Thursday, August 16, 2018



UK: Boris Johnson’s offence-seekers avoid the issue

JANET ALBRECHTSEN

The brouhaha over Boris Johnson is a salutary tale about how to screw up a free society. Last week Johnson made a serious point about freedom, that women in a free society should have the right to wear a niqab or a burka. The former British foreign minister also poked fun at these women dressing like letterboxes and bank robbers. A week later, the spirit of the times has been confirmed. Taking offence over a dumb-ass joke trumps defending the freedom of women to wear what they damn well want. That zeitgeist is a dead-end street for liberty.

To be sure, bashing Boris is child’s play. His narcissism always gets a good rise from his critics. And it’s true that his ego ranks right up there with, well, most other politicians. What separates him is that he is better at making people sit up and take notice of what he says.

Last week, Johnson defended what it is to be free, which is tragically refreshing because it is rare even in the Tory party. He reminisced about Denmark where the spirit of liberty once ran free — a country that told the EU to get knotted over the Maastricht Treaty, where people ride bikes free from helmet laws, where locals dive stark naked into the icy Cop­enhagen harbour and where part of the capital is set aside for a commune of anarchists at Christiania.

Then, on August 1, the Danes outlawed women wearing the niqab or the burka, following others such as France, Germany, Austria and Belgium. Johnson said that jarred with the Danish disposition to live and let live.

But it was a few silly words about letterboxes and bank robbers that consumed the un-intelligentsia. A week on, they are still transfixed on being offended. If Johnson’s biggest sin is to seek attention, that is preferable to the growing array of offence-seekers. The more wicked offence-seekers, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, choose to be offended as a deliberate ploy to distract us from issues that should demand our attention: integration, female equality and dodgy religious doctrine.

Others are hopelessly addicted to empty virtue-signalling, such as the Labour MPs who expressed offence on behalf of others who might be offended. In the offendedness sweepstakes, feeling someone else’s offence counts for more than defending freedom.

Some have called for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Tory party because of a letterbox quip from Johnson. The same offence-seekers have not called for an inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, which is curious given that last week the Daily Mail unearthed pictures of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn holding a wreath near the graves of four Palestinian leaders believed to be part of the Black September terror group that carried out the attack on Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympics, murdering 11 people.

When senior Tories side with offence-seekers rather than with defenders of freedom, the future for liberalism looks lousy. The Prime Minister and the Conservative party chairman joined a morose cabal of PC multi-culti elites by demanding that Johnson apologise. Indeed, Tories have joined an ugly show trial that includes demands that Johnson resign and, in the meantime, be investigated.

It’s hard to work out what they will be investigating. Unlike your regular politician, Johnson didn’t dodge, weave or obfuscate. He didn’t hide behind slippery caveats. He said the burka was oppressive but said that he loved freedom more than he loathed the burka. Once upon a time that would have been a nice fit with the Conservative party’s manifesto.

If Johnson has breached the party’s code of conduct, it needs to be rewritten so a Tory who defends core freedoms is applauded rather than castigated. Suggestions that Johnson may need “diversity” training point to a party that may need major repairs under its philosophical bonnet.

There is a civil war within the British Conservative party, not unlike outbreaks in the Liberal Party here, because there was a time when defending free speech was a foundation stone in a liberal-minded political party. This civil war represents a deeper schism across the West between those who howl about being offended to shut down uncomfortable debates and those willing to have those ­debates.

Worse, when so-called liberals and allegedly moderate Muslims call for Johnson’s head, figuratively of course, they help Islamists who literally would have his head for making a joke about the veil. As Qanta Ahmed, a British Muslim woman, wrote last week, false accusations of Islamophobia play straight into the Islamists’ hands: “It masks the diversity of Muslim opinion, treating voices like mine as if they do not exist, and aided by pseudo-intellectual liberals in the West, allows Islamists to falsely present their dress code as the only true face of Islam.” Ahmed wants the veil banned. It derives from misogyny, she says, not from the Koran.

Rather than hissing over a few dumb jokes, Johnson’s critics could have engaged in this kind of more thoughtful debate about Islam, women and integration.

Munira Mirza, author of Living Apart Together: British Muslims and the Paradox of Multiculturalism, pointed out that the burka, a recent cultural accretion, was a symbol of gender inequality. She said the burka was not made more palatable because some Western women chose to wear it.

Taj Hargey, an imam from the Oxford Islamic congregation, added his thoughts about a “retrogressive Islamic clergy” that had “succeeded in persuading ill-­informed Muslims … that God wants women to cover their faces, when in reality it is a toxic patriarchy controlling women”.

Self-evidently, you cannot have searching conversations about anything much when your focus is expressing outrage over a joke. On that score, the hosts of The New Statesman podcast proved to be the perfectly useful idiots. Helen Lewis said she hadn’t read Johnson’s column because you didn’t need to. Instead, “you just sort of experience its effect”. Stephen Bush said he made the mistake of reading Johnson’s column and it was a crock to argue that the renegade Tory was trying to speak about difficult issues. These were not difficult issues, Bush said, because it was accepted wisdom that the burka should not be banned. Tell that to large swathes of Europe where the burka has been banned.

The bigger point missed by ­offence-seekers is that most Brits want more free speech. And BoJo, as he is known, resonates with plenty of voters in a way that whitebread, risk-averse politicians never do. A ComRes poll reveals that 60 per cent of voters across all parties worry that free speech is under attack and 53 per cent oppose any attempt to punish BoJo for speaking his mind.

When you are busy finding offence in a joke, you miss another point. When a liberal democracy bans the burka, it may as well wave the white flag of defeat. Banning women from wearing what they want is an admission, not only that integration has failed but also that basic freedoms must give way to state control.

SOURCE






UK: BORIS BURKA ROW: Tories are running SCARED of a leadership bid, says Jacob Rees-Mogg

CONSERVATIVE politicians are attacking Boris Johnson through fear the former Foreign Secretary could be about to launch a leadership bid, according to one top Brexiteer politician.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has written in The Daily Telegraph, responding to the backlash against Mr Johnson’s comments about people who wear the burka, which were made in the same newspaper earlier this week.

In Monday’s article, the former Foreign Secretary compared women who wear veils to “bank robbers” and accused them of looking like “letter boxes”.

Mr Rees-Mogg has labelled the outrage in the Tory party as “dubious” and accused his fellow members of trying to undermine a popular member of the party.

The MP for North East Somerset wrote in the newspaper: “The howls of outrage are suspect and the motivations dubious,” over the criticisms of Boris.

“Why would senior Conservatives want to attack so popular a figure for saying something that had been said before, and which they had not objected to?”

Mr Rees-Mogg highlighted Ken Clarke, former Cabinet minister, had previously made comments about women who wear the burka, having referred to the garments as “a kind of bag”.

He thinks the attacks are instead as a result of the Uxbridge MP’s popularity with the general public: “Could it be that there is a nervousness that a once and probably future leadership contender is becoming too popular and needs to be stopped?”

He continues: “Boris Johnson, because of his many successes, popularity with voters and charisma, attracts more than his fair share of this disagreeable vice.”

Mr Rees-Mogg thinks the party’s response has only served to generate more sympathy for the controversial politician.

He said: “This may explain the attempt to use the Conservative Party’s disciplinary procedures, but it has been handled so ham-fistedly that it brings only sympathy and support for Mr Johnson.”

Many high-profile Tories have called on Mr Johnson to apologise, including the Prime Minister.

Dominic Grieve, leader of the Commons Tory rebels over Brexit has even said he would resign membership of the party if Mr Johnson ever did become leader.

SOURCE





Toronto Shooting: Politically Correct Cover-Up?

On July 22, two youngsters -- 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis -- were killed, and another 13 people, ranging in age from 17 to 59, were wounded in a brutal shooting attack at a number of restaurants on Danforth Avenue, in Toronto's popular Greektown neighborhood. The perpetrator, who was later identified as Faisal Hussain, killed himself after exchanging gunfire with police.

Hussain's firing stance and ability to reload his 40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun while on the move suggested that he had experience with firearms.

The following morning, the Toronto Police Service issued a statement that indicated they had already identified the shooter, yet did not release his name until later that afternoon. Meanwhile, a statement allegedly from the Hussain family made the rounds in a number of news outlets.

The statement read, in part:

...We are utterly devastated by the incomprehensible news that our son was responsible for the senseless violence and loss of life that took place on the Danforth.

Our son had severe mental health challenges, struggling with psychosis and depression his entire life.

The interventions of professionals were unsuccessful. Medications and therapy were unable to treat him.

While we did our best to seek help for him throughout his life of struggle and pain, we could never imagine that this would be his devastating and destructive end...

Much of the media, led by the CBC and the Toronto Star, accepted this version of the tragedy, and asserted that the mass shooting had not been a terrorist attack, while blaming a breakdown in the mental-health-care system for Hussain's actions and calling for stricter gun-control regulations.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said of Hussain, "There is no connection between that individual and national security."

It emerged, however, that the so-called Hussain "family statement" had not been written by the murderer's parents at all, but rather by Mohammed Hashim, a professional activist who served as chairman of the "Stronger Together" program of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM, formerly the Council of American Islamic Relations Canada or CAIR CAN). Its American parent organization, as stated in its own documents, is CAIR, designated as a terrorist entity by the United Arab Emirates.

CAIR was also identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in an American terrorism-funding trial whose judge determined it to be one of many organizations involved in funding Hamas.

In 2016, Hashim was instrumental in getting the Toronto Star to stop using the term "Islamic State" and refer to the terrorist group only as "Daesh," presumably to dissociate Islam from terrorism.

In 2017, Hashim was a speaker at an event held at the ISNA Islamic Centre of Canada facility in Toronto. (Three years earlier, the ISNA Development Foundation lost its status as a charity on the grounds that it had been funding terrorism.)

In addition, contrary to what Hashim purportedly wrote in the statement, there is no evidence that Hussain was diagnosed with or treated for a mental illness, even after one of his high-school teachers reported to the police 10 years ago that Hussain had said "I want to kill someone... I just feel it would be really cool to kill somebody." Although he was apprehended at the time under the Mental Health Act, he was released and deemed as not an immediate threat.

As for Faisal Hussain's actual family: Faisal has a brother, Fahad, who -- while awaiting trial for crack-dealing -- overdosed last summer on a cocktail of cocaine and heroin, leaving him in a vegetative state. Both Faisal and Fahad were friends with 33-year-old Maisum Ansari, who, according to the Toronto Sun, "was charged last September with possessing 53 kilograms of carfentanil, an analog of fentanyl and 100 times stronger than the painkiller and notoriously deadly street narcotic... the largest such seizure of the synthetic opioid in Canadian history."

