Thursday, February 25, 2016
The Pope Gets Medieval On Capitalism
Frank is just a typical Latin American whiner. They blame their poverty on everyone but themselves
Pope Francis chose the U.S.-Mexican border for his angriest attack yet on the free market, comparing private employers to slave owners. Pope St. John Paul II, who lived under statism, knew better.
Speaking to Mexican businessmen and union officials on his final day after nearly a week in Mexico, in the heavily industrialized Ciudad Juarez across the Texas border from El Paso, the Catholic Church’s Supreme Pontiff declared, “God will hold the slave drivers of our days accountable.” He added that “the flow of capital cannot decide the flow of people,” and blasted a “prevailing mentality” in favor of “the greatest possible profits, immediately and at any cost.” He later celebrated Mass practically on the border.
The message couldn’t be clearer: The people of God are south of that line, and their oppressors are north of it.
This most casual of Popes has a now-infamous penchant for ill-considered, off-the-cuff remarks that the Vatican’s damage control operation routinely has to walk back or explain away. But in this case the sentiments were too well-planned and orchestrated for excuses to work. Francis is an enemy of economic freedom and many of the policies that have made America and the rest of the Western industrialized world great.
One might be tempted to charge that he is bringing the Catholic Church’s moral teaching back to the “dark ages” of many hundreds of years ago, before man liberated himself economically and conquered so much poverty via technological progress.
In fact, even in the Middle Ages the Catholic Church strongly defended the principle of private property.
St. Thomas Aquinas, a doctor of the Church still held as its greatest theologian, wrote in his Summa Theologica: “Because the division of possessions is not according to the natural law, but rather arose from human agreement … the ownership of possessions is not contrary to the natural law, but an addition thereto devised by human reason.”
The Church’s traditional concerns with capitalism have focused on abuses that are alien to modern-day America, such as lack of a just wage, rest time and days off, an unhealthy workplace, the absence of unemployment benefits, pensions and health insurance, and no right to form a union.
Pope Leo XIII in his 1891 encyclical “Rerum Novarum” stated that “the poor and badly off have a claim to especial consideration … and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State. And it is for this reason that wage-earners, since they mostly belong in the mass of the needy, should be specially cared for and protected by the government.”
In 1991, Pope St. John Paul II wrote an encyclical commemorating the 100th anniversary of Leo’s, titled “Centennimus Annus.” And in that teaching, he asked if it could be held that “after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress?”
According to John Paul, “The answer is obviously complex. If by ‘capitalism’ is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a ‘business economy,’ ‘market economy’ or simply ‘free economy.'”
That Pope, unlike the current one, was a Pole who lived under both the Nazis and a collectivist state ruled by Moscow. The current Pope ought to consider the reflections of his saintly predecessor.
In praise of cultural appropriation
The mixing and meshing of different cultures is something to celebrate.
No sooner did Beyoncé appear as a Bollywood actress in Coldplay’s new video ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ than the Twitterati piled in to accuse her of committing a crime against Indian culture. It seemed that everyone with a Twitter account felt entitled to make pronouncements on what Beyoncé should or shouldn’t wear. ‘The Coldplay video is beautiful. It’s artistic and stunning. But Beyoncé wearing “Indian style” jewellery and clothes in NOT Okay’, tweeted one white, opinionated woman. Others, too, got stuck in to condemn Beyoncé for her crime of cultural appropriation.
But in this mini-culture war about who can and can’t wear Indian fashion accessories, even Beyoncé’s critics risked provoking outrage. White denigrators of Beyoncé were attacked by Omise’eke Tinsley and Natassja Gunasena for failing to understand that the video provided a ‘rare opportunity to see how much and how beautifully blackness is part of South Asian culture’. As far as they were concerned, it was okay for Beyoncé to appropriate Asian culture, but not okay for white folk to criticise her. ‘Is it because Beyoncé is black?’, they asked, hinting that the charge of cultural appropriation was too sacred to be left in the hands of mendacious white folk.
