Friday, August 22, 2014

Bullying husbands face jail under new British proposals

What about bullying wives?  There are plenty of them

HUSBANDS who keep their wives downtrodden could face prison under new plans set out by the Government today. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, published proposals for a new offence of “domestic abuse” designed to criminalise men who bully, cause psychological harm or deny money to their partners.

The law would make the worst cases of non-violent “controlling behaviour” a jailable offence.

Exact terms of the offence are yet to be defined, but it could involve humiliating, frightening or intimidating a partner, keeping them away from friends or family or restricting their access to money.

A 15-page consultation document issued by the Home Officethat there would have to be a “pattern” of abuse to trigger a prosecution.

It comes after the Government unveiled a “Cinderella” law earlier this year which will see parents who starve their children of love and affection being prosecuted for “emotional cruelty”.

Both proposed offences mark a significant incursion by the State into what have previously been regarded as private affairs.

Mrs May said she was clear that domestic abuse was “not just about violence”. “Within every community there are people living in fear of those closest to them,” she said.

“The terrifying reality is that for the most part these appalling crimes happen behind closed doors. We must bring domestic abuse out into the open and send a clear message that it is wrong to put your partner or your family in fear.”

Although the new domestic abuse offence is mainly designed to protect wives and girlfriends from male partners who intimidate them, it will apply equally to men being targeted by women. The Home Office said 16 per cent of men admit to being victims of domestic abuse during their lifetimes compared with 30 per cent of women, according to research.

Women’s Aid, one of the groups working with the Home Office on the proposals, highlighted the case of a mother-of-two whose abusive marriage illustrated the kind of relationship that could be covered by the law.

She suffered years of psychological abuse from her husband who, she said, would “put me down”, hide her possessions and “scream” at her if she came home late.

“I wasn’t allowed any money for myself,” she said. “He would spend £200 a week at a strip club; I had to give a comprehensive budget of everything I was spending.”

In a separate case highlighted by Rachel Horman, a solicitor who specialises in domestic abuse cases, a woman was woken in the night by her husband, who had been drinking.

He ordered her to go to the garage to buy cigarettes for him, and to bring a receipt to show how much of his money she had spent.

When she returned without the receipt, he shouted obscenities at her and ordered her to get on her knees to beg his forgiveness, which she did immediately to avoid being hit.

The consultation paper acknowledged that domestic abuse was already partly covered by stalking and harassment laws, but it said a new offence might be necessary because some experts had argued that “the law is ambiguous and perpetrators are … not being brought to justice”.

A new offence would strengthen protection for people in relationships with each other, and could also cover abuse between family members and ex-partners. The consultation, which is open for eight weeks, defines domestic abuse as “a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim”.

A Home Office spokesman said the crime would be prosecuted “along the same lines” as anti-stalking and harassment offences. Under those laws, there must have been at least two occasions when the victim was caused distress.

She added that the worst cases of domestic abuse, where there was  intimidation “over a long period of time”, would carry a jail term, although no maximum sentences had yet been drawn up.

Less serious examples are likely to be dealt with by community orders or fines.

The number of domestic abuse cases referred by police for prosecution reached a record high of 103,500 last year.

Conviction rates for this type of crime have increased from just under 60 per cent in 2005-06 to nearly 75 per cent in 2013-14, according to the Home Office. Polly Neate, the chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “This is a vital step forward for victims of domestic violence.

“Two women a week are killed by domestic violence, and in our experience of working with survivors, coercive controlling behaviour is at the heart of the most dangerous abuse.”

Prof David Wilson, a criminologist at Birmingham City University, supported the move, but warned that the new offence could pose initial legal problems.

“The dividing line between abuse and criminality is often one that is difficult to measure,” he said.

Peter Lodder QC, a criminal barrister, added: “The law can be a blunt instrument and if you are talking about how people conduct their private lives the criminal law is not always the best way to control that.

“Extreme cases may be obvious but the difficulty may come with where one draws the line."


Tony Martin, 15 years on: I don't want to go back there because it could happen again

Tony Martin, the farmer jailed for shooting dead a teenage burglar, is yet to return home 15 years after the incident and has been sleeping rough in his car.

Mr Martin, now 69, said he did not want to go back to his Norfolk farmhouse – called Bleak House – in case he was burgled again. He said he would not hesitate to do the same again if he was and did not want to go back to prison.

"If I was in Bleak House again and someone came in there then I'm not going to just stand there and let him hurt me. I'm going to act,” he said.

“That's one of the reasons I don't want to go back there because it could happen again. I don't relish the idea of going back in there, getting arrested and going to prison again,” he added.

After the shooting, on August 20, 1999, the farmhouse – left to him by an uncle – was boarded up with sheet metal and has remained that way ever since.

Mr Martin said he said he doubted he would ever return. He refused to say where he was living but said he had been staying with friends, in a hotel and in his car.

His friends and supporters have urged him to sell the farm and its land, thought to be worth in the region of £3 million, and live a "more comfortable existence" but he has refused.

"The whole thing that happened to me in simple terms is preposterous. I don't think I'll ever go back and live at Bleak House,” he said.

"I wouldn't call this place a home anymore, it is just a place to visit. It is a time that place forgot.  "I looked at it last night and it is encased in steel and flooded with water. It looks like the Everglades.

"I just live anywhere, I sleep anywhere. If I go up north to a farm show then I will just stay in my car.  "I live a little bit like Bonnie Prince Charlie and go from place to place. I have very kind friends."

Mr Martin, a bachelor, was convicted of murder and jailed for life in April 2000 for killing 16 year-old Fred Barras and seriously injuring his accomplice, Brendon Fearon, then 28.

His sentence was later reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after a psychiatrist said he had paranoid personality disorder, probably made worse by an earlier invasion of his property by burglars, and he was released from prison in 2003 having served three years.

The incident provoked a fierce debate over the right of homeowners to defend themselves and their property and led to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) releasing new guidelines stating that a householder could use "reasonable force" to protect themselves against crime.

But Mr Martin said he did not think the guidelines went far enough, and that guns should be legalised in the UK.

"I would definitely do something to legalise guns and give people the right to protect themselves,” said Mr Martin, who allegedly received death threats from people wanting to “seek revenge” after the shooting.

"You certainly need to be safe in your own house with impunity. If somebody breaks into your house has to be considered the extreme and if it is not then god help us.”

Speaking about the case of Paul Kohler, the businessman and academic who was set upon by a masked gang when he answered the door to his home in Wimbledon last week, Mr Martin said: “If they had something like a gun in that house they could have picked it up and things would have been different.

"I think it is just hypocrisy that a man can't go to any length to protect himself and his own ….”

Fearon and Barras - who was from the travellers’ community, both had a string of previous convictions. They had travelled from Newark in Nottinghamshire to the farmhouse in Emneth Hungate with the intention of stealing antiques.

Mr Martin, who was said to be living in fear after a burglary three months earlier, shot them with an unlicensed Winchester pump action shotgun.

During his murder trial, the court heard that Mr Martin was well known in the area for his outspoken views on criminals particularly travellers, and lived an unconventional life in his ramshackle farmhouse, which was lit with just two lights.

He told the court he fired in the darkness from halfway down the stairs into his breakfast room after a torch was shone into his eyes, insisting he was acting in self-defence.

The prosecution, however, persuaded the jury that Mr Martin had lain in wait for the burglars and shot them in cold blood.

Malcolm Starr, who who led protests to downgrade Mr Martin's murder conviction said: "We keep on at him to do so [sell his farm] because Tony is sat on 300 prime acres in the area, and he isn't getting any younger.

"Tony would benefit from living a cosier, more comfortable existence."


New plan to end secrecy in British family courts

Crucial steps towards ending secrecy in the family courts have been set out by a leading judge as he published proposals to open cases to the public for the first time.

Sir James Munby, president of the High Court’s family division, said he was seeking “preliminary views” on allowing the public to attend divorces and other types of case involving family matters such as child custody hearings.

The judge said opening the courts was a key part of his “transparency agenda” which aims to open the court’s often controversial work to greater public scrutiny.

He also proposed a number of measures designed to make it easier for the Press to report on family hearings, including giving access to case summaries and other documents.

“The public has a legitimate interest in being able to read what is being done by the judges in its name,” said Sir James.

The family courts have seen a number of controversies over decisions being taken in secret.

