The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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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.


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.


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?


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.



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


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.'


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!


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.


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.



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

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

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


12 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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


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.


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.


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.


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."



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

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

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


9 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.'


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.


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.


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.



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”.


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.


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.”


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.



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.”


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.'


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.”


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.



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

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

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


6 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.


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.


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.”


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?



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

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

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


5 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.


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.’


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.


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.



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

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

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


3 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.'


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.


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.


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.



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

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

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


2 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."


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.


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.”


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.”



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

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

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


1 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.


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.


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.”


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.”



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

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

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


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

BIO for John Ray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider two "jokes" below:

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

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

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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