Thursday, June 04, 2015
The sisterhood is very supportive of one another -- feminists say
A former Virginia Tech student has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for the 2014 murder of another female student, who she brutally strangled after the victim wrote their lesbian fling off as an 'experiment.'
Jessica Michelle Ewing, 24, gave detailed testimony at her sentencing hearing Monday of the evening leading up to the murder of 21-year-old biology student Samantha Shrestha.
Ewing started the night with high hopes--wearing a dress and bringing along wine and whipped cream--while Shrestha wore sweats and a t-shirt.
High hopes: Ewing started the night with high hopes--wearing a dress and bringing along wine and whipped cream--while Shrestha wore sweats and a t-shirt
She told the court she was disappointed but that eventually Shrestha put on a dress of her own and the two downed a bottle of wine after having a 'whipped cream fight' and building a fort out of blankets, reports the Roanoke Times.
But the mood soon soured again after Ewing called Shrestha a 'spoiled bitch,' at which point Shrestha shot back that they were just 'experimenting' and that she was 'toying' with Ewing.
'I loved Sam — I couldn't believe she would say that I was some experiment to her,' Ewing told the court in Christiansburg. 'It hit me where I was most hurt.'
And so Ewing hit back. Her cause of death would later be deemed as strangulation, though blunt force injuries would also be discovered on her head and body.
'I made the most horrible decision to cover it all up to hide it,' Ewing said. 'I wish I had just called 911, but at that point it was too late.'
Shrestha's body was discovered stuffed in a sleeping bag in the back seat of her abandoned Mercedes on February 10, 2014.
In February of this year, Ewing entered an Alford plea to the first-degree murder of Samantha Shrestha. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the prosecution has enough evidence for a conviction.
Judge Robert Turk sentenced Ewing to 80 years for first-degree murder and five years for transporting and concealing a body, the Roanoke Times reports.
She must serve out 45 years of her sentence before the rest is suspended. She will remain on probation for 20 years after her release.
A Warning from Canada: Same-Sex Marriage Erodes Fundamental Rights
Americans need to understand that the endgame of the LGBT rights movement involves centralized state power—and the end of First Amendment freedoms.
I am one of six adult children of gay parents who recently filed amicus briefs with the US Supreme Court, asking the Court to respect the authority of citizens to keep the original definition of marriage: a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, so that children may know and may be raised by their biological parents. I also live in Canada, where same-sex marriage was federally mandated in 2005.
I am the daughter of a gay father who died of AIDS. I described my experiences in my book: Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting. Over fifty adult children who were raised by LGBT parents have communicated with me and share my concerns about same-sex marriage and parenting. Many of us struggle with our own sexuality and sense of gender because of the influences in our household environments growing up.
We have great compassion for people who struggle with their sexuality and gender identity—not animosity. And we love our parents. Yet, when we go public with our stories, we often face ostracism, silencing, and threats.
I want to warn America to expect severe erosion of First Amendment freedoms if the US Supreme Court mandates same-sex marriage. The consequences have played out in Canada for ten years now, and they are truly Orwellian in nature and scope.
In Canada, freedoms of speech, press, religion, and association have suffered greatly due to government pressure. The debate over same-sex marriage that is taking place in the United States could not legally exist in Canada today. Because of legal restrictions on speech, if you say or write anything considered “homophobic” (including, by definition, anything questioning same-sex marriage), you could face discipline, termination of employment, or prosecution by the government.
Why do police prosecute speech under the guise of eliminating “hate speech” when there are existing legal remedies and criminal protections against slander, defamation, threats, and assault that equally apply to all Americans? Hate-crime-like policies using the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” create unequal protections in law, whereby protected groups receive more legal protection than other groups.
Having witnessed how mob hysteria in Indiana caused the legislature to back-track on a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, many Americans are beginning to understand that some activists on the Left want to usher in state control over every institution and freedom. In this scheme, personal autonomy and freedom of expression become nothing more than pipe dreams, and children become commodified.
