Friday, September 04, 2015

A disgusting far-Leftist in Britain

War hero Weston, injured in the Falklands conflict

A Guardian contributer, Richard Seymour, has sparked outrage today after dismissing a British war hero’s comments on the Falklands Islands, in which he attacked Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn for planning to “surrender” to Argentine demands. Seymour slammed war veteran Simon Weston on Facebook, claiming, “If he knew anything, he’s still have his face”. Weston was horrifically burned in the Argentine attack on the RFA Sir Galahad in 1982.

Seymour, who is the author of the Lenin’s Tomb blog was responding to the article published by the Telegraph, posted by a Facebook friend of his. In the article, Weston noted of Mr Corbyn’s plans:

“It is a repugnant idea. I don’t see why it should happen given that the Argentines never had the islands. They have no right to them.

“It could cause civil war again by emboldening the Argentinians. It frightens me enormously because he claims to be such a supporter of democratic freedoms while what he is suggesting throwing the Falkland islanders right to democracy out.

“I don’t ever see him winning an election because his policies and his attitudes just won’t wash with the British public.”

Seymour didn’t quite see it that way. But instead of responding to Mr Weston’s points, he wrote beneath the article: “Seriously, who gives a shit what Simon Weston thinks about anything? If he knew anything he’d still have his face.”

The Guido Fawkes blog notes that while Seymour was a fortnightly contributor to the Guardian, he claims to have only had a freelance contract for three years. His latest article for the paper was published in December 2014.

Mr Weston suffered 46 per cent burns while fighting for his country during the Falklands War. He recalls his memories immediately after the Sir Galahad was bombed: “My first encounter with a really low point was when they wheeled me into the transit hospital at RAF Lyneham and I passed my mother in the corridor and she said to my gran, “Oh mam, look at that poor boy” and I cried out “Mam, it’s me!” As she recognised my voice her face turned to stone.”

Mr Seymour seemed unapologetic for his comments on Twitter, responding to critics simply with the fact that he opposed the Falklands War.  “Why would I want to go and fight for an empire I don’t believe in? What would be remotely heroic about that? It’d be stupid.” he said.

Seymour has appeared on the Iranian state broadcaster Press TV on George Galloway’s television programme.


Kentucky Clerk Not Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses Causes Uproar

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling redefining marriage throughout the country, there’s an open question as to what happens to people who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife.

[Monday] the Supreme Court declined to review a lower court’s ruling requiring the county clerk of Rowan County, Ky., to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.

Kim Davis, the clerk for Rowan County, has a sincere religious belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife, and says she cannot in good faith issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. As a result she stopped issuing marriage licenses to all couples (both same-sex and opposite-sex) after the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling in June.

In this way she thought she would avoid the charge of discrimination.

She also wouldn’t allow any other clerks in her office to issue marriage licenses. The result: no one could get a license in Rowan County.

This created a problem. The citizens of Rowan County have a right to receive in a timely and efficient manner the various government provisions — including licenses — to which they are entitled.

At the same time, the employees of Rowan County (including civil servants) have rights, including religious liberty rights, and they are entitled to religious accommodations. But a religious accommodation, like religious liberty in general, is not absolute.

The law requires a reasonable accommodation that does not place undue hardships on the employer — in this case the government. Saying your religion requires your entire office to stop issuing marriage licenses to everyone, while perhaps a sincere belief, cannot be reasonably accommodated without placing undue hardships on the citizens unable to receive their licenses in their county and forced to drive to another.

That the clerk in Rowan County couldn’t be accommodated does not mean that no clerk should ever be accommodated. Unfortunately, some activists on the left think all wedding professionals and civil servants should be forced to violate their beliefs about marriage or find a new line of work.

There’s a better way.

As I explain in my new book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” there are ways in which public policy can create a win-win situation: where all eligible couples can receive a license and where as many employees as possible can be accommodated.

North Carolina provides a great example. The state legislature earlier this year passed a law that protects magistrates who object to performing solemnizing ceremonies for same-sex marriages and clerks who object to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. It also makes clear that no one can be denied a marriage license, but magistrates or clerks could recuse themselves from the process behind the scenes should they have sincere objections to same-sex marriage.

Again, it’s a win-win for everyone. No one loses anything.

It’s not just the North Carolina law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires the government to accommodate conscientious objectors as best it can. Title VII applies to all employers, including the government, and requires that employers grant reasonable religious accommodations to employees, provided those accommodations don’t create an undue hardship for the employer.

Professor Robin F. Wilson of the University of Illinois Law School writes, “A common refrain is that religious objectors in government service should do all of their job or resign. This stance conflates the public receipt of a service offered by the state with the receipt of that service from each and every employee in the office who is available to do it.” In other words, as Wilson says, citizens have a claim to receive certain “services from the state, but they do not necessarily have a claim to receive the service from a particular public servant.”

Religious objection is not a trump card, but employees' religious objections should be accommodated when possible.

The Rowan County clerk’s demand couldn’t be accommodated. But North Carolina provides a great model for achieving peaceful coexistence going forward.


Polygamists Trying To Gain Legal Recognition After Gay Marriage Ruling

The slippery slope is real... Bestiality next?

 A polygamous family says the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage shows that laws restricting consensual adult relationships are outdated, even if certain unions are unpopular.

Kody Brown and his four wives argue in court documents that their reality TV show "Sister Wives" shows polygamous marriages can be as healthy as monogamous ones.

"The Browns were investigated and no crimes or harm was found in their plural family," attorney Jonathan Turley wrote in court documents filed Wednesday in front of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. He has said the family is prepared to take the legal fight to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

The Browns are defending a legal victory they won in 2013, when a federal judge struck down key parts of Utah's law banning polygamy. Advocacy groups for polygamy and individual liberties called the ruling a significant decision that removed the threat of arrest for the state's plural families.


Soldiers of The Empire of Offence laying free speech to waste

As of this week, Coles supermarkets across Australia will no longer sell Zoo Weekly, the silly, saucy mag for teenage lads. This decision follows months of campaigning by anti-porn outfit Collective Shout, which says Zoo Weekly is “highly offensive”.

Also this week, loudmouth Labor leader turned loopy columnist Mark Latham quit his writing gig at The Australian Financial Review over what some describe as his “deeply offensive” views on “feminism and other social issues”.

This follows weeks of heated debate over American rapper Tyler the Creator. He cancelled his Aussie tour following a campaign to keep him out of the country on the basis that his lyrics are “offensive to women”.

Campaigners have been badgering the Immigration Minister to revoke the visa of this “incontrovertibly offensive American”, as The Sydney Morning Herald called him.

It’s official: being offensive is now a risky business in Oz.

Whether you’re a jokey mag for awkward 15-year-olds, a former politician angry about new social movements, or a rapper who loves winding people up, you’re no longer allowed to give offence. Do so, and you could find yourself ejected from polite society, maybe even kept out of the country, as if you were diseased.

To get to Oz, I had to assure your authorities I was free of communicable diseases; perhaps future visa forms will demand to know if I am “incontrovertibly offensive”. “Sorry, mate, you can’t come in: offensive people not allowed.”

Zoo Weekly, Mark Latham and Tyler the Creator share something important in common. None of them committed criminal acts. None incited violence. They merely expressed views that rattled people’s sensibilities. And for that they’ve been harshly rapped on the knuckles.

Australia, it pains me to say, has been recolonised. Not by the Brits but by the Empire of Offence.

Already well-established in Eur­ope, where you can be arrested and even jailed for saying outre things, and spreading like a bossy blob across American campuses, the Empire of Offence is now consuming Oz, too. And for those of us who have always looked lovingly at Australia as a free-speakin’ nation, where everyone has a fair go and the C-word can be a term of endearment, this is really sad. If even Australia can fall to the culture of “You Can’t Say That!”, nowhere is safe.

Across the West, taking offence is all the rage.

Where earlier generations might have said, “I disagree with you, so let’s have it out,” today people are more likely to say: “I am offended by you, so I want you out of my newsagents, off Twitter and as far away from me as it’s possible for you to be put.”

On campuses in Britain and the US, students are setting up “safe spaces” in which offensive words and ideas may not be expressed.

In the US, some of these censorious cocoons, designed to protect students from ever hearing a cross word or strange idea, come complete with colouring books and soothing music — I’m not making this up — to induce a childlike feeling of supreme safety. Safety not from physical assault, but from ideas.

Many students now demand trigger warnings on books that might upset them.

Students at Columbia University in New York want even Ovid’s Metamorphoses to come with a warning because that great poem mentions rape, which some might find offensive.

The kind of warning that was once only issued for television shows with gratuitous violence — “some viewers may find this show upsetting” — is now being stuck on classic works of literature.

In Europe, meanwhile, there are actual laws against offending or insulting certain groups.

In Sweden, a pastor was given a one-month suspended prison sentence for saying, in his own church, that homosexuality is a “tumour” — which is, of course, offensive to gays.

In France, actress turned animal-rights activist Brigitte Bardot has been fined €30,000 ($46,800) for badmouthing the Islamic ritual slaughter of animals, which she considers barbaric.

And we wonder why we’re seeing the rise of nut jobs such as those gunmen who massacred the staff of the offensive magazine Charlie Hebdo. These guys were brought up on a continent where we’re constantly told that feeling offended is the worst thing ever, and we have the right to sue or silence or harass the person or thing that offends us.

The Charlie Hebdo killers are best seen as the armed wing of the Empire of Offence, the horrific logical conclusion to the institution of a new era of speech-punishing inoffensiveness.

And now the Empire of Offence has come to Oz. Sometimes it is enforced formally by laws, such as section 18C, which forbids “offending” groups of people.

