Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Mother is branded 'sexist and disgusting' after asking for advice on how to discourage her son from learning ballet

The subtext here is that male ballet dancers are frequently homosexual -- and a mother is entitled to discourage her son from such an unhealthy and unhappy lifestyle.  Just for starters, there is a very high incidence of spousal abuse among homosexual couples

It may have once been traditional for boys to play football and girls to do ballet but nowadays many children feel free to take up activities regardless of gender. 

However, one pushy parent took to Mumsnet to ask for advice on how to discourage her son from taking ballet lessons.

The woman said her son is an aspiring model and explained that she doesn't think the extra-curricular activity 'is going to fit in'.

In her post, Mumsnet user Ironriver said: 'How do I put my son off wanting to do ballet? I'm showing him how cool football, rugby and karate are but he's having none of it.  'He does modelling and I don't think ballet is going to fit in. Lots of the boys do football and other sports so I would like him to do that. Any ideas?'

Many commenters were outraged at the mother's behaviour and suggested she should let her son pursue his own interests.

Concerned commenter OohhThatsMe said: 'Your poor child, having such a sexist mother.'

Shocked reader coolaschmoola added: 'Stop being so bloody sexist and let him do the thing he is interested in and actually wants to do.

'It's 2016! Boys don't just play football. Just like not all girls do ballet.'

Other commenters were surprised that the woman had already decided her should would become a model.

Dodobookends said: 'He's nine and you have already chosen his career for him? Absurd.'

Some even suggested that taking up ballet would be beneficial to any future modelling aspirations. 

OlennasWimple said: 'Ballet would give him excellent posture, teach him to move well and have a better idea how to use his body effectively. 'And less chance he'll break his nose or get a cauliflower ear.'

OohhThatsMe added: 'Actually ballet would REALLY help a modelling career. In what way would football do that?

'Look at the girls doing modelling - most will have studied ballet.'

SOURCE






Israeli Bill to Hush Mosque Call to Prayer Stokes Controversy Among Muslims--Others Too

Proposed legislation in Israel’s parliament to prohibit the use of loudspeakers to transmit the five-times daily Muslim call to prayer is causing dismay among adherents of more than one religious group.

A preliminary vote on the so-called muezzin bill (a muezzin is the mosque official who recites the call to prayer) is scheduled for early next week.

It is not clear how the legislation, if adopted, would impact numerous areas of Israel and the West Bank that are under complex jurisdictional ruling and home to a mixture of religions.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere throughout the country, the three monotheistic faiths contribute to the cacophony of sounds at various times and on different days of the week.

The daily Muslim calls to prayer begin at about 4 a.m. and can be heard to differing degrees, depending on where you are. Where mosques are in close proximity to one another, there is a lot of overlap and duplication.

In Jerusalem, the Jewish “shabbat alarm,” which is essentially an air-raid siren, sounds every Friday at sundown to tell residents the sabbath has begun. Church bells ring on Sunday and important holidays.

Yaakov Litzman, Israel’s ultra-Orthodox deputy health minister, initially blocked the bill over concerns that it could be extended to include the shabbat alarm. Last week, Litzman withdrew his opposition after a loophole was added for the alarm, Ha’aretz reported.

In Bethlehem, which is heavily dependent on Christian pilgrims for tourism at several points during the year, the town’s main tourist center is home to a mosque with a loudspeaker set at a very high volume. The mosque towers over Manger Square, and faces the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

The town’s Christmas tree stands right in front of the church and numerous Christmas holiday traditions take place in or near the square.

Local business owners, many of whom are Arab Christians, don’t seem to mind the blend of sounds, though.

“I’m not against it, for sure,” said Sami Khouri, general manager of the Visit Palestine visitor center and gift shop-cafe a few hundred feet from Manger Square. “Turning down the volume is somewhat okay, but preventing them from doing it isn’t right.”

Khouri, who also runs a tourism company and lives in Jerusalem, says it’s just part of life in the region.

“Even where I live in Jerusalem, there are two mosques [making the call to prayer] nearby, five times a day. I just think this is co-existence,” he said. “The mosque has been there for who knows how long – and we also ring the church bells. For tourists, it’s part of the flavor. For me it’s part of the sounds of Jerusalem, the ambience.”

However, Khouri and others do suggest that if multiple mosques are situated in a given area they could possibly coordinate their broadcasts. The caveat is popular sentiment, but is not part of the bill before the Israeli parliament.

Some areas in the West Bank technically under full Palestinian Authority control have protested by staging multifaith demonstrations, with hundreds of Muslims, Christians, and Jewish Samaritans singing the call to prayer together.

Nablus is the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank and home to hundreds of mosques, which together produce a wall of uncoordinated sound.

The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is almost evenly divided on the issue, according to a poll on one of the community’s websites, Kikar HaShabat (Sabbath Corner). The poll found that 42 percent of respondents were against the bill.

There are also individuals working together behind the scenes, with unlikely, discreet alliances between some Arab and ultra-Orthodox lawmakers, according to a report in Al-Monitor.

Disputes over mosque calls to prayer are not uncommon, both in Western and Muslim countries. In 2004, some of the 23,000 residents of the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck, Michigan were at odds over mosque loudspeakers, with some telling local media they were simply “too loud.”

In Dubai in 2011, the volume of a mosque was checked twice for decibel level after residents complained about crying children being woken up at 4 a.m.

An online Indonesian housing forum for expats recommends visiting a potential new home “to make sure you can handle the disruption to the peace and quiet of your home during the call to prayer.”

SOURCE






The left is creating a new kind of apartheid

The student union at King’s College London will field a team in University Challenge that contains at least 50 per cent “self-defining women, trans or non-binary students”. The only bad thing Ken Livingstone could bring himself to say about the brutal dictator Fidel Castro was that “initially he wasn’t very good on lesbian and gay rights”. The first page of Hillary Clinton’s campaign website (still up) has links to “African Americans for Hillary, Latinos for Hillary, Asian Americans and Pacific islanders for Hillary, Women for Hillary, Millennials for Hillary”, but none to “men for Hillary”, let alone “white people for Hillary”.