Children are not commodities that can be justifiably severed from their natural parentage and traded between unrelated adults. Children in same-sex households will often deny their grief and pretend they don’t miss a biological parent, feeling pressured to speak positively due to the politics surrounding LGBT households. However, when children lose either of their biological parents because of death, divorce, adoption, or artificial reproductive technology, they experience a painful void. It is the same for us when our gay parent brings his or her same-sex partner(s) into our lives. Their partner(s) can never replace our missing biological parent.
The State as Ultimate Arbiter of Parenthood
Over and over, we are told that “permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not deprive anyone of any rights.” That is a lie.
When same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005, parenting was immediately redefined. Canada’s gay marriage law, Bill C-38, included a provision to erase the term “natural parent” and replace it across the board with gender-neutral “legal parent” in federal law. Now all children only have “legal parents,” as defined by the state. By legally erasing biological parenthood in this way, the state ignores children’s foremost right: their immutable, intrinsic yearning to know and be raised by their own biological parents.
Mothers and fathers bring unique and complementary gifts to their children. Contrary to the logic of same-sex marriage, the gender of parents matters for the healthy development of children. We know, for example, that the majority of incarcerated men did not have their fathers in the home. Fathers by their nature secure identity, instill direction, provide discipline, boundaries, and risk-taking adventures, and set lifelong examples for children. But fathers cannot nurture children in the womb or give birth to and breast-feed babies. Mothers nurture children in unique and beneficial ways that cannot be duplicated by fathers.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that men and women are anatomically, biologically, physiologically, psychologically, hormonally, and neurologically different from each other. These unique differences provide lifelong benefits to children that cannot be duplicated by same-gender “legal” parents acting out different gender roles or attempting to substitute for the missing male or female role model in the home.
In effect, same-sex marriage not only deprives children of their own rights to natural parentage, it gives the state the power to override the autonomy of biological parents, which means parental rights are usurped by the government.
Hate Tribunals Are Coming
In Canada, it is considered discriminatory to say that marriage is between a man and a woman or that every child should know and be raised by his or her biological married parents. It is not just politically incorrect in Canada to say so; you can be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, fined, and forced to take sensitivity training.
Anyone who is offended by something you have said or written can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals. In Canada, these organizations police speech, penalizing citizens for any expression deemed in opposition to particular sexual behaviors or protected groups identified under “sexual orientation.” It takes only one complaint against a person to be brought before the tribunal, costing the defendant tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The commissions have the power to enter private residences and remove all items pertinent to their investigations, checking for hate speech.
The plaintiff making the complaint has his legal fees completely paid for by the government. Not so the defendant. Even if the defendant is found innocent, he cannot recover his legal costs. If he is found guilty, he must pay fines to the person(s) who brought forth the complaint.
If your beliefs, values, and political opinions are different from the state’s, you risk losing your professional license, job, or business, and even your children. Look no further than the Lev Tahor Sect, an Orthodox Jewish sect. Many members, who had been involved in a bitter custody battle with child protection services, began leaving Chatham, Ontario, for Guatemala in March 2014, to escape prosecution for their religious faith, which conflicted with the Province’s guidelines for religious education. Of the two hundred sect members, only half a dozen families remain in Chatham.
Parents can expect state interference when it comes to moral values, parenting, and education—and not just in school. The state has access into your home to supervise you as the parent, to judge your suitability. And if the state doesn’t like what you are teaching your children, the state will attempt to remove them from your home.
Teachers cannot make comments in their social networks, write letters to editors, publicly debate, or vote according to their own conscience on their own time. They can be disciplined or lose any chance of tenure. They can be required at a bureaucrat’s whim to take re-education classes or sensitivity training, or be fired for thinking politically incorrect thoughts.
