Monday, August 08, 2022



First Disney, Now PayPal: DeSantis Takes Matters Into His Own Hands, Defeats Another Woke Giant

For years, the woke CEOs running many of America’s biggest companies spat in the faces of their conservative customers, force-feeding them partisan, anti-American messaging. Thanks to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, many such CEOs are now thinking twice. After all, no one wants to become the next Disney.

Unfortunately for the wokesters running PayPal, that’s exactly what happened. Florida’s Voice reported that Moms for Liberty, a conservative non-profit that advocates for parental rights in schools, has received many of its donations through PayPal.

On July 15, while DeSantis was giving a speech at the Moms for Liberty National Summit, the organization’s co-founder, Tina Descovich, received a notification from the company. The Moms for Liberty accounts had been frozen.

“While he’s speaking, I started getting emails … that PayPal has stopped processing one by one all of our monthly donors,” Descovich said, according to Florida’s Voice.

That’s when PayPal decided to pull what appears to be a very dirty trick.

“PayPal told Descovich that they could not operate on the platform until the IRS approved the organization’s paperwork. However, Descovich said [that] PayPal had already accepted the paperwork they filed with the IRS, which is backlogged, in January of 2021,” Florida’s Voice reported.

Over the course of several days, Descovich attempted to set things straight with the company to no avail. PayPal refused to release the money that belonged to Moms for Liberty.

And that’s when DeSantis proved yet again to be the strongest leader in American politics.

During a news conference on Wednesday, DeSantis announced he would be launching an initiative to “prohibit big banks, credit card companies and money transmitters from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs.”

Then, all of a sudden, PayPal released Moms for Liberty’s funds.

“Last week Tina Descovich, Co-Founder of [Moms for Liberty], shared that PayPal locked their account and withheld funds with no warning or justification. Days after our event, their funds were released. Florida has put WOKE banking on notice,” DeSantis tweeted on Monday.

Descovich believes PayPal backtracked in direct response to DeSantis’ announcement. “I do think it helps. I have no other explanation why I have no messages from PayPal that they reversed anything. I have not sent them any more documents to change the status,” Descovich said. “So the only thing I have to point to is that they saw the governor’s press conference and decided to change their minds.”

This isn’t the first time DeSantis has chosen to take action when no one else would.

On April 22, the Florida governor signed a bill effectively terminating the Walt Disney Company’s special tax district surrounding the famous Orlando theme park. DeSantis did so in direct response to Disney’s inappropriate LGBT agenda and partisan political posturing.

This decisive action created a significant ripple effect. According to a May 1 report from The Wall Street Journal, in response to the bill, many American CEOs began reconsidering involving their companies in politics.

This victory over PayPal will likely have a similar effect. It’s very clear: Ron DeSantis has put the fear of God into woke CEOs.

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Red States Engage in All-Out Assault on Woke Banks: 'We're Not Going to Pay for Our Own Destruction'

Energy-producing states in America are fighting back against banks that are lining up against the economic lifeblood.

As major banks are supporting anti-fossil-fuel policies and so-called environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, states such as West Virginia are refusing to do business with them.

“We’re not going to pay for our own destruction, we’re not going to subsidize that,” West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore told Fox Business recently.

West Virginia has put five financial firms — including BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase — into timeout, barring state agencies from doing business with them, because the banks all called for limiting their connections to the fossil fuel industry – a sector that paid $769 million in West Virginia state taxes.

Moore said the state is fighting fire with fire.

“They have weaponized our tax dollars against the very people and industry that have generated them to begin with. That is why we’re pushing back against this ESG movement,” he said, noting that U.S. Bancorp changed its tune of any such ban and stayed off the banned bank list.

West Virginia is the first to act but soon might have a lot of company.

“We’ve really seen, frankly, a weaponization of capital by some of the largest banks and fund managers in the world,” said Derek Kreifels, CEO of the State Financial Officers Foundation. “If you want to make social change in this country, we have a democratic process that you should utilize to get that done.”

Kreifels said states are forming an alliance to flex their collective muscle.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar has asked banks for their fossil fuel investment policies as Texas compiles a list in response to a new law.

Kentucky and Oklahoma also are compiling lists.

Officials in Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Louisiana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas and North Dakota are looking at ways to deal with banks that will not do business with the fossil-fuel sector.

“These industries are economically integral to Kentucky,” a spokesman for State Treasurer Allison Ball told Fox Business. “They provide jobs for Kentuckians, fuel commutes and the supply chain, and keep the lights on. We want to support these signature industries.

“We hope we have sent the message that if you won’t do business with Kentucky, we won’t do business with you.”

Said Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis: “For years now, the cult of ESG economic activists has been working overtime to infuse unwanted, woke ideology into the American economic system because they know their social policies wouldn’t pass the sniff test from voters.

“It’s anti-American, anti-freedom — a deliberate attempt to subvert our democracy and not in the best interest of Florida businesses, retirees or investors.”

South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis Loftis said he will battle what he termed “out-of-state or international activists and institutions.”

“I will not allow these wealthy and powerful elites to supplant the voices of our citizens and the decisions of their elected representatives,” Loftis said.

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Democrat Senate nominee has created a false persona for himself

In his ads, and much of the public imagination, John Fetterman is a tattooed everyman from a rugged steel city outside Pittsburgh.

The phrase “blue collar tough guy” flashes across one of his TV ads as a grim-faced Fetterman poses before billowing smokestacks. A narrator says, “He’s looked different and been different his entire life.”

That persona has long irked Republicans, who say Fetterman’s distinctive visual cues leave an impression that he’s more working class — and more moderate — than he really is. Now, as Fetterman campaigns as Pennsylvania’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, Republicans are aiming to challenge his story and undercut one of his greatest political strengths. They say his image obscures his roots in a comfortable, suburban family that provided his financial security deep into adulthood.

Public records show — and Fetterman has openly acknowledged — that for a long stretch lasting well into his 40s, his main source of income came from his parents, who gave him and his family $54,000 in 2015 alone. That was part of the financial support his parents regularly provided when Fetterman’s only paying work was $150 a month as mayor of Braddock, a job he held from his mid-30s until he turned 49. Partway through his tenure, in 2013, he moved to an industrial-style loft he purchased from his sister for $1 after she paid $70,000 for it six years earlier.

“He’s a pretend populist,” Republican Senate nominee Mehmet Oz, an ultra-wealthy TV star, said in a recent interview on Fox News. “Many folks think it’s because of the way he dresses with his hoodies and his shorts that he’s been working his whole life. It’s quite the opposite.”

Fetterman, 52, grew up, in his own words, in a “cushy” environment in York County. His upbringing helped him get an MBA from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree from Harvard without taking on student debt. He got his undergraduate degree at Albright College in Reading.

Fetterman now earns $217,610 as lieutenant governor, a job he started in 2019, and his family’s assets top $700,000. His parents supported him financially for nearly all of his 13 years as mayor, aid that he says allowed him to devote himself to public service. He no longer receives that assistance, his campaign said. The campaign did not answer when asked if the $54,000 disclosed from 2015 was typical of his parents’ aid.

Fetterman has long acknowledged his parents’ support. He has said he could have continued living a comfortable life with a lucrative job but made an abrupt change to dedicate himself to people who were less fortunate — including mentoring an orphaned child, leading a program to help high school dropouts, and eventually becoming mayor of Braddock, a hard-hit steel town. He made little money doing so and disclosed his parents’ aid during his 2016 Senate run, even when he wasn’t required to.

“John has spent his career rolling up his sleeves and fighting for forgotten people and communities in Pennsylvania,” said Fetterman spokesperson Joe Calvello, contrasting the Democrat with the “ultra-millionaire” Oz.

Fetterman “has dedicated his life to public service and helping others,” Calvello said. “John had a good job with a good paycheck but gave it up to focus on serving the forgotten communities in Pennsylvania.”

Fetterman’s rugged image and blunt style have underpinned his rise from mayor to lieutenant governor and, now, Democratic nominee in one of the country’s most crucial Senate races. They even got him featured in Rolling Stone (”The Mayor of Hell”) and a Levi’s ad campaign.

While Fetterman’s suburban childhood and his parents’ financial assistance have been reported many times, Republicans say they’ve been obscured by his blue-collar branding.

Some liken his persona to a pro wrestling gimmick, with a look (once Dickies work shirts, now hoodies and gym shorts), origin story, and incessant trolling. Republicans hope his image wilts under the intensity and scrutiny of Fetterman’s first major general election battle.

“John Fetterman is not who he seems to be. He is a sheep in wolf’s clothing,” said David Urban, a longtime Republican strategist in the state. “Nobody’s ever laid a glove on him.”

Added Bill Bretz, chairman of the Westmoreland County GOP in Southwestern Pennsylvania: “We need to debunk the mythos that he’s created about himself and talk about the platform that he has.”

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Former Australian governor-general Peter Hollingworth faces judgment day over sex abuse crisis

The treatment of Peter Hollingworth has been monstrous. A genuinely holy man has been given great anguish only because he was not politically correct. I did not know him well but I have spoken with him, shaken his hand and observed his joyous leadership of a eucharistic procession. And I have no doubt that he is a genuine Christian, a rarity in the Anglican episcopate.

