Sunday, May 26, 2019

The great city

From time to time in the history of the world, one city emerges which is the intellectual and cultural centre of its world.  New Yorkers tend to think NYC is but that is disputable. Going back in time, one thinks of Babylon at the height of Mesopotamian civilization,  Athens, Ancient Rome and then Byzantium. Byzantium  kept learning alive throughout most of the "dark" ages.  It lasted 1,000 years. But what comes next?

For another thousand years (c. 800 AD to 1800 AD) the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was at the centre of European affairs.  As wits say, however, it was neither Holy nor Roman nor German. 

Its emperors were however for a long time crowned by the Pope; it did include a lot of Germans and had considerable but varying political power. For most of the time however it was a loose confederation rather than a unitary state.

For most of that empire's existence, Vienna (Wien in German) was influential and that influence not only continued but grew after the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire by the Emperor of Austria. 

As Wikipedia says: "Austria played a central role in European History from the late 18th to the early 20th century." And Vienna was the capital of Austria. And the Austrian empire, later the Austro/Hungarian empire, was one of the major states of Europe.

And Austria was where the fate of post-Napoleonic Europe was decided.  In Congress of Vienna of 1814 the potentates of Europe arrived in Vienna and decided what to do about Napoleon's conquests after he had finally been defeated.  France lost everything except the Hexagon and the great powers of the day sliced up everything else between them.  Austria gained ownership of Venice and much of northern Italy. That the congress took place in Vienna showed how central to Europe Vienna had become by that time

For my purposes I will primarily be discussing the period from 1814 to 1914

Throughout the 19th century and earlier, people of talent began to move to Vienna, with Beethoven being perhaps the greatest of those. He moved to Vienna at the very beginning of that period, in 1791. And even before Beethoven arrived Vienna was probably already the headquarters of music, with court composer F.J. Haydn being well-known, among many others. And the prolific Franz Schubert and many others in Vienna followed on after him.

Rome was not built in a day nor was Vienna but gradually, Vienna emerged from a long history as the great city, with its influence extending far and wide in most fields of human endeavour.  Eventually, at its very height of eminence it started a world war (WWI), which ended most of its influence. 

During the 19th century and early 20th century, however, Viennese lived at the heart of an enormously rich civilization.  Vienna before WWI was not only a great and rich imperial capital with many nations under its rule but it was also at the cutting edge culturally and intellectually. It was advanced in most things and first in some.

It was, for instance, the time and place of the immensely influential Sigmund Freud, by far the leading psychologist of the time, who still has many followers today. He moved to Vienna as a young man in the 1870s. He was a great observer and I  quote him occasionally still. And Freud inspired rivals such as Carl Jung in Switzerland and Alfred Adler in Vienna who are also still influential. Vienna was a ferment of psychological thought.

And in economics the luminaries of the prewar Austrian school (Carl Menger; Eugen Böhm Ritter von Bawerk etc.) are honoured to this day -- though not among Leftists.  Eugen Böhm even had charge of the economics portfolio of the Austrian government for a time, during which Austria flourished.

And Vienna saw the birth of much in modern analytic philosophy. The immensely influential Vienna Circle was mainly a  phenomenon of the 1920s and '30s but meetings on philosophy of science and epistemology began in Vienna as early as 1907, promoted by Frank, Hahn and Neurath, who later arranged to bring Moritz Schlick to Vienna, around whom the Vienna Circle formed

In architecture and the decorative arts there was the Jugendstil movement, a German term for the well-known "Art Nouveau".

In literature there was the prolific Johann Nestroy, sometimes called the Austrian Shakespeare.  He wrote in a lighthearted tone that clearly set the scene for the emergence of operetta late in the 19th century.

And, musically, Vienna started out on top -- with the enormous heritage of the great Austrian composers -- Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert etc -- so any new compositions had a lot to live up to.  And the wonder is that some late 19th century composers stood out even in that environment -- with Strauss II being merely the best known of many.  The great Viennese waltzes come from that period

And there were vast numbers (some say 1,000) of innovative Viennese artists too, largely led by Klimt in particular.  There is a long list of them here.  Klee and Schiele are also well-known.

So the Viennese had it all. And what you want when you have it all is entertainment.  And to be entertaining to such an indulged and sophisticated audience you had to be pretty good.  And what emerged on the music scene at that time was operetta. So I see the lightness and frivolity of operetta not as trivial but as a major cultural achievement.

And operetta was one cultural element that even survived WWI for a time. His songs were so popular in Germany generally that Adolf Hitler offered to make Kalman, a prominent operetta composer, an Honorary Aryan.  Kalman was Jewish.  He wisely emigrated to America instead.

So let's look for a moment at a famous operetta that is all about Vienna -- Wiener Blut.  Its theme song tells us what the Viennese spirit at that time was all about. "Voller Kraft, Voller Glut! ... Was die Stadt Schönes hat, In dir ruht! Wiener Blut, Heisse Flut. (Roughly: "unique, full of fire, full of power, hot and flowing").  The idea is that the great city is embodied in its people. It basically means "high-spirited" -- bright and lively -- perhaps "gay" in the old meaning of that term

It was a very rich and sophisticated society so it was a great privilege to be there at that time. It has no obvious successors.

My interest above is in the human environment of prewar Vienna so I have so far said nothing about the politics of the period.  For the most part, Austria was very badly governed.  Hitler used to sit in the public gallery of the Reichsrat of the parliament and wonder at the chaos that prevailed there. In spite of interminable and loud debate nothing seemed to get done. It was the foundation of his belief in the Fuehrerprinzip -- that democracy was no good and a strong leader was needed to get things done

My libertarian view is that it is a great advantage to a society if the politicians are so disunited that they cannot put any of their schemes into action. Vienna certainly flourished in such an environment. And there are more recent examples of advantageous government immobility.  See here

Current American Congressional politics also seem to be stalemated at the moment, which leaves Mr Trump as the sole mover and shaker, which he is very good at -- JR

We Don't Have a Problem with White Supremacy. We Have a Problem with Leftist Supremacy

The left is obsessed with white supremacists the way that children are obsessed with Santa Claus, and for more or less the same reasons.

You see, if they manage to convince people that the alternative to their own crazy, race-obsessed, power-centralizing, socialist policies is white supremacy, then they get everything they ever wanted, plus a pony.

In an America as mixed as we are, the idea that white supremacists are the only ones who will do well is scary to most people. Beyond that, it is the most antithetical thing to American beliefs you can imagine. The nation that banned nobility of birth, and which fought a war to free slaves would never codify a regime where your genetics at birth determines what kind of happiness you can even think of pursuing.  In America, equality under the law has always been the goal, even when honored in the breach.

Fortunately, we don't have any need to worry about real white supremacy. Just like you don't have to worry that Santa Claus is watching you, or has put a spy bug in your bedroom.

This is the problem the left has.  And their response to it is to launch a brainwashing/gaslighting campaign to find white supremacy where there is none.

Also, unfortunately, as with all these things the left engages in, it causes more harm than... well, than even I can imagine, and I write some pretty dystopian stuff.

So, just like their attempt to define "patriarchy" has led them to make it impossible for business women to have closed-door meetings with male bosses or mentors, their definition of white supremacy is making it impossible for any minorities or, for that matter, under-privileged white people to improve themselves or create a better future for their descendants.

For instance, according to the New York Post, this is what passes for fighting white supremacy in NYC schools: Richard Carranza held ‘white-supremacy culture’ training for school admins.

We'll pass over the point that defensiveness is supposed to be a matter of white supremacy, okay?  Apparently, when you're being accused of horrible stuff, you're not supposed to be defensive. Yeah. That's interesting.

Instead, let's consider that individualism is now supposed to be white supremacy, and if you like working on your own, or dislike group work (remember group work from school? Almost anyone competent hated it) you're supposedly a white supremacist.

Let's consider instead stuff like perfectionism -- you know, trying to make things as perfect as possible and calling out people on their f*ck ups. Or a sense of urgency -- or as we call it around here, having your work done on time. Or what they call "worship of the written word," which apparently is the ability to express yourself in writing. Or objectivity, which they define as BELIEVING THERE'S AN ULTIMATE TRUTH.

Supposedly all of these things -- things that are absolutely required for any kind of workplace to get any kind of, you know, work done -- are toxic whiteness and signs of white supremacy.

So, the left, in teaching people to avoid white supremacy, assumes that minorities cannot express themselves in writing, can't get things done on time, and won't try to make the work as good as possible.

In other words, the left are in fact the white supremacists who believe any virtue that contributes to civilization must be white. The fact that they then want to suppress it -- in everyone but themselves -- is probably part of their plan to concentrate power.

Also, it's the reason why every institution taken over by leftists falls apart and dies.

And they have not the slightest bit of care for the people -- minorities and non-minorities -- this nonsense hurts.  Because in their minds, the more other people are hampered, the more power they get in their grubby little hands.

We don't have a problem with white supremacy. We have a problem with Leftist Supremacy.


The Left's Battle Against 'Inequality' Leaves Out One Critical Factor

By Larry Elder, who is black

In his book Discrimination and Disparities, economist Thomas Sowell notes that a disproportionate percentage of first-born siblings become National Merit scholars compared to siblings born later, presumably because the first-born starts life with no sibling competition for parental attention. This, says Sowell, illustrates the absurdities of expecting equal results when equal results do not even occur within the same family among siblings raised under the same roof with the same parents.

When I was growing up in South Central Los Angeles, one of my closest friends was "Paul." We met in the second grade and attended the same elementary school, middle school and high school. Not only did we take many of the same courses with the same teachers, our houses were identical.