And sometimes it’s enforced informally, by Twittermobs or campaign groups keen to shush or even send packing anyone they consider “incontrovertibly offensive”.

But either way, the end result is the same: eccentric individuals are silenced, which is always a bad thing, and the rest of society is infantilised, through being told that some ideas are just too dodgy, weird or outrageous for us to hear, and thus we must have our eyes and ears covered by Those Who Know Better. By the footsoldiers of the Empire of Offence.

Criminalising offensiveness is a really bad idea. Sure, the victims right now may be only people whom many of us agree are annoying. But we must remember that giving offence is often the engine of human progress.

From Copernicus’s then-contrarian insistence that the sun was at the centre of our solar system to suffragettes usurping of the “natural order” with their demand for the right to vote, many of today’s established good ideas started life as outrages against decency or normalcy.

As George Bernard Shaw said, “All great truths begin as blasphemies.”

If we quash offensiveness, and force field our societies against dangerous thinking, then we will create a sad, suffocating, risk-averse intellectual climate in which no great truths or breakthroughs are ever likely to be made.



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

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

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


Thursday, September 03, 2015

‘I’d be embarrassed to call myself PC’

Sarah Franken talks ISIS, censorship and the perils of being pigeon-holed

‘Islam is the great, hypocritical double standard of our age. Any time a murder is committed in its name, someone has to do damage control at the political level. I’ll never stop making fun of it.’ So says Sarah Franken, American comedian and satirist, about her searing Edinburgh Fringe show, Who Keeps Making All These People? – an absurdist, character-comedy exploration of Islamist barbarism and Western self-loathing.

Talking to her between shows at the Pleasance Courtyard, as we go from one issue to the next at breakneck speed, her views come across like a charge sheet of unfashionable ideas. The PC purge of academia gets short shrift: ‘When I was at university, the courses I liked were the ones featuring dead white European males. I didn’t want to sit in a circle and talk about feelings.’ Then there’s the oh-so-trendy phenomenon of white guilt: ‘I come from a trailer park in Missouri. We had to get on food stamps when I was a kid, and we were white.’

But, above all else, it is the rise of Islamic State, and the West’s gutless inability to challenge it morally or militarily, that most raises Franken’s hackles. For her, Barack Obama is Public Enemy No1: ‘When someone saws someone’s head off we don’t need some idiot president talking about the crusades. That guy makes me ashamed to come from America.’ Franken’s eloquent rage is not just insightful; it’s hilarious. A stand-out bit in her show involves the Australian prime minister, a proxy, perhaps, for Obama, responding to a terror attack by saying ‘diversity, multiculturalism, melting pot’ ad infinitum at a press conference. Aside from the odd liberal gasp, the room was left in hysterics.

Given the Fringe’s reputation for being a glorified summer camp for London’s right-on luvvies, you’d think Franken would be picketed off stage. But not only is she saved by a preternatural talent for Python-esque absurdity, meaning even your most seasoned Guardian reader can’t help but laugh, she’s also been embraced this year, as a progressive force in comedy. While Franken has been building a reputation in the US and UK for over a decade, no one knew who Sarah was until this summer. Before recently coming out as transgender, she was Will. And, aside from being a ‘marketing nightmare’, Franken’s transition has brought huge press attention.

But as overjoyed as Franken is with the publicity, she’s concerned that fawning journos are trying to put her in a box. ‘There was one review that was two paragraphs. The first was all, “brave, brave, brave, she made a brave decision to come out of the closet, brave, brave, brave”. And then, when it came to the show itself, the review completely missed the point.’ Franken has been closeted much of her adult life. But, after leaving her God-fearing parents behind, one of the things that kept her from coming out was the fear of being hemmed in artistically because of who she was. ‘When I lived in San Francisco – which, if ever there was a safe place to be out and about, it’s there – there were so many shows like “Growing Up Gay” or “Growing Up Latino”. So many shows about identity. I didn’t want to be thought of as a transgender comedian.’

‘The fact that I’m transgender is completely incidental’, she continues. ‘It doesn’t mean I’m going to shut up and be a good little girl and not talk about IS and why we need to overthrow them. That’s one half of me. The other half is kicking myself in the ass that I can’t sit down to write that stupid, bland show about what it’s like to be transgender and win some awards and get on TV for it.’

For Franken, a passionate libertarian, the political conformity on the comedy circuit can often be stifling. ‘When I meet libertarian comics, it’s like Jews in the Holocaust’, she says, before affecting a Jewish New York accent: ‘You’re one of us, we have places we can hide.’ Perhaps unsurprisingly, the way in which comedians have swallowed the speech-policing mantra of political correctness really makes her gut churn. ‘People think that because comedy was perhaps racist in the past that, if we don’t put these self-imposed strictures on ourselves now, we’re all going to hang black people from trees’, she scoffs. ‘I think there’s a lot of comedians who just want to get on TV, but if you’re going to make any claims to doing art, you should be totally against political correctness.’

The conversation soon turns to Lenny Bruce, the father of modern stand-up, who battled with the authorities in the Sixties over his obscene routines. ‘If Lenny Bruce was working today, you can bet he’d be going after the politically correct. This is a man whose whole obsession was freedom of speech. The fact that he was doing bits like “Are there any niggers here tonight?” close to the time of the civil-rights struggle in America, you’d think it would have made it much more sensitive. But years later, after all this stuff has been resolved, we’re tenser about words than we were back then. And, unsurprisingly, comedy is worse as a result.’ Unlike Lenny Bruce, Franken says, being PC is also patently uncool: ‘I would be embarrassed to say I was politically correct. I think it’s a bad thing. It’s like saying that I don’t masturbate or listen to rock’n’roll.’

Franken’s heroes – from Bruce to Peter Cooke and Chris Morris – were never afraid of offending their own social milieu. And, with this in mind, I ask her about one of the most edgy routines in her show, in which Simon Schama, who is hosting an imagined televised Q&A about Franken’s transition, apologises profusely for accidentally calling her ‘he’. So, is the heightened sensitivity around pronouns something Franken feels is a problem? ‘The reason I put that in there is because, even though I prefer the pronoun “she”, and I don’t necessarily like it when I’m called “he”, in relation to defeating IS, it’s a bit navel-gazing’, she says. ‘I respect the pronoun thing. I get it. But if we had to make a hierarchy of things that are important, that should go underneath mowing down IS.’

Discussing the roots of PC, Franken, again, offers keen insight. ‘I think the West lives in a moral vacuum. We’ve gotten rid of religion, we’ve gotten rid of our belief in the West and its core principles, like freedom of speech. And nothing can exist in a vacuum, so we’ve replaced it with this religion of political correctness. It’s a religion of words. We don’t say the word “nigger” now, even if we’re slamming that word. It’s tantamount to “don’t say Jehovah, or else you get stoned to death” in Ancient Israel. We’ve gutted ourselves.’

As we talk about what Franken plans to do next, it becomes clear that, contrary to how some fawning reporters may have it, it is being anti-PC, rather than transgender, that is making hitting the big time tough. ‘I’m a capitalist; I have all of these bourgeois aspirations. I would love to win awards and get on TV and all of that, but I don’t know if they’re going to allow that in this day and age; if they’re going to allow a new Chris Morris, someone who’s going to do a paedophile special.’

‘At the end of the day I’m a comedian. It’s about laughter – I want to hear laughs’, she says. And, as she rushes off to another interview, it seems there’s some consolation there: Franken may have some important things to say about the absurdities of modern Western culture, but she’s also got a God-given gift for making them funny.


Perry: If We Lose Churches and Synagogues Not 'Enough Police Officers to Keep Us Safe'

Speaking on Fox News on Sunday, former Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) said churches and synagogues have been "where right and wrong has been taught to a huge number of our population," and "if we lose those great institutions we can't hire enough police officers to keep us safe."

While reacting to the death of Harris County, Texas Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth, Perry said "This country and the institutions that have made America great through the years, in particularly over the last two centuries, our synagogues and our churches have been the place where right and wrong has been taught to a huge number of our population.

"And as we see those institutions being attacked, when we see religious freedom being attacked in this country, it really brings to the forefront, that the places where right and wrong have historically been trained into our people, are being pushed out of the public arena and the point that I made yesterday was if we lose those great institutions we can't hire enough police officers to keep us safe."

He later continued "When you really get down to it, the Bible is a pretty good guide book - if we live by that - I suggest to you we'd have fewer events like the one that occurred to the policeman in Houston."

Goforth was killed after a gunman came up behind him and shot him "execution-style" while the deputy was fueling his patrol car on Friday Night.

Shannon J. Miles, a 30-year-old Houston resident, is being charged for the crime.


Elizabeth Hasselbeck: 'Why Has Black Lives Matter Movement Not Been Classified Yet as a Hate Group?'

During a Monday segement on the protest group Black Lives Matter, "Fox & Friends" host Elizabeth Hasselbeck asked why the organization has not been labeled a hate group.

Hasselbeck was talking to guest Kevin Jackson, a writer for National Review, about a protest by Black Lives Matter, an organization that protests what they see as police violence against African-Americans. Protestors at the recent Minnesota State Fair used the chant “pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon” to refer to police. Hasselbeck and Jackson also discussed a recent execution-style murder of Darren Goforth, a sherriff’s deputy in Texas.

"Kevin, why has the Black Lives Matter movement not been classified yet as a hate group?" Hasselbeck asked Jackson. "How much more has to go in this direction before someone actually labels it as such?"

"Well they should do it, but unfortunately it’s being financed by the leftists,” Jackson replied. "Ironically it’s people that have nothing, really no concern at all about black lives."


