Monday, July 11, 2016
Britain's rogue animal welfare organization forced by a judge to do the right thing
The RSPCA has been dealt a humiliating rebuke by a judge after the charity rehomed a woman’s cats without her permission.
Retired nurse Irene Brown, 68, was rushed to hospital last Christmas with meningitis, and five of her six cats were ‘signed over’ to the charity by her sister, who thought she would not return home.
One of the six cats was put down, and although three others were later returned, Miss Brown, of Wellingborough, Northants, is mounting an unprecedented legal challenge for the return of the remaining two rehomed by the RSPCA, which says it was given ‘authority’ to do so.
But District Judge Adam Taylor said last week the charity had a ‘fundamental problem’ with its defence and referred its solicitor to a legal rule in Latin: Nemo dat quod non habet – or no one gives what he doesn’t have.
An RSPCA spokesman said: ‘The court ordered the RSPCA to provide information about the whereabouts of the two remaining cats. This is being done.’
Obama Administration Refuses to Enforce ‘Right of Conscience,’ Legal Group Says
The Obama administration refuses to enforce federal law that protects Americans’ freedom of conscience, a Christian legal aid group says.
In 2014, California began mandating that employee health plans cover elective abortions. A state agency is refusing to exempt churches from the mandate, said Casey Mattox, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom.
“Churches should never be forced to cover elective abortion in their insurance plans, and for 10 years the Weldon Amendment has protected the right to have plans that do not include coverage for abortion on demand,” Mattox said in a statement.
The federal Weldon Amendment prohibits states receiving taxpayer funds under federal law from discriminating against health insurance plans that don’t cover abortion, Mattox has argued.
“The administration’s refusal to enforce [the Weldon Amendment] continues its pattern of enforcing laws it wants to enforce, refusing to enforce others, and inventing new interpretations of others out of whole cloth,” Mattox said in a formal statement.
“California has outlawed the licensing of any health care plan in the state that does not cover elective abortion. It is perfectly clear that California is violating the law and the Obama administration has frequently been refusing to enforce the law,” Mattox told The Daily Signal.
Alliance Defending Freedom filed two lawsuits in California challenging the rule.
Since the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, requires employers to provide health insurance coverage, California churches have been left without a way to opt out of paying for abortions, Alliance Defending Freedom says.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Mattox said, “is obligated to go enforce this law itself, and it has decided that it is not going to enforce the law.”
The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services sent a response letter to several formal complaints filed by Life Legal Defense Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom over the California Department of Managed Health Care’s decision to force all employers to cover elective abortions.
In the letter, the Obama administration dismissed the “right of conscience” complaints after concluding that California’s law does not violate federal law, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
Jocelyn Samuels, director of the federal agency’s Office for Civil Rights, wrote in the response letter: “A finding that [California Department of Managed Health Care] has violated the Weldon Amendment might require the government to rescind all funds appropriated under the Appropriations Act to the state of California.”
Rescinding the taxpayer money, Samuels added, “would raise substantial questions about the constitutionality of the Weldon Amendment.”
Addressing that position, Alliance Defending Freedom’s Mattox said:
"The Obama administration says enforcing the Weldon Amendment against California would violate the Constitution because you would be withholding all of these funds from the state. Which is very interesting because at the exact same time, you have the administration telling North Carolina that it’s going to withhold funds under the exact same appropriations bill"
The Justice Department sent North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, a letter in May saying the state’s “bathroom bill” violated federal law. The measure, which McCrory signed in March, made bathrooms in government buildings accessible based on a person’s biological sex, not his or her gender identity.
This is a “blatant contradiction,” Mattox said. “Basically, the administration is speaking out of both sides of its mouth,” he said.
UK: Putting women soldiers like me on the front line is dangerous - blame our biology
To my parents’ dismay, as a young girl I dressed in army fatigues, sported a crew cut, used to line my cuddly toys up at either end of the living toom and send them into battle.
My favourite game was to climb over our neighbours’ fences, cutting through people’s gardens, sneaking through their open back doors and slipping out the front, unnoticed. No wonder my mother and father despaired.
When I went to university, it felt like a natural progression to join the Army Reserve. I spent two years as an officer trainee, won my unit’s award as best woman officer cadet and was selected to go to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
When I came out, I was given command of my own troop in the Royal Engineers and served in the Army Reserve for five years. I look back on those years with a huge sense of achievement, pride and affection.
So I’m in absolutely no doubt as to the value of women in our Armed Forces.
Women currently occupy many roles classified as ‘non-combat’ - like those in the Royal Engineers - and are routinely right in the heart of the action. They have been a huge asset; serving with expertise, valour and distinction and gaining enormous respect from their male colleagues.
But, until now, they have not been able to join combat units – those with the primary aim of killing the enemy. That includes infantry battalions, armoured regiments and the Royal Marines.
And, even as a military woman myself, I have real concerns about the government’s decision to open up these ground combat roles to women.
David Cameron is to announce, this weekend, that he’s removing the ban on women serving in infantry and armour units. His decision comes after service chiefs, last month, unanimously recommended the move – which will see tank units and infantry jobs opened up to women in phases over the next year.
Fighting as an infantryman is the toughest job in the army. Most men are not mentally or physically tough enough for this role - and far fewer women will be. A review by the Ministry of Defence into whether women should serve in infantry and tank regiments estimated that, on current levels of recruitment, only around seven a year would pass through training to qualify for infantry units, about fourteen would qualify for the Royal Armoured Corps and just six for the Royal Marines.
