Tuesday, September 25, 2018



A test to predict Alzheimer's?

This finding is not terribly surprising. Verbal ability is the biggest single component of IQ and mechanical ability is quite highly 'g' loaded too.  And we have long known that high IQ peole have better health across the board.  So finding that people who are bad with words are more likely to develop Alzheimer's fits with that.  It's another part of the syndrome in which IQ is an index of general biological fitness

A test given to hundreds of thousands of students, including rock stars Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, nearly 60 years ago could hold the answers to whether a person will develop dementia.

Researchers at the Washington-based American Institutes for Research, which administered the test to some 440,000 high school students across the US in 1960, have been studying the teen's answers and believe they have found a link to student's who scored low on the test and Alzheimer's disease.

According to the Washington Post, researchers compared results for more than 85,000 testers with their 2012/2013 Medicare claims and expenditures and found that warning signs of memory loss may present itself as early as adolescence.

The study found specifically that those who scored low on mechanical reasoning and memory for words had a higher risk of dementia later in life. Researchers found that low-scoring men were 17 per cent more likely to get dementia, while low-scoring women were 16 per cent more likely.

The test, called Project Talent, was administered to high school kids from 1,353 public and parochial schools across the country. It was funded by the US government.

SOURCE 






MeToo tyranny claims another undeserving victim

The ousting of the NYRB editor confirms MeToo is now a witch-hunt.

MeToo has officially entered its McCarthyism stage. The ousting of Ian Buruma from the New York Review of Books is confirmation, for those who still needed it, that this hashtag movement is more about vengeance and censorship than justice. For Buruma’s crime was not to touch a woman without her consent or verbally harass his female workforce. It was merely to publish an essay by a man (Canadian broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi) who was accused of sexual assault and then acquitted in a court of law. When an esteemed editor can be expelled from polite society for publishing the words of a man who has not been found guilty of any crime, you know we live in dark, ugly times. MeToo is the midwife of this medieval-style policing of dissenting speech.

More than any other incident so far, the Buruma affair sums up the illiberal excesses and outright hysteria of the MeToo moment. Buruma’s speechcrime was twofold. First, he dared to give space to Ghomeshi to write about the accusations made against him and, sin of sins, even to make some jokes about today’s sexually straitened climate that is chewing up and spitting out men like him. Ghomeshi, who was accused by various women in 2014 of having non-consensual ‘rough sex’ with them — accusations that either didn’t make it to court or, in the cases of three women, were thrown out of court — says in his NYRB piece that he is a victim of ‘mass shaming’. And secondly, Buruma gave an interview to Slate in which he said Ghomeshi’s previous behaviour is not ‘really my concern’.

For this — for commissioning an essay and defending the right of an individual to continue to have a public presence after he has been acquitted of criminal offences — Buruma has been driven out of New York’s literary circle. It is unclear whether he resigned or was sacked, but it’s clear that he’s out because he dared to suggest we need nuance in the discussion about sexual misdemeanours and harassment. Nuance is tantamount to a sin in the binary moral universe of the MeToo witch-hunt. One of the things that most outraged feminists is that the cover of the NYRB that featured Ghomeshi and others mulling over MeToo ran with the headline ‘The fall of men’. That is ridiculous, men-pitying tripe, they said, even as they helped to bring about the fall of Buruma. Buruma’s fall, for mere editorial daring, proves his cover story was all too apt.

This affair confirms that any questioning of MeToo is not allowed. Witness also the rage against Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Catherine Deneuve, Anne Robinson and comedian Norm Macdonald, all of whom simply uttered heretical doubts about this new movement in which men can be cast out of work and into the shadows of shame simply upon the accusation of one woman. A couple of weeks ago, Macdonald made the blasphemous comment that it is about time the MeToo movement ‘slowed down a little bit’ and the even more sinful suggestion that the likes of Louis CK — the comic whose career was destroyed following accusations that he masturbated in front of some women — should be allowed to come back. Macdonald was due to appear on The Tonight Show but he pulled out after producers told him to make a public apology for his comments at the start of the show. ‘Publicly retract your comments, or else…’ — what century is this?

The Macdonald and Buruma incidents show how difficult it is for public figures to criticise MeToo. And in turn, they show how necessary it is to criticise MeToo. Any movement that becomes this arrogant, this punishing of challenge or rebuke, must be urgently subjected to the light of serious, reasoned debate. Sean Penn was dead right this week to express ‘suspicion’ of a movement that is consumed by ‘great stridency and rage’ and which is ‘without nuance’. ‘And even when people try to discuss it in a nuanced way, the nuance itself is attacked’, he said. This is precisely what has happened to Buruma: he has been expelled from literary society for calling for nuance. Nuance is not allowed in the MeToo era. You must simply point and scream and revel in people’s downfall.

The truth is that Buruma, in keeping with his intellectual output of recent decades, is making a very humanist argument. His comments to Slate are being taken out of context. Everyone is referring to his remark that Ghomeshi’s previous behaviour is ‘not really my concern’. What he actually said was: ‘I’m no judge of the rights and wrongs of every allegation. How can I be? All I know is that in a court of law he was acquitted, and there is no proof he committed a crime.’ Here, Buruma is doing something very civilised: he is refusing to act as a one-man mob and conspire in the permanent exclusion of Ghomeshi from public life because he prefers to believe that individuals are innocent until proven guilty. And Ghomeshi has not been found guilty. Of anything. It used to be considered socially conscientious to treat acquitted people, and even ex-cons, fairly and humanely. Now it is seen as a social crime. MeToo wants everyone who is merely accused to be punished forever. That is a nasty, Stalinist and utterly unjust approach to public life. Buruma is defending the pillars of the free, civilised society; MeToo is attacking them.

Not content with conflating everything from a hand on the knee and actual rape; not content with presenting women as the frail victims of male wickedness; not content with instituting a situation where accused individuals can lose their careers and in some cases their lives (there have been four MeToo-related suicides) — now MeToo wants to shut down criticism, shut down nuance. Buruma shouldn’t be ousted, he should be cheered, for he has helped to start a very important discussion about the dire impact MeToo is having on freedom, justice and sex. We should defend him, and the other MeToo heretics, before it’s too late. Before we end up in a world where anyone who wants a job in journalism, culture, politics or entertainment is first asked: ‘Are you now or have you ever been a critic of MeToo?’

SOURCE





Trump Expected to Advance Religious Liberty at the UN
    
Every year, without fail, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ranked as one of the worst countries in the world for religious freedom. Persecution of religious minorities is rampant and deeply ingrained in government institutions, and Christians are high on the list of those who are at risk, especially Christians who have converted from Islam.

The most recent State Department report on International Religious Freedom notes that between 2010 and 2017, more than 600 Christians were imprisoned solely for the practice of their faith. The same report points to an upsurge in anti-Christian sentiment within Iranian state media, accompanied by more frequent and aggressive raids on home-based churches.

International human rights groups can naturally be counted on to back up the State Department’s findings and to push for activism on behalf of at-risk individuals and populations in the Islamic Republic.

Of course, this goes to show how deeply Islamic extremism is ingrained into the identity of Iran’s theocratic regime. Every time that regime prosecutes someone for national security crimes on the basis of membership in a religious minority, it is effectively admitting that the regime cannot survive in the presence of religious freedom. As such, the mullahs tacitly admit this fact almost every single day.

There is no sensible reason for any modern, democratic government to dispute that fact. And yet the previous White House did just that when it joined the European Union in pursuing negotiations with the Iranian regime on the expectation that this would promote “moderation” among the leadership. More than three years after the signing of a nuclear deal that was supposed to usher in this moderation, the naïvety of this view has been clearly exposed.

As was revealed recently, some of the Obama administration officials have not given up hope for keeping this deal afloat. John Kerry, for instance, has met with his Iranian counterparts and advised the ayatollahs to wait until the Trump administration is out. His conduct is hard to fathom, and it is very damaging to U.S. national security imperatives as well as prospects for promoting religious liberty in the Middle East.

Fortunately, the current presidential administration has no such impulse to turn away from systematic violations of religious freedom and other human rights while waiting for Tehran to correct its own behavior.

In fact, the Trump administration has commendably made religious freedom a major focus of its foreign policy. This was demonstrated in July when the State Department hosted its first ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. And it will be demonstrated again this week when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends the Values Voter Summit to participate in a discussion of international religious liberty. None of his predecessors in the office has done the same.

The significance of these gestures is amplified, particularly where Iran policy is concerned, by the fact that the Trump administration has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to assertive foreign policies that will actually hold Tehran and other repressive governments accountable for violations of the rights of Christians and other minorities. The U.S. is now in the midst of reimposing the sanctions that were suspended in the wake of shortsighted international negotiations, and this is being done with the express purpose of compelling the Iranian regime toward a comprehensive change of behavior.

To complement its correct policy, the White House should publicly recognize that there is a viable alternative to the clerical regime, which has already specified unqualified religious freedom as part of its vision for Iran’s democratic future. The 2018 Iran Uprising Summit to be held this week will echo this message.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran — the coalition of Iranian opposition movements with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) at its core — is that alternative. The longstanding pro-democratic Resistance has made itself known in recent months as the driving force behind a far-reaching protest movement that speaks for the economically disenfranchised, for the wrongfully imprisoned, for persecuted minorities, and so on.