When I first invited Paul to my home, about a half-mile from his, he was astonished. "Whoever built your house," he said, "built mine, too." He was right. When I visited his house, I found that the only difference was that my house had one tiny additional window that his did not. Same schools. Same teachers. Same neighborhood. Same house design.

Paul was a gifted athlete. Name the sport, he excelled. He was a starting pitcher for the baseball team, the starting shooting guard for the basketball team and the starting quarterback for the football team. He picked up a tennis racquet, hit balls against a backboard for a few weeks and then made the tennis team.

His parents were divorced, making Paul was one of the few kids in the neighborhood at that time to come from what my parents called a "broken home." Paul saw his dad infrequently. He rarely spoke about him. When he did, it was not positive.

Paul had a problem with anger. For the smallest offense, he could tell someone off, friend or foe, sometimes even his basketball coach. One time, after Paul came late to practice again, his basketball coach threatened to bench him the following game. Paul barked back, "Either I play or we lose." He played. They won.

When the coaches from major colleges came to see Paul play basketball, his best sport, they were impressed. But then they asked the high school coach about Paul's character, whether he was "coachable." Paul's coach, concerned about maintaining his reputation with college coaches, told the truth. Paul, he said, was a "coach killer." Bye-bye, Notre Dame. Bye-bye, Duke. Bye-bye, UCLA.

Paul ended up going to a small local college, not known for basketball. Did he double down, get better in hopes of transferring to a powerhouse basketball school? Hardly. Paul sulked, blamed racism and spent his first year of college playing basketball halfheartedly -- that is, when he wasn't smoking dope and opining on "the oppression of the black man in America."

I went off to college in the East. When I returned during the summer, I visited Paul, who by then had changed his name to "Jamal" to distance himself from the "slave" religion of Christianity. When I informed him that Arab slavers took more blacks out of Africa and transported them to the Middle East and to South America than Europeans slavers took out of Africa and transported to North America, he told me to stop reading "the white man's history." He insisted "racism" had wrecked his basketball career, a career he argued that, but for the racism he encountered, was destined for the NBA. "Paul," I said, "you and I lived in the same neighborhood, in houses designed by the same builder, went to the same schools, took the same classes, had the same teachers. Why didn't 'racism' stop me?"

When I was in law school in Michigan, I visited my aunt who lived in a suburb of Detroit. During one visit, a friend of hers stopped by. He was a black man, about 40 years old. He sat near my aunt and me as we discussed my law school classes. Suddenly, the man began to cry. I could not imagine what I'd said that could've caused such a reaction. "Sorry," I said, "did I say something to offend you?" He gathered himself. "No," he said. "I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer. But I got sidetracked with 'jackassery,' hung around with a bunch of knuckleheads and just wasted my time."

It doesn't have to be like this. My father always told my brothers and me the following: "Hard work wins." "You get out of life what you put into it." "You cannot control the outcome, but you are 100% in control of the effort." And "before you complain about what somebody did to you, go to the nearest mirror and say to yourself, 'What could I have done to change the outcome?'"

And finally, my dad said: "No matter how good you are, bad things will happen. How you respond to those bad things will tell your mother and me whether or not we raised a man."


Australia: Worker wins unfair dismissal case after refusing to hand over biometric data

Privacy rights cited

Most of us don’t think twice about using our fingerprints — but Jeremy Lee isn’t most people.

The Queensland sawmill worker was so passionate about protecting his biometric data he refused to accept a new security process which used employee’s fingerprints to sign on and off at his company, Superior Wood.

He was sacked for his stance last February, after being given a series of verbal and written warnings.

Mr Lee suggested a compromise which would allow him to keep his job, but also hold onto the ownership of his biometric data, which was refused.

The Queensland man ended up losing an unfair dismissal case when it was first heard by the Fair Work Commission last year, with a commissioner at the time ruling Superior Wood’s policy was “not unjust or unreasonable” because it improved workplace safety, the efficiency of the payroll system and that the company “had the right to manage its affairs”.

But during the entire battle, Mr Lee argued the policy was a breach of the Privacy Act, claiming he owned his own biometric data, which he considered to be “sensitive personal information”.

He said his workplace was not entitled to that personal information, and that refusing to follow the policy was not a valid reason for his dismissal.

Mr Lee decided to appeal the decision — and represent himself.

And on May 1, the commission eventually ruled in his favour, finding he had been unfairly dismissed.

Jeremy Lee represented himself — and won. Picture: iStock
Jeremy Lee represented himself — and won. Picture: iStockSource:istock

In documents seen by, the commission ruled Superior Wood “did not have a valid reason for the dismissal which related to Mr Lee’s capacity or conduct”.

“ … on balance we find that Mr Lee’s dismissal was unjust. It was unjust because Mr Lee was not guilty of the conduct alleged,” the documents state.

“As the direction was unlawful he was entitled to refuse to follow it. Mr Lee was unfairly dismissed.”

As for what happens next, the case is being referred to Commissioner Simpson to decide “what remedy, if any, should be ordered”.

But Mr Lee told RN’s The Law Report he was already happy with the win, after claiming his company had “tried to coerce” him into something he wasn’t comfortable with.

He said he did not have a police record or any other reason to fear using his fingerprint, but that he was simply concerned about the misuse of his personal data.

“If someone else has control of my biometric data they can use it for their own purposes — purposes that benefit them, not me. That is a misuse,” he told the ABC.

“My objection was that I own it. You cannot take it. If someone wants to get it or take it they have to get my consent.”

The case is the first unfair dismissal decision of its kind in this country, and one that’s likely to pop up again in future.

“It shows that employment law is at a crossroads with technology, and these kinds of issues are going to continue to come up as technology rapidly advances,” Shine Lawyers’ employment law expert Will Barsby told

“We are in an era where we are paying for a coffee with a mobile phone and we open our phone using our fingerprint, so it stands to reason we will see the same kind of tech advances in workplaces soon.

“Mr Lee’s concerns are genuine as we have seen so many hacks where personal data was misused.”

But Mr Barsby said the case did not actually set a legal precedent, as it was based around whether it was unreasonable to dismiss the worker for not complying with the request for his fingerprint.

“The case doesn’t change the general rule that an employer can dismiss an employee for not complying with a reasonable and lawful direction,” he said.

“Dismissal cases generally fall on their own facts, in this case the employer was not able to demonstrate compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles. There had been no process under the requirements to obtain an employee’s consent.”



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

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

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


Friday, May 24, 2019

How Accurate Is the Myers-Briggs Personality Test? (MBTI)

I have not bothered to keep the reference but I saw some internal reliablity statistics (alpha) for the various MBTI scales once.  They were deplorably low, around .3 -- showing that questions which were all supposed to be tapping the same trait mostly did not correlate at all.  They were all tapping different things.  That is the kiss of death for the scale concerned

There are two types of people in the world: those who believe in the Myers-Briggs personality test and those who don't.

Except that's not true. Grouping people into two, three or 16 categories, which is the aim of a lot of personality tests, has never quite worked. And even in the case of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is simultaneously the most popular personality test in the world and the most frequently debunked, non-experts and psychologists alike take varying positions about the value of the tool.

About 1.5 million people take the test online each year, and more than 88% of Fortune 500 companies, as well as hundreds of universities, use it in hiring and training, according to The Myers Briggs Company, a California-based firm that administers the MBTI. Even fictional characters, from Disney princesses, to Harry Potter and Darth Vader have been assigned an MBTI type. [Which Personality Types Are Most Likely to Be Happy?]

Despite the popularity of the test, many psychologists criticize it — hardly a few months go by without a harsh take-down of the MBTI in the media, where a psychologist will say that the Myers-Brigg is unscientific, meaningless or bogus. But there are others who take a milder view of the test. "Many personality psychologists consider the MBTI to be a somewhat valid measure of some important personality characteristics but one that has some important limitations," said Michael Ashton, professor of psychology at Brock University in Ontario.

What is the MBTI?

The MBTI was invented in 1942 by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. Cook, always a keen observer of people and their differences, was inspired by the work of psychologist Carl Jung and his theories; for example, the concepts of introversion and extroversion. The mother and daughter devoted their lives to developing the type indicator, hoping to help people understand their tendencies and choose appropriate jobs. The test uses 93 questions to assess the following traits:

Introvert (I) versus Extrovert (E)
Intuitive (N) versus Sensory (S)
Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F)
Judging (J) versus Perceiving (P)

Based on the combination of traits people fall into, the test ultimately assigns them one of the 16 labels, such as INTJ, ENFP, and so on.

Why do psychologists doubt it?

Psychologists' main problem with the MBTI is the science behind it, or lack thereof. In 1991, a National Academy of Sciences committee reviewed data from MBTI research and noted "the troublesome discrepancy between research results (a lack of proven worth) and popularity."

The MBTI was born of ideas proposed before psychology was an empirical science; those ideas were not tested before the tool became a commercial product. But modern psychologists demand that a personality test pass certain criteria to be trusted. "In social science, we use four standards: Are the categories reliable, valid, independent and comprehensive?" Adam Grant, University of Pennsylvania professor of psychology, wrote on LinkedIn. "For the MBTI, the evidence says not very, no, no, and not really."

Some research suggests the MBTI is unreliable because the same person can get different results when retaking the test. Other studies have questioned the validity of the MBTI, which is the ability of the test to accurately link the "types" to outcomes in the real world — for example, how well people classified as a certain type will perform in a given job. [Why Do People Ghost?]