How censorship divides us

Political correctness has made us more wary of one another

Where I come from, insult is the ultimate sign of affection. The harsher the epithet, the greater the love. I came of age in the places the academic PC-crowd hates the most: sports locker rooms and fraternity houses, where misogyny, racism and homophobia are said to be rampant.

But the people I knew that said the most ‘insensitive’ things also acted in the most ‘inclusive’ manner. A childhood friend comes to mind that fits the mould of every elitist stereotype about racists. He was working-class, rural and desperately white; he liked to mock President Obama, and would even casually hint at dropping (or actually drop) the n-word around some of our black pals.

He also took one of his best friends (who is black) into his home when he had family trouble and needed a place to stay. He has more black and brown friends than any white critical race theorist I’ve ever encountered in college. He’s the most colourblind person I know. Although, according to some colleges, that probably does make him a racist.

Sometimes banter really is just banter, and equality can mean everyone being equally willing to offend one another, and laughing it off over a beer. I am thoroughly convinced that it can be patronising and thus, in its own way, bigoted to tiptoe around sensitive issues such as race – for it to be okay to make fun of one group and not another.

I understand the impulse of political correctness. After all, it was infantilising and wrong to call grown women ‘girls’, and grown black men ‘boys’, as happened in the past. But I am also thoroughly convinced that eliminating the term ‘anchor baby’ will not help end xenophobia any more than eliminating the phrase ‘you guys’ (the Midwestern version of ‘y’all’) will help end sexism. Some think culture and language brainwash us all into bigotry. But we are not clay to be moulded; we are moral agents who make conscious choices about how we treat other people.

This is a precarious time for those of us who oppose political correctness and censorship on ideological grounds – who believe it erodes universalism, shuts down debate and focuses on symbolism over substance. People at both ends of the political spectrum are starting to rebel against campus speech codes and the culture police. However, there is a certain contingent of Donald Trump supporters who say they’re fighting stifling political correctness, but practice a politics of identity similar to that of the PC academic left.

Fringe (or frivolous) elements often co-opt principled movements. Hell, in the name of anti-racism, a group of writers refused to honour the slain Charlie Hebdo cartoonists at the recent PEN gala in New York. This is despite the fact that, when the massacre occurred, the Charlie Hebdo staff were actually planning an anti-racism conference. Just as anti-racists should oppose people who use the banner of anti-racism to shut down speech they dislike, libertarians must not allow idiots who just want to say offensive things without criticism to co-opt the movement for unfettered expression.

To do this, we must make an unabashed case for the principle of free speech. Not because we want to defend people who say hateful things, but because we understand – as many so-called progressives do not – that once the weapon of censorship is granted, the person holding the whip won’t always be so benevolent; that rather than coming at the expense of marginalised groups, free speech is a tool for their liberation; and that rather than preserve power structures, free speech helps bring them down.

What I really want is a civil society where we are so ‘inclusive’ that everyone of every race, gender, sexual orientation or creed feels free to say (almost) anything, and we can all grab a drink and have a laugh at the end of the day. We will be a freer, fairer and funnier society for it.



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

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

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


Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Next Front in the War on Religious Freedom

Stop bellyaching about Washington. All the country’s best fascists are on your local city council

Not long ago, Colorado became a leader in the fight against religious freedom, when its Civil Rights Commission, self-appointed ministers of justice and theology, decided that a shopkeeper who refuses to participate in a gay wedding ceremony must be smeared and fined out of business. A Colorado appeals court says this is kosher, finding that the brittle sensitivities of a cakeless couple outweigh the constitutional rights of Christian business owners.

Now, in an effort to save everyone some time, the cultural imperialists at the Denver City Council have decided to skip the pretense of some trumped-up injustice and jumped right to discriminating against a business solely because of the beliefs of its CEO.

The Denver City Council’s Business Development Committee has stalled a seven-year deal with Chick-fil-A because CEO Dan Cathy spoke out against gay marriage back in 2012. Cathy, after being flogged for this misconduct, backed off, saying he regretted getting involved. But that won’t do. There are no prisoners in this culture war. So the City Council will meet in a couple of weeks to take up the topic again. Not so the members can take time to chew over the significance of a city’s punishing its citizens for their thoughts and beliefs or even to weigh the importance of tolerance in a vibrant city such as Denver. They’re waiting to have a closed-door committee hearing with city attorneys, who will brief them on the legal implications and practicality of shutting down apostates.

The only thing that might stop Denver from pulling this concession from an apologetic Christian, then, would be a few risk-averse bureaucrats. This, even though Chick-fil-A has not been accused of any infraction or crime. No one has even suggested it’s guilty of make-believe acts of discrimination. Chick-fil-A has given assurances, in fact, as all other concessionaires at Denver International Airport restaurants have, it will follow nondiscrimination policies laid out by law, which include protections for sexual orientation.

So what’s the point? Well, Councilwoman Robin Kniech asked a concessionaire this question: “If the national corporation with which you are affiliated once again puts themselves at the center of a national debate about depriving people and their families of rights, would you as a concessionaire have any ability to influence that?”

“I don’t believe so,” he answered.  “I don’t think you would, either,” Kniech said. “And that’s my concern.”

So that’s her concern? Setting aside the oversimplification of the debate surrounding marriage, since when is it the interest of a city councilor to monitor the political activities of citizens and wonder how she deals with vendors who displease her sensibilities? Do Americans with minority opinions function under some different set of laws? The only entity with the power to deprive anyone or anyone’s family of rights, in this case, is the City Council. So please tell me how Kniech isn’t a petty tyrant.

Of course, Denver is not alone. A few years back, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported an alderman’s efforts to block Chick-fil-A from opening in his city because of, as the media like to say, the “anti-gay views” of its CEO — which, only a couple of years beforehand, had been the anti-gay views of President Barack Obama and Emanuel, his chief of staff. The Chicago City Council didn’t go through with it, after “assurances” from the company that the virtue of Chicago would be protected.

Denver Councilman Paul Lopez, who is leading the intellectual charge for the ban — a task that meshes poorly with his skill set — says that in the end, opposition to the chain at the airport is “really, truly a moral issue.” Now, when the Founding Fathers told us that government can make no law respecting an establishment of religion, I took it to mean that the belief system of a union-installed sock puppet on a city council would be completely irrelevant in matters of expression and faith. Really, truly.

Now, people are free to boycott and protest whomever they please. Citizens and elected officials have every right to work to cut off taxpayer funding to businesses and institutions they find morally distasteful. But if the city council of Anytown, USA, were to concoct reasons to deny permits to gay business owners who support same-sex marriage, many Americans would find that rightfully appalling. If you’re OK with the idea of a city council’s denying Christians who believe in traditional marriage the same freedom, you’re a massive hypocrite — and probably worse.


Appalling: Planned Parenthood Didn't Report Rapes of Underage Girls

 Planned Parenthood staff did not report multiple rapes of a 14-year-old girl who got two abortions at the clinic that were four months apart, the Alabama health department found during a recently published review of the clinic.

In addition to sanitation problems, improper paperwork and a lack of caution when administering drugs to patients, the health department found the Alabama clinic failed to report the 14-year-old’s case to the authorities, and was otherwise careless with her health.

These deficiencies “require a plan of correction,” the review begins.

A 14-year-old mother of two visited the clinic in April, 2014, for an abortion, and returned that August for a second abortion. Planned Parenthood did not obtain proper consent from a guardian, as required by Alabama law, and did not take proper precautions when administering the medication abortions.


Carson Drops A Truth Bomb on Thug Culture

In a new USA Today op-ed, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson slammed some of the tactics used by the Black Lives Matter movement as “lunacy,” while singling out a host of liberal institutions which he says are the black community’s “real sources of our hopelessness.”

Carson singled out the entertainment industry — and the new hit movie “Straight Outta Compton” in particular — as one such institution.

“The entertainment industry…lines its pockets by glamorizing a life where black men are thugs and our women are trash,” Carson writes.  “It is time for them to pick on someone else because we have had enough.”

“Demeaning women is not art, and it shouldn’t be profitable. Neither is glorifying violence and equating prison time with authenticity. Straight Out of Compton, #1 in movie theaters, is just the latest example. You only have to watch the trailers.”

The movie tells the story of the formation of the Los Angeles-based rap group, N.W.A. The group, whose most popular song is entitled, “Fuck the Police,” was started with drug money from one of its members, Eazy-E.

Addressing policing, which has been Black Lives Matter’s main area of focus, Carson acknowledges that the activists are right “that racial policing issues exist and some rotten policemen took actions that killed innocent people.”

“Those actions were inexcusable and they should be prosecuted to deter such acts in the future,” Carson says, while adding that “unjust treatment from police did not fill our inner cities with people who face growing hopelessness.”

In the op-ed, Carson calls out Black Lives Matter for its recent focus on Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.  “There are many things to be angry about when you are consumed by hopelessness. Bernie Sanders isn’t one of them,” Carson writes.

Earlier this month members of the Black Lives Matter branch in Seattle disrupted a Sanders campaign event, forcing him off stage. The incident caused disruption within progressive circles and within the Black Lives Matter movement itself. Sanders is considered the most progressive candidate running for office.

Activists from other Black Lives Matters chapters have disrupted other events, including last month’s Netroots Nation, where Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley were presenting.

Carson, who describes the neighborhood of his childhood as one where “most Americans were told to never drive through,” pointed to his mother who helped protect him and his brother from falling victim to street crime.

“I can tell you she wasn’t worried about Socialist senators from tiny rural states,” Carson writes. “‘BlackLivesmatter’ could learn from her to focus on the real sources of our hopelessness.”

Carson calls on the protesters to march on local boards of education, city hall, the entertainment industry, crack houses, Washington D.C. and both the Democratic and Republican parties.