In January, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime credited MEK with facilitating the rapid spread of the protests, and used that fact to spur a more aggressive crackdown. But even after 8,000 arrests and 50 deaths, the Iranian public remained ready to take to the streets again, and the protest movement showed a significant resurgence in March, following a message from NCRI President Maryam Rajavi calling for “a year full of uprisings” in pursuit of “final victory” over the Iranian regime. In August, protests erupted in more than two dozen cities and towns. Anti-government protests have become a new feature of the Iranian political landscape.

The Trump administration has done something very admirable by giving international religious freedom a place of prominence in its foreign policy. But it can only truly follow through on its commitment to that principle if it partners with local actors who share the same commitment.

Although Iran is presently one of the world’s most troubled areas in terms of religious liberty and human rights, it is also home to one of the most active, organized, and well-established movements in favor of Western-style values and democratic governance. There is no better or more obvious way of promoting those values in Iranian society than by endorsing and supporting MEK and its allies. President Trump presiding over the UN Security Council session on Sept. 26 provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. to make a stand for universal values including religious freedoms and to make a clear case for greater multilateral pressure on Iran.

SOURCE






A hate group sets out to co-opt major corporations

Color of Change, a radical leftist group campaigning to censor conservatives and right-leaning groups, exploited the 2015 Charleston church shooting to go after the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The Freedom Center’s investigations had exposed Color of Change, but the leftist group’s campaign to silence the Center briefly succeeded last month.

“Bloodmoney,” Color of Change’s smear campaign, seeks to shut down the fundraising abilities of conservative organizations by pressuring credit card companies and payment processors to deny access to conservative groups blacklisted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Color of Change falsely accuses all of these groups of promoting violence and white supremacy.

Two weeks ago, the group’s pressure campaign successfully misled Mastercard into refusing to process donations for the Freedom Center, until an outcry forced the company to change course. Though the battle may have been won, Color of Change’s censorship campaign continues.

Color of Change’s “Bloodmoney” campaign is a blood libel. The effort falsely links conservative organizations targeted by the SPLC—including some run by African-Americans and Jews—to the Charleston church shooting and the violence in Charlottesville. The leftist group founded by CNN’s Van Jones and funded by George Soros is out to censor conservative organizations by choking off their fundraising.Color of Change’s blood libel accuses credit card companies and payment processors of taking “blood money” and financing “violence” and of complicity in “white supremacist murders” if they process donations for conservative organizations, including the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

“Financial service companies doing business with white supremacists are profiting from hate,” the campaign alleges.

The truth behind the blood libel is that Color of Change is a racialist partisan group trying to cut off financial services to mainstream conservative groups using shameless lies.

The Freedom Center previously had exposed Color of Change’s malicious dishonesty. Its list of “white nationalist groups” appears to be based on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s thoroughly discredited list of hate groups, while excluding black racist groups, such as Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, from the list. Even so, the list of “white supremacists” that Color of Change had tried to force credit card companies to stop doing business with included a black church, organizations run by Jews, Arabs, and former Muslims, not to mention the American College of Pediatricians.

James Rucker, the executive director and co-founder of Color of Change, is a board member of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Color of Change’s list is just the SPLC wearing political blackface.

Some companies were smart enough not to fall for Color of Change’s censorship scam.

Bloodmoney lists Amazon, Stripe and Discover as not “engaged,” which means those companies aren’t taking orders from an organization founded by Van Jones, who called the 2016 election a “whitelash,” and tarred 62 million Trump voters as racists.

But American Express and Visa are “engaged.” That means Color of Change has an open door to them. And Mastercard, PayPal, Apple Pay are listed as “proactive.” And that proactive censorship is why MasterCard made the mistake of blocking payments to the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Fueled by Shoddy, Antisemitic Research

Yet the only research that Color of Change presents in its attack on the Freedom Center is one quote that the SPLC, in its haste to score points against political foes, even fails to attribute. And the source of the SPLC’s smear appears to be a recycled Center for American Progress attack on the Center.

That attack, which claimed that a Jewish conspiracy was spreading Islamophobia, was put together by a team that included Matt Duss and Eli Clifton, whose Center for American Progress work was described as “infected with Jew-hatred” by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and led to a rebuke from the Obama White House. CAP also includes Faiz Shakir, who had co-chaired Harvard events that included a Hamas charity front fundraiser, and Wajahat Ali, whose blog had included a defense of Sami Al-Arian, a senior member of Islamic Jihad.

This is the rotten foundation of bigots, extremists, and antisemites upon which Color of Change’s blood libel against the Freedom Center rests. This was why Mastercard cut off the Freedom Center.

Mastercard has since reversed its decision, but the damage has already been done.

The message has been sent that a recycled seven-year-old smear put together by bigots and terrorist sympathizers on behalf of a partisan organization is enough to incite immediate action by a major corporation. Mastercard used “Bloodmoney’s” list to put the Freedom Center on a list of organizations “advocating for violence”.

The partnership of corporations and lefty groups trying to force conservatives off the internet claim that their work is based on research. The only research here consisted of an unsourced claim (because it’s derived from discredited sources) treated as fact with no further diligence.

That’s not only a profound failure. It’s a profound threat.

The Danger at Hand

Conservatives are being censored, deplatformed, banned, demonetized and kicked off services based on the mere word of a leftist group. No actual evidence necessary. The SPLC in June paid $3.375 million in a settlement after falsely accusing a Muslim of being an anti-Muslim activist. It inspired an actual domestic terrorist attack. Yet companies keep taking its word.

Color of Change didn’t even pretend to provide evidence. Mastercard took its word anyway.

Why are Mastercard, PayPal, Apple Pay, Visa and American Express “engaging” with a group whose sole purpose is to censor its political opposition without even providing evidence for its easily disproved lies?

Color of Change also fields Color of Change PAC, which endorses candidates for public office. They share office space and staff. Color of Change PAC-endorsed candidates include Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a former member of the Nation of Islam racist hate group, whose bigotry has been criticized by the Freedom Center.

Money has poured into the Color of Change PAC from George Soros, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz’s dark money machine, the Accountable Justice Action Fund, MoveOn, Hillary Clinton’s Onward Together, and Color of Change itself.

Many of these were exposed and criticized by the Freedom Center. Silencing the Freedom Center and organizations like it would help Color of Change elect its own slate of candidates. And those of its wealthy partisan backers. That’s why Color of Change wants to take down the Freedom Center.

“White Supremacy” as All-Purpose Cudgel

When Mastercard did the bidding of Color of Change, it provided a partisan advantage to the far Left.

James Rucker, the executive director of Color of Change, started out as the director of grassroots mobilization for MoveOn. He’s also a co-founder of Soros’s Secretary of State Project.

David Horowitz and the Freedom Center long have been critics of Soros and his organizations. Last year, MasterCard announced that it was teaming up with Soros on a “philanthropic” project.

Did this influence Mastercard’s willingness to collaborate with Color of Change, also funded by Soros?

Color of Change is just another one of many interchangeable and intertwined front groups. James Rucker, its executive director, is married to Heidi Hess, a white co-director at CREDO Action. Hess helped found COC and served as its board secretary. Rucker also sits on the board of MoveOn. The organizational structure and finances of Color of Change look strange, but the tiny group wields outsized influence.

Hess led one of the infamous harassment protests outside Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s home. The white and uncivil leftist insisted, “the civility and respectability politics are also just maintaining the institutionalized white supremacy that it is at the core of Trump’s agenda.”

To Hess, civility is white supremacy. To her husband, the Freedom Center, a black church and counterterrorist groups run by Middle Eastern immigrants are also examples of “white supremacy.”

Rucker, Hess, and the rest of the Left recklessly use “white supremacy” as a smear directed at their political opponents and at anything that gets in their way. It’s the responsibility of companies like Mastercard to look beyond the smears of partisan leftists and radical scam artists to get the facts.

Blood libels succeed because companies allow leftist politics to overcome their standards. The Freedom Center won the freedom to fundraise again because it fought for the facts. And when it did, Color of Change’s blood libel quickly fell apart. But the real fight is just beginning. As long as the Southern Poverty Law Center, Color of Change and other partisan groups continue to have an open door into major corporations, the censorship, and the blood libels will go on.

And the Freedom Center will go on fighting them.

“What those of us who care about free speech must do now is form a coalition across party lines and ideologies in defense of free speech. Freedom of speech is the most basic freedom we have because all our other freedoms are dependent on it,” the Freedom Center’s David Horowitz said. “If we cannot preserve freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, we cannot defend any of our freedoms, and we will have lost everything.”

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Monday, September 24, 2018



The stupidity of modern anti-racism

Smearing everyone who disagrees with you as far right only helps the far right

According to a New York research institute known as Data & Society, there exists a sinister ‘Alternative Influence Network’ (AIN) which enables far-right radicalisation through YouTube. Via a ‘six degrees of separation’-style flowchart, one that wouldn’t look out of place on David Icke’s notice board, a researcher called Rebecca Lewis has somehow managed to join the dots between political worldviews opposed by the liberal-left – conservatism, libertarianism, classical liberalism – and white-nationalist extremism. It is the most egregious example of guilt by association and the continuum fallacy I’ve seen for a long time. The camel has its nose well and truly under the tent.