Last December the Telegraph disclosed how Alessandra Pacchieri, an Italian who suffers from a bipolar condition, was taken into hospital while visiting England and sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

In a hearing which took place behind closed doors at the Court of Protection, a judge granted permission for doctors to forcibly remove her unborn child, a girl, who was put into foster care almost immediately.

Miss Pacchieri’s case was later described by Sir James as a “final, stark and irrefutable demonstration of the pressing need for radical changes” in the family courts and the Court of Protection.

Earlier in 2013 it had emerged that Wanda Maddocks, 50, was jailed "in secret" for contempt for disobeying court orders relating to care for her 80-year-old father, who was suffering from dementia.

In the new proposals from Sir James, he said: “I am seeking preliminary, pre-consultation views about the possible hearing in public of certain types of family case.

“I am likely to propose that if the matter proceeds at all, it will initially be by way of a pilot.”

He asked for views on which types of family case might be appropriate for public hearings, what “restrictions and safeguards” would be required and what form a pilot scheme might take.

Granting the media the right to obtain copies of certain types of documents would “assist them in performing their watchdog role”, he added.

Key words might also be added to case numbers to assist reporters in identifying important cases, Sir James added.

Currently, family cases are listed in court only by an alpha-numeric code which conveys no detail about what the case is about.


Bridal Shop Bullied For Not Participating in Lesbian Wedding

The Christian owners of a bridal boutique in Pennsylvania who refused to make wedding gowns for two lesbians and bridesmaids dresses for their cross-dressing groomsmen were bullied for sticking to their religious beliefs.

Al Luschas, an attorney representing Victoria and Thomas Miller - proprietors of W.W. Bridal Boutique, which has been family owned and operated for two decades in Bloomsburg, Penn. - said they were victims of “very vicious attacks across the board” even though they did nothing illegal.

The attacks included “very, very nasty telephone messages in which people said ‘I hope you get raped,’ or ‘I hope your children get raped,’ and a whole series of violet threats,” Luschas told

In addition to the verbal threats, Luschas added, some people posted “false bad reviews online.”

“Their website was also hacked by a group, which posted on their website that they had gone out of business. Two local news stations then broadcast that they had gone out of business, so they were fielding frantic calls from girls who had ordered wedding dresses. It’s been a difficult time for these people,” he said.

According to the shop's website, customers can now be seen "by appointment only."

Luschas, who noted that the Millers have been “instructed not to comment,” declined to say whether the couple intends to pursue legal action.

However, a town spokeswoman told that the Bloomsburg Town Council’s Commerce and Economic Development Committee will meet on August 26th to discuss a proposed ordinance that Luschas says would “make any discrimination against gays and lesbians illegal.”

In a Facebook post, a woman identified as G. Andrea Shay said that she had called the shop to schedule an appointment to order two wedding dresses as well as “dresses for the groomsmen.”

“I was put on hold for about 5 minutes so the lady could get her appointment book. She took me off hold and said unfortunately she would not be able to schedule an appointment for us because they currently do not service same sex couples and it’s just not something they do,” Shay reportedly said in a Facebook post.

Calling the shop “strange and rude,” she added:

"My husband and I tried to give W. W. Bridal our business, but when the management found out that we needed to order a wedding gown for my husband, and dresses for the groomsmen, they would not allow us to order from them claiming that such a thing would 'Break God's Law.' So they do not want money from people who enjoy cross-dressing. They insisted that we 'Must be gay,' since we wear clothing of the opposite sex. Very strange and rude management."

In a statement to the local newspaper, Thomas Miller, Jr. said that the shop had inadvertently accepted a prior order for a wedding dress from a same-sex couple in June.

“We faced the gay marriage issue knowingly for the first time in June of this year, when one of our employees accepted a wedding dress order from a gay couple.  When we realized what had happened, we decided that we had an obligation to follow through for them,” Miller wrote. “We will complete the order we received in June or provide a full refund.  The choice is theirs.  W.W. Bridal has never failed to honor a commitment.

“But, now we had to decide whether or not our conscience and faith would allow us to participate in future gay and lesbian weddings. To be clear, our objection is not at all directed to gays or lesbians as individuals.  We will sell our products to gay individuals.  It is our participation in the marital process between same sex couples which we concluded to be a violation of a sacred tenant of our religious faith, which is that a marriage is a commitment between a male and a female.“

“The gay and lesbian community has won a hard-fought battle to protect their liberty and rights to pursue happiness.  But, does that give gay activists the right to take our liberty and to restrain our right to pursue our religious faith as we see fit?” Miller asked.



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


Thursday, August 21, 2014

British Prime Minister: No Freedom of Speech for ISIS Sympathizers

Britain already greatly restricts speech

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Sunday that the United Kingdom (UK) is cracking down on the speech and activities of sympathizers of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)--also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

In an oped, Camerson said the group represents a "poisonous extremism" that poses "a clear danger to Europe and to our security."

“If people are walking around with ISIL flags or trying to recruit people to their terrorist cause, they will be arrested and their materials will be seized,” Cameron wrote in The Telegraph.

“We are a tolerant people, but no tolerance should allow the room for this sort of poisonous extremism in our country,” he added.

“The creation of an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and extending into Syria is not a problem miles away from home,” Cameron emphasized in his column. “Nor is it a problem that should be defined by a war 10 years ago. It is our concern here and now.

"Because if we do not act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement, it will only grow stronger until it can target us on the streets of Britain.”

Cameron’s remarks follow increasing instances of recruitment attempts by ISIL (also known as the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State) in the UK. Last week, leaflets were being handed out on Oxford Street in London encouraging British Muslims to join ISIL in jihad in Iraq. An ISIL flag was also recently flown at a housing project in East London.

“Here in Britain we have recently introduced stronger powers through our Immigration Act to deprive naturalised Britons of their citizenship if they are suspected of being involved in terrorist activities,” Cameron noted in the oped,

“We have taken down 28,000 pieces of terrorist-related material from the web, including 46 ISIL-related videos. And I have also discussed the police response to this growing threat of extremism with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. The position is clear.”

The exact number of British ISIL recruits is not known.

However, "Fran├žois Hollande, the French president, told a press conference [in January] that up to 700 Britons were in the Middle Eastern country,” while the British government “stood by estimates that 350 Britons are fighting in Syria,” The Telegraph reported in January.

“A humanitarian response alone is not enough,” Cameron added in his oped. “We also need a broader political, diplomatic and security response. For that, we must understand the true nature of the threat we face.

"We should be clear: this is not the 'War on Terror', nor is it a war of religions. It is a struggle for decency, tolerance and moderation in our modern world. It is a battle against a poisonous ideology that is condemned by all faiths and by all faith leaders, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim.”

Cameron also outlined recent steps the UK has taken to stop ISIL.

“On Friday we agreed with our European partners that we will provide equipment directly to the Kurdish forces; we are now identifying what we might supply, from body armour to specialist counter-explosive equipment. We have also secured a United Nations Security Council resolution to disrupt the flows of finance to ISIL, sanction those who are seeking to recruit for it and encourage countries to do all they can to prevent foreign fighters joining the extremist cause.”

“This is a clear danger to Europe and to our security,” the prime minister concluded. “It is a daunting challenge. But it is not an invincible one, as long as we are now ready and able to summon up the political will to defend our own values and way of life with the same determination, courage and tenacity as we have faced danger before in our history. That is how much is at stake here: we have no choice but to rise to the challenge.”

Cameron penned the column after receiving a letter on  Saturday from Nicholas Baines, the Bishop of Leeds, asking the prime minister: “What is the overall strategy that holds together the UK Government’s response to both the humanitarian situation and what IS is actually doing in Syria and Iraq?

“Behind this question is the serious concern that we do not seem to have a coherent or comprehensive approach to Islamist extremism as it is developing across the globe,” said the bishop, whose letter was supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishop Leeds also mentioned “the plight of tens of thousands of Christians who have been displaced,” asking if the British government had “a coherent response to the plight of these huge numbers of Christians whose plight appears to be less regarded than that of others?”


Feminism and Pop Culture Wage War Against Fathers

There are many issues modern society and culture face today, many of which are troubling and threaten to undermine our Liberty, values and way of life. Our culture is in a state of flux, in a battle of ideas between those who defend traditional values and those who believe their ideas are better than those of our ancestors. The traditional family of a father and mother, who together raise their children to be good citizens, is at the heart of civil society, but it’s also under constant assault.

