Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Why protecting your kids from failure is not helpful

In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to protect children from failure in order to safeguard their fragile self-esteem. This seems logical – failure is unpleasant. It tends to make you look bad, you have negative feelings of disappointment and frustration, and you often have to start again.

While this is logical, it actually has the opposite effect. Children and adolescents in Australia appear less able to cope than ever before.

The problem is, in our efforts to protect children, we take valuable opportunities for learning away from them. Failure provides benefits that cannot be gained any other way. Failure is a gift disguised as a bad experience. Failure is not the absence of success, but the experience of failure on the way to success.

The gift of coping

When we fail, we experience negative emotions such as disappointment or frustration. When children are protected from these feelings they can believe they are powerless and have no control over mastery.

The answer is not to avoid failure, but to learn how to cope with small failures. These low-level challenges have been called "steeling events". Protecting children from these events is more likely to increase their vulnerability than promote resilience. When adults remove failure so children do not have to experience it, they become more vulnerable to future experiences of failure.

The gift of understanding natural consequences

One of the greatest gifts failure brings is we learn natural consequences to our decisions. It's a very simple concept developed by early behaviourists: "when I do X, Y happens". If I don't study, I will fail; if I don't practice, I may lose my spot on the team.

Allowing children to experience these outcomes teaches them the power of their decisions.

When parents and teachers derail this process by protecting children from failure, they also stand in the way of natural consequences. Studies show children who are protected from failure are more depressed and less satisfied with life in adulthood.

The gift of learning

Mistakes are the essence of learning. As we have new experiences and develop competence, it's inevitable we make mistakes. If failure is held as a sign of incompetence and something that should be avoided (rather than a normal thing), children will start to avoid the challenges necessary for learning.

Failure is only a gift if students see it as an opportunity rather than a threat. This depends on their mindset.

Children with a growth mindset believe intelligence is malleable and can be changed with effort. Those with a fixed mindset believe they were born with a certain level of intelligence. So, failure is a signal for growth mindset children to try harder or differently, but a sign they aren't smart enough for children with a fixed mindset.

Praise should be focused on effort

Praise can be used to compensate and help children feel valuable in the face of failure. We see this when children get a participation ribbon in a running race for coming in last.

But research indicates, paradoxically, this inflated praise has the opposite effect. In the study, when parents gave inflated praise ("incredibly" good work) and person-focused praise (such as "you're beautiful", "you're smart" or "you're special"), children's self-esteem decreased.

Praise that is person-focused results in children avoiding failure and challenging tasks to maintain acceptance and self-worth. This is because praise is conditional on "who they are" rather than their efforts.

Praise for effort sounds like "you worked really hard". This is better because children can control how hard they work, but they can't control how smart or special they are. Children need to be free to learn without there being a risk to their sense of worth.


Mass Migration: "The Fatal Solvent of the EU"

Today, 510 million Europeans live in the European Union with 1.3 billion Africans facing them. If the Africans follow the example of other parts of the developing world, such as the Mexicans in the US, "in thirty years... Europe will have between 150 and 200 million Afro-Europeans, compared with 9 million today". Smith calls this scenario "Eurafrique".

The controversial quota system for migrants has already failed. The European Court of Human Rights condemned Hungary for detaining migrants. European governments cannot stop, deport, arrest or repatriate the migrants. What do the authorities in Brussels suggest? Bring everyone to Europe?

French Jews have fallen victim to a form of ethnic cleansing, according to a manifesto signed by, among others, former French President Nicholas Sarkozy and former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

"Far from leading to fusion, Europe's migration crisis is leading to fission", Stanford's historian Niall Ferguson recently wrote. "Increasingly, I believe that the issue of migration will be seen by future historians as the fatal solvent of the EU". Week after week, Mr. Ferguson's prediction seems to be turning into a reality.

Not only does Europe continue to fragment as anti-immigration sentiment gathers political strength, but, as a result of the migrant crisis, the EU's border-free internal zone, Europe's most cherished prize after the Second World War, is now defined as "at risk" by the Italian government, among other governments, such and Austria.

Immigration is also redefining the intra-EU contract.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the so called "Visegrad Group", recently called for EU border defense. "We have to have a Europe capable of defending us", Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said as well, after he was invited to join the Visegrad meeting.

The new Italian populist government, after Italy saw more than 700,000 migrants arrive on its shores in the past five years, also embraced a hard-line policy. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini recently closed Italy's ports to migrant vessels. In Germany, after the German chancellor clashed on immigration with her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, migrant policy could also lead to the "end of Merkel's tenure".

"Italy's new populist government signals a major challenge to the European status quo, but not in the way most observers initially expected", the author Walter Russell Mead recently commented in The Wall Street Journal. "The governing coalition has put the challenge to its euro policy on hold. Instead it is turning to a subject on which the European establishment is more vulnerable: migration".

The entire European political consensus is fracturing under the seismic impact of the migrant wave. Migration to Europe has become a political issue "as toxic as ever", the New York Times just noted about the current debate inside the European Union. The EU's current trouble seems to come from a deafness among the policy elites, who refuse to take into account the problems for their citizens that have followed unvetted mass immigration.

Mass migration in the last years has simply created major troubles for Europe's internal stability. First, there has been a security challenge. According to a new report by the Heritage Foundation:

"Almost 1,000 people have been injured or killed in terrorist attacks featuring asylum seekers or refugees since 2014. Over the past four years, 16 percent of Islamist plots in Europe featured asylum seekers or refugees. ISIS has direct connections to the majority of plots, with Germany targeted most often, and Syrians more frequently involved than any other nationality. Nearly three-quarters of plotters carry out, or have their plans thwarted, within two years of arrival in Europe.


"Since January 2014, 44 refugees or asylum seekers have been involved in 32 Islamist terror plots in Europe. These plots led to 814 injuries and 182 deaths."

There is also a severe challenge to ethnic and religious coexistence posed by immigration. French Jews have fallen victim to a form of ethnic cleansing, according to a manifesto signed by, among others, former French President Nicholas Sarkozy and former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. "Ten per cent of the Jewish citizens of the Paris region have recently been forced to move because they were no longer secure in certain council estates" the manifesto said. "This is a quiet ethnic cleansing".

The threat Europe is facing if it refuses to close and control the borders is examined by Stephen Smith, an expert on Africa and admired by French President Emmanuel Macron, in his new book, The Rush to Europe: Young Africa on the Way to the Old Continent. Today, he notes, 510 million Europeans live in the European Union with 1.3 billion Africans facing them. "In thirty-five years, 450 million Europeans will face some 2.5 billion Africans, five times as many", Smith predicts. If the Africans follow the example of other parts of the developing world, such as the Mexicans in the US, "in thirty years", according to Smith, "Europe will have between 150 and 200 million Afro-Europeans, compared with 9 million today". Smith called this scenario "Eurafrique". Europe's largest migration wave since World War II has also become an increasingly urgent problem as Europe's indigenous populations continue to age and diminish in number.

The controversial quota system for migrants has already failed. The European governments also cannot really deport migrants. In 2012, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned the Italian government and ordered it to pay thousands of euros to two dozen immigrants it deported to Libya. Italian authorities had intercepted the migrants in the Mediterranean Sea when they were trying to get to the Italian island of Lampedusa from Libya. Three years later, the European Court again condemned the Italian government for deporting migrants. The European Court of Human Rights also condemned Spain in its judgment to expel of a group of 75-80 migrants from the Melilla enclave. The ECHR then condemned Hungary for detaining migrants. Europe cannot stop, deport, arrest and repatriate the migrants. What do the authorities in Brussels suggest? Bring everyone to Europe?

Andrew Michta, dean of the College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, recently wrote that, under this mass migration, European democracies risk their own "decomposition". We will not only see the "fission" of the already fragile European Union, but that of the Western civilization as well.


The MAGA Hat That Wasn’t There

Have you heard of an accused killer named Timothy Kinner?

No? Well, it’s not really surprising if you haven’t. Unless you were paying very close attention to the news on July 1, you wouldn’t have noticed the story.

On the evening of June 30 a Mr. Kinner, a resident of Los Angeles, allegedly entered an apartment in a refugee-resettlement complex in Boise, Idaho. He was carrying a knife, and started stabbing people at the party, most of them immigrant children. The nine victims were from Syria, Ethiopia and Iraq. One of them — the 3-year-old birthday girl — later died in the hospital.

With all those puir wee bairns, the attack should have been a top news story for weeks. Especially since the victims were black or brown “refugees”. Their photos should have been shown over and over again on every news broadcast. Nancy Pelosi should have been tut-tutting on the floor of Congress about the puir wee bairns.

But it didn’t happen. The story quickly disappeared. If you’re wondering why, take a look at the photos at the top of this post: Timothy Kinner is the man on the left.

On the other hand, you’re probably aware of a man named Jarrod Warren Ramos, the accused killer of five people at the offices of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. Mr. Ramos committed his alleged atrocity just two days before Mr. Kinner’s. The story hit the news big time, and stayed there. It was prominent enough to merit its own Wikipedia page.

Jarrod Ramos is the man on the right in the photo at the top of this post. He and Timothy Kinner share certain characteristics: each has long hair and an apparent sullen attitude. But there are certain significant differences, as you can see.

If Mr. Ramos — or any other white man — had attacked the “refugees” at that birthday party in Boise, the story would still be making above-the-fold headlines every day. Talking heads on all the major media channels would still be discussing it every evening. There would be massive anti-racism protests on the Mall in Washington DC. The photo of the appealing wee bairn would be on everyone’s TV screen all the time. It would be Trayvon Martin on steroids.

But it didn’t happen that way. Once the photo of the sullen man with the dreadlocks appeared, the story disappeared from the national news. I looked for it two weeks later, and it was gone.

When black people kill black people, it just isn’t news.

Black people kill black people nearly every day in Chicago — on some weekends there are six or eight shooting fatalities in the city — and not infrequently little children are victims of stray bullets. But without a white man as perpetrator, there’s zero interest in the story. It merits a couple of lines in the local news, maybe. Ho hum, another shooting in the city. And now for the weather…

And there’s another reason why the Boise story faded away: it can’t be a “hate crime” when a black man kills black people. That’s what the Boise police chief said about Timothy Kinner — no evidence of a hate crime. And without a white man committing a hate crime, it’s not a very interesting story.