If ever you needed evidence that critical thinking should be reinstated in schools, Lewis’s absurd study is a good place to start. The AIN is described as ‘an assortment of scholars, media pundits, and internet celebrities who use YouTube to promote a range of political positions’. Incredibly, Data & Society perceives collaborative influence to include ‘debates and disagreements’, which will surely provide succour to those who favour regressive No Platform policies on university campuses. Each figure on Lewis’s chart is assigned a ‘node’, which differs in size and colour depending on ‘their total connectivity within the network, or how close the influencer is to all other influencers’. It really has to be seen to be believed.

There was a time when educated adults would have dismissed this kind of nonsense out of hand, but increasingly it feels as though infants are dictating the terms of debate. I’m reminded of Richard Brome’s play The Antipodes (1640), which depicts a chaotic topsy-turvy society where children are able to discipline their parents and send them back to school. Does Data & Society have any idea how unhinged it appears to anyone with even the slightest appreciation of political nuance? In Hollywood, whenever a character draws up this kind of conspiratorial flowchart, we know that the filmmaker is signalling a dangerous fantasist. How is it that such a trope is being mimicked in reality by those who should know better?

The suggestion that watching Jordan Peterson lectures on YouTube is a gateway drug to fascism is not only ignorant, but also deeply irresponsible. Sadly, the tactic is now common. When Twitter smeared Candace Owens as a ‘far-right media personality’ for the crime of being a black conservative, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey eventually felt compelled to issue an apology. Inevitably, many leftist activists who seemingly have no understanding of what ‘far right’ means were quick to ‘call out’ Dorsey for his statement. Activists used to agitate for social progress, now they demand apologies for apologies.

According to Data & Society, Owens is a part of the AIN, and by implication is complicit in laying ‘breadcrumb trails to more extreme ideological content’. So too is Ben Shapiro, a conservative broadcaster whose Jewish heritage hasn’t prevented radical leftists from branding him a Nazi collaborator. All of this tells us that concept creep is now the norm, and behaviour which would once have been written off as hysterical, or at the very least ill-informed, is now being entertained by the mainstream media. It is a damning indictment of the educational system in the West that it can produce adults who are this narrow-minded.

Dave Rubin, political commentator and host of The Rubin Report, has rightly slammed Lewis’s study as ‘absolute garbage and bordering on defamation’. For Rubin, talking and listening to those whose opinions differ to one’s own is an essential aspect of political and social progress. (Watch Dave Rubin’s interview with spiked editor Brendan O’Neill, in which they explore this principle, here.) For the likes of Lewis, the world is to be viewed through an ever-shrinking Overton window, and those who advocate free-thinking are engaged in a form of radicalisation.

Resentment is a powerful emotion. To suggest a direct continuity between someone like Jordan Peterson – whose opposition to fascism and tyranny could not possibly be better documented – to major figures in the white-supremacist movement, will only further alienate the many thousands of people who admire his work. If activists are insistent on blurring the important distinctions between conservatism and white nationalism, they shouldn’t be surprised when more and more gravitate toward extreme positions. Data & Society is effectively rendering the term ‘far right’ meaningless, and as such is reducing its stigma. This is a dangerous game.

Neo-Nazism has been in a state of terminal decline for some time now. Disturbing scenes in Chemnitz earlier this month, where protesters were seen giving Nazi salutes, should not detract from the reality that such movements are far from mainstream. But there can be no doubt that far right groups benefit hugely from the kind of concept creep and guilt by association advocated by Data & Society, whose analysis generates the illusion of widespread global support for their cause. By adopting this misguided approach, Data & Society has buoyed the very fringe groups it seeks to bring down.

SOURCE






UK: Christian prison chaplain who claimed Bible meetings were being 'hijacked by Islamic extremists' says he faces being kicked out

Pastor Paul Song has been suspended while Brixton prison examine his claims that prisoners behaved 'inappropriately' in Bible meetings at the South London jail

A Christian prison chaplain who revealed how his Bible meetings were hijacked by Islamic extremists has been warned he may be barred from working at the jail.

Pastor Paul Song last week detailed his fears to The Mail on Sunday over the influence of Muslim extremist gangs at Brixton prison.

He has been suspended while an investigation is held but claims the governor of Brixton told him the outcome could mean permanent exclusion.

Mr Song has worked there for 19 years.

He was only recently reinstated to the South London jail after a year-long investigation cleared him of calling a prisoner a ‘terrorist’ and acting aggressively towards the imam head chaplain.

Brixton governor David Bamford said the new investigation would examine the pastor’s claims that Muslim prisoners behaved ‘inappropriately’, including disrupting chapel meetings by praising the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

It will also decide if Mr Song compromised the privacy or safety of staff or prisoners by speaking to this newspaper without permission.

Mr Song said: ‘I can’t believe this is happening after David Bamford himself invited me for a meeting to tell me that my name had been cleared, that I would now be reinstated.’

Andrea Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre, which has been supporting Mr Song, said: ‘It was very brave of Pastor Song to tell the public the appalling truth about what was happening in Brixton.

‘Astonishingly, we now find that instead of sorting out the Islamists’ domination of the prison, the authorities have chosen to shoot the messenger.’

The Ministry of Justice confirmed a member of the jail staff had been suspended, adding: ‘There is absolutely no evidence to support claims of extremist behaviour.’

SOURCE






‘Stop Islamization’: AfD supporters march through Germany’s Rostock amid massive counter-protests

Supporters of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party have staged a rally to protest against the alleged “Islamization” of Germany’s city of Rostock. Thousands of people took part in counter-protests.

The protesters carrying German national flags and holding banners and placards that read “Come, we save Rostock!” and “Stop Islamization!” marched through the city center to the square outside the city hall.

The event was organized by the AfD under the slogan “For our country and our children!” The rally was attended by Bjoern Hoecke, a regional MP and the leader of the AfD branch in the German state of Thuringia. Hoecke is known for his hardline anti-immigration stance and is considered to be one of the leaders of the nationalist wing of the party.

Some 700 people took part in the AfD rally, according to police. The AfD itself put the number of demonstrators at 400, according to German media. At the same time, the rally sparked a series of counter-protests, which were joined by almost ten times as many people.

 As many as seven counter-protests had been announced in the city. Some 4,000 people joined the rallies organized by various anti-fascist groups, NGOs and trade unions. Between 2,500 and 3,500 people took part in just one such protest organized by the groups “Rostock Helps” and “Rostock Nazifrei” (Rostock free of Nazis). A sit-in organized by some 150 counter-protesters forced the AfD march to change its route.

Yet all demonstrations were peaceful, although the police, reinforced by officers from other German states, were ready to deploy water cannons in case of any riots.

The protest came just a day after a far-right pro-Chemnitz group staged another rally in the German eastern city of Chemnitz. The demonstrators were protesting the release of an Iraqi, who was earlier suspected of fatally stabbing a local German man.

The incident triggered a wave of far-right and right-wing rallies, some of which escalated into skirmishes between riot police and protesters, resulting in multiple arrests and injuries. The right-wing rallies were also met with counter-protests from the left, who opposed “hatred” against the migrants. The rival protesters clashed with each other on several occasions.

This time, some 2,000 people took part in the rally, which was mostly peaceful. The rally was met by a 400-strong counter-protest while some 800 police officers were deployed to protect the public order in the city. At the same time, a group of people, suspected of being part of the far-right demonstration, reportedly chased a journalist covering the event and attacked a local center, hosting offices of various left-wing organizations, including the local office of the German Left Party. The assailants threw eggs at the doors of the building and broke a window, according to German media.

SOURCE






Undergraduate-style bias from Australia's major public broadcaster

Imagine if you had been stranded on an island for the past few years with nothing to watch, listen to or read from but Australia’s public broadcaster.

You would be under the false apprehension that our navy tortured asylum-seekers who were then raped on Nauru. You would think the people-smuggling trade was impossible to stop and that if boats were turned back there would be a conflict with Indonesia. You would think climate change was the greatest threat to the country, region and the world, and that it was already making our lives worse; on the bright side you would have faith that a carbon tax, emissions trading scheme or national energy guarantee would put an end to droughts, floods and bushfires while saving the Great Barrier Reef. You might be under the impression that our dams were dry and $12 billion of desalination plants were supplying us with water.

For a moment, you would have believed that the Donald Trump “nightmare” ended on the day he lost the election. But now you would be confused as to how he fired up conflicts on the Korean peninsula and in Iran without any hostilities eventuating.

There is a good chance you would be unaware of the US’s economic recovery but you would know the ins and outs of every crackpot allegation about Russian interference in American politics. Julia Gillard and Hillary Clinton would rank among your pantheon of political winners and role models. Profit and revenue would be interchangeable business terms and you might not comprehend that businesses must recoup losses before paying tax.

The Liberal Party coup that toppled Tony Abbott would stand as an example of a sorely needed and democratically orthodox leadership switch while the felling of Malcolm Turnbull would rank with The Dismissal as a repudiation of all that was acceptable in political affairs. While you would recognise Abbott as the “most destructive” politician of our time, you would see Turnbull as a victim who was knifed for no apparent reason. Still, that confusion would have ended this week when you heard that the real reason we changed prime ministers was because a couple of media moguls decided they wanted to — all you need the ABC to tell you next is why they did it, and how.

