Friday, December 09, 2016

The Democrats are now the party of the rich

In the wake of Donald Trump’s stunning and disastrous Electoral College victory, analysts have zeroed in on one demographic group that bears the burden for Hillary Clinton’s defeat: white voters without college degrees.

Crudely grouped under the rubric “white working class,” these voters helped push Trump past Clinton in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

In the weeks since, this same group — a vast and heterogeneous cohort that represents more than 40 percent of the electorate in all four states — has been the subject of a maddeningly unhelpful public debate.

Were some of these voters drawn to the siren of Trump’s white nationalist campaign? Yes, obviously. Were some of them expressing frustration at the social and economic decline of their communities, and the manifest inability of Democratic politicians to address it? Yes, just as obviously. Might these things all be related, in some fundamental way? You’re better off asking President Obama than a liberal pundit.

But while a chunk of this amorphous group may have decided the election by defecting from Obama to Trump, white Midwesterners without college diplomas were not the only Americans who voted this November. Nor are they the only demographic that can tell us something about the nature of the campaign and the evolution of both major parties.

Chasing the Moderate Republican

In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton fended off Bernie Sanders’s challenge with the strong support of two key groups: wealthy, educated whites and mostly working-class nonwhite Democrats.

While Sanders gradually improved his standing with younger nonwhite voters, it was not enough to take the nomination. Clinton’s core coalition — an effective alliance between the Upper East Side and East Flatbush — held firm, leading Clinton to blowout wins in states like New York, Texas, and Florida.

Clinton counted on the same alliance to carry her to victory in the general election. Very quickly, though, Democratic leaders made it clear that in a campaign against Donald Trump, not all members of the coalition required equal attention.

Faced with a Republican opponent who openly touted his affinity for “the poorly educated,” Team Clinton focused on courting white voters at the opposite end of the class pyramid. Trump’s vulgarity and chauvinism, they hoped, would drive wealthy Republican moderates toward Clinton. Rather than aggressively contest Trump’s bogus populism, Democratic strategists concentrated on “moderate” suburban Republicans — the ideological cousins, and often the literal neighbors, of professional-class Democrats.

“For every one of those blue-collar Democrats [Trump] picks up,” former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell predicted in February, “he will lose to Hillary two socially moderate Republicans and independents in suburban Cleveland, suburban Columbus, suburban Cincinnati, suburban Philadelphia, suburban Pittsburgh, places like that.”

Electorally, of course, this strategy proved catastrophic. In the Midwestern swing states, Clinton hemorrhaged white “blue-collar Democrats” without winning nearly enough “moderate Republicans” to compensate.

Nevertheless, the election results show that the Democrats’ conscious effort to woo the rich wasn’t entirely for naught. Clinton ran nine points ahead of Obama’s 2012 tally among voters earning more than $100,000. Further up the income ladder, among voters making more than $250,000 annually, she bested Obama’s margin by a full eleven points.

And although overall Democratic turnout declined substantially from 2012, it is wrong to say that nobody was excited to vote for Clinton. In the wealthy and well-educated suburbs of cities like Boston, Chicago, and Minneapolis — as in the effectively suburbanized enclaves of Manhattan and Washington, DC — Clinton’s vote total far surpassed Obama’s mark four years ago.

Nate Silver has compiled tables that show the huge shift from Obama to Clinton in America’s most educated counties. But his confident gloss that “education, not income” guided the electorate somewhat overstates the case, even according to his own data. A look at affluent suburban returns on a district and town level suggests that some combination of income, education, culture, and geography — in a word, “class” — drove Clinton’s most dramatic gains.

Incomplete returns in wealthy, suburban West Coast areas — like Orange County, located outside of Los Angeles, and Marin and San Mateo counties, outside of San Francisco — reveal a similar Clinton surge.

Much of this, no doubt, reflects elite aversion to Trump rather than pure affection for Clinton. But that’s not the whole story. After all, these affluent and expensively credentialed suburbs also delivered Clinton huge margins during the Democratic primary.

Bernie Sanders’s style of class politics — and his program of mild social-democratic redistribution — did not gain much favor in New Canaan, Connecticut (where he won 27 percent of the vote) or Northfield, Illinois (39 percent). For some suburban Democrats, Sanders’s throttling in these plush districts virtually disqualified him from office: “A guy who got 36 percent of the Democrats in Fairfax County,” an ebullient Michael Tomasky wrote after the Virginia primary, “isn’t going to be president.”

Clinton was their candidate. By holding off Sanders’s populist challenge — and declining to concede fundamental ground on economic issues — the former secretary of state proved she could be trusted to protect the vital interests of voters in Newton, Eden Prairie, and Falls Church. They, more than any other group in America, were enthusiastically #WithHer.

To some extent, Clinton’s appeal even carried over to wealthy red-state suburbs. In Forysth County outside Atlanta, and Williamson County outside Nashville — the richest counties in Georgia and Tennessee — Clinton lost big but improved significantly on Obama’s performance in 2012.

But wealthy, educated suburbanites were never going to push the Democrats over the top all by themselves. Despite Clinton’s incremental gains, in the end, most rich white Republicans remained rich white Republicans: hardly the sturdiest foundation for an anti-Trump majority.


This Filmmaking Couple Doesn’t Want to Be Punished for Not Promoting Same-Sex Marriage

A Minnesota couple is suing state officials to allow their film production company to celebrate marriage as a man-woman union without being forced, against their biblical beliefs, to promote same-sex marriage.

Carl and Angel Larsen, of St. Cloud, Minnesota, say they run Telescope Media Group as a way to deploy their storytelling ability and production services to glorify God.

“The Larsens desire to counteract the current cultural narrative undermining the historic, biblically orthodox definition of marriage by using their media production and filmmaking talents to tell stories of marriages between one man and one woman that magnify and honor God’s design and purpose for marriage,” the lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota says.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal organization, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Larsens and Telescope Media Group, which they own.

“Because of their religious beliefs, and their belief in the power of film and media production to change hearts and minds, the Larsens want to use their talents and the expressive platform of [Telescope Media Group] to celebrate and promote God’s design for marriage as a lifelong union of one man and one woman,” the suit says.

Minnesota government officials argue that private businesses face criminal penalties if they promote a marriage between a man and woman but refuse to promote a same-sex marriage, the Larsens’ lawyers at the Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom say.

“Filmmakers shouldn’t be threatened with fines and jail simply for disagreeing with the government,” Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a formal statement.

“Filmmakers shouldn’t be threatened with fines and jail simply for disagreeing with the government,” @Jeremy_Tedesco says.

If convicted after criminal prosecution under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the Larsens face a fine of $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail, according to the lawsuit. They also could be ordered to pay compensatory and punitive damages up to $25,000.

The Larsens, who are in their mid-30s and have been married for 14 years, are challenging the law before Minnesota officials take any action against them and their company.

The law in question is the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

“The law does not exempt individuals, businesses, nonprofits, or the secular business activities of religious entities from nondiscrimination laws based on religious beliefs regarding same-sex marriage,” the Minnesota Department of Human Rights website says.

The Larsens’ lawyers filed a pre-enforcement challenge against Kevin Lindsey in his official capacity as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and against Lori Swanson in her official capacity as attorney general of Minnesota. According to the suit:

The Larsens simply desire to use their unique storytelling and promotional talents to convey messages that promote aspects of their sincerely held religious beliefs, or that at least are not inconsistent with them. It is standard practice for the owners of video and film production companies to decline to produce videos that contain or promote messages that the owners do not want to support or that violate or compromise their beliefs in some way.

The Daily Signal sought comment from both the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Human Rights, but neither had responded by publication.

Telescope Media Group’s services include web-streaming and video recording of live events as well as producing short films.

“Telescope Media Group exists to glorify God through top-quality media production,” the company’s website says.

The company has created content for clients such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and LifeLight, an annual Christian music festival held near Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“Every American—including creative professionals—should be free to peacefully live and work according to their faith without fear of punishment,” Tedesco said in a release from Alliance Defending Freedom. He added:

For example, a fashion designer recently cited her ‘artistic freedom’ as a ‘family-owned company’ to announce that she won’t design clothes for Melania Trump because she doesn’t want to use her company and creative talents to promote political views she disagrees with. Even though the law in D.C. prohibits ‘political affiliation’ discrimination, do any of us really think the designer should be threatened with fines and jail time?