But back to Jarrod Ramos. After the massacre in Annapolis, the media were slavering for a Trump supporter as the perp. They knew the shooter was white, so that was a head start. A man named Conor Berry, a reporter for the Republican in Springfield, Massachusetts, tweeted that the killer had dropped a MAGA hat in the offices of the Capital Gazette during his shooting spree. It wasn’t true, of course. And it hadn’t even been a rumor — the reporter just made it up out of whole cloth. But if you hang out in progressive circles, it makes sense: the murderer was white, carried a “long gun”, and shot a bunch of people. How could he not be a Trump supporter?

Poor Mr. Berry was forced to resign his position a few days later.

It’s been a pattern in mainstream media ever since Trump won the Republican nomination two years ago: whenever some white guy shoots people, the media snoids immediately speculate that he’s Trump supporter. So far they’ve always been disappointed. Oh, I’m sure an occasional Trump supporter runs a red light or gets drunk and punches somebody. But I’ve haven’t heard about avowed Trump supporters killing people. And if there were any such, you can be sure the media would be shrieking about them.

Funnily enough, there have been several mass killers who were progressives and Obama supporters. For example, the late James Hodgkinson, who shot up the congressional baseball practice session last year. Even Wikipedia acknowledges that he was a “left-wing activist”.

Another one may have been the late Stephen Paddock, the man who massacred 58 people in Las Vegas last fall. Although his ideological leanings are not entirely clear, he was definitely not a Trump supporter.

The left-wingers in the media — which means almost everyone in the media — haven’t given up hope. They’re expecting a Trump supporter to step up any day with an uncontrolled gun and shoot a lot of brown people out of “hate”. They know that a MAGA hat will appear at the crime scene eventually — it’s just a matter of time.


Australia: When Yes means No (?)

"Enthusiastic consent" to sex means "You must explicitly ask for permission to have sex." If it's not an enthusiastic yes, then it's a no.  A lot of perfectly normal sex would become illegal with such a law and consent would still be hard to prove or disprove with such a law.  It would be the ultimate intrusion of government into private life. Even the Fascists did not go that far

A message from Bettina Arndt [bettina@bettinaarndt.com.au]below:

I have just completed a skype interview with Lorraine Finlay, a very brave law lecturer from Murdoch University in Perth, about proposed changes to sexual consent laws in NSW. Lorraine is a former WA State Prosecutor and co-author of the 2015 book “Criminal Law in Australia”.

The NSW Law Reform Commission has been asked to review the laws and the state government is pushing hard to promote these changes. What worries me is that there is hardly anyone involved in the public debate explaining why enthusiastic consent laws are a really bad idea – despite the fact that in America these laws have been in place for decades and the results are very clear. They dramatically shift the burden of proof favouring rape accusers and denying due process rights for young men. Across the United States, legal organisations, law professors and other academics have been speaking out about the damage caused by such laws. Yet, here in Australia, it looks like once again we will allow the feminist narrative to silence proper debate on the issue.

I’ll be letting you know when the Law Reform Commission is seeking further public consultation and hope I can inspire many of you to express your views. Along with this video I am posting some relevant material on my low bar below the video, so you have material you can use to make your arguments. Rest assured that all the women’s organisations will be arguing for enthusiastic consent laws to be introduced – just one more means of pushing for their end goal which is more rape convictions. We need to get active to protect the legal rights of young men. Think of your sons and all the young men you know and love - they will be even more vulnerable if we let these changes go through.  

So here’s the video:

Please help circulate this so we can alert people to what is going on here.


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


Sunday, July 22, 2018

I Was the Mob Until the Mob Came for Me

I drive food delivery for an online app to make rent and support myself and my young family. This is my new life. I once had a well paid job in what might be described as the social justice industry. Then I upset the wrong person, and within a short window of time, I was considered too toxic for my employer’s taste. I was publicly shamed, mobbed, and reduced to a symbol of male privilege. I was cast out of my career and my professional community. Writing anything under my own byline now would invite a renewal of this mobbing—which is why, with my editor’s permission, I am writing this under a pseudonym. He knows who I am.

In my previous life, I was a self-righteous social justice crusader. I would use my mid-sized Twitter and Facebook platforms to signal my wokeness on topics such as LGBT rights, rape culture, and racial injustice. Many of the opinions I held then are still opinions that I hold today. But I now realize that my social-media hyperactivity was, in reality, doing more harm than good.

Within the world created by the various apps I used, I got plenty of shares and retweets. But this masked how ineffective I had become outside, in the real world. The only causes I was actually contributing to were the causes of mobbing and public shaming. Real change does not stem from these tactics. They only cause division, alienation, and bitterness.

How did I become that person? It happened because it was exhilarating. Every time I would call someone racist or sexist, I would get a rush. That rush would then be reaffirmed and sustained by the stars, hearts, and thumbs-up that constitute the nickels and dimes of social media validation. The people giving me these stars, hearts, and thumbs-up were engaging in their own cynical game: A fear of being targeted by the mob induces us to signal publicly that we are part of it.

Just a few years ago, many of my friends and peers who self-identify as liberals or progressives were open fans of provocative standup comedians such as Sarah Silverman, and shows like South Park. Today, such material is seen as deeply “problematic,” or even labeled as hate speech. I went from minding my own business when people told risqué jokes to practically fainting when they used the wrong pronoun or expressed a right-of-center view. I went from making fun of the guy who took edgy jokes too seriously, to becoming that guy.

When my callouts were met with approval and admiration, I was lavished with praise: “Thank you so much for speaking out!” “You’re so brave!” “We need more men like you!”

Then one day, suddenly, I was accused of some of the very transgressions I’d called out in others. I was guilty, of course: There’s no such thing as due process in this world. And once judgment has been rendered against you, the mob starts combing through your past, looking for similar transgressions that might have been missed at the time. I was now told that I’d been creating a toxic environment for years at my workplace; that I’d been making the space around me unsafe through microaggressions and macroaggressions alike.

Social justice is a surveillance culture, a snitch culture. The constant vigilance on the part of my colleagues and friends did me in. That’s why I’m delivering sushi and pizza. Not that I’m complaining. It’s honest work, and it’s led me to rediscover how to interact with people in the real world. I am a kinder and more respectful person now that I’m not regularly on social media attacking people for not being “kind” and “respectful.”

I mobbed and shamed people for incidents that became front page news. But when they were vindicated or exonerated by some real-world investigation, it was treated as a footnote by my online community. If someone survives a social justice callout, it simply means that the mob has moved on to someone new. No one ever apologizes for a false accusation, and everyone has a selective memory regarding what they’ve done.

Upon reading Jon Ronson’s 2015 book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, I recently went back into my Twitter archives to study my own behavior. I was shocked to discover that I had actually participated quite enthusiastically in the public shaming of Justine Sacco, whose 2013 saga following a bad AIDS joke on Twitter forms one of the book’s central case studies.

My memory had told me different. In my mind, I didn’t really participate. It was others who took things too far. In reality, the evidence showed that I was among the most vicious of Sacco’s mobbers. Ronson describes a central problem with Twitter shaming: There is a “disconnect between the severity of the crime and the gleeful savagery of the punishment.” For years, I was blind to my own gleeful savagery.

I recently had a dream that played out in the cartoon universe of my food-delivery app, the dashboard software that guides my daily work life. The dream turned my workaday drive into a third-person video game, with my cartoon car standing in for me as protagonist. At some point, I started missing some of the streets, and the little line that marks my trail with blue pixels indicated where I’d gone off-road. My path got erratic, and the dream became other-worldly, as dreams eventually do. I drove over cartoon sidewalks, through cartoon buildings and cartoon parks. It’s a two-dimensional world in the app, so everything was flat. Through the unique logic of dreams, I survived all of this, all the while picking up and dropping off deliveries and making money. In my dream, I was making progress.

As my REM cycle intensified, my dream concluded. I was jolted from my two-dimensional app world and thrust back into the reality of the living world—where I could understand the suffering, carnage and death I would have caused by my in-app actions. There were bodies strewn along the streets, screaming bystanders, destroyed lives, chaos. My car, by contrast, was indestructible while I was living in the app.

The social justice vigilantism I was living on Twitter and Facebook was like the app in my dream. Aggressive online virtue signaling is a fundamentally two-dimensional act. It has no human depth. It’s only when we snap out of it, see the world as it really is, and people as they really are, that we appreciate the destruction and human suffering we caused when we were trapped inside.


No, mobile phones still won’t give you brain cancer

That the upsurge in mobile phone use over the last 20 years has not coincided with an upsurge in brain cancer is total disproof of any link

The supposed health risk from mobile phones is the story that will never die. The latest claim, branded an “inconvenient truth” by the Observer newspaper, is that new research shows they cause cancer in rats. But like all previous incarnations of this tale, the real truth is that the evidence has been overblown and there is nothing to worry about.

Cell phones have been accused of everything from causing brain cancer to “frying” men’s testicles over the years. Phones emit radiation to communicate with mobile phone masts, and radiation has always had a bad rap, thanks to the well-known effects of X-rays and nuclear fall-out.

But phones use a form known as non-ionising radiation, meaning it doesn’t carry enough energy to tear electrons away from their atoms and turn them into ions. It’s this electron-stripping that means X-rays, for instance, can cause cancerous mutations in our DNA.

The latest work, done by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), exposed rats and mice to non-ionising radio-frequency radiation like that emitted by phones. As the NIH already reported in interim findings two years ago, some of the exposed animal groups did have a higher incidence of damage to the heart, and cancers in nerves to the heart.

But the animals were given much higher doses of radiation than people experience in real life – even those of us who are glued to our phones. They were kept in special chambers that exposed them to high levels of radiation over their whole body, for nine hours a day for the duration of their two-year lives. So the findings cannot be assumed to also apply to humans, NIH researcher John Bucher said in a statement.

No good evidence

More importantly, there has been no good evidence that cancers of these types are increasing in people. Our use of mobile phones and other wireless devices in our homes has been increasing at unprecedented rate. Cancer incidence is tracked carefully in countries such as the UK and the US – if tumours of the heart or brain were on the rise, we would know about it by now.

It’s impossible to prove a negative, of course. And with phone technology changing all the time, it’s right that we continue to study this question.

Still, the lack of an increase in cancer rates suggests that if phones have any effect on our risk of developing tumours it seems to be minuscule compared with the other everyday risks we are happy to take – and so not worth worrying about.


