Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Rural anger as militant vegan MP who dubbed livestock farming 'dirty and cruel' is the British Left's spokesperson on farming
How to lose both the farming vote and the meat-eating vote. Do these guys WANT to win elections?
A vegan who has attacked livestock farming as ‘dirty and cruel’ has been appointed to connect with Britain’s farmers as spokesman for the environment, food and rural affairs.
Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy says farming causes ‘immense suffering to animals’, and has condemned the ‘burden’ placed on the NHS by those who eat meat and dairy products.
Her views will no doubt please vegetarian boss Jeremy Corbyn, but will infuriate farmers – who last night called her appointment a ‘retrograde step’.
The 50-year-old, who has been a vegan for more than 20 years, refuses to wear leather or wool and is the vice president of the League Against Cruel Sports.
She has campaigned against all ‘shooting sports’ and opposed the badger cull – which was demanded by many farmers to stop the spread of bovine TB.
‘The meat, dairy and egg industries cause immense suffering to more than a billion animals every year in the UK alone,’ she has said.
She has also accused farmers of causing world hunger by using crops to feed livestock rather than people.
Last night Mike King, vice chairman of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, said: ‘We feel this is a retrograde step. Her ideals are based on emotion rather than scientific fact.
‘It ignores mixed farming’s contribution to producing a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet. It also ignores the huge contribution of family farming towards a sustainable rural economy.’
On the effects of ‘top killers’ meat and dairy products, Miss McCarthy previously said: ‘Loaded with artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat, these products have been linked to cancer, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and obesity.
‘These top killers burden the NHS and necessitate that billions of pounds be spent searching for cures and medications to relieve disease symptoms.’
The National Farmers’ Union yesterday gave her a lukewarm welcome. President Meurig Raymond said: ‘We look forward to working with Kerry McCarthy MP in her new role as shadow Defra Secretary.’
But he added: ‘The food and farming industry employs more than 3.8million people and agriculture contributed nearly £10billion to the economy between 2008 and 2014.
‘These are just two statistics which highlight the importance of backing British farming. We would like to invite Ms McCarthy to pledge her support to the NFU’s Back British Farming campaign.’
Ukip’s agriculture spokesman Stuart Agnew said: ‘Only Jeremy Corbyn could select a vegan to represent the Labour Party on agricultural matters.
'Kerry McCarthy will have little in common with either the producers or consumers of food.’
Office Depot Retreats from Refusal to Print Pro-Life Prayer it Said Was ‘Hate Material’
Office Depot has retreated from its refusal to make 500 copies of a flyer featuring a pro-life prayer—that calls for the conversion of Planned Parenthood—that was written by a Catholic priest.
The company had initially refused to make the copies, according to a letter written by a lawyer for Office Depot, because language in the prayer “falls within the definition of ‘graphic material’ and/or ‘hate material’” under the company’s internal policy.
Office Depot’s reversal came after a lawyer for the Thomas More Society, a nonprofit law firm, sent the company a letter arguing it had “unlawfully discriminated” against Maria Goldstein, the customer who had asked that it print the flyers.
The prayer was written by Father Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life. “Bring an end to the killing of children in the womb, and bring an end to the sale of their body parts,” says part of the prayer, which was printed in full on the flyer.
“Bring conversion to all who do this, and enlightenment to all who advocate it,” says the prayer. “Close the doors of the death camps in our midst, and open the doors of your mercy and healing! Close the grisly trade in body parts. And open the abundant gifts of your salvation and life.”
As explained in a Sept. 10 letter that Thomas Olp of the Thomas More Society sent to Office Depot CEO Roland C. Smith, customer Goldstein had asked the company’s Schaumburg, Ill, store to make 500 copies of a flyer featuring this prayer.
“We believe that by allowing and ratifying your employees’ refusal to serve Ms. Goldstein because of their hostility to and disagreement with her flyer, you have unlawfully discriminated against Ms. Goldstein because of her religion and religious expression within the meaning of the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance and Illinois Human Rights Act,” Olp said in his letter to Office Depot CEO Smith.
The company explained its decision in a letter its assistant general counsel, Robert A. Amicone, sent Olp on Sept. 11.
“You also say that [the flyer] is ‘religious throughout in tone and content’ and ‘contains a prayer’ seeking an end to abortion,” said the Office Depot attorney in this letter. “You do not mention, however, certain language within the prayer that discusses ‘the killing of children in the womb’ and ‘the grisly trade in baby body parts.’
