Monday, March 15, 2010

British health clubs that warn women not to lift heavy weights face prosecution under equality laws

Endless meddling from Britain's Leftist government

Staff in sports clubs who warn women not to lift heavy weights could be prosecuted under new equality laws. Legislation set out under Harriet Harman's forthcoming Equality Bill says that insinuating a woman might not be able to lift the same size weights as men could be considered 'unlawful sex discrimination'.

A code of practice drawn up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission explaining the legal implications of the Bill lists ways in which women might be unfairly stereotyped. It includes a long list of examples of 'unintentional less favourable treatment' including what might happen to a woman when she joins a gym and begins lifting weights.

It states: 'A general stereotype about men and women is that in terms of physique, most men are stronger than most women. 'Nevertheless it is likely to be unlawful sex discrimination for a gym to test every woman's strength but not every man's before allowing them access to weight-lifting facilities.' The code goes on to say that it will not be seen as an excuse if the motive of the gym staff is to help a woman or save her from injury.

The Bill could also make adverts giving preferential treatment to men or women illegal. This could signal the end of 'ladies' nights' at clubs, when women receive cut-price drinks but men pay full price.


"The Separation of Church and State"

On Thursday, March 11, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the most liberal court in the history of the United States, upheld as constitutional the phrase, “One Nation Under God,” found in the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as the phrase, “In God We Trust” on our currency. The Ninth Circuit rejected two legal challenges by the rabid atheist, Michael Newdow. Newdow is the same atheist that sued over the Pledge of Allegiance in 2002 and won his case at the 9th Circuit at that time, only to have the Supreme Court in 2004 tell him he lacked legal standing to file the suit, as he did not have custody of his daughter for whom he was filing the suit.

In this recent case, Newdow was making the claim that the phrase, “One Nation Under God,” disrespected his own religious beliefs. Yet, the 9th Circuit rejected his suit this time. The Pledge is constitutional," said Judge Carlos Bea, who wrote the majority decision. Bea said, "The Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded."

When the 9th Circuit of Appeals, which is the most frequently overturned circuit court in our nation’s history, a court that has been overturned by the US Supreme Court several times in one day, actually upholds references to God as constitutional, it gives more credence to the fact that our Constitution is not a living document.

You may recall that in November and December of 2008, I submitted two articles on the topic of the Separation of Church and State to Townhall for the purposes of clarifying just what that phrase truly means, and just what the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States truly states. In spite of the 9th Circuit’s recent ruling, the errors, falsehoods and misinterpretations of the First Amendment still continue.

Take for example the recent case of Poway United School District of San Diego, California. In January of 2007, math teacher Bradley Johnson was ordered by the school district to remove two patriotic banners from the walls of his classroom as the banners mentioned God. The school district claimed that Johnson’s banner violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Some of the phrases on the banners were actually the same phrases recently upheld by the 9th Circuit, like “In God We Trust,” and “One Nation Under God.”

I like how Bradley Johnson’s attorney put it: "Mr. Johnson doesn't proselytize to his students. These banners are patriotic expressions. None of them are from any religious text. None of them are from the Bible or the Koran. They're right out of historic significance. That's the reason why he put them up."

Some students claimed that Johnson’s banner made them feel uncomfortable. Maybe so, but that does not mean that the banners violated the Establishment Clause found in the First Amendment. The Constitution does not mention a right to not feel uncomfortable. Free speech often is uncomfortable; but in the name of the First Amendment we must sometimes tolerate what is uncomfortable.

Think about common everyday occurrences where we must endure feeling uncomfortable in the name of free speech. You may feel uncomfortable when you hear your neighbor swear or use colorful language to describe a situation. You may even feel uncomfortable when reading the newspaper and viewing an ad for a racy movie. Nevertheless, as long as we are not forced to engage in behavior we do not approve of, no law has been broken.

In America, liberty requires we tolerate feeling uncomfortable in order to allow the free expression of ideas to abound. This is precisely why Bradley Johnson won his court case after suing the Poway United School District of San Diego, California. Federal District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez ruled on February 26, 2010 that the Poway Unified School District violated Johnson's constitutional rights as found in the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, as well as Article I of the California Constitution.

According to the Thomas More Law Center, which represented Johnson in court, the school district tried to remove Johnson's banners but had no problem allowing the posting of a 35 to 40 foot string of Tibetan prayer flags with images of Buddha. The school district also had no problem with the posting of a banner of Hindu leader Mahatma Gandhi's "7 Social Sins," or a poster of Muslim leader Malcolm X, along with a poster of Buddhist leader Dalai Lama. The double standard was more than obvious. Banners and posters of other religious leaders were tolerated, while the two banners posted by Bradley Johnson were censored.

