Thursday, May 26, 2016

The non-fairytale truth about stepparents

I think this is an important story. Media representations of step-parents tend to be negative stereotypes.  I had it easier than most as a step-parent.  When I first met my three  step-children (aged 5, 5 and 7) the first thing I did was to sit down and talk to them in my usual jocular way for a couple of hours.  I got them to tell me about what they thought about all sorts of things.  And from that time on all was sunny.  The kids went home to their father and his new lady that night and announced, "John was great!" -- getting a not entirely enthusiastic though civil response.  They are all now adults with children of their own but we still get on well -- JR

Stories of children who have experienced awful parenting under the “protection” of a stepparent have become all too familiar.

Google “stepparents”. You’ll read all about the dos and don’ts of managing “blended families” and can even download your own self-help guide that facilitates the rules and regulations for making the love of two people a comfortable experience for all kids involved.

Hit the news tab and you’ll read about the people who didn’t read this step-by-step guide on how to be a prize stepparent and the salacious headlines that accompany some of their awful offences.

The word stepparent itself, in my view, does have an ugly kind of ring to it. Did your parents read Cinderella to you as a kid? Not the remake, or the politically correct version — the ugly and at times quite tragic 1950s original. Mine did.

I’ll share with you another side of the stepparent story, or enigma as it is. One that doesn’t fit the all too common stereotype.
The story of Cinderella painted a less than rosy picture of any “step” family member . (Pic: Supplied)

Enter Norman — otherwise known as Normie, Normie G, Norm, or, when he’s in trouble, NORMAN. Norm is my stepdad, although I hate referring to him as that because I feel as though I’m doing him a great disservice.

Perhaps it was the Cinderella book, perhaps it was the bad experiences shared with me by friends, or maybe it’s just that the “step” really doesn’t define him and his extraordinary qualities adequately.

My mum and dad divorced when my twin-sister, Lauren, and I were four years old. We were a “broken family” as it was referenced in the 90s. We were five when Mum met Norm and we were six when we pranced down the red carpet, spraying our confetti everywhere as they followed us down together and wed.

Norman’s first year with us was the worst. Lauren and I were spoiled. My mum was trying to juggle her happiness and the happiness she envisaged for us with the guilt that came with introducing an unwanted party to the household and taking a risk that could have ended really badly.

Our mum and dad’s marriage (prior to Norm) had taught us standards of living that alone, my mum couldn’t maintain. When she packed us up in her car, tears flowing on all of our cheeks, w​and said goodbye to my dad (who is also a brilliant man), she did so knowing we’d all get a pretty big reality check when we left the city and returned to destination country town, a place she once called home.

At five, the hand holding between them was probably the most painful thing to witness. “You’re not our dad,” and “Don’t touch my mum” were remarks he endured pretty consistently for his first few months from Lauren and I. What a romantic honeymoon period in your relationship, right?

He didn’t retort, he didn’t call us out on our ill-informed behaviour, he just smiled at us and let go of Mum’s embrace and would make room either side of her for us to take over.

I don’t know what the tipping point was — we made his life very difficult and refused him like the plague. I remember him setting up our first fish tank that was like a state-of-the-art aquarium in our house — perhaps that’s what got him over the line. Whatever it was, in a short time and at a very young age, Lauren and I grew to love him and we loved the way he made our mum laugh, love and be happy.

When you grow up hearing only stories of evil stepparents, it can be confronting when you get a blended family of your own. (Pic: Disney’s live-action feature film Cinderella).

Growing up, Norm was my everything — my ultimate. He was hard on us, set very high standards and today, and for every day in between, I am so grateful.

Norm taught me how to read, write and how to drive. He taught me how to be disciplined enough to learn at school and the importance of knowledge and a good education when I would come home sheepishly with a report card that read: “Very intelligent and high potential, but can be easily distracted.”

He always listened and thankfully, he taught me how to be patient and silent enough to listen to him as well. He is philosophical, nonsensical sometimes, has a wicked sense of humour and his emotional and intellectual capacity is unprecedented.

He was an electrician, which was a stark contrast to Dad’s career as a PR executive. His knowledge was endless and never declared sacred. No question was off-limits. I would race home from school beaming with pride after my exams to show him what his teachings had done for my understanding of the World Wars, political afflictions and my grades.

When I seek to explain Normie’s brilliance to others, two memories stick:

Starting that “time of the month”

When I got my lady business at the age of 12 and my mum sent him down to the local shop to buy supplies as she sat down with me and talked through my reproductive cycle on a calendar​ (I was 12!!!), Norm returned home with a vast array of cotton surfboards in hand ​ (he covered all brands and bases) without a paper bag in sight to disguise his mission from the locals. ​ He was not embarrassed. ​

Building a boat

When he built his own boat with his own two hands. (Smart move — he needed a sanctuary after sharing a living space with three very open and over-sharing women for more than 15 years). He sat for months sketching designs on gridded pages until he was happy enough, knowing he got it right.

Whenever I go home to visit, he invites me on board the boat and we sit on the deck, share some wine and look at the stars while talking about life.

I could rattle off thousands of instances where Norman really has broken the stepparent​ mould and my perception of it — he’s done far more than was ever expected to show my sister and I a solid​, caring and unconditional upbringing.

Simply put, Norman was a blessing. He is a father, a mentor, soulmate and friend. He is irreplaceable and our lives would have been so different had he not entered them.

That is what he did for me and my sister, in the years that we most needed it. He is part of the foundation of who we have become and I hope like hell every day that we’ve done him proud.

​Not all stepparents are to be feared or resented — Norm took on the role of dad, without me ever having to ask him.


What’s all this talk about resilience?

HAVE YOU NOTICED how all of a sudden, everything is “resilient”? I was listening to a not uninteresting public radio broadcast on urban moss, when I learned that several stations have merged “resilience reporting” desks — to keep us abreast of hardy lichens, I guess.

I saw in the paper that University of Arizona professor Dr. Andrew Shatte was lecturing in the area on “Why Some People Are Resilient, and Others Are Not.” Shatte arrived early to the resilience party, as co-author of the 2003 book, “The Resilience Factor: Seven Essential Skills for Overcoming Life’s Inevitable Obstacles.”

The promotional materials for Shatte’s Boston appearance promised that “in the final moments of the workshop, he’ll even reveal the biggest secret to a life of resilience!”

Boston recently appointed a “Chief Resilience Officer,” Dr. Atyia Martin, whose mission “will be to help the city cope with stress,” the Globe reported. For the time being, the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation, not the taxpayers, pays Martin’s salary.

Rockefeller is all in on resilience, with a Global Resilience Partnership, the National Disaster Resilience Competition, and the 100 Resilient Cities program, in which Boston is participating. Among the resilience officers’ duties, the foundation’s website explains, is “ensuring that the city applies a resilience lens so that resources are leveraged holistically and projects planned for synergy.”

A spokesman told me that Rockefeller started investing in resilience projects about 10 years ago, after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. The foundation has spent about half a billion dollars on resilience programs, including public radio’s lichenological investigations.

I think we attained Peak Resilience last month, when President Obama invoked the r-word during a public appearance at the CIA. “I want to remind Americans again … how to be strong, how to be resilient,” he said. “We have to refuse to give in to fear. We have to stay true to our values of liberty and diversity and openness.”

Resilience means the ability to bounce back after adversity. There’s a cottage industry in Boston devoted to congratulating ourselves on our post-Marathon bombing resilience. You want to see some resilience? Visit Dresden, or Hiroshima, or Warsaw, or any of the many Russian cities vaporized 70 years ago during World War II.

To be fair, I spent some time talking to Martin, Boston’s resilience officer, and the subject of the Marathon bombings never came up. She cheerfully admitted that most people don’t exactly get what she does. “There’s lot of speculation,” she said. “People hear my title, and they say, ‘That’s interesting — what does it mean?’”

Martin sees her brief as primarily promoting racial equity in the city. “When you have an emergency, it disproportionately burdens people of color,” she said. “The goal is closing the gap between people of different communities so everyone can have the kind of healthy community they would like to live in.”

Resilience talk is just a little too glib, a little too modish, a little too nonsensical for my tastes. Americans seem to me like the least resilient people on earth, obsessing over bathroom access and Twitter wars while one-tenth of the planet starves to death. Starbucks ran out of one percent milk? I’m calling my congressman!

Can resilience be taught, or implemented, through government programs and foundation grants? Perhaps. To me, resilience is a quality that Americans lost years ago: The ability to take a punch and get back off the mat.

Now the instinct is to stay down on the mat, and find someone to blame for your problems — the Mexicans, the Muslims, the welfare cheats. Someone could run for president on that platform. Indeed, someone is.


Black Iowa Student Starts Fight, Loses, Makes Up Hate Crime, Gets Caught

A savage hate crime at the University of Iowa that sent shockwaves across campus turned out to be just another hoax, police said Tuesday.

The case of Marcus Owens caused a deluge of outrage when it first emerged in early May. Owens claimed on the night of April 30 he was attacked, out of nowhere and without provocation, by three white college-age men, who beat him bloody while screaming racial slurs and landed him in the hospital.

Activist students claimed the attack showed a climate of racial hatred in Iowa City, and they also denounced the university for taking until May 4 to issue a statement about the matter.

“How many black students must be a victim of a hate crime before an alert is sent out,” one student complained online at the time.

 But after a two-week investigation, Iowa City police have concluded, after interviewing witnesses and viewing surveillance footage, that no hate crime occurred at all, and that Owens’ account of his injuries was almost completely false.
In Owens’ account, he arrived at the Eden Lounge, an Iowa City bar, around 9 p.m., stepped out for a phone call around 10 p.m., and was then attacked.

But footage, which was released by police, shows a very different series of events. The footage shows Owens entered the bar close to midnight, and then getting involved in a massive bar melee around 1:35 a.m. He was kicked out of the bar, and then proceeded to get in two additional fights within the next 10 minutes. In all of the fights Owens is acting aggressively and throwing punches, and police say he appears to have been the instigator in at least one of the fights.

While at least one participant in the fighting does seem to have yelled a racial slur, that’s not enough to justify a hate crime charge, police said.

Owens initially walked off his injuries, but later went to the hospital to have them treated. On Monday night, he created his story of an unprovoked racial attack.

Owens and his family have issued an apology, blaming his actions on a mixture of alcohol and embarrassment.

“Marcus now knows that his account of events was inconsistent with police findings, in part due to alcohol being involved, his embarrassment at his behavior, as well as the injuries he sustained,” the family’s statement says. “In light of this, it was concluded that this incident was not a hate crime as originally believed, but rather a case of excessive underage drinking and extremely poor judgment on the part of many people, Marcus included.”