We are physically different from men. It is a biological fact that the average women has a third less upper body strength and when it the comes to hand-to- hand combat - a fight to the death one-on-one; woman against a man - we will be at a physical disadvantage.
Women are also twice as likely to get injured as men. It stands to reason, then, that women will be put in greater danger than their male colleagues purely because of their biology.
Concerns have also been expressed by senior military figures that male soldiers would feel the need to ‘look after’ their female colleagues, thereby reducing their fighting effectiveness and in turn, putting them more at risk.
Are we really ready to see our daughters gang raped, tortured and decapitated live on the Internet by Isil fighters? Because that is exactly what will happen if a female front line soldier is captured in Syria. For terrorist or extremist organisations, any press is ‘good’ in their warped world view - and the more gruesome, disturbing and inhumane the better. A captured female soldier would be gold dust for their global radicalisation campaign.
I also think a blanket approach to opening up all ground combat roles to women is too ‘cookie-cutter’.
I see no reason why women couldn’t serve in front line armoured regiments that aren't quite as physically demanding as, say, the infantry. These units do see direct combat, but the soldiers are 'mounted' in fighting vehicles, so there is less physical fitness required and they do not engage in hand-to-hand combat unless their vehicle is disabled and over-run by the enemy.
I’d suggest that the Prime Minister and army chiefs take a more measured approach and initially open up such regiments to women, monitoring that for a few years before making any further decisions about the infantry.
There is clearly a political imperative to proceed and a perceived need by the government to be seen to be politically correct in allowing women to serve in ground combat roles.
But the role of the Army isn’t to be PC. It’s to be an effective fighting force and any decision that could compromise that effectiveness in these very challenging global times would be a erroneous one indeed.
Now Controversial: 'God Bless America'
It didn’t used to be — that’s a phrase we use a lot these days, isn’t it? — but the Fourth of July festivities bring out the angriest guff from the left. In 1991 Boston Globe arts critic (and aspiring poet) Patricia Smith decided to refashion the national anthem in the leftist rag The Nation.
“Oh say, we’ve seen too much,” she began. “The Star-Spangled Banner pushes like a cough through America’s mouth and the twilight’s last gleaming is just that, a sickly flash above our heads as we ride unsuspecting in the bellies of sleek trains, plop to our knees in churches, embracing truths that disgust us.”
That stupidity never gained traction. But that doesn’t mean the idiots don’t keep trying.
The folks at the New York Daily News have embraced a mission to become the most provocative jerks in the Big Apple. One day it’s personal attacks on those praying for the victims of terrorism, the next it’s declaring the National Rifle Association to be murderous. In keeping with this stream of insulting behaviors, columnist Gersh Kuntzman has issued a demanded, saying, “Major League Baseball must permanently retire ‘God Bless America,’ a song that offends everyone.”
Everyone? Surely, this man could find a handful of people in midtown Manhattan who aren’t offended by “God Bless America.” That isn’t what he meant, however. By “everyone” he means his circle of friends, professional and personal, which says something more about his circles than his complaint.
Kuntzman began: “It’s time for God to stop blessing America during the seventh-inning stretch. Welcome to the July 4 weekend — when once again, baseball fans will be assaulted by the saccharine-sweet non-anthem ‘God Bless America’ at stadia all over this great land.” The song, he says, “should be sent permanently to the bench.”
This bilge came just days after Kuntzman drew attention for oddly comparing the AR-15 assault weapon to a bazooka: “The recoil bruised my shoulder … The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary form of PTSD.”
Children in kindergarten have stronger dispositions than this guy.
It’s only natural that gun owners have mocked this overwrought routine. One video showed a little girl shooting an AR-15 without getting hurt. One man shot one with the butt of the gun pressed against the tip of his nose to show how harmless the recoil is.
Since he enjoyed all the negative attention this brought, Kuntzman took to Twitter, promising, “First guns, now I take on god: Baseball must permanently retire ‘God Bless America.’” Yes, God is uncapitalized.
You can insult our Lord with impunity at the New York Daily News.
Kuntzman protested the apparent fascism of the whole exercise, the “ponderous Mussolini-esque introduction of the song, when fans are asked to rise, remove their caps and place them over their hearts.” He made wisecracks, saying it’s “as much a symbol of post-war patriotism as the flag, the space program and all the white people moving to the suburbs.” He says the song “still embodies great things about America, but also our worst things: self-righteousness, forced piety, earnest self-reverence, foam.”
He’s not alone in hating a mix of baseball and patriotism. ESPN also has lurched far left in promoting a harsh political agenda. ESPN Magazine columnist Howard Bryant recently bashed the idea of police officers singing the national anthem at baseball games. This is somehow an “authoritarian shift at the ballpark,” he asserted. Baseball-team owners ignored “the smothering effect that staged patriotism and cops singing the national anthem in a time of Ferguson have on player expression.” And “it’s indirectly stifled, while the increasing police pageantry at games sends another clear message: The sentiments of the poor in Ferguson and Cleveland do not matter.”
According to Bryant powerful people in the culture have to choose: Honor the cops, screw the poor. Honoring the poor means dishonoring the police.
Last November, Bryant attacked the Chicago Blackhawks for wearing camouflage jerseys on Veterans Day, which he said clashed with their Native American logo given that the “systematic removal of native tribes occurred at the hands of the U.S. Army.”
ESPN is the same network that fired Curt Schilling for being too political.
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.