NEW BOOK: Politically Correct Fairy (in the Mythical Little Magic Person Sense) Tales and Conservative Rebuttal Tales

by Dr. Sam Bierstock

A hilarious look at Political Correctness in today's society with classical fairy tales rewritten from both the politically correct liberal vantage point, and conservative counter versions of the same fairy tales. A satirical commentary on the relentless drive to offend absolutely no one and the ludicrous extent to which society has gone down this path.Enjoy "Snow Melanin Deficient and the Seven Height-Challenged Individuals" and "Little Ruddy Riding Hood" among other tales designed to be sure that absolutely no feelings are hurt - together with the corresponding tale from the vantage point of conservative thinkers.


Pompeo: Trump Administration Sounding 'Clarion Call for Religious Freedom Around the World'

In anticipation of next week's Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Washington Watch today that the Trump administration is sounding the "clarion call for religious freedom around the world" and that many foreign officials, religious leaders, rights advocates, and NGOs will be attending the event July 24-26 at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

This gathering is "incredibly important for our administration, President Trump’s administration, to make the case, sound the clarion call for religious freedom all around the world," Secretary Pompeo told host Tony Perkins.

"We believe religious freedom is important for every citizen around the world and we want to bring everyone together to discuss how all faiths have the right -- people, individual -- have the right to worship in the way they choose," he said.  "Every country ought to honor that."

Secretary Pompeo stressed that the ministerial is not just talk but action. "“We expect this to be far more than just talk," he said. "Putting people together from all across the world in a room talking about this topic will empower them to go back to their home country and advocate for religious freedom as well."

"It’s difficult, as you know, in many countries to even speak of religious freedom," said the secretary. "So we hope to provide a support system and  a basis for some of them to head back to their own countries. We’ll announce the number of initiatives. The vice president [Mike Pence] will be speaking. Senator Brownback will be speaking there."

"We’ll be laying out a path where we are hopeful the State Department here in the United States can lead a process where religious freedom is raised as a priority for the citizens of every country," he said.  "And we will have our teams in the subsequent weeks and months talking about religious freedom on a continued basis."

“We have just three days here, but this will be a mission of the State Department every day," said Pompeo.

Tony Perkins then commented on how the Trump administration is taking practical steps to help advance religious freedom, especially in countries where it is a taboo topic.

“You see that with President Trump very clearly," said Secretary Pompeo. "We think that this forum will reinforce for countries that enjoy that religious freedom and encourage those that are on the cusp, in a place where it’s more challenging, will help provide them courage to continue to make religious freedom a priority for the citizens of their own countries as well."

“This was laid out in the president’s national security strategy," he said. "It was unique and different from previous administrations. We do place a high priority on religious freedom and we will continue to fight for it every place that we travel."

Secretary Pompeo noted that Uzbekistan has "started to move in the right direction" on religious freedom, but added, "this is a long march."


Lauren Southern needs a new t-shirt

 Jeremy Sammut below preaches in favour of the individual and against the fractionating into groups preached by the Left. I wholeheartedly agree with him. He does not however confront the question: "How do we get there from here?"

And that is the fatal flaw in his criticism of Lauren Southern below.  Multiculturalism has an almost complete monopoly of the media.  We are constantly told that no other system of thought can possibly be virtuous.  We are constantly presented with the wonders of all sorts of minority groups.  And those groups are always held up relative to white males.  White males are the boogeymen, the villains.  You can be proud of your identity as long as you are not a white male.

That monologue has to be disrupted if we are to defeat racism.  Because multiculturalism has become a form of racism.  White males are what the Jews historically were:  A group that is too successful and has to be cut down to size wherever possible.

So Lauren disrupts that monolithic narrative.  She shows that another view is possible.  And in so doing she exposes the emperor's clothes.  She openly challenges the "consensus" and shows that there is no answer to her challenge.  Multiculturalists abuse her but no reasoned argument from them is forthcoming. Trump won power by challenging the hate that the Left pour out on ordinary white people so there is great potential for Lauren's message also to hit home.

White males do still undoubtedly rule the roost so they are not as vulnerable as Jews once were but it does get tiresome to be identified day in and day out as the source of all evil.  And it is more than tiresome.  It is borderline deranged. Lauren is in the end standing up for sanity.

Below is a picture of two blue-eyed, blond-haired white men of European origin who rule very big roosts.  Multiculturalism seems to be some way off yet.

It is fair to say that in these politically correct times there is a lack of political leadership around many contentious social issues that many politicians and community leaders hesitate to speak out about.

It is also a truism that politics abhors a vacuum. However, we should be careful not to fill the vacuum with another vacuum.
This thought is prompted by the controversy generated by the visit to Australia by the 23-year-old Canadian alt-right activist Lauren Southern.

Southern — who had already tried to drum up publicity over her initially rejected visa application — pulled another stunt upon arrival in Brisbane by wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘It’s Okay to be White.’

This was followed by Southern — who speaks fluent soundbite — telling the media how pleased she was to be in country committed to “Western culture — something that may not be here for much longer if left-wing Australian politicians continue their pathological worship of multiculturalism.”

If Southern’s heart is in the right place, her arguments certainly aren’t. For many of the things she is saying on western culture and multiculturalism, claims to stand for, and literally wears on her ‘T’, are mutually exclusive.

Yes, ‘hard’ multiculturalism poses a danger to Western culture when migrants from countries with conflicting cultural values migrate and are not encouraged to integrate with the norms and values of their new country.

But, no: the answer to multiculturalism is not to practice a different form of identity politics — a new form of tribalism — by being proud of ‘whiteness’.

What is actually worth defending about Western culture (and is the antidote to identity politics and multiculturalism) is the fundamental principle of respect for the individual — regardless of superficial differences such as those that are literally skin-deep.
If Southern really wants to defend Western culture and all it should truly stand for, she should buy a new T-shirt.
This one should be emblazoned with that famous quote by one of the greatest proponents of the respect for the individual, Dr Martin Luther King: “judge not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”



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, July 20, 2018

The transgender posse vs. Scarlett Johansson

I can see Jeff Jacoby's point below but in the end I don't agree with him.  This business of women playing men and blacks playing whites seems stupid and inauthentic to me. Why would you do that?  There are plenty of actors and actresses of all shapes and sizes. The case Jeff discusses may be an exception in that there may be no good tranny actors. Transgenderism is a mental illness so that may interfere with good acting.  Looking at it the other way, however, if trannies are bad actors, bad acting is to be expected in the part. 

And why was Scarlett Johansson chosen to play a rough bird dressed up in men's clothing?  She is a gorgeous female. It's a crazy way to cast her.

I am a devotee of Viennese operetta and in some operettas women were deliberately cast in male roles ("trouser roles").  And I greatly dislike  that. As far as I can see, it was just an instance of the decadence that was common throughout the German lands in the early C20 -- particularly in artistic circles.

The present fashion also has whiffs of decadence.  It is a feminist credo that men and women are so similar that  either sex should be able to play any part, whether the part is male or female.  That seems to me as blind as the rest of feminism.

Men and women are stylistically different in all sorts of subtle ways:  The way they stand, the way they walk, the way they run, the way they drape scarves around themselves, the way they simper, the way they talk etc.  It is rare for a male to be able to portray a female convincingly and I doubt that there are  even many actors who can do so.  I see trannies around the place at times and to me they stand out like dog's balls.

It should simply be easier to get a convincing performance from a member of the group concerned

SCARLETT JOHANSSON IS no stranger to left-wing pressure. In 2014, protesters demanded that she sever her ties to an Israeli company, SodaStream. Last year a racial interest group condemned her for playing the character Motoko in "Ghost in the Shell," a Hollywood remake of a Japanese classic.

The posse came after Johansson yet again last week. Her supposed sin this time: agreeing to star in the upcoming movie "Rub & Tug," which tells the story of Dante "Tex" Gill, a brothel owner in 1970s Pittsburgh who was born female but lived as a man. The casting of Johansson triggered a backlash from transgender actors, who not only argued that the role should go to someone who personally identifies as transgender, but claimed it would be unethical and hostile to do otherwise.

Typical of the criticism was a tweet from Jen Richards, a transgender activist: "Here are the rules we the Trans decided," she posted. "Until the world stops erasing/oppressing/murdering us, trans women play trans women, trans men play trans men, nonbinary people play NB people."

The self-described "queer and trans" Yas Necati was even more categorical. "I don't care if Scarlett Johansson gives the performance of her life playing Gill," she wrote. "I don't care if it's beautifully acted, emotional, or even convincing. She shouldn't be playing a transgender man as a cisgender [i.e., conventional] woman."

This may pass for sophistication in Hollywood and other lefty precincts. It strikes me as pernicious nonsense.

To begin with, it denies the legitimacy of acting as a profession. Actors make believe. They portray characters who they aren't, and the more gifted and perceptive the actor, the more penetrating and meaningful the portrayal. In past films, Johansson has played a 17th-century Dutch servant, a high-school dropout, a drug mule who develops psychokinetic powers, and an extraterrestrial in human form. If Johansson's real identity didn't disqualify her for those roles, why should it disqualify her from the role of Gill?

To act is by definition to pretend — to pretend to be severely deformed, to be a Mafia don, to be the queen of England, to be a paralyzed mathematical genius.

Or to be transgender.

The demand that only transgender actors be cast in transgender roles is similar to the demand that only nonwhite actors be cast in nonwhite roles, and vice versa. The late playwright August Wilson, whose work chronicled the black experience in America, vehemently pressed that view in a series of high-profile clashes 20 years ago with Robert Brustein, the renowned drama critic and founder of the American Repertory Theater. Wilson argued that black actors should never appear on stage except in black roles (and, for that matter, that women should never play men). Brustein passionately rejected such separatism. The deepest purpose of drama, he said, was to illuminate "the workings of the human soul, which has no color."

Happily, Wilson's view hasn't prevailed. Some of the most memorable performances in modern times have been explicitly colorblind. To cite only a single illustrious example, think of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton," with its cast of nonwhite Founding Fathers.

Catholic roles do not automatically go to Catholic actors. You don't have to be an immigrant in real life to play an immigrant in a film. Gay actors are not restricted to gay parts.

Great actors transcend their demographic categories. It would be folly to demand that casting decisions be rigidly confined within them. The last thing transgender actors should want is a rule restricting them to a ghetto of transgender roles.