Since when did the left insist on judging people by — to paraphrase Martin Luther King — the colour of their skin rather than the content of their character? The left once admirably championed the right of black people, women and gays to be treated the same as white, straight men. With only slightly less justification, it then moved on to pushing affirmative action to redress past prejudice. Now it has gone further, insisting everybody is defined by his or her identity and certain victim identities must be favoured.

Given the history of such stereotyping, it is baffling that politicians on the left cannot see where this leads. The prime exponents of identity politics in the past were the advocates of apartheid, of antisemitism, and of treating women as the legal chattels of men. “We are sleepwalking our way to segregation,” Trevor Phillips says.

Identity politics is thus very old-fashioned. Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism, says equality feminism — fair treatment, respect and dignity — is being eclipsed in universities by a Victorian “fainting couch feminism”, which views women as “fragile flowers who require safe spaces, trigger warnings and special protection from micro-invalidations”. Sure enough, when she said this at Oberlin College, Ohio, 35 students and a “therapy dog” sought refuge in a safe room.

It is just bad biology to focus on race, sex or sexual orientation as if they mattered most about people. We’ve known for decades — and Marxist biologists such as Dick Lewontin used to insist on this point — that the genetic differences between two human beings of the same race are maybe ten times as great as the average genetic difference between two races. Race really is skin deep. Sex goes deeper, for sure, because of developmental pathways, but still the individual differences between men and men, or women and women, or gays and gays, are far more salient than any similarities.

The Republican sweep in the American election cannot be blamed solely on the culture wars, but they surely played a part. Take the “bathroom wars” that broke out during the early stages of the campaign. North Carolina’s legislature heavy-handedly required citizens to use toilets that corresponded to their birth gender. The Obama administration heavy-handedly reacted by insisting that every school district in the country should do no such thing or lose its federal funding. This was a gift to conservatives: “Should a grown man pretending to be a woman be allowed to use . . . the same restroom used by your daughter? Your wife?,” asked Senator Ted Cruz.

White men played the identity card at the American ballot box
There is little doubt that to some extent white men played the identity card at the ballot box in reaction to the identity politics of the left. In a much-discussed essay for The New York Times after the election, Mark Lilla of Columbia University mused that Hillary Clinton’s tendency to “slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, LGBT and women voters at every stop” was a mistake: “If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them.”

He argues that “the fixation on diversity in our schools and the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life . . . By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good.” As many students woke up to discover on November 9, identity politics is “expressive, not persuasive”.

Last week, in an unbearably symbolic move, Hampshire College in Massachusetts removed the American flag — a symbol of unity if ever there was one — from campus in order to make students feel safer. The university president said the removal would “enable us to instead focus our efforts on racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviours”. There are such attitudes in America, for sure, but I am willing to bet they are not at their worst at Hampshire College, Massachusetts.

The one group that is increasingly excluded from campuses, with never a peep of complaint from activists, is conservatives. Data from the Higher Education Research Institute show the ratio of left-wing professors to right-wing professors went from 2:1 in 1995 to 6:1 today. The “1” is usually in something such as engineering and keeps his or her head down. Fashionable joke: what’s the opposite of diversity? University.

This is not a smug, anti-American argument. British universities are hurtling down the same divisive path. Feminists including Germaine Greer, Julie Bindel and Kate Smurthwaite have been “no-platformed” at British universities, along with speakers for Ukip and Israel, but not Islamic State. Universities are becoming like Victorian aunts, brooking no criticism of religion, treating women as delicate flowers and turning up their noses at Jews.

The government is conducting an “independent” review into Britain’s sharia courts, which effectively allow women to be treated differently if they are Muslim. The review is chaired by a Muslim and advised by two imams. And far too many government forms still insist on knowing whether the applicant is (I have taken the list from the Office for National Statistics guidance): “Gypsy or Irish Traveller, White and Black Caribbean, White and Black African, White and Asian, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, African, Caribbean, Arab, or any other ethnic group”. So bleeding what?

The left has vacated the moral high ground on which it won so many fine battles to treat human beings equally. The right must occupy that ground and stand for universal human values and equal treatment for all.

SOURCE





Fake news and post‑truth: the handmaidens of Western relativism

It isn’t Macedonian teens who killed truth and objectivity

Internet-savvy 16-year-old boys in Macedonia are undermining Western journalism and democracy. Have you ever encountered a faker news story than that? This is the great irony of the fake-news panic that has swept the Western media in recent days, with observers now claiming that the promotion of made-up news on Facebook may have swung the election for Donald Trump and done GBH to the Western ideals of objectivity and reason: it is underpinned by illusions of its own; by a refusal to grapple with hard truths about the West’s own jettisoning of those values; and by an urge to invent bogeymen that is every bit as dislocated from reality as are those myth-peddling kids in the East.

Still reeling from the failure of their idol Hillary Clinton to get to the White House, mainstream observers and politicians this week came up with another thing to blame: BS news. They claim the spread of stories like ‘The pope loves Trump’ and ‘Hillary is a paedophile’, many of which originate on phoney-news websites in Eastern Europe and get loads of likes among Westerners on Facebook, is a threat to truth and to the very practice of democracy. Angela Merkel bemoaned the ‘fake sites, bots, trolls’ which ‘manipulate’ public opinion and make politics and democracy harder. President Obama slammed this ‘active misinformation’, arguing that ‘if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made’, then we ‘lose so much of what we’ve gained in terms of democratic freedoms’.

Liberal columnists, wounded that so much of the public ignored their overtures first on Brexit and then on Trump, claim good, decent, supposedly ‘elitist’ journalism must now assert itself. Our role in ‘seeking the truth’ must be ‘harnessed with steely determination’, says one. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour says the ‘tsunami of fake-news sites’ is an affront to journalism and the thing that journalism helps to facilitate: democracy. We must now fight ‘hard for the truth’ in this world where ‘the Oxford English Dictionary just announced that its word of 2016 [is] “post-truth”’, she says. Numerous hacks have been despatched to Macedonia and Russia to confront the fresh-faced youths who run these fake-news sites for cash. ‘How teens in the Balkans are duping Trump supporters’, says one headline. ‘Russian propaganda effort helped spread “fake news” during election’, says another. The image we’re left with is of dastardly Easterners suckering stupid Westerners and undermining the democratic tradition, and now pain-faced, well-minded columnists must stand up to this foreign threat to reason.