“The actions of rogue police officers take black lives one at a time. Our public school system has destroyed black lives not in the ones and twos, but in whole generations,” Carson says, asserting that public schools are controlled by teachers unions which focus more on helping teachers rather than teaching children.

He also calls for protests against city hall to help fight against crime and laments the federal government’s “War on Poverty,” saying that the $19 trillion spent on programs to fight poverty “have been a great American failure.”

Of the Democratic party, Carson writes: “Let’s tell them, we don’t want to be clothed, fed and housed. We want honor and dignity.”

He also accuses the Republican party of ignoring blacks for too long. “They need to invite us in and listen to us. We need to communicate and find a different way.”


Obama Desecrates American History

Ohio lawmakers reacted angrily Sunday to the White House's announcement that President Obama would formally rename Alaska's Mt. McKinley — North America's highest peak — "Denali" during his trip to The Last Frontier this week.

"Mount McKinley ... has held the name of our nation's 25th President for over 100 years," Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, said in a statement. "This landmark is a testament to his countless years of service to our country." Gibbs also described Obama's action as "constitutional overreach," saying that an act of Congress was required to rename the mountain, because a law formally naming it after Ohio's William McKinley was passed in 1917.

"This political stunt is insulting to all Ohioans, and I will be working with the House Committee on Natural Resources to determine what can be done to prevent this action," Gibbs said.

The Ohio delegation's disappointment at the decision cut across party lines.



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

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

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


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Not another one!  Another arrogant U.N. female ready to bad-mouth  Britain

Britain is so safe to pick on I guess.  The same performance in Iran or Venezuela would get her locked up for slander or some such.  Wonderful Britain just tut-tuts

The United Nations was under fire last night for sending a Costa Rican human rights lawyer to Britain to investigate ‘absurd’ claims that Government welfare reforms have violated the rights of the disabled.

Catalina Devandas Aguilar is expected to visit the UK in the coming months to spearhead an inquiry into claims that Britain is guilty of ‘grave or systematic violations’ of the rights of the disabled.

The inquiry, by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, will report back on a range of issues, including whether welfare cuts have harmed disabled people. Other members of the committee include representatives from Uganda, Kenya, Tunisia and Thailand.

Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger last night described the inquiry as ‘the most absurd and offensive nonsense’.  He added: ‘We have a proud record in this country for the way we treat disabled people.

‘I am not an expert on disability rights in Costa Rica, but I suspect Miss Devandas Aguilar might be better off focusing her efforts much closer to home. The UN should keep their noses out.’

An inquiry is only ordered where the UN committee believes there is evidence of ‘grave or systematic violations’ of the rights of the disabled. It is understood Miss Devandas Aguilar is planning to lead a team of inspectors to the UK in the coming months to talk to campaigners.

Bill Scott, director of policy at Inclusion Scotland, a consortium of disability organisations, said he had been contacted by the UN after submitting a report to the Geneva-based committee.  He told Scotland’s Herald newspaper: ‘The UN have notified us they will be visiting Britain to investigate, and want to meet us.’

Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger last night described the inquiry as ‘the most absurd and offensive nonsense’

Disabled people have been affected by a number of welfare reforms in recent years. Disability campaigners claim they were hit disproportionately by the spare room subsidy. Critics say disabled people sometimes need a spare room for a carer or equipment.

Campaigners are also critical of Employment and Support Allowance. Claimants must undergo a test to see if they are capable of work and will have their payments cut by £30 a week to the level of Jobseeker’s Allowance if they are.

Ministers insist the changes have been designed to focus scarce resources on the most needy and encourage those who can work to return to the workplace.

The Department for Work and Pensions has declined to comment on the inquiry, but pointed out that the UK spends around £50billion a year on disabled people and their services. The UK also has stringent equalities legislation.

The investigation threatens to reignite the row between the DWP and the UN over ‘politically motivated’ attacks on Britain.

Last year a group of UN poverty ‘ambassadors’ attacked Britain’s welfare reforms. And in 2013, the UN’s controversial Brazilian housing ‘rapporteur’ Raquel Rolnik criticised cuts to housing benefit. Miss Rolnik, a former Marxist, was dubbed the ‘Brazil Nut’ after claims emerged that she had dabbled in witchcraft.


Britain's leading Leftist, Jeremy Corbyn, is an utter nut

Jeremy Corbyn described the assassination of Osama bin Laden as a ‘tragedy upon a tragedy’ that would make the world a more dangerous place.

In TV footage which emerged online for the first time last week, the Labour leadership frontrunner criticised the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist in a raid by US special forces.

He told Iranian national television, shortly after bin Laden was shot four years ago, that the 9/11 mastermind should not have received the ‘death penalty’, but should have been put on trial. Failure to do so, Mr Corbyn said, was ‘a tragedy upon a tragedy’, after the World Trade Center attacks, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Critics have described his remarks as ‘frightening’ and displaying a complete lack of understanding of difficult military operations. They will fuel the deep concerns of many voters about Mr Corbyn’s antipathy to Western foreign policy, and follow the recent chorus of criticism over his associations with Islamic extremists.

Bin Laden became the world’s most wanted man following the attacks on September 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people when two jets hijacked by extremists from his Al Qaeda network were crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, another hit the Pentagon and one crashed in Pennsylvania.

He was tracked down and shot dead in May 2011 at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. David Cameron and former Labour leader Ed Miliband praised the US forces for their achievement and said the world was now a ‘safer place’.

But Mr Corbyn told Press TV’s The Agenda programme: ‘There was no attempt whatsoever that I can see to arrest him and put him on trial, to go through that process. This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy.

‘The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died. Torture has come back on to the world stage … Can’t we learn some lessons from this?’

Presenter Yvonne Ridley, a controversial critic of the West, mentioned reports of a drone strike on another senior Al Qaeda figure, Anwar al-Awlaki, the following day. Mr Corbyn replied: ‘Yes and the next stage will be an attempted assassination on Gaddafi and so it will go on.

‘This will just make the world more dangerous and worse and worse and worse. The solution has got to be law not war.’ He added: ‘I think everyone should be put on trial. I also profoundly disagree with the death penalty under any circumstances for anybody.’

Kevan Jones, Labour’s defence spokesman, said: ‘This just shows you how out of touch he is with what most people’s views are.’

Nadhim Zahawi, a Conservative MP on the Commons foreign affairs select committee, said: ‘Osama bin Laden was a terrorist who any sensible human being in the world would want either killed or arrested. For him to call this a tragedy and appear to compare it to what happened on 9/11 is frightening.’

Alan Mendoza, deputy director of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, said the comments ‘betray a complete lack of understanding of the conditions in which an extremely difficult military mission was undertaken’.


Pay gap? British women earn MORE than men till their 40s

Women are paid more than men until they reach their 40s, according to an official assessment of the gender pay gap.

It found that the difference between wage levels for male and female employees leans in favour of women rather than men among workers in their 20s and 30s.

Twenty-something women have earned more than men in the same age group for the past decade.

Now, in a further sign that the gender pay gap is retreating, the figures show that for the first time women in their 30s are also paid more than their male contemporaries. Men only become better paid when they reach middle age.

The disappearance of apparent pay bias against women in their 30s comes as growing numbers of women put off having children until later and later ages.

Figures covering last year show that women in their 20s, working full-time and without counting overtime, earned 1.1 per cent more on average than similar men.

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics in its national hours and earnings survey, also show that women in their 30s out-earned men by 0.2 per cent on average last year.

But a pay gap in favour of men still cuts in after the age of 40. Women in their 40s are paid on average 13.6 per cent less than men, a disadvantage that rises to 18 per cent for those in their 50s.

Girls still earn less than boys until they reach 21. Among 16 and 17-year-olds, boys earn 16.9 per cent more than girls while for 18 to 21-year-olds the gap is 4.8 per cent.

The continuing pay gap in favour of teenage boys may be connected to the greater academic success of girls, which means most able women will go to university or further education. Women have closed the gap on men under 40 at a time when education, career and home ownership have become the priority over marriage and family for millions.

The average age at which a woman has a baby is now 30 and the proportion who have a baby over 35 has trebled since the 1980s. The traditional gender pay gap is also being challenged among the young high earners of Hollywood.

In June the Mail reported that for her latest film Jennifer Lawrence, 25, is to be paid almost double what her male co-star receives. The Hunger Games actress will reportedly get £12.5million to appear in Passengers, while Chris Pratt, star of Guardians of the Galaxy, will receive up to £7.5million

In the past, Oscar-winner Miss Lawrence, a vocal critic of the gender wage gap in Hollywood, has been paid less than male co-stars.

The ONS figures were supplemented by a survey by the Press Association news agency, which said that in 2013 a woman aged between 22 and 29 typically earned £1,111 more than a male rival.

Feminist campaigners said companies should close the pay gap at older ages by offering senior jobs to part-time or job-share managers.

Sam Smethers, of the Fawcett Society, said: ‘Sadly the opposite is true. Once you get to a certain level it is a full-time role, which excludes many women from roles they would be perfectly capable of doing.’

But Patricia Morgan, an author and researcher on the family, said: ‘If the pay gap in the 20s and 30s was the other way around there would be bucketloads of experts jumping up and down demanding that we act to address this dreadful inequality. No-one seems to worry about being unfair to men.

‘This is about women and their ability to choose to have children, and to look after them themselves. There is a smack of totalitarianism about the attitude which says women cannot choose to bring up their own children rather than pursue careers.’


ACLU: Force Catholic Hospitals to Abandon Catholic Faith

The woefully misnamed American Civil Liberties Union is launching a crusade to force Catholic hospitals to act against Catholic moral teachings and the natural law.

This is an un-American attack on religious liberty.