Under pressure, Johansson has withdrawn from "Rub & Tug." Now it isn't clear the movie will even be made. The protesters may have ensured not only that Gill won't be played by a non-transgender woman — but that his life won't be depicted by anyone at all.


UK: Why has Labour run the risk of alienating progressive Jews?

You catch it on the edge of a remark,” says Harold Abrahams of antisemitism in Chariots of Fire. Three decades on from its success at the 1982 Oscars, you should marvel at how “progressives” have progressed: antisemitism is no longer on the edge but at the centre of leftwing life.

Conspiracy theory binds Corbyn’s disparate militants. Labour cultism fools members, who never had a racist thought before Corbyn became leader, into believing accusations of antisemitism are Zionist “smears”. To think otherwise would mean their leaders have dark flaws, and that remains a truth large numbers of otherwise robust democratic citizens won’t grasp.

To see how deep the rot has penetrated, imagine a racist police force – it isn’t hard to do. Imagine a chief constable had endorsed fantasists who say black men are natural criminals and Muslim men are paedophiles. Imagine, to the relief of everyone who thought the police should fight crime rather than race wars, the chief constable announces that there is “no place for racism in my force”. If the chief constable then wrote his own definition of racism and drew its terms so tightly that hardly any officer fell within it, no one would find his conversion convincing.

Rather than building a popular front to fight Trump and Brexit, Labour has taken it upon itself to reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. Don’t panic, the alliance isn’t a Jewish conspiracy. It states that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic”. Its working definition is accepted by thousands of public bodies. But not the British Labour party.

Labour dropped the alliance’s stipulation that it was racist to accuse Jewish citizens of having a greater loyalty to world Jewry than their own country, or to hold Israel to a higher standard than other democratic nations. The international definition implies that Ken Livingstone’s “Hitler was a Zionist” fake history or comparisons of Israel with Nazism are racist. Labour prefers to hide in a forest of equivocation. It is normal to draw metaphors from history, its Jewsplainers state. It is not antisemitic to use them “unless there is evidence of antisemitic intent”. As you can rarely look into another person’s soul and prove intent, I take that to mean Labour is giving many of its racists a free pass.

Its press officers assured me that the party wasn’t rigging the system. As they are good people wasting their lives working for compromised men and women, they must believe it. We do not. Recently departed Labour staffers describe as a “political project” the party’s decision to make Jews the only ethnic minority Labour denies the right to define the racism they face. Dissident leftists are already providing examples of the anti-Jewish hatred the new guidelines might allow.

To ask why Labour has chosen to alienate progressive Jews just days before a Trump visit that demands liberal-left unity is as futile as asking why it chooses to alienate opponents of Brexit as the Tories lead the country into chaos. Understand that its leaders care only about the creation of a new extremist party, and you know all you need to know. From Labour’s point of view, the toleration of antisemitism is in its interests. Just as Viktor Orbán can target Muslim refugees as there are hardly any Muslims in Hungary, so Labour faces few electoral costs from baiting Britain’s tiny Jewish minority.

 Labour now needs the Muslim vote, and antisemitic prejudice is higher among Muslims than the general population. Although it is false to say all Muslims are antisemites, it is true to point out that antisemitism is endemic among the political Islamists who back Corbyn.

His other “base” is among former Stalinists from the old Communist party and Trotskyists from the remnants of Militant and the Socialist Workers party. Stalinists and Trotskyists once hated each other (Stalinists spent a part of the early 20th century murdering Trotskyists, after all.) . Neither has anything in common with Islamists, whose theocratic dreams could not be further from Stalin’s and Trotsky’s utopias.

All three are united by conspiracy theory, however. And all conspiracies go back to Jews in the end. Antisemitism isn’t like other racisms. There’s almost a note of envy in it. Ordinary racisms hate the foreign “other”. The prejudice is bound up with notions of filth and promiscuity – as shown by the picture of the refugee as rapist painted by today’s far right.

By contrast, 20th-century fascists thought the Jews so brilliantly cunning they could be behind both capitalism and communism simultaneously. Their successors find them responsible for everything from 9/11 to the Salisbury chemical weapons attack.

It ought to be notorious that antisemitism is an anti-democratic project built on almost two millennia of religious prejudice. The Tsarists and fascists used it to dismiss human rights and free elections as tricks the Jews used to hide their secret power. The old Marxist-Leninists who surround Corbyn were not so different. They also believed human rights and democracy were shams – only in this instance they hid the machinations of corporate capitalism. It’s only a small leap to say the capitalists are Jews – or “Rothschilds” as Corbyn’s supporters so tellingly call them – and you have reached the other side.

Whenever you raise leftwing racism, Labour activists accuse you of repeating Tory smears. You reply that politicians always smear their opponents: what matters is whether the accusation is true. They say: “Jeremy’s words have been taken out of context.” You show they have not. They say: “But what about right-wing Islamophobia?” You reply that a true anti-racist would fight both. That used to silence them. But now they will be able to produce the conclusive rejoinder that Labour has investigated and found to its relief and delight that antisemites barely exist.


Germany's Dysfunctional Deportation System

A court in Gelsenkirchen has ruled that deporting a self-declared Islamist — suspected of being a bodyguard of the former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden — was "grossly unlawful" and ordered him returned to Germany.

The case has cast a spotlight on the dysfunctional nature of Germany's deportation system, as well as on Germany's politicized judicial system, which on human rights grounds is making it nearly impossible to expel illegal migrants, including those who pose security threats.

The 42-year-old failed asylum seeker from Tunisia — identified by German authorities as Sami A., but known in his native country as Sami Aidoudi — had been living in Germany since 1997. Aidoudi, a Salafist Islamist, is believed by German authorities to have spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan before the al-Qaeda attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. Since then, he was under surveillance by German intelligence for propagating Islamist teachings and attempting to radicalize young Muslims. He had "far reaching" relationships with Salafist and jihadist networks, according to an official report leaked to the German newsmagazine, Focus.

Aidoudi's asylum request was rejected in 2007 after allegations surfaced that he had undergone military training at an al-Qaeda jihadi camp in Afghanistan between 1999 and 2000. During his training, he had allegedly worked as a bodyguard for Osama bin-Laden. Aidoudi denied the charges and claimed to have been studying during that time in Karachi, Pakistan.

Despite rejecting Aidoudi's asylum application, German courts repeatedly blocked his deportation out of fears that he could be tortured or mistreated in his homeland.

In April 2017, for instance, a court in Münster ruled that Aidoudi faced "the considerable likelihood" of "torture and inhumane or degrading treatment" if he returned to Tunisia.

In April 2018, Aidoudi's continued presence in Germany sparked public outrage when it emerged that he had been living in Bochum for more than a decade with his German wife and their four children — at taxpayer expense — even though German intelligence agencies had classified him as a security threat.

In response to an inquiry from the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD), the government in North Rhine-Westphalia confirmed that for years Aidoudi had been receiving €1,168 ($1,400) each month in welfare and child-support payments.

In May 2018, Germany's Constitutional Court ruled that another Tunisian jihadi — identified only as 37-year-old Heikel S., accused of involvement in the March 2015 jihadi attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis — could be deported to his homeland.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer seized on this ruling and called on immigration authorities to make Aidoudi's case a top priority. "My goal is to achieve deportation," he said.

On June 25, Aidoudi was detained after Seehofer ordered immigration authorities to expedite deportation proceedings.

A few weeks later, on July 13, before dawn, Aidoudi, escorted by four federal police officers and a doctor, was placed on a specially chartered Learjet and flown from Düsseldorf to Tunisia. Aidoudi's deportation cost German taxpayers nearly €80,000 ($95,000), according to Focus magazine.

Although the Gelsenkirchen Administrative Court had blocked Aidoudi's deportation the night before, the decision was not passed on to immigration authorities until the next morning — after the plane was already airborne.

When the court learned of Aidoudi's deportation, it demanded that he be returned to Germany. The court said that Aidoudi's deportation had infringed upon "fundamental principles of the rule of law." The judges, apparently sensing that they had been duped, complained that German immigration authorities had failed to reveal to them the time of Aidoudi's flight and implied that those authorities had "knowingly" defied the court's order.

The next day, on July 14, Tunisian authorities added fuel to the fire by saying that they had no plans to return Aidoudi to Germany. "We have a sovereign justice system that is investigating him," a spokesperson for Tunisia's public prosecutor's office, Sofiene Sliti, told the DPA German news agency.

On July 17, Aidoudi claimed that his deportation was "pure racism" and implied that he would file a lawsuit against the German government. In an interview with Bild, he said:

"I was kidnapped from Germany. At three o'clock in the morning they simply took me away. I told the police: 'This is not possible. A court has blocked my deportation.' But they said the order had come from the top and that I could not do anything about it. I was not even allowed to see my lawyer. They also prevented me from contacting my wife and children."

Seehofer blamed the deportation on a "communication failure" but his critics accused him of knowingly trying to out-maneuver the German courts.

Justice Minister Katarina Barley, a Social Democrat, said: "What independent courts decide, must apply. When the authorities choose which judicial decisions they will follow and which they will not, that is the end of the rule of law."

In an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung, Greens leader Robert Habeck said: "Either it is absolutely embarrassing chaos, or it stinks to high heaven, because the authorities at the interior ministry wanted to make an example [of Sami A].

"First and foremost, we need to clarify whether Interior Minister Horst Seehofer personally tried to circumvent the court's decision. "In any event, the damage that has now been done is much greater than waiting for the court decision. The authorities are weak and stupid, especially in times when trust in institutions is dwindling."

By contrast, critics of Germany's deportation system called for changes to the existing laws. The CDU/CSU parliamentary group member Axel Fischer said that under the current system, "The personal rights of Islamists are given more weight than the security interests of the German people." He added that current legislation "gives the impression that it is virtually impossible to deport Islamist perpetrators to countries such as Tunisia, regardless of how dangerous they are."

In an editorial published before Idoudi's expulsion, the newspaper Bild commented on Germany's dysfunctional deportation system:

"The deportation lunacy of ex-bin Laden bodyguard Sami A. is never-ending. German authorities still see no way to send the top Salafist back to his homeland — even though Tunisia's Minister for Human Rights, Mehdi Ben Gharbia, assured Bild that there is NO risk of torture in Tunisia.

"Since 2006, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) and the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia have been trying in vain to get rid of the former confidant of the mass murderer Osama bin Laden.