The Myers-Briggs Company says the studies discrediting the MBTI are old, but their results are still being perpetuated in the media. Since those early criticisms, the company says it has done its own research to refine the test and assess its validity. "When you look at validity of the instrument [the MTBI], it is just as valid as any other personality assessment," Suresh Balasubramanian, the company's general manager, told USA Today.

Some of the test's limitations, however, are inherent in its conceptual design. One limitation is the MBTI's black-and-white categories: You are either an extrovert or introvert, a judger or a feeler. "This is a shortcoming, because people don't fall neatly into two categories on any personality dimension; instead, people have many different degrees of the dimension," Ashton told Live Science. And, in fact, most people are close to the average, and relatively few people are at either extreme. By placing people into tidy boxes, we are separating people who are in reality more similar to each other than they are different.

The MBTI may be missing even more nuances by assessing only four aspects of personality differences. "Several decades ago, personality researchers had determined that there were at least five major personality dimensions, and more recent evidence has shown that there are six," Ashton said. "One of those dimensions involves how honest and humble versus deceitful and conceited someone is, and the other dimension involves how patient and agreeable versus quick-tempered and argumentative someone is."

Not entirely useless

Some of the shortcomings of the MBTI stem from the complex, messy nature of human personality. Neat categories of MBTI make personality look clearer and more stable than it really is, according to David Pincus, a professor of psychology at Chapman University in California. Psychologists prefer other tools, namely the Big Five, which assesses personality based on where an individual lies on the spectrums of five traits: agreeableness; conscientiousness; extraversion; openness to experience; and neuroticism. The Big Five model has a better record of scientific validation than the MBTI, experts say.

Still, the MBTI is not entirely useless.

People are drawn to tests like MBTI out of a desire to understand themselves and others. "The four dimensions from which the MBTI types are derived are all useful ones for describing people's personalities," Ashton said.

And even when the MBTI's results don't quite match your intuition about yourself or are just wrong, they can still provide insight. Many people who've taken the MBTI have noticed this effect. As a former employee at Bridgewater Associates (a hedge fund almost as famous for having employees take personality tests as it is for its $120 billion in assets) wrote in Quartz, the MBTI labels never seemed to fully describe a person. Instead, the real value of the test seemed to be in the push "to reconcile the gaps between what the test results tell us, and what we know to be true about ourselves."

In this sense, the MBTI can serve as a starting point for self-exploration by giving people a tool and a language to reflect on themselves and others. The test is "a portal to an elaborate practice of talking and thinking about who you are," Merve Emre, an associate professor of English at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, wrote in "The Personality Brokers," a review of the MBTI's history.

Ultimately, it's not the MBTI label, but the power of introspection that drives the insights and sometimes fuels the motivation to take steps to change one's condition.


Somali Teen Mob Attack With Hammers: Targets ‘anyone who looked like they had money or were white’

A mob of more than a half-dozen Somali teens terrorized riders of a Minneapolis Metro train with pipes, and possibly hammers, resulting in two now facing criminal charges.

University of Minnesota Police were dispatched to the East Bank light rail platform where a mob of Somali juveniles were reportedly terrorizing riders with hammers and other weapons shortly before 10 p.m. on Friday, according to the UMN Police report.

The American Mirror Reports:

The Facebook page 2nd Precinct Minneapolis Crime Watch reported that university police requested assistance from Minneapolis police and Metro Transit police for “a group of 8-10 males chasing people with hammers” and reported injuries.

Minneapolis Scanner, another local Facebook crime page, also confirmed “multiple calls” regarding “10-12 Somali teen males armed with hammers chasing people,” from dispatch audio, Alpha News reports.

An alleged witness, Jay Hall, posted about the experience on the Minneapolis Crime Watch Page.

“ … It was a group of Somali young males with hammers and bars,” he wrote. “They were attacking anyone who looked like they had money or were white. I didn’t stick around all that long I’m not dumb and being pretty much unarmed I wasn’t taking on a bunch of dudes with blunt objects.

“I kind of hurried an older white lady away and walked a few blocks to catch a bus. They pretty much ignored me but I was in ratty work clothes and am half Arabic,” Hall continued. “Guess they gave me a pass. I didn’t see to much more I’m sorry and I really wish I had a concealed carry permit because then maybe I could have stopped at least a few of them.”

The incident occurred at the Green Line station at the center of the University of Minnesota campus, across the street from the UMN police department and a location popular with students and visitors, Alpha News reports.

When police arrived, they spotted a group of Somali teens as they tried to run off, but officers eventually caught up with the culprits, including two who had pipes with them. One of the teens gave officers a fake name and information, but one officer the scene recognized the boy from previous run-ins with the law.

Police initially detained seven teens involved in the incident, but only charged the two with weapons, identified as juveniles between the ages of 12 and 15.

Despite giving police false information, the teens were quickly identified through video surveillance and witness descriptions, UMN spokeswoman Lacy Nygard told the Pioneer Press.

“Two people harassed two male students and demanded their wallets. When the students refused, the suspects assaulted them and fled from the platform,” the Press reports. “The students were taken to the hospital for evaluation after they received bruising and cuts on their faces, according to the alert” from the school.

The teens were charged with misdemeanors for fleeing police, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and hauled to the Juvenile Supervision Center, where one of the teens had visited earlier in the day for truancy, according to the UMN Police Report.

The incident comes amid volatile race relations between the city’s growing Somali population and others in the community. On June 7, former Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor, a Somali and Muslim, will be the first Minnesota police officer in recent memory to be sent to prison for murder.


New Study Shows America Is LESS Racist Under President Trump

According to a recent study, racism in the United States has significantly decreased during President Donald Trump’s first two years in office.

Two sociologists from the University of Pennsylvania, Daniel J. Hopkins and Samantha Washington, have been studying racial attitudes of randomly selected Americans since 2008.

The sociologists admitted that they expected to see an increase in racist tendencies. “Normalization of prejudice or opinion leadership both lead us to expect that expressed prejudice may have increased in this period, especially among Republicans or Trump supporters,” they said.

Much to their surprise, they actually found that racism has decreased under President Trump.

    Americans, claim Hopkins and Washington, have actually become less inclined to express racist opinions since Donald Trump was elected. Anti-black prejudice, they found, declined by a statistically-insignificant degree between 2012 and 2016, when Trump was elected. But then after 2016 it took a sharp dive that was statistically significant. Moreover, contrary to their expectations, the fall was as evident among Republican voters as it was among Democrats. There was also a general fall in anti-Hispanic prejudice, too, although this was more evident among Democrat voters.

When it comes down to it, President Trump may be the least racist President in American history.

He has employed people of color his entire life, he has supported the black community from day one, he has gotten record number unemployment rates for the minority communities.

    The only way the media have been able to smear Trump as a racist is through lies and deliberate misquotes. The Charlottesville Hoax is a perfect example, as is Jake Tapper’s serial lie about Trump mocking a reporter’s disability, as is Jim Acosta’s latest lie about Trump smearing all migrants…

    But no one had to misquote Obama’s rhetoric against the police on every single racially charged issue, his relentless attacks on Republicans as racist, his role (and CNN’s) in exacerbating the racial tensions that resulted in race riots in Ferguson and Baltimore, or his supporters’ relentless attacks on everyday Americans as racist…

    Trump, on the other hand, has offered only a unifying message about race and against racism. Despite the media’s lies, he condemns white supremacism, including after Charlottesville, and his focus on improving the lives of black and Hispanic Americans have resulted in record low unemployment for both groups.

The report was not too kind to Obama:

    Under Obama, racial tensions were always at a boil.

    Under Trump, racial tensions (outside of the lies screamed in the news media) have settled down considerably.

    Over the last two years, not only have blacks and Hispanics watched their economic conditions improve in ways Obama never seemed to care about, unlike any Republican over the last 30 years, Trump is actively reaching out and asking for the black vote. He is also willing to earn that vote through his economic policies, criminal justice reform (which Obama talk-talk-talked about for years, while Trump signed it into law), and immigration policies that restrict the illegal and cheap labor that disproportionately hurts working-class incomes and, by extension, black and Hispanic Americans.

When you block out the noise from the media and look at who Trump is as a person, you will understand that he is a man who wants to bring all of America together.

He is a man who wants the best for his people, no matter what their skin color is.


Australia: Gender quota ‘offends’ conservative new senator Susan McDonald

Incoming senator Susan McDonald has rejected a quota to boost the number of Coalition women in parliament, saying she would be “offended and humiliated” to be preselected because of her gender.

The 49-year-old single mother and businesswoman is Nationals royalty, a scion of one of the wealthiest cattle families in Queensland whose father was a mover and shaker in the party, state and federally. She supports diversity in the workplace and politics, but insists gender is only one element in the mix.

“I would be offended and humiliated if I ever thought I had been given a job based on what I was, as opposed to who I was,” Ms McDonald said. “If you’re willing to disregard all the selection criteria in favour of one, that cannot be a good outcome. I would never run a business like that and I don’t think it’s the way to run the national parliament.”

The Coalition stands to increase its female representation to 27 in the next parliament, up six, but continues to trail Labor, which is close to a 50:50 gender balance. In the House, the Liberal and National parties will have 14 female MPs against Labor’s putative 27, but the major parties are closer in the Senate, where Ms McDonald will lift the number of Coalition women to 13 against 16 for Labor.

She is stepping away from her role as managing director of the McDonald family’s five-outlet Super Butcher chain to enter the Senate on July 1 after being elected in the No 2 spot on the LNP’s Queensland ticket.