Judge Benitez said in his ruling: “That God places prominently in our nation’s history does not create an Establishment Clause violation requiring curettage and disinfectant for Johnson’s public high school classroom walls. It is a matter of historical fact that our institutions and government actors have in past and present times given place to a supreme God."

Benitez went on to say: "Fostering diversity, however, does not mean bleaching out historical religious expression or mainstream morality. By squelching only Johnson’s patriotic and religious classroom banners, while permitting other diverse religious and anti-religious classroom displays, the school district does a disservice to the students of Westview High School and the federal and state constitutions do not permit this one-sided censorship."

One-sided censorship. Judge Benitez hit the nail on the head. The school district had no right to practice selective tolerance for one brand of ideas at the expense of another. Unfortunately, this selective tolerance has become a common occurrence in America today. I know this all too well having faced similar discrimination during my undergraduate and post-graduate studies.

It seems that some of the liberal elite, whether they are in the media or the academic arena, practice a form of “intolerance in the name of tolerance,” as I like to call it. By claiming that banners like Johnson’s were somehow intolerant, the school district demonstrated intolerance towards Johnson in the name of a selective tolerance towards others. It is a completely upside-down argument. How can we truly practice tolerance if we single out those with whom we disagree? Tolerance was designed to allow people with whom we do not agree to coexist along side us. However, today’s politically correct version of tolerance is not really tolerance at all, as demonstrated by the Bradley Johnson case.

So just how is it that some on the political left get away with practicing intolerance in the name of tolerance? How does the meaning of intolerance get twisted to mean tolerance?

The practice of changing the common semantically understood meaning of words as a political tactic goes back to the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA), which was formed in 1919. Not long after forming, the CPUSA soon began using a political tactic called psycho-politics, where the changing of the meaning of words, over time, can change the perception and the subsequent behavior of some people’s reactions to those words. While it has taken many decades for our nation to get to the point where tolerance for references to God are viewed as intolerance, the San Diego school district where Johnson is employed proves that psycho-politics can be very powerful over time.

Think back to my first two articles on this topic. What we see is a clear case of psycho-politics put into practice when Justice Hugo Black, an FDR appointee and member of the Ku Klux Klan, changed the meaning and purpose of the First Amendment of the Constitution. In Everson vs. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court took upon itself a presupposed right to redefine the meaning of the First Amendment. Justice Black and the other FDR appointees to the Supreme Court simply hijacked a phrase used by President Thomas Jefferson, “separation of church and state,” found in a letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association (1802). The FDR stacked court ruled that the freedom of religious expression in the public square was actually a violation of the separation of church and state, even though this phrase is not found in the US Constitution.

In true psycho-politics style the freedom of religious expression was reinterpreted as a violation of the First Amendment. This upside down interpretation of Jefferson’s phrase, which, once again, does not even appear in the Constitution of the United States, is precisely why Bradley Johnson had to go to court to win back his First Amendment liberties.

Let’s not forget, Johnson’s banners did not coerce the worship of a deity or religious figure. The banners did not in any way ask the students to pray or read a Bible scripture. The banners simply showed time-held phrases we all see everyday like, “In God We Trust.” Yet, this was somehow looked upon by the Poway United School District of San Diego as a violation of the Establishment Clause found in the First Amendment. Meanwhile, religious statements such as Tibetan prayer flags with images of Buddha, a banner of Hindu leader Mahatma Gandhi's "7 Social Sins," a poster of Muslim leader Malcolm X, and a poster of Buddhist leader Dalai Lama were not seen as a violation of the Establishment Clause. Another example of intolerance in the name of tolerance.

Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence that the American people are "…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...” That means our rights do not come from government; they come from God and cannot be changed. If our rights came from government, then the government could easily take them away. You know, that just might be the end game of those who practice intolerance in the name of tolerance.


Girl scouts have lurched Left

I've seen more than a few boxes of Do-Si-Dos and Samoas around lately. It's hard to look askance at the Girl Scouts when there's so much sweetness in the air. But there is reason for keeping the Girl Scouts out of the "mom and apple pie" category. For one thing, the organization has a think tank, a nongovernmental organization and a welcome mat out to Planned Parenthood.

At a meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women this month, the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides held a session for young people in which the International Planned Parenthood Federation distributed a brochure about living with HIV titled "Healthy, Happy and Hot." (Gratitude to U.N. watchdogs like C-FAM for keeping an eye out for such nefarious nonsense.)

The brochure sets itself up as a feel-good guide for dangerous behavior. "Young people living with HIV may feel that sex is just not an option, but don't worry -- many young people living with HIV live healthy, fun, happy and sexually fulfilling lives. You can, too, if you want to! Things get easier (and sex can get even better) as you become more comfortable with your status."

And since there is considerable sexual advice offered, advice on "safe abortion" naturally follows in the brochure.

