Friday, September 05, 2014

Amicable divorce 'is just as damaging for children': Impact of a split on youngsters is same if couple remain friends or not (?)

Groan!  More lazy and hence inconclusive research.  The data was parental reports, nothing else.  It shows that all divorced parents are prone to see their kids as damaged but it tells you nothing about which were in fact damaged.  The journal article is "Postdivorce Coparenting Typologies and Children's Adjustment"

Divorcing parents who try to maintain an amicable relationship for the sake of their children are doing nothing to help them, a major study suggests.

The impact of the split on youngsters is the same whether or not the mother and father keep cordial links, it found.

The findings undermine a Government-backed consensus that the harm caused to children by separating parents can be limited if the couple remain friends.

Three Whitehall ministries are currently ploughing money into supporting a policy on divorce and family break-up which says that it is conflict between the parents and not their separation itself that harms children. The new study, the first in 20 years to examine how the behaviour of separated parents affects their children, was carried out by US academics.

It covered 270 parents who were divorced or separated between 1998 and 2004 in an unnamed US state that compels divorcees to take part in an education programme on ‘co-operative co-parenting’.

Of these, 31 per cent considered their relationship with their ex-spouse as ‘co-operative and involved’; 45 per cent were ‘moderately engaged’ with their divorced partner, with some conflict between them; and 24 per cent said their co-operation was ‘infrequent but conflictual’.

They were asked to say how their break-up had affected the youngest child in their family. The average age of children involved was eight years.

The study, published in the academic journal Family Relations, said that children of divorced parents are more likely than others to suffer ‘external’ symptoms such as behaviour problems or drug abuse, more likely to have ‘internal’ difficulties like anxiety or depression, and more likely to do badly at school.

But the researchers, headed by Dr Jonathon Beckmeyer of Indiana University, found that these children’s problems were no worse if their parents continued to row and bicker with each other after the divorce.

The study said ‘despite the expectation that children fare better’ if their divorced parents develop a co-operative relationship, the behaviour of children as assessed by their parents ‘did not significantly differ’ between the friendly and the fighting groups of divorcees.

Divorced parents should be reassured that their children will not be more seriously harmed if they fail to establish a cordial and co-operative relationship with their former husband or wife, it added.


Paul Ryan Has Answer for Ferguson

Economist Milton Friedman said “The economic race should not be arranged so everyone arrives at the finish line at the same time but so that everyone starts at the starting line at the same time.”

Those on the left and the right have always contended whether economic outcomes for any given set of individuals is the business of government. But few, on the left or right, dispute that government should work to assure that every American starts the game under fair conditions.

It’s the latter point, fairness at the beginning of the game, that defines the motivation behind Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s vast and sweeping new set of ideas for taking on poverty in our nation.

According to the Census Bureau, there are almost 50 million Americans living under the poverty line.

Since President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” half century ago, government has spent $15 trillion dollars fighting poverty. The federal government now spends $800 billion per year on means-tested anti-poverty programs.

Yet, we see no change. The incidence of poverty has remained constantly at around 15 percent of the population. And the racial component has been constant, with black poverty rates consistently at three times the rate of white poverty.

Paul Ryan’s important contribution here is to show that not only are these vast government anti-poverty programs not working, but also they themselves contribute to the persistence of the problem.

Because these programs are means-tested – they’re tied to how much money you earn – they perversely discourage work and advancement because earning more means losing a huge array of benefits.

Beyond creating a universe of disincentives to work and advancement, many of these individual programs create their own unique perversities.

HUD housing vouchers, for instance, simply subsidize slumlords and build ghettos because they can’t be used freely anywhere, but only with landlords authorized by HUD.

The end of it all is we wind up with entrenched areas of poverty, which foster crime, drugs, unemployment, frustrated youth, and then, inevitably, tragic incidents like we just witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri.

The left yells racism and calls for more government, more money, even though this is most often the source of the problem, not the solution.

If we are going to spend the money, says Congressman Ryan, let’s try to do it in a way that will lead people out of poverty, rather than perpetuate it.

Ryan is proposing experimental programs – Opportunity Grants – that consolidates 11 distinct government anti-poverty programs into one cash grant to states, allowing states flexibility to propose new and creative ways to use these funds.

