failed. Not because of culture, or white privilege, or racism. The fundamental problem is that white people and black people are different. They differ intellectually and temperamentally. These differences result in permanent social incompatibility.

Our rulers don’t seem to understand just how tired their white subjects are with this experiment. They don’t understand that white people aren’t out to get black people; they are just exhausted with them. They are exhausted by the social pathologies, the violence, the endless complaints, the blind racial solidarity, the bottomless pit of grievances, the excuses, the reflexive animosity. The elites explain everything with “racism,” and refuse to believe that white frustration could soon reach the boiling point.

They will be the only ones who are surprised when real revolution comes to the United States, and that it is white people who lead the revolt.

SOURCE





Maher Rips Liberals Over Islam: "If We're Giving No Quarter To Intolerance, Shouldn't We Start With Honor Killers?"

BILL MAHER: President Obama keeps insisting that's ISIS is not Islamic. Well, maybe they don't practice the Muslim faith the same way he does. But if vast numbers of Muslims across the world believe, and they do, that humans deserve to die for merely holding a different idea or drawing a cartoon or writing a book or eloping with the wrong person, not only does the Muslim world have something in common with ISIS, it has too much in common with ISIS.

There's so much talk -- you can applaud -- there's so much talk about wiping out ISIS. You can't, not with bombs. You can only expose that something is a bad idea like extended warranties. Cultures are different. It's okay to judge that rule of law isn't just different than theocracy, it's better. If you don't see that, you're either a religious fanatic or a masochist, but one thing you certainly are not is a liberal.

To count yourself as a liberal, you have to stand up for liberal principles. Free speech, separation of church and state, freedom to practice any religion or no religion without the threat of violence. Respect for minorities including homosexuals, equality for women. It amazes me how here in America we go nuts over the tiniest violations of these values while gross atrocities are ignored across the world.

Jonah Hill yells "suck my dick faggot" at the paparazzi and an entire nation goes into Twitter outrage until he is forced to perform that most debasing of acts -- the talk show apology tour. Meanwhile, in 10 countries actually sucking a dick can get you stoned, and not a good way.

We hear a lot about the Republican war on women. It's not cool. Rush Limbaugh called somebody a slut. Okay. But Saudi women can't vote or drive or hold a job or leave the house without a man. Overwhelming majorities in every Muslim country say a wife is always obliged to obey her husband. That all seems like a bigger issue than an evangelical Christian bakery refusing to make gay wedding cakes.

Ninety-one percent of Egyptian women have had their clitorises removed; 98% of Somalian women have. Ayaan Hirsi Ali grew up in Somalia and was one of them. She was scheduled to speak at Yale last week but the school's atheist organization, my people, complained that she "did no represent a totality of the ex-Muslim experience." Meaning what? That women like mutilation? You're atheists. You should be attacking religion, not siding with people who hold women down and violate them which apparently you will defend in the name of multiculturalism and then lose your shit when someone refers to Chaz Bono by the wrong pronoun.

Donald Sterling isn't allowed to own a team because he told his mistress not to post pictures with black guys. Okay. But if we're giving no quarter to intolerance, shouldn't we be starting the mutilators and the honor killers or will that divert us from the real problem that when Mel Gibson drinks he calls women sugar tits? That's our show.

SOURCE






The Fate of Free Speech

Yesterday, I came back to London from Winchester, where I was at a conference about “threats to free speech.”  We’ll be publishing edited versions of the papers this winter in The New Criterion. In the meantime, I wanted to underscore the oddity of our topic.  “Threats to free speech”?  Haven’t we waged, and won, that battle?  After all, this is the 21st century. Areopagitica,  “a speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing, to the Parlament of England,” was published in 1644.  The First  Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution in the 18th century. And then there have been all those later battles — over Ulysses, for example, as well as over other, less edifying publications – that extended the domain of permissible speech. Not only could you criticize your senator or your president with impunity, but you could print and circulate material that, a few scant decades ago, would have earned you the avid attention of such entities as the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.

How quaint the name of that organization sounds.  How much more enlightened and sophisticated we are.  We scoff at societies for the “prevention of vice.” As a society, we’re beyond all that — or are we?

In fact, free speech is like other freedoms: its victory is never permanent. Every generation must work anew to win or at least maintain it.  As André Gide once put it, “Toutes choses sont dites déjà, mais comme personne n’écoute, il faut toujours recommencer.” The hard truth is that, with the exception of certain modalities of sexually explicit material, speech is much less free today than it was fifty or a hundred years ago.