Police say that thanks to the apology, they will not file a false reporting charge, even though the evidence supports one.

Owens isn’t the first college student in 2016 to try spinning a run-of-the-mill fight as a violent hate crime. Three University at Albany students claimed they were attacked by a white mob on a bus in January, only to have police conclude they were the actual aggressors. Those students have been kicked out of school and hit with an array of criminal charges.


Events in Europe vindicate Australian immigration policy

The spectre of political disruption in Europe moved another step closer to reality on Monday when Norbert Hofer, the anti-immigration candidate for Austrian president, lost by a hair’s breadth.

The rise of Hofer, leader of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party, to claim 49.7 per cent of votes is Europe’s Trump moment. For the first time since Austrian voters were given the right to choose their president in 1951, neither mainstream party will fill that role. Disillusioned with the political establishment and its inability to handle the migration crisis, voters cleaved to the far left and the far right and the win by former Greens and now independent Alexander Van der Bellen by 2,254,484 votes to Hofer’s 2,223,458 votes will do little to bridge Austria’s deep divisions. The lessons for Australia are clear. Those who foolishly demonised Immigration Minister Peter Dutton last week fail to understand that social and political cohesion depends on public confidence in an immigration system.

Snooty Europeans have had a tendency to look aghast at the rise of populist Donald Trump in the US. They turn up their noses at Trump’s rise as an “only-in-America” phenomenon where angry, mainstream Americans have snubbed the establishment for reasons relevant only to America. Yet, European elites now face their own nightmare on main street.

The driving force behind Hofer’s rise is deep community anxiety about the ramifications of uncontrolled immigration. In a small country that has taken in 90,000 asylum-seekers last year — more than 1 per cent of its population — almost half of Austria’s voters looked to a leader, even a symbolic presidential one — to send a blunt message to Austria’s political establishment: the political, social and economic consequences of uncontrolled immi-gration from the Middle East cannot be ignored any more.

The fault lines for Monday’s result were laid last year when Angela Merkel opened Germany’s door to every asylum-seeker fleeing Syria. Merkel’s welcome mat is a stark reminder that good intentions can lead to devastating outcomes — such as the rapes in Cologne on New Year’s Eve where one police report recorded a perpetrator saying: “I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly. Mrs Merkel invited me.” As Milton Friedman said, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” European elites ruminating over Monday’s election should see Hofer’s rise as the direct result of Merkel’s policy.

Moreover, the Austrian vote is not an outlier event. Far from Hofer being Europe’s solitary Trump, a glance across the continent reveals the political centre has shattered, as people look elsewhere for a voice. Far-right politicians are engaging with voters on issues long ignored by elites: economic insecurity, EU elitism, open borders, national identity, social and cultural cohesion.

Start in France where far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and her National Front party may cause shock waves in next year’s presidential and legislative elections. In Germany anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany has emerged as a force in state elections. In The Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and beyond, outrage over immigration has put populists into parliament. It’s the same northwards where Scandinavian countries famous for their social welfare models have also felt the backlash against uncontrolled immigration policies.

In Norway, there’s Sylvi Listhaug from the populist Progress Party. The Finns Party (formerly True Finns) is in government in Finland. In Sweden, which has accepted the highest number of refugees per capita than any other country in the world, far-right nationalists, Sweden Democrats, is the country’s third largest party. In January, the Swedish government decided to deport 80,000 asylum-seekers.

In Denmark too, Merkel’s migrant-crisis fault lines have elevated Thulesen Dahl, the leader of the Danish People’s Party, to represent the second-largest party in parliament.

In fact, the unfolding immigration debate in Denmark offers an insight into all that is wrong with the unthinking rush of many on the Left to condemn Europeans as xenophobic if they raise questions about the arrival of more than one million asylum-seekers this year alone.

In Foreign Policy, James Kirchick explores how Denmark’s response to Europe’s migration crisis “is now looking like the better part of wisdom”. Media elites derided new Danish laws that allow the state to confiscate property from migrants seeking welfare as reminiscent of the Third Reich.

Writes Kirchick, “these reduction ad Hitlerum arguments are facile” given the same laws apply to native-born Danes. Equally shallow is the way the media has lionised Merkel as a selfless humanitarian given her policy has fuelled the rise of anti-immigration sentiments across Europe.

The self-evident truth that immigration policy needs support from the people is too often ignored by media and political elites. Danes are keen to buttress their social welfare compact, where a largely homogenous country understood a generous welfare system is the quid pro quo for paying high taxes. Hence they have backed the confiscation law along with stricter measures around asylum-seeker family reunification.

Denmark is confronting the progressive dilemma of imposing diversity and expecting solidarity. Writing more than a decade ago in Prospect magazine, David Goodhart challenged his left-leaning audience to understand the contradiction at the heart of their misty-eyed idealism.

He recalled what British conservative politician David Willetts said at a welfare forum: “The basis on which you can extract large sums of money in tax and pay it out in benefits is that most people think the recipients are people like themselves, facing difficulties that they themselves could face. If values become more diverse, if lifestyles become more differentiated, then it becomes more difficult to sustain the legitimacy of a universal risk-pooling welfare state. People ask: ‘Why should I pay for them when they are doing things that I wouldn’t do?’

“This is America versus Sweden. You can have a Swedish welfare state provided that you are a homogeneous society with intensely shared values. In the United States you have a very diverse, individualistic society where people feel fewer obligations to fellow citizens. Progressives want diversity, but they thereby undermine part of the moral consensus on which a large welfare state rests.”

The Austrian result is a timely cue to put our own immigration debate in a global context. The rush to revile Dutton for speaking about the challenges of increased immigration couldn’t be more misplaced. If we are genuinely committed to social, political and economic cohesion, we should thank Dutton for the straight-talking that mainstream European politicians have cowered from.

Our immigration response is far more measured and compassionate than many European anti-immigrant politicians, whose popularity represents a public backlash against the porous borders advocated by the muddle-headed moralisers in the Greens and Labor. It’s far better that immigration policy is settled in parliament than on the streets.



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, May 25, 2016

Australian Special Forces raid which killed Afghan women and children

The death of bystander women and children is of course deplorable but the troops acted solely in self-defence in response to an attempted ambush and while being fired on.  So as far as I can see the responsibility for the outcome rests entirely on the man who continued to provoke fire at himself while women and children were beside him in the same room.  And his sustained aggression makes mockery of the claim that he was not a Talib.  If he was not, he was of the same ruthless mind-set

A soldier at the centre of one of Australia's most controversial and secret military cases has spoken publicly for the first time about a horrific commando night raid in which five Afghan children were killed.

Identifying himself as Dave, the former lance corporal is one of two reservists from the Army's elite 1st Commando Regiment who was charged with manslaughter over the children's deaths in the 2009 raid of a family compound.

The manslaughter case sent shockwaves through the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and was the subject of a sustained public outcry, with accusations of "armchair" ignorance of combat conditions.

An ugly vilification campaign was mounted against the former director of military prosecutions, Brigadier Lyn McDade, who had laid the charges.

The case against the men was dismissed prior to a court martial, but Dave and other members of the regiment remain angry that the ADF still has not formally exonerated him or the other soldier, a sergeant, who was charged.

Debate about the case was reignited last week with the release of a ministerial memorandum obtained by Australian Story under Freedom of Information legislation.

The ADF has never given a full public account of the events of that night.

Now Dave — who at the request of his family has not divulged his surname — and other soldiers directly involved in the action, have given Australian Story a detailed description of the circumstances leading up to the raid, what happened on the night and its tragic aftermath.

Australian Story also raises many serious questions yet to be addressed by the ADF. It is still not clear whether the raid was properly authorised or if the intelligence the soldiers were acting on was incorrect and led them to the wrong compound.

The 1st Commando Regiment was sent to Afghanistan in November 2008 on a four-month tour of duty.

They were operating as a strike force, primarily targeting the Taliban leadership on "kill or capture" missions.

A member of the regiment, Corporal Geoff Evans, said all missions were intelligence-driven and had to be approved by senior army ranks, but the information provided was not always reliable.

"The intelligence we received was of varying quality. Sometimes it was very, very good, and other times it felt like they were throwing a dart at a map," he told Australian Story.

Another commando, identified as Corporal W, said: "Quite often we'd go into a compound and it would be what we'd call a dry hole. There'd be nothing there, we'd go in, do our search and then leave. Other times we would go in, capture a Taliban leader, for example, so it varied."

Raiding party redirected

On the night of February 12, 2009, a force of over 20 people, including a number of Afghan National Army personnel and Afghan interpreters, headed towards the tiny village of Sorkh Morghab in Uruzgan Province. They were targeting a Taliban leader.

As directed, they first entered a family compound, but found that the occupants had no Taliban influence or links. The information they had been given was false.

They then received further orders from a lieutenant colonel in Kandahar to proceed to a nearby compound. Details of why these orders were given and the intelligence on which they were based remain unknown.

As the team cleared the second compound, they found a family including an armed man and relocated them to a courtyard.

One of the commandos, Corporal W, told Australian Story that when he looked through the window of another room, he saw a man pointing an AK-47 rifle at a door that soldiers were about to enter.

"I shot him," Corporal W said. "I believe that if I didn't engage him at that time [the soldiers] would have made entry into that door and he would have shot and killed at least one, maybe two of them."

According to Corporal W, the man then fired at him "probably half a mag(azine) from one-and-a-half metres away". "It's a miracle I wasn't killed. Bullets whizzed past my ears and shoulders and glass and wall fragments struck me in the face," he said. Corporal W hit the ground and other soldiers thought he was dead.

Soldiers say they warned gunman to stop firing

According to the Australian soldiers, members of the Afghan National Army, interpreters and some of their own unit were calling out to the armed man to cease fire throughout the altercation.

He continued to fire and Sergeant J — who was also later charged with manslaughter — directed Dave to throw a grenade into the room.

After it detonated, Dave said there was a brief pause in the fire coming from the room and then it continued "at a rapid and sustained rate, hence us believing that there was more than one insurgent in that room".

"It was coming out through the windows and it was coming out through the walls, around eight or 10 centimetres from my head and chest," he said.

The soldiers told Australian Story that the design of the compound meant that the man shooting at them had full coverage of the only exit and that they had no option but to kill him in order to save their own lives.

Sergeant J directed Dave to throw a second grenade, at which point the firing from the automatic AK-47 rifle ceased.