This update falls a long way short of an exhaustive list of the public broadcaster’s litany of errors and unrepented deceptions. To be fair, all journalists and media organisations make their mistakes. It is the unrelenting and undisclosed ideological bent of the ABC’s errors that is so infuriating. The lack of intellectual integrity is less than we might demand of ­undergraduates.

The transgressions are so regular that to consume ABC news and current affairs is to enter an ­alternative reality of facts and expectations. Take the 7.30 interview this week with West Australian businesswoman Catherine Marriott, who had levelled allegations of sexual harassment against former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce. Leigh Sales declined to press her for any details about her claim. Allowed — nay, encouraged — to smear Joyce’s reputation without even a hint of what allegedly transpired, Marriott was not interrogated about why she did nothing for almost 1½ years before lodging a complaint with the Nationals in February this year, when Joyce was at the eye of a political storm over his personal life.

There was no scrutiny, no natural justice, no accountability — just a free opportunity to claim victim status and attack someone else’s reputation. Issues around the reporting of alleged sexual transgressions and how we treat alleged victims are difficult and sensitive, to be sure, but common decency and fairness demand that public allegations need to be sufficiently detailed to allow rebuttal, provide context and be tested.

An ABC News Twitter account this week circulated a picture of a delegation of six men and two women at Parliament House with the comment: “A ­visiting Saudi Arabian delegation has a higher proportion of women than the Coalition.” Really, the Coalition falls behind the Saudis on women’s rights? What an ­insult, not just to the Coalition, but to the women who suffer in that country. The ABC later deleted the tweet.

On Radio National’s Big Ideas this week, Paul Barclay spoke with US journalist David Neiwert, ­author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump. “I think he’s frankly too stupid to be an ideologue,” Neiwert said of Trump. And so it went.

Barclay invoked Germany in the 1930s and talked about white extremist terrorism as the greatest threat in the US at a time we are “obsessed by Islamic terrorism”. According to Neiwert, “fake news and alternative facts” were all part of a plan to create “chaos” to “introduce fear” so that “fear induces this authoritarian response”. He said there was a “crisis for democracy”, overlooking the fact Trump was elected democratically.

This taxpayer-funded media world sure is a topsy-turvy one, full of conspiracies, evil far-right groups, climate threats, misogynist conservatives and governments talking up terrorism to increase their power and authority. It is what you might hear at a meeting of university activists, a GetUp sub-branch or perhaps a Greens protest. Thousands of adults on dozens of television, radio and online platforms propagate this stuff at our expense, 24/7.

Still, the story this week about Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Stokes dictating the prime ministership of this country takes the cake. It was laughable when it led ABC TV news bulletins on Tuesday night, extraordinary when it was presented prominently online and humiliating that the reports came not from some eager kid but from the ABC’s political editor, Andrew Probyn.

Apart from the teenage silliness of pretending that Murdoch and Stokes could just phone a few underlings to create a false media dynamic and force serious journalists to conjure up stories and commentary that then swung the votes of more than 40 MPs to change the leadership of the Liberal Party, Probyn had obvious facts wrong. In these pages during the week I detailed how his claim that this newspaper had been “unabashed in its advocacy for an end to the Turnbull prime ministership” was not only wrong but the opposite to what transpired.

Across three years of the Turnbull prime ministership and about 936 editorial columns, Probyn will not find a single editorial calling for this outcome.

Nothing else in Probyn’s piece rang true either, detailing as it did third-hand accounts of alleged conversations that only could have taken place after the leadership trauma was already playing out, and ­ignoring all the events that led to that denouement.

This was the sort of conspiracy theory that belongs on Twitter or intheGreen Left Weekly. It is not the sort of reporting that can be taken seriously or should be promoted to grown-ups. Naive, jaundiced and implausible, it also was wrong. To lead major bulletins with this was to seriously mislead the public and plunge the ABC’s reputation to new lows.

But it soon got worse. Stokes denied the communications, comments and interventions attributed to him. Probyn’s piece served only to demonstrate how the ABC’s reaction to Turnbull’s demise has started to mirror the reaction of liberal media in the US to the election of Trump: indignant denial triggering irrational and misleading reportage.

The worry is that this goes much deeper than one ill-advised and poorly edited piece by Probyn. It is the latest in a series of ideologically convenient false reports. Intriguingly, it acted as an irresistible lure, drawing praise and endorsement from other journalists and demonstrating how their political bent distorts their journalistic scepticism. Radio National host Hugh Riminton declared it was “good, detailed reporting” and another RN voice, Paul Bongiorno, retweeted the story, claiming it shed “more light on dark places”.

MediaWatch host Paul Barry retweeted the story with this recommendation: “Read this and weep. Australia’s media moguls plotting who should be PM. Important story from ABC News and Andrew Probyn.” Even ABC News director Gaven Morris pushed the story around, noting that Probyn had “worked for these two guys” and that his version of events was “worth a read”.

Interviewing senator Eric Abetz on Melbourne ABC radio, Jon Faine said, “We’ve got Scott Morrison as Prime Minister ­because Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Stokes decided.”

Oh dear. The Left loves conspiracy theories. Gore Vidal said he wasn’t so much a conspiracy theorist as a conspiracy analyst. The ABC ought to be wary of conspiracies lest its wishful thinking reveals too much about a corporate view of the world that, according to its charter, should not exist.

SOURCE 

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

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

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

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Sunday, September 23, 2018



Majority of Swedish Moderate Party Politicians Open to Governing Agreement with Populists

The majority of Swedish Moderate Party politicians would like to see party leader Ulf Kristersson open a dialogue for a potential governing agreement with the populist, anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats.

Moderate Party politicians across Sweden were asked Monday: “Do you think the Moderates will take power through negotiations with the Sweden Democrats if required?” Out of the 609 elected politicians, 324 advocated Kristersson reaching out to Sweden Democrats (SD) leader Jimmie Åkesson, newspaper Expressen reports.

Some respondents noted that it was worthwhile to talk to Åkesson as past exclusion had not worked to prevent the growth of the SD. Another said: “We Moderates want the party in the Riksdag to actively pursue moderate policies and counteract socialism. If this is only possible with SD, it is worth negotiating with Åkesson.”

Ulf Adelsohn, former leader of the Moderates, has also pushed for talks with the populists saying: “I am far away from sharing the views of Communists, but we can still talk to them. The same goes for the SD. But according to the Swedish establishment opinion, it’s only okay to talk with the left.”

Hanif Bali, an outspoken critic of social justice progressives and one of the party’s most popular figures, has also advocated ending the cordon sanitaire around the populists.

“I’m such a person who does not think I’m becoming a fascist by talking to a Swedish Democrats,” he said and noted that he would be willing to cooperate on issues the two parties agree on.

Both parties have proposed policies that are tough on crime, including the option of using the Swedish military to aid police in vulnerable “no-go” areas and both want tougher laws on radical Islamic extremism.

A potential conservative-populist alliance could potentially form a majority in the Swedish parliament if other members of the centre-right Alliance also agree to cooperate with the Sweden Democrats.

Such a government would closely resemble the conservative-populist coalition in Austria in which the Austrian People’s Party led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz formed a government with the populist Freedom Party led by Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache.

SOURCE






The desperation of the British elite

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the interesting question of whether or not the former chief strategist to the President of the United States is too fringe a figure to be allowed to speak in public. A lot of very prominent people seem to think that Steve Bannon shouldn’t be given a platform. And among two venues to have recently invited him, the New Yorker promptly disinvited him from their festival under fire from political heavyweights including former ‘funny man’ Jim Carrey.

By contrast, the Economist managed to hold firm, surviving the withdrawal of a British blogger and going ahead as planned with their live interview. The video of the resulting event is well worth watching:

Not because Steve Bannon says anything new, or anything he hasn’t said many times before. And certainly not because the Economist has its finger on any unfamiliar pulse. But rather because it is such a fascinating meeting of worlds.

Zanny Minton Beddoes herself could almost have been dreamed up by Bannon. She is his ideal foil. The Economist’s editor-in-chief is the epitome of a certain hectoring Davos type. From the moment she kicks off her interview she is as sharply rude as possible to her guest, making it clear to her audience from the get-go that her attitude towards Bannon is akin to that of someone who, having trodden in excrement, must perforce adopt some attitude towards its removal.

Of course anyone not from the world of the Economist might look on this with a certain odium of their own. Why are these people still doing this? Why are they still calling out those names (‘populist’, ‘racist’, ‘far-right’) about opinions held by large tracts – and in many cases the majority – of the public across our continent?Why even now, all these years in, don’t they ever try to listen or learn anything – to adapt and nuance their own views in order to come up with better policy prescriptions of their own? Why the jabbing, the hectoring, the lecturing and deafness? In its own way the Economist demonstrated what has caused some of the movements it itself abhors. Because even when the Davos types present themselves as listening they immediately demonstrate that they are in fact just putting their fingers in their ears and stamping their high, and noticeably well-heeled shoes.

SOURCE







Faith Is Good for You, Harvard Finds

The Bible tells us that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9). So often what passes for “news” is really nothing more than a refresher. A case in point is a new study from published this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology about the link between religious upbringing and subsequent health and well-being.