During the investigation into Ansari's drug operations, police discovered a weapons cache in the basement of his rented-out house. This is possibly an example of the intersection of the drug trade and terrorism. Furthermore, carfentanil, specifically, has been of concern to the US government as a drug that also could be used as a chemical weapon.

The question of whether the Danforth shooting was an act of terrorism has yet to be answered. Although ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, Toronto police said they "have no evidence to support these claims."

Nevertheless, Faisal Hussain's actions need to be taken in a wider context. Since 2013, several low-scale terrorist attacks with an extremist Muslim connection have taken place in Canada. Among these were: the attempted 2013 bombing plot on a Via Rail train; the 2014 car-ramming attack that killed a Canadian soldier; the 2014 gun attack on the National War Memorial and Parliament; a 2016 botched suicide bombing that ended with only the terrorist dying; a 2016 knife attack on a Canadian Forces recruiting center, a 2016 knife attack in a Canadian Tire store by a woman claiming to work for ISIS; and a 2017 vehicle-ramming and knife attack.

More recently, a restaurant bombing in Mississauga on May 24, 2018, which left 15 people wounded, is still being investigated.

Since Faisal Hussain is dead, it is unlikely that a complete picture of what motivated him to commit a mass shooting will be painted. However, given the global climate, to which Canada most certainly has not been immune -- as well as Hussain's dubious connections -- the attempt by the government and the media to dismiss potential links to terrorist groups or inspiration from jihadist ideologies, is both premature and politically transparent.

SOURCE





Australian conservative politician Bob Katter accuses a journalist of being racist for saying his granddad is Lebanese - as he defends his anti-Muslim Senator

Katter's grandfather was from the Lebanese Maronite (Christian) community but Bob is heavily focused on assimilation and the fact that his grandfather assimilated readily to Australian society (most Maronites do) meant that to Katter his grandfather was Australian.  Katter in other words has a cultural definition of who is Australian and was angered by the racist definition used by a journalist


Bob Katter has slammed a journalist who suggested his grandfather was Lebanese - describing it as a 'racist comment'.

Mr Katter defended his party's senator Fraser Anning's maiden speech in which he used the Nazi term 'final solution' while proposing a plebiscite on immigation, saying the address was 'magnificent'.

Mr Katter also said a reporter who referred to his grandfather as Lebanese was 'racist'.

'No, he's not. He's an Australian. I resent, strongly, you describing him as Lebanese. That is a racist comment and you should take it back and should be ashamed of yourself for saying it in public,' he said. '

Mr Katter's grandfather Carl was born in Bcharre, Lebanon, in 1982.

Reacting to Mr Anning's speech, Mr Katter said it was 'solid gold'.

'You don't have to be Albert Einstein to see that we, as a race of people, we Australians, are being buried by a mass migration program to line the pockets of the rich and powerful.

'The (Labor Party), and more particularly, the (Liberals) are bringing 630,000 people from overseas, from countries with no democracy, no rule of law, no... egalitarian traditions, no Judaeo-Christian, 630,000 a year and they don't go home.

'We do not want people coming in from the Middle East or North Africa unless they're the persecuted minorities. Why aren't you bringing in the Sikhs? Why aren't you bringing in the Christians? Why aren't you bringing in the Jews?'

Mr Katter said Mr Anning wasn't aware of the connotations of the term 'final solution'.  Addressing outrage over his use of the term, Mr Anning said it was taken out of context by the 'thought police'.

Mr Anning said on Wednesday morning he simply wanted the Australian people to be able to decide what kind of immigrants the country accepts.

He later compared Muslim migrants to poisoned jelly beans and stood by his call for Islamic immigration to be halted altogether.

'All I'm calling for is a plebiscite and a vote for the Australian people to see who they want to come into the country,' the Queensland senator told the Today show.

In his maiden speech Mr Anning said 'the final solution to the immigration problem is of course a popular vote'.

The term 'final solution' was used by the Nazis as part of their plan to murder the entire Jewish population of Europe which resulted in mass genocide.

Mr Anning denied making a deliberate reference to Nazi Germany, but refused to apologise for his choice of words.

'If people want to take it out of context that's entirely up to them. It was never meant to denigrate the Jewish community,' he said.

Mr Anning also stood by his claims the majority of Muslim immigrants do not work [Only 18% have jobs] and are on welfare and over-represented in criminal activity.

When asked why he had singled out Muslim immigrants in the speech, Mr Anning said it was because 'they mean us harm'.

Mr Anning said he agreed the vast majority of Muslim were hardworking and law-abiding, but claimed a small minority 'want to kill us'.

'I don't want those people in this country. I think the vast majority of Australians agree with me. No-one wants to put it to a vote,' Mr Anning said.

Speaking on talkback radio later on Wednesday morning, Mr Anning likened accepting Muslim immigrants to poisonous jelly beans.

'If you can tell me which ones [Muslims] are not going to cause us harm then fine, that'd be great,' he told Alan Jones on 2GB.

'Unfortunately if you have a jar of jellybeans and three of them are poison you're not going to try any of them.'

The speech to parliament was widely condemned by politicians from both major parties, and the Greens.

After his speech was attacked by Mr Di Natale and senior Labor frontbenchers Tony Burke and Chris Bowen, Mr Anning released a statement dismissing their criticism.

'Some in the media and left wing politicians are simply afraid of the Australian people having a say on who comes here,' Mr Anning said.

'As I called for a plebiscite on the immigration mix, this baseless and ridiculous criticism is simply an effort to play the man and not the ball.

Mr Anning said it was ironic that he was being criticised by politicians from Labor and the Greens who had voted against his pro-Israel proposals in the past.

'[They] are the same people who refused to support my efforts to stop Australia funding the Palestinian Authority who finance terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli women and children,' he said.

His proposed plebiscite would allow people to decide whether they want wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the third world, he said.

Mr Anning said Australia was entitled to insist migrants were predominantly of 'European Christian composition'.

He also called for the government to ban all welfare payments to migrants in the first five years of living in Australia, labelling many asylum seekers as 'welfare seekers'.

'Ethno-cultural diversity - which is known to undermine social cohesion - has been allowed to rise to dangerous levels in many suburbs,' Mr Anning said.

'In direct response, self-segregation, including white flight from poorer inner-urban areas, has become the norm.'

Opposition leader Bill Shorten responded to the speech by saying he will move a motion praising the dismantling of the White Australia policy.

Mr Shorten's motion will recognise bipartisan support for the former Holt government's moves to end the policy, and the resulting national and international benefits to the country.

SOURCE 

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

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

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

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018



How socialized medicine works in practice

Story from Britain:

An elderly patient made an appointment with his cat's vet after being unable to get a GP appointment.

The unnamed man, who is thought to be in his 70s, asked the veterinarian to look at a worrying rash on his chest after growing increasingly frustrated with the waiting time to see his doctor.

The Brighton-based vet, who chose to remain anonymous, told MailOnline he was unable to treat the pensioner but prescribed flea treatment for his cat in case such insects were causing the man's rash.

This comes after the GP Patient Survey 2018 released earlier this week found one in four people are forced to wait a week or more to see a family doctor, with such waiting times having doubled over the past six years.

Just one third of people can get an appointment at their local GP surgery on the same day they call-up, the survey found.

Last year, Theresa May ordered GPs to extend their opening hours and offer appointments 8am-to-8pm, seven days a week, in a bid to improve access. Yet, the latest figures suggest securing an appointment is harder than ever.

SOURCE






More crooked British police

Corruption to cover up incompertence

The child sex abuse case that saw pop mogul Jonathan King handed a seven-year jail sentence has been reopened in the light of fresh evidence – including documents which dramatically undermine the testimony of a star witness at his 2001 trial.

Fresh evidence is being considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which will decide whether to order a new appeal. It emerged as a result of King’s trial this year on separate, though related, charges of ‘historic’ sex abuse, some dating back to 1970.

That case was brought to an end last week when the judge issued a damning ruling, accusing Surrey Police of failing to disclose critical evidence and misleading the court.

Judge Deborah Taylor told Southwark Crown Court that it would be impossible for King to get a fair trial because ‘the integrity of the criminal justice system and processes have been undermined publicly in a fundamental way by disclosure failures and persistent misleading of the court’.

She added: ‘A trial has been aborted due to the failures. The time of the court and public money have been wasted, in a time of scarce resources… Continuation would undermine public confidence in the administration of justice.’

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the fresh evidence to be considered by the CCRC includes:

Witness A – one of five underage victims King was convicted of abusing in 2001 – who gave a long, unpublished interview to the News of the World four years before he spoke to the police, in which he revealed a very different story from his trial testimony. This newspaper has established he told the reporter in 1997 that he met King when he was with a friend at an amusement arcade, and was not assaulted until weeks later;

 In 2001, Witness A said former DJ King first approached him when he was alone at a market stall, drove him in his Rolls-Royce to a ‘peep show’ and, later that same day, took him to his home, where he assaulted him. The police knew of these discrepancies seven months before the 2001 trial, but allegedly did not disclose the 1997 account to the defence team;

As the MoS first revealed in 2016, an investigation by the author Bob Woffinden, who died earlier this year, shows that another boy King was convicted of abusing was not in the same country as the music mogul throughout the period when he claimed he was certain the alleged abuse took place. He was in England, but tickets, receipts and credit card bills unearthed by Woffinden show that King was in America;

A 2014 report by Merseyside police on Operation Arundel, the original 2001 Surrey investigation, was only disclosed to King’s lawyers shortly before the 2018 case finally collapsed. The report, triggered by Surrey’s widely criticised investigation of allegations against Jimmy Savile before his death, made sweeping criticisms of the way Arundel officers took statements from alleged victims, saying the method they used ‘increases the possibility of error’, and ‘the integrity of any statement taken in this manner is open to question’;

The report says officers failed to tape the questions they asked during interviews, while victims’ statements were written up and signed ‘days if not weeks’ afterwards from short ‘trigger notes’, instead of immediately. The CCRC will now decide whether this casts doubt on all the evidence that convicted King in 2001;

The first Arundel detective to take a statement from an alleged victim of King was Mark Williams-Thomas, now a TV presenter. According to Judge Taylor’s ruling, after Williams-Thomas left the force, police found ‘a document on his computer offering for sale names and introductions to victims of Mr King’. The judge also said that when he left, Williams-Thomas took his police notebooks concerning King with him. The prosecution said he should not have done this because they were force property;

In 2018, though not in 2001, King was charged with abusing Witness B, the alleged victim interviewed by Williams-Thomas. Witness B could not have testified in person because illness had destroyed his ability to speak: the jury would have been asked to convict King on the basis of his 2001 statement. Witness B’s medical records, which showed he had been in numerous mental institutions and had been a drug addict, were only disclosed in June, shortly before the trial collapsed.