In the family structure, the father is of utmost importance, as he is the head of household whose role, among others, is to be the provider, protector and principled leader for his family. This sounds a bit old fashioned, but it has worked for centuries. Yet despite the evidence of fathers being a crucial aspect of the family, our culture is pushing them out at the behest of feminists, pop culture elitists and many within the media.

Take for example recent comments made by pop singer Katy Perry. She told Rolling Stone, “I don’t need a dude” to have and raise a baby. Surely she can’t be serious. It would be scientifically impossible for her to have a baby without “a dude” regardless of whether she was in a relationship, or visited a sperm bank. Whichever direction she chooses, she will need “a dude.”

This scientific truth suggests that a man is needed to be there for the child. Presumably, she doesn’t need a man after she has a baby – that is, she doesn’t need a father to help raise her baby. Certainly because of her wealth and fame, she could provide material needs for her baby, and pay others to raise her child while she’s on tour. But why not marry a man who can be the father of her child? Perry was raised by a mother and a father, yet apparently she has bought into the idea that wealth can “make up for the flesh-and-blood influence of a loving father.”

Katy Perry may have all the money she needs, but that’s not true for most single moms. Statistics from the Heritage Foundation show that children raised in married homes are “82 percent less likely to be poor than children in single parent homes.” For the sake of the children’s future, both parents are necessary.

Perry’s assertion that she doesn’t need a father for her child no doubt has many feminists cheering. Feminists have for some time insisted that men are expendable and useless idiots. They suggest that men are oppressors of women, and that masculinity is a thing of the past. They want birth control to be paid for by society, which is a bit ironic seeing how it takes a man for them to even need birth control in the first place.

Feminists and various celebrities have done considerable damage to the family structure. Television sitcoms such as The Simpsons, Family Guy and Modern Family, to name a few, make a mockery of doltish men in every episode, and, therefore, these shows significantly downplay the role of the father in the family. The message these shows are sending is that fathers are unimportant, are often the cause of dysfunction, and at best what they say and do is silly.

With the assault on the family today, fathers have a more critical role in the family than in previous years. With the direction our culture is heading, and the determination of some to purposefully tear down the family structure, the responsibility of the father has increased. No one questions the importance of mothers, but fathers need more than ever to be involved in the lives of their children, to give them the support they need, to be there when they are afraid, to guide them in the path they should go. Fathers need to discipline their children, correct them when they do wrong, and praise them when they do right. Fathers should still provide for their families, they should show love and compassion for their spouse and their children. They need to be courageous, unshakable in their faith and principles, and they should be proud of their masculinity because that is the way they are created.

Fathers can’t sit back and assume all is well. They need to pay attention to what is going on in our culture and do something about it. They should start with their own families, and then provide the support and encouragement to fathers whom they know are struggling. Above all, the father should not quit, should not give up and should not give in. The stakes for the future of our country are too high.


Grandparents are key to our prosperity

David Cameron wants to recognise grandparents' contribution to raising the future generation. He is right: Granny is key to our well-being. Helping grandparents is a display of enlightened Government action.

This Coalition has ignored the family for too long. It has penalised stay-at-home mothers — at their peril, as Nick Clegg discovered during one of his radio shows. It has tried to erase the distinction between marriage as a religious union and a secular institution. The result is that the Conservatives' reputation as the family-friendly party has been rubbished.

Cameron fears he may pay for this negligence at the election: and it is to woo the grey vote that the PM now pledges perks and privileges to the more than 200,000 grandparents in the UK who are stepping in to help raise grandchildren. Having whipped up their hostility with previous moves — remember the outcry over the granny tax, which had Dame Joan Bakewell spitting? — Dave hopes to smooth those ruffled (if now sparse) feathers.

But supporting grandparents' links with their progeny and their children will boost more than granny and grandpa. It will help build what sociologists and economists call social capital — good, old-fashioned relationships based on trust and loyalty. These are fundamental to prosperity, as Robert Putnam suggested in his 2000 classic "Bowling Alone". His words have been proved right: the latest Prosperity Index shows that when a nation's social capital is eroded, as has been true of Italy and France in the last few years, the country's economy struggles. Investors, like everyone else, prefer a community where collaboration and cooperation thrive.

An added bonus, from granny's point of view, is that those countries with a healthy social capital are also those where people live longest. Go, granny!


Anti-Semitism and its limitations


Outside the US, throughout the Western world, anti-Semitism is becoming a powerful social and political force. And its power is beginning to have a significant impact on Israel's relations with other democracies.

Consider South Africa. Following a lopsided vote by the University of Cape Town's Student Union to boycott Israel, Jewish students fear that their own student union will be barred from operating on campus. Carla Frumer from the South African Jewish Student Union told The Times of Israel, "If they prove we are a Zionist organization and support Israel, they can have us banned and seek to de-register us."

In Sydney, Australia, Jewish families received a triple blow last week when Jewish children on a chartered school bus were assaulted by eight anti-Semitic drunken teenagers.

The first shock was that their children, some as young as five, were terrorized on their school bus.

The second shock was that the bus driver made an unscheduled stop to allow the anti-Semites to board the bus and harass the children.

The third shock was that after catching six of the eight assailants, the police let them out of jail the same evening.

Taken together, the incident revealed an obscene comfort level among Australian authorities with the terrorization of Jewish children. Jewish families cannot assume that their children will be protected by non-Jews, whether they are school bus drivers or the police.

Unfortunately, these stories do not begin to scratch the surface of the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the developed world. From Paris to San Paulo, from Berlin to Boston the public space Jews can enjoy without fear is becoming more and more limited.

The same is the case in leftist political circles.

Last week, Paul Estrin, the president of Canada's Green Party, was forced to resign for his pro-Israel views. On July 25, Estrin posted a pro-Israel essay on the party's website. His post caused a furor among the party faithful. The Green Party's leader, MP Elizabeth May, distanced herself from Estrin. And almost the entire party leadership denounced him and demanded his resignation.

In an essay published this week in the Canadian Jewish News, Estrin explained that he joined the party because he wanted to make a difference in the spheres of the environmental protection and human rights. He did not believe that working to achieve these goals in the Green Party would require him to disavow his support for Israel. His recent experience showed him that he was wrong.

In his words, "I am now convinced that one simply can't [support Israel] within the confines of Canada's Green Party."

Similar sentiments have been expressed in recent weeks by pro-Israel members of Britain's Labor Party. After party leader Ed Miliband sided with the majority of the party membership and against Israel in Operation Protective Edge, Kate Bearman, the former director of Labor Friends for Israel, published an article in the Jewish Chronicle announcing that she was quitting the Labor Party.

Bearman wrote, "I feel Ed Miliband's rush to a condemnation of Israel's ground incursion into Gaza gave me no choice but to say goodbye to the party I have always voted and campaigned for."

A survey of Britons taken at the end of last month by YouGov showed that 62 percent believed that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza. This includes 72% of Labor supporters and 57% of Conservatives.

In other words, nearly two-thirds of Britons believe that Israel has no right to defend itself. And since Israel is surrounded by forces that seek its destruction, we can extrapolate that nearly two-thirds of Britons would, at a minimum, have no problem with Israel being wiped off the map.

This rising political force of anti-Semitism is already impacting previously supportive governments' policies toward the Jewish state. Bowing to the anti-Israel positions of his Liberal-Democrat coalition partners, British Prime Minister David Cameron decided that arms exports to Israel will be suspended if Hamas continues its current round of war with Israel.

The primary engine propelling Western nation after Western nation to abandon their support for Israel and deny the protection of law to Jewish communities is the rising power of Muslim minority communities in these countries. As Douglas Murray explained in an essay published by the Gatestone Institute this week, when it comes to Israel and Jews, otherwise integrated, moderate Muslims in Europe are quick to join jihadists in denouncing Israel and rallying behind anti-Semitic curses and threats.

The unanimity of anti-Semitic prejudice among Muslim communities in the West, and its impact on the politics of Western nations, indicates that in the future, Western nations' polities toward Israel may have more in common with the positions of Sunni Arab states than with those of the US.