It was not until the dust from this grenade settled and the room was entered that Dave and other soldiers say they realised there were women and children in the room.

Three children were dead and several badly injured. Two babies who were evacuated for medical treatment did not survive, taking the death toll to five children.

Family says gunman not a Taliban fighter

The man who had been shooting at them, Amrullah Kahn, also died after medical evacuation.

His surviving family said he was a peasant farmer and that neither he nor they were affiliated with the Taliban.

A family spokesman, Farid Popal, who lives in Perth, told Australian Story that the Kahn family wanted justice for their devastating loss. "The family want answers as to why their father and their children and other members of the family were attacked, and why did they die?" he said.

Mr Popal said that as far as he was aware, the family had never received an explanation nor an apology from the ADF.


The Left can’t stand it but all over Europe and America politicians are on the rise who put their own countries and culture first. But who will put Britain first?

When ‘Right-thinking’ commenters and the European elite awoke this morning to the prospect that Austria could be the first European country to be led by a populist right leader they were aghast.

In the event Nobert Hofer of the Freedom party narrowly lost his bid to become Austrian President. But it is still a momentous day and I couldn't be happier.

In Austria, European governments should see a narrowly-averted mirror of their own future.  Look long and hard my friends, because this is coming your way.

A new populist politics is back in the ascendant, defending national identity and protecting the rights of true nationals from the drain of immigration. And this is just the start of things to come.

Make no mistake: the author of this Europe-wide phenomenon is Merkel.  She has penned a new era in history, in which Europe rejects an open-door policy to immigration which would lead to our women being the target of archaic cultures and religions, and rape being a helpless man's only response to the provocative sight of an unveiled woman.

But this is more than a rejection of European immigration policy.  This is individual nations asserting their right to self-govern. Peoples voting to protect their sense of self and reassert sovereignty.

These nations do not want to be part of some amorphous whole, a blancmange of nonsense led by a German. And they are fighting back in city squares chanting 'never again'.

Hofer says: 'To those in Austria who go to war for Islamic State or rape women, I say to those people: “This is not your home.”'

I have a strong sense many of you would vote for a British leader with precisely these views.

And Hofer is not alone. The Danish People's Party has 21 per cent of the vote and publicised its policy of removing valuables over the value of £1,045 from immigrants to pay for their welfare. It also placed adverts in Lebanese newspapers warning against migration to Denmark.

The UK, on the other hand, advertises its benefits and accommodates migrants in hotels.

In Finland the populist Right argues that true Finns take priority in social and healthcare spending.

The UK prioritises immigrants for school places and council homes and gives away healthcare for free.

Marine Le Pen's National Front (FN) is the biggest nationalist challenge to Europe's liberal democratic traditions. She has modernised the party and mobilised support in the face of terror attacks.

It suits the Left to throw out insults and put lazy labels on these political parties, seeking to marginalise or discredit them
In Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland — parties which espouse the same views are also on the rise.

Questioning immigration, the EU and the establishment, while promoting a strong sense of nationalist sentiment, is now entirely ‘salonfaehig’, as German-speakers would say.

Their ugly word for ‘passable in your living room’ — or, as we would say, socially acceptable. Merkel, for the record, is not salonfaehig in my home.

The Swiss even use controversial black-sheep posters to make their point about immigration.

Liberals call them racist but, frankly, when do they ever stop using that term, so overused to have lost all meaning? If I'm not being called racist, I barely recognise myself.

But it suits the Left to throw out insults and put lazy labels on these political parties, seeking to marginalise or discredit them despite their obvious electoral success and democratic support.

It calls these parties the Far Right, hoping you will close your eyes, picture a skinhead with a beer belly and an England flag tattooed on his forehead, and snigger.

But remember, this breed of lazy socialists also mocked Donald Trump, and will continue to do so as he ascends the steps to the White House.

They smirk, cocooned in their London bubble as will no doubt still be listening to the BBC still calling Donald Trump a buffoon even as he descend the stairs from Air Force One.

Meanwhile Americans want him to speak up on their behalf. To be the voice of the people, to Make America Great Again, to halt immigration, protect their cultural identity and reassert their right to look after their own culture first.

It’s no coincidence Hofer and Trump both use the same slogan: America/Austria First!

And these words are being echoed all around Europe. Restrict immigration, self-govern, reassert the right to put your own people first.

And as I look west towards Trump in the White House, east to Hofer in Austria and Le Penn resurgent in France, north towards the Danish People's Party with the toughest immigration rules in Europe, and south to the stronghold of the Swiss People's Party — I see a political compass whose true direction is set on national identity and sovereignty.

This movement is supported by people living in their cultural homeland, working hard, paying taxes, looking for someone, anyone, to speak up for their rights, their country, their future.

And if Merkel continues the madness of trying to fast-track Turkey into the EU, millions more will join them.

Just as if Britain has the guts to vote to leave the EU, I have no doubt citizens all over Europe will start demanding that they too get a vote.

All over the Western world, multiculturalism is being rejected in favour of national identity. The surge of populist politics of the Right reflects a deeper will of the people to take back power from those who believe we are all equal. We all have rights.

All over the Western world, multiculturalism is being rejected in favour of national identity.

If you come to our country and fight for Islamic State, rape our women, and then ask Europe to defend your human rights, this is not your home. Our NHS, our schools, our local doctors’ surgeries — they are not yours to monopolise either. Our children should come first.

The balance of power is shifting. Raising the spectre of fascism is just lazy labelling

This is not the silencing of humanity, nor the deafening roar of bald men in black boots and bomber jackets waving the Union, fighting their own shadows.

This is the rise of common sense. This is your voice being heard.


Police officer in Freddie Gray case is acquitted on all charges

A police officer was acquitted of all charges Monday in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody. The verdict is likely to renew debate over whether anyone will be held responsible for Gray’s death.

The officer, Edward M. Nero, sat with a straight back and stared forward as Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams, who ruled on the case after the officer opted to forgo a jury trial, read his verdict on the charges of second-degree assault, misconduct and reckless endangerment.

“The verdict on each count,” said Williams, concluding his reading after about 30 minutes, “is not guilty.”

“The state’s theory has been one of recklessness and negligence,” Williams said. “There has been no evidence that the defendant intended for a crime to occur.”

Nero, who was implicated not in the death of Gray but in the opening moments of his arrest, then stood and hugged his lawyers as supporters pressed forward to congratulate him. He wiped away tears and, at one point, embraced Officer Garrett E. Miller, who is also charged in connection with the arrest of Gray

About a dozen protesters gathered outside the courthouse in the moments after the verdict was rendered, and some chanted the familiar protest cry, “No justice, no peace.”

“To see that officer walk away, and still no accountability, that hurts me the most,” said the Rev. Westley West, a frequent presence at demonstrations related to Gray’s death. “That could be me.”

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake pleaded for calm, noting that Nero still faces a departmental review and could face disciplinary action. ‘‘We once again ask the citizens to be patient and to allow the entire process to come to a conclusion,’’ she said.

The verdict, the first in any of the six officers implicated, comes a little more than a year after Gray died in April 2015.

The first trial, against Officer William G. Porter, ended with a mistrial in December. Gray’s death embroiled parts of Baltimore, which has a history of tension between the police and its residents, in violent protest and became an inexorable piece of the nation’s wrenching discussion of the use of force by officers, particularly against minorities.

Many demonstrators had felt vindicated last year when the city’s top prosecutor, Marilyn J. Mosby, announced charges against the officers, but legal specialists have questioned whether they were too ambitious.

Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore police officer who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said that Mosby had “overplayed her hand.”

Charges were filed too quickly, he said, adding that prosecutors should have spent more time bolstering cases against one or two officers who may have been most culpable. “Someone dying doesn’t always make it a crime,” Moskos said. “The prosecutors are trying to find social justice, but these are trials of individual cops.”

A lawyer for Nero, Marc Zayon, called for the charges against the remaining officers to be dropped.

‘I’m thankful we’re even in court, that charges were brought. But now we’ve got to come out with something.’

“Like Officer Nero,” Zayon added, “these officers have done nothing wrong.”

The Police Department said Monday that the internal review of Nero, 30, who remains on administrative leave, will not be resolved until after the trials of the other officers involved.


The Jewish story is under assault

by Yossi Klein Halevi

Who are the Jews? A religion? A people? The question has taken on a special urgency in our time. At the heart of the anti-Zionist assault is the notion that the Jews aren't a people but only a faith. That premise is normative throughout the Arab world, and especially in the Palestinian statehood movement, all of whose factions deny the existence of a distinct Jewish people with a right to national sovereignty.

The Jewish calendar tells a different story. On Passover, we celebrate the birth of the Jewish people through our escape from Egypt; it's the beginning of a coherent historical narrative. On Shavuot, two months later, we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai, imprinting the Jewish people with a distinct path to God. The Jews, then, are a people with a specific faith. In that order.

The Passover Seder implicitly reinforces that hierarchy of identities. The essential Seder ritual is the retelling of the exodus — “as though you yourself left Egypt” — and the message is: There is no Judaism without the Jewish people and its story.

My late teacher, Rabbi David Hartman, noted that the definition of Jewish heresy provided by the Haggadah, the text read at the Seder, simultaneously offers a definition of Jewish identity. The “evil child” of the Haggadah refers to the Jewish people as “you” rather than “us.” Unlike Christianity and Islam, where heresy is the rejection of belief, for Judaism heresy is self-exclusion from the community.

As a religious Jew, I believe that our relationship to God is the purpose of Jewish existence. I believe that contemporary Jewish life has been impoverished by the diminishment of the Divine, the abandonment of the quest for the living God in our collective and personal lives.

Yet I also believe that peoplehood is more crucial to Judaism than faith. How else can we make sense of the Jewish atheist? Christians or Muslims who reject religious doctrine are no longer a part of their faith community, while Jews who reject Judaic beliefs but still identify with the Jewish people, its values and its fate are universally regarded among Jews as one of us.

Peoplehood is given primacy over faith for the sake of the faith itself: The Jewish people is the carrier of Judaism.
All three monotheistic faiths share the same goal: the revelation of God's presence in this world. But Judaism, once again, works a little differently. While one can of course convert and become a Jew, Judaism was never intended to be a universal faith, only the faith of a specific people — whose purpose is to be a spiritual avant guard within humanity for its eventual redemption. Judaism is a particularist strategy for a universalist goal.

In its early stages in 19th century Germany, Reform Judaism tried to turn Jewish identity into a faith without a people and a land, insisting that its Zion was Berlin, not Jerusalem. Ultimately, though, the Reform movement returned to a more classical understanding of Jewish identity. Even ultra-Orthodox Jews, who routinely place the most strict interpretation of Jewish law over the well-being of the Jewish people, accept peoplehood as a core religious principle.