I am currently working with state legislators in Oklahoma, led by Senator Rob Standridge, to show how government assistance for the poor can encourage, rather than discourage, work, marriage and family, education, and savings.

Low-income families with children would get matching grants from the state up to an annual income of $30,000. So as a married couple earns more, government grants kick in – up to $30,000. For every year the couple stays married, $2500 is deposited in a household retirement account, $2500 in a housing down payment account, and $5000 in an education savings account. A monthly housing grant of $500 is provided while household income is under $50,000.

Ten hours of monthly volunteer service at a community non-profit would create eligibility for prizes at monthly raffles.

Beyond this, minimum wage laws that discourage employment should be addressed, as well as taxes and regulations that discourage opening businesses in low-income neighborhoods.

Low wage workers and America’s poor need freedom to labor, not laws that penalize businesses that come to their communities or laws that keep them from moving to the second or third rung of the economic ladder. They need freedom from policies that keep their kids trapped in government subsidized, union controlled schools, and government housing policies that keep them trapped in ghettos.


Oxfam and BDS Hypocrisy

The definition of peace between the Palestinians and Israelis is when the two can work alongside each other, earning equal wages, benefits, and economically energizing their neighborhoods, in a ‘so called' peaceful environment.

Peace broke out in Maale Adumim, West Bank at the SodaStream factory 15 minutes west of Jerusalem.  600 West Bank Palestinians, 300 East Jerusalem Arabs, and 300 Israeli Jews entered, without knowing, into a voluntary peace deal at SodaStream.  All this achieved without outside interference from the United Nations, United States, and UK.

The SodaStream factory had an on-site synagogue and mosque.  Jew and Palestinian break bread everyday sharing the same cafeteria in peace and harmony.  The economy of Maale Adumim, West Bank was benefiting from the positive financial benefits as SodaStream's Palestinian workers were building homes, buying local goods, and saving money for their future.

How Did This Peace Work?

Al Monitor asked SodaStream's President Daniel Birnbaum to explain how this peace worked between Israeli and Palestinian.

"You know, as far as many of them(Palestinians) are concerned, the only Israelis they know are settlers and the policemen at checkpoints. Most of them had never even been to Israel until I took them on a tour last summer. Then they saw Israelis on the beach and in the street. They saw plain, ordinary people.

On the other hand, it was also an opportunity for us to break through the barriers of hatred and to get to know the other side, so that we could finally recognize that not every Palestinian is a terrorist. I'm proud of that. I want people to finally realize that we're talking about people and that peace is possible, despite the politicians. If there were another hundred companies like us extending a hand to the other side, we would have a peace agreement, because everybody wants it, including the Palestinians."

This SodaStream economic peace effort was a glimmer of light at the end of a very dark and bloody tunnel.  Then, out of nowhere, Oxfam and BDS Movement came into play with a world wide action which at the end of the day is hurting over 3,500 Palestinians.

900 Palestinians and Arabs Betrayed By Oxfam and BDS' Nonsense

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is a global campaign to increase economic and political pressure on Israel i.e. branding Israel as an apartheid state. BDS puts public pressure on companies like SodaStream by protesting and intimidating retailers around the world for selling their products.

The BDS movement has evolved into a non-affiliated arm of Palestinian terrorism. Oxfam/BDS are hell bent on Israel's economic destruction.  Sacrificing the economic future of 900 Palestinian workers was a very small matter to the BDS movement.


Oxfam's mission statement: "Working with thousands of local partner organizations, we work with people living in poverty striving to exercise their human rights, assert their dignity as full citizens and take control of their lives."
Oxfam International in its zeal to hurt SodaStream violated its own mission statement.

Oxfam went on a personal rampage mission to destroy SodaStream, in January 2014, after their international spokesperson, Ms. Scarlett Johansson, appeared in a SodaStream worldwide TV ad campaign.
Oxfam got hot under the collar when Ms. Johansson's publicist gave this reason for leaving Oxfam. 

"Ms. Johansson, respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years... She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement."

In a January 30, 2014 Oxfam press release the ‘aid' groups politics become crystal clear, "Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.  Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law."