The business employs about 80 people and Ms McDonald said she had pushed to promote women provided they were qualified, a lesson that also applied to politics.

“I absolutely wanted more women managers but the moment I made that decision it was a four-year journey for me to ask women to enrol in an apprenticeship, graduate from that apprenticeship and then to start management training,” she said. “If we want to have more women in parliament we have to provide a pathway for them to understand what skill sets are needed to be a representative of the nation, in the same way that we should with men. This is not a gender thing. This is making sure that people are coming fully armed with the skills and experience that we want.”

Her own political journey has had its twists and turns. Her father, Don McDonald, helped rebuild the Queensland National Party after Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s state government was destroyed by corruption scandals in the late 1980s and went on to serve as national president. She grew up at the family station near Cloncurry in northwest Queensland, studied commerce and economics at the University of Queensland and became an accountant.

Ms McDonald understands why Tanya Plibersek bowed out of Labor’s leadership race. In 2006, she was being positioned for a winnable spot on the Senate ticket. But her marriage had broken down and the priority was her three children, then aged between six and two. “I could not be away from them as much as the job ­demanded,” she explained.

“I believe there is an age where women say they are not willing to make that sacrifice. Tanya Plibersek said that this week and I think we have to call out what this is — we need to make a job in politics possible and attractive to everybody, male or female.”

The stars aligned last year when she was preselected at the expense of veteran Nationals senator Barry O’Sullivan, dumped alongside north Queensland-based Liberal Ian Macdonald. Asked if the Coalition needed more women in parliament, Ms McDonald said: “It would be good to have a broader cross section of people in the partyrooms and in the parliament making decisions.’’



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

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

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


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Posh privilege? Upper class people's 'belief that they are better than others' helps them to find jobs, study finds

This is just another example of the old halo effect.  In this case the halo emanates from the fact that a person is in a prestigious position. That tends to suggest other desirable attitudes in the person. I suppose the interesting thing here is the demonstration that the priviliged person himself perceives the halo.

And in this case there is good reason for the effects discussed below.  High status persons tend to have higher IQs and IQ does have wide-ranging positive effects.  So the privleged person has good grounds for feeling that he will do well on various tests.

So what we have is a demonstration of what Jesus said:  "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance" (Matthew 13:12).

Self confidence is in some ways nearly as advantageous as high IQ

People from higher social classes believe themselves to be more capable than those of lower class, even if they are equally as qualified.

This leads to better outcomes in life-changing scenarios like job interviews as they are more confident than their less-privileged peers due to an inflated sense of self.

In a large scale study, scientists saw this to be true across the board, from business owners to undergraduates.

Dr Peter Belmi of the University of Virginia and lead author of the study, said: 'Advantages beget advantages. Those who are born in upper-class echelons are likely to remain in the upper class, and high-earning entrepreneurs disproportionately originate from highly educated, well-to-do families.'

Researchers from the University of Virginia conducted four separate investigations to look at the connection between social class and overconfidence.

In each study, they discovered that those from higher social classes tended to be more overconfident.

In one study, this overconfidence was shown to be misinterpreted by others as a higher level of competence.

In the biggest study, which involved business owners, researchers obtained information about the individual's income, education level and where they thought they stood in society.

The participants were also required to complete a psychological assessment that rated their self-perception.

'Posh privilege' occurs when people of a higher social class perceive themselves to be better than those of lower classes — even if such is unfounded.

Factors that lead to people developing posh privilege include higher levels of education, greater income and perception of belonging to a better  social class.

Others perceive this excess of assuredness as real and deserved confidence.

This leads to better outcomes in life-changing scenarios like job interviews as they are more confident than their less-privileged peers thanks to their inflated sense of self.

In a large-scale study, researchers found that this privilege applied universally — affecting everyone from students to business heads.

One experiment was a flashcard game where individuals were shown an image that disappeared after they press a key, before being replaced by another image.

They then have to determine whether the second image matched the first.

After completing 20 rounds, they were asked to rate how they think they performed compared to others on a scale of 1 to 100.

When the researchers compared the actual scores with the predicted scores, they found that people with more education, more income and a higher perceived social class had greater belief they performed better than others.

Two other groups each with 1,400 online participants found a similar association.

In one, the researchers gave participants a trivia test and those from a higher social class thought that they did better than others.

Again, when the researchers examined actual performance, no difference was found between the social classes based on this belief.

In the last experiment, researcher recruited 236 undergraduate students, and asked them to complete a 15-item trivia quiz and predict how they scored compared with others.

They were also asked to rate their social class and their families' income and their parents' education levels.

A week later, the students were brought back to the lab for a videotaped mock hiring interview.

More than 900 judges, recruited online, each watched one of the videos and rated their impression of the applicant's competence.

Not only were the higher social class students more confident, this overconfidence was interpreted by the judges who watched their videos as greater competence.

'Our research suggests that social class shapes the attitudes that people hold about their abilities and that, in turn, has important implications for how class hierarchies perpetuate from one generation to the next,'  they write in the study.

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


Philadelphia’s Absurd Soda Tax Bombs… As Predicted

Back when Philadelphia decided to join the ranks of liberal cities fleecing its inhabitants with a soda tax to “improve their health,” we predicted here that it was going to backfire. The effects were felt almost immediately when workers starting losing their jobs at Pepsi. But still, they persevered and stuck with it. Surely people would start opting for healthier beverage options and those big tax revenues would begin streaming in to fill the city’s coffers. Now that they’ve been at it for well over a year, how did it work out?

Sales in local retail outlets have plunged by more than 50% and mysteriously people are still drinking soda.

The CNN report:

"Implementing a sales tax may help get Americans to stop drinking sugary drinks, if a new study about Philadelphia soda consumption is any indication.

In 2017, Philadelphia became the second US city to put a tax on sugary drinks and soda. In the wake of the tax, sales on those beverages dropped by a whopping 51% in the first year, according to a study published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA.

The study compared beverage costs and sales in Philadelphia — following implementation of the 1.5 cents per ounce tax — with Baltimore, which has a similar demographic but doesn’t have the same sales tax. With the tax, beverages in Philadelphia jumped from 5.43 cents per ounce in 2016 to 6.24 cents in 2017."

Take note of how CNN chooses to open the story and the way they phrase the results. Having a sales tax of this type “may help get Americans to stop drinking sugary drinks.” Oh, so it “may,” eh? If all you read was the first few paragraphs, you might come away with the impression that this was the goal all along and it must have worked, right? A 51% decline in sales surely must mean healthier lifestyles are sweeping the city.

But that’s only if you stopped reading there. Just as happened in so many other municipalities, the report shows that soda sales in neighboring counties and towns mysterious shot up at the same time. From the article, emphasis added:

While researchers found that sales of sugary beverages fell in Philadelphia after the tax, beverage sales in nearby towns and counties without the tax went up. That suggests people may have been traveling to get their soda at a reduced price.

Wonders never cease. People stopped buying their soda in the city (and almost undoubtedly a lot of other shopping list items) and decided to shop where prices were lower. The study they reference also goes on to note that there was no corresponding increase in sales of bottled water or healthier beverage options. And as for the revenue question? They don’t even delve into that, but you can do the math easily enough. The tax on soda increased by 17%, but the sales fell by 51%.

So, let’s look at this assuming one million ounces of soda was sold anually before the tax went into effect. If sales had remained the same, the city would have realized $62,400.00 in revenue instead of $54,300.00. But with the volume cut in half, they managed to slash their revenue to $31,200.00. (I was told there would be no math. Apparently City Hall in Philadelphia was operating on the same assumption.) Great job, guys. You gutted your revenue stream, caused layoffs in the beverage industry and depressed sales in the city’s retail outlets, likely impacting entry level jobs.

But how can we blame them? I mean, who could possibly have predicted this? Well… anyone who was paying attention. The same thing happened in Chicago. It happened again in Seattle. And it nearly happened in several more California cities until the governor was forced to agree to a ten year moratorium on new soda taxes.

Dear Democrats. Please refer to the classic definition of insanity as being the practice of doing the same thing over and over again and somehow expecting different results.


British doctor under investigation for racism after asking Muslim woman to remove face veil

A GP forced out of work for asking a woman to remove her niqab has attracted more than 20,000 signatures on a petition demanding his reinstatement.

Dr Keith Wolverson could be struck off after “politely” asking a Muslim mother to remove the face veil so he could hear her properly as she described her daughter’s suspected tonsillitis.

The family doctor, who was practising at a walk-in centre at Royal Stoke University Hospital, says the woman consented without raising any objection, but that her husband turned up shortly after and made a formal complaint.

Dr Wolverson has since received a letter from the General Medical Council (GMC) informing him he is under investigation for racism and could be kicked out of the profession.

The locum, who has 23 years unblemished experience as a GP, says he has found it impossible to secure work since the incident last June and is considering taking on non-medical cosmetic work, such as injecting Botox, in order to pay the bills.

The affair has provoked outrage among many doctors and nurses online. A petition calling for the GMC to “treat this man fairly and look at all the evidence”, gained more than 20,000 signatures in little over a day.

“I’m not racist - this is nothing to do with race, religion or skin colour, it’s about clarity of communication,” Dr Wolverson told The Sun.

“I found it difficult to understand what the woman was saying behind her veil, so politely asked her to remove it. “I needed to hear what was wrong with her daughter, so I could offer the safest possible care.”

According to the complaint forwarded to the GMC by the hospital, the woman said she felt “victimised and racially discriminated against”, and that Dr Wolverson was “rude” and “gave her a dirty look”.