It’s the fakest news story of the week. It might not be as utterly invented as the one about Hillary’s people abusing children in a pizza restaurant in Washington, DC. But it involves a profounder avoidance of truth, a deeper unwillingness to face up to facts. In particular the fact that the rise of fake news, ‘alternative news’ and conspiracy theories speaks not to the wicked interventions of myth-spreaders from without, but to the corrosion of reason within, right here in the West. It speaks to the declining moral and cultural authority of our own political and media class. It is the Western world’s own abandonment of objectivity, and loss of legitimacy in the eyes of its populace, that has nurtured something of a free-for-all on the facts and news front. Those Macedonian kids aren’t denting democracy or damaging objectivity – they’re merely milking a Western crisis of objectivity that began long before they were born.

The first striking thing about the fake-news panic is its naked paternalism. The suggestion is that voters, especially those of a ‘low-information’, redneck variety, were hoodwinked into voting Trump by outlandish stories about how evil Hillary is. Fake news whacks people who ‘could not… recognise [or] fact-check’, says Amanpour. It’s a ‘post-truth era’ where you can ‘play [people] like a fiddle’, says a liberal writer in the US. A Guardian columnist says people ‘easily believe’ lies that play to their prejudices and then ‘pass them on thoughtlessly’. We’re given the impression that masses of people are incapable of deciphering fact from fiction. They cast their votes on the basis of a daft pizza-paedo link they saw on Facebook. With a loud sneer, observers write off the general public’s capacity for reason and willingness to engage seriously with democratic decisions. Ironically, this demeaning of the demos, this calling into question of the very idea that underpins modern politics – that the public is reasoned and must be allowed to steer the fate of their nation – does far greater damage to the value and standing of democracy than any spotty Macedonian with a laptop could ever do.

Then came the paternalistic solutions. We need new ‘gatekeepers’, columnists claim: professionals who have the resources and brains to work out what’s true and what’s a lie and ensure that people see more of the former. Obama and others suggest Facebook must get better at curating news, sorting truth from falsehood on behalf of its suggestible users. The suggestion is that the internet, having thrown open the world of reportage and commentary to everyone, having enabled anyone with a computer or phone to say their piece, has disoriented truth and democracy and now must be tamed, or at least better managed.

This echoes the elite fears that greeted the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. Then, the religious authorities – the gatekeepers of their day – worried that all sorts of heresy might now find its way into the public’s minds and hearts, unfiltered by their wise, godly counsel. Today’s aspiring gatekeepers panic that fake news will get into and warp the minds of the little people in this era when knowledge filtering has been stripped back even further, so that increasingly the citizen stands alone before the claims and counter-claims of those who publish. And apparently this fake news often contains heresies of its own. In his interview with the New Yorker, Obama strikingly bemoaned the ‘fake news’ of climate-change scepticism, where ‘an explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll’. This cuts to the 15th-century-echoing fear that motors the panic over fake news: the belief that it will allow not only outright lies, but new heresies, new blasphemies, different ways of thinking, to make an appeal to people’s beliefs and convictions. The call to filter social media is a paternalistic call to protect the public from bad or mad or dangerous thoughts, in a similar way that early clampdowns on the printing press were designed to keep ‘evil’ from the swarm.

What this censorious, anti-demos view overlooks is the positive side to today’s unprecedented throwing-open of debate and news and politics: the fact that it implicitly calls on the citizen to use his own mental and moral muscles, to confront the numerous different versions of the world offered to him and decide which one sounds most right. Surely the internet’s downside of fake news is more than outweighed by its invitation to us to negotiate the rapids of public debate for ourselves and make up our own minds? ‘Ideally, in a democracy, everybody would agree that climate change is a consequence of man-made behaviour, because that’s what 99 per cent of scientists tell us’, said Obama in his handwringing over fake news. No. The ideal thing in a democracy isn’t that we believe something because scientists, or politicians, or priests, have told us it’s true; it’s that we believe something because we have considered it, thought about it, weighed it up against other things, and then deployed our own judgement. Believing something because others tell you it’s true isn’t democracy – it’s oligarchy.

Even the extent to which fake news is a bad thing – and of course it can be – its rise is not a result of wicked foreign poking into Western politics and debate. Rather, it speaks to the hollowing-out of the whole idea of truth in the West, to the march of the relativistic notion that objectivity is not only difficult but undesirable. The image of the old gatekeepers of knowledge, or just news, being elbowed aside either by new technologies or by interfering Easterners is wrong; it is more accurate to say that these gatekeepers gave up, and abandoned their posts, on the basis that it is arrogant to assume that any one way of seeing or reporting the world is better than another.

For the past two decades, Western news reporting has openly called into question its own definitiveness. It has thrown open news items to ceaseless commenting below the line, on the basis that ‘news coverage is a partnership’, as the BBC’s Richard Sandbrook said in 2005. It celebrated ‘citizen journalism’ as a realer, less top-down form of newsgathering. And it has jettisoned the very thing that distinguished it from other, more opinionated views on world events: its objectivity. From the rise of the ‘journalism of attachment’ in the 1990s, in which journalists eschewed the apparently cold, forensic habit of objectivity and took sides with the most victimised groups in certain conflicts and situations, to the media’s embrace of ‘data journalism’ in the 2000s, where churning through thousands of leaked documents took the place of discovering stories and faithfully reporting them, Western journalism has redefined its mission from one of objectively discovering truth to simply offering its increasingly technical or emotional take on what might, or might not, have happened.