The Seder culminates with the affirmation, “Next year in Jerusalem,” a reminder that the Jewish story that begins in Egypt ends in the land of Israel. We're a specific people bound to a specific place.

Last week, as Jews around the world prepared for Passover, the war against the Jewish people and its story — against the meaning of Passover itself — took a particularly ugly turn. A UNESCO resolution, sponsored by seven Arab countries, denounced Israel for supposed violations of Muslim rights to prayer on the site that Muslims call the Haram el Sharif and Jews call the Temple Mount. The resolution ignores the fact that the Israeli government enforces a ban on Jewish prayer at the holy site, granting Muslims exclusive right to pray there. Worse, the resolution implicitly denies the Jewish connection to the area by never actually using the term Temple Mount (only Haram el Sharif). It does refer to the Western Wall, but places that label in quotation marks while leaving the Muslim equivalent, Al Buraq, intact, as though that were the only authentic name.

Reading the resolution, one could conclude that there was no ancient Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, that the Mount isn't the holiest site in Judaism, that the Western Wall isn't the heart of Jewish prayer. One could conclude, therefore, that the Jews living in Israel today have no historic claim to the land, passed down through generations. Of all the attempts to destroy us throughout our history, the campaign against history itself is the most devious.

Passover suggests this definition of the Jews: We are a story we tell ourselves about who we think we are. The current assault on the Jewish story is so dangerous precisely because it strikes at that core idea.



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, May 24, 2016

Our Racist Trees

Mickey Fearn, the National Park Service Deputy Director for Communications and Community Assistance, made headlines when he claimed that black people don't visit national parks because they associate them with slaves being lynched by their masters.

Yellowstone, the first national park, was created in 1872 in Wyoming. Slavery was over by then and no one had ever been lynching slaves around Old Faithful anyway. But false claims die very hard.

Now Alcee Hastings, an impeached judge, and a coalition of minority groups is demanding increased "inclusiveness" at national parks. High on their list is the claim that, "African-Americans have felt unwelcome and even fearful in federal parklands during our nation's history because of the horrors of lynching." What do national parks have to do with lynchings? Many national parks have trees. People were hung from trees. It's guilt by arboreal association.

The origin of the bizarre racist lynching theory of national parks appears to be Carolyn Finney. Finney was an actress noted for, apparently, little more than an appearance in The Nutt House. Then she became a cause célèbre for race activists when she was denied tenure by Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management because her work didn't meet academic standards.

Her supporters blamed racism, rather than her academic shortcomings, and protested vocally.

These days she's a diversity advisor to the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board. What wasn't good enough for UC Berkeley is good enough for national parks. She is also the author of Black Faces, White Spaces. In it she claims that "oppression and violence against black people in forests and other green spaces can translate into contemporary understandings that constrain African-American environmental understandings."

Finney cites the work of Joy DeGruy Leary who invented a Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome that she claims black people suffer from. Affected by PTSS, black people experience "fear and mistrust of forests and other green spaces." According to Finney, the tree is a racist symbol to black people.

"Black people also wanted to go out in the woods and eat apples from the trees," Finney explains." But black people were lynched on the trees. The tree became a big symbol." Black people are triggered by trees and suffer Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome flashbacks. You can't expect them to go to on a hike.

What shall we do about the racist trees? Finney is front and center at the new "inclusion" initiative, "You're sitting here making up a rule and assuming that everybody is going to feel comfortable to come to the woods and go on a hike," she whined. "Maybe they're not interested in doing that, that's not how they like to come to the woods."

In addition to complaining about the racist trees, the inclusion initiative also claimed that national parks alienate Latinos because of the "color of the uniforms that rangers wear."

What's wrong with the color of park ranger uniforms? According to the Hispanic Access Foundation, they look too much like the border patrol. Even though the uniforms are actually completely different. But much like the lack of lynchings at Yellowstone National Park, the truth doesn't matter here.

None of this is really about the nonsensical pseudoscientific ravings you just read. National parks don't care what race you are. Trees are as blind to color as they are to everything else. Forests don't need to be made more inclusive. This campaign is led by people who hate and reject natural spaces.

Finney claims that Theodore Roosevelt's vision of preserving beautiful natural landscapes was rooted in "privilege". Or as Fearn put it, "Preserving wild places is a white concept, going back to Rome."

Influential figures in the National Park Service reject the fundamental idea of preserving natural beauty. They view a forest as a "white concept" full of scary racist trees. Or at least that's what they claim.

That is what this is really about. The Obama era has rotted the Federal government with radical figures who are at war with fundamental American concepts and values. They intend to use their power to destroy those concepts and values. This is another example of that same ugly phenomenon.

Alcee Hastings complains of a "green ceiling" for hiring minorities. Aside from the usual diversity hiring push and buying from minority businesses in the "inclusiveness" proposals, not to mention nonsense about racist trees and scary uniforms, is a move to divert the focus to urban development. Then there's the flow of money to "community organizations" to engage "culturally diverse communities".

All that is code for robbing parks and moving the money into the same network of corrupt organizations that already swallows all the money that the Federal government can throw at its local projects. This isn't inclusiveness. It's blackmail. Advertise in our publications. Give us grants. Or your trees are racist.

For all the safe space rhetoric, the arguments ultimately come down to money. It's not about racist tree symbolism or uniform colors. It's about creating positions for people like Carolyn Finney or Mickey Fearn so they can lecture us on how parks are privilege and nature is racist. It's about finding yet another unlikely target for baseless claims of racism to be milked for money, grants, ads and contracts.

The Obama era has seen the "Sharptoning" of America as the same ugly shakedown scams that were being practiced in New York or Chicago were suddenly national policy. This is the Sharptoning of the National Park Service. It's happening in every agency and arm of government. We just don't notice it.

The accusations are absurd. And yet the payoffs keep coming. And there's little doubt that this latest "inclusiveness" initiative will also pay off. Our parks will suffer. Our slimiest politicians will prosper.

Finney says that national parks should represent where we want to go collectively as a people. But the beauty of a walk through the woods is that you don't have to "collectively" go anywhere. A hike is not a national mission. It's a place for individuality. And the left never fails to remind us how it loathes the individual and worships the collective impulse of totalitarian movements. This is paired with a hatred for beauty.

Forests and lakes are not about where we want to go collectively. They are where we once were. They represent spaces of imagination and reflection that have nothing in common with Finney's compulsion. They don't have to represent Finney's demands for "demographic and ethnic diversity". They allow us a freedom from the confining urban spaces of leftist identity politics that deny our humanity. They show us that life is pure and simple in ways that defy the convoluted nonsense of political correctness.

It's not hard to see why the left, despite its hollow environmental posturing, hates them.    


Conservative Group Fights California AG’s Attempt to ‘Chill’ Speech

Though a federal judge recently ruled that a conservative nonprofit group doesn’t have to disclose its donor list to California’s Democratic attorney general, conservatives believe this case is just the latest in an ongoing fight related to political activity and free speech.

“This was a great victory for free speech for everyone in this country,” said Mark Holden, the general counsel for Koch Industries, and a board member of Americans for Prosperity, the group asked to disclose its donor list.

“This effort to chill our right to the First Amendment is critical to what the left’s whole agenda is,” Holden told The Daily Signal in an interview. “They talk about getting big money out of politics, but what they really mean is going after speech and activity they disagree with, made by groups they disagree with.”

On April 21, U.S. District Judge Manuel Real found that Americans for Prosperity, which was founded by Charles and David Koch, does not have to submit to Attorney General Kamala Harris the names and addresses of its donors who have spent more than $5,000.

In his ruling, Real wrote, “The attorney general’s requirement that AFP submit its Schedule B [donor list] chills the exercise of its donor’s First Amendment freedoms to speak anonymously and to engage in expressive association.”

But the legal fight is not over, because Harris intends to challenge the decision with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case centers around Harris’ aim to enforce a California state law that requires charities, such as Americans for Prosperity, to file a copy of their IRS tax return with the state, including a so-called Schedule B form that includes the names and addresses of donors who donated more than $5,000 during a year.

Since 2001, Americans for Prosperity has filed the tax form without including the donor list, and until 2010, the state had accepted the charity’s registration in California and listed the group as an active charity in compliance with the law.

In a March 2013 letter, however, Harris declared that American for Prosperity’s 2011 filing was incomplete because it did not include the donor list.

The Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit took that challenge to court in December 2014, arguing the California law requiring disclosure of the Schedule B form is unconstitutional.

Harris contends the state law does not infringe on free speech and helps protect the public from fraud and illegal business practices.

“We are disappointed in Judge Real’s ruling and intend to appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Kristin Ford, a spokeswoman for Harris, in an emailed statement to The Daily Signal. “The filing of the Schedule B is a long-standing requirement that has helped attorneys general for more than a decade protect taxpayers against fraud.”

In his order, Real said Harris had failed to prove that the state needs donor information to properly investigate charities active in California.

“It is clear that the attorney general’s purported Schedule B submission requirement demonstrably played no role in advancing the attorney general’s law enforcement goals for the past 10 years,” Real wrote.

The judge also said the Koch brothers and other donors faced a threat of harm because the state inadvertently disclosed donor lists nearly 1,800 times on a public website that contains charities’ registration forms.

Harris testified that she has implemented procedures to prevent donor information from being disclosed to the public.

While he is satisfied with the judge’s decision, Holden told The Daily Signal he is worried about what he calls one of the unintended consequences of the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, where the justices ruled that corporations and unions can spend unlimited money on political actions that are done independent of a party or candidate.

Critics contend that Citizens United has increased the influence of money in politics, and that groups like Americans for Prosperity showcase the problem of non-transparent laws governing donor disclosure by nonprofits.

Holden, meanwhile, argues that liberal politicians and Democratic-minded groups are using the legal system to attack their political opponents.

As an example, he referred to a recent subpoena issued by Claude E. Walker, the U.S. Virgin Islands attorney general, demanding ExxonMobil Corp.’s communications with free-market think tanks including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and climate change-skeptic scientists.

Walker is part of a network of state attorneys general who are alleging that Exxon has misrepresented its products and activities contributing to climate change “in order to defraud the government and consumers.”

“The bottom line is, over the last six years we have seen a war on speech,” Holden said. “We are even seeing it on climate change, where we see the use of threats and force by law enforcement to silence groups they don’t agree with. This should not be a partisan issue. It’s just free speech.”