The family alleges Dr Wolverson refused to continue the consultation until she removed her niqab, which he denies.

GMC rules contain no explicit mention of patients' niqabs or face veils.

However, the organisation said doctors are expected to respect patients’ choice of religious dress and to consider the potential for distress if patients are asked to expose a part of their body they would rather conceal.

Dr Wolverson said most of his Muslim patients automatically remove the garment upon entering the consultation room.

He described the investigation as a “major injustice”, adding: “Doctor’s quest to perform the very finest consultation for the safety of the patient has been misinterpreted in a duplicitous manner to suggest there has been an act of racism committed.

“I absolutely no longer want to be a doctor.”


Australia: 'I'll burn for you': Pentecostal PM energises Christian voters

Scott Morrison declared his election victory a “miracle,” told an interviewer he saw people as “agents of God’s love” and used a National Press Club address to promise voters “I will burn for you” - a phrase used by some Pentecostal Christians to signify working tirelessly, often for Jesus.

One of his first acts during the campaign was to allow the cameras to record him worshipping at his church, Horizon.

Mr Morrison is not the first government leader of faith (John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott were all Christians) but in his political language, the re-elected Prime Minister is arguably the most overt.

According to the Australian Christian Lobby’s Martyn Iles, this language - coupled with the PM’s support for religious freedom - is re-energising religious communities and turning them to the Liberal Party.

“It does give people of faith a degree of confidence when they see a Prime Minister who is clearly Christian,” Mr Iles said.
“It doesn’t surprise me when it seems like religious communities played a role in the rising support for the Liberal Party, because I think that confidence probably did play into the psychology of their vote.”

Macquarie University professor Marion Maddox, an expert on the intersection of faith and politics, said Mr Morrison’s overtly religious language was “unfamiliar territory for Australian politics”.

But it comes at a time when trust in politics has been eroded, so it could appeal to a much broader audience than just those who already have faith.

“It's saying: I have a belief in something bigger than myself, I have a belief in ideals," Dr Maddox said. "It's particularly useful when party ideology is no longer a ready reference point.”

Preliminary analysis of Australian Electoral Commission and census data suggests that a number of the key seats that swung against Labor overlap with higher-than-national-average rates of Christian households.

The seats include the Queensland seats of Herbert and Longman, where Christianity makes up the biggest religious grouping in those electorates (65 per cent and 62.4 per cent, respectively) and the Tasmanian seat of Braddon (58 per cent).

In Victoria, volatile electorates such as Deakin cut through Melbourne’s outer eastern “bible belt” and have a tendency to switch between the parties. But this also remained Liberal this year, defying Labor's hopes.

At this election, the Australian Christian Lobby also ran its first ever federal field campaign, which pointed out where the parties stood on issues such as “supporting faith-based schools to uphold their values”; “the legalisation of assisted suicide” and the “public funding of abortion”.

They distributed hundreds of thousands of leaflets, made phone calls, and undertook an extensive online campaign across six electorates: Chisholm in Victoria; Boothby in South Australia, Bass in Tasmania, Canning in Western Australia; Petrie in Queensland and McMahon in NSW. Most, with the exception of Boothby and Chisholm, recorded anti-Labor swings.

Mr Morrison’s social media platforms now show thousands of comments from people expressing religious sentiments in support of his re-election.

“Congratulations Prime Minister! We have been longing for a dedicated Christian leader here in Australia and we finally have one!!!” wrote one voter on his Facebook page. “Can’t wait to see how God is going to work in and through you in this term.”

“May God bless and guide your leadership, Scott! Praise the Lord for this miracle win,” wrote another.

In policy terms, the Australian Christian Lobby has called the Coalition’s victory a “win for religious freedom” and has urged the government to pass a Religious Freedom Act that would enshrine in law clear protections for faith-based groups. Such an act could guarantee that faith-based schools could uphold their teachings on issues such as homosexuality, allowing them to select staff on that basis.

In a written response to religious leaders on May 14, Mr Morrison committed to “providing Australians of religious belief with protections equivalent to those guaranteed in relation to other protected attributes under Commonwealth anti-discrimination law.”

However, in an apparent contradiction, the Liberal Party vowed during the campaign to “redouble” its efforts tackling discrimination against the LGBTI community, starting with the removal of exemptions allowing faith-based schools to expel gay students.

It also wrote to LGBTI lobby group Equality Australia promising to work with the states to tackle gay “conversion” therapy - an ideology and practice that is predominantly pushed by Evangelical ministries.

“We’ll be making sure they keep their promises,” said Equality Australia spokeswoman Anna Brown



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

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

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


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Men are afraid to mentor women after #MeToo and it hurts us all: study

Feminist excesses are hurting women.  For their own safety from accusations, men now often avoid women. Women now get avoidance rather than help and acceptance. Frozen politenes is often now all they will get and SurveyMonkey’s new #MentorHer poll reveals Friday that 60% of male managers report feeling “too nervous” about being accused of harassment to interact with women in “common workplace” activities such as mentoring, socializing and one-on-one meetings.

That’s a 32% spike from 2018, with an additional 36% of men saying they now actively avoid women in junior-level positions — effectively chopping down their shot at climbing the corporate ladder.

“The vast majority of managers and senior leaders are men,” says Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of, in a statement. “If they are reluctant even to meet one-on-one with women, there’s no way women can get an equal shot at proving themselves.”

Widening the gender gap is actually an abuse of power, she says.

“We’re in a bad place — no one’s ever gotten promoted without a one-on-one meeting, I feel confident in saying that,” Sandberg tells “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King Friday. “Senior men right now are nine times more hesitant to travel with a woman and six times more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner.”

Women — and especially women of color — don’t get the same amount of mentoring as men, “which means we’re not getting an equal seat at the table,” Sandberg says. “It’s not enough to not harass us, you need to not ignore us, either.”

The study reports that the fear factor grew in concurrence with the rise of the massive #MeToo social media movement founded by activist Tarana Burke and fueled by a torrent of models and actresses accusing Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby of sexual harassment and assault.

In the last three years, scores of women — and some high-profile men, such as actors Terry Crews and Anthony Rapp — came forward to voice their experiences with harassment by people in positions of power.

Now Sandberg says it’s time for men to “step up” and “redefine what it means to be a good guy at work” — before it costs us all a whole lot of cold hard cash.

“There’s not a company in the world that can afford to leave talent on the sidelines because it’s female,” she says. “But that’s what will keep happening unless all of us — especially men — commit to doing better.”


Missouri House approves 8-week abortion ban, sending it to governor’s desk

Missouri Senate advances bill to ban abortions in the state
Ban would block women from receiving procedure at 8 weeks into pregnancy.

The Missouri House on Friday approved a restrictive abortion bill that would ban abortions after the eighth week of pregnancy -- one of a slew of similar bills in red states that have sparked a heated national debate on abortion rights.

The bill was passed by the Senate on Thursday, and now with approval from the House goes to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who is expected to sign it.

The legislation would make Missouri one of the most restrictive states in the country for abortions. The bill includes exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for rape and incest. It also bans abortions based solely on race, sex or a diagnosis of potential Down Syndrome.

While women who have an abortion would not be prosecuted under the legislation, doctors could face as much as 15 years in prison for performing an abortion at eight weeks and beyond. Democrats opposed to the bill attacked the legislation in blistering terms.

"Laundry, bleach, acid bitter, concoction, knitting needles, bicycle spokes, ballpoint pens, jumping from the top of the stairs or the roof," Democratic Rep. Sarah Unsicker said. "These are ways that women around the world who don't have access to legal abortions perform their own."

The bill’s passage in the House comes after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a law Wednesday that would outlaw almost all abortions, making performing one punishable by up to 99 years in prison unless the mother’s health is at risk. That law, too, did not grant exemptions in cases of rape or incest.

Alabama passes strictest abortion ban in the countryVideo
"This legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," Ivey said in a statement.

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp this month signed a “heartbeat” bill into law that prohibits abortions in the state after a heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That bill does allow exceptions in case of rape, incest and if the life of the mother is in danger.

"Georgia is a state that values life," Kemp said before putting his signature to the LIFE Act. "We stand up for those who are unable to speak for themselves."

The bills mark the latest shots in a looming fight over the legacy of Roe v Wade. The Alabama bill was written in part to reignite the battle over the controversial 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the country. Ivey noted that the bill is unenforceable because of Roe v. Wade and won’t come into force unless it is overturned.

Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have also approved abortion bans once a heartbeat can be detected. Laws in North Dakota and Iowa have been struck down by the courts. Some conservatives hope that, with the Supreme Court having shifted to the right in light of the recent appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, there is now a chance the court will revisit Roe and overturn it.

But GOP Rep. Nick Schroer said the Missouri bill is "made to withstand judicial challenges and not cause them."

"While others are zeroing in on ways to overturn Roe v. Wade and navigate the courts as quickly as possible, that is not our goal," Schroer said. "However, if and when that fight comes we will be fully ready. This legislation has one goal, and that goal is to save lives."

Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Leana Wen on Thursday accused Gov. Parson of riding the "disgraceful coattails of 25 white men in Alabama who just voted to ban safe, legal abortion.”

If the courts don’t allow Missouri’s legislation to take effect, it includes a series of less-restrictive time limits (14, 18 and 20 weeks) that may be more likely to win favor with the courts.