Yesterday, King, 73, told this newspaper in an exclusive interview: ‘I’m naturally delighted by the outcome, but my real hope is to protect others in future, and to let the many teachers, care workers and others who have also been wrongly convicted of so-called historic sexual abuse to have their cases reopened too.

‘There needs to be change at all levels. But as Judge Taylor has done, we must start with the behaviour of the police.’

He said that Surrey Chief Constable Nick Ephgrave, the man ultimately responsible, should resign.

King’s long career in pop began in 1965 when he had a top five hit while still a Cambridge student. He went on to write, perform and produce many more, while also discovering bands such as Genesis.

His contacts were also impeccable. In 2001, Simon Cowell stood him bail, and when he was arrested, King had been offered the chairmanship of recording giant EMI on an annual £5 million salary.

Other famous friends included former Page 3 model Samantha Fox.

He admits the sexual opportunities that success gave him were endless, and some might find his promiscuous behaviour reprehensible. But he says he never made any secret of it, and was always clear he was not interested in settling down. In a recent video, he ironically described himself as a ‘vile pervert’.

‘I’m bisexual,’ he said, ‘and I had sex with hundreds of people. About 40 per cent were women.

‘But I found it absurd that in the 1970s and 1980s, I could legally have sex with a 16-year-old girl but not with a boy the same age because the age of consent for gay sex was 21.

‘So I deliberately broke the law with young men who were over 16, and who wanted to have sex with me.’

King insisted he went to elaborate lengths to ensure he never slept with anyone under 16, adding: ‘I was very good at seduction. I’m sorry if some people have come to regret having sex with me in later life. But if anyone said no, I accepted it. I knew some of those who made allegations, but I didn’t have sex with any of them.’

In all, King has faced four trials.

The first – in which he was convicted of abusing boys aged 14 and 15, with offences ranging from buggery to touching inappropriately – led to his seven-year jail sentence, of which he served three and a half years.

In the second, in November 2001, he was accused of abusing two boys but found not guilty on all counts.

A third trial due after that was dropped by the prosecution.

The charges he would have faced then were ‘left on file’. But King was assured by his lawyers that they would never be revived.

Legal experts say it is highly unusual for charges of this kind to be tried years later. However, this is what happened in King’s fourth trial, which ended last week.

Of the ten alleged victims, seven – including Witness B – had first made statements in 2001, when their claims were either left on file or did not lead to charges.

The other three came forward after King was arrested in 2015 amid huge publicity.

The 2001 trial started in June. In April, King’s defence, led by solicitor Steven Bird and Henry Blaxland QC, had tried to get the case stopped as an ‘abuse of process’, arguing it was unfair to revive the old allegations.

At that stage, the judge disagreed. But then, following pressure from King’s defence, further documents were disclosed, including the Merseyside report on Operation Arundel and Witness B’s extensive medical records.

The prosecution, acting on information from the police, had wrongly told the court these documents contained ‘nothing of relevance’, and that there was no ‘final version’ of the Merseyside report – when, in fact, there was, and Surrey Police had a copy in their files.

King was found not guilty on the two charges which had lain on file, including the claim he abused Witness B. Then the case was aborted.

Meanwhile, a long statement to police by the News of the World reporter describing his interview with Witness A in 1997, with its many discrepancies from his 2001 evidence, had also come to light.

It had been sent to King’s office as part of a package of ‘unused material’ in October 2001 but he never examined it because by then he had been convicted, and was in Belmarsh prison.

King said he was sure that the reporter’s statement had not been disclosed before his trial, and if it had been, his barrister, Ron Thwaites QC, who had a formidable reputation, would have used it to undermine Witness A’s allegations.

The 2018 prosecution lawyers said ‘it is not possible to say’ if the reporter’s statement was disclosed before the 2001 trial or not, but admitted that the information it contained was ‘not in any statement made by [Witness A] himself’.

‘I was misled,’ Judge Taylor said at the end of last week’s ruling.

She added that, whether the misleading was deliberate or not, to allow this ‘would give rise to a belief that in this type of case, where there are sexual allegations against figures in the public eye, the courts are prepared to sanction the end justifying the means’.

Perhaps most astonishingly of all, she also suggested that the 2018 case had ‘not been driven by complainants’ allegations’, but ‘by concerns about reputational damage to Surrey Police in the wake of the Savile case and the consequent Merseyside investigation’.

Last night the CCRC confirmed that it had reopened the 2001 case. A spokesman said: ‘We will examine whatever material there may be which is relevant. Anything that concerns witnesses’ credibility will have a bearing.’

Williams-Thomas said he ‘not been given any opportunity to defend myself’ before the judge issued her ruling, saying that he should have been. He said he left the police with an ‘exemplary record’ and only kept his notebooks because he was advised to do so.

As to the document the judge said was found on his computer offering to sell details of King’s alleged victims, he said: ‘After two investigations, no action was taken against me.

‘It must follow that no offences were disclosed. I categorically deny any wrongdoing here or in relation to any of the other criticisms… I pride myself on my ability to protect victims of such crimes.’

A Surrey Police spokesman said: ‘We recognise there were serious organisational failings in the investigation, particularly in relation to disclosure.’

The force ‘deeply regret we did not meet the required standards to ensure a fair trial. For this we wholeheartedly apologise.’

The spokesman added that the force had commissioned an ‘independent review’ and a formal complaint by King was now being investigated. However, Chief Constable Nick Ephgrave had ‘no intention of resigning’.

SOURCE






Social Media Hive Mind Validates Jones

Now he's got a real conspiracy to talk about

The social media censors were at it again last week. Facebook deleted four pages operated by provocateur Alex Jones, while Apple, YouTube, Vimeo, and Spotify all scrubbed the Infowars host's content. Why the sudden crackdown and why this particular target?

Right up front, we'll say that Jones falls into the category of what we call 10% substance and 90% fragrance. His conspiracy theories are as legendary as they are loony, and some are downright offensive (like his accusing Sandy Hook victims of being "crisis actors"). He occasionally starts with legitimate stories or concerns, but he often blows them so far out of proportion that they become falsehood. Other times, his rantings are so phony they don't deserve the time of day. His own lawyer described him as "a performance artist" who's "playing a character." That's his bread and butter.

But that wasn't the reason social media thought police gave for their censorship; rather, each platform categorized Jones's content as "hate speech." That made for an interesting setup to the hype about the so-called — and grossly misnamed — "alt-right" rallies over the weekend. After all, Jones's listeners tend to fall on the conservative end of the political spectrum, which Big Tech and the Leftmedia are incessantly endeavoring to cast as uniformly racist bigots. Working in concert, the Leftmedia can now cite as "evidence" the censorship of their allies in Silicon Valley.

We aren't arguing that private companies can't set rules for use of their systems. The First Amendment does not force companies into subserviently providing a platform for any speech. But the tech giants have engaged in a documented pattern of suppressing conservative speech, and they're using leftist smear machines like the Southern Poverty Law Center to justify it. "Hate speech" = anything leftists don't like.

Meanwhile, elected Democrats are cheering them on. "These companies must do more than take down one website," declared Sen. Chris Murphy (C-CT). "The survival of our democracy depends on it." Using the government's power to curtail speech — even advocating it as Murphy does — crosses the First Amendment line. If no one speaks up for Jones, when will they speak up? Or will they be able to?

Finally, an irony: By literally conspiring to suppress Jones's speech, these tech giants are bolstering his conspiracy-theory brand and rallying his followers even more to his flag. Or maybe Jones conspired with social media to achieve just that result, and they're all having a grand laugh.

SOURCE






Australian crossbench senator Fraser Anning has laid out a radical immigration agenda, calling for a “final solution” plebiscite on which migrants come to Australia

QUEENSLAND crossbench senator Fraser Anning has laid out a radical immigration agenda, calling for a “final solution” plebiscite on which migrants come to Australia.

The Katter’s Australia Party upper house MP called for an end to Muslim immigration and a program that favours “European Christian” values. In his maiden speech to Parliament today, he claimed a majority of Australian Muslims live on welfare and do not work.

“While all Muslims are not terrorists, certainly all terrorists these days are Muslims,” Senator Anning said.

“So why would anyone want to bring more of them here?” He called for the government to ban all welfare payments to migrants in the first five years of living in Australia, labelling many asylum seekers as “welfare seekers”.

Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen said the use of the term ‘final solution”, which has been historically associated with the Nazi plan in World War II for killing millions of Jews, was “utterly unacceptable”.

“You don’t use that term. That is an unacceptable use of the term,” he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

“It has connotations and meanings to history which it are deeply offensive to right-thinking people, not only in Australia but across the world.” Senator Anning also said Australia was entitled to insist migrants were predominantly of the “historic European Christian composition”. “Ethno-cultural diversity - which is known to undermine social cohesion - has been allowed to rise to dangerous levels in many suburbs,” the Queensland senator said.

“In direct response, self-segregation, including white flight from poorer inner- urban areas, has become the norm.” Senator Anning called for a cultural counter-revolution to restore traditional values and redefine national identity.

He said anyone persuaded to advocate the “false claim” there was an infinite number of genders had surrendered their political soul.

“To describe the so-called safe schools and gender fluidity garbage being peddled in schools as cultural Marxism is not a throwaway line, but a literal truth,” Senator Anning said.

The 68-year-old outlined plans to boost agriculture through re-establishing rural state banks and re-establishment of marketing of farm goods through grower co-operatives.

Other issues he noted were countering the growing threat of China, slashing government spending, building coal-fired power plants and taking back culture from left-wing extremists.

Senator Anning said Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s reign as Queensland premier was the state’s “golden age”.

SOURCE 

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

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

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

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018



The elites vs social media: Why our rulers lost faith in the digital dawn

Daniel Ben-Ami

Attitudes towards the internet have shifted incredibly over the past few years. Where many used to praise the supposedly liberatory power of digital technology, now they talk gloomily about its allegedly malign influence. The main focus is on social-media platforms, Facebook most of all, but this new fear encompasses many other internet companies, too.

Given how much perceptions have changed over the years, a reminder of how things used to be not that long ago provides a salutary lesson. The election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president was a high point in positivity. Use of social media was widely praised, especially among self-defined liberals, for helping Obama to overcome decades of racism and win the election. For example, Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, said: ‘Were it not for the internet, Barack Obama would not be president.’ She went on: ‘Were it not for the internet, he wouldn’t even have been the democratic nominee.’

The Arab Spring of 2011 bought the hype about new technology to even further heights of ecstasy. Many self-proclaimed progressives credited social media as the driving force behind the popular uprisings against the autocratic rulers of several Arab countries. Paul Mason, a prominent left-wing commentator, described the protests in Egypt that year as ‘a revolution planned on Facebook, organised on Twitter and broadcast to the world via YouTube’.