“Nor do you address the strong language presumably condemning those who perform and obtain abortions,” said the Office Depot letter. “Indeed, the prayer characterizes those individuals as ‘evil,’ and it advocates for the closure of the ‘death camps in our midst.’ It is this type of language that led to the decision to refuse you client’s copying request.”
“There are two provisions [of the company’s policy] applicable to this dispute,” explained the lawyer. “The first prohibits the copying of ‘graphic material,’ which can include descriptions of dead or dismembered bodies. The second provision prohibits the copying of ‘hate material’ that advocates for the persecution of groups of people, regardless of the reason.”
Goldstein’s flyer did not contain any illustrations—and called for the “conversion,” not persecution, of those who advocate aborting unborn children.
As reported by Lifenews.com, however, before the end of the day Friday Office Depot had reversed its position and apologized for its initial refusal to print the flyers.
“Upon a more detailed review, we have determined that the content of Ms. Goldstein’s flyer is not a clear violation of the company’s policy,” said a statement from Office Depot spokeswoman Karen Denning published by Lifenews.com.
The statement included an apology from Office Depot CEO Smith.
“We sincerely apologize to Ms. Goldstein for her experience and our initial reaction was not at all related to her religious beliefs,” he said. “We invite her to return to Office Depot if she still wishes to print her flyer.”
Marine Corps Study: Male Combat Units Safer, More Efficient and Lethal Than Mixed-Gender Units
According to a study produced by a special task force of the United States Marine Corps, a combat unit comprised of both males and females is a much less effective fighting force than a unit comprised entirely of men.
The study, “The Marine Corps Force Integration Plan,” found that the mixed-gender unit was injured twice as often as an all-male unit, was less accurate with infantry weapons, and was less efficient at removing wounded troops from the battlefield. A summary of the study was released September 10.
The research for the study was conducted over nine months at both Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Twentynine Palms, Calif. 400 Marines, including 100 women, volunteered to join a special unit, the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, which was created to evaluate how men and women compare in a combat environment.
All-male ground combat units clearly outperformed mixed-gender units. The study reported the following findings in its summary:
* Overall: All-male squads, teams and crews demonstrated higher performance levels on 69% of tasks evaluated (93 of 134) as compared to gender-integrated squads, teams and crews. Gender-integrated teams performed better than their all-male counterparts on (2) events.
* Speed All-male squads, regardless of infantry MOS [Military Occupational Specialty], were faster than the gender-integrated squads in each tactical movement. The differences were more pronounced in infantry crew-served weapons specialties that carried the assault load plus the additional weight of crew-served weapons and ammunition.
* Lethality: All-male 0311 (rifleman) infantry squads had better accuracy compared to gender-integrated squads. There was a notable difference between genders for every individual weapons system (i.e. M4, M27, and M203) within the 0311 squads, except for the probability of hit & near miss with the M4.
* Male provisional infantry (those with no formal 03xx school training) had higher hit percentages than the 0311 (school trained) females: M4: 44% vs 28%, M27: 38% vs 25%, M16A4w/M203: 26% vs 15%.
* All-male infantry crew-served weapons teams engaged targets quicker and registered more hits on target as compared to gender-integrated infantry crew-served weapons teams, with the exception of M2 accuracy.
* All-male squads, teams and crews and gender-integrated squads, teams, and crews had a noticeable difference in their performance of the basic combat tasks of negotiating obstacles and evacuating casualties.
The military has a January 2016 deadline to open all combat jobs to women, but the services can ask for exceptions to the order.
Refugee crisis: treating Hungary as a Heart of Darkness
With no hint of irony, Western observers defend Syrian refugees while demonising Eastern Europeans
The tragic refugee crisis engulfing the world has been seized upon by culture warriors as an opportunity to moralise against and discredit various targets of their opprobrium. The tendency to dehumanise migrants has been widely noted in the media. But what is rarely questioned is the way the refugee issue is being used as an opportunity to demean the moral status of others too, especially Eastern Europeans, and Hungarians in particular.
According to sections of the Western European press, the people who inhabit the Eastern part of this continent have failed to adopt the civilised and enlightened values of the EU. Commenting on this ‘East-West split’ in relation to migration, an editorial in the Guardian condemned Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia for supporting Hungary’s rejection of the EU plan for national migrant quotas. As far as this editorial is concerned, Eastern Europeans, particularly Hungarians, inhabit a different moral universe to that of the EU; it contrasts the ‘generous-spirited, pan-European approach’ of the EU to the ‘awful’, mean-spirited policies of Hungary.