Transgender Transformation: Even some radical feminists are realizing the danger to women posed by transgenderism

It’s been often noted, and rightly so, that transgenderism is not a meaningful scientific or medical area of study, but rather a political ideology with specific goals in mind that do not fit into any respected category of scientific thought. Those who support transgenderism — the idea that men and women can be born with a body and a brain that are of opposite genders — do not adhere to medical or biological facts, and worse still, they do not seek discussion or debate about the issue of gender “misidentity,” only blind adherence to their dogma.

The rise of this transgender ideology has been extremely harmful to our society. It puts young girls at risk because transgenderism says that men who identify as women should be allowed to use female bathrooms, locker rooms, and other personal spaces. It has thrown conventional society into complete disarray by arbitrarily changing standard gender definitions in education, commerce, sports, and entertainment.

Worst of all, transgenderism is harming the very people it purports to protect, those who are actually suffering from gender dysphoria. Transgenderism rejects the idea of psychological counseling for those wrestling with gender “identity,” opting instead to affirm their condition and let them go through the costly, dangerous, and harmful process of sexual reassignment. A process, by the way, that is just as likely to lead patients to suicide or self-destructive depression as they would be by being left unmutiliated.

The “transgender” community counts on bullying the opposition to keep the facts from coming out about gender dysphoria. Instead of treating it as a medical condition, leftists have latched onto this issue as one more way of tearing down our society, smashing our nuclear families, and deconstructing traditional gender concepts. They have found many in the media and even in the medical community to be their useful idiots in these endeavors.

They can no longer count Dr. Alicia Hendley among them.

Hendley, a career clinical psychologist who specializes in eating, mood, and anxiety disorders, was once a proud member of the transgenderism cult. She recently came out about how she discovered all that was wrong with the transgender movement. It’s a compelling read.

Hendley details how she was once a full-throated supporter of “transgender rights.” Transwomen were women and transmen were men, and biology meant nothing. She followed the movement to the letter, using social media to spread its propaganda, embrace its lies, and shout down and humiliate anyone who dare question it.

“When asked to elaborate, I pointed to vague notions of ‘knowing’ and ‘feeling,’ rather than terms that were rooted in science,” Hendley writes. “When asked to explain further, I resorted to circular reasoning: some men feel like women, and only women can feel like women, therefore some men are women. When pushed on the question of how it is possible to ‘feel like a woman,’ I’d argue that because I ‘felt’ like a woman, it must be true. Other times I resorted to name-calling, labeling women who said transwomen were male ‘bigots’ who were ‘stuck in the '50s,’ and didn’t believe in civil rights.”

Eventually, however, Hendley started to see cracks in transgender ideology.

“Was there any evidence that transgender people were at risk of imminent extermination, similar to vulnerable groups during the Holocaust? No. Were transgender people, as a group, more vulnerable than women? I had no evidence to support this claim. Was silencing women who say that transwomen are not women (and transmen are not men) a punishment that fits the ‘crime’? No.”

Hendley went back to her roots as a researcher and found some disturbing claims in otherwise respected Canadian and American medical journals on the subject of gender dysphoria. Trained physicians were actually promoting hormone treatments for pubescent children who expressed a desire to change sex. Such treatments virtually guarantee infertility, but the children were willing to go through the procedure and reject fertility preservation procedures like sperm or egg harvesting.

The doctors who support these treatments note this is common. Children at this age do not yet have the cognitive ability to understand the long-term implications of their decisions. Yet, these same doctors are willing to let them undergo a medical procedure that will irrevocably change their lives, mutilate their physiology, and possibly shorten their lifespan.

Having now emerged from this movement based on sheer madness, Hendley writes, “I’m chilled at how easy it was for me — a psychologist (now retired), ostensibly trained to understand the human mind — to become so caught up in the momentum of ‘trans rights’ that I avoided critical thought, much like a new member of a cult.”

Hendley further writes that she is reluctant to use the word cult, but a cult is exactly what transgenderism is. It boasts a complete rejection of criticism; bullies, smears, and assassinates the character of anyone who disagrees; and seeks blind adherence to its dogma.

“And, much like a cult,” Hendley continues, “those who push gender identity ideology discourage independent thought, and instead respond to requests for evidence and facts to support their beliefs with platitudes, mantras, and scare tactics, repeated over and over, until they become reality.”

Hendley’s story is a wake-up call to others in the scientific and medical professions about the dangers posed by the militant transgender movement. People we trust as experts in the fields of medicine are being fed a line of political garbage that is harming their ability to help people. It doesn’t serve our youth, it certainly isn’t serving women, and it is not serving our society. Enough is enough.


Immigration & Assimilation
The White House has released a fact sheet on President Trump’s new immigration reform plan. You can read it here.

But there is one aspect of his proposal that isn’t getting the coverage it deserves. President Trump wants our immigration policies to do a much better job of assimilating immigrants, of “Americanizing” new citizens. Here’s some of what the president said Thursday:

Throughout our history, we have proudly welcomed newcomers to our shores.  Out of many people, from many places, we have forged one people and one nation under God, and we’re very proud of it.  We share the same home, we share the same destiny, and we pledge allegiance to the same, great American flag…

To promote integration, assimilation, and national unity, future immigrants will be required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission.  Through these steps, we will deliver an immigration system that respects, and even strengthens, our culture, our traditions, and our values…

American citizenship is the most precious gift our nation has to offer.  When we swear in new citizens, we do more than give them a permit; we give them a history, a heritage, a home, and a future of limitless possibilities and potential.

Our nation used to pride ourselves on this capacity: our unique ability to instill the spirit of America into any human heart, into any human being… It’s time to restore our national unity and reaffirm our national purpose.  It is time to rebuild our country for all Americans.

I couldn’t agree more! We should be proud of our country and proud of our values.

Being an American means something. It should mean something to the people who want to come here. And as I have long argued, we should know a lot more about the people coming here. We should not be importing more hatred and anti-Semitism into the country.

Requiring immigrants to learn English, learn our history, understand our system of government and share our values is not unreasonable. It’s just common sense.

Pelosi Condemns

The president put a serious proposal on the table, which polls very well with the American people. But I had not gotten back to my car after leaving the White House on Thursday before progressives on Capitol Hill had declared the plan dead on arrival.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the president’s immigration plan, declaring, “To say that this plan’s application criteria are ‘merit-based’ is the height of condescension.” Maxine Waters denounced the president’s plan, saying that parts of it were “very racist.” (See next item.)

There’s a narrative I am hearing among some conservatives that the only reason Democrats won’t consider Trump’s plan because they don’t want to give the president a legislative victory heading into the 2020 campaign. There is certainly some truth to that.

But here’s the problem with that analysis: It suggests that if we had a progressive president, Democrats would support securing the border, stopping the massive influx of illegal immigration and increasing funding for ICE and the Border Patrol.

Does any conservative really believe that? The reason some Democrats once supported border security is because they felt then that they couldn’t get away with saying what they really believed. This is a vastly different time.

Kristen Gillibrand has apologized for her past moderate views on immigration.

Beto O'Rourke wants to tear down what few border walls we have now.

Here’s what Rep. Ilhan Omar said Thursday: We need to abolish ICE, and end all inhumane deportation and detention programs. We need to fight back against the criminalization of immigrants and those crossing the border.

Joe Biden said recently that we have an obligation to provide free healthcare to anyone, including illegal aliens. And it’s part of the left’s “Medicare for All” plan.

This isn’t just a matter of political strategy. This is a struggle between two completely different worldviews.

The left is all in on open borders because they believe it is to their political benefit to do so. They have regularly reminded us that they believe the great heartland of America is “deplorable and irredeemable,” clinging bitterly to their “guns and religion.”

Crisis On Our Streets

There is a crisis on the border and there’s a crisis on our streets. The left is ignoring both.

The vicious gang MS-13 has claimed yet another victim right here in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. A 14 year-old girl was brutally murdered by other teenagers. The victim was hacked with a machete and beaten with a baseball bat.

As is often the case, the young victim was Hispanic. MS-13, a Latin American gang, preys on other Hispanics because the gang concentrates in other parts of the country where there are large populations of immigrants.

It is beyond absurd to suggest that securing the border and shutting down illegal alien gangs is racism. Perhaps Maxine Waters should visit the families of Jamiel Shaw, Jr., or Ronil Singh to get the perspective of other minorities who have been devastated by open borders and illegal immigration.

Inadequate Answers

I am pleased to report that Attorney General William Barr is pushing hard and demanding answers from the deep state. In an interview with Fox News, Barr said the following:

I’ve been trying to get answers to the questions, and I’ve found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate and some of the explanations I’ve gotten don’t hang together, in a sense I have more questions today than when I first started…

People have to find out what the government was doing during that period. If we’re worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason we should be worried about whether government officials abuse their power and put their thumb on the scale.

Barr’s comments come as former deep state officials have started pointing fingers and redirecting blame. That’s a good sign that Barr is starting to smoke the rats out!



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

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

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


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Not all bad behavior, even when directed at a member of a minority group, is racist

But that seems to be a reality that eludes the internet mob.

Last week, Natasha Tynes, a commuter using the Washington metropolitan area’s Metro system, tweeted a photo of an African-American woman in a Metro uniform eating on a train—something that’s not allowed. She tagged Metro’s official Twitter account in her complaint, and later, gave Metro more details to help identify the employee.

Let me be clear: What Tynes did is reprehensible. She could have very well cost this woman her job—and what’s more, she made her complaint by posting a photo of the woman without her permission on a public internet platform. As far as we know, Tynes had no knowledge about what the woman was going through, and what circumstances she was dealing with that day. (Her union has since said Metro employees typically have only 20 minutes between jobs, and she needed to travel to the next place she was slated to work.)