French fashion designer Sophie Theallet published an open letter  Nov. 17 saying she would not dress President-elect Donald Trump’s wife, the future first lady, because of disagreements with him and urged other fashion designers to do the same.

Last week, American fashion designer Tom Ford said on TV’s “The View” that he would not dress Melania Trump, in part because “she’s not necessarily my image.”

“The Larsens simply seek to exercise these same freedoms, and that’s why they filed this lawsuit to challenge Minnesota’s law,” Tedesco said.


We need to talk about Islam

Islam is a problem; there is no getting around it. In the last 15 years violence has spread across the Islamic world like a plague. Islamic terror attacks have spread that violence into the West. Supposedly democratic revolutions have been replaced by either a return to dictatorship, or hardline theocratic governments with dreams of empire. Throughout all of this Muslims have demanded we keep silent as even discussing it is offensive to them.

15 years ago was the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi prince and Islamic hardliner, planned the attacks to draw the Western Alliance into a war they could not win. 15 years later he must be laughing from the grave, his plan worked flawlessly. We’ve spent millions of lives and trillions of dollars but in spite, or perhaps because of that, Islamic hardliners now rule over their ashen kingdoms from Tripoli in Africa to the Khyber Pass in the Himalayas.

The devastation has naturally created a migration crisis as millions of those rich enough or strong enough to flee arrive on Western shores. They carry the very ideology that started the war, and provide cover for the hardliners to infiltrate and recruit. In Western countries they find soft targets everywhere, they exploit the very freedom we give them in order to hurt us in the most gruesome ways.

The policy to date has been one of bombs away but don’t criticize Islam. To wonder for a moment why Al Qaida or ISIS might feel their violence is justified according to their religion is to risk the accusation of racist, Islamophobe, or bigot. This comes from the left of course, anything outside of their narrow understanding of things is racism, but it also comes from Muslims themselves. When discussing the war and the reasons for it the mere mention of the Qur’an, even in a neutral tone, will elicit outrage from Muslims.

The practice of pretending the problem “isn’t Islam” is not working. Through unprecedented military, intelligence and diplomatic capability we have replaced dozens of governments, killed thousands of so called leaders, and hundreds of thousands of their followers, yet we are further from peace than we have ever been. Through liberating Muslims from the restraints of tyrants we have freed them to become something wholly worse.

Islamic freedom is the freedom to punish those who rebel against Islam. You don’t have to dig far into Islamic theology to find that the concept of freedom comes with a huge asterisk. Mohammad al-Shirazi, an Iranian cleric, wrote about freedom in detail in his book ‘The New Order for the World of Faith, Freedom, Welfare and Peace’. At the beginning it seems fairly reasonable, that rights are afforded to both Muslims and non-Muslims, but by point 10 it’s clear that freedom in Islam is the freedom to be ruled by Islam. He concludes:

“In the matters with which Islam is in accord, it is clear that the Islamic expression of them – whether that be in the Qur’an or in the sunna – is more precise, deeper and profound and more in concord with the desired meaning than the prevailing expressions used in our time which were laid down by a group of scholars, jurists, and legalists after effort and inquiry, as well as adoption from Islam…

In the matters where Islam differs from man made laws, we always can see that the Islamic view is more fitting and more appropriate for both the individual and society…

There is no cure for the world if it wants to reclaim its nobility, its freedom and its humanity except by a return to the freedoms laid out in Islam according to the methods mentioned in the Qur’an and the sunna.”

So when terrorists call themselves freedom fighters we can understand they do so earnestly from their own point of view. The Charlie Hebdo attack was an expression of Islamic freedom against rebels breaking Islamic law. They believe in the freedom to be Muslim, but not the freedom not to be.

Pointing this out, criticizing their religion, understanding it and then rejecting it is a violation of their freedom according to Islam. Not knowing the Qu’ran is fine, ignorance is natural, but knowing the Qu’ran and rejecting its teachings is an act of hostility which can be answered with violence.

Islam apologists tell us that it is only a minority with a false interpretation. In the past they’ve been able to make this case because the Islamists have not been able to get their message across. ISIS solved that problem through cunning use of social media and English language propaganda. Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of theology can see that their interpretation is not false, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali puts it – this is Islam; Islamic State radicals are “good Muslims”, they’re the actual Muslims.

In fact the Qu’ran explicitly holds those who fight in the name of Islam above those who do not. Chapter 4 verse 95 promises a greater reward to those who take up arms or offer funding in the cause of Islam. It might be true that not all Muslims believe that but it’s a hard case to make that terrorists are doing anything other than obeying the dictates of Islam.

So the problem is Islam itself. Right now Iraqi government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters lay siege to Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and key ISIS stronghold. If this can be considered a victory it is a temporary one at best. Taking territory from ISIS will once again leave us with hundreds of thousands of radicalized Muslim youth with nowhere to go and nothing to lose.

What will replace ISIS as the world’s leading terror organization is tough to say, but something will replace it; new tactics and strategies, new rhetoric, a new organizational structure and new accountants holding the purse strings will not erase the fact that it will still be the same basic beast. Dealing with this will come at an increasingly unaffordable cost to Western countries with Muslim minorities.

Policing the Muslim community is a wicked problem. In order to have Muslim communities in Western countries Western governments must police them for radicalization, crossing the line between maintaining law and order and policing religion itself. The act of secular government interference in the Islamic faith breeds resentment and further encourages radicalization. It is both a necessary but counterproductive policy, it is a short term band aid for a problem that is only going to get worse.

Terrorist organizations have math on their side, the same math that saw Britain abolish Fighter Command to focus on bombers – some attacks will always get through. If we can stop 99% of attacks then they will try one hundred times. Their human resources are inexhaustible thanks to a high fertility rate and with social forces on their side the death toll will increase.

But every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and while belated the Western reaction is inevitable. Few of us have personally felt the sting of terrorism yet, but how long is it until no one among us does not know someone who knows someone affected by an attack? How long until we each know someone who has lost someone? How long until those with a righteous grudge outnumber the naïve? How long is Western good grace expected to last?

The day is coming when innocent Muslims in the west will be given a choice – give up your religion or leave. How long until we reach this day I am unsure but it is only a matter of time and the longer we wait the more painful the choice will be.



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

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

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


Thursday, December 08, 2016

U-turn in Germany: Angela Merkel calls for a BURKA BAN

Angela Merkel has called for a burka ban after saying the 'full veil is not appropriate' in Germany.

In an astonishing U-turn, the German chancellor told her conservative CDU party conference that wearing the burka should be outlawed 'wherever that is legally possible'.

It comes after the 62-year-old stressed her determination to ensure there is no repeat of last year's huge migrant influx as she seeks a fourth term as chancellor.

Merkel said she would back a nationwide ban just months after revealing that she believed the burka was a barrier to Muslim women becoming integrated into German society.

She told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland in August: 'From my point of view, a completely covered woman has almost no chance of integrating herself in Germany.'

Previously, Merkel has stopped short of calling for a ban on Islamic clothing, saying: 'This is a question of finding the right political and legal balance.'

Her new, tougher stance comes a week after Dutch MPs voted overwhelmingly to ban the Islamic full-face veil from some public places such as schools and hospitals, the latest such move in a European country.

The legislation must now go before the Senate for approval before becoming law. It follows similar bans imposed in France and Belgium, and comes amid rising tensions in Europe with Islamic communities.

Merkel came out fighting on the first day of her conservative party congress pledging to ban the burka and bring the refugee crisis under control.

A 77 minute speech interrupted by minutes of standing ovations proved the most powerful woman on the continent still has what it takes to rally the faithful.

She pledged to strengthen the forces of law and order while speeding up the sclerotic deportation process of failed asylum seekers.

'Not all the 890,000 refugees who came last year can or will stay,' she said at the start of her speech designed to claw back ground lost in recent months to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

But the pastor's daughter who was raised in communist East Germany pledged that every asylum application would be judged on its merits and that people would not be lumped into an 'anonymous mass.'

She said that a refugee situation of the kind Germany had endured in the summer of last year 'can and should not be repeated.'

And she pledged that the law of the land stood above 'any honour codes or Sharia.'

Mrs Merkel's critical speech came as tensions continue to rise following the brutal rape and murder of a 19-year-old medical student by an Afghan refugee.

She criticised the groundswell of Internet hate against migrants. She said that she often had the opinion that those who wrote them needed an 'integration course' more than the newcomers.

She said the tasteless online attacks shocked and sickened her. 'So say I, so say we; this must not be.'