This presentation served as a backdrop for a joint statement from the several U.N. organizations making up the U.N. Adolescent Girls Task Force. The task force declares its support for programs "that empower ... adolescent girls, particularly those aged 10 to 14 years." No innocence preserved.

The United Nations doesn't surprise me so much, but the Girl Scouts continue to greatly disappoint. About a decade ago, I wrote a piece for National Review called "The Cookie Crumbles," about things that could surprise moms and dads helping their daughter work on her Brownie badges. While the Boy Scouts have been under attack by politically correct watchdogs, the Girl Scouts have escaped censure by embracing leftist politics, reproductive permissiveness and secularism. It's been a long slide to sex-prep work for the U.N.

The Girl Scouts aren't shy about the causes they embrace. A 2008 post-election survey of girls and boys between 13 and 17 initiated by the Girl Scouts' think tank, the Girl Scout Research Institute, found overwhelming support for then President-elect Barack Obama, and noted concern for a laundry list of international and domestic issues, including the war in Iraq, the economy and "the difficulties women face in reaching leadership positions in our country."

I don't mind an arm of the Girl Scouts gathering information. But I do mind a group we associate with Tagalongs, tying knots, and basic life skills -- with protecting the innocence of children in an otherwise hyper-sexualized and politically fraught culture -- doing exactly the opposite. I mind leftist activists at national conventions. I mind faux empowerment laced with the persistent whine of victimization.

Your local Girl Scout troop may be run by traditional God-fearing women who want nothing to do with radical Planned Parenthood seminars, but you should know what's going on at the top. And if you are looking for alternatives, they're out there. In recent years I've encountered the American Heritage Girls, established by a Cincinnati-based former Girl Scout troop leader, which seeks to "Build women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country." And in a country known for entrepreneurship, a few sensible moms can start their own skill-building groups, very far away from the United Nations and Planned Parenthood; anything that allows girls to just be girls.


America's Lindsay Lohan problem

Depict a substance-abusing floozy on television, and some people take it very personally. This week, Lindsay Lohan filed suit against E-Trade for $100 million because the company's "talking baby" Super Bowl ad included an infant character named "Lindsay" (or Lindsey) who is described as a "Milk-a-holic."

This is not just a desperate attempt by a washed-out actress to obtain a free, never-ending supply of cocaine. Rather, it's part of a widespread American problem: litigiousness and lawsuit abuse.

This winter's edition of Judicial Hellholes, a newsletter of the American Tort Reform Association, identifies states and jurisdictions where opportunistic trial lawyers can most easily bring "deep pockets" into court on an uneven playing field and put their snouts into the bloodstream of the local and national economies. If you cannot look like Lohan, at least you can sue like her.

In Florida, for example, you can drive drunk, crash your car and then sue the automaker for its insufficiently crashworthy design. The jury cannot even be told that you were responsible for the crash.

In New Jersey, Denny's has been taken to court in a fraud class action, on behalf of anyone who has ever consumed one of its high-sodium meals.

In New Mexico, an appellate court last year abandoned a long-respected tort axiom -- the "baseball rule" -- by allowing lawsuits by spectators hit by foul balls and home runs.

New York City taxpayers shell out a half-billion dollars each year in personal injury suits -- 20 times what they paid out just 30 years ago. Among the cases last year: a girl who fell into an open manhole because she was texting while walking, and a drunken subway rider who stumbled into the tracks.

There is no reason why this situation should persist, except that the nation's top trial lawyers continue to grease the skids in Washington and in state capitols, piling up money for Democratic politicians who in turn hinder the cause of lawsuit reform. A recent Examiner analysis of contributions from employees of the top 15 plaintiffs firms found that less than 2 percent of nearly $1.3 million they donated went to Republicans.

That's why President Obama and Democrats seek to prevent state-level legal reforms in their health care reform bill. It's not just that the bill lacks tort reform provisions -- it also punishes states that adopt them by withholding federal money.

But those legal reforms are necessary. Otherwise, the natural conclusion is the world portrayed in "Kings of Tort," the recent book by Alan Lange and former federal prosecutor Tom Dawson. The book describes how former tort baron and current federal prisoner Dickie Scruggs sued his way into a fortune and then began purchasing an entire state's judiciary. Years before he was caught bribing two Mississippi judges, Scruggs had described as "magic jurisdictions" those places where verdict money was used to stack benches and juries.

"[M]agic jurisdiction," Scruggs said in a brazen public speech, "[is] where the judiciary is elected with verdict money. ... It's almost impossible to get a fair trial if you're a defendant in some of these places. The plaintiff lawyer walks in there and writes the number on the blackboard, and the first juror meets the last one coming out the door with that amount of money."

With the billions he won in various courts and settlements, Scruggs gained such influence in the judiciary that he proved popular self-governance cannot survive more people like him. As Obama seeks out the last few votes he needs for the current health care bill, bear in mind that it will prevent a solution to this problem.



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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