But none of this means Tynes was motivated by racial animosity toward this woman whose eating offense apparently angered her—yet that is the assumption that many of Tynes’ detractors are making, and the assumption that led to her book deal being canceled.

And for that, she’s been smeared as a racist.

On the book review site Goodreads, people trashed her forthcoming book as revenge, giving it the lowest rating of one star. User Kali Villa-Leblanc wrote: “Written by a disgusting human being who would take time out of her day to put a black woman’s livelihood at risk for no reason. Wouldn’t read this book if it was being given out for free. Wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who isn’t a privileged, racist, psychopath.”

User Chris Leo wrote: “This book is written by a truly evil woman who tried to get another black woman get fired for eating in Metro,” and user Vanessa said: “Natasha Tynes is a writer without empathy or humanity, a contempt at best and vicious malice for black woman at worst.”

Tynes did apologize, reportedly tweeting, “I apologize for a tweet I posted earlier today, which I have since deleted. I am truly sorry.” She later deleted her Twitter account.

Soon, her book “They Called Me Wyatt,” which had been scheduled for publication June 11, per Amazon, was canceled, with the publishing companies behind her book also accusing Tynes of racism:

If Tynes had lost her book deal for being a terrible neighbor or a humorless tattletale, fine.

But that’s not what happened—and federal lawmakers weighing in only makes this worse. Because the lesson here seems to be that any negative comment about any minority person is racist.

If that’s the standard, race relations will only get worse in our country.

Of course, make no mistake: Racism still exists in the United States. Just ask Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who delivered a powerful speech in 2016 about how he felt his skin color made him a target of police at times: “In the course of one year, I’ve been stopped seven times by law enforcement,” the South Carolina senator stated.

But there’s no contradiction between racism still existing and the conclusion that not every negative comment directed at a minority person is racist in nature.

The end of racism is stopping judging people by the color of their skin, not stopping judging people of certain races or ethnic groups entirely. It’s crucial to our American identity to judge and look at people as individuals, not fall into the trap of identity politics and tribalism.

Tynes’ critics may be celebrating now. But in the long run, they’ve hurt, not helped, race relations in the United States.


Muslim terrorist training camp found in Alabama

Authorities have discovered a second homegrown Muslim terrorist training facility owned by a terrorist organization presided over by the son of jihadist iman Siraj Ibn Wahhaj.

The FBI found the camp near Tuskegee, Alabama, and reportedly described it as containing a “makeshift military-style obstacle course.” Details are few.

Researchers at WPMI-TV, an NBC affiliate in Mobile, Alabama, uncovered the existence of the second facility after combing through legal documents and reported on it April 29 but the national media only picked up the story in recent days.

The April 29 report states:

NBC 15 News uncovered a heavily redacted court file connecting this property to an alleged terrorist training camp 1400 miles away in New Mexico. Using clues from the cryptic court filing, we found land records showing the Alabama property is owned by accused terrorist Siraj Wahhaj. The recently unsealed federal search warrant says on this two acre Tuskegee property the terror suspects built a second compound.

Researchers concluded that “the items discovered on the Macon County property mirrored those recovered in New Mexico.”

The TV station reports it “found tires, trash, children’s toys and respirators,” adding the FBI “believes the group spent at least several weeks here.”

Federal authorities appear to have made the Alabama connection with this group back in December 2017 when Siraj Wahhaj crashed his 2004 Ford Explorer on 1-65 in rural Chilton County, Alabama about an hour and a half away from the compound. The FBI says there were five guns in that car, a bullet-proof vest, and a bag of ammunition. Investigators say Wahhaj and a friend were allowed to remove the firearms from the Explorer into a box truck. They told police they were going camping 1,400 miles away in New Mexico. Eight months later, the desert compound was raided.

In March a federal grand jury in New Mexico indicted five Muslims who, among other things, allegedly trained children to carry out spree killings, formally charging them with terrorism-related offenses, conspiracy to commit murder, and kidnapping.

The defendants, all in their mid-thirties to early forties, are Jany Leveille, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj, Subhanah Wahhaj, and Lucas Morton. Leveille reportedly used to work at Imam Wahhaj’s terrorist-linked mosque, Masjid At-Taqwa, in Brooklyn, New York. All five co-conspirators are related by blood or marriage.

The quintet was arrested after authorities found 11 hungry, filthy children living in squalid conditions in a makeshift militant training compound in Amalia, Taos County, a remote part of New Mexico, during a raid by local police on Aug. 3, 2018. The children were being trained to commit school shootings, according to court documents. The remains of a three-year-old disabled boy, since identified as the son of defendant Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, were discovered on the property which was filled with weapons. The indictment accused the defendants of kidnapping the special-needs boy and transporting him from Georgia to New Mexico. The defendants were previously indicted on weapons and conspiracy charges on Aug. 31, 2018.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj’s father of the same name is a notorious Muslim holy man. Wahhaj Sr. was close to Omar Abdel Rahman, the “Blind Sheikh” who orchestrated the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 that left seven people (including an unborn baby) dead. Imam Wahhaj testified as a character witness for the sheikh, calling him a “respected scholar ... bold ... [and] a strong preacher of Islam,” and that he felt honored to have hosted Rahman at his mosque, according to Discover The Networks.

Imam Wahhaj used to be a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) national advisory board. He offered an opening prayer at an event called “Jumah at the DNC” at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and has been called the spiritual adviser of jihad sympathizer and Bernie Sanders supporter Linda Sarsour. The openly anti-Semitic Sarsour sits on the board of the Women’s March organization and openly admits membership in America’s largest Marxist group, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

The terrorist cell’s religious inspiration has been identified as Leveille, who is Siraj Ibn Wahhaj’s wife and an illegal alien from Haiti.

According to FBI Special Agent Travis Taylor, Leveille depicted herself to children at the armed camp as a kind of prophet and claimed she was receiving divine messages from the “Angel Gabriel.” It is a tenet of Islam that Gabriel, an archangel, dictated the Koran to Muhammad.

Leveille and her husband “sought to recruit and train persons, including minor children, to be prepared to engage in jihad and train an army of jihad and to die as martyrs,” Taylor previously testified.

Leveille’s husband allegedly trained the children in the camp in military techniques, including the use of firearms and rapid reloading. He also reportedly told the children that “jihad” means killing non-Muslims.

The investigation in Alabama apparently continues.


Political Correctness Is Destroying Philadelphia

When most Americans think of Philadelphia—although probably fewer today than ever before, given the low level of history education in American schools—they probably think of the founding of the United States, the Liberty Bell, and the city’s nickname, the City of Brotherly Love.

Having been to Philadelphia at least 20 times, I am among the many Americans who have warm feelings toward America’s founding city. My daily radio show has a large and enthusiastic listener base there, and I have a son who lives nearby.

So, it is with no joy that I write about the transformation of Philadelphia into something far removed from the principles of the country it helped birth. Philadelphia’s leading institutions—such as the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Flyers—provide depressing evidence.

We’ll begin with the Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania, one of the country’s Ivy League colleges. When Harvard professor Steven Pinker, a liberal and an atheist, recently described American universities as a “laughingstock,” he could have been referring specifically to the University of Pennsylvania, which, among other Philadelphia institutions, is committed to dismantling American and Western civilization.

For decades, a portrait of William Shakespeare, the greatest English-language playwright who ever lived and the most widely read playwright in the world, hung over the main staircase of Fisher-Bennett Hall, home to Penn’s English department.

Given Shakespeare’s stature as an English-language writer, what other writer would an English department so honor? But that question only makes sense to those who believe that excellence should dictate what writer’s portrait should hang in a university English department.

The idea that excellence is all that matters in assessing artists is fundamental to Western civilization and is a primary reason for its ascent. It took a long time for humanity to transcend ethnic, racial, tribal, and economic criteria for assessing art.

But the English department at the University of Pennsylvania, dominated as it is by those who equate Western civilization with “white supremacy” (aka leftists), voted to remove the Shakespeare portrait.

As reported in The Daily Pennsylvanian, the university’s student newspaper, “The English Department voted to relocate and replace the portrait … in order to represent a more diverse range of writers, according to an emailed statement from [Department Chair Jed] Esty, who declined to be interviewed.”

A few years later, in December 2016, students took down the portrait.

In its place they put up a portrait of Audre Lorde, a black feminist lesbian poet who died in 1992.

Equally nihilistic is a story out of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. On Aug. 9, 2017, tenured Penn Law professor Amy Wax and University of San Diego School of Law professor Larry Alexander co-authored an opinion piece titled “Paying the price for breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture.”

Its thesis was that the rejection of American bourgeois middle-class culture is the primary reason for most social ills in America today:

[American] culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.

Within a few weeks, a petition was signed by 4,000 people calling for Wax’s dismissal, and the dean of Penn Law, Ted Ruger, wrote an op-ed in The Daily Pennsylvanian, ostensibly about Charlottesville but really about Wax, in which he implied her views were “divisive, even noxious.”

Most significantly, he wrote, “It is important that I state my own personal view that as a scholar and educator I reject emphatically any claim that a single cultural tradition is better than all others” (referring to Wax’s position that those bourgeois values are superior values).

After hundreds of her colleagues demanded Wax be fired, Ruger forbade her from teaching any first-year required courses at Penn Law.

Now to the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the world’s greatest. The orchestra recently received more than 500 applications for the position of assistant conductor.