His offence was to adopt a proper judicial attitude towards a serious accusation against one of of his priests. That was a great secular sin. Accusations of sexual abuse are expected by the Leftist press to be believed without question. In such matters the presumption of innocence is thrown out the window

He was a proper servant of his God in acting as he did. As it says in Deuteronomy 1:17: "Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s"


Time is running out for Peter Hollingworth over the child sex abuse crisis and Beth Heinrich wants him to be judged by his church with a biblical sense of urgency.

The former governor-general’s theological licence to officiate in basic tasks such as delivering sermons and overseeing family church events in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne has not been renewed but this is only a small part of a much bigger problem he faces.

The Anglican investigative body Kooyoora is inching closer to deciding whether Dr Hollingworth, 87, should be stripped of holy orders – defrocked – after several complaints about his conduct while archbishop of Brisbane in the late 1980s and 90s and his comments as governor-general.

Multiple victims of church abuse – like Ms Heinrich, who was abused at a hostel as a teenager in the 1950s by an Anglican minister – are relentlessly pursuing Dr Hollingworth, her victim impact statement to the inquiry a shattering account of how she was groomed and then abused from the age of 14 in NSW.

Dr Hollingworth’s reputation was battered in 2002 when he suggested Ms Heinrich, at the time of the offending a child at a boarding school, had instigated sex with disgraced Anglican minister Donald Shearman.

Ms Heinrich is preparing to write a book on the intimate details of how she says Dr Hollingworth and others intensified her pain, testing her will to live and destroying her relationship with the church she loved.

“You are looking at me and perhaps I look OK on the outside, but that’s not how I feel,” Ms Heinrich’s statement prepared for the Kooyoora tribunal reads.

“If I allowed myself to be me I would have to start cutting my arms to show people how much I was hurting. I am afraid to be me because it hurts too much. I feel like I am someone else.”

While Dr Hollingworth mulls what logic and fairness suggests must be the looming end of the years-long Kooyoora inquiry, Ms Heinrich wants the elderly bishop held to account for his failures, blasting the prolonged nature of the investigation.

“Of course none of this dragged out drama is necessary,” she writes. “It can easily be solved. He should find the integrity, finally do the right thing and quietly resign.”

Dr Hollingworth was never an abuser, but was exposed falling short of basic community standards in his handling of the crisis.

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My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Sunday, August 07, 2022



FDA Slaps Warning on Puberty Blockers

Puberty blockers earned a warning label from the Food and Drug Administration earlier this month after six minors (ages 5-12) experienced severe symptoms. The puberty blockers in question are known scientifically as “gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) substances.”

The minors, who were all biologically female, suffered from symptoms of “pseudotumor cerebri” (tumor-like masses in the brain), including visual disturbances (seeing bright lights that aren’t there), headache or vomiting, papilledema (swelling of the optic nerve), increased blood pressure, and abducens neuropathy (eye paralysis).

“We’re just going to keep seeing more bad reports,” Jennifer Bauwens, Family Research Council’s director of the Center for Family Studies and a licensed clinical psychologist, told The Washington Stand. “Our bodies were not made for these drugs.” So, the unscientific campaign to push these drugs on children “isn’t going to have a good outcome.”

Bauwens said she was “a little surprised” by the FDA’s announcement because the medical establishment has suppressed information regarding the harmful effects of puberty blockers.

Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics forbade the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine from exhibiting at its annual conference, rejecting its application without explanation, while L’Oreal, the National Peanut Board, and Infinity Massage Chairs were accepted.

At the 2021 conference, 80% of American Academy of Pediatrics members supported a resolution calling for “more debate and discussion of the risks, benefits, and uncertainties inherent in the practice of medically transitioning minors,” but such discussion has not been forthcoming.

This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics “is suppressing support” for a similar resolution that calls for “rigorous systematic review of evidence and policy update for management of pediatric gender dysphoria,” according to Genspect, a group that supports “an evidence-based approach to gender distress.”

“At the same time, there comes a point when they [the FDA] have to do something,” continued Bauwens. “We already have studies showing the negative effects of both puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones,” but “any time we see more evidence and more publicity on the damage that these drugs do to kids, it’s helpful.”

She added, “Good science is on our side. Truth is on our side. Those things always prevail when given the opportunity.”

While Bauwens believes the FDA’s warning for puberty blockers is good news, she doesn’t think this is the end of the debate.

In treating minors experiencing gender dysphoria, “the medical side will change faster than the psychological side,” she explained. “The medical side deals with physical realities where solid data is difficult to ignore. The psychological side is far more abstract and has been more completely captured by the mistaken notions of identity that gave rise to the transgender movement.”

What the FDA’s warning does show, explained Bauwens, is that it’s “very disingenuous for someone like Rachel Levine to stand up and say, ‘This is lifesaving medical care.’ It’s dangerous.”

As assistant secretary of health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Levine said last month, “Gender-affirming care is lifesaving, medically necessary, age-appropriate, and a critical tool for health care providers.”

According to Bauwens, and now the FDA, Levine’s rhetoric is simply not true.

https://www.dailysignal.com/2022/07/28/fda-slaps-warning-on-puberty-blockers/ ?

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The New Age of Orwellianism

Community organizer and left-wing social activist Saul Alinsky wrote, in his 1971 book “Rules for Radicals,” that “he who controls the language controls the masses.”

Alinsky, whose work profoundly influenced at least one notable fellow Chicagoan, Barack Obama, was in that quip channeling George Orwell’s famous dystopian novel “1984.”

“Newspeak,” the language of Orwell’s fictional single-political party superstate, was a tool devised for monitoring the people’s communications, prosecuting “thoughtcrimes,” and ultimately controlling and dictating the people’s very beliefs.

Conservatives have taken pleasure in poking fun at the modern left’s “Orwellian” tendencies—perhaps too much, actually, as overuse of the accusation has had the effect of limiting its potency.

But as the woke ideology metastasizes within the American left like the cancer it is, and as censors increasingly clamp down on anything sniffing of dissent to the regime’s orthodoxy, it is now clear that we are in a new age of Orwellianism.

In this new age, the regime and its enforcers pursue the suffusion of its orthodoxy at any cost, gaslighting dissenters into not believing their own lying eyes.

This week, new governmental data revealed that the American economy, measured by gross domestic product, contracted for the second straight quarter. That was, up until perhaps a week ago, the universally accepted definition of what constitutes a “recession.”

This was not a partisan issue; indeed, well-known liberal, Democratic Party economists have frequently defined recession in precisely these terms.

Back in 2008, President Joe Biden’s current National Economic Council director, Brian Deese, stated: “Of course economists have a technical definition of recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth.”

And in 2019, top Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein said that a “recession” is “defined as two consecutive quarters of declining growth.”

Democrats are now singing a different tune. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has stubbornly refused to concede that America is now in an economic recession.

Deese apparently also disagrees with his old self of 2008: Following the release of the data evincing the second straight quarter of economic contraction, Deese stipulated that we are “certainly in a transition,” but also added that “virtually nothing signals that this period … is recessionary.”

The ruse is transparent and obvious to the point of comedy. As famed investor David Sacks tweeted: “A lot of people are wondering about the definition of recession. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth if a Republican is president. The definition is far more complicated and unknowable if a Democrat is president.”

Democrats similarly seem interested in changing the definition of “inflation,” which currently sits at four-decade highs and is disproportionately responsible for Biden’s dismal job approval ratings and Democrats’ unfavorable political outlook this fall.

The widely accepted economic definition of inflation is when there is too much money chasing too few goods. The way to tamp down inflation is thus to limit the money supply and/or increase the production of goods.

Just this week, around the same time as when the U.S. formally entered a recession, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., finally reached an agreement on a version of the White House’s long-sought after Build Back Better domestic initiative. But Democrats renamed the bill: It is now not called Build Back Better but the Inflation Reduction Act.

And the revised bill includes new government expenditures to the tune of nearly $400 billion in energy- and climate-related spending. Authorizing such a fiscal boondoggle is the precise opposite of limiting the money supply. It is the logical equivalent of trying to put out a fire with a blowtorch.

Remarkably, it is the same ideologues who are eager to change the well-accepted definitions of “recession” and “inflation” who remain perplexed as to what exactly a “woman” is.

In March, then-Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing to replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, pointedly refused to define what a “woman” is. Her excuse was that she is “not a biologist.”

Related, in Matt Walsh’s excellent new documentary “What Is a Woman?,” the myriad “gender studies” professors and gender ideology-bewitched “doctors” interviewed by Walsh invariably define a “woman,” in circular fashion, as being “someone who identifies as a woman.”

Whether it is a Supreme Court justice herself or the vogue flatulence that now constitutes “gender studies” in the American academy, then, the left is incapable of defining what a “woman” is.

That confusion appears to be ubiquitous: Lia Thomas, the biological man who has been wreaking havoc in women’s collegiate swimming, was even nominated for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

Alinsky would be proud of such an imperious enforcement of regime-approved orthodoxy; “he who controls the language controls the masses,” after all.

The left’s fundamental problem is that its haughtiness, fervor, and zeal for gaslighting us sane Americans is belied by its unpopularity. It is curious that the left can talk and act this way when its most notable avatar, Biden, is as severely unpopular as he currently is.

Perhaps the left will be chastened by its impending November defeats at the ballot box. But don’t bet on it.

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Is the Labor Market Really as Good as Biden Administration Says?