Oxfam International, with an operating budget of $1.2 Billion US and net assets of $396 Million, decided to exact their pound of flesh from SodaStream.   Ms. Scarlett Johansson publicly exposed Oxfam's political bias against the State of Israel in favor of the BDS Movement.  The only one's who got hurt at the end of the day were the 900 Palestinian and Arab workers who were earning four times more than the average wage in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

Back To Square One

JTA reports, Daniel Birnbaum, SodaStream CEO said, "We are committed to continue serving as a bridge and to sowing hope"  The flames of that hope were extinguished because of outside influences  from Oxfam International and BDS, both showing their anti-semitism.

"SodaStream's case, some say, is one example of how boycotting an Israeli company doing business in the West Bank can end up hurting the very goals that boycott proponents say they are trying to achieve: Palestinian rights and Israel-Palestinian peace."


SodaStream will soon be closing their West Bank plant and moving it to the Be'er Sheva area in the Negev.  With an average of 4 people per household approximately 3,600 Palestinians and Arab workers are being directly impacted by the SodaStream West Bank plant closing.

Many of these Palestinian and Arab workers had been earning enough money with SodaStream to apply for mortgages and building homes.  When those mortgage payments can't be paid and the foreclosures start there will be much anger and frustration in these West Bank communities.  There is no work in the West Bank for these Palestinians to move into comparable earning jobs and support their families.

Now there are 3,600 additional frustrated and angry Palestinians in the West Bank.  Their anger, strangely enough, will not be focused on Oxfam International and the BDS Movement who are responsible for them losing their livelihood.

That anger will be focused like a laser on the Jews and Israel.  If I was a Palestinian community organizer I would be channeling this anti Jew/Israel anger by building more violent terrorist cells in the West Bank and East Jerusalem with all these now unemployed SodaStream workers.

Qatar would be smart to give these families a little bit of money and food to tide them over for a short time instead of financing a Gaza weapons buying spree.  When the money and food runs out, desperation sets in.  Generosity in the Arab world comes with a very high price tag.

The payment will almost certainly be the radicalization of these once proud Palestinian SodaStream workers.

Sadly, there are no profits in peace between the Palestinians and Israelis for groups like Oxfam and the BDS Movement who thrive on poverty and misery.

The Big Picture

The idiocy of Oxfam BDS campaign created a situation where some EU and USA large wholesalers had to cancel orders of Israeli products.  The unintended consequence is that Russia is now buying up from Israel what the EU and USA are unfortunately boycotting.


Why Conservatism Inc. Complained When Ann Coulter Called Out Christian Cowards

A lot of mainstream conservatives in both America and the UK now bow  down to political correctness.  Ann doesn't

In 1980s film Repo Man, Emilio Estevez’s protagonist Otto Maddox asks his pot smoking parents for a promised $1,000. His mother replies they can no longer help because, “Your father gave all our extra money to the Reverend’s telethon; we’re sending Bibles to El Salvador.”

Otto asks: “Well what about me?” His father responds: “You’re on the Honor Roll of the Chariots Of Fire. Same as us, Otto. It was a gift. From all of us jointly.”

I thought of this line recently while reading Ann Coulter’s much-denounced column criticizing Ebola infected missionary Kent Brantly for going to the Third World instead of helping and evangelizing fellow Americans. After all, though the Good Book commands , “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel,” it also says, “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’”

Prominent conservative Christians responded with the usual vitriolic outrage they use for MargaretSanger or John Tanton—which is mysteriously never deployed against the likes of anti-Christian bigots like gay columnist Dan Savage. The occasionally sensible Jim Treacher called it “absolute horsecrap.” [Ann Coulter is wrong about Kent Brantly, Daily Caller, August 7, 2014] Channeling Rick Perry, the always squishy Rod Dreher wrote that anyone with “a heart, or a soul” would “hate” Coulter’s column. [Ann Coulter, Dr. Kent Brantly, & Telescopic Philanthropy, American Conservative, August 6, 2014]

Most of Coulter’s antagonists focused on the title of the column, which called Brantly an “idiot.” However, it was Steve Berman’s moderate reaction that truly crystalized how Coulter’s critics missed the point. He asked, “How many Americans, in an age of growing hostility to Christians, might see his sacrifice and pick up their own crosses?” [Ann Coulter is great, but I'd rather be like Kent Brantly, RedState, August 7, 2014]

But Coulter’s main argument was not that Brantly was stupid, but that he was cowardly. As Coulter notes, contemporary Christians flock are

"tired of fighting the culture war in the U.S., tired of being called homophobes, racists, sexists and bigots. So they slink off to Third World countries, away from American culture to do good works"

…rather than setting an example for other Americans.