Today, the charge of cultural appropriation has become a means to police people’s taste, their choice of clothes, the food they consume, even the way they dance or sing. Not since the pre-modern era has there been so much energy devoted to the micro-regulation of people’s appearance and behaviour. Charging movie stars, singers and celebrities with cultural appropriation has become a regular feature of the 21st-century entertainment landscape.
Indeed, in the world of entertainment, the crusade against cultural appropriation often acquires a nasty personal edge. White models and actresses who wear their hair in cornrows, for instance, are slammed for exploiting black culture. Iggy Azalea, the white Australian rapper, was attacked for her ‘blaccent’. Selena Gomez was slammed for wearing a bindi. The list goes on.
Fashion brands are also a favourite target of cultural crusaders. Recently, Mango was slammed because it failed to use an African model to promote its Africa-inspired clothes range. A similar accusation was levelled at Valentino for using white models in its own Africa-inspired fashion show.
The proliferation of cultural-appropriation claims is intimately linked to the expanding influence of identity and cultural politics. The merest hint of an act of cultural insensitivity courts moral condemnation. What’s worse, companies and institutions always roll over and apologise for their supposedly insensitive behaviour. Hence it took only 65 signatures on an online petition to get the organisers of Glastonbury to ban the sale of Native American headdresses. How Glastonbury will react to a petition complaining about its provision of Mongolian yurt accommodation for wealthy visitors is the next big question facing the festival.
That institutions, organisations and companies are so eager to please the cultural crusaders isn’t a surprise. For years now, companies and institutions have been flaunting their virtue by using hooray words like ‘empowerment’, ‘awareness’, ‘diversity’, ‘respect’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘sensitivity’. So when the Twitterati or petitioners suggest a company or an institution has been, say, insensitive or disrespectful, that company or institution feels obliged to give in. Take, for example, the case of a yoga class at the University of Ottawa in Canada. Following concerns that it was an act of cultural appropriation, the class was promptly suspended, and the teacher admitted the class was insensitive, ‘because yoga originally comes from India’. She even offered to change the title of the class to ‘mindful stretching’.
Universities, which already provide a hospitable environment for banning stuff, are allowing cultural crusaders to flourish. At the University of East Anglia in the UK, the students’ union banned a Mexican restaurant from giving out sombreros to students on the grounds that this act of cultural appropriation was racist.
With so much moral authority invested in detecting and exposing cultural appropriation, it is not surprising that examples of it now seem to be found everywhere. The global crusade against cultural appropriation has become a parody of itself. Late last year, irate students at Oberlin College in Ohio organised a campaign against their cafeteria’s cultural appropriation of ethnic food. Once upon a time, students moaned about the poor quality of cafeteria food. Now they condemn their cafeterias for the cultural appropriation of ethnic food. Apparently fried chicken, Vietnamese sandwiches, sushi and General Tso’s chicken are cooked in a culturally inappropriate manner. Commenting on the poorly cooked rice and the absence of fresh fish in the sushi rolls, Tomoyo Joshi, an Oberlin undergraduate from Japan, declared that it was ‘disrespectful’ to her culture.
Cultural crusaders strike moral poses about the consumption of samosas, kebabs or curries. Numerous commentaries and guidelines have been produced on the now thorny subject of the cultural appropriation of the food of ‘marginalised people’. Those interested in the self-righteous mindset of the food-police might enjoy ‘The Feminist Guide to being a Foodie without being Culturally Appropriative’.
It is tempting to interpret the demands of ‘back-off my culture’ as a self-interested means of establishing ownership. For example, the criticism of holding yoga classes in universities is linked to the ‘Take Back Yoga’ campaign launched by the Hindu American Foundation in 2008. This campaign is all about who gets to decide what is and isn’t yoga in a commercialised Western setting.
But the policing of culture is not simply fuelled by economic or sectional interests. Culture has been politicised to the point that almost any custom or practice can be exploited to make a statement about the scandalous behaviour of those causing offence. Declarations about cultural appropriation constitute a claim to moral authority. They are about who gets to decide what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour.