Between out-of-control inflation, ongoing supply chain struggles, the crisis at the southern border, foreign policy concerns, exploding energy prices, rising crime, and a high likelihood that the country is either already or soon will be experiencing stagflation (an inflationary recession), it’s no wonder that Democrats and the Biden administration are talking up the strong labor market.

A recent tweet on the Democrats’ official Twitter page stated, “Under Joe Biden, the private sector has recovered all of the jobs lost during the pandemic—and added jobs on top of that.”

That statement is only half true, at best.

According to the official jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private-sector jobs are up by about 140,000 since the low in April 2020, but only 4 in 10 of those job gains occurred on the Biden administration’s watch, while 6 in 10 were recovered during the Trump administration.

While the labor market appears to be going well by some metrics, that’s not the whole story.

Metrics like a nearly half-century-low unemployment rate, high nominal wage gains, and 11.3 million job openings that equal two jobs available for every unemployed person didn’t arise naturally. They were artificially induced through bad government policies that have included a lot of unintended consequences.

Most significantly, 18 months’ worth of bonus unemployment benefits that paid most people more to stay on the sidelines than to work caused millions of people to leave the labor market. Meanwhile, Washington stimulated consumer and business demand for goods and services by flooding the economy with trillions of dollars in so-called COVID-19 relief, about half of which was money printed by the Federal Reserve.

Too few workers is also adding to the inflationary cycle.

When employers have to compete for workers, they have to increase their compensation. According to the National Federation of Independent Business survey, 48% of owners reported increasing compensation in June and 28% said they plan to increase compensation over the next three months.

But paying workers more to do the exact same thing requires hiking prices.

The future isn’t looking good. Small business owners’ expectations for better business conditions reached an all-time low in June, owing to “inflation and worker shortages,” along with “policy talks that [have] shifted to tax increases and more regulations.”

Government policies to spend more, tax more, regulate more, and produce less will only make labor shortages and inflation worse.

If lawmakers want to be able to tout metrics like increased labor force participation and real rising wages, they should start by removing the government-imposed barriers they’ve created for work and productivity.

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DeSantis Calls for Harsh Repercussions for Doctors Performing Life-Altering Surgeries on Children

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave a speech on Wednesday where he condemned doctors who perform sex-changing surgeries on children. Ultimately, he suggested that such professionals should be sued.

During the conference, the Republican governor stood firm in his belief that the government should not give children the ability to castrate their bodies.

His proclamations about the subject prompted cheers of support from his audience. “They talk about these very young kids getting ‘gender-affirming care.’ They don’t tell you what that is,” DeSantis said in a video tweeted by Florida’s Voice.

“They are actually giving very young girls double mastectomies. They want to castrate these young boys — that’s wrong,” DeSantis said.

“And so we’ve stood up and said, both from the health and children well-being perspective, you don’t disfigure 10-, 12-, 13-year-old kids based on gender dysphoria. Eighty percent of it resolves anyways by the time they get older, so why would you be doing this?” DeSantis added. “I think these doctors need to get sued for what’s happening.”

It was after this suggestion that applause erupted from the governor’s audience.

DeSantis’ movement to restrict a minor’s access to sex-changing procedures has been grossly countered by Democrats. In the first half of 2022, the Biden administration announced its new healthcare proposals, which promoted “gender-affirming care” and suggested that minors have access to gender reassignment surgery, puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

Fortunately for DeSantis, others in Florida’s leadership are in favor of restricting the “gender-affirming care” for which Biden and other Democrats are pushing.

In April, the state’s Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo released new public health guidelines for Florida minors struggling with gender dysphoria — guidelines which counter those proposed by the Biden administration, WPEC News reported.

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration also pursued restricting the Biden administration’s proposal. After Ladapo’s announcement, the state’s ACHA similarly suggested blocking payment for transgender medical treatment, such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery, WPEC noted.

These measures alongside DeSantis’ proposal to sue the doctors who participate in the castration of young children is yet another one of the state’s trailblazing moves.

By restricting a minor’s access to gender-changing procedures, Florida’s leadership is leaning into the well-known fact that children lack a firm grasp on the world around them.

Just as a 12-year-old believes that having the coolest shoes will make them popular, so too are they susceptible to the promise that changing their gender will resolve the discomfort they feel in their own bodies.

Every adult has lived as a 12-year-old, and surely, each remembers a time where he toiled with an insecurity about his ears being just a little too big, his frame being a little too skinny or his stature being a little too short.

The difference — today’s adults struggled with their childhood body discomforts in a society that promoted the trope, “This too shall pass.”

Children are young and impressionable. Everything is new for them as they learn about the dynamics of the world and grow accustomed to their changing bodies.

To trust that a 12-year-old confidently knows that they don’t identify with their gender is far from logical.

To trust that a 12-year-old’s happiness will come from cutting off her breasts or castrating his genitalia is wishful thinking, and to believe that the child won’t regret it or change their mind later is ludicrous.

No current adult looks back and thinks that their 12-year-old self was reasonably capable of make good life-changing decisions.

DeSantis is right to suggest that doctors who perform gender-altering surgeries on minors should be sued.

No matter what the general arguments are for gender-altering surgeries for adults, it should be accepted that those surgeries are not appropriate for children who are not physically or mentally mature enough to make life-altering decisions.

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A new Harvard study throws cold water on characterizing the breaching of the Capitol by rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, as an “insurrection.”

According to the study conducted by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, more than 40 percent of rioters were motivated by former President Donald Trump’s claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, as well as a desire to see him re-elected.

According to The Harvard Crimson, researchers found that 20.6 percent of rioters were motivated by wanting to support Trump, while another 20.6 percent of rioters cited Trump’s election claims as the reason they stormed the U.S. Capitol more than 18 months ago in a bid to thwart certification of now-President Joe Biden’s election.

Less than 8 percent were motivated by a “desire to start a civil war or an armed revolution,” the Crimson reported.

The study has been released as a working paper because it has not yet been peer-reviewed, according to the Crimson. It is titled, “‘President Trump Is Calling Us to Fight’: What the Court Documents Reveal About the Motivations behind January 6 and Networked Incitement.”

It found a smattering of other causes as well, including “pursuit of historical significance” (7.43 percent), “protect the country or ‘take back'” the country” (5.76 percent), and even “Marxism, socialism, communism” (5.76 percent).

Study authors Joan Donovan, Kaylee Fagan and Frances E. Lee wrote that their analysis found the largest portion of defendants were “motivated, in part, to invade the U.S. Capitol Building by Donald Trump,” according to the Crimson.

Donovan is research director at the Shorenstein Center. Fagan is a Shorenstein research fellow. Lee is a professor of politics and acting chairwoman of the department of politics at Princeton University.

The report explained how the former president was able to persuade a number of his supporters that the country faced a catastrophe.

“The documents show that Trump and his allies convinced an unquantifiable number of Americans that representative democracy in the United States was not only in decline, but in imminent, existential danger,” the study said.

“This belief translated into a widespread fear of democratic and societal breakdown, which, in turn, motivated hundreds of Americans to travel to D.C. from far corners of the country in what they were convinced was the nation’s most desperate hour.”

In other words, it was the exact opposite of “insurrection.”

While the Harvard study is not complimentary toward Trump, of course, in that it paints a picture of a cult of personality as the main reason for the violence, it does damage the narrative put forth by Democrats and the mainstream media that an “insurrection” took place that day.

An insurrection has traditionally been defined as an organized attempt by a group of people to defeat their government and take control of their country, usually by violence.

As legal scholar Jonathan Turley wrote, the study showed that while there was violence involved in the Capitol incursion, the attack was not a serious, organized attempt to take over the U.S. government.

In his online column “Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks,” Turley, a professor at George Washington University wrote:

“Once again, none of this exonerates or excuses those who rioted on January 6th or those who fueled the riot. However, the use of ‘insurrection’ by the politicians, pundits, and the press is not an accurate characterization of the motivation of most of the people who went to the Capitol on that day. It was clear that this was a protest that became a riot.”

Turley went on to say that most of the people who showed up in the nation’s capital on Jan. 6, 2021, only wanted to peacefully protest.

“There is no question that there were people who came prepared for such a riot, including some who are extremists who likely would have welcomed a civil war,” Turley wrote. “Yet, the vast majority of people on that day were clearly present to protest the certification and wanted Republicans to join those planning to challenge the election.”

Labeling the awful events of that day as an “insurrection” is all about politics, according to Turley.

“It is possible to express revulsion about what happened on Jan. 6th without claiming that this was an insurrection and attempt to overthrow the nation,” he concluded. “This was a collective tragedy for the entire nation, a desecration of our constitutional process. The effort to mandate ‘insurrection’ as the only acceptable description prevents the country from speaking with a unified voice. It clearly serves political purposes but only makes a national resolution more difficult as we approach a new presidential election.”

It’s unclear what, if any, impact the Harvard study will have on the House select committee investigating what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, but it certainly provides ammunition to those who think the committee is in a clearly wrong direction.

As the only Republican on the committee who is seeking re-election this year, possibly no House member should be getting that message more than Liz Cheney.

Earlier this month, Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and the panel’s vice chairwoman, told ABC News that a decision on criminal referrals is in the works. “We’ll make a decision as a committee about it,” she said when asked about the prospect of referring Trump for prosecution, as Breitbart reported.

“The Justice Department doesn’t have to wait for the committee to make a criminal referral, and there could be more than one criminal referral,” Cheney said.