She said she recognized that the general election of next year was like 'none other' and that it would not be 'like swallowing a sugar drop.'

She pledged a stronger Europe, a stronger economic base for Germany and a stronger commitment to achieving peace in Syria. At the end of it she was rewarded with a standing ovation of over 11 minutes.

While Ms Merkel has continued to insist that Germany will take in people in genuine need of protection, her government has moved to toughen asylum rules and declare several countries 'safe' - meaning people from there cannot expect to get refuge in Germany.

Ms Merkel was a driving force behind an agreement between the European Union and Turkey earlier this year to stem the flow of migrants.

Ms Merkel announced last month that she will seek a fourth four-year term as chancellor in an election expected next September. Her springboard to that run is re-election as the chairwoman of the CDU.

The vote in Essen, where she was first elected chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union in 2000, offers a test of Ms Merkel's standing with members.

Aside from unhappiness about her migrant policy, some members are grumbling about what is perceived as a wider drift to the left during her 11 years as chancellor.

Polls show a solid lead for the conservatives, though their support is well short of the 41.5% they won in Germany's 2013 election.

They face new competition from the upstart nationalist Alternative for Germany party, which has thrived by attacking Ms Merkel's migrant policies.

She is running unopposed for another term at the CDU's helm. Two years ago, she won the support of 96.7% of delegates, one of her best results.


Fake News on Gay Science?

A widely reported study on longevity of homosexuals appears to have been faked. When social justice displaces truth as the core value of academics, bad things happen to science.

Professor Jonathan Haidt of NYU has taken the lead in pointing out that freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and viewpoint diversity are particularly necessary if universities are going to fulfill their once-core mission of serving the cause of truth. He founded to help organize resistance from within the world of scholars.

One thing that happens when social justice displaces truth in the internal scientific community is that less than ordinary care is taken with scientific results that are pleasing to social-justice warriors.

We saw that in 2015, when a major study published in Science, which purported to show that personal canvassing by LGBT people had an amazingly large effect on people’s opinions, was revealed to have been entirely faked, and in ways that one lone grad student, David Broockman, found easy to debunk. (The “scholar” had even created easily checked fake grants from real foundations, thanking them publicly for grants they had never made.)

“In fact, throughout the entire process, until the very last moment when multiple ‘smoking guns’ finally appeared, Broockman was consistently told by friends and advisers to keep quiet about his concerns lest he earn a reputation as a troublemaker,” New York magazine reported.

Now Social Science & Medicine has demonstrated its own scientific integrity by publishing what amounts to a repudiation of another widely reported LGBT study, by Mark Hatzenbuehler, which concluded that “minority stress” was knocking an amazing twelve years off the lives of gay people. The roughly half of American people who don’t believe in gay marriage were killing gay people, the press more or less concluded.

“Can Prejudice Kill You? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Life Expectancy Drops 12 Years in Anti-Gay Communities,” blared Medical Daily.

The press was only echoing the study’s authors: “The results of this study suggest a broadening of the consequences of prejudice to include premature death,” Hatzenbuehler said in the press release announcing the study’s publication.

But in mid November, Social Science & Medicine published an attempt to replicate the authors’ data, which not only failed to replicate the results but could find no legitimate way of interpreting the data that would explain how the authors reached their conclusion:

Efforts to replicate Hatzenbuehler et al.’s (2014) key finding on structural stigma’s notable influence on the premature mortality of sexual minorities, including a more refined imputation strategy than described in the original study, failed. No data imputation approach yielded parameters that supported the original study’s conclusions. Alternative hypotheses, which originally motivated the present study, revealed little new information.

In conclusion, the authors note that “ten different approaches to multiple imputation of missing data yielded none in which the effect of structural stigma on the mortality of sexual minorities was statistically significant.”

To heighten the drama, the author of this new study is none other than University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus, who was subjected to public abuse for daring to publish, in a peer-reviewed journal, the results of a groundbreaking study suggesting that children raised by gay people fare about as well as children in other, alternative family forms but not as well as children in intact married biological families.

(Regnerus was unable to compare children raised from birth by gay couples in an intact relationship because he could find only two examples of such children in his data set, a finding he freely acknowledged in his own published study.)

In the weeks since the publication of Regnerus’s study attempting to replicate his work, Hatzenbuehler has yet to respond

Perhaps there is some explanation. Or perhaps, for reasons we can only suspect, Hatzenbuehler (who edited the special journal issue in which his original study was published) slipped a bogus study into a major social-science journal, confident that nobody would want to review and contest its findings, which so please the overwhelmingly liberal academy.

I charitably hope he can explain. But in any case, Mark Regnerus is emerging as a scientific hero, a modern-day Galileo standing up to the new theology of the Left. Science is not right-wing or left-wing. But to work, it needs scientists fearlessly committed to truth over their preferred outcomes.


British woman, 23, is jailed after her lies to police caused an innocent man to spend five months behind bars

A woman has been jailed after her lies to police resulted in an innocent man spending five months in prison.

The false statement Hayley Carter, 23, of West Sussex, gave to police led to one case being wrongly discontinued in relation to serious firearms charges, and a man charged for a crime he didn't commit.

But her lies were uncovered when a video on a mobile phone captured Carter admitting the man was innocent at a New Year's Eve party.

The telephonist from Crawley Down was originally handed an 18-month community order for perverting the course of justice.

But this has now been upgraded to a 12-month prison sentence by the Court of Appeal following intervention by the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, who felt the original sentence was too lenient. The Solicitor General said: 'False witness statements can destroy lives and undermine faith in the entire criminal justice system.'

Carter's lies to Sussex Police were related to the arrest of two men in 2014. In August that year officers had executed a drugs warrant at an address in Crawley.

Following the raid officers arrested and charged one man with possessing a stolen shotgun and with handling stolen property.

Later in the investigation a second man, Lee Goodsell, was arrested on suspicion of the same offences and was placed on police bail.

But having become aware of the second arrest, Carter decided to make a statement to the police which further incriminated Goodsell, who was subsequently charged on the authority of the Crown Prosecution Service.

In addition, as a direct result of Carter's statement the CPS also dropped the case against the first man.

But at Mr Goodsell's trial in February 2015, Carter failed to appear as a witness.

The defence also produced video evidence shot by a friend on a mobile phone in the toilets of a Crawley club on the preceding New Year's Eve in which Carter clearly admits that the man is innocent.

The trial was stopped, and no further action has been taken against either man.

Carter originally appeared at Hove Crown Court on Friday, October 7 where she was given an 18 month community order, consisting of; nine months of electronically monitored curfew between 9pm and 7am, 240 hours unpaid community work, and 30 hours at an attendance centre with Probation supervision. She was also ordered to pay £1,500 costs and a victim surcharge.

But the Crown Prosecution appealed against that sentence as being unduly lenient, leading to the Court of Appeal hearing which replaced it with the prison sentence.

Detective Sergeant Jon Robeson, from Sussex Police, said: 'Carter's action caused a man to be in prison for five months awaiting trial, and also had the effect of causing the original case against the first man to be called into question so that it had to be withdrawn.

'The sentence sends the message that attempts to pervert the course of justice are taken very seriously and that people who make false statements to the police, and to the courts, must expect to face justice themselves.'

Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, added: 'I referred this case as I did not believe the sentence reflected the seriousness of the offence. I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has agreed that a stronger sentence was necessary.'


A moonbeam from the greater lunacy: University of Toronto historian says biological sex is a ‘very popular misconception’

A lecturer at the University of Toronto says the notion of “biological sex” — that humans are born either male or female — is a “very popular misconception.”

Nick Matte, an historian who teaches a class on transgender studies as a part of the university’s Sexual Diversity Studies program, said the science has long been settled on the matter, reported Red Alert Politics.

“Basically, it’s not correct that there is such a thing as biological sex,” Mr. Matte said last month on “The Agenda,” a Canadian talk show, adding that “for over 50 years scientists have shown that that’s not true.”

Mr. Matte also said gender pronouns — a contentious topic within the transgender community — only reinforce the false idea that humans exist as sexually compatible organisms with distinct chromosomes, hormones and genitalia.

“I don’t focus on pronouns, because pronouns are actually part of a cisnormative culture,” he said.

He defined “cisnormativity” as “basically the very popular idea and assumption that most people probably have, and definitely that our structures convey, that there is such a thing as male or female, that they connect to being a girl or a boy, a man or a woman.”

“Cisnormativity is basically that everyone assumes that there is male and female, and so very little is actually looked at to understand what’s actually the case,” he said.