Today, the rhetoric of cultural appropriation provides people with a script for the public performance of sanctimony. When someone tweets that the appearance of a pop star is culturally insensitive, it draws attention to his or her awareness and thoughtfulness. The cultural crusaders’ tone is that of unrestrained indignation. It doesn’t even require a particularly grave act of insensitivity to produce a reaction of self-righteous outrage. For what’s really important in this performance of piety is not the nailing of the offender, but the demonstration of virtue.
Who owns culture?
Cultural appropriation used to be an esoteric term deployed by a tiny circle of academics committed to exposing ‘cultural colonialism’. In those days, appropriation referred to the plundering and exploitation of colonised cultures. The idea of cultural colonialism was always a confused one that encompassed both Western domination of colonial cultures as well as the tendency to appropriate some of the exotic features of African, Asian and Latin American societies.
Concern about cultural borrowing and appropriation emerged with the rise of identity politics during the 1980s. One of the consequences of the declining influence of Enlightenment and universalist values was the growing salience of particularist cultural sentiment. Identity politics celebrated the distinct, stand-alone essence of particular cultures. This emphasis on the unique and irreducible essence of cultures called into question the commensurability and universalism of human experience and promoted a heightened sense of the differences between cultures. It also encouraged a divisive particularism, and, its basis, a particularist epistemology.
A particularist epistemology is based on the premise that only people who are members of a particular culture can understand that culture. Cultural knowledge becomes dependent on cultural experience. Hence it was asserted that there was a ‘woman’s way of knowing’, an ‘African way of knowing’, a ‘Western male way of knowing’. This anti-universalist approach towards the appropriation of knowledge drew on the 19th-century conservative reaction to rationalism, which argued that particular identities had to be understood in their own terms and not as part of some abstractly conceived universal human pattern. The mystique of the particular elevated difference and encouraged the deepening of divisions between cultures.
In the 19th century, as today, the valuation of a particularist epistemology is coupled with the claim to possess the authority to speak on a particular culture’s behalf. In practice that means that only members of a particular culture can speak on its behalf. As a result, it was claimed that only feminist theoreticians had the epistemological authority to write about women. Similarly, it was suggested that only black people had the right to write about black history and that only Native Americans could tell the stories of their people. This insistence that there is unbridgeable difference in experience and understanding between different groups of people served to legitimise and entrench divisions. Culture itself, which enlightened thinkers perceived as a fluid and constantly interacting and changing phenomenon, was now rendered rigid and fossilised
It was in the context of the fossilisation of cultural identity that the issue of cultural appropriation became politicised. The main beneficiaries of the 1970s and 1980s fossilisation of culture were the cultural entrepreneurs who now possessed a monopoly to speak on a specific culture’s behalf. In the past, the policing of cultural boundaries was associated with reactionary cultural warriors determined to uphold the purity of their culture. Its most extreme manifestation occurred in Germany during the interwar years, when ‘alien’ Jewish artists and writers were attacked for falsely representing the culture of Germany.
Once upon a time, individuals who wrote novels were called novelists. In our time, the novelist is fast being displaced by the ‘Irish author’, the ‘gay novelist’, the ‘woman writer’, the ‘Nigerian storyteller’ or the ‘Native American essayist’. When book prizes are dished out, what matters is not the quality of the writing, but the cultural origins of the writer.
In the 1990s, the question of who could write about which culture raged. For example, in 1992 a debate erupted in Canada about the cultural appropriation of voice in fiction and non-fiction. The Canada Council entered the fray and defined cultural appropriation to mean ‘the depiction of minorities or cultures other than one’s own, either in fiction or non-fiction’. The focus of the discussion was on who had the right to tell and voice the stories of First Nations cultures. The Writer’s Union of Canada defined cultural appropriation as ‘the taking – from a culture that is not one’s own – of intellectual property, cultural expressions or artefacts, history and ways of knowledge’. Advocates of identity politics explicitly questioned whether a non-Native could write stories about First Nations people.
Today the issue of cultural appropriation is no longer just about who has the right to speak or write about a culture, but about trivial matters to do with who gets to wear Indian earrings or eat satay chicken. This expansion of moralising about culture is the inexorable consequence of identity politics. Differences in taste and habits are no longer seen as a personal matter: they are interpreted as political statements.