Journalists have explicitly disavowed objectivity, and with it their ‘gatekeeping’ role. It is time to ‘toss out objectivity as a goal’, said Harvard journalism expert Dan Gilmor in 2005. By 2010, even Time magazine, self-styled epitome of the Western journalistic style, was celebrating ‘The End of “Objectivity”’. The ‘new-media openness [has] upended the old media’s poker-faced stoicism – and it’s about time’, it said. The Western media started to replace the ideal of objectivity with values such as fairness, transparency and balance. And as one European observer pointed out, these are very different to objectivity: where objectivity points to ‘the active quest for truth’, these newer, more technical values reduce the news media to just another voice ‘among the many voices in a pluralistic world’. When someone like Amanpour says Western journalism and democracy are in ‘mortal peril’, largely thanks to ‘foreign powers like Russia paying to churn out… false news’, she overlooks journalism’s weakening of its own ideals and authority, including by her and others in the 1990s when they ditched objectivity in preference for taking sides in conflicts like the one in Bosnia. She conspiratorially displaces on to Russia a crisis of objectivity that has its origins in the newsrooms and academies and political chambers of the West.

The abandonment of objectivity in journalism did not happen in a vacuum. It sprung from, and in turn intensified, a rejection of reason in the West, a disavowal of the idea of truth, and its replacement either by the far more technical ambition of being ‘evidence-based’ or by highly emotional responses to world events. Indeed, the greatest irony in the fake-news panic, and in the whole post-Brexit, post-Trump talk of a new ‘post-truth’ era, is that it was the very guardians of Western culture and knowledge, the very establishment now horrified by how the little people think and vote, who made us ‘post-truth’; who oversaw the turn against Enlightenment in the academy, the calling into question of ‘male’ science, the throttling of the idea of any one, clear morality to which people might subscribe, and the rubbishing of the entire project of objectivity, even of ‘news’ as we understood it. When Obama says we live in an era where ‘everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made’, he isn’t wrong. Only that refusal to distinguish, to judge, to elevate truer things over questionable things, is not down to Facebook or Macedonians or allegedly dumb Trump voters – it is an accomplishment of the very post-Enlightenment, self-doubting, technocratic elites Obama is part of.

And what happens when you give up your conviction that truth can be discovered, and instead promote the idea that all ways of looking at the world, and interpreting the world, and feeling the world, have validity? You disorientate public discussion. You slay your own cultural authority. You create a situation where people doubt you, often with good reason, and go looking for other sources of information. You create the space for other claims of truth, some of them good and exciting, some of them mad and fake. Don’t blame Russia, or us, for the crisis of journalism and democracy or for our so-called ‘post-truth’ times. You did this. You, the gatekeepers. We’ll be our own gatekeepers now, thanks.

SOURCE

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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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Tuesday, November 29, 2016



Germany's Merkel announces plan to deport 100,000 migrants

ANGELA MERKEL today announced plans to deport 100,000 migrants who arrived in Germany last year as she continues to backtrack on her controversial open door asylum policy.

The beleaguered Chancellor said authorities would significantly step up the rate of forced returns as she battles to arrest an alarming slump in her popularity which has fuelled a surge in support for the far-right.

Mrs Merkel, whose decision to roll out the red carpet to migrants from across Africa and the Middle East spectacularly backfired, has taken an increasingly tough tone on immigration in recent months.

And in her toughest rhetoric yet the German leader told MPs from her party this week: ”The most important thing in the coming months is repatriation, repatriation and once more, repatriation.”

The stance marks an astonishing U-turn from the once pro-refugee Chancellor, who has been widely pilloried by critics at home and abroad for her decision to throw open Germany’s borders to millions of migrants.

Her extraordinary change of heart has been prompted largely by a series of catastrophic local election results for her ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, which was trounced by the populist Alternative fur Deutschland in both her home state and the capital Berlin.

The party’s slumping poll ratings have sparked alarm amongst her allies in both the CDU and its coalition partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU), with talk that senior officials would try to oust her.

But instead Mrs Merkel last week announced her intention to stand for a fourth term as leader of Germany, and now she is striking an increasingly anti-immigrant tone as she attempts to restore her battered reputation ahead of next autumn’s election.

Speaking at a conference of conservative MPs in Neum√ľnster yesterday evening the Chancellor revealed that she expects 100,000 migrants to leave Germany this year, of which a third will be forcibly removed.

And employing a tough new form of rhetoric, she warned local regions to deport all migrants whose asylum applications are rejected, using force if necessary.

She warned them: "If state governments refuse to forcibly deport migrants, then of course everyone will say, 'I will not do this voluntarily, because they will not do anything anyway’.

And in a stunning U-turn on her open borders policy, she added: ”It can not be that all the young people from Afghanistan come to Germany.”

Her rhetoric this week is a far cry from the now infamous rallying cry of Wir Schaffen Das - ‘we can do this’ - which the beleaguered leader has now dropped after issuing a statement verging on an apology.

It is estimated that some 215,000 migrants have been denied the right to stay in Germany over the last 18 months, most because they come from countries in eastern Europe and north Africa which are not ravaged by war.

Mrs Merkel is now insisting that resources must be concentrated on refugees fleeing war and turmoil who genuinely needed support, and that public acceptance for asylum seekers can only be maintained by deporting economic migrants trying to abuse the system.

SOURCE






On taking offence

One of the rules I try to live by is not to take offense when no offense is intended. A corollary to that rule is to presume, whenever possible, that no offense was intended. This is not, I admit, a discipline I've mastered perfectly. But it's not as hard as you might think. Make a daily point of affirming that you harbor no ill will, and you tend not to smolder with resentment and unresolved umbrage. At a time when Americans by the millions seem to go out of their way to keep themselves in a state of high dudgeon, choosing not to be offended can be wonderfully refreshing.

Not taking offense isn't the same as not having pet peeves. (I've got a bunch of those.) Nor does it mean never condemning shameful, foolish, or destructive behavior. (Where would newspaper columnists be if we never uttered any criticism?) It does mean recognizing that being offended is always a choice, and that other people's words and views can bend you out of shape only if you choose to let them have that effect.

This isn't a column about politics, but during last week's "Hamilton" kerfuffle, Vice President-elect Mike Pence provided a pitch-perfect demonstration of how not to take offense. Rather than bristle and fume when he was booed by audience members and pointedly addressed by the cast during the curtain call, Pence took it all with gracious equanimity. "I wasn't offended," he said afterward. He praised the "great, great show" and the "incredibly talented" cast, and made clear that actor Brandon Dixon's impassioned statement from the stage didn't trouble him or require any apology.

"I nudged my kids," Pence told Fox News, "and reminded them, 'That's what freedom sounds like.'"