Though I’m not especially religious, I can support Coulter’s analysis with my own experience. A good friend’s father was a Southern Baptist minister who spent decades setting up dozens of schools and congregations in Africa. He died (of cancer, not Ebola) and I attended the funeral. There was not a single African or African-American mourner in attendance—but the hundreds of white Southerners in attendance sang Swahili gospel hymns.

The minister’s death occurred shortly before the 2008 election and politics mixed with mourning during the reception. When Barack Obama’s name came up, the Southern Baptists would talk about how the recently-deceased did more for blacks than Barack Obama ever did, and they wished that all the liberals who call Republicans racists could have seen it.

This same impulse leads many Christian conservatives to try to reframe their socially conservative beliefs as “anti-racism.” Pro-lifers often justify opposition to abortion by calling it “black genocide,” utilizing “disparate impact” arguments about black abortion rates and out-of-context quotes from eugenicists a century ago.

Instead of criticizing the licentious culture that creates unwanted pregnancies, many conservative Christians praise welfare moms with multiple baby daddies as heroes for “choosing life.” They also pretend those who abort their children had no agency and are simply victims of racist liberals.

“Molotov” Mitchell, a white evangelical Christian and video columnist for World Net Daily, embraced the absurd of the reductio ad absurdum when he created a film called Gates of Hell, which creates a black power terrorist organization called the “Zulu 9” that starts murdering abortion doctors once when they realize the “racist” roots of Planned Parenthood.

For all his faults, Mitchell is at least against illegal immigration. However, this can’t be said of the leadership of most conservative Christian organizations in the country. The heads of almost all conservative Catholic and Evangelical organizations, to say nothing of mainline Protestants and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops support Amnesty, as do leaders of f the National Organization for Marriage like Maggie Gallagher and Robert P. George.

Is this inevitable? Oswald Spengler famously wrote that “Christian theology is the grandmother of Bolshevism.” Spengler, and many other right wing critics of Christianity, believed that the scripture’s endorsement of universalism, a brotherhood of man, and peace on earth, helped legitimize Marxist ideology.

Or, to quote Repo Man, this time Harry Dean Stanton’s hardened and amphetamine-abusing repo veteran Bud: “I don’t want no commies in my car. No Christians either.”

Most anti-Christian Rightists will argue that decidedly non-wimpy and very Western Christianity of the Middle Ages and Renaissance—known as Christendom—was a product of Germanic, Norse, and Celtic Pagan traditions, which Northern Europeans heathens incorporated into Christianity when they converted. Many build on immigration patriot and conservative Catholic James C. Russell’s book The Germanization of Medieval Christianity. The late Sam Francis in his review described the implication of Russell’s book:

Christianity is both the grandmother of Bolshevism (in its early universalist, non-Western form) and a pillar of social stabilization and order (through the values and world-view imported into it through contact with the ancient barbarians).
But this does not explain the cowardice that Coulter identifies. The pre-Germanized Christians were willing to stand against the dominant Roman and pagan culture despite facing death for practicing their faith. The cowardly Christians of today promote adopting half the Third World simply out of fear of being called names like anti-Semitic, racist, and homophobic.

A conservative Catholic acquaintance of mine used to be an immigration patriot, but has since switched to supporting Open Borders (his words, not my pejorative.) When we last discussed his switch, he stated the ultimate political goal was saving souls and we could save more souls with more Catholics in America, regardless of other social costs.

Some anti-Christian Rightists would argue that this is logical conclusion to adopting a universalist and egalitarian Christian theology. But my acquaintance was not proselytizing to the Mexican masses, working at a pregnancy crisis center, or laboring at some religious institution. Instead, his shift in position coincided with climbing up the ranks of Conservatism Inc. as he promotes free market dogma at odds with centuries of Catholic Social Thought.

Last year, I rejected the idea that political cowardice is explained by stupidity. But cowardice and careerism can often explain malice.

The ignominious fact is that many of Ann Coulter’s Christian critics are less concerned with saving souls than trying to salvage their own reputation in the eyes of people who already hate them.



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

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

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


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