Cheney has essentially staked her political career on smearing Trump and his supporters over the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and painting their actions as an “insurrection.” This study isn’t going to help that at all.

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My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Friday, August 05, 2022


The antisemitic French Left

Just a few days after the miserable provocation—in the midst of commemorating the Vel’ d’Hiv’ Roundup—by Mathilde Panot, the head of the left-wing party La France Insoumise in the Assembly, 38 of her colleagues from La Nupes (the New Ecological and Social People’s Union left-wing alliance) piled on in abjection.

The resolution they were planning to present must have been truly disgusting for it to have disappeared from the National Assembly’s site.

But agencies have provided enough extracts for us to know that we were dealing with an unprecedentedly violent attack against the “apartheid regime” supposedly imposed by Israel on the “Palestinian people,” calling for BDS-style reprisals.

We should first note that such calls for boycott are illegal in France: Two memorandums said this in 2010 and 2012 … it was confirmed in 2020 in a dispatch dedicated to the “suppression of discriminatory calls for boycotts of Israeli products …”

Then we might note that the delegitimization of the State of Israel is also not very legal: Doesn’t it go against a resolution initiated by President Macron that, using the definition of antisemitism promulgated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, criminalizes anti-Zionism?

And so we observe that we have, in France, 38 elected legislators whose first initiative would have been to place themselves, twice over, outside the law.

The will to annihilate Israel is not lacking champions in my country. But never before, in this body, had we gone so far. Recognizing immediately a unitary Palestinian state? To be clear, that would include everything between Gaza and the West Bank—and therefore, if words mean anything, the full territory of Israel.

We can then observe the push of a fully uninhibited left-wing antisemitism.

It was a strong current, at the start of the 20th century, among a young French Socialist Party: Wasn’t it common then, among the friends of Jules Guesde, to call oneself “republican, socialist, and anti-Semite”? To castigate, along with Edouard Drumont, “the yids of finance and politics”? And wasn’t Jean Jaurès himself capable of writing, before the Dreyfus affair, that “the Jewish race” is “devoured by profit fever” and that it was the duty of a line of socialists of “the old Catholic race” to “crush” that “mechanism of pillaging, lies, corruption, and extortion”?

It’s a current that reappears, at the height of the 1930s, in the ranks of the pacifist left: The socialist Fernand Buisson, accusing George Mandel of wanting war “like all Jews”; the radical Yvon Delbos, foreign minister for the Popular Front, explaining that “the Jews chased out of everywhere look for salvation in a world war”; or the head of the party, Paul Faure, indignant with Blum, “ready to have us all killed for the Jews.”

These quotes are cited by Michel Dreyfus in two published studies, one, in 2009, by the Rennes University Press, and the other, in 2010, available on Cairn.info.

We have to believe that this third crisis, today, of the liberal and democratic conscience is happening in a France that has learned nothing, forgotten nothing.

Of Mélenchon insulting the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (the umbrella body of French Jewish communities), parading with Islamists who shout “death to Jews,” or accusing a grand rabbi of dual loyalties, they say he is “Corbynizing.” Yes and no. He is above all loyal to a dark part of the European and French left. It haunts our memory. It should be not flattered but exorcised.

And to the good-faith men and women who no longer understand anything and ask the question, “What is, exactly, the fate of Palestinians in Israel?” we would note the following.

Of the territories occupied in the 1967 war, there is already one, Gaza, where the accusation of apartheid is grotesque, since it is empty of Jews ever since Ariel Sharon decided in 2005 to withdraw.

In the other, the West Bank, it would take a lot of bad faith, or stupidity, or both, to confuse the fight against terrorism with segregation.

As for Israel itself, the one which the Nupes resolution declares is “since 1948” governed by “a single racial group,” we must tirelessly remind of how it is a multi-ethnic, religiously pluralistic country where 2 million Arabs, Muslim and Christian alike, enjoy the same economic, political, and social rights as their fellow Jewish citizens; we should repeat and say again that it’s a parliamentary democracy where that Arab minority has representation in the Knesset through several parties, of which one, the United Arab List, is currently in the kingmaker position between the centrist Lapid and the opposition leader Netanyahu; and finally we should retain that it’s a lawful state where not a single construction, not the breaking of one branch of a centenary olive tree or a hint of discrimination, is not open to be brought before a sovereign court where one judge out of five is Arab and of which no serious person doubts the equity.

Evidence of all this is innumerable. I’ll return to it if necessary. What the German leftist August Bebel called more than a century ago the “Socialism of Imbeciles” should pipe down and bow its head.

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Biden Executive Order on Abortion Travel Funding Appears to Violate Hyde Amendment

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to authorize taxpayer-financed transportation for women seeking an abortion.

Biden’s order directs the Department of Health and Human Services to consider using Medicaid dollars to pay expenses for pregnant women who live in states with pro-life laws when they travel to other states for an abortion.

However, the Hyde Amendment, first enacted in 1976, prohibits federal Medicaid funding for abortion. As a senator for three decades and later as vice president, Biden expressed support for the Hyde Amendment.

Vice President Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and other administration officials attended a White House meeting Wednesday of the interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access.

Because he is still recovering from COVID-19, Biden addressed the group remotely.

The president said his executive order “responds to the health care crisis that has unfolded since the Supreme Court overturned Roe.” That was a reference to the high court’s June 24 ruling overturning its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.

“This executive order also helps women travel out of state for medical care,” Biden said. “Secretary Becerra will work with states through Medicaid to allow them to provide reproductive health care for women who live in states where abortions are being banned in that state.”

As a senator, Biden said that federal funding of abortion “flips the bird” by forcing taxpayers to endorse and pay for the procedure. The Republican National Committee released a video of past news clips documenting Biden’s prior position.

The president’s move will not be popular, said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. In a written statement, she added:

Biden and the Democrats make a serious error in assuming Americans nationwide agree with their radical agenda—using the full weight of the federal government to impose abortion on demand up to the moment of birth, illegally forcing taxpayers to fund it, ‘cracking down’ on nonprofits that provide life-affirming alternatives, and threatening to destroy any guardrails of democracy that stand in their way.

Before Biden signed his executive order, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was unable to respond clearly to reporters’ questions about the Hyde Amendment during a press briefing.

“How will you be able to pay, to help women pay, to cross a state line to get somewhere else where they need to go, given the restrictions of the Hyde Amendment?” a reporter asked.

The press secretary responded: “That is something HHS will come up with the details on.”

“This is what the president is doing,” Jean-Pierre added. “He is looking at everything that’s available to him on the table—whatever is legally possible, what he can use, his executive authority—to move forward on.”

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UK Cracks Down While US Doubles Down on ‘Gender Affirming’ Care

American lawmakers need to follow the lead of another country and put the brakes on “gender affirming” procedures for children.

Health officials in the United Kingdom are acknowledging the damage being done by pushing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones onto children at exactly the same time as the Biden administration is demanding that education and health professionals endorse these “affirmative” treatments or face penalties.

The contrast between the direction of gender-related policies in the United States and the U.K. could not be starker. The U.K. is shuttering its sole “gender clinic,” Tavistock, following a comprehensive review, while the U.S. is opening scores of new gender clinics, following the refusal of the American Academy of Pediatrics to conduct a review of the evidence.

The U.K., along with other European countries, started widespread use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for children identifying as transgender almost a decade before clinics opened in the U.S. for the same purpose.

With that extra decade of experience, European health officials have accumulated more evidence of the long-term damage being done and have started to reverse course.

The U.K. review led by Dr. Hilary Cass, the former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, noted that gender clinic “staff have told us that they feel under pressure to adopt an unquestioning affirmative approach … ” in which children’s claims about gender dysphoria are not carefully examined and underlying mental health issues are not properly addressed before prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

The review also expressed concern about the gross over-representation of girls and children on the autism spectrum being recommended for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. If the rise in prescribing these drugs were simply a matter of children feeling freer to express their true selves, rather than the result of social contagion and recruitment among vulnerable groups, then those treated would better reflect the broader population.

It is increasingly clear that we are witnessing a dangerous craze among children with mental health challenges rather than the liberation of the sexually oppressed.

When these kinds of dangerous crazes manifested themselves in the past in the form of eating disorders or cutting, responsible adults and health officials recognized the problem and coordinated their responses to address the underlying depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

No one thought to “affirm” these children for expressing their true malnourished or scarred selves. But that is precisely what school and health officials in the U.S. are doing right now as they mistreat children with gender dysphoria.

The pressure to “affirm” expressions of gender identity and prescribe drugs rather than address underlying mental health issues is resulting in a dramatic increase in youth suicide in the U.S.

I was able to examine a natural policy experiment that resulted from some states having an extra barrier to children accessing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones by requiring parental consent while other states allowed exceptions.

There was no difference in youth suicide rates between these different kinds of states prior to 2010, when clinics began to open across the U.S. to prescribe puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. After 2010, however, the youth suicide rate spiked in states that lacked the parental consent barrier, resulting in a 14% increase in suicide rates in those states relative to states that required parental consent.

The U.S. needs to follow the example being set by the U.K. and other European countries by reversing the rush to put large numbers of girls and children with autism on puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

If the Biden administration is determined to step on the accelerator, governors and state legislatures can pump the brakes by raising minimum ages for who can receive these treatments and imposing stricter liability on practitioners who place children’s life, health, and fertility at risk.