And that, in turn, is what a mature emotional perspective sounds like. It would be nice to encounter more of it in our national discourse.

Unfortunately, picking at scabs has become a national pastime. Americans have lost their ability to shrug off other people's obnoxious comments or insensitive gestures or politically incorrect views. Instead of rolling their eyes and letting it pass, they proclaim: "I'm offended." They demand apologies. They insist on "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces." They howl about "microaggressions" and whinge about "mansplaining" and compile lists of banned words. When they get offended, they expect heads to roll or companies to be blackballed. They even take offense on behalf of people who don't take offense.

Remember Frank Costanza? He was the character on "Seinfeld" who invented Festivus, an idiosyncratic family holiday commemorated with a dinner, an aluminum pole, feats of strength, and — the high point — an Airing of Grievances. "I got a lot of problems with you people!" bellows Costanza to those at his Festivus table. "And now you're gonna hear about it!"

It was funny as a sitcom shtick. As a national pastime, perpetual outrage is exhausting and debilitating. America could do with a little less Frank Costanza and a little more Mike Pence.

As Mike Pence knows but Frank Costanza doesn't, offense is never really given. It's taken.

Waxing wroth when we're offended may feel temporarily satisfying, but the weight of all those chips on our shoulders does long-term damage. "In my work treating alcoholics," writes Abraham Twerski, a psychiatrist and founder of the renowned Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, there is "great emphasis on divesting oneself of resentments," since "resentments are probably the single greatest factor responsible for relapse." Twerski quotes one recovering alcoholic's insight: "Carrying resentments is like letting someone who you don't like live inside your head rent-free." No lasting benefit comes from that, but all kinds of misery do.

In a society that often seems to thrive on taking offense — just turn on talk radio, or read an online comments section, or follow Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren on Twitter — it can't be overemphasized that nursing a grievance is always optional. You may not be able to control other people's opinions, ignorance, bad jokes, or political loyalties. But you alone determine how you react to them.

Everyone knows the biblical injunction to "love thy neighbor as thyself." Less well known is the first half of the verse: "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge." That's excellent counsel, for believers and nonbelievers alike.

SOURCE






“Fake News” Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

For whatever strange reason, the entire failed pundit class became interested in the notion of purging so-called “fake news” all at once, immediately following an election that produced an outcome they despise. I’m sure it was just a big coincidence that they all suddenly coalesced around this potential solution.

Back in August I wrote on the folly of obsequiously begging Silicon Valley tech titans to attain social progress on your behalf. That was in the context of the craze around curtailing so-called “targeted harassment” on Twitter, but the same concept applies here: if you’re requesting that Mark Zuckerberg and @jack use the blunt instruments of censure and extirpation to suppress phenomena you dislike, you’re ensuring that the phenomena won’t actually be curtailed. It will just manifest elsewhere. You’re also ensuring that people with conspiratorial inclinations will assume that the “powers that be” are maliciously restricting their ability to consume information, thus increasing their level of alienation from the existing political/media order. You’re also demanding that these tech princes be endowed with extraordinary power — they already have a ton, but you want them to have more, and you want them to exert their power in service of removing certain types of information from the free internet. That’s what you want done.

These are fundamentally authoritarian impulses. Maybe not “authoritarian” in the sense of explicitly violating citizens’ civil liberties — authoritarian in a softer, but still insidious, sense. You want these all-knowing tech demigods to solve social problems for you, instead of undertaking the hard work of solving them yourself. How to solve them? How about helping to remake presently-loathed institutions such that they’re not automatically distrusted by wide swathes of the populace. That might help. How about trying to reform the political system such that the anxieties of ordinary people are actually addressed substantively, so they don’t feel the need to latch onto “fake news” floating out there in cyberspace to explain why they are incredibly disillusioned.

I can also guarantee you, with 100% certainty, that the specter of “fake news” will be wielded as an ideological cudgel. I already have evidence for this, as the Washington Post has published a ridiculous report citing a team of unvetted “independent researchers” who have produced “a list” (love that neo-McCarthyite sloganeering) of all the worst offenders on the internet in terms of propagating “fake news” at the behest of sinister Russian agitators.

Included on the list that the Washington Post trumpeted, and which was breathlessly promoted by cartoonish political elites such as Neera Tanden, are several reputable media outlets of longstanding provenance that happen to diverge from the mainstream pundit consensus, and are therefore viewed as unconscionable:

That’s just a small selection. You’ll notice that the “blacklisted” media entities include examples from both the left and right, proving that the operative ideological function of the “fake news” crusade is about discrediting media that deviates from the establishmentarian consensus, rather than enforcing any kind of traditionally “ideological” goal in the sense of the hoary liberal/conservative dichotomy.

That will be the function of the coming “fake news” expurgation campaign — not to instate any kind of objective measures of determining what is “fake” news and what is “real,” but mandating conformity, and punishing those who defy conformist standards.
If these people were sincerely interested in doing away with “fake news,” the first thing to do would be to look inward. They would be reprimanding many of their own esteemed colleagues and demanding that they permanently withdraw from public life. But of course they won’t do this, even though there was plenty of flagrant misinformation propagated by the more conventional “mainstream” press over the course of this election cycle — you won’t see the Washington Post demand that those responsible be purged.

Furthermore, the Washington Post itself propagated a veritable avalanche of fake news, notably by way of its lunatic “columnist” Anne Applebaum, who repeatedly spread debunked and fake conspiracies that Trump was a knowing conspirator of the Russian intelligence apparatus.

Joy Reid of MSNBC spread one of the most egregious examples of fake news that I have ever seen, but she never retracted it or apologized, and (to the best of my knowledge) was never sanctioned by MSNBC higher-ups. Her fakery was then amplified by neoconservative speechwriter and Hillary supporter David Frum.

Much like the word “terrorism,” the phrase “fake news” will be manipulated to accord with whatever pre-existing ideological commitments its newfound opponents already espouse. There really is a problem with false information circulating on the internet, but the main perpetrators are failed media elites.

SOURCE





Farmers left feeling 'very threatened' and unable to sleep after a new animal rights campaign group abuses slaughterhouse staff and writes anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls

Farmers have reportedly been left unable to sleep and 'very threatened' after a new animal rights campaign group has started to invade slaughterhouses in the UK.

