Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Woman walks through Mumbai for 10 hours in vest top and mini-skirt and receives NO sexual harassment... in stark contrast to similar video shot in New York

Indians are polite and non-aggressive people (except when dealing with Muslims), something one could not say of the NYC blacks and Hispanics encountered by Shoshana B Roberts

After seeing the popular 10 Hours of Walking In New York City video, the team at India’s IndieTube decided to make a Mumbai version of the popular video.

And surprisingly, the Pooja Singh - dressed in a vest top and short skirt - was not catcalled or harassed once.

As the woman walks through the second most populated city in the world’s most populated country, several men stare - but nobody catcalls or says anything derogatory.

‘Not even a single incident of woman street harassment took place in a city that has diversified culture, demographics and economy,’ a title card at the end of the video reads.

‘The female citizens are safe, respected and treated unbiased in this city which never sleeps.’

This comes in contrast to actress Shoshana B Roberts - who was the subject of the original video set in New York.

Ms Roberts was told to smile, advised to thank the men for their lewd comments and threatened with rape.

The difference is stark: in the original New York version, there were more than 100 examples of harassment over the 10 hours Ms Roberts was walking the streets of New York, not including whistles and winks.

In India, subject Pooja Singh received none


Democracy’s Gavel Rash

James Allan

On paper democracy is gaining ground around the world. How curious, not to mention dangerous, that the popular will is now so often violated by unelected judges and courts in the very countries where the rule of the ballot box was born.

The recent decline in majoritarian democracy is eroding the foundations on which the world’s  five oldest, most stable and  successful democracies — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand — have been built and thrived. One could cite many examples, as I do in my book, Democracy In Decline,  but the saga of majority will overturned by unelected judges in the battle to legalise gay marriage in California is both instructive and deeply alarming.

In a world where the number of democracies has increased considerably in the last few decades, from 40 or so in the mid-1970s  to nearly 120 in 2005, my claim about democratic decline may initially strike many as a tad implausible.  But having dozens of countries move from dictatorship and one party rule to a set-up that manages to qualify them as plausibly or sufficiently democratic does not in any way prevent backsliding in established democracies over that same period of time.  Top end decline can happen concurrently with bottom end improvements, as many a dieter will confirm.

Let us go back to my earlier mention of same-sex marriage in California and recall the basic history.  Pro same-sex marriage advocates, unable to convince the Californian legislature, opted to go through the courts and, in May, 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in their favour.  The judges struck down a statute of the elected legislature confining valid marriages to those between a man and a woman.

This happened in the case known as In Re Marriage Cases. The decision was both highly criticized and highly praised, largely depending on the individual writer’s attitude towards the outcome.  However, California being one of the US States (along with Oregon and a few others) where there is an especially big dollop of direct democracy, opponents of the court’s ruling were not finished.  They gathered enough signatures to have a ballot proposition put to a citizens-initiated referendum that would change the California Constitution, adding a section that would read “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognised in California”.  This was the wording of the earlier statute the judges had overturned.

This ballot initiative was known as Proposition 8.  Those in favour of it spent $40 million in the campaign leading up to the referendum, and those opposed spent even more, some $43 million.  In total, this was one of the largest amounts spent on a campaign ever, excluding presidential campaigns. When the day of the referendum came, voter turnout was just a shade under 80 percent.  Proposition 8, which would restrict marriage to heterosexual couples, was approved by just over 52 percent of voters.  That meant the State Constitution had been changed.

Winning the referendum and having Proposition 8 approved by a majority of the voters did not, however, end matters.  The losers went straight back to the courts, this time to have Proposition 8 itself overturned.  When this didn’t happen in the Californian State courts, and the Proposition was upheld as consistent with the State Constitution but not backdated, the federal courts were the obvious next port of call.

Eventually the issue reached the country’s top judges in the case of Hollingsworth v Perry and in June 2013 the US Supreme Court, 5-4, decided the case in favour of same sex marriage proponents on procedural grounds (namely that if the California government would not defend the ban on same sex marriage then proponents of Proposition 8 could not do so either, they lacked standing – meaning that the majority of Californians who voted for Proposition 8 had their views trumped by the judges, however indirectly).