Since the dawn of modern Zionism more than a century ago, Arab societies have united around the cause of destroying Zionism as a political force and Israel as a physical entity. As a result, the default position of Arab governments has been to support Israel's destruction. They have advanced this goal through various means, including going to war against the Jewish state, supporting proxies and other irregular forces in their efforts to kill Jews and harm Israel, and using international organizations - first and foremost the United Nations - to institutionalize international anti-Semitism directed against the Jewish state and to criminalize Israel with the aim of expelling it from the international community.

In recent years, we have seen a gradual, quiet disassociation of various Sunni Arab regimes from the war against Israel as they viewed their interests as more aligned with Israel than with its battlefield foes.

The first time this occurred was during Hezbollah's war with Israel in 2006. In the opening weeks of the war, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were demonstrably excited at the prospect of an Israeli rout of Iran's proxy army in Lebanon. As they saw it, an Israeli victory over Hezbollah would deal a powerful blow to Iran's hegemonic designs over the Persian Gulf and Egypt. It would end the Muslim Brotherhood's romance with the mullahs in Tehran.

This Sunni Arab support for Israel only abated when then prime minister Ehud Olmert's serial blundering in his leadership of the war convinced Sunni leaders that Israel would not score a strategic victory.

Over the past six weeks of Operation Protective Edge, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have been even more open about their preference for an Israeli victory, which they view as a blow to the Muslim Brotherhood. Today these regimes feel far more threatened by the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran than they did eight years ago. Indeed, so great is their desire for an Israeli victory over the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza that they are willing to publicly express their position for the first time.

It is not that "the Arab street" in Mecca and Cairo has stopped hating Jews. It is simply that the regimes are willing to neutralize the political influence of Jew-hatred in order to ensure their survival.

In the future, such a commonality of interests may be the only way for Israel to cultivate strategic cooperation with Western nations.



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


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An infrastructure push does not lead to a boost to GDP

We’ve heard much these past few years about how now id just the time to have an infrastructure surge. It’s said often enough that a recession is just when we should be building all those roads, railways, council houses and the rest. Obama even tried to find those $800 billion worth of shovel ready projects just raring to do. With no great success it should be said.

Sadly, this just doesn’t seem to work. From the IMF:

    "This paper has examined whether major public investment drives in the past have served to promote or accelerate national economic growth. It is not about whether in theory public investment drives could accelerate growth, but rather whether in practice, with real governments deciding how to spend the funds and implementing investments, they have in fact accelerated growth.

    The answer appears to be “probably very little”. This conclusion pertains to the drives – the big increases in public capital spending – not necessarily to routine levels of public investment. And furthermore the evidence here is not about whether public capital can promote growth by averting the emergence of bottlenecks. Major public investment campaigns continue to be advocated in several countries as a major trigger for economic growth, and on this issue, whether they have in fact triggered growth, the evidence for a positive effect of public capital on GDP or GDP growth is weak.

 … It is difficult to find a clear-cut example that fits the oft-repeated narrative of a public investment boom followed by acceleration in GDP growth. If anything the cases of clear-cut booms illustrate the opposite – major drives in the past have been followed by slumps rather than booms."

In theory it should work, in practice it doesn’t, which is a bit of a conundrum. The practical answer to which puzzle is that government is probably even worse at doing things than we generally think. Thus we’d probably be better off limiting it to that very small set of things that both must be done and that only government can do. Something which is a very small overlap indeed.


Beware of Kafkatrapping

The term "kafkatrapping" describes a logical fallacy that is popular within gender feminism, racial politics and other ideologies of victimhood. It occurs when you are accused of a thought crime such as sexism, racism or homophobia. You respond with an honest denial, which is then used as further confirmation of your guilt. You are now trapped in a circular and unfalsifiable argument; no one who is accused can be innocent because the structure of kafkatrapping precludes that possibility.

The term derives from Franz Kafka's novel The Trial in which a nondescript bank clerk named Josef K. is arrested; no charges are ever revealed to the character or to the reader. Josef is prosecuted by a bizarre and tyrannical court of unknown authority and he is doomed by impenetrable red tape. In the end, Josef is abducted by two strange men and inexplicably executed by being stabbed through the heart. The Trial is Kafka's comment on totalitarian governments, like the Soviet Union, in which justice is twisted into a bitter, horrifying parody of itself and serves only those in charge.

Kafkatrapping twists reason and truth into self-parodies that serve victimhood ideologues who wish to avoid the evidence and reasoned arguments upon which truth rests. The term appears to have originated in a 2010 article written by author and open source software advocate Eric S. Raymond. He opens by acknowledging the worth of equality before the law and of treating others with respect. But, he notes, "[g]ood causes sometimes have bad consequences." One such consequence is that tactics used to raise consciousness can veer "into the creepy and pathological, borrowing the least sane features of religious evangelism."

Raymond offers various models of how kafkatrapping operates. He calls the two most common ones A and C.

Model A: The accuser states, "Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of (sin, racism, sexism, homophobia, oppression...) confirms that you are guilty of (sin, racism, sexism, homophobia, oppression...)." Harking back to The Trial, Raymond explains how the novel's plot parallels the structure and purpose of the accuser's nonargument. No specific acts are named in the accusation, which makes the claim unfalsifiable. The vague charge constitutes a thought crime, which also makes it unfalsifiable. As with The Trial, the process seems designed to create guilt and to destroy resistance so that you become malleable. Indeed, "the only way out ... is ... to acquiesce in his own destruction." Even if you are innocent, the only path to redemption is for you to plead guilty and accept punishment. Ideally, for the accuser, you even come to believe in your own guilt.

Model C is a common variant on the same theme. You may not have done, felt or thought anything wrong but you are still guilty because you benefit from a position of privilege created by others. In other words, you are guilty because of your identification with a group such as "male," "white," or "heterosexual." The accusation makes you responsible for the actions of strangers whose behavior you cannot control and who may have died long ago. Raymond writes, "The aim ... is to produce a kind of free-floating guilt ... a conviction of sinfulness that can be manipulated by the operator [accuser] to make the subject say and do things that are convenient to the operator's personal, political, or religious goals." To be redeemed, you must cease to disagree with your accuser and condemn your entire identity group.

What happens when an accuser confronts someone in the same identity group to which he or she belongs? For example, one woman may question aspects of politically correct feminism being presented by another. An entirely different phenomenon occurs. Obviously, the questioner will not be encouraged to condemn herself for being a woman or to excoriate all women. Instead, she will be defined out of the group.

This is called the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. It occurs when someone is confronted with an example that disproves a universal claim. The British philosopher Antony Flew described the fallacy, which he also named. One day Hamish McDonald reads an article in the Glasgow Morning Herald which reports on an attack by a sex maniac in England. Hamish declares aloud, "No Scotsman would do such a thing!" The next day, the Glasgow Morning Herald reports on an even worse attack in Scotland. Rather than reject his original statement, Hamish exclaims, "No true Scotsman would do such a thing." Thus, conservative women like Sarah Palin are not true woman; blacks who question the validity of 'white privilege' cease to be viewed as truly black.

Other techniques are often associated with kafkatrapping. (Note: For a tactic to be true kafkatrapping, it has to involve an unfalsifiable claim.) Associated techniques that prove your guilt could include:

Requesting a clear-cut definition of what you are charged with – for example, homophobia;

Pointing out an injustice committed by the accuser's identity group;

Applying a single standard to everyone, e.g., refusing to accept that blacks cannot be racist;

Expressing skepticism about any aspect of the victimhood ideology, including the plausibility of anecdotal evidence;

Being ignorant of or uninterested in the subject;

Arguing against the ideology;

Saying "some of my best friends are X."

Kafkatrapping would seem to be a win-win situation for an accuser. And, in the short term, this may be true but its long-term impact can be devastating.

A movement becomes widespread because its voice is truth – at least, largely so – and its demand for justice is valid: For example, homosexuals have been hideously abused through much of history. When a movement discards the truth and justice that made it grow and favors abusive attacks instead, it is in decline. The abuse also quashes any productive discussion of real issues. Raymond observes, "[m]anipulative ways of controlling people tend to hollow out the causes for which they are employed, smothering whatever worthy goals they may have begun with and reducing them to vehicles for the attainment of power and privilege over others."