When same-sex marriage was created in Canada, gender-neutral language became legally mandated. Newspeak proclaims that it is discriminatory to assume a human being is male or female, or heterosexual. So, to be inclusive, special non-gender-specific language is being used in media, government, workplaces, and especially schools to avoid appearing ignorant, homophobic, or discriminatory. A special curriculum is being used in many schools to teach students how to use proper gender-neutral language. Unbeknownst to many parents, use of gender terms to describe husband and wife, father and mother, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and “he” and “she” is being steadily eradicated in Canadian schools.
Which Is More Important: Sexual Autonomy or the First Amendment?
Recently, an American professor who was anonymously interviewed for the American Conservative questioned whether sexual autonomy is going to cost you your freedoms: “We are now at the point, he said, at which it is legitimate to ask if sexual autonomy is more important than the First Amendment?”
Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian citizens were supposed to have been guaranteed: (1) freedom of conscience and religion; (2) freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (3) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (4) freedom of association. In reality, all of these freedoms have been curtailed with the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Wedding planners, rental halls, bed and breakfast owners, florists, photographers, and bakers have already seen their freedoms eroded, conscience rights ignored, and religious freedoms trampled in Canada. But this is not just about the wedding industry. Anybody who owns a business may not legally permit his or her conscience to inform business practices or decisions if those decisions are not in line with the tribunals’ decisions and the government’s sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination laws. In the end, this means that the state basically dictates whether and how citizens may express themselves.
Freedom to assemble and speak freely about man-woman marriage, family, and sexuality is now restricted. Most faith communities have become “politically correct” to avoid fines and loss of charitable status. Canadian media are restricted by the Canadian Radio, Television, and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which is similar to the FCC. If the media air anything considered discriminatory, broadcasting licenses can be revoked, and “human rights bodies” can charge fines and restrict future airings.
An example of legally curtailed speech regarding homosexuality in Canada involves the case of Bill Whatcott, who was arrested for hate speech in April 2014 after distributing pamphlets that were critical of homosexuality. Whether or not you agree with what he says, you should be aghast at this state-sanctioned gagging. Books, DVDs, and other materials can also be confiscated at the Canadian border if the materials are deemed “hateful.”
Americans need to prepare for the same sort of surveillance-society in America if the Supreme Court rules to ban marriage as a male-female institution. It means that no matter what you believe, the government will be free to regulate your speech, your writing, your associations, and whether or not you may express your conscience. Americans also need to understand that the endgame for some in the LGBT rights movement involves centralized state power—and the end of First Amendment freedoms.
Breaking the silence report
by Matti Friedman
I’ve been asked a few times about the “Breaking the Silence” report that is currently being played up by the international press, as is any report that fits the narrative of Israelis as war criminals. (Contradictory reports, like the recent one I posted here from two US military experts, are not considered news.) I hope that most intelligent people have stopped taking international press coverage of Israel too seriously. But there are a few things that are important to understand.
1. War is awful and people come back feeling upset about things they’ve seen and done. Some observers are reliable, and others aren’t. Some of the things described in the report no doubt happened as they were described. Others didn’t. Infantrymen at the bottom of the hierarchy often don’t understand what they’re seeing, or the reasons for what they’re doing, and I’m speaking from experience. Things that make no sense to a private, sergeant, or lieutenant sometimes (but by no means always) make more sense if you go a few notches up the command chain. Young soldiers tend not to understand this, certainly not at the time and not immediately afterward. For example, open-fire regulations at a particular time could seem too aggressive given your limited understanding of where you are. If you have all of the information at your disposal – and no soldier does – you might understand why.
A target shelled for reasons unknown to you might have been shelled for good reason after all. Or not. You don’t know, and in many cases (but not all) it’s a mistake to think you do. Drawing broad conclusions about Israeli military practice from “testimonies” of this kind is irresponsible.