The historian also condemned his colleague, University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, whose unwillingness to call transgender students by their preferred gender pronouns sparked massive protests on campus earlier this year.

Mr. Matte said Mr. Peterson “abuses” students by refusing to address them by preferred terms including “zie,” “zim” and “zir.” He said it’s “tantamount to violence” and “hate speech.”



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

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

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


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

UN "rapporteur" says Australians (and their leaders) have a big racism problem

This is part of the U.N. -- itself a highly corrupt body -- hiring people from corrupt Third World countries -- in this case Kenya -- to criticize First world countries. But no country is perfect so they will always find something to pick at. 

What is lacking is any metric, any sense of proportion.  Even an ordinal scale might be interesting:  Is Australia the 3rd most racist or the 133rd most racist?  We are not told.  Which makes the criticism pretty meaningless.  The criticisms below are entirely consistent with Australia being the least racist country in the world.  If that is so, it does put a rather different light on the criticisms, does it not?

Even politically correct old Britain has been in their firing line

One wonders at the reasons behind these pointless exercises. Are they meant to make the inhabitants of poor countries feel good?  Are they meant to make the United Nations look good?  Who knows?  There is certainly nothing scientific or even original about them.  They just regurgitate the talking points of the political Left

The United Nations' special rapporteur on racism has condemned Australian politicians from major and minor parties whose statements are contributing to an increase in "xenophobic hate speech" and negative views about migrants.

Mutuma Ruteere has also warned that political leaders who do not denounce such views are tacitly contributing to the normalisation of hard-right and racist opinions.

"If they do not speak out they lend legitimacy to them. It's very easy for darkness to drive out the light. It's very easy for the bad to demean the good. It's much harder to clear out the political space once it's infected by racists," Mr Ruteere said in Canberra on Wednesday.

Mr Ruteere was finishing a visit to Australia, the first by someone holding his position in 15 years. He comments will form the basis of a report he will deliver to the United Nations Human Rights Council next year.

Mr Ruteere said Australia was not unique among western democracies in grappling with popular support for parties with discriminatory policies and racist views.

He said the "danger" for Australia was the experience of other countries where "the fringe elements keep moving to the centre, to the mainstream [and] the fringe becomes the mainstream".

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was criticised in November for comments he made about migrants. "That's a threat not just for Australia but all open multicultural societies. This is something open democratic states need to be aware about and to take pre-emptive action against," Mr Ruteere said.

Western democracies were "reckoning with history", he said, and "have to make the decision whether to confront the bigots and racists who purport to speak for the people but contradict" the values on which those societies were founded, such as equality of all people.

Mr Ruteere's visit to Australia coincided with the final two weeks of Parliament in which Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was criticised by Labor, the Greens, security experts and multicultural groups when he suggested Australia's immigration program in the 1970s had made "mistakes".

Challenged in Parliament to identify the groups he was referring to, Mr Dutton said "of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist-related offences in this country, 22 are from second and third-generation Lebanese Muslim backgrounds".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull later praised the performance of Mr Dutton although he stopped short of endorsing his minister's comments.

The visit also coincided with a speech given by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson in which she said she was "fed up" with being called racist and backed the review of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Mr Ruteere said there was no need to change the law.

"Removing this provision would undermine the efforts taken by the various levels of government for an inclusive Australia and open the door to racist and xenophobic hate speech, which has been quite limited thanks to this provision," Mr Ruteere said.

He also praised the work of the Human Rights Commission and its president, Gillian Triggs.

During his visit, Mr Ruteere was briefed on the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

He recommended Australia re-examine its criminal justice system to "embrace alternatives to detention and avoid mandatory sentences" and urged Australia to grant constitutional recognition to Indigenous peoples as soon as possible.

UK: 'Right on' critics are ignoring problems caused by immigration, government tsar warns

The author of a bombshell report on immigration and integration in Britain today slammed 'right on' critics for ignoring real problems.

Dame Louise Casey made a series of extraordinary recommendations today after months studying the impact of migration across the country.

Among her proposals is a demand for all new migrants to Britain to take an oath of allegiance where they promise to embrace liberal values before arriving. 

Dame Louise said ghettos have formed because the pace and scale of immigration has been 'too much' and some towns and cities have been transformed 'out of all recognition', it says.

She said successive governments have 'ignored or even condoned regressive, divisive and harmful cultural and religious practices, for fear of being branded racist or Islamophobic'.

But Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, has condemned the report as 'inflammatory, divisive, pandering to the agenda of the far right'.

'We are saddened that once again British Muslims have become a political football which is bashed from time to time without any regard for the impact this has on individuals who then are subjected to threats and violence,' he said.

When confronted with this on Radio 4 Dame Louise dismissed some critics as 'right on' and said the UK could 'no longer duck difficult issues' even if parts of her report would be 'hard to read'.

The report warns that rapid population change has also increased ethnic segregation and left communities more divided than ever, she said, adding: 'We are developing pockets where there is a monoculture, a monoethnicity and that's a concern'.

Warning of 'escalating division and tensions in society', she called for greater efforts at integration to 'bind Britain together'.

Currently migrants do not have to swear an oath unless they want to secure UK citizenship. At the moment, millions of migrants must take a 'Life in the UK' test about their knowledge of Britain to secure their right to stay.

Dame Louise also says the criteria for full citizenship should be reviewed.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said he would be studying the findings closely but the Ramadhan Foundation condemned the 'inflammatory' report.

Mr Javid said the UK was home to many cultures and communities 'but all of us have to be part of one society - British society'.

'So while it's right that we celebrate the positive contribution that diverse groups make to British life, we also need to continue making sure that nobody is excluded from it or left behind,' he said.

'To do that, we need to take a serious look at the facts and must not shy away from the challenges we face.'

Dame Louise's shock new report says Muslims in some parts of the country are so cut off from the rest of society that they believe the majority of Britons share their faith.

The new review says Muslim enclaves are concentrated in northern areas such as Bradford, Birmingham and Blackburn, where MailOnline revealed last month there is a halal butcher who has never served a white customer. 

Some rarely, if ever, leave their neighbourhoods, and believe that Britain is a Muslim country in which up to three-quarters of the population follow Islam, the report says.

However, figures from the 2011 Census put the actual proportion of Muslims in England and Wales at under five per cent, while Christians account for nearly 60 per cent.

Dame Louise's report criticises the rise of 'Sharia councils', which have been allowed to run unhindered and in some cases support extremist values, wife beating and forced marriage and marital rape.

Mosques and Islamic organisations are offering regressive advice about the behaviours expected of Muslim women and girls.

This includes not being able to leave the house without telling their husband, not being allowed to travel without a chaperone or even not being able to wear jeans, despite Islamic theologians dismissing such advice as inappropriate, she says.

And there is not just segregation in Muslim communities, Dame Louise said that there are hundreds of electoral wards where there are 40 per cent non-white British residents or more. In 17 wards the figure was 90 per cent.

In one borough of Sheffield there is a 6,000-strong Roma or eastern European community living together.

In Jewish orthodox communities they have been allowed to teach their children  'that a woman's role is to look after children, clean the house and cook'.

While some Christian groups have been allowed to try to 'cure' people of homosexuality' without being challenged.

And the Polish community in Britain has grown by 500,000 in a decade, with many heading to areas like Boston, Lincolnshire.

The report concludes: 'We know that where communities live separately, with fewer interactions between people from different backgrounds, mistrust, anxiety and prejudice grow.

'Conversely, social mixing and interactions between people from a wider range of backgrounds can have positive impacts; not just in reducing anxiety and prejudice, but also in enabling people to get on better in employment and social mobility.'

The report, commissioned by David Cameron to try to address how some Muslim communities are cut off from the rest of society, also:

- Recommends schoolchildren are taught 'British values' of tolerance, democracy and respect as well as the country's laws, history and values;

- Warns that women are being held back by regressive cultural practices and face coercion, violence and abuse;

- Warns that children being taught at home or outside mainstream schools are being exposed to divisive practices;

- Calls on ministers to provide more English language classes for 'isolated groups'.

Among community cohesion tsar Dame Louise's recommendations is an 'oath of integration with British values and society' for new arrivals. Migrants who want to come to the UK could also be required to sign up to 'clear expectations on integration' when applying for visas.

Her report says that while Britain has benefited hugely from immigration and increased ethnic and religious diversity, 'nowhere near enough emphasis has been put on integration in communities to match the pace and scale of the change in our population in recent years'.