The ACLU's intentions came to light this week after it threatened to sue Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California, which is operated by the Sisters of Mercy. The hospital is a part of Dignity Health, a nonprofit that operates 40 hospitals — 22 of which are Catholic — in California, Nevada and Arizona.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, Elizabeth Gill, an ACLU lawyer, sent a letter to the hospital threatening legal action if it would not relent on its refusal to allow a woman to be sterilized in its facilities after giving birth there to a child due next month.

"In an Aug. 17 letter to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, Gill said the ACLU would go to court unless the hospital reversed course and authorized the sterilization procedure," the Chronicle reported. "By denying 'pregnancy-related care'..., Gill wrote, the hospital is discriminating on the basis of sex, as defined by California law, and is also allowing 'your corporate entity's religious beliefs' to override a doctor's medical decision, violating a state law against the corporate practice of medicine."

On Tuesday, the Chronicle published another article with this lead: "Facing a possible sex-discrimination lawsuit, a Catholic hospital in Redding reversed its position Monday and agreed to let a woman's doctor sterilize her after she gives birth next month."

Dignity Health's Mercy Medical Center then issued a carefully worded statement indicating that the center, in fact, had not and would not turn away from the Catholic bishops' moral directives on health care.

"In accordance with policy, as well as state and federal law, we respect our patients' privacy by not discussing the specifics of their care," said Dignity's statement.

"What we can share is that in general, it is our practice not to provide sterilization services at Dignity Health's Catholic facilities in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services," said the statement. "As such, tubal ligations are not performed in Catholic hospitals except on a case-by-case basis where a formal review by a committee of physicians and others gives permission to perform the procedure."

"The hospital has always and will continue to operate in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services and medical staff bylaws," Dignity insisted in its statement.

The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, say this about sterilization: "Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic hospital. Procedures that induce sterility are permitted when their direct effect is the cure or alleviation of a present and serious pathology and a simpler treatment is not available."

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has posted a collection of quotations from church documents on contraception, sterilization and abortion. It includes a statement from Pope Pius XII explaining that "direct sterilization" is a violation of the natural law.

"Direct sterilization — that is, the sterilization which aims, either as a means or as an end in itself, to render child-bearing impossible — is a grave violation of the moral law and therefore unlawful," said the pope.

"[W]hen sterilization began to be much more widely used the Holy See was obliged to declare openly and explicitly that direct sterilization, permanent or temporary, whether of men or women, is illicit in virtue of the natural law, from which the Church herself, as you know, has no power to dispense."

For its part, the ACLU made clear that its ultimate target was not this particular hospital or the outcome of the particular case discussed in the Chronicle. Its ultimate target is the practice of Catholic morality inside Catholic hospitals.

"While we are grateful Mercy Medical Center has agreed to provide medical care in this instance ... the reality remains that there is a clear conflict between the best interests of patients and the directives of the Catholic hospital system," said the ACLU's Gill in an ACLU press release.

"Religious institutions that provide services to the general public should not be allowed to hold religion as an excuse to discriminate or deny important health care," she said.

The ACLU then said: "The hospital's directives, written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, classify common reproductive health procedures as 'intrinsically evil."

In fact, Directive 70 published by the bishops says: "Catholic health care organizations are not permitted to engage in immediate material cooperation in actions that are intrinsically immoral, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and direct sterilization."

We now live in a country where self-proclaimed advocates of "civil liberties" believe they can get the courts to force Catholic institutions to cooperate in these evil acts.



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

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

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


Monday, August 31, 2015

The Feminist War on Family Science

Another comment on feminist "research" here.  Also see here and here

Few social science findings are as durable, consistent, and striking as the idea that children fare better when under the care of two biological parents (on a whole slew of indicators).  This is as close to a law of gravity as we have in sociology.

Unfortunately, there are a slew of scholars who have ignored the science, and instead argue that sociology cannot prove that children fare better with parents who are traditionally married.

The effect of this feminist war on family science—waged by Martha Fineman, Linda McClain, and Elizabeth Brake—has been staggering.

For example, defenders of traditional marriage recently pointed to family science facts in court proceedings on same-sex marriage and were forced to defend state laws favoring traditional marriage as if they were discriminatory.

In order to defend such laws, they had to prove that the state’s discrimination served a “compelling state interest” on behalf of children.

Social science studies are, however, as I say, on the side of traditional marriage.

Those who helped design legal strategies and briefs on this topic thought that the courts were putting a gun to the head of traditional marriage and forcing it to come up with the goods.

We hoped we could, under these unfavorable conditions, still win the argument on the basis of evidence.

For such arguments to win the day, judges and justices have to be willing to listen to the data. There were reasons not to be optimistic that they would be open to persuasion.

As I say, few findings in social science are as well-established as the idea that children raised by two biological parents are better-educated, commit fewer crimes, have more self-control, and do better on almost every measure of well-being than children living with single parents, from divorces, living with step-parents, and so on.

Long term studies beginning in the 1970s have shown this to be true. The most significant data on this has been available since the late 1980s, with more and more data accumulating as the years proceed.

There was a cascade of studies and prominent books on the topic in 2000, and subsequent work has done nothing but buttress such findings.

I hesitate to mention any single individual on this topic, but Robert Rector, David Popenoe, and David Blankenhorn were crucial in the early stages of this project, while few have been as important as W. Bradford Wilcox in the latest stages.

Before these findings were dismissed in court, feminists and contemporary liberals confronted them and denigrated them.

The various arguments that these feminist “scholars” have made reveal an ideological blindness that is not open to reason and evidence.

Liberal Scholars Ignore the Science

Exhibit A is Martha Fineman, author of “The Autonomy Myth” and professor at Emory University.  She discredits research in several ways.

First, she claims there is a “feedback loop,” within which family decline literature should be dismissed.  “The results of only some studies (those supporting the family disintegration thesis) get publicized and aggressively made part of policy discourse through think tanks and advocates with access to media.”

Then, in the usual manner, she cites countervailing studies—studies that show that kids of divorce or products of single parents do just fine, thank you.

Or, to be more precise, these countervailing studies show that “association is not causation” or that the effects are difficult to state or that decline does not necessarily lead to such effects or that they demonstrate the problem of a spurious relationship or a selection bias.  This exhausts what I remember from methods classes.

Fineman concludes that the science of family decline is still in the boyhood of knowledge and cannot be relied on or should not be relied on.

One wonders if she would have had the same hesitancy if the results had pointed in the other direction!

This brings Fineman to her second point.  “Even if” the social science on the children is correct, the “analysis fails to consider, let alone add to the equation, the cost suffered by women (and ultimately the children they care for) if we deter divorce or punish single motherhood through establishing economic and normative disincentives.”

Actually, such questions have been addressed more than once, and the findings suggest that women too are better off in marriage than outside of it.

Fineman represents the “science is not settled” strategy: if all the studies agree, she denigrates them as part of a “feedback loop.”  She pounces on the difficulty of conducting experiments in a social setting. She searches, mostly in vain, for studies that point in the other direction

Interestingly, Fineman cites New York University Professor Judith Stacey regarding the feedback loop, and then several subsequent feminist scholars cite Stacey and Fineman about the feedback loop.  It is almost as if there is a feminist feedback loop about the feedback loop.

Role of Traditional Family

Exhibit B is Linda McClain, who published a very comprehensive book on family policy, “The Place of Families,” in 2006. McClain puts “gendered” or traditional marriage in her crosshairs.

She claims that marital families should not be “the sole proxy for family forms that secure child well being” and that the traditional family promotes gender hierarchy, domestic violence, and male entitlement.

The harm to children seems to be a price McClain is willing to pay for greater female equality, understood as greater advances in an autonomous life for women.

Perhaps these harms can be minimized as we search for alternatives to the individualized, loving attention mothers and fathers pay their children.

What we need is high-quality, subsidized daycare and other public institutions that could replace the family. If these do not work, well, there is no back-up plan.

McClain affects not to trust the science. If she did trust the science, she would dismiss it, recognizing that this question presents an ultimate clash of values between female autonomy and child well-being.

On that clash of values, she chooses the autonomous self with capacity.

Even if the science is settled, McClain, without blinders and in full realization of what she is doing, does not care.  Other “values,” including the rearing of self-governing children, are more important than child well-being.  Public institutions, it is hoped, may also arise to help us mitigate the damage.

Expanding Marriage Even Further

Elizabeth Brake, author of “Minimizing Marriage” shows how the understanding of marriage at the heart of the same-sex movement cannot be cabined, and she welcomes a new, more minimal understanding of marriage that includes not only same-sex couples, but also a circumstance where “diverse care networks, urban tribes, best friends, quirkyalones, polyamorists,” and others can be accepted as marriage partners.

Brake is also brave in her recognition of social science data on family decline.  She concedes that if marriage is “‘for’ reproduction and child rearing … and traditional marriage were essential to child rearing, this could provide a justification for restrictive marriage laws.”

Now she does stack the deck a bit. “Essential to child rearing” is a high bar—one that I don’t think anyone seriously argues for. Brake backs away and adopts the language of “tends to” and “fosters.”

Can this be reasoned with? Perhaps.  Brake does think that “empirical findings of the benefits of marriage are mixed” and that the studies suffer from a “selection bias.” She mentions, as if on cue, that “correlation is not causation.”

(She mustn’t have gotten the memo on the feedback loop!)

Brake takes the science seriously in a sense. Her most serious problem with the social science as it exists is that it takes place in an environment of an almost tyrannical heterosexual, monogamous opinion.

Only if we conducted research in our world (the tyrannical one with very strong families, she thinks) and then conducted the same research in a world without a monogamous and “heterosexual privilege” could we make a judgment about the contributions of healthy marriage to the well-being of children.