This is not the place to examine the two sets of events except to say that the claims they were victories driven by social media have not stood the test of time. It is true that the Obama 2008 campaign, with its promise of radical change, inspired a large section of the American electorate. But although social media may have helped to spread the message, they did not create the conditions of public disenchantment with traditional political leaders. Likewise, social media may have helped activists promote protests in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere, but the key component of the Arab Spring – corroded systems of government overseen by geriatric rulers – had little to do with Facebook or Twitter.

In any case, the subsequent setbacks in both the US and the Middle East call into question the breathless claims about social media creating a new progressive epoch.

Fast forward to the present, though, and elite attitudes towards social media have taken on a much darker hue. It is hard to follow the news without being bombarded with hysterical claims about the supposed dangers of the internet and associated technology. The litany of charges includes: undermining democracy; spreading ‘fake news’; eroding privacy; facilitating tax dodging; fostering new forms of addiction; letting sexual harassment run riot; failing to tackle inequality; and endangering children. Anyone who thinks this list is exaggerated can use Google to verify it.

Whereas social media was once seen as a vehicle for the progressive cool of an Obama, it is now associated with the angry populism of a Trump

This is not to say there were no criticisms of digital technology a decade ago or that there are no positive voices today. But the balance of opinion has shifted in a short time from a generally rosy outlook to a frequently doom-laden one.

Jamie Bartlett, director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos, has probably done more than anyone else in Britain to draw attention to this shift. His two-part BBC2 documentary on the Secrets of Silicon Valley, first broadcast in 2017, contended that a backlash against digital technology had begun. The People Vs Tech is essentially an elaboration of the arguments in part two of Secrets of Silicon Valley.

Bartlett tries hard to maintain an even-handed approach to the new technology, although he ultimately comes down on the side of the pessimists. For him the ‘techlash’, as he calls it, ‘is a welcome brake on the runaway tech train’. However, he does go on to warn there is a danger that ‘it’s turning into a blind emotional rage against the machines’. Tellingly, he writes that his own approach to social media has become negative in his decade following the subject: ‘My optimism drifted into realism, then morphed into nervousness. Now it is approaching mild panic.’

Much more of a problem, though, is his failure properly to explore the reasons behind the shift. The furthest Bartlett goes is to argue that it is motivated by the revenge of the Old Media on the New Media. In other words, newspapers, their advertising revenue savaged by the internet platforms, have facilitated criticism of the new technology.

But given the huge scale of the onslaught against digital technology this is not entirely convincing. Governments across the Western world, along with supranational institutions, such as the European Union, have led an onslaught against the new tech giants on many fronts. The range of new laws and regulations that have either been implemented or will soon be implemented is astounding. There are also several examples of massive fines imposed on tech companies. These include the European Commission’s €4.34 billion (£3.85 billion) fine on Google for allegedly engaging in anti-competitive practices with its android software. In the name of protecting public safety and countering fake news, there is a concerted drive to counter the expression of non-mainstream opinions on the internet.

Before outlining some of these measures, it is necessary to identify the forces behind the dramatic shift. The most obvious is the rise of populism. It is personified in the shift between two famous social-media users: Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Trump has become notorious for his angry and often ill-judged tweets. Whereas social media as a whole was once seen as a vehicle for progressive cool, it is now associated with angry populism. Ironically, it is often those most guilty of hype in relation to the Obama campaign who have become digital technology’s most trenchant critics.

But although this abrupt reversal in perceptions is symbolised by these two presidents, it goes much further. It represents a fear on the part of large sections of the ruling elite that their hold over public opinion is disappearing. This is represented by the Brexit referendum in Britain, Trump’s victory in the US and the growing support for many populist parties in continental Europe.

From an elite perspective, a key danger of social media is that it allows political trends outside of the mainstream to spread their arguments more easily. Yascha Mounk, a politics lecturer at Harvard and executive director at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, has expressed this fear in relation to the decline of traditional media ‘gatekeepers’ in the US.

Mounk’s reasoning is worth quoting at length because it makes clear both the issues at stake and the anti-democratic nature of the argument. He describes the traditional elite conception of democracy as telling the people that ‘as long as you let us call the shots, we will pretend to let you rule’. He then goes on to argue: ‘It’s a deal that has proven phenomenally successful for 250 years. Today, that deal is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain, and the reason is both unlikely and counterintuitive: the rise of the internet and social media is making the ideological foundation of liberal democracy – which has had a tight hold over our imagination for the better part of two centuries – look increasingly brittle.’

Bartlett’s argument is not explicitly anti-democratic but his assessment is similar to Mounk’s. The new technology gives voices which might once have been marginal the capacity to influence political debate.

This, then, is the trend across the Western world. The rise of social media is viewed with horror by political elites now that they realise it could help forces from outside the traditional mainstream. Our embattled rulers like to flatter themselves by presenting the political divide as a clash of cosmopolitan liberals against the bigoted public. But their real fear is that the new media threatens their hold over political debate.

Before concluding with the dangerous consequences of the turn against social media, it is important to recognise that there are more long-standing elite fears about technology. For example, technological development is generally associated with economic progress; a development which mainstream thinking has come to fear. This is a topic I have written about at length in my book Ferraris for All. But it is the rise of populism that explains the spectacularly rapid recent shift in elite attitudes towards social media in particular.

Given the elite’s fear and loathing of the public, it should not be a surprise that the measures it is implementing will act to curb free expression. There are so many of them, coming from so many different angles and covering so many different countries, that it is hard to keep up. They include regulations relating to fake news, hate speech, copyright, data protection, child protection and alleged monopoly practices. But the overall effect is to tighten state control over the new media at the expense of free expression and democracy.

The rise of social media is viewed with horror by political elites now that they realise it could help forces outside the traditional mainstream

It should be no surprise that some of these regulations exist at a European Union (EU) level. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives regulators far more power over the flow of data than they previously had. One side effect is that many leading American outlets, unwilling to comply with the onerous legislation, have blocked access to those who live inside the EU.

Meanwhile, in Germany, a new law is not only undermining free speech at home but has set a dangerous precedent that is in the process of being taken up elsewhere. As Bartlett pointed out in his BBC documentary, the 2017 Network Enforcement Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz or NetzDG) breaks the key legal principle that social-media platforms are not responsible for uploaded content. The new law means that social-media sites became liable under Germany’s pre-existing hate-speech laws.

Under NetzDG, a social-media platform can be fined up to €50million (£44million) if it does not remove blatantly illegal material within 24 hours. Hate speech or fake news that is not unequivocally illegal must be removed within seven days, or a lesser fine could be imposed. This measure will inevitably have a chilling effect on free speech. Facebook and Twitter have reportedly recruited many hundreds of German-language moderators to sift through the huge volume of material posted on their sites. No doubt there will be strong desire to play it safe and delete any material that could be considered troublesome.

In Britain, a trenchant parliamentary report on social media, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) select committee, recently gained widespread publicity. Among its recommendations was, in line with the precedent set by the NetzDG, giving technology firms clear legal liability for ‘harmful and illegal content’. This pushes censorship even further by proposing that social-media platforms should be responsible for material deemed harmful even if it is perfectly legal.

As it happens, the DCMS was pushing at an open door. The government is already in the process of extensively reviewing laws regarding the internet. It has completed a consultation over an Internet Safety Strategy, which entails extensive new controls over the internet. A White Paper, proposing future legislation, is expected before the end of the year. And all this is on top of the Digital Charter on internet safety published in January and the Data Protection Act 2018, which incorporates the EU’s GDPR into British law. The overall effect is that use of the internet will be far more regulated than it was in the past.

If this international legislative onslaught is designed to keep anyone safe, it is not the vulnerable but the political elites themselves. Public criticisms of those in power will find it harder to gain an airing. It represents a comprehensive assault on freedom of speech. Resisting this offensive is essential for all those who believe in democracy.

SOURCE








James Dobson Statement Involving Trump Is Big Win for Trump Fans

In an article for his August newsletter, Dr. James Dobson — the evangelical leader who founded Focus on the Family and is currently the president of Family Talk — decried liberal control of the media and said that it was “no time to go wobbly” when it came to freedom of speech.

Dobson began by describing a tour in Germany that he took of Nazi-related sites about 20 years ago with his wife.

“The tour lasted two hours, during which I learned how the Nazis managed to enslave the German people and then molded them into a force that devastated and conquered almost every country in Europe,” Dobson wrote. “Millions of people around the world held their breath as destiny hung in the balance.”

In the next section, Dobson asked “why am I recalling these bitter memories?”

“This historical account is relevant today because America and other Western nations have for decades been losing their God-given rights that define us as a free people,” Dobson wrote.

“We are not experiencing Nazi-like tyranny yet, but we are steadily being expected to think, speak, write, and act in a prescribed manner in conformity with what is now called ‘political correctness.’ The mainstream media has become a tool to influence elections and spread this belief system. Sadly, the rights handed down to us by our forefathers more than 200 years ago are gradually being overridden, ignored, contradicted, or disregarded by the courts and legislatures. Alas, we are less free now than we were even five years ago.”

A lot of that has to do with religious freedom — something where the judiciary and its makeup plays an important role, particularly given President Trump’s appointments.

“We dare not let officious justices, judges, legislators, or politicians take even one of (our constitutional rights) away from us. But some liberals today are diligently trying to do just that. We must stop them, but how? Our rights are being trampled every day. The only way to defend our liberties is at the ballot box,” he wrote.

“Unfortunately, more than half of Americans, including the majority of Christians, don’t even bother to vote. Shame on them all! Don’t they know that tyranny for us and our children is only one generation, or even one election, away? We must vote, vote, vote to elect leaders who will defend what has been purchased with the blood of patriots who died to protect our liberty.”

Dobson pointed out the usual cases of judicial abuse, including Roe v. Wade, Obergefell v. Hodges, and one where the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals “upheld an outrageous legislative measure that forced pro-life clinics, which are dedicated to the sanctity of human life, to promote abortions with their patients, and to place posters on the walls telling them where they can go to kill their babies. That became the law of the land in nine Western states for 32 months.

Thanks to President Trump’s nomination and the Senate’s subsequent confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, that ruling was overturned this past June by a vote of 5 to 4,” he continued. “How close the Court came to decimating freedom of speech in those clinics. So many other critical issues related to the Bill of Rights have been decided by a single vote.”

However, he pointed out other cases which didn’t receive quite as much play in the media, including one that involved a school district in the Golden State.

“Children attending Mesquite Elementary School in Palmdale, California, came home one afternoon and told their parents what had happened to them in class. It was a shocker. One of their teachers, with administrative approval, sat for hours with students, aged seven to ten, to ensure that each of them completed 79 items on a questionnaire,” Dobson wrote.

“The kids, barely out of babyhood, were required to respond to highly personal questions about their private thoughts, including 10 items about their sexuality. Permission was neither requested nor discussed with parents. The children were asked about such topics as frequency of thinking about having sex, and thinking about touching other peoples’ private parts, among many others.