State policymakers and school officials can also pump the brakes on “social transition” in which children change their names and pronouns, which is often the gateway to the “medical transition” of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and eventually surgeries.

State laws should ban schools from using names or pronouns for children that differ from those listed on their birth records without the written permission of the parents. Such a ban would prevent school staff from facilitating social transition in secret from parents and without their consent.

We need all of the responsible adults—parents, school staff, doctors, and policymakers—working together to recognize and address the underlying mental health issues children are experiencing.

When education and health professionals rush children onto life-altering medication, and either deceive or coerce parents to get on board, we see the kinds of disasters that forced the U.K. to shutter its national gender clinic.

Let’s hope the U.S. can learn this lesson without having to produce another decade of damage.

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Australia Day (dangerous) Melbourne Pride (safe)

Homosexual gatherings get approval while patriotic gatherings are treated with suspicion. Guess which of the two is a major health risk.

Just three days after Daniel Andrews expressed doubts about whether it would be safe to hold an Australia Day Parade, the Victoria Premier has announced a Pride street party.

With Covid still circulating in the community, the government is taking a cautious approach to January 26 Australia Day celebrations.

You might imagine that with the Monkey pox being declared a global emergency and circulating in a very specific community, the government might also take a cautious approach to Gay Pride gatherings.

Not so much.

We are told that associating the Monkey pox with gay men risks creating stigma. This is despite 98 per cent of cases reportedly occurring in gay men presenting at health clinics and the World Health Organisation releasing a specific health warning to the LGBTQ+ community advising them to ‘reduce their sexual partners’.

An LBGTQ+ health advocate quoted last week by SBS said: ‘The virus doesn’t discriminate … this virus could infect anyone.’

Technically, that is true, but in practice there are significant risk factors. There have been almost 20,000 Monkey pox cases worldwide, with around 19,600 of those contracted by ‘men who have sex with other men’ – as the WHO put it.

Accuracy is meant to be crucial for health matters, so why are the media choosing to run with ‘this virus could infect anyone’ as if you might pick it up grocery shopping?

Sure, the Andrews government told children to stay away from playgrounds to avoid catching the Covid, but it hasn’t even thought about restricting high-risk LGBTQ+ events.

While Australia Day festivities are still very much up in the air, a press release from the Premier’s office yesterday enthused:

‘The Andrews Labor Government is throwing a massive summer street party as part of a statewide celebration of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) communities.’ Woohoo! Monkey-Covid for everyone!

The double standard applied by the Labor government is breathtaking.

Remember when two elderly women sitting on a park bench during the Covid pandemic were surrounded by five Victorian police officers anxious to avert a super spreader event?

There are no such concerns with the worldwide Monkey pox outbreak and a Pride street party. Everything is LGBTQ-A-OK in the Republic of Danistan.

The Premier said:

‘The street party will support the Government’s continued efforts to achieve equality for LGBTIQ+ Victorians, by breaking down the stigma and discrimination they continue to face and providing opportunities for rainbow communities to connect and celebrate who they are.’

With the emphasis on ‘breaking down the stigma’, one could be forgiven for asking whether the Andrews government was prioritising ‘Woke’ over public safety.

Mr Andrews tweeted excitedly:

‘It was one of last summer’s best parties – so we’re doing it all again in 2023. Live music and performers are coming together to celebrate pride, love and diversity in Victoria – where equality is non-negotiable.’ The tweet goes on to say, ‘Daniel Andrews invited you’ and asks people to RSVP.

I’m not sure that an invitation from Daniel Andrews is all that appealing. But I digress.

There is another double standard that will not be lost on long suffering Victorians.

Mr Andrews, who created a ‘vaccinated economy’ where the unvaxxed where shut out of employment and commerce, says the street party will demonstrate that in Victoria ‘equality is non-negotiable’.

Tell perfectly healthy Victorians who are unable to work because of their vaccination status that equality in Dan Andrews’ Victoria is ‘non-negotiable’.

And will admission to the LGBTQ+ festival be restricted to those who have had the Monkey pox vaccine? Will LGBTQ+ revellers be forced to show their Monkey pox vaccination status before being granted entry?

Of course not. The Victorian government would never stigmatise anyone, I mean, aside from everyone who dares to exercise their own judgement about medical treatment for their own body.

It’s hard to see any equality at all in Victoria for having one’s vision blocked by very selective applications of the ALP’s version of equality that continually creates division and discrimination.

Fortunately, there is a Victoria state election on November 26. People – gay and straight – who value their liberty will be hoping to party that evening, without Daniel Andrews.

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My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Thursday, August 04, 2022




Is Putin's Russia Fascist?

The article below claims that the definition of Fascism is vague; But asserts that Vladimir Vladimirovich is a Fascint anyway. Both assertions are wrong.

What the central features of both Mussolini's Italian Fascism and Hitler's German Nazism were is clear. It had three major features: Assertive nationalism, a capitalistic economy and extensive social welfare innovations, socialism, in short.

It is the latter feature that embarrasses the Left and leads to their unwillingness to define Fascism frankly. That both Hitler and Mussolini were assertively socialist gives the present-day Left so much embarrassment that it can only be denied. The historical record is clear, however, from Mussolini's "Dopolavoro" organization to Hitler's "Kraft durch Freude" organization.

Vladimir Vladimirovich displays only the first two features of Fascism. He is not a notable welfare innovator. Russia is actually less socialist than many other European economies

The author below has a very complex account about why the current invasion of Ukraine has taken place. It is true that Ukrainians tend to resent "big brother" Russia but the major cause of the war becomes clear only when we know what Vladimir Vladimirovich really is

He is a traditional Russian ruler, very much in the mould of the Soviets and back to Ivan the Terrible. Ivan was oppressive ("terrible") and controlling to his population while also being a very successful expansionist of Muscovite rule. That latter actually made him broadly popular among ordinary Russians.

And when it comes to political police, Vladimir Vladimirovich has the FSB,the Soviets had the KGB and the Tsars had the Okhrana.

The map below shows something that will undoubtedly loom large in the mind of Vladimir Vladimirovich: A map of the Russian empire as it was in the 19th century. The Soviets were pikers compared to the Tsars. Most of the world saw the collapse of the Soviet regime as a great advance and were puzzled when Vladimir Vladimirovich called it a disaster. From the viewpoint of a Russian ruler it was. Russia's destiny is to expand, not contract

image from https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEhyoOn5yhDuHKqDBZf8-eVxJ6Jy7SE6p5BWPlLDpXrpNw4BEZ47H5VyuLzNB9l728mRSB13PpO8_Jy0HeZM7fGKo_SPboPSkjhYBm1hsl0ItP1ZZm604VOlipBAUpwuu9BAVtMz97NOgXbpvxmdJn7n3oAsQbMuHq-T1P20EfS0zNcOtpi9Vg/s600

So in the context of history Vladomir Vladimirovich's actions are perfectly normal and require no particlar explanation. It is only in the context of Western thinking that his actions seem to require explanation. But he is not Western. He is Russian. He wants to expand his empire. Russians have historically been very good at that. Even shorn of its Soviet appendages, Russia is still the world's largest country, stretching right across the Eurasian continent from the Baltic to the Pacific. Vladimir Vladimirovich is acutely aware of that heritage and is determined to live up to it



What matters most in Moscow these days is what is missing. Nobody speaks openly of the war in Ukraine. The word is banned and talk is dangerous. The only trace of the fighting going on 1,000km to the south is advertising hoardings covered with portraits of heroic soldiers. And yet Russia is in the midst of a war.

In the same way, Moscow has no torch processions. Displays of the half-swastika “z” sign, representing support for the war, are rare. Stormtroopers do not stage pogroms. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s ageing dictator, does not rally crowds of ecstatic youth or call for mass mobilisation. And yet Russia is in the grip of fascism.

Just as Moscow conceals its war behind a “special military operation”, so it conceals its fascism behind a campaign to eradicate “Nazis” in Ukraine. Nevertheless Timothy Snyder, a professor at Yale University, detects the tell-tale symptoms: “People disagree, often vehemently, over what constitutes fascism,” he wrote recently in the New York Times, “but today’s Russia meets most of the criteria.”

The Kremlin has built a cult of personality around Mr Putin and a cult of the dead around the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45. Mr Putin’s regime yearns to restore a lost golden age and for Russia to be purged by healing violence. You could add to Mr Snyder’s list a hatred of homosexuality, a fixation with the traditional family and a fanatical faith in the power of the state. None of these come naturally in a secular country with a strong anarchist streak and permissive views on sex.

Understanding where Russia is going under Mr Putin means understanding where it has come from. For much of his rule, the West saw Russia as a mafia state presiding over an atomised society. That was not wrong, but it was incomplete. A decade ago Mr Putin’s popularity began to wane. He responded by drawing on the fascist thinking that had re-emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

This may have begun as a political calculation, but Mr Putin got caught up in a cycle of grievance and resentment that has left reason far behind. It has culminated in a ruinous war that many thought would never happen precisely because it defied the weighing of risks and rewards.

Under Mr Putin’s form of fascism, Russia is set on a course that knows no turning back. Without the rhetoric of victimhood and the use of violence, Mr Putin has nothing to offer his people. For Western democracies this onward march means that, while he is in power, dealings with Russia will be riven by hostility and contempt. Some in the West want a return to business as usual once the war is over, but there can be no true peace with a fascist Russia.