A separate problem arises if the accuser honestly believes the kafkatrapping. A woman who believes all men are oppressors is unlikely to cooperate with them in a good will attempt to solve social problems. She is more likely to seek a position of dominance over men, which she justifies in the name of self-defense or as a payback that is her due. This heightens tension between the sexes and obstructs sincere attempts to resolve problems. A kafkatrapper true believer becomes increasingly isolated from people who are seen as "the enemy" because they disagree; the true believer becomes increasingly unable to even communicate with or have empathy for a broad spectrum of people. The kafkatrapper 'wins' the argument but loses a shared humanity.


Vet Kicked Out of Theme Park for Wearing Pro-Gun T-Shirt That Supports Military

Corporal Mario Alejandro was a member of the Marines who took part in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. This patriot was recently kicked out of a Six Flags amusement park in Jackson Township, New Jersey. His crime? Wearing a shirt that read, “Keep Calm and Return Fire.” Thanks to his choice in apparel, he couldn’t even get past the front gate:

“I can’t let you into the park with that shirt on. That shirt’s offensive,” Alejandro recalled the guard saying to “I said it’s not offensive, it’s a military shirt. I told him that I am an Iraq veteran … I served in the war. But he said: ‘I don’t care, you have to take it off … or you need to buy another shirt to put over it.”

Alejandro, who could not be reached for comment Friday, refused to remove the T-shirt from The Reconnaissance Foundation, a nonprofit group supporting Marines and their relatives, or to buy another garment, leading the security guard to call a supervisor.

“I saw him talk to two women in white shirts, who looked at me and then shook their heads,” he told “And then the man grabbed my arm and asked me to leave. I told them that it’s not offensive, that it’s a military shirt and that it means nothing. But they said: ‘I don’t care, get out of the park.’”

The proceeds from Alejandro's shirt goes to military veterans. It was supposed to be a win-win: He could exercise his First Amendment right while supporting his fellow soldiers. No matter to Six Flags, it seems.

What exactly is offensive about promoting the Second Amendment and wearing our nation's colors? Unfortunately, this isn't an anomaly. Across the country Americans have been punished for sporting their right to bear arms.

The theme park tried to excuse away its action toward the veteran by noting its ‘longstanding relationship’ with U.S. veterans – such as its policy to offer discounts to veterans and events honoring them and their families.

Sorry, that's no excuse. Shame on Six Flags for humiliating one of our nation’s bravest.


Australia: A Muslim suburb in Sydney

The Lakemba Hotel is one of the last Anglo holdouts in Sydney’s otherwise Middle Eastern south-western suburb. Frankly, the old joint – it opened in 1928 – isn’t putting up much resistance. Most nights the bar is closed by 8.30pm or so, because by then what few customers it attracts are insufficient to cover running costs.

Still, it’s friendly and hospitable. Staffer Poppy helpfully showed me to my $50 per night room, which is the only option in Lakemba for anyone seeking short-term rented accommodation. There are no other hotels or motels. In fact, there are no other rooms besides number 15, in the hotel’s residential wing. All the others are taken by boarders, one of whom has been here for 20 years.

It isn’t exactly luxurious. The room has a sink, which is nice, but nothing else by way of amenities. There isn’t even a Gideon’s Bible. Instead, reflecting certain demographic changes in the area, there is a Ramadan eating schedule.

Lakemba may be only 30 minutes from the centre of Sydney, yet it is remarkably distinct from the rest of our city. You can walk the length of crowded Haldon Street and not hear a single phrase in English. On this main shopping street the ethnic mix seems similar to what you’d find in any major Arabic city. Australia may be multicultural, but Haldon Street is a monoculture.

This does have its advantages. If you’re ever in need of groceries at 3am, head to Lakemba, where shopkeepers keep unusual hours, particularly during Ramadan. The food is delicious, of course. I recommend La Roche and Al Aseel, but all restaurants in Haldon Street are good. If you’re unfamiliar with Lebanese food, just go for anything with the word “mixed”.

And then there are the downsides.

A few weeks ago a large crowd of mostly young men assembled outside the Lakemba Hotel. Waving black flags, the men chanted:

Palestine is Muslim land
The solution is Jihad ...
You can never stop Islam
From Australia to al Sham.

I asked a non-Islamic local about that night. “You should see them when they really go off,” she said. “That was nothing.” Another non-Islamic woman said young men sometimes shouted “sharmuta” at her from their cars. She looked up the word online and discovered it was an Arabic term for prostitute.

Across the road from the hotel is the Islamic Bookstore, which bills itself as “your superstore of Islamic knowledge”. Three books caught my eye. Here’s an extract from Muhammad bin Jamil Zino’s What a Muslim Should Believe, a handy 64-page Q & A guide to the Koran’s instructions:
Question 43: Is it allowed to support and love disbelievers?

Answer: No, it is not allowed.

Well, that might explain a few things. The History of the Jews seems a bland enough title, but the back cover quotes lines from Martin Luther that were used by Nazi propagandists: “The sun never did shine on a more bloodthirsty and revengeful people as they.” The book offers this view, on page 16:

No one can deny the fact that the Jews are the worst kind of barbarian killers the world has ever known!!! The decent great Adolf Hitler of Germany never killed in the manner of the Jews!!! Surely only mad people or those who love killing infants, pregnant women and the infirm will think differently.

It goes on and on. Another extract:

"Humor and jokes are strictly forbidden by the Jewish religion.
This will come as a surprise to just about every Jew on earth. Another must-read is Mansoor Abdul Hakim’s charming 2009 text, Women Who Deserve to go to Hell. Turns out it’s quite a lot of them.

“Some people keep asking about the denizens of Hell and the reason why women will go to hell in large numbers,” writes Hakim in the book’s foreword, before listing various types of hell-bound females, including the grumbler, the quarrelsome woman, women with tattoos and women who refuse to have sex during menstruation. “Men’s perfection is because of various reasons: intelligence, religion, etc,” Hakim explains. “At most, four women have this perfection.”

Mix this level of ignorance and loathing with the Islamic community’s high rate of unemployment, and conflict is inevitable. The Islamic riots of 2012 ended up in central Sydney but began here in Lakemba and surrounding suburbs, where seething young Muslims formed their plans, including printing signs reading “Behead all those who insult the prophet”.

One of the men arrested in those riots was Ahmed Elomar, who was subsequently convicted for bashing a police officer with a flagpole. His lawyer claimed that Elomar was “overcome with the occasion”. The occasion continues. Lately Elomar’s brother Mohammed has posed with severed heads in Iraq, where he is fighting alongside fundamentalist Islamic State extremists.

Back at the pub, a staffer mentions rare moments of cultural overlap. “Sometimes the young blokes will come in here to buy Scotch,” she says. “They try to hide themselves under hoodies.” But when the staffer sees them later in the street, they don’t return her greeting. The hotel is haram – sinful and forbidden. Those early closing hours will eventually become permanent.



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


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

US Navy reverses course, puts Bibles back in hotels during policy review

Bibles began disappearing from Navy lodges over the summer after complaints were made by an atheist group, but that decision has now been reversed while a policy review takes place.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation complained about the religious books earlier in the year, which prompted the Navy Exchange to have managers put Gideons Bibles in lost-and-found locations.

“That decision and our religious accommodation policies with regard to the placement of religious materials are under review,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes, the paper reported Friday. “While that review is under way, religious materials removed from Navy Lodge rooms will be returned.”

The atheist group’s attorney Sam Grover said his complaint included military members who had not seen anything other than the Bible in Navy lodges for over 20 years, Stars and Stripes reported.  “That demonstrates the Navy’s preference for Christianity over all other religions and nonreligious sects,” he told the paper.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation, which is based in Wisconsin, also suggested that Navy lodges offer patrons the “Born Again Skeptics Guide to the Bible,” Stars and Stripes reported.

While the Navy conducts its review of policies and procedures relating to the Bibles, the Navy Exchange wants all inquiries about the placement of religious materials sent to the “chaplain’s office for the military installation where the lodge is located,” a memo written by Bill Mayhue, the Navy lodge program regional manager, stated Friday, the paper reported.

The Navy said that decision made earlier in the summer to remove the religious books was made without consulting senior leadership, Stars and Stripes said.


Judge Upholds State’s Authority to Define Marriage as Union of Man and Woman

Last week a judge in Tennessee upheld that state’s Constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Though the decision was made a week ago, it has only now been made available electronically.