“The parents were incensed, (wouldn’t you be?) and filed suit in both federal and district courts against the school district for invading their children’s privacy and the parents’ rights to control the upbringing of their children,” he continued. “They were desperately trying to defend the innocence of their children, but to no avail. The courts ruled that there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexuality or education of their children. Both the district and federal courts dismissed the case. One of them asserted that parents have no right to determine what their sons and daughters will be exposed to while enrolled in California’s public schools.”

That’s why, Dobson said, Trump sends the left into a state of fear.

“You can understand why the far left is in a state of panic today. It is looking for anything on which to hang its opposition to Judge Kavanaugh. One of their criticisms is that while in college, he put ketchup on his pizza. Are you kidding me? Does anyone else see the evidences of desperation here?” Dobson wrote.

“So far, President Donald Trump has nominated 44 judges who have been confirmed to the bench, and there are many others (88) in the pipeline. There is hope for additional conservative and common-sense decisions to be handed down in the future. This is a matter for sincere prayer among those of us who have longed for relief from judicial tyranny.”

“Ours can be a lonely vigil unless defenders of the Constitution, and particularly conservative Christians, stand shoulder to shoulder with us in this struggle,” Dobson said. “We and other conservative organizations are winning in the public square. This is no time to go wobbly.”

In terms of shoring up evangelical support for Trump, Dobson’s statement has to be seen as a big win for the administration. After all, Dobson remains one of the foremost leaders of the movement. An unequivocal statement of support like this is a major boost — particularly as Americans gear up to vote in the midterm elections. If religious liberty becomes a major issue, the Republicans are going to turn out the base in a major way, and that’s going to strike fear into the Democrats.

SOURCE







Founder of Congress’ Media Fairness Caucus Has a Prescription for Curing Media Bias

He is interviewed below by Rob Bluey and Ginny Montalbano   

The Daily Signal spoke last week with Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, about media bias. Smith discussed the House Media Fairness Caucus, which he founded, how Americans can combat media bias, and a new term he coined: mediacrats. This transcript of the interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Rob Bluey: Congressman, how bad is media bias today?

Rep. Lamar Smith: I have to tell you, I’m sure it’s been worse, but I’m not aware of it. What we’re seeing today, I think, is a real threat to our democracy because you’ve got virtually every media platform—and the ones that obviously come to mind are Facebook or Twitter or Google, for example—who have demonstrably been biased against conservative voices, against conservative commentary, and against conservative Republican individuals.

And you’ve got a situation where it’s interesting to me that the bias is always [in] one direction. It’s always the conservatives who are either shadow-boxed or censored, or their information is deleted. And all these social platforms—and we just had a recent hearing in the Judiciary Committee—say that they’re going to correct that, say they want to stop the bias.

But I remain unconvinced. The reason is that these organizations are permeated with liberal Democrats. There’s no other way to say it. Or with individuals who have very liberal, if not radical, views.

And so when you have an organization who’s owned by, run by, staffed by—I don’t know what the percentage might be, let’s call it 80 percent liberal Democrats—that is going to manifest itself in the work product. Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes it’s not intentional. But these people are so smart you’ve got to believe that a lot of it is intentional.

The individuals who write the algorithms, the individuals who make editing decisions, apparently are influenced by their own political agenda and their own desire to, frankly, tell the American people what to think, override conservative thought, and make sure that the liberal viewpoint gets more play than the conservative.

Ginny Montalbano: Congressman, a couple of years ago, you started the [House] Media Fairness Caucus. What made you start that caucus, and what was that process like?

Smith: The Media Fairness Caucus I started, not to censor any media whatsoever, but to call attention to the fact that the bias is so palpable, it’s so obvious, every single day, and I want the American people to be aware of that. They need to realize that what they’re hearing and seeing is oftentimes filtered, it’s through liberal-tinted glasses. And to be aware of the bias is the first step in being able to counter it.

I’ve gotten in trouble for saying that the liberal media bias is a threat to democracy. But the reason I think it is is because if the American people don’t get the facts, they can’t make good decisions; and if the American people can’t make good decisions, that’s when our democracy is threatened.

The situation we have today is that, take for example the coverage of the president, which is 90 percent negative. Even if people are aware of the bias in the media, and many are, nevertheless, if that’s all you’re seeing and hearing day after day, week after week, it’s going to have an impact on how you think. You may not even be aware of it.

And so, the degree of bias we’re seeing in the media from my reading of history is the worst we’ve had in 100 years, since the days of the so-called yellow journalism at the beginning of the 1900s. It’s not good for our country, it’s not good for the American people. And it’s not good for the American people because of the liberal mindset, which is basically very patronizing.

The liberal mindset is we know better than the American people what’s good for them, and therefore that entitles us to tell them what to think. That’s why so often today, whether it’s the social media platforms or whether it’s the national daily newspapers  or whether it’s cable, that you have news stories that are really opinion pieces. And you have news stories that are not just giving the American people the facts, but they’re just a political agenda piece.

And if they’re going to be opinion, if they’re going to be editorials, they ought to be labeled that. You look at the front page of some of our national daily newspapers today and almost every article is opinion, not straight news. I just think we need to call the American people’s attention to it.

I think ultimately there’s bound to be somebody in the media who recognizes they’re doing their own profession a disservice. You see today, with the most recent polls, where it’s a record low percentage of the American people who now trust the media to give them the truth, to give them the facts. It’s down to close to, I think, 25 percent. But even if the American people don’t trust the media, if they’re still being barraged and bombarded daily with only one side, that does have an impact.

Bluey: Following up on that, what’s the best way that Americans, or people like you here in Congress, can combat media bias?

Smith: I think the best way to combat media bias is twofold. First, to point it out and make the American people aware of it, and give them examples. I think every Republican office holder ought to lace every single speech with examples of media bias, so the American people are aware of how often it occurs, the different forms it occurs in.

Then the second step, the second way, is to actually try to correct it. Confront the media, the liberal media, with examples of media bias, and try to remind them of their incredible responsibility to in fact give the American people the facts and not tell them what to think. I think journalism is a profession that has an incredible amount of responsibility, and right now [journalists] are not exercising that responsibility in a professional way. They’re letting their own prejudices, their own bias, get in the way of reporting. And that’s regrettable.

There may be one or two or three, and I hope there will be more, liberal journalists who are going to say at some point, ‘Wait a minute. We’re hurting our own credibility, it’s at a record low, we’re doing a disservice to the American people, and we’re not adhering to our own professional standards.’ … I’m seeing hints of one or two here and there, but certainly it’s going to take a lot more for that profession to get back to objective news coverage and restore their own credibility. I want them to succeed, and I want them to be credible, but I want them to be objective and fair and unbiased.

Montalbano: Since you started the Media Fairness Caucus several years ago, when it comes to media bias, do any top offenders stand out to you?

Smith: Oh my gosh, pick your subject. Maybe the first one to mention, it is controversial, but it’s also a subject that really demands that the American people be given the facts, and that’s immigration. I just happened to see recently, in the last day or two, that 90 percent of immigration coverage is liberal, is biased. It’s right in there with the coverage of the president.

My guess, it’s probably true of almost any controversial issue. But the American people are on the opposite side of the liberal media on almost every issue. You know, most of the national media, when it comes to immigration, are in favor of massive amnesty, they’re in favor of admitting far more people than the American people want to.

You know, you look at the liberal left and the Democratic Party, who even want to abolish our Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that stops illegal immigration and arrests criminal aliens. But the American people want secure borders, [and] the liberal Democrats and the liberal media don’t.

By the way, please help me coin a new word, and it’s “mediacrats.” The media, the liberal media and the Democrats, are now so wedded together, they’re so united in their propaganda and political agenda, I think we just might as well admit that they have become fused and call them the mediacrats, because they’re in effect one and the same. A little bit of a digression there.

But to go back to immigration for a second, we have a situation, this is more on the substance of the issue, where today we have hundreds of thousands of people coming into the country illegally every year. We don’t know who they are, we don’t know where they’re going, we don’t know what they might do. And we as a sovereign nation should stop illegal immigration. We have the most generous legal immigration policy in the world.

No other country comes close to admitting a million people every year legally, and that’s what we do. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to come into the country, and the right way is to play by the rules, seek admission, be approved, and come in. If you have to wait a few years, get on the list. But a million people come in legally every year, and we need to continue that.

Legal immigration has done wonders for our country in any number of ways, but illegal immigration is of a totally different nature and it’s no fair to the people who have been playing by the rules to let people cut in front of the line, or give them amnesty, or say it doesn’t matter if they come into our country.

Immigration is just an example where the liberal media really are on the opposite side of the American people, and yet their coverage only reflects the liberal point of view 90 percent of the time.

Bluey: I like the word mediacrats, I had not heard that before.

Smith: Oh, help me out with that. We need to spread the word. I think mediacrats is very appropriate, very descriptive, and very accurate.

Bluey: The New York Daily News recently announced it’s laying off about half of its staff. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that perhaps government subsidies could go to save some of these jobs for this New York institution, of course a very liberal New York institution. As conservatives, we just couldn’t believe that somebody would suggest using taxpayer dollars in this way; aren’t there dangers associated with getting the government involved in the publishing business?

Smith: Yeah, hard to imagine a worse idea. Of course, Democrats always believe in subsidies of one kind or another, and they don’t believe so much in the free market that has made our country so great and the most prosperous country in the world. So it’s an ideological chasm here that we have.

But yes, you should certainly not have the government subsidizing media, or the media’s going to lose their independence. And they’ve already lost their ideological independence because they all, not all, but the great majority, I think, of the media—particularly the national media, not necessarily local media—but the great majority of the national media are liberal Democrats and we’ve seen the voting records and what primaries they vote in and so forth.

But yeah, I think that’s a pretty bad idea to start getting the government to bail out the media, then the media’s obviously going to feel obligated to the government, or the government’s going to be in some kind of control. The last thing we want in this country is government controlling the media.

Montalbano: This president and the press have had a very contentious relationship from the start. Now the hot story this week has been CNN’s Kaitlan Collins being excluded from a White House event. What should the relationship between the president, the administration, and the press look like?

Smith: I’ve waited many, many years, decades, for a president who would point out media bias and who would try to combat political correctness, and we finally have a president who is doing that. I think he has every right, and I like to see him point out the fake news. And when you have reporters, like today, who intentionally say or write something they know is not true, that to me is the definition of fake news. I like to see the president point that out.

I had a great deal of satisfaction, I remember, on the House floor some months ago, probably it was a year ago, where I gave a speech and said it would be better for the American people to get their information from the president than from the media.

The media went ballistic, absolutely ballistic, and you know what? The next week they did a poll, and more people trusted the president than the media to give them information. So I felt like once again I was on the same side as the American people, and they saw through the media bias and they trusted President Trump more than they trusted the liberal media. So like I say, I had some personal satisfaction in having called it right on that.