The reverential and self-righteous tone of cultural crusaders echoes that of traditional religious moralists. Writing on the Everyday Feminism website, Maisha Johnson graciously informs her readers that ‘I am not saying you automatically can’t enjoy Mexican food if you’re not Mexican, or do a yoga-inspired practice if you’re not Indian’. What she wants her readers to perform is the culturally sensitive equivalent of a little prayer. As she states, ‘I am encouraging you to be thoughtful about using things from other cultures, to consider the context, and learn about the best practices to show respect’. That’s another way of saying that before you bite into your burrito, say thanks to Mexico.
The principal achievement of the crusade against cultural appropriation is to turn every form of cultural interaction into a site for conflict. This idea of appropriation has as its foundation the conviction that culture is the sacred property of its moral guardians. It is based on the premise that unless cultural artefacts, practices, rituals and even food are used in a reverent and respectful manner, then something akin to religious sacrilege has been committed. Such a pious attitude towards culture does not merely apply to religious rituals and symbols; it also applies to the most banal features of everyday existence, such as the label on your shirt or the snack you are eating.
The constant demand for respect and culturally correct behaviour actually serves to desensitise people to the distinction between rituals and practices that are genuinely worthy of respect and those that can be taken in one’s stride. If the demand for respect for everything becomes automatic, then making distinctions between truly important practices, such as a religious ritual, and trivial ones, such as eating a curry, becomes complicated and even meaningless.
It is perfectly legitimate to attempt to defend or rescue a beleaguered culture. But the attempt to police people’s behaviour through the drawing of culturally correct boundaries has little to with a genuine attempt to activate a cultural renaissance.
History has shown that cultural appropriation has brought tremendous benefits to humanity. The Romans, who appropriated large chunks of Greek culture, understood that their civilisation was the beneficiary of their defeated rivals. Christianity appropriated the Jewish Old Testament and Islam assimilated many of the ideals of the religions that preceded it. Later, in the Middle Ages, Christian Europe revitalised itself through embracing the science and learning of Muslim scholars. This story of cultural appropriation continues to the present day.
The development of religion, philosophy, science, the arts and technology is the cumulative outcome of communities borrowing, copying and appropriating aspects of the cultures they encounter. All cultures appropriate, and, in return, are appropriated. People and their cultures are the products of a diverse range of human experiences. Human progress is a story of cultural appropriation. Contrary to the outlook of 21st-century reactionary cultural crusaders, the appropriation of culture is not a zero-sum game. Unlike physical wealth and various forms of material possession, a culture and its practices are not reducible to things that are taken away when someone else uses them. The adoption and embrace of particular cultural practices does not deprive anyone else of the ability to use them. The way a culture is interpreted by others might irritate those born into it, but that’s another issue.
Throughout history the most successful societies have been the ones that were open to cultural exchange and borrowing. The most genuine way of respecting another culture is by borrowing and assimilating its achievements.
The gender pay gap is dead
The truth about men and women's pay
The gender pay gap hit the headlines yet again last week. Government ministers announced plans for national league tables to show the difference in wages earned by male and female employees in any company with over 250 workers. Coverage of this latest attempt to crack down on the apparently blatant gender discrimination that blights the nation’s labour market has been sympathetic. Articles have been accompanied by helpful infographics showing a blue figure atop a substantially larger pile of money than an equivalent pink figure. The intention is to illustrate the frequently referenced statistic that men earn roughly 20 per cent more than women.
Despite the simplicity of this stark inequality, such figures are misleading. The much-heralded 20 per cent pay gap is an ‘on average’ figure that is reached through combining part-time and full-time earnings, and takes no account of age or employment sector. As I have argued before on spiked, when we compare how much women and men are paid for doing the same job for the same number of hours each week, there is no pay gap. Not only is it illegal to pay men more, such a pay gap makes no economic sense. If bosses could really get away with paying women so much less, why would anyone ever employ a man?