More here:

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Public life needs more good losers

Jeff Jacoby

ON WEDNESDAY morning at 11, Hal Shurtleff and Camp Constitution will finally get to fly their flag on Boston's City Hall Plaza.

Word of the scheduled ceremony came the other day in a press release from Liberty Counsel, the public-interest law firm that represented Shurtleff and his group after their request to host a flag-raising ceremony was rejected by City Hall in 2017. Boston officials had approved hundreds of such requests in the past, but said no to this one because Shurtleff wanted to fly the Christian flag (a white banner with a cross in one corner). The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court, which in May ruled 9-0 in Shurtleff's favor. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that Boston had unlawfully "discriminated based on religious viewpoint and violated the Free Speech Clause." So now, after a five-year legal ordeal, Camp Constitution's flag-raising can proceed at last.

The high court's unanimous ruling was, obviously, a total vindication for the plaintiffs. I asked Shurtleff whether anyone from City Hall had reached out to congratulate him or in some other way graciously acknowledge his (and the First Amendment's) victory. No one, he said. There hasn't been "one peep from any city official, elected or appointed."

I wish I could say I was surprised by such churlishness. But in politics and public affairs these days, the ability to lose with grace or to salute an opponent's accomplishment has gone the way of floppy disks and 8-track tapes.

In other areas of life, especially athletics, displaying class after a defeat is a highly valued quality.

Professional hockey has many traditions, but none is more striking than the handshake offered by every member of the losing team to every one of the winners following even the bitterest Stanley Cup fight. Similarly, at the end of a football or basketball playoff series or championship, the coach or key players of the team that lost make a point of offering congratulations to their opponents. When the Milwaukee Bucks last year beat the Phoenix Suns to capture their first NBA title in decades, Suns head coach Monty Williams went to the Bucks' locker room to praise the players who beat his team. "You guys made me a better coach," he told them. "You made us a better team."

In January, when Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open and became the first man in tennis history to win 21 Grand Slam titles, his archrival Roger Federer didn't sulk or sneer or throw a tantrum. Instead he publicly hailed his adversary for his "incredible work ethic, dedication, and fighting spirit."

There have been times when politics, too, has served as a showcase for exceptional graciousness. Al Gore's concession speech after the 2000 presidential election, which followed a ferocious month of post-election litigation over the results in Florida, was a model of democratic gallantry. "I say to President-elect Bush that what remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside," Gore told the nation. "May God bless his stewardship of this country."

In 2008, on the night that Senator Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for president, his Republican rival, Senator John McCain, aired a TV commercial extolling the first Black man to top a major party's national ticket. "Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America," McCain said. "Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed, so I wanted to stop and say: Congratulations."

Today, when many prominent politicians revel in refusing to concede defeat, unabashed displays of good sportsmanship and character like Gore's and McCain's have become all too rare. One remarkable exception was the joint message delivered by Utah's Democratic and Republican candidates for governor in 2020. The two men recorded a video to emphasize that they "could debate issues without degrading each other's character" and to show the country that "win or lose, in Utah we work together."

Public life in America badly needs more of this. Gracious concession speeches, paying tribute to an honorable competitor, being a good loser — those aren't mere grace notes or niceties. In a democracy, especially one as troubled as ours, they are essential components of the legitimacy and goodwill that social health requires.

When Shurtleff holds his flag-raising on City Hall Plaza Wednesday morning, it will represent a victory for freedom of speech and the peaceful resolution of an honest constitutional disagreement. It would be a fine thing if Boston's mayor or her designee were on hand to mark the moment, and, like a hockey player who failed to win the championship, shake hands with the rival who prevailed.

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Time to Eliminate the Federal Gas Tax—and Federal Road Building

President Biden returned from the Middle East recently without the hoped-for promise from Saudi Arabia to ramp up oil production. Not only that, he announced during his trip that he planned to double down on his efforts to wean the United States from fossil fuels—and, if Congress fails to act, would do so through “strong executive action,” which he previewed several days later (July 20) in a brief speech in Massachusetts.

This means Americans hoping for relief in high energy prices will have to be content for now with the White House’s proposal for a three-month federal gas tax holiday, an idea that hasn’t been picking up much support outside of endangered Democrats in marginal congressional districts.

The proposal will, however, perform a valuable service if it opens a long-overdue discussion over how and when to consign the gas tax, and the Highway Trust Fund it replenishes, to bureaucratic oblivion.

Signed into existence by then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower in June 1956, the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways was to be paid for by various taxes—including a truck and trailer sales tax and a heavy vehicle user tax—that would finance the Highway Trust Fund. Most notable was the tax on gasoline, which was set at three cents per gallon.

In defiance of every known law of taxation, the gas tax was supposed to be halved, to 1.5 cents per gallon, in 1972. That, of course, didn’t happen. It currently sits at 18.4 cents per gallon, with the tax on diesel fuel at 24.4 cents a gallon.

The only senator to vote against final passage of the legislation creating the Highway Trust Fund was Russell Long, a Louisiana Democrat. Long, who later in his long career served as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, immortalized his philosophy of taxation in verse: “Don’t tax you / Don’t tax me / Tax that fellow behind the tree.”

Long’s doggerel captures the subsequent evolution of the federal gas tax.

In the 1970s, Congress began diverting a portion of the Highway Trust Fund to public mass transit, light rail buses and bike lanes. Today, about 20% of Highway Trust Fund monies are diverted to other purposes. The percentage going to mass transit—12.8% on average during fiscal years 2010 through 2019, according to the nonpartisan Eno Center for Transportation—is more than two-and-a-half times the percentage of Americans who use mass transit, 40% of whom live in just one city: New York.

Looking at the big picture, what this means is that rural and suburban Americans are subsidizing big-city transit riders. Bond traders and investment bankers taking the train from Chappaqua, New York; Darien, Connecticut; and Short Hills, New Jersey, may be fine people, but why should their transportation costs be subsidized by Chevy Celebrity drivers in Maine, Montana and elsewhere?

When the Highway Trust Fund was created in the 1950s, variations in miles per gallon were not large for most automobiles. Hybrids, electric cars and other alternatives to gas-powered vehicles have widened that difference to a chasm.

Very few hourly wage earners—and especially working poor—can afford to own electric vehicles, hybrids or BMWs. Their automobiles tend to get significantly worse gas mileage than those driven by the affluent. The federal gas tax, in effect, is a regressive weapon aimed at these lower-income Americans.

A mileage-based user fee would be “fairer”—but it also would call down the wrath of the Natural Resources Defense Council and other deep-pocketed Green Establishment organizations.

It seems that half the country is at war—rhetorical war, thank goodness—with the other half. California is not Nebraska, and Vermont is not Montana. America is a big place, and the needs of its 50 states are diverse. A return to serious federalism is in order.

To that end, Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, has introduced versions of his Transportation Empowerment Act in successive Congresses. The latest iteration would slash the federal gasoline tax to 7 cents per gallon, revenue from which would be expended only on projects related to the 46,876-mile Interstate Highway System.

The states would resume their constitutionally appropriate role in transportation policy. And pickup truck drivers in Wyoming would no longer be subsidizing well-tailored Manhattan straphangers.

The Interstate Highway System, while an impressive engineering achievement, cut a devastating swathe through many American cities, displacing upward of a million Americans—typically low-income working people with little political clout—and destroying many historic African American neighborhoods through the government’s exercise of eminent domain.

For better or worse, it is a finished product. Washington hates to sunset any program, but it’s time for a federal government whose competence and prestige are at historic lows to get out of the road building and maintenance business. This should be turned over to states, municipalities and private enterprise, whose promising experiments with toll roads would help restore the “user pays” principle that was embedded, however imperfectly, in the Highway Trust Fund as originally conceived.

Mr. Biden’s federal gas tax holiday proposal is just a three-month gimmick. Let’s make this holiday permanent.

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Australia: Queensland birth certificates changes to recognise trans, gender diverse people coming to parliament

Major changes that would better recognise trans and gender diverse people on Queensland birth certificates are expected to come before parliament later this year.

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman on Wednesday also confirmed the Palaszczuk government was considering allowing transgender people who have not undergone gender-affirming surgery to change their gender on the certificate.

Reforms to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act were expected last year however Ms Fentiman told her Budget Estimates hearing that there had been “some further feedback” from LGBTIQA+ stakeholders.

“There is now an exposure draft of the Bill where we are directly consulting with stakeholders and I hope to be able to introduce a Bill in the next few months - certainly before the end of the year,” she said.

The Attorney-General said the key purpose of the Act’s review was to ensure the state’s registration services remained “relevant, responsive and contemporary.”

“And that includes the consideration of arrangements which will allow trans and gender diverse people to have their gender identity accurately reflected in a birth certificate,” she said.

“And I do acknowledge this is such an important issue to many Queenslanders and consideration has been given to reforms that have happened in other states and the reforms as considered will bring Queensland into line with pretty much every other jurisdiction.”

Asked by Greens MP Michael Berkman whether these changes would include removing the surgery provision, Ms Fentiman said the government wanted Queenslanders’ lived identity to match their legal identity.

“Queensland is one of the only jurisdictions in the country that does require people to undergo gender reassignment surgery before changing that on their birth certificates and certainly that is one of the key reforms that we are continuing to consult on for this Bill,” she said.

The Attorney-General also confirmed that consideration was being given to how the Act could better recognise non-binary people as well.