One not-so-surprising finding of the study, which was done by Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is that, “Compared with no attendance, at least weekly attendance of religious services was associated with greater life satisfaction and positive affect, a number of character strengths, lower probabilities of marijuana use and early sexual initiation, and fewer lifetime sexual partners.” Additionally, among the studies' participants:

“Compared with never praying or meditating, at least daily practice was associated with greater positive affect, emotional processing, and emotional expression; greater volunteering, greater sense of mission, and more forgiveness; lower likelihoods of drug use, early sexual initiation, STIs, and abnormal Pap test results; and fewer lifetime sexual partners.”

These findings aren't a surprise to us here at FRC. For years, we've seen this in practice, and in data like those published by our friend Pat Fagan at the Marriage and Religion Research Institute. It is a demonstrable fact that when faith is allowed to flourish, good outcomes are in store for society at large.

The study's author observes, “These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices. Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being."

Of course, we know that “faith” in a generic sense doesn't always guarantee a comfortable outcome, but an abiding faith in Jesus Christ can anchor a person's soul for whatever he or she may face in life. A study like this won't necessarily cause people to embrace faith, but it does show that a society in which religious liberty thrives will be a healthier society. And any government that wants to promote the well-being of its people should give ample space for people to have the freedom to believe and to live out those beliefs.

SOURCE





New Study on Transgender Suicide

A new study is out that examines the risk of suicide among transgender teens. The results confirm a long pattern of data: Transgender teens attempt suicide more frequently than adolescents generally.

Unfortunately, this data may be used to pressure parents to put their children through radical transition-affirming therapies.

This would be a serious mistake.

The new study assumes the unproven belief that all gender identities are equally healthy and fixed in all children and teens. This is an ideological premise touted by professional medical and psychiatric guilds, not scientific fact.

The study also offers no proof that these radical therapies—puberty-blocking drugs, double mastectomies for girls, and so on—will prevent adolescents from attempting suicide.

If anything, the findings of the survey reinforce the dire need for serious scientific research into the potential environmental causes of gender dysphoria and the risks—both physical and psychological—of medical transition.

The Study’s Findings

The study, titled “Transgender Adolescent Suicide Behavior,” made national headlines upon its release on Sept. 11 in the journal Pediatrics. It revealed that among adolescents who identify as transgender, female-to-male youth have the highest suicide risk.

The researchers examined data collected between 2012 and 2015 from the “Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors” survey. The survey was administered to 120,617 adolescents across the nation between the ages of 11 and 19 years old and focused on 40 developmental strengths known to predict healthy development, as well as risk behaviors, such as depression and suicide.

The survey also asked students to indicate which of the following best described them: female; male; transgender, female to male; transgender, male to female; transgender, nonbinary (neither male nor female); or questioning. It also asked them whether they had ever attempted suicide.

The team found that adolescent girls who identified as male had the highest rate of ever having attempted suicide: 50.8 percent. Adolescents who identified as nonbinary were next at 41.8 percent. Among male adolescents who identified as female, 29.9 percent had attempted suicide at least once. Those who were questioning their gender identity were next with a rate of 27.9 percent.

These stand in stark contrast to significantly lower rates of attempted suicide among the girls in the sample without gender dysphoria (17.6 percent) and the boys without gender dysphoria (9.8 percent).

The authors state that further research into this risk differentiation may help to develop strategies for preventing suicide among trans-identifying adolescents. Ideally, this would include an analysis of suicide attempts based upon adolescents’ biological sex, not just their gender identity.

This is important because overall, biological girls are more likely than boys to attempt suicide—a fact demonstrated by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Given the current data, my hypothesis is that such a survey would reveal that the majority of nonbinary and questioning teens are in fact biological girls.

In other words, it is possible that the much higher rate of attempted suicide among female-to-male, nonbinary, and questioning transgender youth has more to do with factors relating to their biological sex (i.e. being a girl) than it does with anything related to gender identity.

If confirmed, this may help explain the causes, since it is possible that common underlying psychological and environmental factors may be at play triggering both gender dysphoria and suicidal tendencies in a subset of these adolescents.

Unfortunately, the authors of the latest study assume that these disparities primarily (if not exclusively) are owing to adverse treatment of trans-identifying youth by society and by their families—a theory called minority stress theory.

They say more research needs to be done to “comprehensively examine the factors (e.g. gender minority stress) that explain why transgender adolescents experience higher odds of suicide behavior.” Thus, they rule out from the start the possibility that the actual transition from female to male might play a role in aggravating stress and provoking one to suicide.

To support this, they cite a seriously flawed study that alleges trans-identifying youth receive mental health benefits when affirmed by their families. That study’s sample size was very small, it was short-term, and—critically—relied solely upon parent assessment to rate the children’s mental health.

What’s Ultimately at Stake

It looks as though this study, and the future research the authors seem to encourage, will be used to continue pressuring families to affirm their children’s gender identity in lieu of their biological sex, lest they drive their children to commit suicide. Parents will be sent a clear message: Help your child transition, or you may lose them to suicide—and it will likely be your fault.

The result of this will be scores more children needlessly sterilized, placed on toxic cross-sex hormones, and maimed by a double mastectomy as young as the age of 13, and potentially given other mutilating surgeries—none of which have been proven to prevent suicide in the long term.

In fact, evidence suggests that sex reassignment surgery does not improve rates of attempted suicide.

The largest and most rigorous study to examine the rates of suicide for adults following their medical gender transition was conducted in Sweden, an LGBT-affirming country. The study followed participants for 30 years after their transition and found that the suicide rate was 19 times higher among transgender adults than among the non-transgender population.

Clearly, these results do not support the alleged curative effects of transition.

There is another possible explanation for the high suicide rates that has received little attention. As Ray Blanchard and J. Michael Bailey, two LGBT affirming psychologists, have pointed out, it is quite possible that underlying traumas, mental health, and personality issues combine to cause both gender dysphoria and suicidality in vulnerable youth.

And there is reason to suspect this may be especially true for girls. Multiple studies document a dramatic rise in adolescent gender dysphoria throughout the Western world that is particularly prominent among young women. Many of these young women have a history of severe psychopathology or a neurodevelopmental disability that predates the onset of their gender dysphoria.

A recent peer-reviewed study of rapid onset gender dysphoria, in which nearly 83 percent of the youth were female, lends further credence to this possibility. Yet that study was quickly silenced by activists and by Brown University, the university of the author—despite the author’s own liberal leanings and her emphasis on the need for more research. After transgender activists called for censorship, Brown University disconnected its link to the study and issued an apology. The journal that published the study, Plos One, is now submitting it to further scrutiny.

The Brown study pointed to a possibility that challenged the assumptions of transition-affirming ideology. While that study was silenced, the most recent study is being embraced as evidence in favor of transition-affirming therapy, even though it offers no scientific support for it.

More Research Needed

In brief, the new study does not suggest that transition will reduce suicide risk in adolescents suffering from gender dysphoria. It does suggest further research is necessary regarding potential causal factors for gender dysphoria among adolescents.

If anything, the survey reinforces the urgent need for scientists to take a sober look at possible environmental factors that contribute to gender dysphoria among youth, how these may influence the suicide rate within this population, and conduct an honest inquiry into how medicine can help.

Physicians take an oath to first do no harm. Based on this principle alone, all of us should demand a halt to the medical transition of minors until rigorous non-agenda-driven, long-term research is completed.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Friday, September 21, 2018



Political nonprofits must now name many of their donors under federal court ruling after Supreme Court declines to intervene

This will hit fundraising for conservatives as Leftists sometimes attack conservative donors.  Even as eminent a man as  Brendan Eich lost his job over a donation to a conservative cause

Advocacy groups pouring money into independent campaigns to impact this fall’s midterm races must disclose many of their political donors beginning this week after the Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to intervene in a long-running case.

The high court did not grant an emergency request to stay a ruling by a federal judge in Washington who had thrown out a decades-old Federal Election Commission regulation allowing nonprofit groups to keep their donors secret unless they had earmarked their money for certain purposes.

With less than 50 days before this fall’s congressional elections, the ruling has far-reaching consequences that could curtail the ability of major political players to raise money and force the disclosure of some of the country’s wealthiest donors.

In an interview, FEC Chairwoman Caroline Hunter said that the names of certain contributors who give money to nonprofit groups to use in political campaigns beginning Wednesday will have to be publicly reported.

Hunter and other conservatives warned the decision could have a chilling effect just as the midterms are heating up.

“It’s unfortunate that citizens and groups who wish to advocate for their candidate will now have to deal with a lot of uncertainty less than two months before the election,” said Hunter, a Republican appointee.

Advocates for stricter regulation of money in politics celebrated the move.

“This is a great day for transparency and democracy,” Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which brought the case, said in a statement, adding: “We’re about to know a lot more about who is funding our elections.”

The ruling last month by Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell will be challenged on appeal. But in the immediate, the decision forces major groups on the left and the right to scramble and reassess how they plan to finance their fall campaigns.

Nonprofit advocacy groups — which do not have to publicly disclose their donors, as political committees do — will now have to begin reporting the names of contributors who give more than $200 per year toward their independent political campaigns, campaign finance lawyers said.

“Moving forward, these groups will need to disclose to the public any donor that gave money for the purpose of influencing a federal election, regardless of whether they want to sponsor a particular race or specific communication,” said Matthew Sanderson, a Republican campaign finance attorney. “Some groups will not need to adjust their approach to raising funds, but this will be a significant change for others.”

The change could affect heavyweight groups across the political spectrum, including the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity on the right and the League of Conservation Voters on the left.