The vegan group, called The Save Movement, now has 24 branches in the UK from Cornwall in the south to Scotland in the north. They have 'Save groups' in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, USA, Sweden and Poland and they claim to use a 'love-based approach'.

The description of the movement also adds that they focus on 'non-violence' and they believe animals are individuals which have rights.

But some groups have taken a different approach and it is 'only a matter of time' before a protester or worker gets hurt, according to an industry spokesman.

The movement - which has a 'zero tolerance approach to animal exploitation' - has staged around 60 demonstrations, reports Andrew Gilligan at the Sunday Times.

And it seems the number of protesters ranges from a handful of people to more than 50 activists.

Their demonstrations included an invasion of a kosher abattoir in London and anti-Semitic graffiti was plastered on the walls.

A video of the East London Chicken Save - a branch of The Save Movement - shows activists enter the Kedassia kosher abattoir in Hackney Wick earlier this month.

They pushed past security and abused staff because they were 'helping to kill babies', reports the newspaper.

Police were called and a group spokesman criticised the arrival of officers. They said the police presence stopped them 'from liberating these innocent chickens'.

The 12-minute video, which was uploaded to YouTube, has been viewed more than 5,000 times.

A caption underneath the video said: 'East London Chicken Save were able to get inside the slaughterhouse and the kill room.

'The pipes were filled with guts and the stench of death and faeces was overwhelming. 'The chickens in the truck were extremely disfigured and many had huge sores on their bodies.'

And following a second demonstration last week, anti-Semitic graffiti was daubed on the walls of a London abattoir.  A Star of David was drawn on the walls along with refences to Nazism, reports the newspaper.

The Save Movement said: 'We have a strict code of conduct which rejects any form of violence, intimidation,and racism, including anti-Semitism.' 

Lizzie Wilson, from the National Pig Association, told the newspaper: 'It has grown up very quickly. In the main, they are a peaceful protest and entitled to their views.  'It's when they start to become more aggressive that it's obviously a concern.'

She added that some farmers felt 'threatened' and can't sleep at night after some groups turned up at farms and slaughterhouses at night.

This resulted in extra police patrolling the areas surrounding the farms because people are worried the protests will 'continue to escalate', reports the paper.

A British Meat Processors Association spokesman said campaigners were jumping in front of lorries in order to get their point across. He said: 'It is only a matter of time before a protester of a member of plant staff is injured.' 

SOURCE

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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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Monday, November 28, 2016



Italy is poised to become next country to reject the establishment as shock poll finds referendum protest vote is poised to beat the government

The upcoming vote on prime minister Matteo Renzi's reforms will be thrown out by an 11 percentage point margin in the south of the country, according to a Demos poll. 

It is being seen as his failure to reach out to the working class in the poorest areas of Italy, predominantly located in the south.

The vote could prompt an exit from the European Union and rejection would follow results in the Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidency race in citizens turning their back on the political status quo.

Italy is proposing to run a budget deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP for the year, significantly higher than the 1.8 percent level it had promised to deliver earlier this year.

Deputies on Friday voted overwhelmingly in favour of a draft 2017 budget that the European Commission has warned will breach EU rules on the management of public finances.

Luca Comodo, director at polling company Ipsos, told the paper voters think blocking the government's plans is a vote against the establishment and said: 'The south is where protest and rage are amplified.'

A rejected vote would reduce the senate's influence and withdraw power from 20 regional governments in the country. 

The issue has provoked sharp exchanges in recent weeks with Renzi seen in some quarters as Brussels-bashing in the run-up to a December 4 referendum on constitutional reform, on which he has staked his political future.

New spending plans in the budget include two billion euros more for healthcare, one billion for education and measues to help small companies and poorer families.

Renzi said earlier this month that he would no longer bow to "diktats" from Brussels over fiscal restraints he regards as counterproductive at a time when most of the eurozone is struggling.

He has also threatened to block the approval of the EU institutions' collective budget if other countries do not offer Italy more help in coping with the arrival of thousands of migrants on its southern shores.

A 2017 deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP would leave Italy comfortably within the EU ceiling of three percent.

But the Commission's economists say Rome should bring down its deficit faster to ensure that the upward trend in the country's huge debt mountain - equivalent to over 130 percent of GDP - is reversed.

The 2017 budget law will only be definitively approved once it has been examined by the second chamber of parliament, the Senate, which has not scheduled any debate on it until after the December 4 referendum.

SOURCE






Another Trump/Brexit/Hanson event and the Australian Greens have a fit

NSW has a Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, the name of which is self-explanatory.  They mainly want an easing of gun laws but you can see similarities with Trump and other recent uprisings against political correctness.  They have previously got seats in the NSW Upper House only -- with the help of proportional representation.  Now that they have taken a lower house seat it is therefore quite an upset


The NSW MPs of the Australian Greens have chucked one of the most childish and immature tantrums ever seen in any Australian Parliament, after Orange elected Mr Phillip Donato from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP).

The three Greens MPs including Tamara Smith, Jenny Leong and Jamie Parker have announced they do not want to sit with the newly elected MP from the SFFP.  Resorting to behaviour better suited to your local primary school, they have asked that Mr Donato be seated with the Labor MPs.

Ms Leong who has clearly been triggered by this event has spoken out and declared that Mr Donato should sit “with his Labor mates,” a swipe at Labor for preferencing the SFFP over the Greens in the by-election. It is clear to see that the Greens are deeply and emotionally scarred by the tragic preferencing deal.

The people have spoken and it is time for the greens to take a big spoonful of cement and harden up.  Our parliaments are not places for the weak hearted.

SOURCE.  More background on Mr Donato here.  He is no rube.





Privately-funded (better measured, more accountable) social services

Jeremy Sammut

National Adoption Awareness Week has redrawn attention to the appallingly few adoptions in Australia -- despite the appallingly high number of children in foster care that will never go home safely.

The opponents of adoption continue to claim the real problem with the child protection system is that not enough is done to help parents to stop kids entering care.

They falsely claim that adoption advocates (such as me) believe that early intervention services are a "waste of time" (see this review of my book).