And because many, many people celebrated that judicial outcome I recount the outlines of this struggle here simply as represent an example that for many people some things matter more than democratic input and majoritarian decision-making.  For many proponents of same-sex marriage in California, and elsewhere, what matters is getting it legalized.  If that requires the unelected judges to do so by adopting some sort of ‘living Constitution’ interpretive technique or to condone an elected government not defending in court the laws on its statute book, and if that means over-ruling the views, values, opinions, judgments or preferences of the majority of Californians, so be it.  Majoritarian decision-making be damned!

For those people, the perceived rightness or justice of their cause matters more than democracy.  The fact there is reasonable disagreement amongst smart, well-informed, nice, reasonable people on the issue does not lead them to want this issue decided by a letting the numbers count process.  Quite the contrary, they want their view of what is morally just and right to be upheld and implemented despite theirs being a minority view (at least outside the ranks of the judiciary), or at least they cannot be bothered to wait until they can convince enough others that theirs is no longer the minority view.  In shorthand terms we can think of this attitude as one favouring right outcomes, or rather the particular person’s judgment about right outcomes, over best or more defensible processes.  What is the most legitimate way to make decisions in a large group where people disagree takes second place for these people to getting what they judge to be the politically or morally right thing adopted.

Contrast that California history with the State of New York’s, where the elected legislature, not the judges, legislated for same-sex marriage.  The difference in terms of legitimacy is stark.

Now that brief account glosses over certain complexities, such as the relationship between representative democracy and direct democracy, as well as finessing when we can be satisfied that a vote really is measuring and determining the views of the majority.  And that leads on to the fifth possible way to respond to this book’s argument about the decline of democracy.  People in North America attack the majoritarian credentials of elected legislatures, often by pointing to perceived flaws in the voting system being used to choose its members.  From there, say from the claim that some particular elected legislature is itself deficient in majoritarian terms, they then move on to embrace a powerful role for unelected judges on the basis that the legislature itself is not perfect as regards democracy.

But this way of responding to my lament about the decline of democracy misses the obvious rejoinder that for any elected legislature in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – whatever the flaws you might perceive in the voting system used to choose its members and however far short you may think it falls from embracing some ideal of the popular will or Rousseau’s General Will – that elected legislature will nevertheless have massively more majoritarian and ‘letting the numbers count’ credentials than will nine unelected top judges.  So in any head-to-head comparison it is clear and beyond argument where the democratic legitimacy chips lie.  And so this way to respond to my lament amounts to a misdirection argument; it is a very weak argument.

What matters is how proposals fare in comparative terms, not how they fare held up against some perfect ideal. Majoritarian democracy delivers the best consequences, on average, over time. Its recent decline needs to be stopped and then reversed.  Starting now.


UK: Self-righteous. Narrow-minded. A mouthpiece for the unions... Why I quit feminist society behind THOSE T-shirts: Blistering attack on The Fawcett Society by its former vice chair Joanne Cash

Despite a long history of fighting to improve the lot of women in British life, The Fawcett Society, Britain’s oldest feminist organisation, has never been ‘water cooler’ conversation.

Until, that is, the events of the last two weeks, when T-shirts bearing the words ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ attracted exactly the wrong sort of attention.

Faced with the facts – revealed by The Mail on Sunday– that the shirts had been cheaply produced by exploiting female workers in Mauritius, The Fawcett Society then damaged its reputation still further with a self-righteous yet evasive response, suggesting that the workers’ pay (62 pence an hour) was reasonable and that the T-shirts somehow remained ethical.

When any organisation publicly abandons its core values, it is time for a rethink – the more so when, in the case of The Fawcett Society, it has been fatally undermined by an aggressive and immature culture of political point-scoring.

I take a personal interest in The Fawcett Society and, as a former vice chair, I felt a lot of sympathy when the story first broke. Yet their persistent refusal to acknowledge the facts as they emerged has left me dismayed.

The society takes its name from one of our greatest feminists, Millicent Fawcett – one of my heroes. Not only did she campaign tirelessly for the vote for women, she dedicated her life to increasing female access to education and justice and the abolition of sexual abuse.

Sadly, by the time I was offered the role of vice chair in the spring of 2013, The Fawcett Society had already been displaced as the most significant feminist voice in the UK.

New campaigns with fresh approaches were leading the way – campaigns for better representation on company boards, for example, or attempts to highlight the daily abuse of women.