Brake’s argument is that science can never really be settled, so society can run with the values it chooses to embrace.

The lesson from this confrontation is, I think, only reinforced by the experience of recent efforts to protect traditional marriage in the courts.

This is not an argument waged on the level of science. It is a question of “values.”

To be sure, defenders of the traditional family must use the findings of science, but in addition, they must introduce a deeper argument of ideas.

Let us talk as much about the ideas as we talk about the science itself.


Women doctors could bring Britain's NHS to its knees

Dr Max Pemberton writes cautiously below

We are facing a crisis in the NHS. It’s not a crisis caused by obesity, or dementia or binge-drinking. It’s a crisis caused by having too many women doctors.

Now, before I am inundated with accusations of misogyny, hear me out. Because I’m not suggesting for a moment that the women themselves are to blame.

Nevertheless, they are bringing the NHS to its knees — and if we don’t do something about it soon, there will be profound consequences.

This week the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health gave a stark warning that children’s wards face closure because so many paediatricians are now women and have gone on maternity leave or work part time. There simply aren’t enough senior doctors left to run departments any more.

Three-quarters of doctors training in paediatrics are women. The situation has become so bad in some areas that up to 63 per cent of shifts are being covered by locums.

In other specialities that attract women — such as general practice, where two-thirds of GPs are women — a similar staffing disaster is unfolding.

It’s affected mental health, too, which traditionally has always attracted female doctors. In my own department in the past year, four doctors out of eight have gone on maternity leave.

More and more women are coming into medicine — in some medical schools, as many as 80 per cent of students are now female, suggesting the problem is only going to get worse.

Of course, it wasn’t always like this. For years, women struggled to establish themselves as doctors. A law formally allowing them to enter the profession was not passed until 1876 and, even then, only a smattering graduated and went on to practise until well after World War II.

In the Sixties, just a quarter of medical students were female. Since then, though, the numbers rising up the ranks have rocketed. It’s predicted they’ll soon outnumber men.

But this creates challenges that, as yet, no one is addressing. Quite simply, the average male medical graduate will work full time, while the average female won’t.

In fact, a study of doctors 15 years after graduation showed that on average, after career breaks and part-time working are taken into account, women work 25 per cent less than their male counterparts.

That means, as more women enter the profession, you need more doctors. So have we seen a corresponding increase in the number of places at medical school? No.

It’s gone up slightly in recent years, but only to allow for the generally increased burden on the health service, not this fundamental demographic shift.

Areas of medicine that are not traditionally ‘family friendly’ due to the time commitments required face a particular struggle to fill posts. And I don’t just mean A&E and trauma surgery, where you need to be on constant call.

It’s also true of specialisms such as neurosurgery and orthopaedics, which can involve repeated, intensely complicated surgery — often over many years — that you can’t just dip in and out of.

I’m not for a minute saying female doctors aren’t a good thing. I’m relieved there are more women going into medicine as I think it’s precisely what’s needed to make it more compassionate and patient-focused.

Research published this week from Indiana University suggested that male-dominated working environments can be particularly stressful for women. But I’d argue they’re bad for men, too.

An aggressive, combative working environment isn’t enjoyable or productive. It causes stress and burn-out. Women in the workplace mean there is less bravado, less posturing.

In medicine they help generate a holistic, gentler approach with greater co-operation and planning. There’s less machismo. But that doesn’t wipe away the big, structural problem created by more part-time working and maternity leave. And it’s patients who will suffer, because it endangers continuity of care.

Medicine should be seen as a vocation, and with this comes the harsh reality that your patients have to be your priority.

It’s not sexist to point this out, and I don’t think this is a reason for fewer women to go into medicine. But it is a reason to think hard about the way we work.

I know some women doctors who have decided their choice of career simply precludes motherhood. Others, quite reasonably, think that’s too extreme — and make it practical by renegotiating roles at home.

After all, if you’re a female brain surgeon and your husband works in marketing, why should you be the one who has to give up when a baby arrives? Surely, when men have less important jobs, they should take on the childcare.

Flexible thinking — by both individuals and the NHS as a whole — is the only way forward. Otherwise, the welcome feminisation of our health service will simply cause greater and greater problems.


Ensuring a Free and Open Internet

There aren’t many things we can take for granted these days, but some things really feel as though they should be a given. A free and open Internet, for example.

Twenty years ago, it was still a novelty for many of us. But today it’s an essential part of how we live, work and play. Modern life without the freedom to find the information we need with relative ease is almost unimaginable.

But that freedom could be in jeopardy, thanks to governments in countries such as France, China, Brazil and Argentina.

To understand why, it’s important to know that the Internet freedom we enjoy comes in large part because of the fact that the United States oversees a body known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN runs the naming function of the internet under a U.S. government contract with the Department of Commerce.

So far, so good. ICANN is the Internet administrator, so to speak, and the U.S. has been ensuring that it fully protects a free and open Internet.

But the U.S. announced last year that it wants to end its oversight role, provided it can ensure that the free Internet we all enjoy isn’t damaged in the transition.

So the U.S. insisted that ICANN work with the Internet community to create an accountability structure something that would substitute for the oversight role currently performed by the Department of Commerce. And ICANN has been working toward such a model ever since then, and even make some good progress.

But some governments – “a small, but vocal minority,” note experts Brett Schaefer and Paul Rosenzweig -- are trying to take advantage of this transition process to assert more government control of the Internet. At an ICANN meeting in Paris this summer, they insisted that governments should have an “enhanced” role in running the Internet.

You don’t have to be an expert in Internet policy to know what happens when government has an “enhanced” role in anything. Quality declines, freedom erodes, and any information that isn’t stamped “approved” becomes hard to get.

Think the idea of government control is a bogeyman? Consider “right to be forgotten” rules. As regulation expert James Gattuso recently wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, they give European Union residents the right to request that Internet search engines remove links that appear in searches for their own names.

In June, France’s Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés ordered Google to apply “right-to-be-forgotten” globally. Google refused, but what if they are forced to comply? That would censor your Internet searches and impinge on your freedom. More importantly, it shows the kind of thing that happens when governments take a greater hand in controlling the Internet.

The U.S., along with many other countries, has opposed the idea of changing the way ICANN currently does business and giving government a greater role. “But the possibility remains that the vocal minority of governments may force ICANN to seriously consider giving them enhanced authority over ICANN decisions and, by extension, in Internet governance,” writes Schaefer and Rosenzweig.

“That is a red line that must not be crossed,” they add. “The U.S. government should reject out of hand any transition proposal that grants governments more influence over ICANN than they currently possess.”

To ensure that this doesn’t happen, Congress needs to be involved. Some lawmakers realize this, which is why the House passed the DOTCOM Act (currently pending in the Senate), which would require the Obama administration to give Congress 30 legislative days to review any proposal it approves on this matter before it is implemented.

U.S. leverage is crucial. However it’s accomplished, Congress needs to put itself in a position to reject a bad deal. The alternative -- giving more authority to authoritarian countries that see the Internet as something to be controlled for government purposes -- is unthinkable.


‘Shut Up, Bigot!’: The Intolerance of Tolerance

Conservatives are called bigots because those who embrace the new sexual mores are beholden to the new tolerance as a plausibility structure. Postmodern liberals cannot comprehend the idea that one could simultaneously reject a belief and accept the person who holds it.

America is in the midst of a raging national debate on issues surrounding sexuality and gender. If you dare to suggest that gender is determined by sex and is immutable, that same-sex sex acts are immoral, or that marriage is a permanent, exclusive union of husband and wife, then you will be called an intolerant bigot, hater, and homophobe.

Where does the charge of bigotry come from? Is it just a passing fad, a political and social tool for power and control, or do its roots go deeper?

Bigotry is defined as “intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.” Notice that bigotry is not intolerance toward the opinions or beliefs of persons other than yourself, but intolerance of the other person. Bigotry is not simply disagreeing with what someone else believes; it is an unwillingness to tolerate or accept the person who holds those beliefs.

A little reflection on this definition will reveal that the vast majority of bigotry accusations populating the internet and in public discourse are not legitimate ones. On the contrary, they are the consequence of a mistaken view of tolerance that is itself a product of a warped postmodern epistemology.

Two Views of Tolerance

Under the traditional view of tolerance, two aspects were required: first, that you respected the right of the person or individual in question to hold his beliefs and voice his opinions; and second, that you had a right to disagree with those beliefs and contest them both privately and publicly. As D.A. Carson paraphrases it in The Intolerance of Tolerance, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” You do not have to like the person with whom you disagree, but you do have to respect and tolerate his right to speak.

This conception entails tolerance toward the person while allowing intolerance toward beliefs. Since beliefs are abstract objects communicated through propositions in written or spoken language, they have no inherent dignity in themselves. It does them no harm or offense to disagree with them or offer a rebuttal. Disagreeing with or being intolerant of a belief, in this view, is fundamentally different from being intolerant or hateful toward the person who holds that belief. In other words, this definition is built on a clear and obvious distinction between a person and his beliefs.

The traditional understanding of tolerance reflects a certain epistemology: namely, that there is such a thing as truth, it can be known, and the best way to discover the truth is through debate, reflection, and investigation. The pursuit of truth requires mutual cooperation, serious consideration of opposing beliefs, and persuasion through the use of reason. Coercion, exclusion, slander, and threats of force have no place in the search for truth.

Over the course of the last century, however, the old view of tolerance has been slowly transformed. The emergent new tolerance holds that persons who are truly tolerant accept the views of others and treat these individuals fairly. The key distinction is that under the old tolerance, one would accept the existence of other views even while rejecting some views as false; but under the new tolerance, one accepts these other views. In other words, all views are seen as equally valid and true.