The case began nearly six years ago when CREW filed a complaint to the FEC, arguing that it should require Crossroads GPS, a major conservative nonprofit, to disclose the names of donors behind a $6 million effort it ran in 2012 against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

The FEC deadlocked on whether to open an investigation into Crossroads and then dismissed the complaint in 2015. The following year, CREW sued the agency.

In her ruling last month, Howell sided with CREW. In her 113-page opinion, Howell wrote that the FEC’s regulation “blatantly undercuts the congressional goal of fully disclosing the sources of money flowing into federal political campaigns, and thereby suppresses the benefits intended to accrue from disclosure.”

She delayed the disclosure requirement for 45 days to give the agency time to adopt a new rule.

Crossroads GPS unsuccessfully sought to stay the ruling, pending its appeal.

On Tuesday, Chris Pack, spokesman for Crossroads GPS, said in a statement: “While we are disappointed the Supreme Court did not take this opportunity to ensure regulatory clarity for nonpolitical organizations that lawfully engage in election activity, we are confident we can navigate through the current morass and comply with the law, as we always have.”

The FEC must now create a new rule for the nonprofits, but it is unlikely to be in place before the midterms. New regulations must be considered by Congress for 30 legislative days before they go into effect — meaning the FEC would have needed to finish drafting a new rule before the court issued its opinion, for it to go into effect by Sept. 17, the court’s deadline.

Ellen Weintraub, the Democratic vice chairwoman of the FEC, said there is “great interest” among the commissioners to provide guidance ahead of the midterm elections, but said it was too early to specify what that would entail.

Tuesday’s development set off a frenzy among nonprofit groups as they tried to make sense of what the ruling would mean for fundraising and spending activity for the 2018 election.

David Keating, president of the Institute for Free Speech, which opposes campaign finance restrictions, predicted many nonprofit groups will turn to super PACs as a solution.

“They may just take the money they have allocated for this and then decide to just give contributions to super PACs that are going to be active in the races and on the issue that they agree on,” Keating said.

Earlier this month, in the wake of Howell’s ruling, the Koch network launched a new super PAC to serve as a sister organization to Americans for Prosperity.

Conservatives said the decision to throw out the FEC rule raises First Amendment concerns about donor privacy.

“If speakers can’t rely on regulations as written, that chills speech. Additionally, it’s unfair to change rules about political speech in the middle of a campaign, and many organizations have already run [independent expenditure ads] during the current campaign,” according to the Institute for Free Speech.

But Jessica Levinson, an election law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said the Supreme Court’s order is a “huge win for the public.”

The now-thrown out rule “was a huge gaping hole in our system and it allowed for so much undisclosed money to be pumped through our electoral system. Disclosure is really all there is left,” Levinson said.

SOURCE






'Believe Women' Is Perilous Baloney

Michelle Malkin
    
I have a message for virtue-signaling men who’ve rushed to embrace #MeToo operatives hurling uncorroborated sexual assault allegations into the chaotic court of public opinion.

Stuff it.

Your blanket “Believe Women” bloviations are moral and intellectual abominations that insult every human being of sound mind and soul.

A certain class of never Trump-harumphers are leading the charge on behalf of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s memory-addled partisan accuser Christine Blasey Ford — who cannot recall the year she was allegedly traumatized, where it happened, who threw the party that paralyzed her for nearly four decades, how many were in attendance during her claimed assault, how she got there or how she left.

No matter! Bush campaign hack-turned-ABC News analyst Matthew Dowd doesn’t need any data to analyze. “Enough with the ‘he said, she said’” storyline,“ he declared this week. "If this is he said, she said, then let’s believe the she in these scenarios. She has nothing to gain, and everything to lose. For 250 years we have believed the he in these scenarios. Enough is enough.”

Clinton/Kerry flack Peter Daou echoed the unthinking sentiment: “To everyone on the right who says I’m being selective, I BELIEVE WOMEN whether the accused is a Republican or Democrat. And yes, that includes all the names you’re throwing at me. My default in these situations is to BELIEVE WOMEN.”

Ivy League poobah Simon Hedlin asserted: “Accusers go public not because of any supposed benefits but despite the immense costs.” He argued: “When somebody is credibly accused of sexual misconduct, the default should be to believe the accuser.”

That is a dumb and dangerous default. The costly toll of “believing women,” instead of believing evidence, can be seen in the hundreds and hundreds of cases recorded by the University of Michigan Law School’s National Registry of Exonerations involving innocent men falsely accused of rape and rape/murders.

One of those men whose plight I’ve reported on for CRTV and my syndicated column, former Fort Worth police officer Brian Franklin, spent 21 years in prison of a life sentence after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 1995 who had committed perjury on the stand. Franklin vigilantly maintained his innocence, studied law in the prison library and won a reversal of his conviction in 2016. The jury took less than two hours to acquit him. But his name is still not clear. He recently submitted a 200-page application for a pardon for innocence and cannot do what he wants to do — return to law enforcement — unless the members of the Texas board of pardons and paroles (along with Texas constitutional conservatives who pay lip service to truth, justice and due process) do the right thing.

In Philadelphia, Anthony Wright also served more than two decades behind bars like Franklin. He was convicted in 1993 for a brutal rape and murder of an elderly woman. It was a female prosecutor, Bridget Kirn, who “failed to alert the Court or the jury to what she personally knew was the falsity of (police detectives’) testimony, or otherwise honor her ethical duty to correct it,” according to Wright’s lawyers with the Innocence Project. They have filed a lawsuit directly aimed at the prosecutor this week to hold her accountable for her criminal falsehoods.

And just this week, Oregonian Joshua Horner, serving a 50-year sentence for sexual abuse of a young girl, was exonerated after a dog that the accuser had claimed he shot dead was found alive. There had been no DNA, no corroborating witnesses and no other forensic evidence — just the word of girl whose contradictions and memory problems were explained away as “post-traumatic stress” while an innocent man nearly drowned.

The idea that all women and girls must be telling the truth at all times about sexual assault allegations because they “have nothing to gain” is perilously detached from reality. Retired NYPD special victim squad detective John Savino, forensic scientist and criminal profiler of the Forensic Criminology Institute Brent Turvey, and forensic psychologist Aurelio Coronado Mares detail the myriad “prosocial” and “antisocial” lies people tell in their textbook, “False Allegations: Investigative and Forensic Issues in Fraudulent Reports of Crime.”

“Prosocial deceptions” involve specific motives beneficial to both the deceiver and the deceived, including the incentives to “preserve the dignity of others,” to gain “financial benefit” for another; to protect a relationship; “ego-boosting or image protection (of others);” and “protecting others from harm or consequence.

"Antisocial” lies involve selfish motives to “further a personal agenda at some cost to others,” including “self-deception and rationalization to protect or boost self-esteem;” “enhance status or perception in the eyes of others;” “garner sympathy;” “avoid social stigma;” “conceal inadequacy, error, and culpability;” “avoid consequence;” and for “personal and/or material gain.”

Let me repeat the themes of my work in this area for the past two years to counter the “Believe Women” baloney:

The role of the press should be verification, not validation.

Rape is a devastating crime. So is lying about it.

It’s not victim blaming to get to the bottom of the truth. It’s liar-shaming.

Don’t believe a gender. Believe evidence.

SOURCE







California Poised to Pass Bill Cracking Down on ‘False Information’

California is one step away from going down the unconstitutional road of government-mandated censorship of Internet speech. The California Senate and State Assembly recently passed S.B. 1424, the “Internet: social media: advisory group” act. This fake news advisory act is now on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

According to Section 3085 of the legislation:

The Attorney General shall, subject to the limitations of subdivision (d), establish an advisory group consisting of at least one member of the Department of Justice, Internet-based social media providers, civil liberties advocates, and First Amendment scholars, to do both of the following:

(a) Study the problem of the spread of false information through Internet-based social media platforms.

(b) Draft a model strategic plan for Internet-based social media platforms to use to mitigate the spread of false information through their platforms.

It’s hard to imagine those voting for the bill were motivated by good intentions. In any case, good intentions are not enough. Is it hard to imagine the results of the law will be censorship of views that politicians disagree with and views critical of politicians?

Most likely, Californians are not concerned about “fact-checking” content like “a mile is 5290 feet” or an appeal to form a flat Earth Facebook group; such content poses no threat to entrenched interests. Instead, “fact-checking” will be deployed against those who express doubt, for example, about climate change, vaccine safety, or “educating” children about gender dysphoria.

In a world where most scientific studies can’t be replicated, a consensus should not be confused with an immutable fact.

If you doubt that censorship is the aim of the bill, consider the even more draconian measures that an earlier version of the bill required. Social media sites would have needed to develop “a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, the utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false information.” 

The First Amendment makes no provisions for government judging the validity of speech either directly or through mandated “fact-checking.” In legitimate cases of defamation, legal remedies are available, but the bar for a successful lawsuit is high.

Concern Over Fake News is Old News

Concern over “fake news” is not new. Elbridge Gerry, who became the fifth vice president of the United States, despaired at the Constitutional Convention about the impact of “false reports”:

"The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots. In Massachusetts it had been fully confirmed by experience, that they are daily misled into the most baneful measures and opinions, by the false reports circulated by designing men, and which no one on the spot can refute."