“We are doing a lot of consultation on that issue and we are looking at the reforms in other jurisdictions, particularly Victoria and Tasmania, and that’s the work we’re doing now on the draft Bill, and we are continuing to work with stakeholders on those issues,” she said.

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My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Wednesday, August 03, 2022



Australia: Enshrined voice for blacks betrays ideals of liberalism

By Journalist Greg Sheridan

Let’s get straight to the point. A constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice to parliament is a terrible idea, wrong in principle and harmful in practice.

It contradicts the essence of liberalism. It’s tragic the Liberal Party doesn’t have the strength of intellect or character to oppose it in principle. Liberalism’s great historic idea, which it got from Christianity, is that all people are equal in fundamental status. Liberalism’s defining project over 200 years has been removing race and gender from civic status, from rights and obligations.

This is a magnificent vision. Humanity is utterly distinctive, meaning it has ineradicable human dignity, and utterly universal, meaning every human being is equally endowed with rights and obligations. The state has no business distinguishing one citizen from another by ethnicity, heritage or gender. Yet the voice does exactly that.

Aboriginal Australians were at times brutally mistreated in our history and many have suffered continuing disadvantage. Like most Australians I honour Aboriginal culture. None of that provides any justification for breaching the principle of a colourblind state.

I oppose a constitutionally enshrined voice not because I’m a conservative but because I’m a liberal. It is not that a voice will give Indigenous Australians too many privileges. Rather it contains the message that Aboriginal Australians are fundamentally different from other Australians.

However grandiloquent the rhetoric, or benevolent the platitudes, this is a toxic and dangerous message. It represents a terrible wrong turn in Aboriginal activism towards identity politics, which is destructive anywhere it’s prominent. Identity politics is the enemy of human dignity because, in it, virtue and vice come not from your choices and actions but from your identity, defined by race, gender or other characteristics.

The purpose of identity politics is not to solve a problem but to create permanent rage and dissatisfaction, never more than temporarily assuaged by endless rituals of apology and ideological conformity.

New Country Liberal Party senator Jacinta Price expressed this far more eloquently than I can in her magnificent maiden speech – a kind of Australian Gettysburg Address that should be read by all Australians. She said:

“It would be far more dignifying if we were recognised and respected as individuals in our own right who are not defined by our racial heritage but by the content of our character … It’s time to stop feeding into a narrative that promotes racial divide, a narrative that claims to try to stamp out racism but applies racism in doing so and encourages a racist over reaction.”

Warren Mundine, a former federal government adviser on Indigenous issues and a star Liberal candidate for a winnable seat in the 2019 election, argues a similar case. He tells me:

“I’m a liberal democrat. I love and believe in liberal democracy. The basis of liberal democracy is that everyone is equal before the law. We fought for decades to be treated as equals. Now there is no law that is discriminatory against Aborigines. Some people talk of two sovereignties – how can there be two sovereignties in one country?”

Price made the further point in a television interview that having the voice forever in the Constitution implies that Aborigines will be marginalised forever, for the whole basis of the voice is that parliamentary democracy doesn’t work for Aboriginal Australians. The voice, like all identity politics, is a partial repudiation of parliamentary democracy.

Anthony Albanese could hardly have started better as Prime Minister. His shrewdness and judgment are evident in his advancing the least damaging model possible of a voice, one that is entirely inferior to parliament and can be designed and changed by parliament. Albanese has a shrewd sense of achievable change. It is a very useful set of limitations he has put around his proposal. The best attribute of the voice in Albanese’s model is that it will have no power.

Nonetheless it is still an extremely bad idea in principle. It is also the case that no one can predict what doctrines an activist High Court might dream up in relation to a race-based political institution whose existence is guaranteed in the Constitution.

It will of course be an interesting question whether Albanese can hold the line on his preferred referendum wording. Further, the very limitations that Albanese proposes demonstrate the illogicality and self-contradiction that accompany this damaging proposal at every stage.

The voice proponents claim it is needed so Indigenous Australians can have a say on laws that affect them, as though all Australians do not have that right, and as though mainstream society today is deaf to Aboriginal voices. But at the same time it is proposed that parliament can design, amend and determine the membership, scope, functions and operations of the voice.

Parliament can do all that today if it wants to. So if there really is a practical problem of consultation to be solved, there is no reason to change the Constitution, and thereby change the very nature of citizenship for all Australians. Similarly, while it is certainly true that much policy towards Indigenous Australians has not been successful, it is just not accurate to say Aborigines have not been consulted regarding policies that affect them.

In any policy regarding remote and distinctive communities today, consultation with those communities ought to be a paramount concern for state and federal governments. Consultation in itself doesn’t necessarily solve all problems.

I was working in the Canberra press gallery when a former Aboriginal affairs minister Gerry Hand created the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. The Hawke government held out the same hopes for practical benefit from ATSIC as voice proponents hold out today. ATSIC was a failure. That doesn’t mean something better can’t be tried today. But there is no reason at all for this to go in the Constitution.

Previous Liberal prime ministers ruled out a constitutionally enshrined voice but the Liberal Party never argued the case in a sustained way and continued to lavishly fund pro-voice activities.

Here’s a tip for the Liberal Party: if you don’t enter an argument you can’t win it. When Peter Dutton appointed Julian Leeser, in every way a good person but a committed proponent of the voice, as Indigenous Australians spokesman. I presumed the Liberal Party was preparing a characteristic surrender.

Price’s maiden speech alone probably makes full surrender – that is, formal support for the voice – less likely. Instead the Liberals may adopt a fatuous neutrality, which is just a more ambiguous form of surrender. Thus liberalism declines, one defeat at a time.

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The ‘conversion therapy’ canard

Madeleine Kearns

In 2016, the Obama-Biden administration concluded that “the quality and strength of evidence” for medicalized gender transition was “low” and insufficient “to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria.” Six years on, such skepticism has evaporated. In June, the Biden-Harris administration issued an executive order directing the departments of health and education to “promote expanded access to gender-affirming care.” What changed? Not the evidence, only the politics.

At a special Pride Month ceremony for LGBT activists at the White House, the president promised to use the “full force of the federal government” in implementing their policy agenda, from education to healthcare. He also promised to direct the Federal Trade Commission to consider whether “so-called ‘conversion therapy’ — a discredited and dangerous practice that seeks to suppress or change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQI+ people” amounts to a deceptive act requiring consumer warnings. And he instructed the secretaries of State, Treasury and HHS “to develop an action plan” to help end the “dangerous discredited practice” in the United States and “around the world.”

The order, Biden explained, represents a countermove to “hateful attacks” by “ultra-MAGA” Republicans. He was referring to conservative pushback to LGBT activism at the state level, like Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, smeared by critics as a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, as well as various states’ female-only sports bills.

These bills enjoy broad support. A Morning Consult/Politico survey found that over half of Florida voters supported restricting teaching sexual orientation and gender identity to children in kindergarten through third grade. A poll conducted by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland found that most Americans opposed allowing trans-identifying males to compete in high-school girls’ sports, and even more opposed male participation in women’s college and professional sports. As for “conversion therapy,” a growing number of clinicians — including gay and liberal ones — have been vocal in their concern about the way the term is being misapplied to treatments for children struggling with gender dysphoria.

Of course, this is not the only instance of Biden finding executive shortcuts to push woke policies that are at odds with the views of the American public. His Title IX regulations, released on the fiftieth anniversary of the measure’s passage, would effectively redefine sex to include gender identity for every federally funded education program in the country. This would eradicate single-sex services, spaces and sports teams, and undermine parental rights when children tell their teachers they’re trans. Despite what the president may think, this is not a winning culture-war strategy.

The history of American medicine is blotted with its fair share of scandals. Among them, there’s a grisly history of medicalizing homosexuality, involving voluntary and involuntary treatment with depressants, testosterone, estrogen and other chemicals; electroshock therapy, castration, vasectomy, hysterectomy and lobotomy. Between 1952 and 1973, the American Psychiatric Association pathologized homosexuality by including it in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Of course, in the decades since, these controversial clinical practices have been rejected by medical associations and abandoned by practitioners. And, though it may be politically convenient to pretend otherwise, there is little evidence to suggest either the treatments or such attitudes persist as systemic problems.

In a 2018 op-ed for the New York Times, Sam Brinton, an LGBT activist with the Trevor Project, detailed how, at the behest of his Christian parents, he “endured emotionally painful sessions with a counselor” listening to how he was an “abomination” and inevitably going to “get HIV and AIDS.” Worse still, he recalled how he was “bound to a table to have ice, heat and electricity” applied to his body, and “forced to watch clips on a television of gay men holding hands, hugging and having sex.” All this while he was only a middle-schooler. (Earlier this year, Brinton was appointed a deputy assistant secretary in Biden’s Department of Energy.)

Forcing a child to watch pornography is a felony. Causing him serious physical or emotional harm in the way Brinton describes constitutes child abuse. As for religion, the more orthodox expressions of Christianity separate acts from inclination, sin from sinner, and emphasize the dignity of each human person. That’s not to say that religious zealots, hypocrites and sadists don’t exist. Only that it is not at all clear that the abuse described by Brinton is common practice, either among licensed mental health professionals or in America’s churches.