"Although the al-Qaeda man (living in Bochum since 1997) is classified by the constitutional protection as a 'dangerous preacher,' he continues to be tolerated in Germany, and collects 1,100 euros in monthly support.

"In the words of Alexander Dobrindt, a Member of the German Bundestag, 'Salafists such as Sami A. have no business in Germany and should be deported. Germany should not be a retirement retreat for jihadists.'"


‘They prefer to back a regime of murderous thugs’: Left-wing Australian unionists push for Israel ‘genocide’ motion

Leftist antisemitism goes all the way back to Karl Marx, who hated Jews even though he was one.  In his day it was a common saying: "Der Antisemitismus ist der Sozialismus der dummen Kerls." (Antisemitism is the socialism of stupid people).  Not much has changed

A SENIOR union official has broken ranks with his colleagues to speak out against an “anti-Semitic” push to condemn Israel for the “genocide” of Palestinians.

The resolution, which called on a Labor government to immediately recognise a Palestinian state, was passed overwhelmingly by the Left Caucus at the Australian Council of Trade Unions Congress in Brisbane on Monday afternoon.

The Left Caucus makes up roughly 400 of the estimated 1000 union delegates attending the three-day union meeting, which will set the scene for Labor’s upcoming National Conference in December.

“The motion itself condemned Israel for the ‘genocide’ of the Palestinian people and called on a Labor government to immediately recognise the Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders,” said Jeff Lapidos, tax branch secretary of the Australian Services Union.

The left and right factions met separately on Monday to put forward motions that would then be debated on the floor of the congress. ACTU members collectively represent an estimated two million Australian workers.

A delegate from the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union put forward the anti-Israel motion, calling for it to be put direct to the ACTU executive to avoid debate on the floor, where it would be voted down by the right.

“They didn’t want a divisive debate,” Mr Lapidos said.

“He made it clear that the Right Caucus didn’t support the motion but the left had a majority at the ACTU executive, so the plan obviously is to discuss it behind closed doors and ram it through.

“I got up and spoke against it, that it was wrong and shouldn’t be supported. I spoke for a minute or two, someone else spoke in favour for 30 seconds, then it was passed by an overwhelming majority by a vote of the hands.”

In 2011, ACTU secretary Sally McManus said she vigorously supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel “to end the violation of human rights and to campaign against ­Israel as a means of peaceful resistance”.

Mr Lapidos stressed he was speaking in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the ASU, which unlike more militant left-wing unions does not take positions on international affairs.

He said the motion was effectively a “vote of no confidence” in the Labor Party’s current policy on Israel “which is to be even-handed”, and was the only motion that had to be “debated behind closed doors”.

“For reasons I don’t fully understand, the left in Australia has developed a very anti-Israel, anti-Semitic passion,” he said. “Instead of backing the only democracy in the Middle East, they prefer to back a regime of murderous thugs. That’s what Hamas is, that’s what the Palestinian Authority is.”

Mr Lapidos said it was a “big distraction for the ACTU”. “Most ordinary working people aren’t interested in the socialist revolution,” he said. “They want a better outcome for them and their families.”

An AMWU spokesman said, “It would be inappropriate for us to distribute any motions before they have been debated and voted on at the ACTU executive or congress. We don’t intend to make any further comments about this matter.”

Peter Wertheim co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said accusing Israel of genocide was an “outrageous lie, in fact an inversion of the truth”.

“It is Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas, which has a charter pledging that it will ‘obliterate’ Israel, who adopt the cowardly practice of hiding behind Palestinian civilians in Gaza while targeting Israeli civilian population centres with thousands of rockets and mortars, and burning hundreds of hectares of crops and nature reserves in Israel with incendiary devices,” he said.

“The Palestinian population in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza has increased fivefold since Israel was established, but if the Palestinian leadership had their way, the Jewish population of the country would be evicted or exterminated.

“This is why Israel defends its people so determinedly. Israel has offered the Palestinians statehood on at least three occasions, but the Palestinian leadership gives far higher priority to destroying the Jewish State than establishing a Palestinian State.

“If the ALP Left really champions human rights, as it claims, it should come to grips with these realities instead of indulging in outdated polemics.”

Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong distanced the party from the motion. “This is a motion before the ACTU Conference — it is a matter for them and has no relationship to the position of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party,” a spokesman said.

“Labor has long supported, and continues to support, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We support Israel’s right to exist within secure and recognised boundaries and the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

“A just two-state resolution will require recognising the right of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live in peace and security.

“Labor, whether in government or opposition, will continue to work with the parties to the conflict, with our allies, and with the wider international community to achieve a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.”



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, July 19, 2018

Standing Against the Rainbow Mafia's Speech-Squelching Agenda

Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine "just said no" to a plank of the homosexual agenda

A funny thing happened on the way to another progressive effort, led by the Rainbow Mafia, to restrict Americans’ freedom:

Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine “just said no.” He vetoed a bill that would have banned state therapists from working with individuals troubled by feelings of same-sex attraction or the idea that their gender identity and chromosomal reality are a mismatched set — a.k.a. gender dysphoria.

LePage’s reasons for doing so couldn’t be clearer. “This [bill] is so broad that licensed professionals would be prohibited from counseling an individual even at the individual’s own request,” he wrote. “We should not prohibit professionals from counseling an individual even at the individual’s own request. We should not prohibit professionals from providing their expertise to those who seek it for their own personal and basic questions such as, ‘How do I deal with these feelings I am experiencing?’”

He also struck a blow for religious freedom and parental rights. “Parents have the right to seek counsel and treatment for their children from professionals who do not oppose the parents’ own religious beliefs,” he added. “Because the standard of practice for these professionals already prohibits any practice or therapy that would amount to physical or mental abuse, what we are really trying to regulate are the private, consultative conversations between a licensed provider and a client.”

Anyone remember which side of the political divide champions the right to privacy, to the point of indulging in hysterical paroxysms with regard to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and the thought that Roe v. Wade might be overturned? That particular right to privacy has precipitated more than 60 million abortions since 1973, making a complete mockery of Bill Clinton’s 1996 assertion that the Democrat Party’s policy stance on abortion was that it should be “safe, legal and rare.”

The Rainbow Mafia and its allies in the media and Democrat Party denigrate any conversation between a therapist and a patient that attempts to address an individual’s own concerns with homosexuality and transgenderism as “conversion therapy.” And while a UCLA study revealed that historical concerns about some of the techniques employed in conversion therapy that began as early as the 1890s are legitimate, LePage made it clear he isn’t endorsing anything that could be construed as abusive. “At no time should such treatment take the form of mental or physical abuse,” he wrote, “and such treatment should always be subject to the statutory requirements of the standard of care for that profession.”

The same study reveals that nine states — California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont — as well as the District of Columbia currently ban conversion therapy. Therapists in those states who employ the practice can be disciplined for doing so. Yet even those states can’t ignore the First Amendment: The laws generally don’t apply to religious or spiritual leaders acting in a religious capacity, provided they are not paid for their services.

The study further notes that opinion polls show a substantial majority of Americans in Florida, Virginia and New Mexico have supported a ban on conversion therapy, and that members of Congress have introduced a bill, The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017, aimed at classifying conversion therapy provided for a fee as consumer fraud.

No doubt it’s indelicate to ask, but who’s attempting to convert whom? Perhaps polls should be taken to find out whether Americans are on board with state-sanctioned ruination of religious Americans’ livelihoods for failing to embrace the homosexual agenda, or teaching the transgender agenda at the kindergarten level in public schools to children — often with no opt-out choice given to parents who don’t want their children indoctrinated with “LGBTQ” propaganda.

Maybe Americans should be asked if they were okay with an Obama administration that mandated the imposition of the transgender agenda absent any input from Congress. Using Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as their vehicle, Obama & Co. threatened to initiate lawsuits, and withhold federal education funds from states that did not give students claiming to be members of the opposite sex access to bathrooms and lockers rooms of their choice. Other entities followed suit, ultimately leading to a 2015 law in Oregon that provides Medicaid coverage for the gamut of transgender treatments, including surgery — regardless of age.

The ultimate abrogation of parental rights regarding this particular type of “conversion therapy”? In Oregon, patients as young as 15 are not required to get parental consent for it. In other words, children can decide on their own to get life-altering vaginoplasties and double mastectomies — but psychotherapy advising them that such drastic measures might not be a good idea is forbidden.

Matt Moonen, executive director of Equality Maine, insists LePage is wrong. “Studies show that this actually causes harm to minors who are subjected to this so-called treatment so this sends a pretty terrible message from the governor to LGBT kids across the state,” he stated.

Here’s a message for kids across the state: Extensive data collated in 2016 by Dr. James Cantor revealed that 60-90% of children who believe they are transgender change their minds when they reach adulthood. Here’s another message: These children attempt suicide at a rate 20 times higher than their peers.

But psychotherapy that might address these realities should be banned?

LePage pointed out that Maine’s legislature, which failed to override his veto, has a decidedly curious outlook with regard to human rights. Led by Democrats last April, they voted against a bill that would have criminalized female genital mutilation (FGM) — as in the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for cultural, rather than medical, reasons. “What we should not be doing is counting potential victims at-risk by counting the number of Somali, Egyptian and Gideon females in immigrant families in Maine. Not unless we are willing to face the racism in that calculation and the racism and misogyny entrenched in so many of us,” declared Democrat State Rep. Charlotte Warren at the time.

How about facing the calculation that progressives will abide barbaric traditions utterly inimical to American values under the rubric of supporting multiculturalism and diversity?

LePage sees the irony in the legislature’s priorities. Yet irony is the wrong word, and California’s legislature reveals why. While Maine legislators would like to see certain conversations banned, California legislators passed a law in 2015 compelling conversations: Pro-life medical clinics were ordered to supply abortion literature to their clients. That law was just overturned (5-4) by the Supreme Court, which viewed the mandate as a violation of free speech.

How can two different state legislatures reach diametrically opposed ideas regarding free speech? Because protecting it comes in a distant second to serving the progressive agenda. And if it takes diametrically opposed and thoroughly misguided positions on the First Amendment to “win by any means necessary,” so be it.

Gov. Paul LePage is one governor who won’t be intimidated by the Rainbow Mafia — at least this time. Here’s hoping there are others.


Facebook ‘tells trainee staff not to take down violent videos’

Just conservative ones

Facebook content moderators are instructed to leave videos of violent abuse on the site to improve user experience, an investigation has found.