School sports carnivals have got a problem

Australian feminist Em Rusciano gets something right

YESTERDAY, I was taught a valuable lesson by a bunch of eight- and nine-year-old kids that I think you may want to hear.

I was helping out at my youngest daughter’s athletics carnival (yes I was an elite hurdler, yes I did qualify for world juniors and win my first national title when I was 10. So what? Stop bringing it up) when something caught my eye.

My kids go to an awesome school. However … how do I put this? It has more of an academic/performing arts/paint pictures of your feelings vibe to it than an incubator for elite athletes vibe.

If it was a “knit your own tampon” or “public speak your way out of a hostage situation” or “re-explain the theory of relativity using five different maths equations” race, they would totally nail that sh*t though.

I was standing at the finish line of the 60m hurdles when the first bunch of kids came barrelling through. They were the under-nine boys and one of the lads caught my eye (he had a knitted green and white striped frog beanie on).

I said hello and asked him how many ribbons he felt he may acquire today. Upon reflection that may have been a thoughtless question as moments before he’d finished exactly last in his event, but I’d already forgotten that because: awesome hat! His response floored me. It amused me so much I nearly had an asthma attack.

He said, with both hands on his hips and a deep sigh that belonged to an 80-year-old war vet, “Probably none, I’ll probably just get a few of those (points to participation ribbon) and a bunch of ‘well dones’.”

The tone was unmistakeable. It said: “I’m sick of your sh*t, don’t patronise me with your well dones and participation awards, I know the score.”

It made me wonder, do we give out participation awards to make the kids or the parents feel better?

I decided to conduct subtle interviews with every kid I saw today and NONE of them wanted the participation ribbon. Most of them down right sneered at it. They all understood that someone is going to get to the line fastest, jump the highest and throw the furthest. They all got that some people are better at sport than others and none of them seemed too fazed by that.

Look, if we weren’t giving out the first, second and third place ribbons and the day was just about having fun and being outdoors, great! Let’s go on an Oprah Christmas special ribbon giving spree: “You get a ribbon, and you get a ribbon and you get a ribbon, riiiibonnnnnn!”

However WE DO give out the first, second and third place awards, so what message are we sending them? “Hey kids it doesn’t matter if you win but if you do win you get a special prize and accolade, but it doesn’t matter, but it does, and the rest of the kids get a generic thing because they’re not special like the kids who won, who aren’t special, but they are ...”

Confusing huh? Imagine being a kid then!

I worry we’re getting to a point with kids sport where we’re attempting to shield them from feeling disappointment and loss. Isn’t that the stuff that builds resilience and resolve? Doesn’t it foster the need to improve and learn and grow?

After my highly scientific research at the track I’m now of the opinion that we don’t need to bother with participation awards.

For three reasons:

1. The kid’s don’t want them. They’re well on to us, the jig is up mates.

2. It’s OK to fail! Don’t be afraid to let your kids feel the sting of defeat. Let their little hearts get a ding or two, help them identify what they can learn from it and then they will grow and be better next time.

3. Don’t reward them for just showing up. It makes them grow up feeling entitled. You’re not doing them any favours — want and need create drive.

All that being said, of course not all kids are going to be the best at all things at all times and that’s OK, as long as your kid finds something he or she likes doing then they’ll be all right.

By the by, old mate frog beanie totally won his 100m … Not that it mattered, but it did, but it didn’t.


David van Gend from The Australian Marriage Forum responds to questions on marriage equality

Q. What is Australian Marriage Forum's opposition to same-sex marriage based on?

The heart of our opposition to same-sex 'marriage' is that such an institution would deliberately deprive future children of either their mother or their father, and that is an injustice we should never contemplate. It hurts children if we break the bond with their mother or father, and same-sex 'marriage' is just a new government policy for breaking that bond. We never learn.

We also oppose same-sex 'marriage' because it is untrue – a legal fiction with no foundation in nature. Marriage is not a social invention to be cut to shape according to political fad; it is a social recognition of timeless natural reality: male, female, offspring. Only a terminally demented culture like the modern West would seek to repeal nature and build our society on an artificial foundation.

We also oppose same-sex 'marriage' because it is a package deal that brings with it the entire radical rainbow agenda. Once homosexual relations are normalised in the central institution of society, that gives the LGBT lobby the big stick of anti-discrimination law to normalise homosexual behaviour in the school curriculum, and to silence conscientious dissenters. Think 'Safe Schools' and Archbishop Porteous. 'Marriage equality' is not ultimately about marriage; it is about sexual radicals getting the legal clout to push their values down society's throat.

Q. Are you only opposed to the proposition of equal marriage or is the opposition to equality under the law for LGBTI in general?

Same-sex couples already have exactly the same legal status and benefits as any de facto or married couple in Australia, with no discrimination whatsoever, and we do not oppose that.

Same-sex couples already have full relationship equality with other couples, but their relationship is a different thing to the great natural project of marriage and family and they need to find a different word.

Q. What are your thoughts on homosexuality? Do you believe it is a normal expression of human sexuality?

My thoughts are that homosexuality does not define a person: he or she is a unique, transient and beloved creature like anyone else, and if a person happens to experience same-sex impulses that is merely a puzzling aspect of their emotional makeup; it is not who they are.

Homosexuality is clearly not normal in a statistical sense, since only 1.2% of the Australian population identify as homosexual while 97.5% identify as heterosexual.[i] In a clinical sense I agree with Dr Robert Spitzer, the gay-friendly psychiatrist who led the campaign to delete homosexuality from the APA's Diagnostic & Statistical Manual in 1973, who described homosexuality as "a form of irregular sexual development". It is not a mental illness, but nor is it normal, and for many years Spitzer argued against "the acceptance of the view that homosexuality is a normal variant."[ii] We should not form public policy on marriage or sex-education based on the false view that homosexuality is normal.

Q. In an Australian Marriage Forum advert it states that "The radicalisation of sex education and usurping of parental authority is (in our view) a main objective of the homosexual revolution." Can you explain this further? What do you believe is the end game for LGBTI advocates? Do you believe that legalising same sex marriage will lead to other reforms, if so what could they be?

The logic is simple: if the law says homosexual "marriage" is normal and right, schools will be obliged, by anti-discrimination law, to teach that homosexual behaviour is normal and right. There is no option. Parents today can push back against the 'Safe Schools' program - but parents will be sidelined and treated as bigots if they object to such material once homosexual 'marriage' becomes the law of the land.

Parents need to understand that the genderless agenda is a package deal: if they vote for 'marriage equality' they are voting for 'Safe Schools' on steroids and agreeing to relinquish control of their child's moral education to sexual radicals.

If they vote for 'marriage equality', based on President Obama's executive order this week to all 96,000 public schools in the US, parents are voting for their daughter to have to share change-rooms with disturbed young men who claim they are women – all on the basis of genderless 'equality'.

The end game of any revolution is to remake society in its own radical image: that is achieved largely through controlling the education of the next generation and by silencing dissenting voices. Think 'Safe Schools' and Archbishop Porteous...

Q. Some commentators have observed that the debate between progressives and conservatives on issues such as Safe Schools, Gayby Baby, marriage equality etc is part of a "culture war" between left and right. What are your thoughts on this?

Wait for my book in a few months time. There will be a chapter on cultural Marxism and its many and varied fellow travellers and their relentless attacks on marriage and family over the last century.

Q. Are you concerned that language used to describe the push for LGBTI inclusion - eg the flyers we saw recently protesting the AFL's upcoming Pride game, comparing legalising same sex marriage to the stolen generation - could be damaging for LGBTI young people and their families?

I am concerned at the emotional blackmail used by supporters of same-sex 'marriage' which claims that any and every statement of opposition to same-sex 'marriage' is "damaging for LGBTI young people and their families" - so we had better just shut up and let them be the only voice in the public square.

Examples: in the Sydney Morning Herald, Justin Koonin, convenor of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, specified our full-page ad in The Australian (10/8/15[iii]) as an example of the "bigoted opinions that we know cause harm to same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people". [iv] In an earlier report about our television ad aired during Mardi Gras in March 2015[v], the director of Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome, said our ad was "actually harming the many Australian children being raised by same-sex couples". [vi]

Do you see how this game works? If anyone makes the case for keeping marriage between man and woman, the mere act of raising such an argument is "actually harming" children. There is only one solution: say nothing. Breathing a word makes us culpable for depression and even death in young people!

That is shameless emotional blackmail designed to silence one side of a serious debate.

I am astonished at the portrayal of LGBT young people and families as so fragile that they must be protected from hearing any discussion about homosexual marriage and parenting. How condescending! And it goes with the pathetic proposition that we should overturn the foundational institution of society as a form of psychological therapy for LGBT young people and their families. There are less radical ways to help them feel loved and respected.



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, May 23, 2016

Political correctness "kills the truth"

Political correctness "kills the truth" and is hurting efforts in the West to fight ISIS, counter-terrorism expert and Israeli politician Anat Berko tells Newsmax TV.

In an interview Friday with "Hard Line" host Ed Berliner, the Israeli parliament member and chairman of its Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee declares, "if you cannot define your enemy, you have a problem.

"If you want to be politically correct and nice, it's not the way, how we fight terrorism and terrorism is everywhere right now," she said, adding being political correct "kills the truth.

"You need to look for the truth, you need to watch for the enemy, you need to find… the target and how to combat it and what you achieve every day to do so," she added. "And this is something I think is essential and I don't see that in the West we do that."

Berko says her research on terrorism has found Islamic jihadists "actually rely on our morality, that we wouldn't dare to do what they dare to do — and we are about human rights.

"But we should be about human life," she said. "You should seek for security even if sometimes it's bothering you."

In Israel, she adds, citizens have such a heightened awareness of security that they oftentimes stop terror attacks, "not the police and not the security services.

"This is something that I don't see here," she said.

She added that she does not support the suggestion from GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump that the families of terrorists must be killed.

"We cannot be like them," she said, but added: "Do whatever is necessary but without losing control.

"We need to be different from them, we cannot act in terrorism like they do. But we need to be more creative…make it in a better way, better thinking."


Calling out false abuse allegations

A new study shows how pseudo-victims’ claims differ to those of true victims

Last week, the Irish Independent reported that a former nun named Nora Wall, who was wrongfully convicted of rape and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1999, would receive over €500,000 in compensation.

Wall’s case was especially shocking, because the prosecution used a witness whom the Director of Public Prosecutions had said should not be called. Yet the prosecution went ahead and called the witness, whose fabricated tale succeeded in convicting Wall.