In a bleak warning about the impact of mass immigration, it reports some communities saying the pace of change has been 'too much' for them to deal with.

Dame Louise, a former homeless charity executive, said last night: 'Social integration is about closing the gaps that exist between people and communities. This report has found those gaps exist in terms of where people live but also in terms of the lives they lead and the opportunities they have to succeed. So it is about how we get on in life, as well as how we get along with each other.

'To help bind Britain together and tackle some of the division in our society, we need more opportunities for those from disadvantaged communities, particularly women, and more mixing between people from different backgrounds.

'We also need more of a spirit of unity, compassion and kindness that brings people together under our common British values of tolerance, democracy, equality and respect.'

The report says promoting British laws, history and values within the 'core curriculum in all schools' would help build integration, tolerance, citizenship and resilience in children. Dame Louise also says it is 'extremely concerning' that some children are opting out of state education 'without sufficient checks on their wellbeing and integration'.

Dame Louise says efforts to promote integration in recent years have failed, adding: 'They have been well-meaning but grossly insufficient to cope with the scale of the challenge. Events and projects that have been described to us as 'saris, samosas and steel drums' can help bring people together but too often attract the already well-intentioned and do not succeed in tackling difficult issues.'

Her conclusions about the conditions facing some women are particularly excoriating. Women face 'persistent gender inequalities' in some communities, including lack of job prospects at best, and at worst 'coercive control, violence and criminal acts of abuse, often enacted in the name of cultural or religious values'.

Dame Louise also calls for more action to tackle 'regressive and harmful' practices in Muslim communities, such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation and other abuses.

Dame Louise's oath proposal has not even come before ministers, so is a long way from potentially becoming law.

Dr Alan Mendoza, of the Henry Jackson Society security think-tank, said: 'This review contains serious concerns about the state of integration between different communities in the UK today, particularly Muslim communities in certain areas. I would urge the Government to strongly consider the nature of this problem and commit to action to counter it.'

Jon Yates, of The Challenge, a leading social integration charity, said: 'Unless we act urgently our country is in danger of becoming a less integrated and more divided place.'


Newt Gingrich Defines Trumpism: ‘If You See Something That’s Really Stupid, Change It’

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Friday that Trumpism is all about getting things done in government and changing whatever is not working.

“Trumpism is going to be about the following principle: If you see something that’s really stupid, change it,” Gingrich said during a speech at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) States & Nation Policy Summit held in Washington, D.C.

Gingrich praised President-elect Donald Trump, saying that “the heart of the reason that Trump emerged was he actually knows how to do things.

“That is, when Trump would go out and raise the money to build a building, the people actually expected a building. And so he had to contemplate what does it take to build a building? And then he actually had to get the building built,” Gingrich explained.

The former speaker told the audience of state legislators that with Republicans now in the majority in Congress, it is time for them to learn a new “evolutionary process led by an entrepreneurial leader who has three characteristics that are amazing.”

“He’s three different people,” Gingrich said of the president-elect. “If you want to understand how Trump operates, he has the disruptive patterns of Andrew Jackson, he has the sheer biological energy of Theodore Roosevelt, and he has the compulsive salesmanship of P.T. Barnum.

“And these three weave together to produce outcomes that are dramatically better than anyone I’ve ever seen.”

Gingrich noted that the Republican Party is now at a “watershed” moment in the life of the nation.

“We are potentially, if we do our jobs, at a genuine watershed. I always use the watershed model because when the rain comes down, if it hits this side of the watershed, it goes this way. If it hits this side, it goes this way. It’s decisive.

“So, for example, in the Appalachians, there’s a point the water will go either to the Gulf of Mexico, or it’ll go to the Atlantic. It’s that decisive,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich pointed out there are now “over 4,100 state legislators, the most in the history of the Republican Party since its founding in 1854. The most ever. We have 34 governors, which ties the most in modern times. We have 25 states in which the legislature and the governor are Republican, which means in theory, we should be held accountable for whether or not we’re really different.”

Gingrich noted that during the presidential campaign, Trump frequently asked his advice before taking the debate stage.

“Every time I said to him: ‘I don’t have any advice about debating.’ I said: ‘You’re a better debater than I am,’ because he’s totally intuitive,” Gingrich said.

“He somehow senses the audience, he senses his opponent. He figures out exactly what language will work. His opponent stands there like a deer in the headlights, going: ‘You’re not allowed to say that.’ And he just pounds on them.”

However, the former speaker also stressed the fact that although Donald Trump won the election, the hard work has only just begun for him.

“I said to the President-elect the day after the election: ‘You have now won a ticket to the dance. That’s all. Now you’ve got to dance,” Gingrich said. “And you’ve got to dance well enough to get re-elected and you gotta dance for four more years. You gotta dance well enough to be successful as a Republican, and in eight years of good dancing, then you can write your memoir.

“But it ain’t like the election. The election was the beginning, not the end,” he concluded. 


'No Room at the Inn' -- Rejected Nativity Scene Finds Home at Homeless Shelter

CBN News is reporting that a nativity scene that was removed from a public park in northern Michigan has found a home in front of a homeless shelter.

The nativity scene had been at the Menominee Marina Park when the Freedom From Religion Foundation made a complaint that a religious display was not allowed on government property.  Menominee City Manager Tony Graff tells WLUK-TV that the display was taken down shortly when the city attorney determined that the display was “a violation of our own policy” governing what can be put up on public property.

Pastor David Pennell from Abundant Life Church and Mission then offered to help relocate the nativity scene in front of his homeless shelter. "You know it's kind of appropriate that the baby Jesus' home is now at the homeless shelter, seeing there was no room at the inn for him," Pennell told CBN.

He added that the nativity scene will now be the first thing anyone sees when they cross the bridge into town. "It's almost kind of a divine intervention that now many people will see it instead of just the ones that go downtown," he said.



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

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

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


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Britain BANS heroic bishops: Persecuted Christian leaders from war zones refused entry

THREE archbishops from war-torn Iraq and Syria have been refused permission to enter the UK despite being invited to London to meet Prince Charles.

The Christians, including the Archbishop of Mosul, were told there was “no room at the inn” by the Home Office when they applied for visas to attend the consecration of the UK’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral.

Last night the decision was described as “unbelievable” by critics who pointed out that extreme Islamic leaders had been allowed visas.

But the welcome did not extend to Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, the Archbishop of Mosul, nor to Timothius Mousa Shamani, the Archbishop of St Matthew’s, which covers the Nineveh valley in northern Iraq, who were refused UK visas to attend the event on November 24.

The UK also refused to grant a visa to Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, the Archbishop of Homs and Hama in Syria.

In his case the British embassy told him that it would not waiver from its policy of not granting visas to anyone in Syria.

The men were also told they were denied entry because they did not have enough money to support themselves and they might not leave the UK.

Last night the leader of the UK’s Syriac Orthodox Christians Archbishop Athanasius Toma Dawod condemned the decision. He said: “These are men who have pressing pastoral responsibilities as Christian areas held by IS are liberated. We cannot understand why Britain is treating Christians in this way

Dr Martin Parsons, head of research at the Barnabas Fund, an aid agency which has helped more than 8,000 Christians escape persecution at the hands of IS, said: “It’s unbelievable that these persecuted Christians who come from the cradle of Christianity are being told there is no room at the inn, when the UK is offering a welcome to Islamists who persecute Christians.”

The Home Office recently issued guidance stating that there should be a presumption that senior members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood should be granted asylum in the UK – despite the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has repeatedly incited violence against Egyptian Christians.

Dr Parsons also claims that visas were granted in July to two Pakistani Islamic leaders who have called for the killing of Christians accused of blasphemy.

He said: “There is a serious systemic problem when Islamist leaders who advocate persecution of Christians are given the green light telling them that their applications for UK visas will be looked on favourably, while visas for short pastoral visits to the UK are denied to Christian leaders whose churches are facing genocide.

“That is an urgent issue that Home Office ministers need to grasp and correct.”

Last night a Home Office spokesman said: “All visa applications are considered on their individual merits and applicants must provide evidence to show they meet the requirements of the immigration rules.”

Last night International Development Minister Rory Stewart was in Iraq where he announced a raft of aid projects, including help for the 80,000 Iraqis displaced from Mosul.


Rep. McCaul: PC Should Not Stop Us From Saying Radical Islam

In a conversation about homeland security under a Trump administration, House Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said that political correctness should not prevent the United States from naming the enemy that has killed and injured Americans here and abroad: "radical Islamist extremism."