When dealing with a graphic violent post, moderators are told that they have three options — ignore it, delete it, or mark it as disturbing, which places restrictions on who can see the content.

Clips showing the “repeated kicking, beating or slapping of a child or an animal by an adult”, “the inflicting of a burn or a cut wound by an adult” or “the tossing, rotating or shaking of an infant too young to stand by their wrists, ankles, legs, arms or neck” are not taken down. Instead they are marked as “disturbing child abuse” and remain accessible to anyone who claims to be over 18.

An undercover reporter for Channel 4’s Dispatches filmed training sessions at CPL Resources in Dublin, Facebook’s largest centre for UK content moderation. Trainees were shown a video of a young boy being stamped on as an example of what type of abuse would be allowed to remain on the platform.

When asked why violent content was left on the site, a moderator told the reporter that it was “for better user experience”. He added that “if you start censoring too much, then people lose interest in the platform . . . It’s all about making money at the end of the day”.

Roger McNamee, a venture capitalist and an early investor in Facebook who has since criticised it, told Dispatches: “From Facebook’s point of view this is, this is just essentially, you know, the crack cocaine of their product. It’s the really extreme, really dangerous form of content that attracts the most highly engaged people on the platform.”

Nicci Astin, who campaigns against child abuse, reported the clip of the boy being stamped on to Facebook in 2012 but was told it did not violate the terms and conditions. It was not removed.

“Initially you see a little tiny boy, he must be about two or three in the video, with a man talking to him and shouting at him,” she told Dispatches. “Then he was hitting him and punching him, he was throwing him about. Then he was stamping and kicking on him. And then obviously the video cut. You’re left with knowing absolutely nothing apart from a sickening feeling that you’ve just seen some man beating up a tiny little boy.”

It emerged that the boy was treated in hospital and his stepfather jailed in Malaysia, where the clip was shot. The video, shared 44,000 times in the first two days of posting, remains online without a graphic content warning.

Facebook told Dispatches that it did escalate such issues and contact the authorities. It said that the video should have been removed.

Richard Allan, vice-president of public policy at Facebook, said: “Shocking content does not make us more money, that’s just a misunderstanding of how the system works. . . People come to Facebook for a safe, secure experience to share content with their family and friends. The vast majority of those two billion people would never dream of sharing content that, like that, to shock and offend people.”

Julian Knight, a Tory member of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, said the revelations were alarming but not surprising and criticised Facebook’s response to the MPs’ questions about extreme content.

In the documentary, to be shown tonight, Facebook bosses also admit that moderators are not allowed to take down pages with many followers, such as that of the far-right activist Tommy Robinson, even if they breach its rules.


In Germany, the 'Immigration' Worm Has Turned

I'm in Berlin at the moment, staying not far from Checkpoint Charlie, through which I passed many times during the Cold War, and not far from the spot where, sledgehammer in hand, I did my small bit to dismantle the Berlin Wall in November of 1989.

So much has changed in the nearly 30 years since that memorable moment: McDonald's and KFC have franchises on either side of the intersection of the Friedrichstrasse and the Zimmerstrasse, where the Wall briefly opened to allow a narrow passage from the American sector's principal checkpoint across a short block flanked on both sides by the Todesstreifen of barbed-wire and machine-gun free-fire fields.

On the western side -- actually the southern side, by the compass -- the fearsome Wall was gaily painted with graffiti; on the other, it was a blank slate of gray concrete, fully reflective of the Stalinist Leftist orthodoxy of the only captive nation that even remotely tried to make a go of the Marxist economic, social, and moral lie.

Now, three decades after the Wall came down, I'm back in East Berlin talking to old and new German friends -- most of them Ossis, or East Germans -- about the current state of Germany's overriding social and political issue: the influx of more than one million cultural aliens, mostly from the Muslim ummah and thus by faith and profession profoundly opposed to Western Judeo-Christian civilization. And their answer is... not good for the Merkel administration.

Since the end of WWII, the German impulse has been to apologize for... well, just about everything since Arminius wiped out the Romans in the Teutoburg Forest in the year 9 AD. And, to be fair, they've had a lot to apologize for. In the western sectors, occupied by the French, the British, and the Americans in the war's aftermath and united to form West Germany, they quickly got their economic system up and running, restored much of the infrastructure that had been obliterated, and got on with the business of building a social democracy that became a model for the rest of Western Europe.

But the restoration of Germany society was in part paid for by the taxpayers of the United States, who supported an enormous military force (upwards of 200,000 military personnel at the time of reunification in 1990) as the U.S. and NATO faced off against the Soviets and the Warsaw Pact nations across Charlie and all over Europe.

Too Late, Germany Realizes Its Mistake

The American presence preserved the peace and, eventually, was critical in the West's victory in the Cold War. But it was bad for Germany in that it gave the Germans the luxury to take the "high moral ground" and abjure their own self-defense while they poured money into social programs. Having been effectively a ward of NATO and America, the Germans unhappily combined their war guilt with the mistaken moral superiority of their newfound pacifism.

The result was that they were completely unprepared for the consequences of their Ossi-raised chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to allow free entry to the "Syrian" "refugees" in 2015, a vast trekking horde of mostly male Muslims of military age from as far away as Afghanistan, who marched on the rich countries of the West, passing through Greece and Hungary and Italy on their way to the greener pastures of France, England, and Germany. Proudly proclaiming a "welcoming culture" and mouthing Merkel's slogan, "Wir shaffen das" (We can handle this), Germany opened its arms to the "diversity" delusion.

What the Germans expected to welcome were people fleeing oppression, and who would abide by German norms of social civility, which include peace and (especially) quiet, who would quickly learn to converse and interact on a sophisticated level -- who would become, in short, exactly like most Germans. What they got was an Islamic rabble wholly uninterested in Germany except how to exploit its hospitality while loudly complaining about it. The molestation of more than a thousand German girls in Cologne by Muslim "refugees" on New Year's Eve in 2015 was the first indication that North African sexual norms were coming to roost in Germany. And while the government has downplayed "migrant" crimes against the local women, the word still gets out and around.

In Germany, the case of a young Muslim refugee charged with the rape and murder of a teenage girl has captured media attention and rocked Germany’s Jewish community: The victim, 14-year-old Susanna Feldmann, was Jewish. Missing since May 22, the girl’s  body was found June 6 buried in a shallow grave near her hometown of Mainz. The case has rattled Germany, which is beset with worries about crime emanating from the large Muslim refugee population — many of whom are young, single men, frustrated and aimless.

While many facts have come out since the body of Susanna Feldmann was found and the suspect was arrested and interrogated, the incident still feeds populist speculation and anger at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who in 2015 opened the door to more than a million refugees from the war-torn Middle East on humanitarian grounds. Many are young, single men between 16 and 30 years old — like Ali Bashar,  the 20-year-old former asylum seeker who admitted killing Susanna.

Now the realization is dawning that few, if any, of Mutti Merkel's kinder are going to turn into Germans or become assimilated into the host culture. The realization has been delayed by the international media's cultural-Marxist insistence on conflating citizenship with ethnic nationality and declaring there is no difference between them. This may be true in the United States, which is unique among nations, but most definitely is not in continental Europe, where the modern nation-state first evolved; in Germany, the jus sanguinis made possible the prompt repatriations of the Volga Germans -- whose families had lived in Russia for hundreds of years -- after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, until 1990 when Germany introduced a very limited form of birthright citizenship, children of foreigners born and raised in Germany had no call on German citizenship at all.

It's not a conclusion most Germans are comfortable with, but as the gap between fantasy and reality widens, inevitable conclusions are being reached. Merkel's recent climbdown on "immigration" may have temporarily saved her administration, but it's only a matter of time before she falls, to be replaced with someone who realizes "Wir kann das nicht schaffen."

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who staked her legacy on welcoming hundreds of thousands of migrants into Germany, agreed on Monday to build border camps for asylum seekers and to tighten the border with Austria in a political deal to save her government. It was a spectacular turnabout for a leader who has been seen as the standard-bearer of the liberal European order but who has come under intense pressure at home from the far right and from conservatives in her governing coalition over her migration policy.

Although the move to appease the conservatives exposed her growing political weakness, Ms. Merkel will limp on as chancellor. For how long is unclear. The nationalism and anti-migrant sentiment that has challenged multilateralism elsewhere in Europe is taking root — fast — in mainstream German politics.

Ms. Merkel agreed to the latest policy after an insurrection over migration policy led by her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, threatened to bring down her coalition. Mr. Seehofer demanded that Germany block migrants at the border if they have no papers, or have already registered in another European country. Ms. Merkel, who supports free movement across Europe’s borders, has been opposed to any moves effectively resurrecting border controls until Monday night, when she made the deal to stay in power.

Anyone who's ever spent a week in Germany -- and I've spent a good deal of my life here -- could have known that Merkel's social experiment in soft-headed egalitarianism was doomed to failure. The Islamic invasion of the West is succeeding in places like France, where it has taken advantage of the French civic dogma of laïcité and the residual anti-Christian sentiment of the French Revolution, first by having the religious trappings of Islam ignored and now, as the Muslim population grows, by forcing the French to take notice of their faith and demanding its open expression in contravention of French law.

Meanwhile in Britain, the church founded by Henry VIII in a fit of pique, and currently presided over by a 92-year-woman, looks to be on its last legs except in a strictly ceremonial sense; into this spiritual void has rushed the former colonials of Africa and Pakistan, bringing vibrant Islam with them.

Whether the Germans are made of sterner stuff than the Brits and the French remains to be seen. Certainly, everyone is trying to tread as lightly as possible, tiptoeing around the unpleasant truths while trying to avoid the even-more-unpleasant consequences of Merkel's folly. At this point, the best that can be hoped for is a halt to further invasion, rapid processing of the alleged "asylum" seekers and speedy repatriation of those found to be unqualified, even under the generosity of the German constitution's Asylrecht -- which has already undergone a considerable rollback since 1993.

It's important to remember that the Germans have seen this movie before, starring the Turks, who came as Gastarbeiter in the 1960s and, rather than returning home the way the Spanish, Greeks and Italian guest workers largely did, stayed in Germany to evolve a parallel society in which they stayed Muslim and Turkish. But the non-assimilation of a new, restive group of militant Muslims who've arrived not in search of a job but of a handout, is a whole new order of magnitude for Germany.