There have always been “false reports,” but Thomas Jefferson believed in the wisdom of the public to discern the difference:

"It is so difficult to draw a clear line of separation between the abuse and the wholesome use of the press, that as yet we have found it better to trust the public judgment, rather than the magistrate, with the discrimination between truth and falsehood. And hitherto the public judgment has performed that office with wonderful correctness."

What Jefferson observed in his time is no less true today. It is impossible to “fact-check” the limitless amount of Internet speech. It is no more possible to “fact-check” than it is to centrally plan; in either case, the power of reason is not able to deal with the unforeseeable complexity one would encounter. Knowledge, by its nature, is vast and decentralized.

In Conjectures and Refutations, philosopher Karl Popper observed: “There are no ultimate sources of knowledge. Every source, every suggestion, is welcome; and every source, every suggestion, is open to critical examination.”

In contrast, California’s politicians seem to believe only some ideas are welcome—if those ideas have been “fact-checked” by the heavy hand of government-sponsored boards. 

Why Authoritarians Always Suppress Speech

In his new discussion paper, “The Mirage of Democratic Socialism,” economist Kristian Niemietz of the Institute of Economic Affairs counts “more than two dozen attempts (not counting the very short-lived ones) to build a socialist society.”

“They all,” Niemietz writes, “led to varying degrees of economic failure.” With that economic failure always came “varying degrees of repression and political authoritarianism," as well as severe limitations on “freedom of choice and personal autonomy in the economic sphere.”

Authoritarians, including so-called “democratic socialists,” must always suppress speech. Why? Human beings have boundless preferences and competing goals. These preferences and goals are sorted out by either socialist planners or impersonal market processes. 

As central planning fails, a scapegoat must be found. If only the people were united and working towards the same goals, our plans would succeed, reason the planners. Thus, observes Niemietz, all socialist regimes seek to enforce compliance with their plans:

One of the most persistent features of socialism is the paranoia about imaginary saboteurs, wreckers, hoarders, speculators, traitors, spies and stooges of hostile foreign powers. These phantoms are always accused of ‘undermining’ the economy (although it never quite becomes clear how exactly they do that), which would otherwise work just fine. More generally, the oppressive character of socialist societies was generally linked to the economic requirements of a centrally planned economy. Socialist states did not oppress people for the sake of it. They did so in ways that enforced compliance with the aims of the social planners.

In a future dystopian “democratic socialist” California, the search for “false information” could be weaponized against those arguing for free markets. After Google provides a censored search engine in China, they can no doubt use their new expertise in California to keep up with the latest laws.

SOURCE






What your suburb says about you - and your children's chance of having a successful future: Maps show the divide between Australia's rich and poor

This is as it must be.  There are of course exceptions but most people will choose to live in as good a suburb as they can afford. So suburbs will be reasonably homogeneous in the incomes of their inhabitants -- with the poorest living in the least attractive suburbs.  And economically unsuccessful parents will tend to have economically unsuccessful children. It's not the suburb that makes your poor.  Its the poor who have to choose less attractive suburbs

Australia ranks at number 12 of the most expensive countries to live – but new data has revealed the shocking divide between the country's rich and poor suburbs.

Experts have released a report examining the most advantaged and disadvantaged areas across the nation - and how the suburb where you grow up can significantly impact on your success in later life.

The Children's Geographies report by Senior Research Fellow at the UNSW Jennifer Skattebol and Flinders Associate Professor Gerry Redmond has found that poverty across generations is a major issue in Australia, according to News.com.au.

'A significant number of young Australians who grow up in poverty find it difficult to engage with formal education; they leave school early or cannot navigate from education to the world of work,' the report states. Because the poor tend to have lower IQs

The authors said their research found that children from poorer suburbs have less access to recreational, sporting, and academic facilities, and experience social exclusion across neighbourhood facilities and social networks.

They claim that youths from affluent suburbs are less likely to participate in activities they perceive would be attended by disadvantaged children and, conversely, disadvantaged youths avoided using facilities in affluent suburbs, concerned they would be worse-off if a conflict arose.

A research program titled Dropping Off the Edge identifies advantaged and disadvantaged areas across the country.

In New South Wales, the areas in the north and west of the state were generally more disadvantaged, while regions along the coast and near the southern border fared much better.

Disadvantaged areas included Inverell in the north, and Bourke, Wilcannia, and Broken Hill in the far west.  The more affluent areas were around Sydney, Canberra, and Albury.

In Sydney itself, the north shore and eastern suburbs fared well, but suburbs in western Sydney including Blacktown, Cabramatta and Liverpool are considered disadvantaged.

In Victoria, around Melbourne and parts of the northeast and southwest of the state fared well, but Lakes Entrance in the east, and Red Cliffs in the far north were identified as disadvantaged.

In Melbourne city, areas around Hurstbridge in the north and Flinders in the south were considered affluent

In Melbourne, areas around Hurstbridge in the north and Flinders in the south were considered affluent, while areas around Yarra Junction, Cranbourne, and Sunshine were considered poorer.

In southeast Queensland, areas around Noosa, Moreton Bay, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast were the most advantaged.

Areas to the west such as Beaudesert, Ipswich, and Esk were classified as disadvantaged. The Sunshine Coast fared well, with Maroochydore one of the most advantaged areas.

SOURCE 

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

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

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

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Thursday, September 20, 2018



Walter Williams: Reasoning About Race

So much of our reasoning about race is both emotional and faulty. In ordinary, as well as professional, conversation, we use terms such as discrimination, prejudice, racial preferences and racism interchangeably, as if they referred to the same behavior. We can avoid many pitfalls of misguided thinking about race by establishing operational definitions so as to not confuse one behavior with another.

Discrimination can be operationally defined as an act of choice. Our entire lives are spent choosing to do or not to do thousands of activities. Choosing requires non-choosing. When you chose to read this column, you discriminated against other possible uses of your time. When you chose a spouse, you discriminated against other people. When I chose Mrs. Williams, I systematically discriminated against other women. Much of it was racial. Namely, I discriminated against white women, Asian women, fat women and women with criminal backgrounds. In a word, I didn't offer every woman an equal opportunity, and they didn't offer me an equal opportunity.

One might be tempted to argue that racial discrimination in marriage is trivial and does not have important social consequences, but it does. When high-IQ and high-income people marry other high-IQ and high-income people, and to the extent there is a racial correlation between these characteristics, racial discrimination in mate selection enhances the inequality in the population's intelligence and income distribution. There would be greater income equality if high-IQ and high-income people married low-IQ and low-income people. But I imagine that most people would be horrified by the suggestion of a mandate to require the same.

Prejudice is a perfectly useful term, but it is used improperly. Its Latin root is praejudicium — meaning prejudgment. Prejudice can be operationally defined as making decisions on the basis of incomplete information. Because the acquisition of information entails costs, we all seek to economize on information cost. Sometimes we use cheap-to-observe physical attributes as proxies for some other attribute more costlier to observe. The cheaply observed fact that a person is a male or female can serve as a proxy for an unobserved attribute such as strength, aggressiveness or speed in running.

In the late 1990s, a black taxi commissioner in Washington, D.C., warned cabbies against going into low-income black neighborhoods and picking up "dangerous-looking" passengers whom she described as young black males dressed a certain way. Some pizza deliverers in St. Louis who were black complained about delivering pizzas to black neighborhoods for fear of being assaulted or robbed. In 1993, the Rev. Jesse Jackson was reported as saying that he is relieved when he learns that youthful footsteps walking behind him at night are white and not black.

Here's the question: Does the wariness of Washington's predominantly black cabbies to pick up "dangerous-looking" black males or black pizza deliverers' not wanting to deliver to some black neighborhoods or Rev. Jackson's feeling a sense of relief when the youthful footsteps behind him are those of white youngsters instead of black say anything unambiguous about whether cabbies, pizza deliverers and Jackson like or dislike blacks? It's a vital and often overlooked point — namely, that watching a person's prejudicial (prejudging) behavior alone can tell us nothing unambiguous about that person's racial tastes or preferences.

Consider policing. Suppose a chief of police is trying to capture culprits who break in to autos to steal electronic equipment. Suppose further that you see him focusing most of his investigative resources on young males between the ages of 15 and 25. He spends none of his investigative resources on females of any age and very few on men who are 40 or older. By watching his "profiling" behavior — prejudging behavior — would you conclude that he likes females and older males and dislikes males between the ages of 15 and 25? I think that it would take outright idiocy to reach such a conclusion. The police chief is simply playing the odds based on the evidence he has gathered through experience that breaking in to autos tends to be a young man's fancy.

SOURCE






Christian-Bashing Emmys' Ratings Hit New Low

Ratings for Monday night’s politically-charged, Christian-bashing Emmys program fell to a new low for the annual awards show telecast.

The overnight ratings posted a double-digit percentage decline from the previous year’s poor performance, Deadline Hollywood reported Tuesday:

“Snagging a 7.4/13 result in metered market ratings, the NBC broadcasted and Michael Che and Colin Jost hosted 70th Primetime Emmy awards fell to an all-time low on Monday.

“In the early metrics, the Lorne Michaels executive produced and Saturday Night Live alum thick ceremony was down 10% from last year’s Stephen Colbert fronted show of September 16, 2017 on CBS.’