The case involved a same-sex couple married in Iowa that sought a divorce in Tennessee. Because Tennessee does not recognize same-sex relationships as marriages, it was unable to divorce the couple. Last week, Judge Russell E. Simmons, Jr., cited the Supreme Court’s decision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act case, U.S. v. Windsor, as support that Tennessee has the right to define marriage for itself. Simmons writes: “The Windsor case is concerned with the definition of marriage, only as it applies to federal laws, and does not give an opinion concerning whether one State must accept as valid a same-sex marriage allowed in another State.”

When the Supreme Court struck down the federal law defining marriage last year, Justice Anthony Kennedy explained that states have “the historical and essential authority to define the marital relation.” Simmons takes Kennedy at his word, recognizing the basic equality of state citizens. Just as the citizens of Iowa are free to adopt same-sex marriage (though it was a state court that redefined marriage there), so too the citizens of Tennessee are free to retain the traditional definition.

Simmons writes:

In the Windsor case the Supreme Court opines that if a state finds same-sex marriage to be valid, the Federal Government cannot trump that State’s law. The Supreme Court does not go the final step and find that a State that defines marriage as the union of one (1) man and one (1) woman is unconstitutional. Further, the Supreme Court does not find that one State’s refusal to accept as valid another State’s valid same-sex marriage to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

What about arguments that claim there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage? Simmons explains that while “marriage is a fundamental right,” there is no right to redefine marriage. Simmons continued: “neither the Tennessee Supreme Court nor the United States Supreme Court has ever decided that this fundamental right under a state’s laws extends beyond the traditional definition of marriage as a union between (1) one man and (1) one woman.”

What’s really at stake in this debate? Simmons explains: “The battle is not between whether or not marriage is a fundamental right but what unions are included in the definition of marriage.” Yes, the fundamental policy question in this debate is “What Is Marriage?”

The fundamental legal question is who gets to define marriage. Simmons ruled it “should be the prerogative of each State.” The judge continued: “neither the Federal Government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state’s responsibility, which is to provide a framework of laws to govern the safety and wellbeing of its citizens.”

Our federal Constitution is silent on what marriage is. Judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and declare them to be required by the Constitution. The courts should uphold the freedom of the American people and their elected representatives to make marriage policy.

Marriage policy should be worked out by the people in the states; this is the beauty of federalism. We do not need a court-imposed 50-state solution. The courts should not force states to abandon caution in the face of a social experiment like the redefinition of marriage.


Dutch Mayor Cancels Anti-ISIS Rally as "Too Provocative"

While Islamic State (IS) jihadists battle their way across Syria and Iraq, beheading soldiers and civilians, training children for jihad, their supporters across Europe demand "death to Jews" and call for the blood of infidels.

Now, it seems, some European leaders are refusing to fight back.
The situation has become especially controversial in the Dutch political capital of The Hague, where pro-IS protests in July involved anti-Jewish chants and a violent attack on a female journalist covering the event. As the Jew-hate worsened and violence intensified, witnesses and Jewish advocacy groups called on the mayor's office to step in. But Mayor Josias van Aartsen was on holiday; and his deputy, left in charge, found no reason to intervene.

Residents of The Hague, however, felt otherwise: on Aug. 10, a group calling itself "Pro-Patria" staged its own "freedom march" through the same largely Muslim neighborhood (the Schilderswijk) where the pro-IS demonstrations had been held,. The aim, according to one organizer, was to show "that this so-called Sharia-triangle is still Dutch land, where Dutch laws and rules prevail." (The Schilderswijk has been referred to as the "Sharia triangle" frequently in the Dutch press.)

It was, perhaps, a naively optimistic notion: no sooner had the demonstration started than pro-IS residents began attacking, throwing stones and starting fistfights. Six people were arrested.
Mayor van Aartsen, still vacationing in France, did nothing.


Operation Tuleta: a warrant to hound the tabloids

In the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, highly publicised trials and subsequent convictions, the public perception of Britain’s tabloid journalists is at an historic nadir. As such, a call to protect those often accused of profiting through the manipulation of the vulnerable will gain short shrift in some quarters - but their protection is of paramount importance for the freedom of the British press.

This week, the first criminal trial played out in what has been dubbed Operation Tuleta – the Met’s name for the low-profile sister project of the probe that put former News of the World editor Andy Coulson in Belmarsh Prison.

A former Sun reporter called Ben Ashford faced criminal charges for downloading information from a ‘stolen’ phone which held ‘saucy pictures’ of an unnamed BBC broadcaster. The photos and texts on the phone seemed like the perfect basis for a classic scandal story; it never made the paper for legal reasons.

In terms of investigative journalism the scoop was hardly a Watergate moment, but this makes no difference. Throughout Operation Tuleta the police have used a series of underhand nuisance tactics to bully a host of tabloid journalists in a way that would never be acceptable if perpetrated against broadsheet reporters.

The basic charges made against Ashford were fairly jumped-up to begin with, as was reflected in the jury’s swift ‘not guilty’ verdict. The phone in question was ‘stolen by finding’ – a nightclub punter picked it up from the floor of a club and, discovering the sordid details it held, took it to the Sun.

The would-be tipster later accepted a caution for this flimsy charge, which gave the police free rein to pursue Ashford as an accessory to this crime, when his only action was looking through a phone found in a nightclub.

The original sequence of events occurred in 2009, but Ashford wasn’t arrested for four years. He even cooperated and returned the phone directly to the police at the time the investigation was launched.

After the incident was all but forgotten, in a bout of grotesque posturing under the auspices of the phone-hacking investigations, the Met sent teams of policemen on dawn raids to the houses of several Sun reporters alleged to have committed similar crimes. Reporters were pulled from their beds and their houses were turned over as if they were gangland drug lords – the most serious charges any of them still faces is handling stolen goods, while most have had all charges dropped. One reporter was kept on bail for 13 months on paper-thin charges that could have been cleared in a week.

In the name of press regulation, the police have continued to bully and harass this group of reporters. Ashford’s counsel described the charges against him as a grotesque act of ‘messianic zeal’ from the Crown Prosecution Service. Many would turn a blind eye and sneer at Ashford’s original motives, but freedom of the press is not the preserve of Guardian journalists leaking state cover-ups alone. It needs to be protected at all levels.



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


Monday, August 18, 2014

Multicultural rape again in Britain

A married father-of-two has been jailed after raping and filming a sexual assault on a 16-year-old girl as she slept in her bed.

Mazafer Maroof, 31, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, raped the teenager after plying her with alcohol at a house party in April this year.

He then used his mobile phone to record a second sexual assault on the teenager.

During the trial, the jury saw video footage which showed the girl was asleep at the time of the two attacks.

Maroof denied carrying out the attacks, but was found guilty of rape and sexual assault after a trial at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

He was jailed for seven years and also placed on the sex offenders' register for life.

During the trial, the court heard how Maroof had 'pestered' the girl at the house party.

Once her friends told Maroof to leave the girl alone, he left the party - but continued to send her dozens of 'vile and abusive' text messages.

He later returned to the party and persuaded the teenager and her friend to let him take them to a supermarket to buy more alcohol.

The trio then went back to a house to continue drinking. Once the girl fell asleep, and her friend left the property, Maroof raped his victim.

Sentencing him, Judge David Fletcher said: 'You have no empathy for your victim and you don’t have any remorse.

'It is clear that you were in a dark place, you were drinking vast amounts of alcohol, you were partying non-stop and you were separated from your wife and family.

'But you committed the offences on the girl. Your victim was a girl aged 16 and you were a married man of 30 at the time.

'She was unable to prevent you. The jury was shown video footage and it was clear there was no response.'

Defending Maroof, Barry Grennan said: 'He is 31 and he should have known better. He should have realised he cannot ply people with drink. He shouldn’t have done it and regrets it bitterly.

'He has spent the last two months in custody and found that to be a thoroughly unpleasant situation.

'He needs to address this so it doesn’t happen again and he is prepared to undergo sex offence courses.

'He wants to get back to his wife and he’s devastated he can’t see his children. He wants to complete his sentence, come out, get back to his family and work.'

After the hearing, Detective Inspector Becky Cawkwell, from Staffordshire Police’s child exploitation team, said: 'This sends out a strong message to those who commit such crimes - you will be caught and dealt with accordingly.

'Staffordshire Police is committed to protecting children and other vulnerable members of the community.