Yet Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson said American Muslims are strongly opposed to such language, and this makes it hard to make inroads in Muslim communities.

"I think it's important to define the threat for what it is," McCaul said at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. "My dad fought the Nazis."

"We didn't dance around fascism," said McCaul, who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "We called communism what it was and defeated that."

"I think we're facing radical Islamist extremism today," McCaul said. "And it's important that we identify that and not be so politically correct that we can't identify the threat for what it is...."

McCaul was responding to a question from panel moderator and reporter Kimberly Dozier about Trump's campaign promise to prevent Muslims in countries infiltrated by terrorists from entering the United States - a promise Dozier described as a "ban on Muslims."

McCaul said a ban based on race or religion would be unconstitutional but that "extreme vetting" was called for in cases involving Muslims coming to the United States from terror-torn countries.

But Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson - who may be replaced by McCaul, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal [1] - said that radical Islamist extremism is a label that not only does not influence decisions on fighting our enemies but also is opposed by American Muslims, who would "kick him out the door" if he used the term to describe the terrorists.

"Here in the homeland, in very practical terms, if I walk into a community engagement with a group of American Muslims to encourage them to work with us on our homeland security and I refer to ISIL as Islamic violent extremism, I will get nowhere," Johnson said. "They will kick me out the door."

Johnson said that American Muslims object to radical Islamic extremism because it disparages their religion and that the debate over what to call groups like ISIL and Al Qaeda is "political."

"In my judgment, this debate about labels is a political debate ... referring to it in these terms does not help us in our efforts to counter violent extremism in this country," Johnson said.


I choose not to be offended, and you should, too

By Jeff Jacoby

One of the rules I try to live by is not to take offense when no offense is intended. A corollary to that rule is to presume, whenever possible, that no offense was intended. This is not, I admit, a discipline I’ve mastered perfectly. But make a daily point of affirming that you harbor no ill will, and you won’t smolder with unresolved umbrage. At a time when Americans by the millions keep themselves in a state of high dudgeon, choosing not to be offended can be wonderfully refreshing.

Not taking offense isn’t the same as not having pet peeves. (I’ve got a bunch of those.) Nor does it mean never condemning shameful or destructive behavior. (Where would newspaper columnists be if we never uttered any criticism?) It does mean recognizing that being offended is always a choice, and that other people’s words can bend you out of shape only if you let them.

This isn’t a column about politics, but during the recent “Hamilton” kerfuffle, Vice President-elect Mike Pence provided a pitch-perfect demonstration of how not to take offense. He didn’t bristle or fume when he was booed by audience members and pointedly addressed by the cast during the curtain call. “I wasn’t offended,” he said afterward. He praised the “great, great show” and the “incredibly talented” cast, and made clear that actor Brandon Dixon’s impassioned statement from the stage didn’t trouble him.

“I nudged my kids,” Pence told Fox News, “and reminded them, ‘That’s what freedom sounds like.’ ”

Unfortunately, picking at scabs has become a national pastime. Americans have lost their ability to shrug off other people’s obnoxious comments or insensitive gestures or politically incorrect views. Instead of rolling their eyes and letting it pass, they proclaim: “I’m offended.” They demand apologies. They insist on “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.” They howl about “microaggressions” and whinge about “mansplaining” and compile lists of banned words. When they get offended, they expect heads to roll or companies to be blackballed. They even take offense on behalf of people who don’t take offense.

Remember Frank Costanza? He was the character on “Seinfeld” who invented Festivus, a family holiday commemorated with a dinner, an aluminum pole, feats of strength, and — the high point — an Airing of Grievances. “I got a lot of problems with you people!” bellows Costanza to those at his Festivus table. “And now you’re gonna hear about it!”

It was funny as a sitcom shtick. As a national pastime, perpetual outrage is exhausting and debilitating. America could do with a little less Frank Costanza and a little more Mike Pence.

Waxing wroth when we’re offended may feel temporarily satisfying, but the weight of all those chips on our shoulders does long-term damage. “In my work treating alcoholics,” writes psychiatrist Abraham Twerski, a founder of the renowned Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, there is “great emphasis on divesting oneself of resentments,” since “resentments are probably the single greatest factor responsible for relapse.” Twerski quotes one recovering alcoholic’s insight: “Carrying resentments is like letting someone who you don’t like live inside your head rent-free.” No lasting benefit comes from it, but a lot of misery does.

In a society that thrives on taking offense — just turn on talk radio, or read an online comments section, or follow Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren on Twitter — it can’t be overemphasized that nursing a grievance is always optional. You may not be able to control other people’s opinions, obnoxious jokes, or political loyalties. But you alone determine how you react to them.

Everyone has heard the biblical injunction to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Less well known is the first half of the verse: “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge.” That’s excellent counsel, for believers and nonbelievers alike.


Australian storage king hits out at gender cop

SELF-STORAGE mogul Sam Kennard has lashed out at the government’s gender equality watchdog after his business was “named and shamed” for not filling a complicated annual questionnaire.

In its latest annual report, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has published the names of businesses which fell foul of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

Under the law, companies with more than 100 employees are required to lodge a report with the WGEA every year detailing “gender equality indicators” such as male-to-female ratios and salaries. The WGEA itself, which costs taxpayers $5 million a year to run, employs five male and 25 female staff.

Among the 74 businesses deemed “non-compliant” by the WGEA this year include household names like Kennards Self Storage, Bing Lee, Vittoria Coffee, Palace Cinemas and Sportsmans Warehouse. Also named were the likes of Williams-Sonoma, EB Games, and a number of plumbing, cleaning, freight and transport companies.

“Non-compliant organisations may not be eligible to tender for contracts under Commonwealth and some state procurement frameworks, and may not be eligible for some Commonwealth grants or other financial assistance,” the report warns.

Mr Kennard, who contested Joe Hockey’s North Sydney seat in the December 2015 by-election for the Liberal Democrats, said the WGEA was an organisation “dripping with hypocrisy” that “should be abolished”.

“My company does not discriminate for race, age, sex or religion,” he said.

“If someone has a good attitude, not afraid of work and willing to learn they’re a starter in our view. This is not a particularly profound or enlightened perspective — it is just common sense. It is good for business.

“I can confirm that we do discriminate against time-wasting bureaucracies. The WGEA is a prime example of unnecessary government intrusion into the activities of businesses. My business has much more productive endeavours to pursue than filling out paperwork for government agencies like the WGEA.”

Mr Kennard said his company was challenged enough to “make our business better, to give customers a better experience and to operate efficiently without distractions like this”. “The WGEA impost is 100 per cent pure overhead,” he said.

“While politicians and economists lament the declining productivity in our economy, it is exactly this red-tape and the imposts of these bureaucracies that tax the efforts of enterprise. If the government was serious about tackling productivity it would get out of our way — it would abolish the WGEA and the abundance of other regulations they lay on.

“I am personally driven to the see the best outcomes for my business and believe strongly that good performance should be encouraged and rewarded irrespective of sex. We are conscious of HR shortcomings, appreciate the challenges and work to overcome them.”

Mr Kennard added that it was “pleasing that there are plenty of non-taxpayer funded advocates for the success of women, which further emphasises that this is an area the government does not need to participate in”.

Meanwhile, Mia Johannsen, head of people and culture at Palace Cinemas, said the company was deemed non-compliant because it wasn’t willing to share “private individual salary information” with the WGEA.

“Initially we did send through some information regarding gender split and the different roles, but we didn’t want to comment with anything confidential such as the private salaries of our employees,” she said.

“We employ more females than males, 53 per cent to 47 per cent, so obviously we are completely for gender equality. We have many women in senior management, including myself.”

Ms Johannsen said Palace Cinemas “regret being labelled as non-compliant”. “It would be a lot easier if the process was simpler,” she said.

“The process to be able to lodge all of this information was very long and extensive and it took days for my predecessor to even locate that information, so I think that was the issue [in previous years].”



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

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

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


Monday, December 05, 2016

Australia: Weasel words from the Salvation Army

A little while ago, the Victorian branch of the Salvation Army gave unconditional approval to the "Safe Schools" program -- a program that promotes homosexuality and undermines the traditional family.  The Marxist authors of the program smuggled in the propaganda by using the language of "safety" and the Sallies have followed suit.