What are the major threats to free speech today? Perhaps the overarching condition that threatens free speech is the spread of political correctness. This has sharply curtailed candor about all manner of contentious subjects.  It is no longer possible, in polite society, to speak frankly about race, about differences between the sexes, or a hundred other topics — so-called “climate change,” for example, or the relationship between Islam and free speech.

It is extraordinary, is it not, that various Islamic groups, often with the collusion of Western politicians, including Hillary Clinton, are proposing to resurrect blasphemy laws , making it illegal — illegal —  to “insult” Mohammed or criticize Islam? The end of their efforts is a “global censorship regime.”  We’re not there yet, not quite, but we’re well on the road.  One sign of the success of this campaign is the systematic reluctance of Western leaders to describe Islamic terrorism as, well, Islamic terrorism.  The activities of the Islamic State, for example, are roundly, and fearfully, condemned, but in the next breath their homicidal savagery is delicately distinguished from Islam.  They’re “not Muslims but monsters,” said Prime Minister David Cameron after “jihad John” beheaded a Brit, but a more candid man would have noted that the members of ISIS are monsters as well as Muslims.

It’s the same or worse in America, alas. After 9/11, President Bush assured the world that Islam was a religion of “peace,” ignoring the inconvenient fact that Islamic peace can be vouchsafed only when the entire world has been converted to that barbaric faith. At the end of the day, the options for non-Muslims are three: conversion, slavery (“dhimmitude”), or death. Which makes perfect sense in a religion whose very name means “submission.”

SOURCE






UK: KFC customer refused hand-wipe to avoid offending Muslims

More absurd self-subjugation in Deranged Britannia. The local Muslim groups haven’t even demanded this; KFC just did it preemptively. Isn’t assuming that Muslims will grow enraged over alcohol-based hand-wipes a kind of “Islamophobia”?

“Leicester KFC customer shocked as he is refused hand-wipe because of branch’s halal policy,” by Yasmin Duffin, Leicester Mercury, September 28, 2014 (thanks to Stu):

A customer at a Leicester branch of KFC has said he was “shocked” when he was refused a hand-wipe as it might offend other restaurant-goers.

Graham Noakes, 41, said he was astonished when staff at the fast food chain’s outlet in St George’s retail park refused to give him a hand-wipe because it was against its Halal policy.

Staff said this was because the wipes are soaked in an alcohol-infused liquid. Alcohol is forbidden in the Muslim Holy book, the Quran.

The Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations has called the decision “bizarre”.

Graham said: “They told me it might offend other customers.

“I explained that it wouldn’t affect me. In fact – I told them I like alcohol, so it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.  “When they wouldn’t give me one, I was disgusted.  “I will never be going to KFC again.”

The father-of-two added: “I’ve never experienced anything like this before, I couldn’t believe it.  “Why shouldn’t I be allowed a wipe for my hands?  “They use wipes in hospital, what happens when we start being told we can’t have wipes there? “I just can’t understand it.”

Graham, who lives in Birmingham, is working in Leicester on the construction of a new Muslim community centre in Highfields.

Halal is the Arabic word for ‘lawful’ and relates to what is allowed in the context of Islamic law, but is often used in conjunction with the issue of how meat is dealt with.

Suleman Nagdi, spokesman for the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations, said: “I know alcohol is prohibited in the Muslim community, but I don’t understand why you can’t use hand-wipes – there’s nothing wrong with it.

“Using alcohol doesn’t mean you’re consuming it.  “It seems like an unusual decision to be made.  “In fact, it sounds bizarre.”

Suleman said such decisions potentially provoked some people to start “lashing out” at the Muslim community. “I’ve never come across anything like this before,” he added.  “KFC have made a commercial decision to do this, and now the Muslim community will face backlash.”

So pandering will supposedly cause backlash against Muslims, and not pandering will cause backlash from Muslims. What to do?

A KFC spokesman said the company had been running a halal trial since 2010, in “areas where there has been demand from our customers”, such as the restaurant in St George’s Retail Park.

He said that as a result “a small number of products from our usual menu are not available”, and in addition the St George’s branch had decided not to stock wet wipes that contain alcohol”.

The Mercury understands that the branch is waiting for its stock of alcohol-based wipes to be replaced with lemon-based wipes.

The spokesman added: “Wherever possible, we have taken steps to ensure that our halal restaurants are close to a non-halal store to cater to all of our customers’ needs, and, in this case, customers wanting a non-halal option can visit our nearby restaurant in Braunstone.”

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


BIO for John Ray


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Consider two "jokes" below:

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

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

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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




Index page for this site


DETAILS OF REGULARLY UPDATED BLOGS BY JOHN RAY:

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"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"


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"
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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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