'We thoroughly investigate all allegations of sexual abuse, including historic offences, and work with partners to tackle these very serious crimes in a sensitive manner.'


Transphobia Is Perfectly Natural

Essay below by Gavin McInnes, chief creative officer of an advertising agency in New York.  He was fired for writing it

Heroic truth-teller, McInnes above

Wait—you’re transphobic?

You have a problem with a guy having his penis removed? He’s a chick, you asshole. God fucked up and made him a dude, but luckily we have the technology to fix that mistake. Why couldn’t he just be a drag queen? Well, for one, he needs to feel a penis inside him. No, his butt doesn’t count. He needs to feel a penis go in and out of his vagina—you know, like all women crave. That feeling of having your vagina fucked. It’s a primal urge, and to deny some woman this feeling just because she’s a dude is downright barbaric.

Haven’t you seen all the totally functional, happily married, normal trannies walking around? They aren’t all dead, you know. They sell flowers at the local village and bake pies for their scores of adopted children. They’re non-heteronormative. In fact, the only thing more normal than castrating yourself and taking tons of hormones to grow tits is chopping them off. Women who get double mastectomies and then have their cunts turned inside out are just righting a wrong. They need to have a weird cheese blintz-looking thing sticking out of their previous cooch because it feels way better than wearing a strap-on. Sure, the nerve endings aren’t the same as a real dick, but standing up to go pee pee is something these women were born to do. How dare you have a problem with that?

You will be totally comfortable when your daughter marries a post-op dude and you should have no problems with her smoking his blintz. When your dad tells you he is going to have his penis removed and thrown into a biowaste container at the hospital, your soul will become a placid lake of calm. “That’s totally normal, dad” you’ll say and begin to call him Mom2 from that day forward.

When Janet Mock appears on MSNBC and talks about growing up as a black chick, nobody’s going to bat an eye. We’ll all be totally comfortable with him retroactively rewriting history and putting a skirt on all his boyhood memories.

I kid. I kid. Of course it’s fucking unusual. We’re all transphobic. We aren’t blind. We see there are no old trannies. They die of drug overdoses and suicide way before they’re 40 and nobody notices because nobody knows them. They are mentally ill gays who need help, and that help doesn’t include being maimed by physicians. These aren’t women trapped in a man’s body. They are nuts trapped in a crazy person’s body. I see them on the streets of New York. They are guys with tits and a sweatshirt. They wear jeans and New Balance. “What’s the matter with simply being a fag who wears makeup?” I think when I see them. You’re not a woman. You’re a tomboy at best. Get fucked in the ass. And ladies, if you’re a butch lesbian, you’re a lady with a lot of testosterone. Put a dick on a belt and fuck your girlfriend. You don’t need to turn your vagina inside out. You’re not a man. You don’t even know what Turf Builder is.

By pretending this is all perfectly sane, you are enabling these poor bastards to mutilate themselves. This insane war on pronouns is about telling people what to do. It may empower you to shut down a school’s computer system because they phrased your gender wrong, but that’s just a game to you. To them, it’s a life-changing event that fucks them up. To fight against transphobia is to justify trannies. To justify trannies is to allow mentally ill people to mutilate themselves. When your actions are getting people mutilated, you’re at war with them.

It’s not great for women, either. Buying woman parts from a hospital and calling yourself a broad trivializes what it is to be a woman. Womanhood is not on a shelf next to wigs and makeup. Similarly, being a dude is quite involved. Ripping your vaginal canal out of your fly doesn’t mean you are going to start inventing shit and knowing how cement works. Being a man is awesome. So is being a woman. We should revere these creations, not revel in their bastardization. Being gay is a weird quirk that happens at birth. It’s like being an albino. If you’re born that way, you shouldn’t fight it. You don’t need to change who you are. In fact, doing so is sexist, misandrist, homophobic, and further damages the lives of the mentally ill.


‘The Edinburgh Fringe has failed us - and failed freedom’

The Israeli theatre group shut down by an anti-Israel mob talks to spiked.

21st century Nazis

As another temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas gives some respite from the tumult of recent weeks, another battle for Gaza continues to rumble on. There are no winners in war, goes the old, trite pacifist line, but if anyone is going from strength to strength at the moment, it’s Britain’s luvvies.

Emboldened by the current crisis and the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel, they’re whipping themselves into pious fury. Old calls for the boycotting of Israeli artists, academics and produce – not too long ago seen as somewhat dubious, if not downright anti-Semitic – have led to a string of artists being shut down, cultural events being cancelled, and John Lewis shop assistants being grimaced at in the name of sending a message to Israel.

‘They demonstrated against us because we are Israeli, okay? Anything else is an excuse.’ These are the words of Arik Eshet, artistic director of the Jerusalem-based Incubator Theatre. He’s outraged, and he’s got a right to be. Incubator was due to bring its latest production, The City, to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe festival this month, but after pickets from pro-Palestine activists and pressure from handwringing British artists the show was cancelled. In between their tireless search for a new venue, I spoke to Eshet and two of the cast in the bar of the Gilded Balloon in Bristo Square – the heart of what, up to now, could be considered a thriving, liberal arts festival.

This sad story began in the weeks before the festival. The Incubator crew was preparing for its first preview at the Underbelly when 50 Scottish artists signed an open letter calling for the play to be cancelled because Incubator received a small proportion of their funding from the Israeli cultural ministry. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign picketed the preview, and insisted it would return every day until the show was cancelled. Due to apparent concerns over safety and disruptions to venues, Underbelly announced that it was looking for an alternative venue for The City, but, with the threat of further pickets still looming, this proved a near impossible task – Incubator is now going it alone.

‘I was very proud of the theatre, the Underbelly, that said there is freedom of speech, we are not cancelling the show. What saddens me is that they didn’t go further’, Eshet says. ‘All the institutions of the Fringe festival have failed. They failed, and the outcome is that we are shut down.’

A day after Underbelly issued a press release stating it had given up the search for a new venue for The City, the Tricycle Theatre in London made a similarly shocking announcement. Having hosted the UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF) for eight years, the partnership was now over, it said. The reason? The UKJFF received some support from the Israeli Embassy. After a tense back-and-forth in which the Tricycle, at one point, requested to pre-screen all entries to the festival, the UKJFF decided to withdraw.

It doesn’t take much investigation to see that the Tricycle’s decision is rank with hypocrisy. Just as Israel seems to have become a unique pariah on the world stage, despite the ongoing atrocities committed or spawned by other states – not least those in the Western, Israel-bashing world – it seems Israeli funding is similarly unique in its corrupting power. So much so that the Tricycle can slam UKJFF for receiving a small amount of money from the Israeli Embassy while itself taking £720,000 from the UK Arts Council - a wing of the British state, which is hardly known for its pacifism.

Back at the Fringe, a closer inspection of any number of flyers that are thrust into your hand on the Royal Mile reveals a small-print thankyou to the English or Scottish Arts Council. ‘Those British people or Scottish people are not seen as representatives of their government. And, as with us, they are probably not funded because of their political views, so how can you cancel them or blame them for anything?’, Eshet says, noting the irony of it all. ‘This is discrimination in the way they’re thinking.’

To nominally liberal-minded people, the idea of shutting down cultural events should sit badly. In a feeble attempt to defend itself against charges of censoriousness, or worse, anti-Semitism, the Tricycle offered to make up the funds that the UKJFF had received from the Israeli Embassy, and, in a similarly patronising move, David Greig, a Scottish playwright and one of the signatories to the original open letter against Incubator, has launched a Kickstarter fund that would help Israeli theatre companies make it to the Fringe without needing to touch Netanyahu’s grubby cash.

The UKJFF quite rightly declined the Tricycle’s offer, and Omer Mor, one of the writers and cast members of The City, is similarly unimpressed by Greig’s new funding idea. ‘As far as I’m concerned, you can’t do anything in Israel without [government] funding’, he says. ‘All [Greig] is saying is “but, hey, you can come to Edinburgh and perform with us!”. That’s disturbing.’ Eshet interjects: ‘He’s a hypocrite. He says “I’m for free speech”, but not for everybody. Not people from Israel, [not] people who get funding. [This fund] is like bribing somebody to hold his opinions and not other opinions.’