This is nonsense, of course.  The problem is that child protection services bend over backwards to support parents to the point that children suffer prolonged abuse and neglect; hence there are many thousands of damaged children in care with maltreatment-related 'high needs' -- development, emotional, and other problems.

The critics also ignore the lack of evidence to support the 'family preservation' policies they endorse.

Take the 2015 Victorian Auditor General's report that found there was no way of knowing whether increased government spending on family support services  was "effectively meeting the needs of vulnerable groups ... because there are significant limitations in the service performance data and a lack of outcomes monitoring at the system level."

This is a sector-wide problem identified by my (sadly departing) colleague Trisha Jha in her excellent recent report detailing the lack of robust evaluations of early childhood interventions.

But change is slowly occurring in the social services sector, driven by privately-financed funding initiatives. The Benevolent Society's privately-financed Social Benefit Bond is used to fund the Resilient Families programs, which has had some early success in reducing the number of children entering care.

The success appears to be underpinned by a robust, independent evaluation mechanism. This includes the virtually unprecedented use of a matched intervention-group and control-group to generate a gold-standard measure of effectiveness.

Rewarding programs based on their demonstrated outcomes makes providers accountable; it encourages innovation and discovery of what actually works -- a virtuous circle.

We still need thousands more adoptions each year because there simply are some families that can never be fixed whose children will need rescuing.

But better measured, more accountable social services would also help ensure the child protection system protects children properly.

SOURCE






American universities struggle to balance hate crime surge and politically-correct overdrive

He campaigned on a promise to end political correctness and bring pride back to the United States.

And yet in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, American universities have taken political correctness to the extreme – with one removing the US flag from their campus, and another speaking out against a “party in the USA”-themed celebration, in case students were offended.

Mr Trump’s campaign and his surprise victory has undoubtedly energised extreme elements on all sides of US society.

Police across the country have reported a surge in complaints – on November 14 the FBI reported a 66 per cent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes for 2015. The Southern Poverty Law Center said that it has received over 700 reports of hate crimes since the election, with 40 per cent of them in schools and universities.

Students and teachers reported graffiti reading: “Make America white again” and swastikas daubed on playgrounds, while mobile phone footage captured children in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas chanting “build the wall” and “white power”.  

But on the other end of the spectrum, American educational establishments have found themselves being ridiculed for taking their desire not to offend to extremes.

Last week the president of Hampshire College, a small university in Massachusetts, announced that the American flag was being removed from campus, in a bid to calm tensions.

The day after the election students began calling for the removal of the Stars and Stripes from their campus, saying it was a symbol of racism and hatred. It was lowered that night, and then a day later someone set fire to it.  The flag was replaced, but the college board announced that it would be flown at half-mast, “both to acknowledge the grief and pain experienced by so many and to enable the full complexity of voices and experiences to be heard.”

But that only served to pour fuel on the fire – especially among military veterans, who said it made a mockery of the tradition of flying a flag at half-mast to symbolise mourning.

Jonathan Lash, the president of the college, then announced the flag would temporarily be removed from the university land. He said he hoped that removing the flag would “enable us to instead focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviours.”

He added: “Some have perceived the action of lowering the flag as a commentary on the results of the presidential election — this, unequivocally, was not our intent.”

His decision was met with derision, however. Twitter users described themselves as “disgusted” and “ashamed” by the move, with many pointing out that the college received federal funding.

And the Massachusetts university was not the only one to struggle with the flag and patriotic gestures.

At Brown University, some students tore up and stomped on flags from an event honouring veterans last week, while others hurried to replace and protect the flags. At American University the day after the election, students upset about Trump’s victory burned flags and shouted “F— white America!”

And at a university in Maryland, student leaders at Loyola University apologised for the theme – “Party in the USA.”

“As an organisation, we want to extend our deepest apologies to those that were hurt by this theme and the negative impact it had on them,” they wrote, in an email to students who will graduate this summer.

“Although it was not our intention to create such a divisive climate, we understand that the impact of this decision is much greater than our initial intention.”

The party went ahead as planned – but not without much hand-wringing about the “divisive” theme.

Reverend Brian Linnane, president of the university, said the student leaders were right to be concerned.

"We heard from members of our community who were concerned that some students intended to manipulate the theme to create an unwelcoming environment at the event,"he said. He said they suggested postponing it, until a later date when the country would be “less politically charged.”

“My senior leaders and I have a responsibility to create an intellectual and social environment where all students feel welcomed, included, and supported — an environment where students of all political viewpoints can engage in substantive, meaningful dialogue in the pursuit of truth," he said.

Emily Burke, a senior and president of the Loyola Republicans, said she was deeply upset at student leaders feeling “they needed to apologise in some way for being proud to be an American.”

She added: “The theme was supposed to be unifying, and it should have been.”

SOURCE

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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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Sunday, November 27, 2016



Trump and the Overton window

The Overton window refers to the range of topics that is permitted to be discussed in polite society.

The article below is from Brian McNair, a professor of journalism at a minor Australian university.  And, like all Leftist writing, what he leaves out makes a big difference.  He is basically disrespectful of the Trump triumph, as are most Leftists.  To spice up his argument, however, he rightly observes that Hitler came to power through regular democratic processes too. So he hints that Trump will be another Hitler. 

Many Leftists just say Bush=Hitler, Trump=Hitler etc. without making any real argument for their assertions but Prof. McNair makes a lightly reasoned historical case for his comparison so I think that warrants a reply.

He rightly observes that Hitler too railed against the establishment and a remote elite that did not care about the people. But socialist politicians regularly rail against the establishment and a remote elite that does not care about the people. And Hitler was a socialist.  The only oddity is that a semi-conservative like Trump did it. And the various socialist postwar governments worldwide have not become Hitler clones so why should Trump? Our bitter professor does not mention that.  He ignores all the examples that contradict his argument.

And the differences between Hitler and Trump matter too.  Hitler was undoubtedly one of the greatest warmongers the world has seen whereas Trump is a peacenik.  He is on buddy terms with Mr Putin and wants to withdraw American troops abroad back home to America.  In that regard he is a traditional American isolationist.  It is Clinton who was rhetorically attacking Russia, not Trump.  Hitler did talk peace at times but from his re-militarization of the Rhineland onwards he expanded the territorial reach of his armed forces -- unlike Trump's desire to pull back U.S. armed forces.