The tone and content feels different, modern.  In comparison, The Fawcett Society appears narrow in its focus – and reliant on union funding.

While the public is increasingly disenchanted by party politics, The Fawcett Society continues to be combative. Rather than appearing to speak for everywoman, it has become pigeon-holed as Left-wing, as a mouthpiece for the unions.  The issues it stands for – equal pay, women in poverty – are as vital as ever, but Fawcett makes them sound tired.

Yet, with such a strong and intellectual history, I believed that it could evolve. When I, as an active Conservative, was appointed to the board, it gave me confidence that change was possible.

What I found instead was an office full of ideological but naive young women driving a Left-wing agenda, even while the charity was on its knees.

It became apparent that some members of the staff had no idea how to run the charity, let alone grow it.

Bright women with a good eye for statistics, I am unconvinced to this day that they have any vision for the future of the charity beyond more of the same narrow focus, the same reactive, outspoken press performances.

When David Cameron reshuffled his Cabinet and increased the number of female full Cabinet Ministers from three to five, promoting a range of talented women to senior positions, I thought that surely The Fawcett Society would reach out across party lines and congratulate these women on their achievements.

But no, they couldn’t resist the old game: ‘The substance didn’t live up to the hype’, they said. Cameron had ‘failed’ to meet his promise to make a third of his Cabinet women by the time of the Election.

(A complete falsehood: One third of the Conservative members of the Coalition Cabinet were, in fact, women. But not even the Prime Minister can conjure up female Lib Dems.)

So with huge regret, I decided that I could not continue as vice chair as I no longer believed that the change needed could take place within the existing culture. And I stepped down.

I wasn’t at all surprised to see that Left-wing politicians were being used to promote the T-shirt, but I was dismayed.

If your potential supporters hate mainstream politicians, why identify yourself with them? Why do you need Ed Miliband when you’ve got Benedict Cumberbatch? Using the T-shirt to raise money and profile was a terrific idea but yet again the point-scoring had derailed a smart source of funding.

Fawcett’s response to this story has reinforced my view that it has still to change.  In an indignant fury, the charity – along with high street retailer Whistles, with whom it has aligned itself – defended the abuse of some of the world’s most vulnerable women.  This is still the stated position on the website at the time of writing.

So where does the charity go from here? There is a place for a serious feminist voice in the UK. The Fawcett Society could be that voice if it returned to the values of its founder and learned how to build coalitions and consensus. It needs to be representative of all women.

I have no doubt that Millicent Fawcett would be making the case for the protection of the girls of Rotherham. She would also by now have helped us re-engage with men. Some of her greatest feminist allies were men, including her husband Henry Fawcett and the philosopher John Stuart Mill.

Many of the changes now needed to progress real equality for women require society to release men from stereotypes and conventions too.  How can we share family obligations when men face stigma for taking time off work?

That is just one example of the many changes we should fight for. There is more momentum behind the equality movement now than there has been for a long time.

After the T-shirt story broke, someone on Fawcett’s staff wrote a sarcastic tweet in response to the T-shirt story: ‘We’ll just have to get along without the 11 million Mail readers. Aw, shucks.’

Possibly they can do that but equality cannot to be so narrowly selective. The Fawcett Society needs to decide what it is about.


Pushback against the Leftist (feminist and social justice warrior) attacks on traditional computer games and those who play them

Todd Wohling

I hate myself for what I did Tuesday.

I remember voting for the first time in 1994.  Walking in to a small community center in a village of less than 500 in rural Wisconsin with my parents filled me with a Capraesque sense of awe.  Maybe it was the echoes of people shuffling through a basketball court that could only come from Hoosiers; maybe it was the act of punching an actual ballot for the first time; or maybe it was the feeling of finally being able to affect change, in an infinitesimal way, after hearing my parents talk about labor relations, income disparity, and a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body for the overwhelming majority of my childhood.  Up until Tuesday, the act of casting a ballet gave me the same kind of feeling that Jimmy Stewart injected in to Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, or for something more modern, up until Tuesday I felt the same since of civic pride from casting a ballot as I did for knowing the words to I’m Just a Bill on Capitol Hill, or acting as Speaker of the House for the mock Congress in my American Government class in high school.