According to my Philly sources, the four finalists included only one male (a black male, for the record), despite the fact that males make up the overwhelming majority of orchestra conductors in the world and therefore the overwhelming majority of the applicants for the Philadelphia Orchestra position.

There is little reason to believe that, as talented as they may be, the four were chosen on the basis of artistic excellence alone. The orchestra’s gifted conductor, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, has declared this the year of the woman conductor and the year of the woman composer.

Most musicians are on the left, but Nezet-Seguin makes it more obvious than most. In a recent concert, the Philadelphia Orchestra featured the premiere of Philadelphia Voices, “a political rant put to musical garbage,” as some Philadelphians associated with the orchestra described it to me.

In the fifth movement, named “My House Is Full of Black People,” the black teen narrator chants: “The county is full of black people/ All wanting to be heard/ While old white men draw lines on maps/ To shut all of them up.” Later in the movement, he yells, “If you would all just f—ing listen!”

And this year, the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team removed the statue of American singer Kate Smith that the team had erected in 1987. Her rendition of “God Bless America” was played at every Flyers home game since 9/11, and she herself sang it for the Flyers in the 1970s.

But last month, the team learned that Smith had sung a song with racist lyrics—“That’s Why Darkies Were Born”—in 1931. That Paul Robeson, the great black singer—and enthusiastic supporter of Josef Stalin—also recorded the song doesn’t matter. To the Flyers (and New York Yankees), Smith’s whiteness undid all the good she did for America.

Will Philadelphia next remove the Liberty Bell? After all, it was commissioned by slave owners and inscribed with a verse from the Bible.


John Stuart Mill warned of the coming ‘social tyranny’ that is taking root on social media

In John Stuart Mill’s magnum opus, On Liberty, which provides one of the most compelling defenses of free speech in human history, the philosopher warned how a tyranny of the majority could impose censorship that would be “more formidable” than even governmental censorship and that it could “enslav[e] the soul” with little room for escape. Mill said, “Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of prevailing opinion and feeling…” Are we in danger of a social tyranny on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, where members of the community are being singled out and silenced because they hold unpopular views?

Mill wrote, “[W]hen society is itself the tyrant — society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannising are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”

Are we in danger of a social tyranny on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, where members of the community are being singled out and silenced because they hold unpopular views?

A recent example that has garnered a lot of attention recently has been actor James Woods being suspended from Twitter. Woods’ apparent crime? He paraphrased Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous response to Oliver Wendell Holmes’ criticism of Plato in 1875, where he warned against crossing giants: “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.”

Woods’ iteration was in reaction to the outcome of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. That, after three years of investigation by intelligence agencies, the Justice Department and eventually, Mueller, no coordination or conspiracy by President Donald Trump, his campaign or any American with Russia was found.

Woods wrote in April, “If you try to kill the King, you better not miss. #HangThemAll.”

For the duration of the Russia collusion investigation, critics of the President have routinely gone on social media to pronounce that Trump was guilty of treason, a capital crime. The #TrumpTreason hashtag remains a popular locale to call the President a traitor.

It turned out to be a hoax perpetrated by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, who hired via law firm Perkins Coie Fusion GPS and former British spy Christopher Steele to pen the allegations that Trump and his campaign were Russian agents who had coordinated the hack of the DNC and publishing the emails on Wikileaks.

But, apparently, if you suggest that those who pursued the false investigation of Trump were guilty of treason and should be punished accordingly, that can be a bannable or suspendable offense on Twitter. The #Treason hashtag includes a lot of posts like that, but also goes in the opposite direction and similarly declare the President a traitor.

The question is not whether or not treason should be punished by death, for it clearly is under federal law, 18 U.S. Code § 2381, which states “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death…”

So, if you declare that somebody is a traitor of the U.S., you are at least implying they should be executed. Let’s be clear. It is a capital crime. Woods was explicit. He thought the investigation into Trump, based on concocted evidence, was treason and should be punished accordingly. But, so what?

If somebody reacts to a murder and there is a prosecution, and that person were to take to social media advocating the death penalty for that capital crime, is that an incitement to violence, or a call for the rule of law to be vindicated? Or, what if somebody advocates for a war to be declared by Congress on a country in another instance, mindful that thousands or millions of people could die?

The point is it’s all pretty subjective. As noted above, it is extremely common in political discourse for opponents to accuse each other of being traitors. It happens a lot. Even if you think Woods was over the top, it does not seem to rise to any level that would merit a suspension on a social media platform. But that’s exactly what happened here.

If anything, that’s pretty tame in comparison to some of the stuff you see online that doesn’t get banned.

In a statement to the Daily Wire, Woods said, “Twitter demanded that I rescind my tweet paraphrasing Emerson. It now seems they have chosen to delete that tweet from my account without my permission. Until free speech is allowed on Twitter, I will not be permitted to participate in our democracy with my voice.”

This is just one example, but it underscores the point that even though Woods had more than 2 million followers on Twitter that took years to build, utter the wrong words and that can come all crashing down. Your business and access to your fans can be cut off.

It is censorship, no question.

To be clear, it is not be censorship by the government. Twitter is a private institution and is not bound by the First Amendment. But it is censorship all the same. And it is not something society has to take lying down.

Now, the White House is getting into gear and urging Americans to document instances where their voices are being silence on social media at The website states, “SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies. No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.”

The reach of social media is undeniable. A Pew report found 68 percent of adult Americans use Facebook, or over 170 million. 24 percent use Twitter, or about 61 million. The ease of access on our phones and computers has made social media a go-to source for politicians, political parties, pundits, actors, companies and just about everybody to speak their mind.

In every way possible, social media is the “marketplace of ideas” that Mill and others championed. But now it is not upholding the spirit of free speech. Mill wrote, “Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development and, if possible prevent the formation of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own.”

Mill added, “There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs as protection against political despotism.” The question for Mill and us today is where that limit is and ought to be placed. Mill called it “the principal question of human affairs.”

Mill laid out his principle, which was that “the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

Now, terms of service on social media platforms like Twitter certainly forbid imminent threats of violence, but they also tend to forbid wishing for physical or other serious harm on others, as well. So, in the Woods example, calling for traitors to be hanged or executed — even though that is a potential punishment for treason under the law — seems like it might run afoul of the terms of use. On the other hand the terms of service that Woods supposedly violated say that the threat must be directed at an “individual or group of people.” “#HangThemAll” may not be explicit enough to warrant a violation. It does not really pose any specific or imminent harm to anyone.

But let me add that even if Woods had said a specific individual, one of the persons who investigated Trump, for example, was guilty of treason and should be tried in a court of law, convicted and punished to the fullest extent allowable, which is death, I do not think it would merit a banning. For nowhere in such an example is he calling for people to take matters into their own hands and is instead calling for due process, even if the reading of the law is not necessarily correct.

If a line needs to be drawn, I’d suggest a specific and/or imminent threat of violence would be a permissible threshold to prevent harm unto others, such as outlined in the Supreme Court decision, Brandenburg v. Ohio, in which the advocacy “is likely to incite or produce such action.”

This may not be something government regulation under our system could really touch upon under the First Amendment. Private institutions like social media platforms need to police themselves. But in their dominant market positions, they have an additional responsibility to society to find, in Mill’s words, the limit of “legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence,” for that limit is “indispensable to a good condition of human affairs.”

And even then, we should be mindful that in politics, words can get heated sometimes. In the marketplace of ideas, sometimes comments will get deleted, and not at all consistently, and if it is unwarranted, individuals in that marketplace will respond.

Mill’s antidote was discussion. Perhaps instead of deleting Woods’ tweet, somebody should have debated with it, and said erroneous prosecutions are not treasonous per se, even against a sitting President. And then those who thought it was traitorous could respond, and there’d be a debate. No harm there.

If on the other hand, we move toward more censorship of political voices, there will certainly be more calls for regulation, especially if the push seems to be aimed toward a one-party system. In April 2018, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey retweeted an article by Peter Leyden and Ruy Teixeira that called our political discourse a “new civil war,” with Leyden and Teixeira writing, “America can’t afford more political paralysis. One side or the other must win. This is a civil war that can be won without firing a shot. But it is a fundamental conflict between two worldviews that must be resolved in short order.”

It called for “Democratic One-Party Rule” in the U.S. as a means of reconciling the nation’s challenges and implementing the progressive agenda.

Dorsey called it a “great read.”

Is that the direction social media is moving now, to silence its political opponents? To create one-party rule? Sounds pretty undemocratic. One-party rule is the tyranny of a majority or a minority, but it does not condone dissent.

These platforms may want to come up with an industry standard that airs on the side of discussion and is more consistent. It’s easier to enforce freedom of speech than it is to effectively monitor billions of communications for fouls. User tools allow individuals to mute others already and allow groups and pages to monitor and remove objectionable communications on their own platforms.

Republics, at their core, are fragile things. To survive, the freedom from political violence must be maintained. It is not something I personally endorse. Nor do I think the power of law should be used for political ends to go after political opponents. But I acknowledge that such factionalism is an implication of free speech, and I’d rather have free speech with factions and its calls for political prosecutions or accusations of treason than a regime of censorship that seeks to police it.

James Madison wrote of this in the Federalist No. 10, “There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests. It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.”

Madison continued, “The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government.”

So, too must the freedom from being silenced be maintained. Facebook and Twitter will not cure us of faction, and if that is their intent, they should stop providing platforms to anyone for what they might do with it.

There’s a good balance here and banning “#HangThemAll” may not be it.

So, let’s try free speech. Debate is the solution. As Mill wrote, “If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”



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

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

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