This sparked outrage from many quarters, including, one gathers, Army members.  Not so long ago the Sallies opposed homosexuality on scriptural grounds but they now have bowed down before the the false god of secularism. The false god who led the children of Israel astray after the Exodus was often Baal of Peor, a god of sexual license.  Not much has changed it seems. Despite their expansive lip-service to Christianity, Bible teachings no longer matter to the Sallies, it seems.  The gods of Canaan are OK for them now.

But in response to the flak that they have received from Godly and family-oriented people the national organization has now done a very half-hearted backdown. In the statement below, the only words of the backtrack are: "The Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form".  They don't say why and the ordinary reader would never guess why. For them to say more would expose the hypocrisy of their claim to be Christian.  Clearly, they no longer support the Biblical view of homosexuality.  In Christ's words, they are "whited sepulchres" (Matthew 23:27)

The Salvation Army is a Christian movement dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus. We purposefully work to reveal this love to everyone by building loving communities combined with the provision of spiritual, emotional and material support. Our compassionate participation has evolved over 136 years of service in all spheres of the Australian community, especially to people who are vulnerable, suffering and underprivileged and we are humbled that our efforts are so widely welcomed, encouraged and supported.

This non-discriminatory commitment to love and serve others is highlighted in our international mission statement which says we are: ‘to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination’. We believe that God loves everyone. We call on all Salvationists and community members to show this same love to others.

We have zero tolerance for bullying and as such, there is no situation where it is acceptable. Every person regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or religion has the right to feel safe so they can achieve their full God-given potential. We emphasize that the alarming high rate of bullying and suicide among LGBTIQ school students evokes deep concern within The Salvation Army.

There are many accounts of marginalised students benefiting from aspects of the Safe Schools programs which have resulted in a safer, more caring culture forming in those schools. In this regard, we recognise the program’s intent to address bullying. Whilst acknowledging such positive outcomes, The Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form. We believe there needs to be consideration and refinement to the scope and form of implementation.

We believe the availability of support services for every vulnerable student including those identifying as LGBTIQ is vital. We also believe the provision of a government approved anti-bullying program needs to consider all high risk student groups. To this end, The Salvation Army is open to working with State and Federal Governments and other agencies to develop a program that more comprehensively addresses the issues associated with bullying within schools.

We call on all Salvationists and the community at large to treat each other with respect and grace. Jesus said that after loving God, the second most important commandment is to love our neighbour as we love ourself. Everyone has the right to always feel safe and to be treated with respect and grace.


Diversity Dogma Dovetails with Waste, Corruption, Nepotism

The U.S. economy may be sluggish, but as we noted, bureaucracy is booming. University of California bosses cry out for more taxpayer cash even as they bulk up on “diversity” bureaucrats. Universities nationwide are now cranking out administrators to fill these useless posts, but diversity bloat is hardly confined to education.

For example, new Sacramento city manager Howard Chan will try to “increase diversity” at city hall, and fill the recently created position of “diversity manager.” That pledge came in response to an “audit” showing that city management does not reflect the ethnic proportions of the population at large. If representation is not proportionate, according to diversity dogma, discrimination is always a problem and the only remedy is hiring on the basis of race, ethnicity and gender. Such “reverse discrimination” is actually illegal under Proposition 209, which Californians passed on November 5, 1996, but city officials elevate political correctness over the rule of law.

The new mayor of Sacramento is former state Senate boss Darrell Steinberg, on whose watch three Senators were busted on corruption charges. The Senate has been a hive of nepotism. Sergeant-at-arms Gerardo Lopez was involved in a gun battle that left one person dead, but he duly remained on the state payroll. Lopez’s wife worked for Steinberg in his policy unit, and Lopez’s mother was a big wheel in the Senate’s human resources department. What a cozy world.

Steinberg authored 2004’s Proposition 63, which hiked taxes to fund mental health services. The measure raised $8 billion by 2013, but according to news reports, mental health services had declined. The state auditor could not account for how the money was spent, and even the Sacramento Bee wondered if the money had been “shoved down a rat hole.”

Four years ago in 2012, voters faced four ballot measures on taxes and spending. The Senate Governance and Finance Committee held hearings on the measures, and the California Channel gave voters statewide a chance to gain insights from the testimony. Unfortunately, Senate boss Darrell Steinberg blocked citizens’ access by pulling the plug on the live broadcast. He then offered a lame apology in which he proclaimed, “I pride myself on being open and transparent.”

For Steinberg and his Sacramento cronies, “diversity” means the proportionality dogma, which is not state law. Since hiring by racial, ethnic and gender preferences is in fact illegal, the “diversity manager” position is pure waste. On the other hand, taxpayers can find true diversity in the mixture of waste, secrecy, corruption and nepotism now so common in government at all levels.


ESPN lurches Left and loses subscribers

Over the last two months, ESPN has lost an astounding 1.176 million subscribers. October and November have set records in losses for the sports network, which now has a total number of cable and satellite subscribers at 88.4 million — down from well over a 100 million just a few years ago. ESPN, the largest provider of sports coverage in the nation, will see at least a $100 million loss in revenue this year thanks to this hemorrhaging of subscribers.

There are several contributing factors, such as changing demographics and competition from other sports networks like Fox’s FS1. However, the largest contributing factor may be that the Entertainment Sports and Programming Network has changed into a leftist propaganda rag, unabashedly mixing sports broadcasting and commentary with the promotion of leftist social activism and politics. It’s the old leftist ploy of co-opting everything as a means of promoting and instilling their politically correct worldview into the populace, with the expressed purpose of excluding other perspectives. It’s Orwellian.

But American sports fans don’t want to be lectured to on how “brave” Bruce Jenner was for declaring himself a woman, or listen to the glorification of Colin Kaepernick for disrespecting the national anthem. The history of sports in America is one of entertaining competition, not of “social justice” causes. There is no question that sports have had significant impact upon American culture, but conflating “social justice” with sports entertainment only turns people off. ESPN is learning the hard way that sports and politics just don’t mix.


Bring back Christmas! Britain's equality chief says bosses should use 'common sense' and not dilute their festive cheer to avoid offending other faiths

Overzealous bosses should let staff celebrate Christmas and not fear offending other faiths, an equality chief has said.

David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said employers needed to take a 'common sense' approach when dealing with the Christian holiday.

He said company directors had misunderstood current laws promoting freedom of religion and had dampened down festive celebrations so not to cause offence.  

There was no need for example to call the Christmas period 'the winter holidays', he said.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, he said: 'Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right and it shouldn't be suppressed through fear of offending.

'Lots of employers have now become really worried about doing anything discriminatory regarding their Muslim or Jewish staff.'

He added there were a lot of 'myths' surrounding what employers had to offer staff who did not celebrate Christmas.

The government's integration tsar, Dame Louise Casey, has also defended the right of Christians and non-Christians to mark the annual holiday.

She referred to a case of a 'well meaning white manager' who would call a Christmas tree a 'festive tree' because she feared causing offence.

There were controversy when the Church of England was banned from screening a promotion featuring the Lord's Prayer in cinemas during pre-film adverts. 

Mr Isaac said concerns that employers had to give staff time off to pray were wrong.

New guidance, to be issued next week, will make clear bosses only have to give religious requests proper consideration and do not necessarily have to agree. 



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

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

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


Sunday, December 04, 2016

A church that is embarrassed to be a church

They are Australia's successors for the Methodists, who were notably confident in their faith. So it is sad to see how far they have fallen. They even deny Christ.  The Bible has some advice for them: 

Mark 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." 2 Timothy 1:8 "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God". Matthew 10:33 "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

Australia's Uniting Church will avoid using religious symbols and the word 'Christ' as part of it's new advertising campaign to distance itself from child sex scandals.

The survivors of child abuse have hit back at the Uniting Church accusing the change as an attempt to 'disown' the past in a bid to avoid addressing the situation.

But the Uniting Church defended the change claiming it was the right move to no longer use 'overt' faith-based language after the royal commission into child sexual abuse ruined the image of religious institutions, The Daily Telegraph reported.

'You are right to highlight that sometimes we do not mention Christ's name in our advertising,' executive director of Uniting, Peter Worland, said.

'Since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, faith-based organisations like ours are perceived pejoratively. So, sometimes we are overt with our religious language, sometimes we are not.'

However Mr Worland said if you look closely you can still see religious symbols.

‘Sometimes we are overt with our religious language, sometimes we are not…The symbol of the cross at its heart (the ‘t’), with a person either side of it (each ‘i’) to represent this connection and inclusivity.’