Bluey: Finally, Congressman, I want to ask you on that note: This month the House had a hearing on social media. This president is somebody who has used social media very effectively. His tweets go directly to the American people without any filter through the media. You had a piece that we published in The Daily Signal about social media in particular. And it’s an issue where I think conservatives, I’ve seen it, are divided. They don’t want the government to necessarily regulate these technology companies. What role do you think they should have?

Smith: Well, I think we should do two things as far as government goes, or as far as the American people go, and this is conduct strict what we call oversight of these organizations. Again, point out to the American people how biased they are, examples of bias. Let the American people know that they’re not getting all the facts, and oftentimes you’re seeing more the left side than the right side, the liberal side than the conservative side.

But I’m hesitant to … I believe strictly in the First Amendment, and these are private companies. I don’t really think you can … it’s hard to regulate them. You need to get them to frankly be more objective and not restrict any conservative news or restrict the American people’s access to conservative viewpoints or conservative Republicans, or whatever it might be.

I think if we continue to exercise that kind of oversight that will, I hope, keep them on the right track. It’s not going to be easy when you have that institutional, built-in, innate bias. It’s really going to take the head of the company.

It’s going to take literally the CEO to change that culture, and that CEO is going to say …  ‘Check your personal opinion at the door when you come to work. If you telecommute, check it when you turn on your computer. We are not going to tolerate any bias anymore anywhere.’

But it’s going to take that top CEO saying that and changing the entire culture before I think you have all the employees saying, ‘OK, well, I really can’t try to sneak in my bias.’

You saw recently where the employees of one social media [company] said, ‘We don’t want to have anything to do with any military contracts or provide any information to the military.’ By the way, if that didn’t say to the American people how liberal they were, that they weren’t going to cooperate with our military to defend our country or our allies.

And you had the CEO capitulate in a matter of minutes: ‘OK, we won’t do contracts anymore or provide the military anymore with information.’ That’s how liberal the organization is.

I yearn for the day where the CEO would say, ‘You know what? We’re not a political organization, we’re a media platform, we’re a social platform. We have a responsibility to the American people to give them all sides. And you employees, again, you can be as biased as you want, you can campaign for whoever you want to, you can contribute to whoever you want to. But when you start work, we’re going to play it down the middle, we’re going to be objective, we’re going to be fair, we’re not going to be biased.’

But it’s going to take the CEO to lay that out there and change the culture before we actually, I believe, will see objective social media platforms.

SOURCE






Douglas Murray heads to Australia

DOUGLAS Murray thinks Europe is committing suicide.

He declares as much in the opening line of his latest book, in which he laments that the leaders of western Europe are allowing the cultural flame of the continent to be extinguished through mass migration, in particular from the Muslim world.

The controversial assertion underpins the book, The Strange Death Of Europe: Immigration, Identity And Islam, but he sees nothing particularly controversial about the claim.

“It was the result of a long time in which I was travelling for many years across Europe, travelling to many countries where people were fleeing form to go to Europe in the height of the migration crisis in 2015,” he told news.com.au.

“I thought someone needs to describe why it was happening, and chart the consequences.”

Murray, who is the associate editor of the Spectator and founder of the right-leaning Centre for Social Cohesion think tank, is highly critical of the far left side of politics for denying or diminishing the problems that come with a sudden large increases in immigration, when those migrants come from different, distinct and strong cultures.

“In one year alone, Germany and Sweden for instance took between two and three per cent addition of their entire population, so this is one of the most significant movements into Europe ever,” the British commentator said of the height of the migrant crisis a few years ago.

For western Europe, he identifies Muslim immigration as the most destructive force and a problem for the social cohesion of the West.

From his perspective, Islamic migrants — a portion of whom have particularly strict religious beliefs — are clashing with a Europe that is tired from history, guilt-ridden, increasingly faithless and overrun with the notion of political correctness.

If allowed to continue, Murray asserts, the result will ultimately be the Islamisation of the continent and the end of European cultural civilisation.

One of the people Murray often cites in his book is German historian and philosopher of Syrian origin Bassam Tibi who in the past has made similar warnings on this topic.

In an interview more than a decade ago he told German magazine Der Spiegel: “Muslims stand by their religion entirely. It is a sort of religious absolutism. While Europeans have stopped defending the values of their civilisation. They confuse tolerance with relativism.”

Murray’s book has been called “brilliant” by The Sunday Times; “compelling, fearless and truth-telling” by the Evening Standard and labelled as “gentrified xenophobia” by The Guardian.

The diversity of opinion surrounding it shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a way, the ensuing debate is what outspoken thinkers like Douglas Murray traffic in.

He has been touring the UK on a speaking tour with neuroscientist and author Sam Harris and the most famous psychologist in the world right now, Jordan Peterson.

Murray argues it is important that we deal honestly with the ramifications of mass migration in the modern world.

It’s undeniable the issue has played a role in major political events like the Brexit vote, the election of Donald Trump and the rise of the far right in the German parliament.

“There’s a worldwide concern about this and I think that concern is understandable and at least should be attempted to be understood,” he said.

But it’s also true that since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, countries like Germany and Sweden who loosened their immigration laws have since reversed course. At the time, the International Organisation for Migration said more than a million migrants and refugees reached Europe in 2015, with a monthly peak of more than 221,000 in October.

Murray says his book is about finding a solution to migration that is “liberal, humane and sustainable” but is also cautious about blindly embracing the pursuit of multiculturalism, which many Western governments are quick to celebrate.

“If by multiculturalism you mean multiracial, pluralist society then I have no problem with that, and indeed think there are obvious advantages from it, in some circumstance and to some degree,” he said.

“But multiculturalism in recent decades has become something else. It’s become, among other things government policy to push the idea that there is no such things as a core common culture in a country. We are simply convening bodies in which the world can come and celebrate whoever they are in our countries. I think this is a hugely problematic idea.”

Controversial immigration polices are something Australians know well. Despite the criticism Australia’s offshore detention system receives from the likes of the UN and human rights organisations, Murray thinks we’ve got it right.

“I think Australia has done the right thing. The situation in Australia is not that dissimilar to that of Europe but Australia decided to act in a very different way.

“The Australian Government have seen that if you allow illegal migration to occur, if you decided there is no difference between legal and illegal immigration then you’re giving up the law, and that’s a heck of a thing to give up.”

When he appears in front of Australian audiences, it will be much more than immigration on the table.

His recent touring with Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson was labelled “the Woodstock of Debate” and Murray is looking forward to engaging with Australian audiences on a range of topics.

Most of all, he has been buoyed by the growing appetite among the public, particularly the younger generation, to engage on big ideas and difficult topics.

“The thing that is most satisfying, and I really do mean this, is that the engagement of audiences with serious ideas is something that almost nobody predicted, but it’s one of the most positive news stories of our time.”

SOURCE 

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

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

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

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Monday, August 13, 2018



The New Zealand TV Interview They Wouldn’t Show You!



These Canadian commentators get threatened and shut down by crowds and condemned by mainstream media wherever they go because they discuss socially taboo subjects.






Forget burkas - Christianity's the faith that is really under siege

Peter Hitchens

How we love fretting about the wrong thing. While the country convulses itself about Islamic face veils, a truly disturbing event, affecting our freedom and our future, goes almost unobserved.

This is the creepy and totalitarian treatment of a Christian nurse, Sarah Kuteh, sacked from an NHS hospital for daring to suggest that a patient she was treating might like to go to church and (horror of horrors) ‘inappropriately gave a Bible to a patient’.

The good news is that Ms Kuteh, whose abilities as a nurse have never once been questioned, has now been allowed back to work by the political commissars who increasingly control our country. But the price of this is a humiliating process of self- criticism, of the sort once usual in communist states. Typically, the whole thing is conducted in a hideous mangled form of English which makes a supermarket checkout robot sound like Shakespeare.

To regain the favour of the commissars, she has had to write a ‘reflective’ screed in which she ‘incorporated your obligations in relation to having clear professional boundaries and not expressing your personal beliefs in an inappropriate way’ and ‘set out the steps you have taken to address the deficiencies highlighted in your practice. You have addressed how you would act differently in the future.’ In other words, she has confessed her thought-crime and promised not to repeat it.

Well, that is modern Britain, a slimy, squelchy totalitarian state in which unemployment, rather than the gulag, is used to threaten people into conformism and force them to keep their deepest, beloved beliefs a personal secret while they are on state premises.

How absurd. Christianity is pretty much the origin of modern nursing. I am glad my beloved Aunt Ena, a nurse of extraordinary courage and devotion, and an exemplary Christian in thought, word and deed, did not live to see this era.

But the cultural revolution has a special loathing for Christianity, perhaps precisely because it was until so recently the idea which ruled all our hearts.

And I doubt the same horrible process would have been imposed on a nurse who suggested her patients attended a mosque, or gave them a copy of the Koran. For while the British State loathes Christianity, it fears Islam. So do lots of other people.

It is this fear that has driven much of the stupid frenzy which followed Alexander ‘Boris’ Johnson’s not especially funny or original remarks about niqabs, burkas and letterboxes.

Here’s a simple point about both these great religions. If you don’t believe in them, and to some extent even if you do, both faiths are a set of political and social opinions, chosen by those who hold them.

People are quite entitled to disagree with and mock them, as they would with any other manifesto and party. I’m against personal rudeness and deliberate offence, such as the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. But I’m all in favour of reasoned criticism, and some humour, and I’m weary of foolish people calling this ‘Islamophobia’ as if it was some sort of disease.

Being critical of Islam is not the same thing as the Judophobia which is such a big issue in the Labour Party. Judophobes dislike Jews for being who they unalterably are, not because of what they happen to think at the moment.

For example, the Nazis murdered the distinguished German Christian theologian and Roman Catholic nun, Edith Stein, because she had Jewish ancestors. They went to some trouble to hunt her down in her Dutch convent and drag her to Auschwitz so they could kill her. That’s a phobia in action.

As it happens, I have quite a lot of sympathy with some bits of Islam. On a visit to Iran I was much impressed by a beautiful and highly intelligent young woman, a schoolteacher, who made out a powerful case for modesty in dress, and clearly had not been forced by her husband (very much her equal) into the night-black robes she wore.

I’ve come across similar views in Turkey and Egypt. Forced veiling is another matter, but I cannot see that state bans or public jeering are going to make much difference to that.

We have Muslim fellow-citizens among us, for good or ill. They are our neighbours. We’re going to have to work out a civilised relationship, in which we can talk frankly to each other. I’ve never found any of them upset by serious argument. Many are saddened by much of what they see around them. So am I. Many wish this country was more Christian. So do I.