How will they react? With the Wall now gone for longer than it was up, Germans still shudder at the memory and don't wish for Checkpoint Charlie to reappear in the form of restrictive immigration policies. But that Wall was built by the Communists, and meant to keep the East Germans in, whereas the nationalist movements now sweeping Europe want to keep Islam out -- the way they have since the Battle of Lepanto and the Gates of Vienna. The Germans are going to have to decide, and quickly, which side of the Wall they're looking at it. The future of Europe depends on it.


Australian judge bans niqab in court's public gallery

A Victorian judge has banned a woman whose husband is facing terrorism charges from wearing a niqab in court, saying it posed a potential security risk.

The woman applied through her husband’s lawyers to wear the face veil, which she said was a “a fundamental way in which she observes her faith”, while sitting in the public gallery to support him through the six-week trial.

She said she had been permitted to wear the niqab during a committal hearing in the magistrates court and was willing to show her face to security guards manning the metal detector and weapons check at the court entrance to verify her identity.

But the supreme court judge Christopher Beale said the risk of a mistrial or other incident caused by “misbehaving” in the public gallery would be heightened if a person could not be instantly identified because their face was covered, and ruled that the risk outweighed the infringement upon the woman’s right to freedom of religious expression.

“Deterrence, identification and proof are all served by a requirement that spectators in the public gallery have their faces uncovered,” he said in a decision handed down on Monday.

Beale said lawyers for the accused had indicated there were other women who would also wear niqabs in court if permission were granted, which would further confuse identity issues because “such dress tends to be very similar”.

Lawyers for the woman argued that she did not pose a security risk and would abide by all court orders, but Beale said the stress felt by people accused of serious crimes was often shared by family members and that “as a consequence of that stress, incidents happen from time to time in court”.

“Australia is obviously a multicultural society and I agree that religious dress should be accommodated as much as possible, but the right of religious freedom and the right to participate in public life are not absolutes,” Beale said in his decision.

He said the Victorian charter of human rights recognised that rights “may be subject to limitations which can be ‘demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom’”.

Lawyers for the woman said there was an implied right of wear a veil when not giving evidence, citing a number of cases in Commonwealth countries.

Those cases generally concerned whether a person was able to wear religious facial coverings while giving evidence and did not contest a person’s right to wear religious attire when not on the stand. Among them is a ruling by the New South Wales court of appeal concerning a civil damages trial against NSW police, which upheld the trial judge’s ruling that the complainant could not wear her niqab while giving evidence.

“A requirement that spectators have their faces uncovered is not to force anyone to act immodestly,” Beale said. “First, the exposure of one’s face in a courtroom cannot reasonably be viewed as an immodest act: subjective views to the contrary cannot rule the day, or the management of a courtroom.

“Second, if someone feels strongly that it would be improper for them to uncover their face in court, they can choose not to attend.”

He said the trial could be livestreamed to another room in the court building to allow the woman to follow it if she chose not to remove her veil.

The Victorian equal opportunity and human rights commissioner, Kristen Hilton, said religious and cultural rights were protected under Victorian law, and that those rights also applied in a courtroom.

“Victorian law is clear that when courts are acting in an administrative way – such as making decisions about procedure in the courtroom – they must consider and act compatibly with human rights,” Hilton said.

“The law allows for restrictions on human rights, such as restricting a person’s right to observe their religion or culture through what they wear, but limits are only justified where there is clear evidence the limit is reasonable.”



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, July 18, 2018

UK Cathedral Had Man Arrested For the 'Disturbance' of Reading the Bible

Last month, British police arrested a man for reading the Bible outside of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. The police officer asked the preacher to move off of Cathedral property, at the request of church staff. When the man refused, he was arrested for a "breach of the peace." In a statement to PJ Media, the Cathedral defended its actions, but went on to say that it worked out a deal with the preacher to allow him to read the Bible going forward.

"Why am I having a problem reading the Bible, the Word of God, when the Lord has told me to read the Bible here?" the preacher asked the policeman in a video of the incident.

"Security staff here have asked me to move you off the property," the cordial policeman replied. "Staff here have asked you to leave." The officer suggested that all the preacher needed to do was move a few feet. "All you need to do to save any kind of breach of the peace and anyone getting in any trouble is to move your location."

To this, the preacher refused. "Then we're going to have to arrest you for breach of the peace," the officer responded.

"Yeah, you'll have to do that to me. You'll have to take me in, because I'm not moving," the Bible reader responded. "The Lord has asked me to read the Bible here. These people need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. You're not allowing them to hear it."

The preacher went on. "This Bible is all I'm reading. It's the King James Bible, which is authorized by the Queen."

Later, the Bible reader became more belligerent. "You are trespassing on God's authority," he told the policeman. "I am telling you, sir — I know you're police, I appreciate your work — I am not committing a crime. I am giving the word of God and that is not a crime."

As the preacher turned back to read the Bible, the policeman arrested him, and a woman filming the encounter asked, "Are you saying reading the Bible is breaching the peace?"

The Cathedral argued that it was breaching the peace, but not because he was reading the Bible.

"In order to provide a prayerful and safe space for all, including on the Cathedral's land at the entrances to the building, St. Paul's Cathedral has a policy of limiting any form of public protest, demonstration, preaching or other source of disturbance to people outside the Cathedral," a St. Paul's spokesperson told PJ Media on Thursday.

"The Chapter's policy is to allow a short interval and then ask the person to desist, and to involve the police if they refuse to stop or to move off the Cathedral's land," the spokesperson added.

Then the Cathedral spokesperson directly addressed the incident. "The police are supportive of this policy and on one occasion briefly arrested a man who had persistently returned to read loudly passages from the Bible because he was refusing to respond to police requests from Cathedral staff to move on."

The Cathedral made peace with the street preacher afterwards. "After this incident, the man concerned had a meeting with one of the Cathedral clergy, following which Chapter agreed to suspend its policy for this particular person so that he could read the Bible, as requested, for half an hour outside the Cathedral once a week."

The Cathedral ended its statement by insisting that it upholds the Bible. "the Bible, including the King James version, is read within the Cathedral at every one of the four weekday services, five on Sundays," the statement concluded.

Last October, on the 500th anniversary of Reformation leader Martin Luther nailing the "95 Theses" to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, conservative Anglicans protesting the British church's growing acceptance of same-sex marriage and homosexual activity. Both practices contradict clear Bible teachings.

"When the church redefines sin and eliminates repentance, it can no longer offer the good news of eternal salvation from sin in Jesus; the church no longer remains distinctly Christian; it is no longer salt and light in the world," the Reformation-style declaration read.

"Where leaders refuse to repent and submit themselves to the Word of God, the Lord raises up new leadership for His church and new structures: just as He did through Martin Luther 500 years ago," the statement ominously declared.

One of these protest documents appeared on the doors of St. Paul's Cathedral, which was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1867 and remains the second-largest church building in Britain. A symbol of British identity, St. Paul's hosted the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher.

Following the unbiblical trend in favor of LGBT issues, St. Paul's Cathedral has an LGBTQ ministry called "Integrity." In 2012, the new dean of St. Paul's, Rev. Dr. David Ison, said the Church of England should embrace gay marriage.

No, Jimmy Carter, Jesus Wouldn't 'Approve of Gay Marriage'
"We need to take seriously people's desire for partnership and make sure that the virtues that you see in married relationships are available to people who are gay," Ison declared. "You can regard two Christian gay people as wanting to have the virtues of Christian marriage." He also insisted that gay couples should be allowed to adopt children.

It remains unclear whether this street preacher who insisted on reading the Bible is part of the same protest movement regarding St. Paul's Cathedral's acceptance of LGBT identity, but given the Cathedral's original hostility to him and given his insistence on reading the Bible as if it were not being preached there, it stands to reason.


Gun policy climbdown

Earlier this month, a long-running legal dispute between a self-described anarchist and the US government was finally settled. The outcome will have significant ramifications in the United States and potentially even the rest of the planet.

But let’s step back for a sec.

This all started with a guy called Cody Wilson. He runs a company called Defense Distributed that makes 3D guns and shares the blueprints so that anybody can download them in their own homes.

The US State Department took legal steps in 2013 to stop Cody’s company from operating, saying it violated international traffic and arms regulations - basically, firearm exportation laws.

Cody and the Second Amendment Foundation - a gun rights group - fought the restrictions by saying that it violated two parts of the US constitution - the right to own a gun and the right to free speech, which they argued was implied in the sharing of the gun blueprints.

Last week, the US State Department settled its case with Cody and the Foundation, dropping its claims that posting the blueprints online violates export laws.

“Under terms of the settlement, the government has agreed to waive its prior restraint against the plaintiffs, allowing them to freely publish the 3D files and other information at issue,” the Second Amendment Foundation said in a statement

The government will also pay back a “significant proportion” of the lawyer’s fees used to fight the case for the last five years, the Foundation said.

Cody did not respond to Hack’s request for interview, and the Second Amendment Foundation declined a similar request.
What does this actually mean?

The settlement creates a big roadblock for any further attempts at gun control in the US. If people can simply download a blueprint and print it at home, restrictions on the physical manufacture and sale of weapons may become obsolete.

In fact, just months after going live, Cody’s website had 400,000 downloads. That was back in 2013, when 3D wasn’t as advanced as it is now.

Cody, who described himself as a “principled anarchist”, says he’s making a deliberate political statement in opening up gun manufacturing for everybody.


Military Vets of Another War: On Gender

While the two parties get ready to rumble over Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement, there’ll be no argument over one thing: just how important the courts have become. Republicans and Democrats may be animated over President Trump’s SCOTUS pick, Brett Kavanaugh, but it’s because they all agree — the courts’ decisions are affecting every facet of American life. And the latest debate at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is living proof.

With the exception of Barack Obama and his administration, there aren’t a whole lot of Americans clamoring to spend their taxpayer dollars on gender reassignment surgeries. The 44th president did his best to force the issue, insisting the VA, HHS, and Defense Department make these procedures the newest (and most controversial) obligation of unwilling Americans. Then, to our great relief, voters elected Donald Trump — many, based on his pledge that he would do away with the radical social experimentation of his predecessor.