2. Professional journalists looking at this report, and at similar reports, should be asking (but aren't, of course): Compared to what? IDF open-fire regulations are lax – compared to what? Civilian casualty rates are high – compared to what? Compared to the U.S. in Fallujah? The British in Northern Ireland? The Canadians in Helmand Province? “Lax” and “high” are relative terms. If Israel is being compared to other countries in similar situations, we need to know what the comparison is. Otherwise, beyond the details of individual instances the broad criticism is meaningless.
3. Breaking the Silence is described as an organization of Israeli veterans trying to expose Israelis to the nature of service in the occupied territories, in order to have a political impact on Israeli society. That's what it was a long time ago, and it once had an important role to play. But now it's something else. Today, like B’Tselem and others, it's a group funded in large part by European money which serves mainly to provide international reporters with the lurid examples of Israeli malfeasance that they crave. They are not speaking to Israelis, but are rather exploiting Israelis' uniquely talkative and transparent nature in order to defame them.
There is actually a fairly straightforward solution to this problem. Any group genuinely fighting for the character of Israeli society should do so in Hebrew, which is the language that Israelis speak -- and only in Hebrew. If you're expending a great deal of energy and money translating your materials into English and speaking to foreign reporters, as we’re seeing Breaking the Silence do right now, I think it's fair to ask what, exactly, you're up to. How is speaking to the international press supposed to swing Israelis in your direction? Of course it has the opposite effect.
As long as this state of affairs continues, Israelis will be correct in identifying this group and its sister organizations as people paid by foreigners to say things that a lot of foreigners want to hear Israelis say. And Israelis will continue to live without the strong left that we need – one that comes from Israel, is part of Israel, and is concerned with bettering our society, not with posturing for an audience abroad whose hostile obsession with us has nothing to do with us at all.
From Communists to Progressives, the Left's Takedown of Family and Marriage
By Paul Kengor
As the Supreme Court considers rendering unto itself the right to redefine marriage -- that is, to arrogate to itself something heretofore reserved to the laws of nature and nature’s God -- it’s a good time to have something that liberals always insist we have: a conversation. And given liberals’ constant calls for “tolerance” and “diversity,” they ought to be willing to sit back and join us in a civil, healthy dialogue.
To that end, I invite them to consider something so crucial and yet so neglected that I wrote a full book on it, released just in time for this national conversation on marriage. It’s titled, Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage, and I sincerely wish liberals would lend it their professed toleration and open-mindedness.
Before I share my thesis, I should clarify my own stance.
I support the natural-traditional-biblical definition of marriage that has been Western civilization’s standard for multiple millennia. My position echoes my Roman Catholic faith. Basically, in a nutshell, my position is Pope Francis’ position (properly understood). Though Piers Morgan marvels at my position as “extraordinary,” it’s merely the one held by your grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents… great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents and the ongoing long line of ancestors who preceded them. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans, long viewed as the models of perversity, never broached the unthinkable prospect of same-gender people marrying. That simply has never been marriage. What millions of Americans are rushing to do right now is completely unprecedented.
Today’s leftists should understand that they are the new One Percenters. They stand against the literal 99%-plus of humans who ever bestrode the planet, who never conceived of marriage as anything beyond man and woman.
As for those who disagree with me, and no longer support marriage as reserved to one man and one woman – a redefinition which will ultimately open the door to numerous new configurations -- I’d like to address you politely with a point I’m sure you haven’t considered. Do I expect to change your mind or those of Elena Kagan or Ruth Bader Ginsburg or the wider culture? No, I don’t. America has entered a protracted phase of post-Judeo-Christian thinking, where individualism and relativism reign supreme, fostered by a steady stream of incredibly naïve parents who marched their children in wide-eyed cadence through the educational system at giant costs both financial and moral. Nothing short of a major religious revival will save it. This culture and country will redefine marriage, either this month or in the months and years ahead.