In reality, the pay gap is far more complex than campaigners like to acknowledge. It is affected by age, occupation and hours worked. Today, women in their twenties earn more than men of the same age. Significantly, they earn more than men not just like-for-like, but also on average. This means that irrespective of job type or hours worked, young women are likely to take home higher wages. For women under the age of 40 and working full-time, the pay gap is negligible. As government equalities minister Nicky Morgan acknowledged when announcing the government’s latest proposals: ‘We’ve virtually eliminated the gap for full-time workers under 40 and the gap for the over-40s is shrinking too.’
For full-time workers of all ages, the gender pay gap now stands at 9.4 per cent. Given that men and women have traditionally made different career choices, that men and women over the age of 50 entered a labour market bearing very little resemblance to today’s, and that older women may have taken time out to raise children, it’s remarkable how small the remaining pay gap is. Furthermore, as high earners retire (men traditionally at an older age – and therefore earning more), this small pay gap is reducing year on year. The more campaigners cling to the 20 per cent figure, holding it up as a sign of women’s continued disadvantage in the workplace, and commentators report it without question, the less able we are to have an honest discussion about the fundamental changes that have occurred in the workplace over the past quarter of a century.
Throughout much of history, if women were able to work at all, they were relegated to the worst jobs with the lowest wages. The introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970 did little to improve the lot of female employees: seven years later, women’s average pay in the public sector had actually declined in relation to men’s. A lack of nursery provision made it difficult for women with young children to work. Those who did were confronted with a labour market that was rigidly segregated according to gender. This wasn’t just about sexist assumptions – legislation ensured there was a real distinction between ‘men’s jobs’ and ‘women’s work’.
Today, things could not be more different. But changes have neither come about as a result of legislation nor men and women uniting in industrial disputes to demand equal pay. Rather, it is the economy, and the nature of employment, that has changed. As has been well documented, for at least the past three decades, industry in the UK, including manufacturing, has been in decline, falling from 40 per cent of GDP in 1979 to under 22 per cent in 2013.
New jobs that have been created in the public or service sector are more open to women – indeed, such jobs are often considered better suited to women. However, these new jobs are not directly comparable to the old industrial jobs in terms of the number of people employed, the rates of pay and the opportunities for promotion. Between 1979 and 2013, unemployment grew from 5.3 per cent to 7.8 per cent, and the number of people ‘permanently sick’ rose from 772,000 to 1.7million. In addition, a record 15 per cent of the UK workforce is now registered as self-employed. Very few sectors of the economy are dominated solely by men nowadays. Those that are, such as construction or transport, are the target of campaigns to make them more attractive to women.
At the same time as previously male-dominated work in industry and manufacturing has been in decline, more women than ever before have entered the labour market, the well-paid professions in particular. In 2014, women made up 60 per cent of practising vets and next year there will be more women doctors than men. There has been a sharp increase in the number of female academics and 60 per cent of newly qualified solicitors are now women. As Nicky Morgan points out, one million more women have entered paid employment since 2010, and women’s salaries are rising. These changes in the labour market are evident in the way the gender pay gap has fallen: men’s pay has failed to keep pace with the increase in women’s pay. Since 1997, women’s wages have grown by 74.5 per cent, while, over the same period, men’s pay has increased by a much lower 57.4 per cent.
Although many middle-class women are doing really well and are better off than ever before, this is not the case for everyone. Ironically, today’s pay-gap campaigners, with their myopic focus on gender, miss the far greater wage differentials between people in different sections of society. The focus on bonus payments and the representation of women on executive boards reveals the elite nature of the pay-gap campaigners’ concerns.
The latest proposals for the publication of pay-gap league tables are unlikely to tell us anything we do not already know. However, they may well make life worse for many men and women. In a bid to reduce an already shrinking average gender pay gap, the wages of men could be held down further. Meanwhile, young women may be denied the lower-paid, entry-level positions that might allow them to work their way up in a company, or, when they have children, they may find requests for part-time employment are turned down.
The gender pay gap is dead – though, like some zombie horror movie, the corpse refuses to remain buried. The pay-gap campaigners who continue to stake a spurious claim to female victimhood are disingenuous at best. Of course, there are some who will always have a vested interest in resuscitating the gender pay-gap issue. Government ministers exploit it for political capital, and the middle-class women fronting organisations such as the Fawcett Society are kept in a job.