One of the supreme achievements of a free civilisation is the ability to disagree without hating your opponent. We need to relearn it.

SOURCE





State Censorship, Corporate Censorship: A Libertarian View

Sean Gabb

I have never knowingly read or heard anything by Alex Jones. From what I know of him, none of his work is of interest to me. This being said, his being swept from large areas of the Internet is worrying. Censorship is an abuse in itself, and it is always a precendent for further censorship. It starts with anti-semites and holocaust revisionists. From here, it proceeds to milder conspiracy theorists. Next thing we know, mainstream conservatives and libertarians are being silenced. Around the same time, arguments against censorship are classified as "hate speech" in themselves. Many advocates of one form of censorshp are simply attacking a weaker target in preparation for attacking their preferred target. Or they are attacking their main target, regardless of the precedent being set. They should in all cases be opposed.

I wrote the article below last year, but send it out again. Its purpose is to argue that formally private corporations should be subject to the same prohibitions of censorship as government bodies. So long as they do not break the civil or criminal law, people like Alex Jones should be at liberty to speak as they please on YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms....


Every age we have so far known has been one of censorship. This is not to say that opinion has been equally constrained in all times and places. Sometimes, as in the Soviet Union, it has been oppressive and omnipresent – even extending to an imposition of orthodoxy on the natural sciences. More often, it has been focussed on perceived criticisms of the established political and religious order. Sometimes, dissent has been permitted among the intellectual classes – especially when expressed in a language unknown to the people at large, and only punished when communicated to the people at large. Sometimes, a diversity of political orders has limited any particular censorship to an area of just a few square hundreds of miles. Sometimes it has been limited by a general belief in the right of free expression. But I can think of no time or place where publication has been absolutely unconstrained.

If I look at modern England, I cannot say that censorship is as oppressive and omnipresent as it was in the Soviet Union. I cannot think of any opinion that cannot somehow be expressed. For the avoidance of doubt, I do not wish to do any of these things. However, if I want to deny the holocaust, I can. If I want to claim that the coloured races are intellectually or morally inferior, I can. If I want to say that homosexuality is a dreadful sin that will be punished by everlasting torments, I can. If I want to argue – in the abstract – for the rightness of shooting politicians, I can. The law in England punishes what are regarded as inflammatory expressions of such belief. It also punishes expressions of such belief when they are regarded as affecting known individuals. But I am not aware of a law that makes it a crime to publish sober and abstract expressions of any opinion.

This being said, the administration of the law, during the present century, has been stretched in England to the point where expressing disapproved opinions in everyday life has become dangerous. Statements that do not involve threats against known individuals are being prosecuted as if they were threats. There is also the fact of what is called social pricing. It may be legal to publish any of the above opinions. But anyone who does publish them will find it hard to secure employment in the state or corporate sector.

We do not have, in England, anything approaching a regular censorship. Even so, speech is less free than it used to be, and far less free than it ought to be. Let me, then, give a brief argument for greater freedom of speech than we enjoy. This covers both direct action by the authorities and action by their creatures.

I am a libertarian. I believe that people should, at the minimum, be free to say whatever they please about alleged matters of public fact – political, religious, scientific and historical. I am sceptical about the justice of the laws covering libel and confidentiality and copyright and official secrecy. But, so long as these are confined to achieving their traditionally stated ends, I will, for present purposes, leave them to one side. I will also leave aside pornography made by and for consenting adults. Though its publication is still to be defended on the grounds of what John Stuart Mill called “experiments of living,” visual pornography is not, by any reasonable definition, speech about alleged matters of public fact. But, as a libertarian, I see the right to speak freely on alleged matters of public fact as something to be defended without shuffling disclaimers, and without embarrassed silences.

So how is the right to freedom of speech to be defended? Of course, I would like to see a strong legal protection in this country. I would like something like the American First Amendment, which, as presently interpreted, blocks the formal censorship of anything that counts as speech about alleged matters of public fact. Our own legal protection is weak. The European Convention, as incorporated into the Human Rights Act, is better than nothing. But it did nothing to stop Anjem Choudury from being sent to prison for speaking his mind. It will probably do nothing to prevent the conviction of four men who have just been arrested for approving of political murder.

But a British version of the American First Amendment would still not be enough. It would ensure that no one was formally punished by loss of liberty or property for speaking his mind. It would not prevent two supplemental kinds of censorship.

The first of these is when prosecutions are begun with no hope of a conviction, or with little intention of giving a man his day in court. Alan Clifford, one of my Internet friends, is a dissenting minister of religion in Norwich. A few years ago, he was visited by the police after he had given out leaflets at a homosexual parade. He was threatened with prosecution for a public order offence, and urged to accept a caution – that is, to agree he had committed an offence in return for no formal proceedings. This would have given him a police record. He was pressed hard, but he refused. Eventually the matter was dropped. There are other instances where a case is taken almost to court before being dropped. It is dropped because no judge or jury would convict. Here, though, the process is the punishment. A man’s life is turned upside down for nine months or a year, or longer. He is forced to spend money on lawyers. Even if the case is then dropped, the fact that charges have been laid will be permanently advertised by the Disclosure and Barring Service – which must clear anyone before he can be employed to work with children or anyone else deemed “vulnerable” by the authorities. It is reasonably hard in this country for the authorities to punish a man for his opinions by fining him or sending him to prison. It is very easy to punish him with professional or financial ruin.

The second of these supplemental censorships is corporate. Because they took place in a foreign country, and because I paid limited attention to the news reports, I will make no comment on the events at Charlottesville. Since then, however, various persons and organisations on the Alt Right have been punished not by the American State, but by the American corporate sector. VDare has had its PayPal account cancelled. The Institute of Historical Review has had its on-line payment account cancelled. I believe Counter Currents has had problems with its web hosting company. The Daily Stormer has not only had its web hosting agreement cancelled – it has also been deprived of its web address. Facebook and Twitter are closing accounts. Google is fixing its algorithm to make it harder to find Alt Right opinions. Photographs were taken of the Alt Right protestors at Charlottesville. These have been circulated, and I am told that several men have been sacked from their jobs.

Americans have the legal right to speak as they please. But the social price of speech can be almost as damaging as formal proceedings. Indeed, it can be more damaging. Formal proceedings require a show of due process. Following vague terms of service rules, Internet agreements can be voided without delay and without redress. It is the same with contracts of employment. This is a variety of censorship.

Now, many libertarians have a problem with accepting this last statement. We can all agree that the Public Order Act is a bad law, and that it should be at least amended. We can also agree that the authorities should be barred from laying charges that have no reasonable prospect of standing up in court. But making Facebook and Twitter and PayPal and Internet service providers to do business with customers regardless of their political views? Protecting dissidents from losing their jobs in the private sector? That is an interference with freedom of trade and freedom of association. It is “socialism.”

The answer to this objection is that these organisations are not real people. The non-aggression principle should not apply to them. They are limited liability corporations. They have been granted legal personality by the State. They can make contracts as if they were real persons, and own property. They alone are responsible for their debts. Unless fraud or great negligence can be proven, their owners are shielded from financial liability. Because of this, they can grow very large, and corner whole markets. Because of this, they can survive a very long time. They are a legal fiction, often behind which some already rich and well-connected men are safe to grow richer still without the risk of personal loss that ordinary people must face. They are the main cause of what the establishment economists call imperfect competition. They are effectively arms of the State. They are certainly the economic wing of the ruling class.

Whether such organisations could have emerged without state privilege is an open question – though I doubt if they could. But there is no doubt that the corporate sector, as it actually exists, is a creature of state privilege. In many cases, there is a continual movement, back and forth, between the management in the state and corporate sectors. Most regulatory laws either are made openly for the benefit of corporate interests, or are insensibly adapted for the benefit of corporate interests. These, by the way, are additional points. My main point is that the corporate sector in any country is a creature of the State by virtue of limited liability.

I say, then, that, until such time as we can move to a more natural order, without limited liability, the corporate sector should be required to respect freedom of speech, for its customers and its employees, in exactly the same way as the state sector ought to. They are, as George Galloway once put it in another context, two cheeks of the same arse. Why should a man be bound by tight rules of action, but not his creatures? To answer this other than as I do is to sit back while the State outsources its censorship to those it has helped bring into being, and who are now doing it a favour.

I run the Centre for Ancient Studies, which teaches Latin, Greek and Classics. This is neither a limited company nor a charity. It benefits from no grant of privilege. Because of this, I insist that I should have the right to take or reject students for any reason whatever. I should be able to refuse students at the outset if I dislike the colour of their faces. I should be able to withdraw from teaching them – subject, of course, to any contractual agreement – if I later discover that their tastes in love are not as mine. That should be my right, and perhaps my cost. But a chartered university should have no such freedom. It should be able to insist on political or any other conformity from neither its staff nor its students. Equally, where they have limited liability, banks and the various kinds of Internet company should be required to do business with anyone of good financial standing, and not to discriminate on political grounds when looking to employ staff. And the corporate search engines should be required to provide reasonably objective search results.

To repeat, I am not saying that sole traders should be forced to do business against their conscience. But I do say that any organisation that enjoys the privilege of limited liability should be made to respect freedom of speech in exactly the same way as the authorities must. If the directors and shareholders of Google or British Telecom find this an unwelcome requirement, they are at liberty to give up their limited liability, and to operate with the same joint and several liability as an ordinary partnership. Limited liability, after all, is a privilege, not an obligation.

Let us, therefore, have greater legal protection of speech than it presently enjoys in England. Let us have some equivalent of the American First Amendment. Let us also have greater tolerance, where the law does not enter, of dissenting opinion. If someone wants to argue in the abstract for the achievement by violence of an Islamic caliphate, let him do so, without being sent to prison or losing his job, or having his website or access to social media cut off. If someone wants to argue for the expulsion of Moslems from England, let him do so with the same legal and personal security. Truth is a value that always emerges from open debate, and at best by accident from the unquestionable pronouncements of those in authority.

SOURCE






This war on the Bible must stop

America’s colonists were predominantly English — which meant their religion was predominantly Catholic or Protestant — which meant their book of worship, no matter how you slice it, was the Bible.

Not the Muslim Koran, not the Hindu set of Vedas, not the Wiccan prayer book, not a merely generic spiritual guide.

The Bible. The one where Jesus teaches.

So it’s not just disconcerting and offensive on the Christian front to see the war being waged in this country against public shows of the Bible — against public discourse of biblical principles. It’s actually historical revisionism.

From the Blaze, this past May: “Colorado Mesa University officials demanded that a student get rid of references to Jesus and the Bible in her graduation speech to fellow nursing students — that is, until she got a Christian legal firm involved.”

From CBN News, a headline from April: “One Step Closer to Law: Could a California Bill Ultimately Lead to the Banning of Bibles?”