In one sense, Wall was fortunate. She had only served four days of her sentence, when she was released on bail. The witness admitted lying. In 2005, the Court of Criminal Appeal certified that Wall’s conviction was a miscarriage of justice, opening the way for a damages action against the state.

Wall is not the only nun to be falsely accused. Sr Domenica Ritchie is a 73-year-old Anglican nun, who won acclaim for her work in the hospice movement. She was awarded the OBE in 2006. Yet in 2013, when Savile mania was at its height, two women accused her of indecently assaulting them in Oxford in the 1970s. They did not go to the police but, as often happens, an officious third party reported their claims. Sr Domenica was arrested, but in 2014 the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there was no basis for charging her.

Why do some people make false allegations, which wreak such havoc in the lives of innocent people? Filing false vice reports, a recent Dutch study published in April this year, offers some much-needed clarity. Motives for false allegations include revenge, attention-seeking and compensation.

The authors (André De Zutter, Robert Horselenberg and Peter van Koppen) undertook a bold piece of research. They decided to commission false allegations of rape, and compare them with victims’ accounts in real cases, where men had been convicted. ‘The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool’, they say, quoting from Stephen King’s Needful Things.

They propose a new theory of fabricated rape. Their hypothesis is that pseudo-victims have to construct stories based on their own experiences and beliefs about rape. They will construct a stereotypical story that does not resemble a true rape. They will tend to rely on representations of rape in news media, which tended to be biased and often lack details. Typically, the media cover sensational and atypical rapes.

A pseudo-victim will also likely create a rapist whose conduct does not fit typical offender categories. In brief: the four typical rapist profiles are ‘opportunist, pervasively angry, sexual, and vindictive’. Typical rapist behaviours can include such things as attempts at pseudo-intimacy, or stealing from the victim. These sorts of behaviour are often absent from media reports of rape. By contrast, the proportion of rape stereotypes is typically higher in false allegations of rape.

So how do false and true allegations of rape differ? Typically the false report will provide a concise story with little details. The research used a control group (consisting of likely true allegations) and two experimental groups where participants were invited to invent a rape accusation. The study used 187 variables (specific rapist behaviours) to test the veracity of the stories it collected.

The cohort comprised 65 allegations, of which 30 were likely true and 35 likely false. Half of the false category were given three days to prepare their story, while the rest were given 30 minutes. Participants were screened for having experienced unpleasant sexual encounters: those who had were excluded from the study, as were true rape victims. The participants who were accepted were then interviewed using the same protocol as that used with an actual complainant in a Dutch police unit.

The results were both instructive and intriguing. True victims were twice as likely to give details – and give them spontaneously – than pseudo-victims. True victims described a lot of verbal interaction with their rapist, most of which fitted the rapist profiles mentioned earlier (eg, sadistic rapists were insulting). They also described a wide variety of sexual acts and positions. True victims engaged in evidence-conserving activities (such as not showering), while pseudo-victims did the opposite.

The authors conclude that four main characteristics of false allegations stand out. First, the alleged rape is always swift – almost all cases were completed in less than 15 minutes. Second, the pseudo-victim is passive, and their narrative does not include a variety of sexual acts. Third, false allegations mostly include instrumental violence, and almost no expressive violence (eg, unnecessary hurting during sex). ‘False complainants seem to be aware that it is the era of forensic evidence. Bruises and scratches without foreign DNA might put their credibility on the line.’ Finally, pseudo-victims offer a more detailed description of their attacker’s personal appearance than real ones do. For some reason, false complainants described the nose of the fabricated offender more than genuine victims.

Anything that can assist in screening out false complaints of sex crime is of great importance. No one benefits when the innocent are wrongly accused. The present problem in Britain is that police and prosecutors have been captured by the believe-the-victim mindset. Seeking out sex criminals – especially elderly ones (and sometimes even dead ones) – has become a grotesque 21st-century illustration of Parkinson’s Law – that a bureaucracy will generate enough work to keep itself ‘busy’ and to justify its continued existence.

One defence lawyer has said that 70 per cent of cases in Crown Courts now are sex cases. The CPS (65 per cent of whose workforce is female) evidently has no concept of age discrimination. It zealously prosecutes offenders ranging in age from 12 to 101. This is madness. It has nothing to do with the public interest. Britain’s prisons are overcrowded, and increasingly unsafe.

So what’s to be done? The police need to be more rigorous in their questioning of complainants. In particular, adult complainants should not be treated like tender youngsters. It is troubling to learn that in a recent case in Cirencester, which collapsed on the first day of trial, the policeman in charge was a confidant of the complainant, even interviewing her in her bedroom.

Second, the CPS must drop their biased outlook, which assumes that all complainants are victims. Its Toolkit for Prosecutors on Violence Against Women and Girls Cases Involving a Vulnerable Victim is typical of this mindset. The eight-page document uses the word ‘victim’ 39 times, and ‘victims’ nine times. Both agencies need to acquire some objectivity, instead of acting as allies of our current victim culture. And they must stop being the useful tools of those who make false allegations.


It’s not just parents of girls who should be worried about equality

I AM a besotted mother of two small men-in-training and I have a mother of an issue.

You see, as the gender debate rages and the quest for equality grows ever more political, mothers of boys are constantly being told to have higher expectations of our sons’ behaviour. To show courage and not let any sexism in our boys go unchecked.

And it’s true, we can’t have enough open discussion on respect and the value of being a gentleman. Neanderthal blokes with substandard morals and negligible levels of courtesy certainly grunt n’ leer among us, and it’s never pretty.

But the world’s somewhat lofty aspirations for our parenting makes up just part of the puzzle that underpins raising boys in the 21st Century.

This ‘call to arms’ for us to amp up our parenting feels like we’ve been charged with leading the way towards some kind of utopian, gender-balanced society of the future. Something that, in my opinion, is akin to believing little girls are sugar n’ spice and boys are a sweaty mess of snips and snails and puppy dogs tails.

This piece is in defence of all the incredible mothers and fathers of sons I know who are way ahead of the game in terms of raising beautifully mannered, emotionally intelligent gentlemen.

My husband and I are forever encouraging sensitivity and courteous behaviour in our boys and our sons are respectful, thoughtful, big-hearted little kids.

But, to what end? What world will they be allowed to be men in?

Before we leap ahead, let’s look at the current state of gender play which, to my mind, goes a little something like this ...

In advertising, men are fair game, ripe and ready to be lampooned by marketers selling the generic notion that all men are clueless fathers, inept lovers, junk food addicts and insensitive cavemen. On TV, testicles are crushed regularly by any female presenter lusting after the last word in a debate, a joke, anything.

I’ve cringed watching well-spoken, smart men be reduced to buffoon status for the sake of on-air banter generally led by women. And I was gobsmacked when a visiting feminist writer on a popular panel show justified her gender politics when she spat, “…men should just get over themselves.”

What would happen if a man had uttered those same words about women: outrage, looting, Twitter meltdown.

So this mother worries. I can raise the most remarkable, stunning young men, but I fret about the future society my sons will live, love and work in.

Will it be a world populated by self-entitled, bitching women who scorn femininity in favour of their ‘ball-breaking’ mode — stuck on repeat? Or who get their G-strings in a twist when a man compliments their hair? Will our boys be allowed to show chivalry without being chastised by some hot-headed fem who can open her own bloody door thank you …?

Will my sons be able to define and ‘live’ their masculinity without fear? In fact, what will ‘being a man’ even look like 10, 15 years from now? Sure, Prince may have rejigged the gender thing significantly throughout his life, but one man in eyeliner and a vat-load of ruffles does not lasting change make.

Oh and then there’s that pesky gender imbalance thing in the workplace. Unfair absolutely but a source of loathsome tokenism when industries scramble to concoct new charters and add more vaginas to the mix before announcing, hey Ma, look, we’re champions of diversity, too!

Will this blatant bandaid solution to obvious inequality take my sons’ career choices hostage in the future?

The fact is, I crave gender equality as much as the next homo sapien, but as a mother of boys, I am torn. So each time men are relegated to fall guy status in the name of entertainment, selling washing powder or engaging in supposedly well-intentioned political commentary, all I can think of is my sons and their future.

Unfounded fears? Mild hysteria from a loved-up Mama? Call it what you will. But inequality isn’t just harming women. Parents raising daughters aren’t the only people despairing of the future.

We shouldn’t point the finger at just the misbehaving men in football, on dancefloors or uni campuses. Women are just as adept at dickheadery as men are.

As parents all we can do is follow our instinct and impart a level of wisdom and love that won’t be tainted by the unwritten rules of society — that men and women are not equal, that men are insensitive, foolhardy oafs and women merely their prick-teasing sex kittens … puppy dogs tails not withstanding — or wagging.


Birth certificates may be next frontier in bathroom law debate

Across the country, since at least the 1970s, most states have maintained laws that allow individuals to make changes to their birth certificates. When the laws were passed, trans individuals and their interest in obtaining a birth certificate or other public documents consistent with their gender identity wasn’t really part of the conversation, said M. Dru Levasseur, a lawyer and director of Lambda Legal’s transgender rights project. Lambda is the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization focused on protecting the rights of lesbians, gay men, trans individuals and people living with HIV/AIDS.

However, in the decades since, trans individuals have also used those laws to change — advocates of the practice often say correct — the gender listed on a trans person’s birth certificate.

North Carolina’s transgender law creates tangle of lawsuits
The dueling lawsuits over North Carolina’s law on bathroom use by transgender people have landed in the hands of three federal judges appointed by Republican presidents, with both sides trying to maneuver into the most favorable courtroom possible.

Today, state policies on this issue differ a great deal. The District of Columbia, New York City and 10 states — California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Minnesota — allow individuals to do so if they can provide a notarized doctors note that they have received the treatment deemed necessary by the individual and their doctor to live their life in a way that is consistent with their gender identity.

That’s what trans activists call the "modernized standard," because it does not mandate expensive surgery or hormone treatments that every trans person does not want and some along with their doctors do not feel they need. And, that’s also the standard required by the Social Security Administration for Social Security cards, as well as US passports and birth certificates issued to Americans born abroad.

Thirty-seven states currently have a higher standard, though — requiring people to provide medical proof that they have undergone gender reassignment surgery in order to request an altered birth certificate. North Carolina is part of this latter group.