Part of the difficulty in establishing the prevalence of “so-called ‘conversion therapy’” is the reliance on self-reporting. The UCLA Williams Institute estimates that approximately 698,000 LGBT adults (ages 18 to 59) in the US have received conversion therapy, 350,000 of whom received the treatment in adolescence. Seven percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the United States have experienced some sort of conversion therapy: 81 percent from a religious leader and 31 percent from a healthcare provider. And that among LGBT adolescents (ages 13 to 17) living in states where conversion therapy is banned, some 6,000 would have otherwise received it from a licensed professional, if not for the ban. But how is conversion therapy being defined?

Again, the rather vague Biden definition includes any practice that “seeks to suppress or change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQI+ people.” First, this makes no mention of method — surely exploratory talk therapy is very different from castration? Second, it does not distinguish between religious counselors and licensed therapists. Third — and here is the biggest problem — it conflates sexual orientation with “gender identity.” This conflation amounts to a Trojan horse deployed by transgender activists to use opposition to conversion therapy to discredit watchful waiting and other time-tested talk therapies designed to help gender-distressed children feel more comfortable with their bodies.

As the journalist Helen Joyce explains in an essay for Quillette, the concept of gender identity “originated in America in the 1950s and fused into a single, dominant narrative half a century later.” In the 1960s Robert Stoller, a psychoanalyst, understood it to be a matter of one’s inner sense of “masculinity or femininity.” John Money, a sexologist, believed in the power of “gender roles,” “all those things that a person says or does to disclose himself or herself as having the status of boy or man, girl or woman.”

With advances in medical technology came an increased appetite for experimentation. In the 1990s, European endocrinologists birthed “the Dutch protocol,” the off-label use of puberty-blocking drugs, imagined as a “pause button” for children (then mostly boys) with severe and early onset “gender identity disorder” (later, “gender dysphoria”). Just as abortion was promised to be “safe, legal and rare” yet grew to epic proportions, trans activists began to champion medicalized transition on demand.

And demand is only rising. With the mainstreaming of transgenderism, the past decade has seen a massive explosion in the number of children identifying as transgender, and in a new demographic: adolescent girls. The United Kingdom’s main gender youth clinic has seen a 5,000 percent increase of adolescent female patients since 2010. Figures for the United States are harder to come by, but the ever-growing number of gender clinics gives an idea. Alix Aharon and her Gender Mapping team have documented over 600 clinics. A recent article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported that, between 2013 and 2019, “the number of gender dysphoria diagnoses per 100,000 enrollees increased by 695 percent,” while the “number of hormone therapy users with gender dysphoria diagnoses per 100,000 enrollees increased similarly by 781 percent.”

When Lisa Littman, a medical doctor and researcher at Brown University, first warned about “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” among teenage girls identifying as trans in 2018, she attracted much activist ire. The trans activist and English professor Jennifer Finney Boylan, writing in the New York Times, complained that conservatives were “inventing a ‘syndrome’ to undermine young people’s transitions.” Yet already, Littman has been vindicated. In her most recent survey of “detransitioners” (those who stop identifying as trans), she found that 55 percent of them “felt they did not receive an adequate evaluation from a doctor or mental health professional before starting transition.”

Moreover, in the UK, the National Health Service’s main gender youth clinic at Tavistock has been dogged by whistleblower reports of “woefully inadequate” standards of care. Sweden, Finland and France have put the brakes on medicalized transitions for minors. And even Erica Anderson, a clinical psychologist at the University of California San Francisco’s Child and Adolescent Gender Center, and Marci Bowers, a vaginoplasty specialist have urged greater caution. The New York Times, late to the conversation, published a lengthy report in June about how “the medical community” treating young people seeking medicalized transition “is deeply divided about why — and what to do to help them.”

As the Obama administration rightly noted in its 2016 Medicare memo, “many studies that reported positive outcomes were exploratory studies (case-series and case control) with no confirmatory follow-up.” One high-quality follow-up, a 2011 Swedish study that tracked over 300 patients for thirty years, found “the overall mortality for sex-reassigned persons was higher during follow-up… particularly death from suicide.”

As a matter of principle, LGBT activists would like to outlaw even voluntary therapy that tries to help mitigate or redirect unwanted sexual desires. They conflate talk therapy with long-abandoned practices and take the view that sexual orientation is immutable and to suggest otherwise amounts to “false advertising.” How strange, then, that they don’t object to the egregiously misleading claim that it’s possible to change one’s sex. Or the reckless hormonal and surgical experiments that compromise the fertility and sexual functioning of LGBT-identifying youth.

The irony is that gender affirmation, both in method and in motive, looks more like the historic conversion therapy than any other modern-day practice. Janice Turner, Times of London columnist, reported that “gay clinicians” at the NHS gender clinic in London “began to discuss how they had experienced an adolescent phase of gender dysphoria as ‘effeminate’ boys or ‘butch’ girls.” With the long-term interests of their young patients in mind, they complained to management that “we are medicalizing some people who would later identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual, not trans.” For this, they were “silenced.”

“Everything to the right of LGB is straight people,” as one LGB activist put it. Indeed, the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity are only growing more apparent. But most Democrats are not paying attention. Then there’s Joe Biden, whose views on gay rights — from his endorsement of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 to promising to sign the Equality Act on his first day in office — change with the wind.

Every medical scandal is time limited. As more wake up to the fact that the real conversion therapy in the twenty-first century is “gender affirmation,” Biden is busy making it his legacy — with young and vulnerable Americans paying for his recklessness.

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British government policies are geared towards benefiting the stupid and the bone idle

Rod Liddle

I was listening to a rich bastard on the radio explaining why he was feeling disinclined to give any more of his money to the Conservative party. The term ‘rich bastard’ is the one which I was habituated to use when I was a member of the Labour party and which I have disinterred now to give my opening sentence a little more punch. It was axiomatic to us that anyone with sufficient dosh to consider squandering a few hundred thou on a political party must be a bastard and was both immoral and undeserving of his wealth. Wealth in any shape or form appalled us in an almost Freudian fashion – Sigmund, you may recall, equated potty training with the accumulation of money, and the supposedly subconscious link between faeces and money has never quite been expunged from the left. The rich are still seen, rancorously and jealously, as the enemy.

Indeed, the left goes even further these days and does not like to see people who are simply reasonably comfortable and who use the food bank only because it’s a little closer to home than Waitrose and the stuff is usefully free. It is a very odd sort of selling point for a political party – to make yourself the implacable enemy of hard work, success, good luck, happiness etc. But that is what the left has done and that distrust of wealth has migrated to the centre and the centre-right parties, too, both here and across much of western Europe.

Increasingly policies are geared towards benefiting the stupid and the bone idle, or people who have made ‘questionable life choices’. There is no notion of a deserving poor any more – those who have done the right things and work hard but are still skint and could maybe do with a bit of a leg-up from the state. Virtue now tends to be viewed with suspicion and penalised rather than rewarded. The success of capitalism, unforeseen by Marx and Engels, was its adaptability, and its receptiveness to the notion that it must shift from the necessarily rather brutal system in its early untrammelled form to the welfare capitalism we have today.

But it can shift too far – and that seems to be happening now. Welfare capitalism today is concerned with subsidising a magnificently useless underclass, which is in truth a very small proportion of society, and ensuring that the virtuous poor pay for them through their taxes. At the same time, any indication of acquired wealth is looked upon darkly. Look for a moment at the odium heaped upon both Rishi Sunak and Nadhim Zahawi. Meanwhile, Kemi Badenoch is reviled on the left for having prospered from a more modest background without having clambered into any one of the Labour party’s victim bunkers. Labour loves only failure. I assume that’s why it holds the NHS in such high regard.

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Australian conservative senator has attacked Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe’s description of the Queen as a “coloniser”, suggesting if she doesn’t like parliament she should stop taking her $211,250 salary.

The One Nation leader has told news.com.au that Ms Thorpe was engaging in “hypocrisy” after she was forced to repeat the oath of allegience, having inserted criticism of the royal family the first time.

“Lidia Thorpe obviously does not take her elected position seriously,” said Ms Hanson.

“She’s filling a position she does not respect, to represent people she obviously despises, in an institution she does not recognise as being legitimate.

“What we saw this morning was a stunning exercise in hypocrisy, made worse by her happily taking $211,000 a year from taxpayers for work she clearly does not intend to do.”

Ms Thorpe, an outspoken Victorian Greens Senator, has previously stated that the Australian parliament has no permission to be here and that her role as an Indigenous woman was to “infiltrate” the Senate.

Asked to recite the oath of allegiance this morning, she marched towards the despatch box with her fist in the air and then stated: “I sovereign, Lidia Thorpe, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will be faithful and I bear true allegiance to the colonising Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”

MPs then interjected, warning that “you’re not a senator” if she failed to correctly recite the oath.

“Senator Thorpe, Senator Thorpe, you are required to recite the oath as printed on the card,’’ Senate President Sue Lines said.

Senator Thorpe then took the oath again, mispronouncing heirs as the Queen’s “hairs” and successors.

She later took to Twitter to declare: “Sovereignty never ceded.”

It’s not the first time the Greens Senator has raised concerns about colonisation.

Speaking to ABC radio in June, she argued the Australian flag represents “dispossession, massacre and genocide” and accused the media of pitting her against Liberal Senator Jacinta Price.

“The colonial project came here and murdered our people. I’m sorry we’re not happy about that,” she said.

“If people are going to get a little bit upset along the way, well that’s just part of the truth telling. The truth hurts.”

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My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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