Don't brand Brexit supporters racist! Equalities watchdog insists people who voted Leave in the referendum wanted the 'best for the UK'

Brexit voters should not be branded racist because they believed leaving the EU was the best thing for the country, the equalities watchdog has insisted.

The message came as the Equality and Human Rights Commission urged politicians on both sides of the bitter row to tone down their rhetoric.

It warned that the hostility involved was polarising the UK and fuelling a rise in hate attacks

Nigel Farage has spoken of his fears for his safety in the wake of the referendum amid a welter of death threats. the outgoing Ukip leader was threatened with a glass at a bar last week and now does not go out without security guards.

Meanwhile, Remain campaigner Gina Miller - who is spearheading a legal challenge against Theresa May triggering Article 50 without a parliamentary vote - has revealed she has spent more than £60,000 on her personal security. 

In a letter sent to the big political parties, the watchdog said: 'We are concerned that attacks on supporters of both sides of the Brexit debate have polarised many parts of the country.

'There are those who used, and continue to use, public concern about immigration policy and the economy to legitimise hate.

'The vast majority of people who voted to leave the European Union did so because they believe it is best for Britain and not because they are intolerant of others.'

The letter calls on the Government to do more to combat hate peddled by a 'small minority' as it also suggests there should be a review of the effectiveness of sentencing for hate crimes in England and Wales, including the ability to increase sentencing for crimes motivated by hate.

It states that 'politicians of all sides should be aware of the effect on national mood of their words and policies' even when those policies are not acted upon - like the Government's now-ditched proposal for companies to list foreign workers.

'Your offices bring with them a responsibility to ensure that policy debate is conducted in a way that brings the country together and moves it forward,' the letter states.

'Robust discussion is a central pillar of our democracy and nothing should be done to undermine freedom of expression.

'The right to free and fair elections supported by accurate information and respectful debate is also essential to our democratic process.

'Our elected representatives and the media should reflect and foster the best values in our society and engage people on contentious issues in a responsible and considered way.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the EHRC, David Isaac has also expressed concerns about the way in which businesses approach religious belief in the work place.

He said: 'There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to dealing with religion at work. I want to put the record straight.

'It is about taking a common sense approach. You can send Christmas cards and have a Christmas party and you might also decide to provide facilities for special religious diets, but that is your choice.'

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green, who backed Remain, said he was 'uncomfortable' with the abuse surrounding the Brexit debate.

He told ITV's Peston on Sunday: 'One of the things that's wrong with this country is the political discourse we have. It's become abusive, it's become personal and it's not good for democracy so I suggest everyone on all sides of the Brexit argument or of any other argument, let's be civilised, let's agree that you can hold positions on either side of an argument and still respect each other. '

He added: 'I feel uncomfortable about the level of abuse, personal abuse that has spread to some extent from social media where it's always been present, into mainstream political discussion. It's not good for the health of our politics.'


Fury as watchdog says it's OK to send gay people death threats – but only if you're Muslim

A Dutch anti-discrimination hotline has said it is OK for Muslims to threaten gay people

In a shocking move, the taxpayer-funded hotline said it would not pursue a criminal complaint over horrific messages from radical Islamists because the Koran says gay people can be killed.

The disgraceful stance came to light when a member of the public complained about death threats posted to an online forum which called for homosexuals to be “burned, decapitated and slaughtered”.

Dutch MPs today reacted with horror to the revelations, demanding an immediate inquiry into the remarks and calling for the hotline to be stripped of public funding.

According to Dutch media advisors from the anti-discrimination bureau MiND said that, while homophobic abuse was usually a crime, it was justifiable if you were Muslim due to laws on freedom of religious expression.

They argued that the Koran says it is acceptable to kill people for being homosexual, and so death threats towards gay people from Muslims could not be discriminatory.

In a jaw-dropping email explaining why they could not take up the complaint, they wrote: “The remarks must be seen in the context of religious beliefs in Islam, which juridically takes away the insulting character."

The revelations will further fuel the debate about free speech in the country

They concluded that the remarks were made in "the context of a public debate about how to interpret the Quran" and added that "some Muslims understand from the Quran that gays should be killed”.

And they went on: “In the context of religious expression that exists in the Netherlands there is a large degree of freedom of expression. In addition, the expressions are used in the context of the public debate (how to interpret the Koran), which also removes the offending character."

The death threats had been made in the comments section for an article about a Dutch-Moroccan gay society, which had been posted to an online platform for Holland’s large Moroccan community.

The revelation that they were so easily brushed aside by the anti-discrimination hotline will fuel an intense debate in the Netherlands over freedom of expression.

Far-right politician Geert Wilders, whose party is expected to win next spring’s general election, is currently on trial for inciting racial hatred after telling a rally there were “too many Moroccans” in the Netherlands.

And two right-wing MPs, Joram van Klaveren and Louis Bontes, have now announced their intention to bring up the incident in the Dutch parliament by asking questions of the Justice Minister.

Mr Van Klaveren will ask: “Do you share our disgust at the fact that this explicitly states that inciting violence is not a problem if it comes from the Islamic belief?"

A spokesman for the MiND hotline admitted that after “further research” of the issue it had concluded that the complaint had been “unjustly assessed”.

He added that when the complaint involved calling for violence against a particular group, the beliefs of the person making the threats should not matter.


Australia: African migrants at heart of daycare scandals

Another triumph of multiculturalism

Family daycare operators and teachers from non-English-speaking backgrounds are being targeted by state authorities in a bid to crack down on abuse and bending of rules that have cost taxpayers more than $1 billion in two years and put children at risk.

Senior departmental staff and Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones have confirmed a trend in rorting and noncompliance among ethnic communities, which has resulted in scarce investigative resources being focused on new services and migrant groups. Analysis of state government enforcement action in the past six months reveals family day care services slapped with conditions, suspended or cancelled were almost exclusively run by migrants from Africa, most from Somalia or Sudan.

Sudanese migrant Aluel Mawiir provided false and misleading information and failed to meet service conditions for her Victorian business, Dombai Family Daycare.

In one West Australian case, Sudanese woman Anyieth Makuei had her approval to run her Zebra Family Day cancelled on May 19 because she provided fake documents to the regulator regarding the first aid and asthma training of her staff. Weeks later Ms Makuei lost her ability to be a supervisor in the same industry because, according to the state, she “persuaded family daycare educators to produce false documents and provide false information at the interview” with the state government.

In Victoria, Milky Way Family Day Care, which lists its directors as Ethiopian-born Jale Tujuba and Adnan Yusuf, was put on notice by the Victorian government for providing false and misleading information, not meeting service conditions and failing to run required educational programs.

Family daycare providers fall under the National Quality Framework, introduced by the previous Labor federal government in 2012, and attract federal government child care subsidies.

Queensland’s Acacia Ridge service Maka Family Day Care Scheme has been suspended until Christmas Eve because “there was an immediate risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of children being educated and cared for”.

Family daycare services have grown 61 per cent in the past two years, compared with just 7 per cent for ­centre-based childcare operators.

The hike in activity, which has been higher than 300 per cent in some regions, has placed pressure on state governments, which are responsible for making sure the businesses meet stringent rules and regulations under the quality framework.

Ms Jones said Queensland was now rejecting 60 per cent of new applications. “Queensland has put in place the toughest regulation process in the country for family daycare approved providers,” she told The Australian.

“In addition (to approval rejections) there are strict conditions on approvals and ongoing monitoring and compliance checks.”

Of the 15 most recent compliance crackdowns across the nation, all but one of the services are owned and operated by African directors, with six from Sudan and another six from Somalia.

The Australian revealed the case of Sudanese migrant Ruben Majok Aleer Aguer who received $1.6 million in federal funds over just 16 months to run a network of family daycare educators which authorities could not confirm were officially employed by him.

Nor, during at least 17 inspections, did any of the ACT department staff confirm a single child was ever in care.

Sharing of regulatory responsibility between Canberra and the states means the federal government only investigates fraud offences when it ­suspects money has gone missing. The largest proven case of family daycare fraud ended last week when Albury-based 29-year-old Melissa Jade Higgins was found guilty of stealing more than $3m from the federal government.

Victoria has moved to take the heat out of the market by increasing inspections and investigations.

The family daycare sector in Victoria represents 10 per cent of the total childcare pool but ­accounts for almost 80 per cent of enforcement actions taken by the state. Services have grown by 341 and 339 per cent respectively in Melbourne’s highly multicultural western and northern suburbs.



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

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

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