From Fox News in October of 2016, a report how “Jesus just got kicked out of public schools in Henry County, Georgia,” with a district edict that commanded the removal of all religious items from the classroom, including the Bible.

From Gospel Herald Society, a headline from January 2014: “Atheist Group Fights to Remove Bible from City Council.”

And of course, there’s been an ongoing war against displays of the Bible at military facilities that’s been waged most notably, perhaps, by the inaptly named Military Religious Freedom Foundation and its band of merry faux First Amendment supporters.

But let’s just circle on back to the history of this nation and the truths of its founding on biblical principles — to the truths of the Puritans, the Anglicans, the Baptists, the Quakers, Anabaptists, Roman Catholics, Pietists and more who may have differed in how they worshipped, but not in whom in heaven they worshipped, or in which book they considered the word of God.

From these colonists sprang the founders of America’s government — the ones who set in stone the concept of God-given rights in our national DNA. Of what God were they speaking?

The God of the Bible. The God of Abraham and Isaac and Joseph and so forth.

And yes, while it’s true these founders believed in a government that allowed for freedom of religious worship, for the freedom to choose your religious affiliation, what’s not true is that tired and wearisome line the secular left so likes to sell about the First Amendment drawing a line of separation between church and state.

There are no such words in the Constitution; rather, the First Amendment speaks to the right of citizens to worship freely and to the prohibition on Congress establishing a national religion.

Today’s secularist-minded skew that to mean those who work in the government can’t express their Christianity because that’s tantamount to an establishment of one faith over another. What bunk. The founders regularly called on God — the God of the Bible — to intervene in their daily goings-on. They may have held different views, as did the colonists, about the importance of religion in public and personal lives; some were definitely more pious and committed to Christ and church than others. But they prayed in public.

They sought divine intervention in public. They wrote on public documents of the Creator, i.e. God.

Even those with weaker spiritual faith, those considered by today’s history books, rightly or wrongly, as deists, still looked to the Bible for moral teaching and regarded its words as a proper instruction in the way humans should go.

So why are so many Americans afraid to fight the forces who want to remove the Bible from public places today? Why tolerate liars?

America’s history is tightly wound with the Bible; so, too, the U.S. government.

The Bible bashers are the ones who’ve got it all wrong. And there’s no need, in this ongoing fight for truth, to fear false teachers.

SOURCE






Australia: Who knows how the Leftist Victorian government’s Orwellian social experiment will end?

“We’re destroying words — scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone … “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.” -- Orwell

JANET ALBRECHTSEN

My son is studying George Orwell and we chatted about Nineteen Eighty-Four over breakfast this week. If he chooses to look, this book is jumping to life all around him. Books are cleansed of words that must not be said. Books by Enid Blyton, mind you. And Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn,too.

Speaking at university has become dangerous if you don’t repeat ortho­dox thinking. Comics have given up playing to snowflake student audiences. Words such as sexual assault and sexual harassment are being defined down to include the telling of a bad joke. At his school, boys were told not to use the word moist because it could offend girls. The cleansing of language and ideas has become disturbingly quotidian.

And this week’s live-streaming of Nineteen Eighty-Four comes to us from Australia’s biggest social laboratory where the Andrews Labor government has a tighter grip on thought crimes than on it does on marauding South Sudan­ese gangs.

On Thursday, Victorian Minister for Transport (and censorship) Jacinta Allan banned Sky News from television screens at Metro Trains stations because one host conducted one interview with far-right ratbag Blair Cottrell last Sunday. Sky News apologised and leading Sky names such as David Speers rightly condemned giving a platform to a moron who likes Hitler.

But the Labor government banned an entire news organisation so that train commuters “can see something they may be a bit more comfortable with”, to quote Allan, who maybe hasn’t spent much time perusing her portfolio platforms. The Cottrell interview was not part of the Sky News feed that plays at train station screens.

Allan has snookered herself with her hysterical over-reaction. The Transport Minister can’t switch platform TVs to an ABC news feed or the Seven Network or Ten because all of them have aired or tried to air Cottrell. Perhaps a 24-hour stream of E! News and Kimmy K will keep commuters “comfortable”. When the state decides to censor for comfortable ideas, we have reached a deeper level of trouble for our liberty.

Victoria’s Nineteen Eighty-Four moment a week earlier involved the state’s Department of Health and Human Services telling public servants what pronouns to use, with the first Wednesday of each month set aside as “They Day”.

A video for public servants made by public servants features enforcement officer Naomi Shimoda and others talking about the need for inclusive gender-neutral pronouns. It allows people to “self-define” and to “make space so their pronouns are legitimate and respected.”

Some will say that people should be able to choose whatever pronoun they want and that it is only polite that others respect that choice. Others will say “blah, blah, blah” and wave the kerfuffle away as just another episode of nutty political correctness by busybody social activists. The sceptics know to be beware of the blah, blah, blah because the battle over gender-neutral pronouns in other countries is a hint of where we may be headed. Not for nothing, the self-appointed pronoun police behind the “They Day” video included an enforcement officer. Silly-sounding nonsense has a habit of attracting enforcers, be they vigilante-style citizens or bureaucrats and legislators, who tell us what we are allowed to say, read, watch, even laugh at. And inevitably, what we are allowed to think. It is the death of liberty by a thousand cuts.

Language police in the ACT Labor caucus want to do away with references to Mr, Miss, Mrs or Ms in the ACT parliament. No more Madam Speaker. And it is Member Smith instead of Mr Smith. The Bolsheviks wanted to do away with gender too, so why not just call him Comrade Smith, source some bleak-coloured Bolshevik uniforms and declare victory?

Labor’s proposals are not about respecting diversity. This is an agenda to force the same grey and genderless linguistic uniform on everyone. Cleansing gender from pronouns is about killing difference. Being polite is one thing; but political correctness moved beyond civility long ago, if that was ever the aim. When the cleansing of language is backed by directives, regulations or laws, it compels us to speak in one particular way. By stopping us from speaking freely, the aim is to stop us thinking freely. And that is antithetical to freedom in a liberal society.

An obscure Canadian psychologist became a cultural rock star because he explained, in a calm and reasoned manner, why he would not be forced to use speech prescribed by the state. Nor would he stop using words proscribed by the state. Less than two years ago, Jordan Peterson took a stand against Canada’s proposed Bill C-16, which effectively compels the use of gender-neutral pronouns by adding legal protection to “gender identity” and “gender expression”.

Peterson was on to something long before the rest of us. Within six months of the bill becoming law, Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, was called into a university administrator’s office and condemned by professors for showing a clip that was “threatening” and “transphobic”. Her professorial accusers said it created a “toxic climate” for students and was the equivalent of “neutrally playing a speech by Hitler”. She was accused of breaching C-16 laws.

Shepherd’s crime was to show her students — during a tutorial on how language affects society — a televised debate between two people with different views about gender and pronouns. One of the speakers was Peterson.

We know the details because a teary Shepherd recorded the meeting, which could be slotted seamlessly into chapter 5 of Nineteen Eighty-Four just before Winston discusses with Syme, a specialist in Newspeak, how the dictionary of approved language is progressing. C-16 has weaponised gender-neutral pronouns in the hands of human rights bureaucrats and complainants, and that is a chilling threat to freedom.

Ten years ago, the Alberta Human Rights Commission investigated a complaint brought against Ezra Levant for publishing the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. The complaint was dropped, but not before a bur­eaucrat questioned Levant about his intention in publishing the cartoons. The interrogation reminded Levant of Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil”.

“No six-foot brown shirt here, no police cell at midnight,” he wrote. “Just Shirlene McGovern, an amiable enough bureaucrat, casually asking me about my political thoughts, on behalf of the government of Alberta. And she’ll write up a report about it, and recommend that the government do this or that to me … I had half-expected a combative, missionary-style interrogator. I found, instead, a limp clerk who was just punching the clock … In a way, that’s more terrifying.”

O Canada! How it has made a mockery of being “The True North, strong and free”. A free society is curtailed by stealth when out-of-sight bur­eaucrats investigate the free expression of words, ideas and cartoons. And freedom lost is not easily reinstated. An Australian law compelling us to use certain pronouns may not be far off because we have followed Canada before. We pick­ed up Canada’s gift to the world, multiculturalism.

And just as the Canadian Human Rights Commission has gone awry, accused by founder Alan Borovoy for falling into disrepute, our own Australian Human Rights Commission has wrecked its reputation, too. When was the last time the AHRC focused on core human rights such as free speech or property rights? Instead, it is a bloated bureaucracy whose enforcers protect hurt feelings, not human rights.

And dob-in-a-dissident was sanctioned when Race Commissar — oops, Commissioner — Tim Soutphommasane touted for business when The Australian’s Bill Leak drew a cartoon that threw into sharp relief the complex issues of individual responsibility and the dismal plight of indigenous children. Yet Soutphommasane had nothing to say about a dance performance in Melbourne this year where white people were told to wait in the lobby while the performance began inside the theatre. His departure is a blessing for anyone committed to genuine human rights.

The AHRC’s wretched handling of complaints against three Queensland University of Technology students who posted on Facebook about the absurdity of racial segregation only confirmed its role as an anti-human rights bureaucracy. The career epitaph of former commission boss Gillian Triggs should read: “Sadly you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home.”

Examples abound of bureaucracies that have run amok when armed with social engineering laws that were once seen as innocuous nonsense. Applauding the recent decision of the US to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council, Liberal MP Julian Leeser has pointed out that this council is not some harmless bureaucracy.

Delivering the 2018 B’nai B’rith Human Rights Address, Leeser said that human rights had often been hijacked and “in the (UN) Human Rights Council we see a blatant attempt by those who oppose liberal democratic ideals to commandeer the apparatus of human rights so that they might hide and obstruct its abuses”.

“We read Orwell as a warning; they read Orwell as a textbook,” he said. The young MP then took aim at the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, established by Kevin Rudd’s Labor government. Leeser, who has served on the committee for two years, called for its abolition on the grounds that it is not really a committee of the parliament.

“It is a bureaucracy that has appropriated the name of the parliament. The committee is about bureaucrats judging parliament, rather than the parliament judging human rights.” And just about every report attacks the government’s legislative agenda “in the form of rehashed talking points from left-wing and social justice groups that have no connection to ‘real’ human rights”.

In 1994, before he became prime minister, John Howard warned about the rise of cultural McCarthyism in this country. Talk about mission creep. Who could have foreseen their reach and influence? Short of securing legislative wins, social engineers under­stand that getting, holding and extending their power through unelected bureaucracies is critical to the pursuit of creating public-free zones where real power vests, far away from prying democratic processes.

No one knows how the current batch of social experiments will end. But history shows that something that sounds harmless, like a friendly video about gender-neutral pronouns put out by bureaucrats, can end up curtailing our liberty.

SOURCE 

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

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

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

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