Three states — Idaho, Ohio, and Tennessee — do not allow changes to birth certificates at all. Tennessee has a state law explicitly forbidding changes to the gender section of a birth certificate. And, this month, lawmakers in Kansas held a hearing to consider a request from officials in that state’s health department that would limit changes to birth certificates to rare situations where, as the Associated Press reported, "a person or his or her parents could document that the gender was incorrectly recorded at the time of birth." Kansas health department officials say they are being asked to make changes to birth certificates that extend beyond the authority granted to them by Kansas’s 1970s-era birth certificate law.

Also this month, a trans-rights group filed suit against the state of Pennsylvania on behalf of two trans individuals who say that the state’s rules requiring people who want a birth certificate change to provide proof of surgery violates their rights under the Equal Protection Clause. The suit describes trans status as a "disability."

Both the matter in Kansas and the Pennsylvania suit get at a core dispute between those who support laws like North Carolina’s bathroom law and those who do not. Opponents of the law insist that gender cannot be truly determined by looking at the genitals of a child when born. Those who support it say that sex is fixed at birth and cannot be altered in anything more than cosmetic or surgical ways.

Amnesty International and the European Court of Human Rights have both declared any attempt to prevent transgender individuals from changing the gender listed on their official documents a violation of these individuals’ human rights. In the United States, a number of gay and trans advocacy organizations say the ability to alter one’s birth certificate is key, because it allows trans individuals to decide when and to whom they want to disclose the fact that they are trans.

Without this option, they may be forced to present, for example, a driver’s license that bears the legal name and gender identity that they now present to the world but a birth certificate that does not correspond and will raise questions anytime such a person applies for a job, a loan, or an apartment. That’s part of the reason that the US State Department’s policy change in 2010 and the Social Security Administration’s changes in 2013 were so widely applauded by trans advocacy groups. Of course, not everyone has

The actual content of that North Carolina bill and those that mimic it make the reasons that some people want to alter their birth certificates pretty plain. Again, that North Carolina law makes a crime of using a public bathroom that does not correspond with the gender listed on one’s birth certificate.



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, May 22, 2016

Another multicultural charmer in Britain

Mohammed Anwaar was jailed for 28 months at Sheffield Crown Court, South Yorkshire.  Why can't these animals be left to harass one-another in the Middle East where they belong?

A boyfriend has been jailed for forcing his girlfriend to undergo a grueling fitness regime and controlling what she ate as though she was a lab rat to make her look like Kim Kardashian.

Mohammed Anwaar told Gemma Doherty even sent her pictures of the women he thought looked better than her, which also included his 'favourite' model Graceyanne Barbosa.

Anwaar would threaten to beat her if she did not do as she was told during a reign of terror that lasted more than a year, a court heard.

Miss Doherty said: 'He treated me like an animal - almost like a guinea pig in a laboratory. He wanted me to have abs and a huge ass - a big one like Kim Kardashian.

'His favourite model was Graceyanne Barbosa and he would make me look at her fitness routines and practise them. If I didn't he would beat me.'

Anwaar was today jailed for 28 months at Sheffield Crown Court, South Yorkshire, and one of the ten charges was the new crime of controlling or coercive behaviour, brought in at the end of 2015. 

Police believe today's sentence - which carried 12 months for that charge alone - could open the floodgates for many more prosecutions.

In a victim statement read out to the court yesterday, Miss Doherty said the relationship had started out 'perfect' but everything changed in May 2015.

'I knew how quickly his mood could change over the smallest thing,' she said.

The court heard how Anwaar told mother-of-two Miss Doherty, 30, who she could see, what she was allowed to wear and what not to eat.

She told the court she was forced to eat 50 cans of Tuna a week and run on a treadmill every day to meet his demands, and he would not let her see her friends - who noticed her drastic weight loss.

Anwaar made her burn 500 calories every single day on the treadmill, despite her telling him that it was not the best way to achieve a body like the women he showed them.

She said: 'He would sit on the toilet while looking at pictures of Graceyanne and would tell me I needed to do more sit ups and do more squats.

'I told him that by losing 500 calories a day on the machine would not achieve that - but he wouldn't listen. He would force me on the treadmill until I achieved the daily target.

'One time I had stopped because he had fallen asleep. I had got to 425 calories, he woke up and because I had stopped - he made me start again.'

She added: 'He would only let me eat tuna and beetroot. I would see my friends out and they told me to eat more.  'I was wasting away when I was forced to lose all these calories every day. I felt like a zombie on autopilot and was at his beck and call - whatever and whenever.'

Mixed in with Anwaar's controlling behaviour were violent attacks, the most serious of which in August last year brought a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.

After an argument over money, Anwaar first smashed Miss Doherty's iPhone before attacking her with slaps and kicks, choking her and causing her to fall unconscious.

He assaulted her on five other occasions, often in front of her young sons. The most recent attack was on March 5 this year, again after an argument, and this was when police were called.

The court heard Anwaar slapped Miss Doherty two or three times around the back of the head, put his hands around her throat so she fell to the floor and choked her in a headlock. He continued the assault, hitting her again and calling her a dog.

Nicola Quinney, prosecuting, said Anwaar had held a knife to Miss Doherty's throat, asking her if she wanted him to kill her, and saying he wasn't scared of a life sentence.

During the attack, Miss Doherty's son Ethan, three, was hiding under the bed.

She added: 'When I told the police that I didn't mind a slap or being roughed about, the officers told me it wasn't normal.  'But I had been sucked into Mo's life of him being a King - and I thought I couldn't get out.'

Miss Doherty finally left Anwaar on March 5 this year following a nine-month tirade of abuse.

Anwaar had allegedly paid men to wait inside Gemma's workplace and make sure she was not flirting with men.

He also forced her to wear male jumpers with long-sleeved arms, not just to cover bruises but to stop other men looking at her.

She was pushed to suicide and took an overdose of 18 pills after the horrendous abuse became too much for her. She survived, but was beaten again by Anwaar for trying to take her life.

Speaking about some of the harrowing incidents from her friend's home today, she said: 'Some of the things he made me do were totally disgusting and I wouldn't like to say.

'I was forced to wear men's clothes and jumpers in summer. He made me get the bus so he could drive my car.

'I finally decided to leave and get out when he tried to force me to do something that I declined to do. He then beat me in every single room of the house.

'The next day I told him I was going to the shop with my son but instead I ran to a pay phone.

After he was jailed, she talked of her relief, saying she has 'finally been brought back into the real world', after withdrawing from the world, falling out with her mother and friends.

But Miss Doherty described how she no longer had any self confidence and was worried because Anwaar had a large family and she didn't want to go out in case she saw them.

'He ruined my daily life,' said Miss Doherty, who had to be put into a safe house after going to police for fears of reprisals from his family.

The judge took into account his previous convictions - which included several assaults causing actual bodily harm to other men - when sentencing Anwaar.


Black Leaders Trash Obama's Transgender Agenda

Black Americans are sick and tired of being used as a tool to advance the radical gay and transgender agenda, and they have a message for President Obama: knock it off!

Conservative black leaders have criticized the Obama administration's comparison of North Carolina's transgender law to Jim Crow edicts, saying it trivializes the importance of the civil rights movement, Christian Post Politics reports.

When the Justice Department last week filed a lawsuit against North Carolina for its law requiring people to use bathrooms in government buildings that match their birth sex, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said: "This is not the first time that we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation. We saw it in the Jim Crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation.

The comparisons were too much for some to take. Project 21, a nationwide group of black conservative leaders, issued a statement saying they disagreed with opposition to the North Carolina law itself, but were even more outraged by the analogy.

Project 21 member Nadra Enzi said that "as a Black Southern man who grew up fighting what I call 'Jim Crow-lite' in the 1970s-1980s, in Savannah, Georgia… I find the ridiculous transgender/civil rights movement comparison insulting and disrespectful.

"Middle-and upper-income whites in search of artificial oppressed person status can do so without using our history to prop up delusional defenses.

Another member, Derryck Green, said: "Attaching this insanity to the legacy of civil rights… trivializes everything the brave men and women experienced and sacrificed in the pursuit of social, economic and legal equality…", while Christopher Arps added that "Civil rights champions were not spat upon, beaten with police batons and sometimes murdered for the right of men to go to the same restroom with little girls.


Our Constitutional Right to Privacy Is Missing From Bathroom Debate

It should be common sense that every person is entitled to privacy when using the restroom, changing, or showering, but unfortunately, some have eliminated common sense from the discussion.

What else can explain the decision by dozens of school districts across the country, retailing giant Target, and even the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to voluntarily adopt and promote policies that strip away privacy for everyone, allowing men into women’s restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa?

Why does privacy even matter? Sure, our courts have recognized that it’s a constitutionally protected right. And our society has long structured itself around the need to allow privacy for the sexes in intimate settings. But why?

When discussing freedom of speech, one of our most precious rights, the Supreme Court has often emphasized that the right is most important for those whose speech is most vulnerable to censorship.

The majority’s views aren’t the ones that need protection. The minority’s views, the ones that may subject the speaker to abuse, are the ones that the First Amendment was designed to protect.

The same is true of the right to privacy. So who are the vulnerable ones in our society most in need of privacy?

Stephanie has several children that came to her through a foster program. Her children are beautiful, vibrant, and overflowing with joy.

If you met them on the street, you would never suspect that two of her daughters had suffered severe molestation and rape by men that they trusted. For these girls, feeling safe and secure in private settings—such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and locker rooms—is necessary to heal. And to feel safe, these girls need to know that their private spaces will not be invaded by a male.

You would think that the school these girls attend would be especially protective of them. You would be wrong.

The school voluntarily adopted a policy that would allow boys into the girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, and even hotel rooms on school trips. The school callously ignored Stephanie’s explanation that the presence of a boy in these private settings would be a trigger event for her daughters, causing severe psychological harm and setting back the progress they had made.

Stephanie was told, “It isn’t a big deal.”

Another mother, Verity, has a daughter with Down syndrome. As parents of these precious souls will tell you, their children are the best thing that has ever happened to them. But parenthood comes with challenges.

Verity wants her daughter to have independence and to be able to take care of herself. Her daughter, unfortunately, doesn’t always know how to handle every situation she encounters.

Verity naturally worries that, if her daughter is forced to share a restroom or locker room with a male, her daughter could be easily taken advantage of.

Separate facilities for boys and girls add an extra layer of protection for Verity’s daughter by preventing those with ill motives from taking advantage of open access to enter into women’s restrooms unquestioned.

There are millions of stories like Stephanie’s and Verity’s, millions of people for whom privacy is especially important in order to heal and to feel safe. By protecting privacy for everyone, we protect privacy for the most vulnerable among us.

So before we sacrifice this constitutionally protected right at the altar of gender identity politics, let us consider the consequences, especially when options exist to accommodate everyone without violating anyone’s privacy.