That first election was not without controversy.  There was a referendum on the ballot for funding for a new high school building.  The educators at my high school took it upon themselves to bring everyone that was going to be 18 on Election Day into the band room so they could show us all how to vote, “in favor of the school funding issue.”  I remember talking with my parents at dinner on the day of about how we were shown how to vote.  Above all, I remember listening to, and later participating in, an uncountable number of conversations around the dinner table: Organized labor (my parents combined have been members of unions for roughly 50 years), butter > guns, the need for strict separation between church and state, and a desire to ensure that everyone had equal opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I am was a liberal.  I am was not ashamed to call myself one, even after moving to Colorado and taking a job in a conservative pocket of the tech industry, where unashamed liberals are the vast minority.  I would regularly hold court on Fridays while our design team was eating breakfast together; it got so “bad” at one point that I was given the nickname “Pinko Todd” in honor of my rampant socialist rantings.

After Tuesday, I don’t know that I can call myself a liberal anymore.

It’s not that I don’t want to call myself a liberal. After all, as I understand liberal ideals, I still believe in most of them, if not all of them.  No, I guess I’m not a liberal anymore because Bustle, The Verge, Salon, Polygon, Kotaku, Gamasutra, The Mary Sue, The NY Times, The LA Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, and others spent the last 2 months telling me I’m no longer wanted as an unashamed, voting liberal.  They did this based on my primary hobby and the Y chromosome I was born with.  They did this after some of them told me I was dead or needed to die for the crime of holding my primary hobby as a part of my identity.  They did this because some people I don’t know made threats against people I’d never heard of before; subsequently, I was told I needed to die because of my Y chromosome and my hobby.

And for what?  The nebulous notion of making gaming “better” than it is now?  To stroke the sense of entitlement of self-proclaimed “game developers”?  To turn game developer into the third vocation in human history that is competence optional behind politician and journalist (apparently)?  Equality of Outcomes between AAA game development, good independent game development, and terrible independent game development?  An esoteric notion of games as art, based on meaningless definitions of “gamer” and “game” combined with a pejorative definition of “consumerism”?  A wanton desire to usurp the will of the consumer and the creative process?

I hope character assassinating gamers without regard for collateral damage over the last 2 months was worth it.

Tuesday resulted in several firsts for me.  I’d never voted full ticket—not in 20 years of participating in my civic duty.  I did on Tuesday.  I’ve often considered or voted for third party candidates when at the polls over the last 20 years.  Tuesday I did not.  Over the past 20 years, I’d spent between 2 and 6 weeks studying candidates and ballot measures to be as informed as possible.  This election cycle, I was finished in hours.  On this day, I stand before you to say that I did my part to hand the Legislative branch of the American government to the Republicans.  Not that one vote matters in the grand scheme of things, but every traditionally Democratic vote that goes Republican is a two vote swing.  So the Republicans own the Senate, but not with a “super majority” to completely dictate terms legislatively.

From my new perspective after Tuesday, it’s one down and three to go: Super majority in the Senate, the Presidency, and one Supreme Court justice.  I’m disgusted for writing that last sentence.

What choice did I have?  It would appear that the DiGRA was right—The Playful is Political.  It would also appear that my politics are now a matter of survival for pieces of my identity that I hold dear.  It can never be emphasized enough that 10 news outlets on the same day said I was dead or needed to die because of those parts of my identity.  Will I forgive?  Eventually.  Time heals all wounds, after all.  Will I forget?  Never.  The imgur’s will exist forever, as will the archives and screen caps of everything the hypocrites, charlatans, and their willing media puppets said and did to make me question two parts of my identity: gamer and liberal.  It is only by force of will and self-determination that I don’t let those people immure me in self-doubt and regret.  Right now, there is virtually no price too high for them to pay for what they tried to do to my identity.

There are roughly 730 days until Election Day 2016.  The media that drove me away from my political leanings is going to need every one of those days to convince me that bashing gamers from August 28th until Tuesday was just a misunderstanding.  They will need every one of those days to convince me that my input into the liberal ideology is valued regardless of my hobbies, support for GamerGate, or my gender.  The alternative is to hand both the Legislative and Executive branch of the US Government over to Republicans, and as I found out on Tuesday, it is well within my capability to do so.

Tick tock.  Tick tock.



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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