The new tolerance rejects “dogmatism and absolutism,” affirms that each person has the right to live by his convictions, and eschews imposing one’s views upon others. Yet underlying this view of tolerance is a fundamental contradiction. Is not this concept of tolerance being imposed on all peoples and cultures, in direct violation of one of its own tenets? And as Carson points out, “does not the assertion, ‘Tolerance . . . involves the rejection of dogmatism and absolutism’ sound a little, well . . . dogmatic and absolute?"

Therefore, despite its appeal and aplomb, the new tolerance is both intolerant and internally incoherent.

Intolerance: The Supreme Sin

A critical error of the new tolerance is that it conflates beliefs and persons. In this view, to accept divergent beliefs is to be accepting and respectful of the person who holds them; conversely, to reject a belief as untrue is thought to be a rejection of the person who holds that belief. To say, “I think your view is false,” is akin to saying something unkind and insensitive about the person with that belief.

Thus according to the new tolerance, to be intolerant toward another’s beliefs is to be intolerant toward the person. And intolerance toward persons, incidentally, is the definition of bigotry. So when traditionalists voice dissent against the array of beliefs held by sexual liberals, this is interpreted as a rejection of the people who hold those views. Thus, within the incoherent paradigm of the new tolerance, the accusation of bigotry appears justified.

For practitioners of the new tolerance, intolerance is thought to be the supreme sin because it offends and disrespects persons. No one deserves to be offended or disrespected, and such an offense is considered an assault on their very dignity as a human being. This is why the rejection of same-sex marriage, homosexual practice, and transgenderism is believed to be an attack on the dignity of people with such attractions and lifestyles. This is why Justice Kennedy, in his majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, appealed repeatedly to the dignity of LGBT individuals as a basis for their inclusion in the institution of marriage (as opposed to the metaphysical nature of marriage). To exclude them would have been an intolerant act, a defacing of their human dignity, and a supreme vice.

The claims of bigotry that stem from the new tolerance are moral claims: To reject the beliefs of the new sexual mores is to be intolerant of persons and to attack their dignity, and this is wrong. It is impossible to be a virtuous citizen if you are intolerant in this manner, and unvirtuous citizens who are bigots have no place in the public square; they are to be ridiculed, excluded, and publicly shamed.

This is why the battle for religious liberty and freedom of conscience is so important. There is the very real possibility that conservative voices and freedoms will be stamped out just as racist behaviors and attitudes have been. Some individuals naively claim that Obergefell v. Hodges will have no effect on issues of religious liberty, but such views ignore the current attacks against those who hold to traditional sexual norms.

If the current view of tolerance retains its cultural grip, conservatives will be systematically discriminated against and socially ostracized. Teachers will be excluded from faculty at liberal universities or denied tenure altogether. Businesses will be forced to abide by laws that conflict with their religious beliefs and consciences. Commencement speakers and guest lecturers will be uninvited to academic events, publishing houses and journals will refuse to print certain perspectives, colleges and universities will be denied accreditation and federal funding, and on and on. In other words, while the letter of our First Amendment rights might be upheld, their spirit and practice will be rejected by the greater society that is still functioning according to the mistaken view of tolerance.

Due to such repercussions it is imperative that conservatives, libertarians, and traditionalists work together to dislodge the new view of tolerance from its cultural pedestal.

The New Tolerance’s Rotten Postmodern Foundation

The conceptual underpinnings of the new tolerance can be traced back to postmodern epistemology. Postmodernism is complex, to be sure, but at its heart it is a form of cultural relativism. It rejects metaphysical realism in favor of the claim that reality is a social construct.

Objective and universally binding truth claims are thought to be impossible.

The only way to discredit the new intolerance is by attacking the philosophical foundations of postmodern theory. Unfortunately, postmodernism has thoroughly worked itself into Western culture, shaping Western assumptions and plausibility structures. “Plausibility structures” is a phrase coined by sociologist Peter Berger, referring to structures of thought widely and unquestionably accepted throughout a given culture. They dictate what individuals in that culture will consider to be possible or impossible, plausible or implausible.

Over the past half century, the new view of tolerance has become a foundational plank in the conceptual structure of Western thought. This means that individuals who act according to the old understanding of tolerance will be met first with befuddlement, and then with scorn. The old tolerance is unrecognizable in a culture that has embraced the new vision of tolerance and adopted it as a plausibility structure.

Conservatives who dispute the views of sexual liberalism are called bigots because those who embrace the new sexual mores are beholden to the new tolerance as a plausibility structure. Postmodern liberals cannot even comprehend how one can simultaneously reject a belief and accept the person who holds it. Thus, the charges of bigotry that spew forth reveal the intellectual and interpersonal poverty and dysfunction in which these persons live.

The Way Forward

The new tolerance turns out to be just as intolerant as the intolerance it abhors. By demanding that all views be considered equally valid, it cannot tolerate the old but correct view of tolerance, and it therefore becomes the intolerance of true tolerance. In the end, tolerance itself is destroyed, yielding instead to tyranny. When this happens, the new tolerance wields the libel of bigotry in order to intimidate and silence dissenters and impose conformity.

We must challenge postmodern thought at a fundamental level and reintroduce the old vision of tolerance into society. This will be most effective if we practice the old tolerance, visibly and powerfully demonstrating that it is possible to hold to objective truths and dissenting views while being respectful and loving toward those with whom we disagree. Such interpersonal virtues are rarely seen in a culture where social media exchanges and comment threads overflow with vitriol. Only by consistently and unfailingly teaching and practicing the old tolerance—and defending its epistemological foundations—will there be any chance of overturning the new tolerance.

So what will the future of American society and culture be? Will it be a place for true tolerance, where competing ideas and visions of human flourishing are openly and respectfully debated in the public square? Or will the new tolerance create a totalitarian regime that controls both private thought and public engagement through accusations of bigotry while masquerading as enlightenment and progress?

It’s up to American citizens to decide. We must not be intimidated, and we must not be silenced, for the freedom and flourishing of an entire culture and her people are at stake.



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

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

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


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Scientists discover a way to reverse racial bias in young children.  But how firm is the effect?

I am not sure that the authors of the baby studies below  realize what they have shown.  They showed that in initial encounters babies are biased.  They simply prefer familiar appearances. But that is very temporary.  Given just a little extra information, biases vanish. People recognized as individuals tended to be accepted as individuals, despite differences in appearances.

But that is only the beginning of the story.  What happens in real life outside the deliberately limited context of a psychology laboratory?

What we do see from the experiments described below is that   "Stereotypes" are highly malleable and responsive to extra information.  They are not mentally imprisoning.  Even a little information makes a big difference to impressions.  That is in fact what the whole stereotyping literature shows.  See here, here  and here

So people do respond cautiously to differences in appearances BUT the response is very plastic.  Caution will evaporate if and only if  nothing important is associated with the different appearance.  That is the opposite of the old claim that stereotypes are rigid mental straitjackets.  Given extra information prejudgments  will in fact change rapidly -- for better or for worse.  They are very reality-sensitive.

A rather good example of that process is on view daily in Australia.  Australia has a large East Asian minority, mostly Han Chinese.  And it is so common to see young East Asian women on the arms of tall Caucasian men that one looks with some surprise at couples who are both Han.  In such couples the man will, however, invariably be a TALL Han man.   The little East Asian ladies go for tall men and they get them.  They like height and they want tall children.

And relaxed Australian whites are fine by them.  The ladies are probably in general a bit smarter than the Caucasian whites they grab but they know that the men concerned are easy-going in the  traditional Australian way so they can live with that.

But the tallest population group in Australia are dark-skinned East Africans.  Many are very tall indeed. And so many of them have come to Australia as refugees that it is common to see them lounging around the streets and shopping centres.  But I have yet to see ONE of them partnered with ANY kind of an Asian lady.

The lesson?  Easy.  Interracial relationships may start out from a simplistic base of preferring familiar appearance but the real characteristics of people rapidly come to dominate relationships. African men are generally poor, dumb and aggressive and nobody but their own women wants them, except for a very few socially marginal or foolish white females.  No Asians want them.  So the Asian ladies are racist in that they recognize real racial differences -- but they are not bigoted.  They in fact prefer a race different from their own.  They respond to important differences and ignore unimportant ones.

Reality is so much more complex than the simplistic formulas used by the Left.

Children as young as three months old have been found to have a bias towards women who are the same race as themselves.

Now, a University of Delaware scientist has discovered a simple exercise that he claims can undo this unconscious racial biases in young children.

Using the technique of measuring how much time the babies spend looking at pictures of faces, Paul Quinn has spent a decade studying how infants classify race and gender.

At six months, Quinn said, the infants were classifying faces into three groups - Caucasian, African and Asian.

He has found that, by nine months of age, infants not only distinguish racial categories but also become less able to tell different individuals apart if they are members of a less-familiar race.

For example, white infants can identify white faces as belonging to different individuals, but they are less likely to see Asian or African faces as distinct individuals.

'Might these perceptual biases we see in infants be related to the social biases that we see in older kids, beginning at three or four years of age, and adults?,' Quinn said.  'And if they are, can we use a technique to reduce bias?

'As we tried to answer this question, we hit on the idea that if the perceptual and social biases are linked, we might be able to reduce the social bias by perceptual means.'

In their latest study, published in July in the journal Developmental Science, Quinn and his collaborators in China used photos of African and Asian faces and morphed them together to create ambiguous images that looked equally African and Asian.

Some of the faces had pleasant expressions, while others looked more severe.

When researchers showed the images to four- to six-year-olds in China, the children identified the happy faces as Asian - the category they were used to seeing - and the angry faces as African, a group they rarely saw in daily life.