One thing that has been obscured by the boycotters’ caterwauling about Israel trying to ‘whitewash its crimes with art’ is the actual opinions expressed in the art that has been silenced. The UKJFF has always prided itself on offering a diverse range of opinions on the ongoing Israel-Palestine crisis, and The City, a ‘hip hop whodunit’ about a detective performed entirely in rhyme, is completely apolitical – rather whimsical, in fact. Eshet explains that Israeli funding has no political strings attached: ‘I have worked in this world for many years and I have never signed something like that… It’s not that we are anti-government, but we started doing satire performances in pubs. We have many people, many ideas. Because, you know, it was satire, a lot of it was against the government policies.’

I raise the also breezed-over fact that Incubator receives funding from a variety of sources, some of which include pro-integrationist groups. Eshet can see where I’m going with this, and is having none of it: ‘That really doesn’t matter. Even if we were fully funded [by the Israeli government], so what?’ Mor chimes in: ‘Even if we were political, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be heard.’

The Incubator guys offer a keen insight into how inherently censorious and illiberal the anti-Israel movement has become. If the Fringe, the Tricycle or any other cultural body wants truly to uphold free speech and free cultural exchange, then they need to defend the right of all opinions, no matter how dubious or state-sanctioned, to be expressed. But, as Mor explains, there is a keen double standard at play in relation to who does and doesn’t have the right to share space at the Edinburgh Fringe: ‘The protesters’ right to demonstrate was respected fully, even more than fully. But they did not respect the public’s right to choose what they want to watch or not watch.’ Eshet nods: ‘That’s why boycotts are wrong, because if boycotts are going on, that means their side is heard [but] the other side is not.’

Omer Havron, another of The City’s writers and stars, has been quiet up to now. As we unpick the arguments of the boycotters he pipes up, seeming to wonder why any of this happened in the first place: ‘It’s a hip-hop opera about a detective! A damn good show if you ask me.’ His exasperation speaks volumes.

In the end, beneath all the bluster of the BDS lobby, touting the self-serving Western myth that it was in-the-know Hampsteadites shunning South African oranges that really brought down Apartheid, and that a slew of cultural blockades will actually make Netanyahu think twice, is the bare truth: boycotts make absolutely no different to the crises they posture against. If they achieve anything, it is to silence those, like those from Incubator, who hold on to the idea that art and culture can transcend political divides.

Before I leave, Havron has the last word: ‘I want to call on every venue at the Fringe who has enough courage to say “I’m against it, and I’m up for freedom of speech” to take our show. We’re still here, we could have gone back home to give up, but we still believe in the festival.’ Here’s hoping his call is answered, lest Incubator becomes another ridiculous but depressing footnote to the luvvies’ war on everything Israeli.


Sir Cliff left in limbo as criticism grows

The police inquiry into Sir Cliff Richard came under mounting criticism on Saturday after Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, called its handling of the case “odd” and “very questionable”.

Mr Grieve, who left the Cabinet last month, accused the police of colluding with the BBC in a move which led to the search of Sir Cliff’s home in Berkshire being filmed by the corporation.

Mr Grieve, the most senior politician so far to cast doubt on the police tactics, suggested that the South Yorkshire force might even have been acting in breach of national guidelines in making public its investigation into an allegation that the singer sexually assaulted a boy at a concert almost 30 years ago.

The chorus of criticism grew with complaints by senior lawyers, politicians and fans that Sir Cliff was now being kept in a “cruel limbo” while police decide what to do next.

Last night, Sir Cliff, 73, remained in his villa in the Algarve, Portugal, with his manager, long-time companion and sister offering support. Sources close to the singer said he had yet to be formally asked to return to Britain for a police interview.

South Yorkshire has insisted it is “seeking to speak” to him about the complaint made by his alleged victim more than a year ago. It is thought Sir Cliff will eventually be questioned under caution but the sources close to him expressed frustration they remained in the dark about the precise nature of the allegations and how long the inquiry might last.

A police spokesman said: “We cannot give details about the conversations we’ve had with the person in question. The investigation is ongoing and contact with him will form part of that.”

Sir Cliff first became aware of the inquiry when he heard reports that his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, was being raided at lunchtime on Thursday while he was on holiday in Portugal. The BBC had a news crew stationed at the scene in readiness for detectives arriving and broadcast live footage from an overhead helicopter.

Mr Grieve said yesterday: “I can see that police might not want to warn somebody about a search because they fear a suspect will destroy the evidence. But it was much odder to tip off the BBC that they were carrying out the raid. That seems quite extraordinary. I have no reason to think they are acting capriciously but I think it was odd to notify the BBC so they could have journalists there to film the events.

“Unless the police can show the sound public reason for doing that it suggests a collusive relationship with the BBC which is very odd.

“The BBC’s presence is not required. The police have not arrested him or charged him. All they have done is carry out a search of his house so why have they notified the BBC so it could film this operation taking place? I simply don’t understand it. It is very questionable.” He added: “The police have their own ground rules and I think if you look at the ACPO [Association of Chief Police Officers] guidelines they cover this.”

South Yorkshire police insisted that the BBC had independently received a tip-off about the raid, which they had then confirmed.

According to the official guidance on the ACPO website: “Police forces must balance an individual’s right to respect for a private and family life, the rights of publishers to freedom of expression and the rights of defendants to a fair trial.

“Decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis but, save in clearly identified circumstances, or where legal restrictions apply, the names or identifying details of those who are arrested or suspected of a crime should not be released by police forces to the press or the public.

“Such circumstances include a threat to life, the prevention or detection of crime or a matter of public interest and confidence.” South Yorkshire police has admitted it had “worked with” the BBC in advance of the raid on Sir Cliff’s flat — Jonathan Munro, the corporation’s head of newsgathering, has denied that the force was the source of their tip-off.

Nigel Evans, the Conservative MP, who was cleared of sex offences after a trial this year, said Sir Cliff would be enduring “torture and torment” after watching his home being raided. He was now left in a situation “worse than limbo”. “Sir Cliff Richard must be wondering exactly what the hell is going on.

“I would have thought that the request would have gone in by now to speak to him. It’s not as if Sir Cliff has not said that he’s ready to cooperate with anything they want.”

Geoffrey Robertson QC, a leading human rights lawyer, questioned the police tactics. He said: “If the outrageous treatment of Paul Gambuccini and Jimmy Tarbuck is any guide, Cliff Richard will remain in a cruel limbo for 18 months or so until the police and the Crown Prosecution Service decide whether to charge him.”

Fans rallied to support the singer on his official Facebook site. Louise Nicklinson wrote: “I know that you are innocent — so just know that all of your devoted fans will stand and support you all the way.”

Laurie Holloway, a musical director who worked for the BBC and a close friend, wrote on Facebook: “How dare these people and officials cause a slur on him which will be difficult to erase?”

The naming of Sir Cliff was also criticised by Jill Saward, herself a victim of rape and a campaigner on the rights of victims.

She said: “I don’t think it’s right to have publicised it before somebody has even been questioned, I don’t believe that that is the right way ahead. But I think it’s important that from the moment somebody is questioned that we are made aware of the name of that person so that it can encourage other people to come forward.”

She added: “To know that other people out there have been through something similar makes it so much easier to feel that you will be believed.”

Last night Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee, said he was writing to David Crompton, the force’s chief constable, to demand an explanation of its actions, saying “serious questions need to be asked” about the way they had handled the matter.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: “The force was contacted some weeks ago by a BBC reporter who made it clear he knew of the existence of an investigation. It was clear he was in a position to publish it.

“The force was reluctant to cooperate but felt that to do otherwise would risk losing any potential evidence, so in the interests of the investigation it was agreed that the reporter would be notified of the date of the house search in return for delaying publication of any of the facts.

“Contrary to media reports, this decision was not taken in order to maximise publicity, it was taken to preserve any potential evidence.

“South Yorkshire Police considers it disappointing that the BBC was slow to acknowledge that the force was not the source of the leak.

“A letter of complaint has been sent to the director-general of the BBC making it clear that the broadcaster appears to have contravened it’s editorial guidelines.

“South Yorkshire Police would welcome an investigation into the original leak.”

The spokesman added that it “is an ongoing and complex investigation” that was likely “to take some time”.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "A BBC journalist approached South Yorkshire Police with information about the investigation. The BBC agreed to follow normal journalistic practice and not to publish a story that might jeopardise a police inquiry."



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