Considering recent events, it is clearly an act of bad faith for an editorial in a London-based newspaper to enthuse about a ‘generous-spirited, pan-European approach’ to refugees. The UK government’s response in recent months has been to build fences in Calais and police the Eurotunnel, in order to keep out the ‘swarm’ of refugees. It seems that when a Western European government builds a fence to protect its borders, it’s a gesture of generosity; but when Hungary does something similar, it’s an act of unparalleled depravity.
At least the Guardian made a distinction between the government of Hungary and the people of Hungary. Thankfully, it doesn’t cast every Hungarian in the role of xenophobic monster. That’s more than can be said of Robert Fisk, the Middle East correspondent for the Independent. In his historically illiterate anti-Hungarian diatribe, he draws an analogy between the behaviour of Hungarians towards refugees today and the horrific experience of the victims of the Holocaust. He mobilises references to how Hungarian police forced ‘tens of thousands of Jews on to trains out of Budapest, desperate to get them to Auschwitz on time’ to imply that 21st-century Hungarians are engaged in an act of virtual genocide.
However one interprets events in Budapest over the past week, it is a malign distortion to draw a moral equivalence with what happened during the Holocaust. As someone of Hungarian-Jewish heritage who lost most of his family in the Holocaust, I find Fisk’s casual references to the dark days of 1944 a cheap manipulation of historical memory. The only connection between recent events in Budapest and what happened in 1944 is that trains were involved in both cases. Sealed wagons steaming towards concentration camps should not be confused with trains sitting stationary in a Budapest railway station. Even Fisk should get that.
This ‘multiple award-winning’ journalist’s inability to make a distinction between the impulse to control the movement of people, or keep migrants out, and the wilful policy of human extermination is symptomatic of the moral malaise afflicting EU cheerleaders today. It appears that trivialising the Holocaust is okay if it is in the service of a noble cause.
What’s particularly disturbing about Fisk’s polemic against Hungary is the tone it adopts towards the Hungarian people. ‘And don’t think that Hungarians were unwilling tools of Germany’s march into Hungary towards the end of the war’, he writes. The implication is that this is a people who are morally inferior to the rest of Europe. So when denouncing Hungary and its Christian culture, Fisk places quote marks around the word ‘culture’, clearly calling into question the legitimacy of this nation’s traditions and beliefs. Without a hint of irony, he attacks Hungarians for their racism but never reflects on how he himself dehumanises this people.
He also shows a remarkable level of ignorance about Hungarian history and culture. He finds it difficult to comprehend why Hungarian patriots look back on their nation’s occupation by the Ottoman Empire with ‘extreme distaste’. Yet one need not be a patriot to recall the historic significance of the Ottoman occupation of Hungary. The loss of national independence to a foreign empire is imprinted in Hungary’s historical psyche. The wars fought in the sixteenth century to regain Hungarian self-rule serve as a reminder that national independence cannot be taken for granted. Subsequent occupations of Hungary by a variety of empires have reinforced the nation’s sensitivity to the dictates of foreign powers.
At times, Fisk comes across like a modern-day personification of Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. At the start of that novel, Kurtz believes he can help primitive Africans see the light and become civilised. However, he soon gives up on this project and sees only depravity and darkness. Perhaps a few years ago, Fisk also believed that the much-damaged and, in his words, ‘politically unreconstructed’ nations of Eastern Europe could be educated to become worthy members of the EU. He laments that, ‘I always thought we were a bit too quick to open our arms to them’. But now ‘we are beginning to discover what the Hungarian state looks like’ – that is, we see the Heart of Darkness that is Hungary.
Fisk is selective about who we should open our arms to. He believes ‘we were a bit quick to open our arms to’ Hungarians, but it is okay to open our arms to his chosen people – Syrian refugees. Double standards and raw hostility towards cultures whose values do not have the EU bureaucracy’s approval indicate that spiteful prejudice can even emerge in the newspaper offices of ‘enlightened’ Western capitals. Those who want to argue for a generous and humane approach to refugees should do so by drawing on the moral resources provided by Enlightenment values. They must eschew dishonest analogies with historical tragedies, ethnocentric biases towards the people of Eastern Europe, and the double standards that continue to distort this crisis.
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.