Fortunately, they didn’t have to wait long. The new commander-in-chief rolled back the transgender policy in the military and did his best to put the brakes on the fierce debate over taxpayer-funded sex changes. Everything was going according to plan — until the courts got involved. At least two military veterans decided to sue the Trump administration into an all-expenses-paid gender transition (which, if you ask medical professionals, hasn’t proven effective in treating serious mental health conditions like this one). Now, thanks to the courts, the VA is under significant pressure to reconsider its position on covering gender reassignment surgeries for vets.

Last Friday, the VA put out its first official “feelers” on the issue with a request for public comment. And while liberals insist that the department is just “going through the motions,” there’s no telling what the activist courts (which have become quite fond of stripping this president of his constitutional authority) will demand next. The VA did point out that the Defense Department memo on the president’s transgender policy “noted considerable scientific uncertainty and overall lack of high quality scientific evidence demonstrating the extent to which transition-related treatments, such as sex reassignment surgery remedy the multifaceted mental health problems associated with gender dysphoria.”

That’s certainly in keeping with the latest research from Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, both of which wrote in JAMA that despite what the sexual extremists might say, there’s absolutely no conclusive evidence that procedures like gender reassignment are actually helping people. (Obama’s CDC admitted as much in 2016.) In fact, part of the VA’s hesitation is spelled out in its public comment page. One of the questions asked is: “Given the challenge of the high rates of Veteran suicide, what does the evidence, including peer-reviewed evidence, suggest about the impact of gender alterations on the rates of suicide and suicide ideation among those suffering from gender dysphoria?”

FRC’s Peter Sprigg knows the answer to that one. In several of his papers, he cites a very important 2011 Swedish study, which showed that even AFTER having gender reassignment surgery, people who identify as transgender had a suicide rate 19 times higher than the general population. That completely undermines Obama’s suggestion that giving people who identify as transgender everything they ask for will do anything to reduce their suicide rate. On the contrary, extreme policies like this one come at the expense of the population they claim to help!

Then, of course, there’s the sky-high price tag (which the other side denies). “It’s just a ridiculous argument that this is going to be some costly issue that they have to cover,” said Sasha Buchert, the attorney representing the veterans. But, as Peter has pointed out, it’s not as ridiculous as Sasha thinks! Male-to-female surgery would cost a whopping $110,450 per person, and female-to-male up to $89,050. And that doesn’t include the rounds of pre- and post-hormone therapy!

When America’s heroes can’t even get the routine care they need, surely we can think of a better investment than this one — a radical procedure that too many patients live to regret


Boys and girls ARE very different -- and only feminists would be warped enough to claim otherwise

Outnumbered: Parents reveal what it's like when their entire brood is the opposite sex, including a disappointed father who spent thousands trying to get his girls interested in football

All parents struggle with the demands of family life from time to time. But spare a thought for those who aren't just overwhelmed — they're also hopelessly outnumbered in terms of gender.

Whether it's a mum of all boys or a father with lots of little girls, it can be lonely when you're the only representative of your sex in the family. So, do the outnumbered parents secretly yearn for a child made more in their image, or would they never have it any other way? And what do they say to strangers who ask if they're going to try again for that elusive boy or girl baby?

Jamie Crawford, 40, is a business owner and lives in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, with his wife Frances, 32, a civil servant. They have four daughters, Ella, eight, Faye, six, Juliet, three, and Cora, seven months.

Jamie says: At the gym I'm teased for only producing girls. But I laugh along because I genuinely couldn't be happier to be a dad of daughters. I don't feel less of a man because I don't have a son, although I know that attitude still exists.

At work, customers are always asking me when Frances and I are going to try for a boy. They can't believe our family is complete without one.

But I grew up the youngest of four boys, and I've got lots of male friends. I don't need a boy at home, too!

Since Ella was born I've been on a steep learning curve in all things female. Sometimes I can't believe the things I know — like how you only put conditioner on the ends of your hair to stop it getting greasy, and which outfits go on what dolls.

Quite often, after dropping the older girls at school, I'll find myself singing along to their Frozen CD, forgetting it's just me in the car. I know all the words! I can be in and out of the bathroom in ten minutes flat, and as the girls become teenagers I suspect I'll be allowed even less time.

I don't want to turn into an over-protective dad, but I know the world can be a dangerous place, especially for young women — so I'm planning to teach them all self-defence.

I was actually relieved when we found out we were having a fourth girl last year. A boy would have been smothered by three big sisters, it just wouldn't have been fair. We've no plans to try for a fifth, our family is definitely complete.

Wife Frances says: With each pregnancy all I cared about was that the baby was healthy — not its gender. But by the time Cora came along we'd decided to find out early what we were having, because I couldn't bear the incessant 'you must be hoping for a boy' comments.

The only downside is that because they like the same toys and TV shows, there's a tendency to lump them together. I have to remind myself to give them enough one-on-one attention.

Claire Rocks, 33, lives in Darlington with her husband Matthew, 41. They run a childcare business and have five sons, Cameron, 15, Harvey, 12, McKenzie, seven, Caelan, five, and Cohen, three.

Claire says: I live in a world of superheroes and smelly socks, and keeping the fridge stocked is a daily struggle. We get through eight loaves and 24 pints of milk a week. As I'm just 5ft 1in it's a matter of time until I'm the smallest in the house.

I get cross, though, when people make assumptions about my boys. Everyone presumes the house is chaotic and boisterous, with Matthew and I more like referees than parents. I hate those negative stereotypes, because it's how you raise children that dictates their behaviour, not their gender. My sons may argue, like all siblings, but they don't fight — I simply wouldn't tolerate it.

I'm quite a firm mum. They are the men of the future and I'm raising them to respect and value women, and to be gentlemen.

I found out with each pregnancy what I was having but only because I'm impatient. I was never disappointed. We did pay for an extra private scan with my last pregnancy, though, because neither of us could believe it was a fifth boy. A part of me assumed we were due a girl after four sons! I know there are things I won't get to experience, such as girly days out with a daughter and helping to plan her wedding.

But then I see the amazing relationship the boys have, and I know this is the right dynamic for me.

Husband Matthew says: We've been asked so many times if we are going to try for a daughter. I can't understand why people feel our family is less than perfect, as it's just right for us. I even think dads who don't have sons might envy me a bit — having five boys is brilliant.

We did consider a sixth baby, but decided five was enough. If we had a daughter now it would be a shock.

Daniel Nutkins, 36, lives in Harlow, Essex, with wife Gemma, 34, and they are health coaches for a nutrition company. They have four girls, Lois, ten, Jamie, nine, Taylor, seven, and Thea, 22 months.

Daniel says: When Gemma was pregnant with our youngest, she kept saying she felt different and was convinced it was a boy. Deep down, I hoped she was right because I knew that was my last chance to have the son I've always dreamed of. When Thea was born I was thrilled, but a boy would've been wonderful, too.

I've spent thousands of pounds trying to interest the girls in football, which is my passion. I've tried everything from pink Arsenal strips to training camps and trips to matches, but none of them has any interest.

So I've resigned myself to playing shops, beauty salons and hairdressers. I even had my hair cut short because I was sick of them 'styling' it for me!

Recently I went to see my GP with a sore ankle. As I took off my shoe and sock to be examined, I remembered too late that the girls had insisted on painting my toenails with glitter polish. He was very surprised.

But when I'm snuggled up on the sofa with my daughters, I couldn't be happier. I love all the cuddles I get.

Wife Gemma says: When I see families with just boys I feel relieved I had girls, as I think they're calmer and easier to manage. I love dressing them all the same, they get so much attention when we're out and it looks adorable. I'll be sad when they refuse to let me!

Becky McCall, 42, is a full-time mum. She lives in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, with husband Richard, 43, chief operating officer of a London brokerage firm, and their four sons, Noah, 12, Ethan, 11, and twins Jacob and Isaac, seven.

Becky says: When we tried for a third child, I did think it would be nice to have a girl after years of toy trains and cars, but Richard was sure it would be a boy. He's one of three brothers, and was convinced we'd only have boys, too.

Then we found out it was twins — and the shock eclipsed the news they were also both boys. I decided it was for the best after all, because boys are all I know.

Still, when Richard and the boys are huddled around their latest Lego creation, I crave female company. Someone to watch Mary Poppins with, or just browse the shops.

Instead I have spent a lot of time hunting for insects in the garden and watching sport. I realised early on you have to exhaust boys or they get up to mischief, and they rarely sit still.

I've lost count of the trips to A&E with broken bones and cuts needing stitches. While friends' daughters will chat about their day at school, I'm more likely to get a grunt and a one-word answer.

But it's totally worth it. Walking down the street surrounded by my handsome sons, I feel like such a proud mother.

I love that we can do everything as a family because the boys like the same things.

Husband Richard says: I'd have loved a daughter. but it's tougher on Becky. With a girl, the house would feel more balanced. But as a father to four sons I feel very lucky.

Jamie Hallworth, 29, lives in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, with his wife Lauren, 29, who works in the NHS, and their daughters Lacey, eight, Bryleigh, five, and two-year-old twins Tilly and Heidi.

Jamie says: Sitting in a Saturday morning ballet class, I do marvel at how my life has changed. I've swapped football with friends for tutus and pirouettes.

I really wanted a son. Someone to kick a ball about with and to carry on my family name, because both my sisters plan to change theirs when they get married.

With our first baby, I hardly had time to think about whether I wanted a girl or a boy — it was so busy and exciting. But the second time around, when the 20-week scan revealed it was a girl, I admit there was a flicker of disappointment. At that stage we weren't planning to have more children, and I thought my last chance for a son had gone.

When we decided to try again, and Lauren became pregnant, I thought maybe it would be third time's a charm! But it wasn't to be, and Lauren and I agreed it was probably better as our home was so girl-orientated by then.

I've learned it's all about the details when you have girls. They must have the right coloured hair bows, and if one gets a French plait I have to do one for all of them!

We can't leave the house without being bombarded with comments from passers-by. Some of the best were: 'Is that why you lost your hair?' 'Do you have two bathrooms?' and 'They must cost you a fortune!' I just laugh along.

People tell me that when girls are older they stay closer than boys do, and I hope that's true. I see the bond Lauren has with her mum and I want to be as close to the girls when they grow up.

Wife Lauren says: I tell Jamie he was destined to be surrounded by women! I was desperate for our first baby to be a girl, because I'm an only child and very close to my mum, so I really wanted that bond with my own daughter.

I did feel a bit disappointed each time for Jamie, as I knew he'd have loved a son. Practically though, it's so much easier only having one gender. They're such a little pink pack, I couldn't be happier.



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