Let us consider the victims of sexual abuse, those with mental and physical challenges, and the young girls who simply do not want to be forced to change next to a boy.

For them, privacy is not a luxury. It is a necessity.


Punching down

The elite are using new laws to express their contempt for  ordinary people

On January 20, a federal appeals court heard arguments in the highly publicized case of Kimberly Jean “Kim” Davis, county clerk of Rowan County (population 23,000) in mountainous northeastern Kentucky. There were many legal issues at stake—discrimination, sexual equality, religious liberty—but the whole affair had another component, rarely noted in popular accounts: Society’s winners, those who believe themselves on the right side of progress and have the success to prove it, think little of humiliating and attempting to ruin those who are less fortunate and cling to old beliefs.

Davis, age fifty, served five days in jail in September 2015 over her refusal on grounds of her Christian conscience to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. That decision, released on June 26, 2015, found a fundamental right to marry that the high court’s five-justice majority said extended to same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples under the Constitution’s due process and equal protection clauses.

Davis’s lawyers at Liberty Counsel proceeded with their appeal of Bunning’s injunction, arguing that while Obergefell v. Hodges might have established a fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry that states were bound to recognize, it did not establish a fundamental right to have a marriage license issued by a particular person in a particular county. Furthermore, the lawyers argued, Kentucky’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (enacted in 2013 and modeled after a similar 1993 federal law) required the state of Kentucky to accommodate Davis’s sincerely held religious beliefs—which, her lawyers argued, could have been easily accomplished if Beshear had simply allowed Davis to leave her signature off the same-sex licenses to begin with. Indeed, Beshear left office while the appeal was pending (Kentucky law forbids a governor from serving more than two terms), and his newly elected successor, Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed an executive order on December 22, 2015, that removed county clerks’ names from marriage licenses.

You might think that Bevin’s stroke of the pen—honoring the Christian faith of Davis and two other Kentucky county clerks who had taken similar ­stances (neither was subjected to litigation), while allowing same-sex couples to proceed to their wedding ceremonies—would have ended the matter in an amicable compromise. It did not. The ACLU continued to press forward against Davis, contending that a Kentucky statute required that Davis’s signature and title appear on the licenses, and it was a statute that could not be nullified by a governor’s executive order. This was certainly a valid legal point, except that the ACLU’s way of making it was to request Bunning to issue a second contempt order that would send Davis back to jail for failing to comply with his original September 3 injunction. The ACLU made much of the altered license form that Davis had authorized (it had the word “clerk” systematically crossed out) and was still seeking to have her re-incarcerated even as the Kentucky Senate was moving along a bill in early 2016 that would amend Kentucky law along the lines of Bevin’s executive order (and thus render the ACLU’s argument moot), and as the Sixth Circuit was reading briefs and hearing arguments in Davis’s appeal.

In the end, Bunning did not give the ACLU what it wanted on this second contempt go-around. After a hearing on February 9, 2016, he ruled that Davis had not in fact interfered with her office’s issuance of marriage licenses and that there was “every reason to believe” that the altered licenses her office had issued would “be recognized as valid under Kentucky law.” An ACLU spokesman said the organization has no immediate plans to contest Bunning’s ruling, although ACLU staff attorney Ria Tabacco Mar issued a statement complaining that it was “inappropriate for any government official to force changes to her job duties—and those of every other person with that job throughout the state—based on personal religious beliefs.”

At the heart of the autumn 2015 brouhaha over Miller v. Davis was that yawning class gap between the plaintiffs with their advanced degrees, university connections, and comfortable salaries, and the non-college-educated Davis, with her pioneer-woman skirts, trailer-trash backstory, and practice of throwing her arms up in public prayer in an enthusiastic fashion that would be deemed mortifying by most of today’s suburbanized and hypo-expressive mainline Protestants and Catholics. The media alternated between scoffing at Davis as a “bigot” and “homophobe” and explaining in condescending detail the tenets of her Apostolic Pentecostal denomination, with its immersion baptism and its requirement that members exhibit external signs of “holiness”—hence the long dresses and uncut hair for women. Clair Jones, a writer for the Huffington Post who had grown up in Morehead and attended Morehead State, hastened to reassure her readers that she and her friends were nothing like that “small-town court clerk” Kim Davis: “Morehead is also home to a thriving theatre community, amazing bluegrass musicians, talented local artists, and tons of absolutely brilliant, kind people who live there not for religious reasons, but for their profound connection to the land and Appalachian culture.” Although not, apparently, their connection to the aspect of “Appalachian culture” that has made Evangelical Christianity Rowan County’s predominant faith.

This is not the only instance of academic aggression against working-class religious people. The leitmotif is also part of the long-running litigation involving Barronelle Stutzman, a seventy-year-old florist in Richland, Washington, who was sued over her refusal, on grounds of the “relationship with Jesus” that her Southern Baptist faith afforded her, to provide custom floral arrangements for the wedding of a gay couple, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, in 2013. Washington had legalized same-sex marriage in 2012.

There is a certain similarity to the divergent Kim Davis demographics: Plaintiff Freed is vice president for instruction at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington, and plaintiff Ingersoll, according to his LinkedIn profile, manages a Goodwill Industries store in Seattle. According to the Washington State Employee Salary Database, Freed earned $118,830 at Columbia Basin College in 2012, and his salary for 2013 was $200,856 (he moved to Whatcom CC in summer 2013). Defendant Stutzman is the sole owner of the small flower shop that her mother turned over to her when she retired. Ingersoll and Freed had been customers for years at Stutzman’s Arlene’s Flowers, and she knew all about their relationship.

But when she balked at active participation in a marriage ceremony that her religious beliefs deemed invalid (she gave the couple the names of several other florists) and Ingersoll posted his dissatisfaction with her stance on his Facebook page, both the ACLU, representing Ingersoll and Freed, and the Washington state attorney general’s office filed lawsuits against her under state civil-rights laws. In 2015 a judge ordered Stutzman to pay a $1,000 fine and issued a permanent injunction ordering her to service same-sex weddings in the future or risk similar fines. The judge also ruled that Stutzman would be personally liable to Ingersoll and Freed for damages and attorney’s fees—an amount that hasn’t been set yet but that could potentially cost Stutzman her business, her home, and her retirement savings. Those rulings are currently on appeal with the Washington Supreme Court. Meanwhile, according to the ACLU, Ingersoll and Freed went through with their wedding ceremony, perhaps indicating that they could live without Stutzman’s custom floral arrangements after all.

There has been a distinct theme of class warfare in a significant number of the lawsuits that have been brought seeking to compel operators of small businesses peripheral to the wedding industry—florists, bakers, photographers, and proprietors of picturesque wedding venues—to offer their services in same-sex ceremonies that their sincerely held Christian beliefs deem invalid. The same-sex couples who pursue the litigation are often highly educated professionals, the ACLU is ubiquitously at hand to offer them free legal representation, and the relief sought in court is typically far broader than simply making plaintiffs claiming injury whole by providing them a one-off service. It typically involves a blanket court order requiring the Christian florist or baker or photographer or innkeeper to ­provide those services in perpetuity to every same-sex couple that darkens his doors or face financially ruinous consequences. In a few cases, such as Stutzman’s, the defendant faces a court order plus financial ruin, because many progressive judges lend sympathetic ears to same-sex plaintiffs’ claims of humiliation and severe emotional harm. Typically as well, militant gay-rights sympathizers—and there are apparently plenty of them—flood social media and review sites such as Yelp with one-star comments about wilted flowers and cupcakes that gave them food poisoning, all in obvious efforts to put those holdout Christians out of business.

One of the most publicized of the lawsuits involves Jack Phillips, prop­rietor of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, a sprawling and, until ­recently, rural suburb of Denver. Somewhat like Kim Davis, Phillips had led an out-of-control life during his twenties that included heavy drinking and two out-of-wedlock children before he “found Christ,” as he told a reporter. He cited his Christian belief that marriage is between a man and a woman as the basis for his refusal in July 2012 to make a rainbow cake for the reception of a gay couple, Charles W. Craig and David J. Mullins, who had traveled to Provincetown, Massachusetts, for a wedding ceremony because same-sex marriage was then illegal in Colorado. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission and, later, a state appellate court found that Phillips had violated a state anti-discrimination law, and the case is now pending before the Colorado Supreme Court. A law firm representing Craig and Mullins in tandem with the ACLU did not respond to email and phone requests for occupational information about its clients, but an online search revealed that two men in their thirties with the exact same names share a house in a Denver neighborhood where sales prices of single-family homes are in the half-million-dollar range. And Craig and Mullins got their rainbow cake fairly quickly from one of the dozens of gay-friendly bakers who swamped them with offers after the story broke. As for Phillips, his shop stopped making wedding cakes altogether, a move that he says has cost him 40 percent of his business revenues.

Another highly publicized wedding cake case involves Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, Oregon. They were the subject of complaints to two separate Oregon state agencies after they declined to provide a cake for the 2013 commitment ceremony of lesbians Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman (the two now share the hyphenated surname Bowman-Cryer). An administrative law judge found that the Kleins had violated a 2008 Oregon law forbidding discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation. The Kleins were also ordered to pay a $135,000 fine for causing “emotional distress” to the Bowman-Cryers, a ruling that is now on appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court. Rachel Bowman-Cryer leads a Portlandia-like lifestyle as a “musician and poet” (so reports Willamette Week), and you can listen to some of her songs on her MySpace page. By contrast, the Kleins, who have five children, were obliged to close their storefront operation and move the bakery to their home.

The phrase “punching down” comes to mind. We have an array of court cases in which the arty, the academically inclined, and the nicely fixed avail themselves of free legal services from the ACLU and arrange themselves in a thick phalanx—their ranks bolstered by an army of liberal wits, journalists, professors, media nabobs, and amateur social-justice warriors on Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp—to crush small-time entrepreneurs and local officials in flyover states who profess brands of Christianity that the elites find not just laughable but dangerously retrograde. And those retrograde Christians who can’t keep up with rapidly changing elite social dicta almost always lose.

The Kim Davis case has happened to be the most widely covered of those cases, partly because it came in the immediate wake of Obergefell and has functioned as a test of the full scope of that sweeping Supreme Court ruling, and partly because the class gap between Davis and her opponents in court has been so glaringly dramatic. Liberal intellectuals and pundits pride themselves on their identification with a beleaguered underclass—but when it comes to a clash between a genuine beleaguered underclass and fashionable ideology, it seems that liberals will choose the ideology every time.



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.

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