That said, I would like to inform gay-marriage supporters of something they haven’t considered. Here it goes, a brief summary of what I detail over a couple hundred pages in Takedown:
Efforts to fundamentally transform family and marriage have been long at work, but never (until now) accepted and pushed by the mainstream. In the past, these efforts were spearheaded by the most dangerous leftists. For two centuries, leftist extremists made their arguments, from the 1800s to the 1960s, beginning with the Communist Manifesto, where Marx and Engels wrote of the “abolition of the family!” Efforts to revolutionize family and marriage continued from socialist utopians like Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, and Albert Brisbane, to cultural Marxists in the Frankfurt School such as Herbert Marcuse and Freudian-Marxist Wilhelm Reich, to 20th-century leftists and progressives ranging from the Bolsheviks -- Lenin, Trotsky, Alexandra Kollontai -- to Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan, Kate Millett, and ‘60s radicals like Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Mark Rudd. When Tom Hayden and Robert Scheer ran a “Red Family” colony in near Berkeley in the 1960s, they were merely following the footsteps of socialist-utopian colonies in the 1800s in places like Oneida, New York and New Harmony, Indiana.
Were these “ideological colonists” (to borrow an apt description by Pope Francis) supporting gay marriage? Of course, not. No group of radicals, no matter how unhinged, ever contemplated that. The mere fleeting contemplation, the mere momentary notion, the slightest passing fancy of a man legally marrying another man in the 1850s or 1950s would have been scoffed at as incomprehensible. Such proponents would have been deemed certifiably insane. Public authorities might well have hauled them away as menaces to society.
These fundamental transformers did, however, seek to break down natural-traditional-biblical boundaries for family and marriage. They sought every means to reshape and redefine. They did so to the point that now, today, the Communist Party USA, the People’s World, and even Castro’s Cuba, not to mention leftist groups like the Beyond Marriage campaign, have picked up their mantle and embraced gay marriage as the vehicle to achieve what their leftist forbears were unable to achieve.
For the far left, gay marriage is the Trojan horse to secure the takedown of marriage it has long wanted, and countless everyday Americans are oblivious to the older, deeper forces at work. And even more delicious for the left, gay marriage is serving as a stunningly effective tool in attacking what the far left has always hated most: religion.
In a telling moment about a year ago, I received an email from a reader who once had been part of the “gay left.” He told me that even most gay people, who are either not political or nowhere near as political as the extreme left, have no idea how their gay-marriage advocacy fits and fuels the far left’s anti-family agenda, and specifically its longtime take-down strategy aimed at the nuclear family. The emailer is exactly right (and inspired me to begin collecting the material that led to this book).
Indeed, most of the gay people I have known are Republicans. Generally, I have had no problem easily dialoguing with them, though it is getting more difficult, as liberals have done their usual excellent job convincing an entire group that I as a conservative hate them. Even when socially liberal -- and, even then, mainly on matters like gay rights -- the gay people I’ve met have been economic conservatives, not to mention pro-life on abortion. But in signing on the dotted line for gay marriage, they have also, whether they realize it or not, enlisted in the radical left’s unyielding centuries-old attempt to undermine the family. The same is true, ironically, for “conservatives” who support gay marriage, for libertarians who worship a golden calf of “freedom” that is fully separated from faith, and for the “moderates” swimming (as they usually do) with the cultural tide.
Unlike the communists who ripped marriage as “bourgeois claptrap,” as a form of “slavery” and “vile patriarchy,” as a system of “captive housewives,” and who forcibly collectivized children into full-time nurseries in order to deliberately undermine the traditional family, the vast majority of today’s proponents of same-sex marriage have friendly motives. Their goal is not to tear down but to “expand” marriage to a new form of spousal partner. They do this with the intent of providing a new “freedom” and “right” to a new group of people. I get that. Unfortunately, there’s so much that they are not getting.
Today’s advocates of same-sex marriage need to be aware of the quite insidious deeper historical-ideological forces they are unwittingly serving. Sure, that knowledge still will likely not change their minds, but it’s something that a well-informed, thoughtful person should at least be willing to learn before urging the unprecedented action that our culture and court may be about to take.
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.