The 2018 Emmys program is also expected to hit an all-time low among a key audience demographic, when the final numbers are released, Deadline says:

“In the final numbers, last year’s Emmys snared 11.8 million viewers and a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49. That translated into matching the previous viewership low of the Jimmy Kimmel hosted 2016 Emmys and a new low among the key demographic. Those are records, based on the first set of numbers we are looking at today, appear very likely to be broken – and not in a good way.”

This year’s Emmys program didn’t waste any time before attacking Christians – comparing them to ex-drug addicts – as the opening monologue declared that:

“The only white people that thank Jesus are Republicans and ex-crackheads.”

SOURCE






British Food tyrants victimize a schoolkid

They can only preach to adults so they love to exercize power over kids

A MUM was furious when a school deemed her child’s lunch box “too unhealthy” — despite it being packed with nutritious food.

Meal time assistants found the food unacceptable, but the baffled mother couldn’t see why.

It turned out the problem was with the three mini cookies included in the box, The Mirror reports.

Mum Laura Lee said that staff at the school stopped her son from eating the chocolate chip biscuits.

She posted a picture of the offending meal on Facebook in a comment thread where teachers had shared stories about the worst school lunches they had seen.



Teachers had seen everything from kids only turning up with Red Bull and Monster Munch to cold McDonald’s leftovers.

But Laura said of her lunch box: “I thought it was pretty balanced — evidently not.”

Others replied to Laura’s lunch box story and were outraged at the assistants’ decision.

Susan McGowan wrote: “Absolute rubbish that he wasn’t allowed to get those small cookies. “Everything in moderation surely.”

Martin Harry said: “I would kick the f**k off big time! “Food is taken off a child and made to be hungry rather than the child eating. Since when was that healthy.”

Some people thought that the blame lied higher up the school’s food chain. Stephanie Hughes commented: “I would be requesting a ‘lunch date’ with the headmaster asking him to provide a proper packed lunch as a way of example!”

SOURCE






White do-gooder sees pervasive racism towards Australian Aborigines

I don't know why I occasionally put up rejoinders to Leftist screeches.  I guess I feel that a full picture of the matters concerned has to be available.  And Leftist writing usually leaves out such an enormous amount of the full story that I really feel annoyed at such deception.

The woman writing below, Caitlin Prince, apparently works in some sort of welfare role among Aborigines and appears to do so largely as a result of her political convictions.  And a big part of those convictions is that Australians generally are racist.  But what evidence does she muster for that conviction?  Just three anecdotes.  But you can prove anything by anecdotes.  I could report far more anecdotes that prove Australians generally to be racially tolerant.  So she falls at the first hurdle in her rant.

So her claim that "defensive anger" is the common response to  accounts of the deplorable situation of Aborigines is also just another anecdote.  That she is a racist is however clear. She criticizes "white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background."  Why does she have to bring their race into it?  Why can she not outline the words and deeds of particular people in her criticisms?  Instead she resorts to lazy generalizations with no detectible substance in them.

Another of her broad brush strokes is to say that "mostly racism is unconscious  and internalised".  How does she know?  Does she have a mind-reading machine?  She does not. Instead she relies on her deductions about the motives behind various words and deeds that she has observed. There is a very long history in psychology of failed attempts to read minds but she is not humbled by that.  She knows better.

One of her observations, however, is probably right.  She says that the poor state of Aborigines evokes feelings of powerlessness in whites.  She does not however confront a major reason why.  Successive Australian governments, State and Federal, Left and Right have all set in train big efforts to improve the situation of Aborigines -- but nothing works. If anything, the situation of Aborigines has gone downhill since the era of the missionaries.  People of all sorts have racked their brains to come up with solutions but none have succeeded.  People feel powerless in the face of Aboriginal degradation because they really ARE powerless.

She says that the problem for Aborigines is "the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations".  If that were so, how come that so many government programs have over a long period been tried in an attempt to help Aborigines?

So the sad state of Aborigines is NOT the result of racism.  It is something in Aboriginals themselves.  And that something is not too mysterious.  They have over many thousands of years adapted brilliantly to a hunter-gatherer life -- but that life is no more.

So what is her solution to the undoubted problems of Aborigines?  It is pathetic.  It is a "national conversation".  She is completely oblivious of all the conversations that have gone before.  She lives only in the present, as Leftists usually do.

As it happens, the lady in my life spent many years among Aborigines providing them with real professional services -- medical services  -- paid for by one of those "racist" Australian governments. She tells me something that the angry sourpuss below gives no hint of.  She tells me that she LIKES Aborigines.  And having seen much of what has been done to and for Aborigines by well-intentioned governments, she is firm in her view that no outside help will do much for Aborigines.  She believes that any solution for their plight must arise from among Aborigines themselves.  I think she is right.



Last week, a nine-year-old refused to stand for the national anthem to protest its lack of recognition of First Nations, and the country erupted in anger. High profile, fully grown adults publicly called her a brat and threatened to “kick her up the backside”.

In the same week, Mark Knight’s cartoon of Serena Williams was criticised internationally as racist, and Australian media doubled down to defend it. “Welcome to PC world” the Herald Sun published on its front page, while Knight accused the world of “going crazy” and suspended his Twitter account.

Meanwhile, two Aboriginal teenagers died in Perth running away from police, and communities pushed again for government action on the high rates of Aboriginal deaths in custody. Yeah — how dare people suggest Australia is racist!

I can’t imagine how it felt to be Aboriginal during this (not atypical) week. Although I don’t have to imagine — Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana), the Aboriginal writer and activist, tweeted:

"We’re constantly stuck trying to remind white people of the humanity of Aboriginal people – particularly Aboriginal women and children. It’s tiring, devastating and as we continually end up back in the same place, clearly not working. Sort your shit out, Australia"

— Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) September 17, 2018

Emotions run high when it comes to the topic of racism and First Nations people. The fact that a nine-year-old can elicit such a venomous rebuke from senators and media personalities is testament to that. In my experience though, it isn’t only alt-right conservatives who have strong emotions about this topic. In the past eight years that I’ve worked in remote Aboriginal communities, every non-Aboriginal person I’ve worked with has experienced a strong reaction to the interface of Australia’s race relations.

Defensive anger is a common reaction to having your worldview challenged. Researcher Megan Boler believes it’s an attempt to protect not only one’s beliefs but one’s “precarious sense of identity”; a defence of one’s investment in the values of the dominant culture.

The problem with growing up within the dominant culture is that it’s easy to be oblivious to anything outside of it. As Tim Soutphommasane, the outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner, recently pointed out in The Griffith Review, Australia’s media and political structures are still dominated by white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background. While in reality, Australia is far more culturally diverse, the positions that shape both the nation’s policies and stories we tell about it, are still dominated by Anglo-Australians.

When voices from outside the dominant culture do reach us, their perspectives are unexpected, drawn from life experience beyond our shared frames of reference. Their criticism can feel like it’s come out of the blue.

Knight said his cartoon wasn’t about race. Perhaps he was naive to the history of caricature that represented black people as infantile sambos. His intention may not have been racist. As white people, we often mistakenly believe that racism requires a conscious belief that black people are less human than us, but mostly racism is unconscious  and internalised.

It’s all the more bewildering to be accused of racism when it isn’t your intention, such as a health professional who wants to help, discovering they’ve unknowingly offended their Aboriginal client; or a well-intentioned teacher, who had no idea teaching only in English to a community with a different first language, might cause harm. Or perhaps a cartoonist, who prided himself on insightful social commentary, but had his blind spots pointed out.

Frequently, we react defensively and insist our actions aren’t racist when we’d be better served by realising we didn’t know it was racist  and listening to people of colour to understand why, without minimising or denying their concerns.

Anger is not the only emotional response I see in non-Aboriginal people when confronted with our country’s racism. Some people respond with grief and sadness, others with guilt and shame. Nearly always, there are feelings of helplessness that easily flick over into dissociation, numbness and denial. Megan Boler writes that denial “feeds on our lack of awareness of how powerlessness functions, effects, feeds on, and drains our sense of agency and power as active creators of self and world-representations. By powerlessness I mean a state that is usually silent and mutates into guilt and denial that gnaws at us….”

Our country struggles with meaningful recognition of our First Nations, in part due to these feelings of powerlessness and being overwhelmed. We are divided, black from white, by the privilege of being able to drift off into denial. Aboriginal people remain pressed up against the painful consequences of racism with the daily deaths, incarceration, and illness of their family members. Non-Aboriginal Australians on the other hand, bump along, failing to grapple with the overwhelming task of reckoning with our genocidal history and its ongoing legacy.

People of colour refer to “white fragility”, and while I think the term is fair (if the suffering could be weighed, there would be no competition), unless we respond wisely to emotions triggered by discussions of racism, we’re not going to progress the national conversation. Emerging from denial is like thawing from ice; it comes with the pins and needles of moving out of a long-held, contracted position. It’s painful, and people react emotionally.

I’ve worked for eight years now in remote health. I often feel paralysed, at a loss as to how to break through the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations.

How can I, as one voice, possibly affect it? I want to run away, to not face it. And right there, in the choice to not confront racism, is white privilege.

The moment I choose to do nothing, the moment I stop wrestling with my emotions and slip instead into denial and avoidance, I act out the privilege that has and continues to cause so much harm to our First Nations.

To do nothing is to be complicit.

What a painful thing to have to face.

SOURCE 

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

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

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

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