The mothers fighting the breast-is-best brigade
A campaign in France has struck a blow for women’s freedom
Forget Page 3 or Tube adverts for diet pills ‘body-shaming’ young women, a woman’s body is most scrutinised when she’s pregnant. Our obsession with health and diet during pregnancy has put pressure on women to give up their normal habits and fixate on the wellbeing of their unborn children.
But the policing of mothers doesn’t stop once the child is born. Charitable campaigns and government initiatives encourage mothers to breastfeed for up to two years. UK medical journal the Lancet recently stated: ‘The deaths of 823,000 children and 20,000 mothers each year could be averted through universal breastfeeding.’
In response to this bizarre claim, a group of women in France have taken up arms against the demonisation of mothers who choose not to breastfeed. Commentator Lauren Bastide and feminist writer Titiou Lecoq recently penned an article for Libération, arguing that ‘Breastfeeding or bottlefeeding must remain a personal choice. This is not for public or private actors to decide for us.’ Over 5,000 women have now signed the accompanying petition.
In the Libération piece, Bastide and Lecoq describe the guilt-tripping of women who choose to bottlefeed their children: ‘We who choose the bottle are bad mothers, focusing on our comfort at the expense of our children, refusing to assume our biological functions.’
French author Elisabeth Badinter made the same point following the publication of her book, The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women, back in 2012. ‘The good mother doesn’t exist. She’s a myth. It’s utopian’, she told an interviewer from the Globe. ‘And, honestly, we may be mothers, but we’re human beings – we have our limits, our own neuroses, our own subconscious, our own particular history. Whoever we are, we want to do our best.’
Badinter notoriously called the international charity for the promotion of breastfeeding, La Leche League, the ‘Ayatollahs of breastfeeding’. It seems Bastide and Lecoq share the sentiment.
As we’ve noted previously on spiked, babies who are bottlefed are at no disadvantage to those who are breastfed. Scaremongering statistics and flimsy research is used to pressure women into breastfeeding unnecessarily. Bastide has recalled her own experience in an interview with Women in the World: ‘At the hospital, the midwife said “but aren’t you going to nurse?”. When I said “no”, she looked at me as if I wasn’t going to feed my baby!’
Following Claridge’s decision in 2014 to ask new mother Louise Burns to cover up while breastfeeding, political lactivists slammed the move as an affront to women’s freedom. But by waving around placards proclaiming ‘That’s what boobs are for, stupid’ and ‘Breastfeeding is normal and natural’, these protesters have actually added to the pressure on women to breastfeed. What ‘natural’ really means here is ‘the right way to do it’. But while any idiot knows breastfeeding is a natural bodily function, that doesn’t mean women have to do it.
Those who stigmatise bottlefeeding use this same tactic. The World Health Organisation’s helpful posters on how co-workers can help with breastfeeding instructs people to ‘encourage new mothers with an accepting, positive attitude’ and ‘recognise that the months after having a baby are special’. Does using a bottle somehow devalue the bond a mother forms with her child? Bastide certainly doesn’t think so: ‘We ask that question, “do you nurse?”, but it is problematic. Because, yes, I nurse, but not with my milk!’
It’s refreshing to see mothers standing up for their right to make their own parenting choices and demanding freedom over their own bodies. Never is a woman’s body policed more than when she is pregnant. In France, a woman can get an abortion on demand, but only up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy. After this point, she has to seek the permission of two doctors, which is what women in the UK have to do from the beginning of a pregnancy. If a woman then decides to have a child, her body is subject to the scrutiny of government campaigns, hectoring lifestyle advice and bullying guidance. When the baby comes, regulations on the sale of baby formula and pressure in the hospital from lactation consultants are used to coerce her into breastfeeding.
Bastide and Lecoq have had enough. ‘Every woman deserves equal respect in their personal choices’, they write. ‘We simply ask to keep our right to decide without having to face permanent guilt.’ Here’s hoping more women join the fightback.
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.