The scientists' wanted to see whether the children's unconscious racial biases could be disrupted. They showed the youngsters five different African faces and gave each of the individuals a name, repeating the process until the children could identify each of the five faces by name.

When the children then looked at the happy and angry ambiguous-race photos again, their bias in favour of their own racial group had dropped dramatically.

'This process of getting the kids to respond to the [five African] faces as individuals, not as a category, only takes 15-30 minutes, and it made a significant difference,' Quinn said.

'It suggests that what is a social bias has [visual] perceptual components and that it can be disrupted.'

Another, related study that Quinn conducted in his lab at UD with babies from the Newark, Delaware, area has been published online by Developmental Science, with print publication expected in the future.

In this study, researchers worked with Caucasian babies to explore how and at what ages they began forming categories of people based on the racial characteristics of faces.


Denver Corruptocrats' Chick-fil-A Smokescreen

Holier-than-thou liberals on the Denver city council are waging war on Chick-fil-A in the name of tolerance and diversity. Now, let me tell you what the squawking is really all about: It's a distraction, a feint, a mile-high smokescreen.

Spiteful Democrats claim they are upholding progressive "Denver values" by delaying approval of an airport concession contract with the Christian-owned restaurant chain. But the politically correct storm over same-sex marriage (which Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy personally opposes) is convenient cover for the local government's serial mismanagement, bloated spending and shady contracting practices.

Denver International Airport concessionaires raked in more than $322 million in gross revenue last year amid longstanding complaints of political favoritism and dirty dealing that date back to the facility's construction in the mid-1990s.

You should know that while Denver's city council leftists falsely accuse Chick-fil-A of discriminatory practices, they've been embroiled in litigation over bid-rigging allegations involving a separate $53 million airport concessions contract. Last fall, a retail group filed suit against the city council rubber-stampers and Denver International Airport officials for allegedly conspiring to help the winning bidder snag a seven-year deal to run the airport's duty-free shops.

The plaintiffs in the case, DIA Retail, uncovered what they call "systemic" misconduct and manipulation of the award process, including multiple violations of rules prohibiting contact between the winning bidder, Hudson Group, and government officials after submitting their request for proposal.

Then there's the city's own audit of the airport's "disadvantaged concessionaire program" released in May, which showed that Denver officials are much better at preaching to others about "diversity" than practicing it themselves. After finding that half of DIA's food and beverage revenue was concentrated in the hands of three operators, the auditor exposed "questionable" financial wealth claims by some concession owners certified by the city as "economically disadvantaged."

Gaming the airport contract system is as popular a Colorado pastime as skiing and rock-climbing.

In April, a jury indicted city employee Larry Lee Stevenson, a supervisor in Denver's Excise and Licensing Department, for allegedly accepting a cash bribe to help a local business get a deal to run parking operations at the airport.

DIA's nearly $40 million "minority-owned" mechanical construction contract, which the city awarded to black female businesswoman Denise Burgess, is a massive front for non-minority subcontractors, according to a Denver Post investigation last year. "Burgess Services is not equipped to carry out a mechanical project. It subcontracts the construction work to other companies," the paper found. "Yet the entire contract value counts toward the airport project's overall minority- and women-owned business-enterprise participation goal of 30 percent. In reality, minority- and women-owned businesses are doing only a fraction of the work on Burgess' contract."

And the cost of that work keeps soaring.

DIA overspending is epidemic. Another scathing audit identified skyrocketing cost overruns in the airport's hotel and transit construction project — scheduled to soar from an initial estimate of $500 million to at least $730 million — thanks to shoddy recordkeeping and nonexistent oversight.

What kind of financial controllers are at the wheel? Fraudulent accountants like Laura Trujillo, who was fired earlier this summer after the Mountain States Employers Council concluded that "there was no record of Trujillo ever having a CPA license, no record of her ever having applied for such a license, and no record of her ever having applied to take the CPA exam in Colorado."

Perhaps the sanctimonious Denver city council should spend less time finger-wagging at other businesses and more time minding its own sordid henhouse.


Canadian "Hate Speech" Proposal Threatens Free Speech

Thirteen years,thirteen honor killings, all in Muslim families, all of them in Canada. But if you should condemn those murders, you might find yourself the subject of investigation and convicted of a crime.

Quebec Human Rights Commissioner Jacques Frémont has proposed a bill "to prevent and combat hate speech and speech inciting violence."

If adopted, the law known as Bill 59 would allow Quebec's Human Rights Commission or members of the public "to initiate a 'hate speech' lawsuit against a person who makes a statement considered discriminatory against a group," Marc Lebuis, director of Point de Bascule, an organization that tracks Islamist activities in Canada, said in a recent interview.

In addition, the bill would grant the commission power to investigate people alleged to have uttered hate speech, said Justice Minister Stephanie Vallée. Those convicted of promoting hate could be fined up to $20,000 and their names would be made public and posted indefinitely to a list available online.

Most view Bill 59 as a response to pressure from Muslim groups, who have filed several complaints of "Islamophobia" and anti-Muslim hate speech in recent years. In many ways, the bill resembles UN Resolution 16/18, an initiative of the 56 Islamic States who comprise the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and which restricts speech that could be considered "discriminatory" or which defames religion and can be considered "incitement to violence." Only Bill 59 is worse: it pertains to personal, subjective, emotional responses that an individual has to something that he reads, hears, or encounters.

That this proposed statute flies in the face of everything we in the United States as well as in Canada believe to be fundamental to human and civil rights and the sanctity of free speech is not the only challenge the proposed bill presents. But it presents its greatest threat to democracy and the values the West holds sacred.

Ironically, Lebuis says, supporters justify the bill by suggesting it will protectdemocracy against terrorism. They reason that "terrorism is a reaction towards people who criticize their religion," he explains, "so by banning the criticism of Islam, we would end terrorism." Such arguments have been made both by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and by Muslim groups such as the Association of Muslims and Arabs for a Secular Quebec (AMAL). "Hate and Islamophobia drive certain people in groups subject to discrimination toward another form of extremism and violence,"said AMAL President Haroun Bouazzi in a recent presentation to the National Assembly during a debate over the bill.

But Canada's federal criminal code already calls for imprisonment (up to two years) for "anyone who incites hatred against any identifiable group," as the Montreal Gazette points out. Though the proposed bill addresses hate speech against individuals, not groups, it fails even to define what "hate speech" is. As attorney Julius Grey testified, "Nietzsche, Shakespeare and Voltaire could all be found to have incited violence and hatred. Should they have been censored?"

Moreover, because there is no clear definition of "hate speech" and no standard by which it can be measured, the bill leaves the door wide open for prosecution. "It is based on what people feel or could feel," Lebuis said. "Public interest, the truth, facts or even intentions are no defense."

That situation is made worse by the fact that conviction is based on the determination of the Human Rights Commission tribunal, overriding federal laws which require a determination of guilt "beyond reasonable doubt." As columnist Don MacPhersonobserves in the Montreal Gazette:

"The federal Criminal Code defines 'hate propaganda' as advocating or promoting genocide, inciting hatred against an identifiable group [that is] likely to lead to a breach of the peace,' or 'willfully' promoting hatred against such a group ... And an accused can't be convicted 'if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true" (as would be the case, say, with any condemnation of an honor killing).

But Bill 59 makes no such provisions.

Others, including (surprisingly) AMAL's Bouazzi, have objected to the proposed creation of a permanent, public record of those found guilty of "hate speech" - a gesture that is not only defamatory but could even become dangerous should anyone seek retribution. Further, "hate speech" is not defined in the bill, so such a conviction has Machiavellian potential: For example, were you, to ascribe honor violence or terrorism to cultural or religious beliefs, you could be subject to prosecution. This would be the case even if the actual perpetrator claimed to act in the name of culture or religion. And while a terrorist will go to prison for his deeds, should you be found guilty of violating Bill 59, your name, not his, will be indelibly included on that list visible to the world.

As such, the potential for political parties to silence - let alone criminalize - those who oppose them lurks ominously within the reaches of such a law.

Among Muslims, according to Pakistani-Canadian activist Tarek Fatah, opinions seem to be split. "Ironically, some Islamist-promoting organizations and mosques have welcomed Bill 59, notwithstanding the fact they violate it every week when they start their Friday prayers with a ritual invocation that asks, 'Allah to give Muslims victory over the "kufaar"(Christians, Jews and Hindus),'" he writes in the Toronto Sun.Others like himself, he says, "everything we can to make sure Quebec's Bill 59 does not pass." And if it does pass, he adds, "the first complaint to the QHRC will be against Islamist mosques for spreading hatred against Jews and Christians.

That is a promise."

Judging from past efforts to legislate such issues in Canada and from the apparent opposition to Bill 59 being voiced in editorials around the country, the measure seems to have little chance of passing. A measure to legalize sharia tribunals, for instance, failed in 2005, though ironically, these tribunals - opposed vehemently by Muslim women, who recognized that such tribunals tend to discriminate against women in cases of marriage, forced marriage, domestic abuse and inheritance - were denounced by many as "Islamophobic." (One has to wonder what the Quebec HRC tribunal would have to say about that issue: Islamophobia or misogyny? And what of the person accused of "Islamophobia" who in turn declares the term "Islamophobic" offensive and presses charges against his accuser?)

Pierre Trudel, a lawyer and professor of law at the University of Montreal, also feels that the bill in its current form stands limited chance of succeeding. But, he added in an interview, "it's fair to expect that it will be amended to answer the objections of many opponents." Otherwise, he said, the result will be "a significant chilling effect on speech."

Ironic, then, that nothing else could better hand a victory to those very terrorists the bill was written to subvert. In the words of Benjamin Franklin (as Silence Dogood), "Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech."



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

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

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