So it is just the usual Leftist cheap shot to compare Trump with Hitler.  Just because two people have some similarities does not mean that they are the same.  It is a foolish and empty argument.

The point of the article, however, is a recognition of something that has not much been discussed so far:  Trump has shifted the Overton window rightwards.  The success of Trump has made all his policy positions respectable.  Before Trump, for instance, limiting Muslim immigration was "racist" to both the GOP and the Donks.  The Leftists still say that but the Right no longer agree. They can now discuss the matter without being shut down. They can in fact not only discuss it but win elections by saying it. So both sides of the issue can now be discussed pretty freely, which was not previously the case

And our professor sees that shift in what journalists say and discuss.  He sees that they now treat Trump's policy positions with more respect.  They discuss them instead of simply abusing them.  And THAT has got our professor riled.  He calls the new normal "subjectivity" and yearns for the good old says when political correctness  -- which he amusingly refers to as "objectivity" -- reigned supreme. He makes a plea for a return to it but is clearly despairing of that happening.  He is right about that.



As the results of the 2016 election came in, the mainstream media in America and around the world demonstrated their inability to cope with the challenge of a president Trump within the conventional paradigms of journalistic objectivity, balance and fairness. Or, rather, to cope without normalising the most conspicuously overt racism, sexism, and proto-fascism ever seen in a serious candidate for president.

As street protests broke out in Portland, Oregon in the days after the election, for example, BBC World noted the police definition of the events as a “riot”, in response to what it coyly described as “some racist remarks” made by Donald Trump during his campaign.

A man whose comments were denounced even by his own party chief Paul Ryan as “textbook racism”, and whose references to “grabbing pussy”, “a nasty woman”, “Miss House Keeping” and other indicators of unabashed misogyny horrified millions in the US across the party spectrum, was now president.

For the BBC, henceforth, criticism of even the most outlandish and offensive remarks – when judged by the standards of recent decades – would be severely muted, if not excluded. Suddenly, rather can call a spade a spade in coverage of Trump’s hate-mongering campaign, his ascendancy to office had legitimised those views, and the process of normalisation had begun.

The mainstream media have largely followed suit in this approach to Trump’s victory, bestowing a new respectability on what before election day had been generally reported as absurdly offensive statements and policies. One can without too much imagination foresee Ku Klux Klan chief David Duke becoming an expert commentator on CNN or MSNBC (or at least on Fox News).

In News Corp outlets all over the world, from Sky News and The Australian here to Fox in the US, commentators and pundits were to the fore in constructing legitimacy around his policies, insofar as anyone really knows what they are.

This descent into normalisation of the hitherto unacceptable, occasioned by Trump’s democratically endowed seizure of political power as of November 8, is very similar to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in 1930s Germany.

Hitler’s ascent, and all that came from it, was a product of free choices made in ballot boxes, and of free media coverage which moved to the extreme right with the ruling party.

Then, as now, a demagogic populist exploited perceptions of victimhood and “anti-elitism”, targeting ethnic and religious minorities as “the enemy”. No-one forced national socialism on the German people, or on their media, nor on the many Western media such as the Daily Mail in England that spoke out in his favour.

Post-November 8, the mainstream media have shown their inability to engage with the enormity of what is happening in Western and global politics within conventional paradigms of objectivity. Left to them, the slide into fascism will simply become another news story, another “he said, she said” performance of balance, legitimised by the fact that this is what democracy has delivered. No matter that in the 1930s the same obeisance led to the Holocaust.

This tendency is not the fault of the mainstream media, nor of their journalists, who are simply applying the professional codes and practices with which they have been raised. But they will need to do better.

For those in the media who wish to stem a slide into democratically legitimised fascism in the next four years – and similar processes are now unfolding in Europe, Australia and elsewhere – it is time to rethink the appropriate response of “objective” journalism to the post-factual politics of extreme subjectivity.

SOURCE






UK: Sex, politics and censorship

Helene Guldberg

Porn Panic! provides a frightening portrait of the left’s abandonment of liberty

The political journey of Jerry Barnett, the author of Porn Panic! Sex and Censorship in the UK, has been a fascinating if rather unusual one. His grandfather, Albert, was among the thousands of Jews, locals and Communists who fought off Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts when they tried to march through the Jewish East End in 1936. The Battle of Cable Street, as it became known, was an inspiring example of people taking matters into their own hands. ‘Women threw heavy pots out of the windows on to the fascists’ heads. The police deployed their truncheons against the protesters, but were beaten back, along with the fascists’, writes Barnett. Albert’s daughter, Jerry Barnett’s mother, was also politically active – in the Women’s Lib movement in the 1960s, campaigning for equal rights and sexual liberation. He himself joined the socialist Militant Tendency in the 1970s. But after Margaret Thatcher’s historic defeat of the miners in 1985, Barnett, like many on the left, dropped out of politics.

It was his experience in the porn industry that eventually brought him back to political activism. By that stage, he writes, the left was unrecognisable. As Barnett argues, since the French Revolution, the left has been associated with progress, liberty and equality, and the right with the maintenance of the status quo. But today, the threat to liberty no longer comes from right-wing moralists, such as the ‘veteran decency campaigner’, Mary Whitehouse. Rather, it comes from a new army of morality campaigners largely on the left. ‘The old moralists had wielded the Bible in one hand, and the Daily Mail in the other’, writes Barnett. ‘This new movement was younger. Instead of coming from Middle England, it arrived from academia. Rather than use the language of religious morality, it appeared under the umbrella of feminism and liberalism. And in place of the Mail, it was backed by the Guardian.’

The complete transformation of the left was disconcerting for Barnett. ‘I was a Labour-voting (well, until Iraq anyway), Guardian-reading leftie; what had happened to my tribe?’ It is particularly the ban-happy nature of the puritanical left that disturbs Barnett. ‘The reality – that the Guardian has taken a conscious decision to become a pro-censorship paper – is hard to swallow. It took me, once a loyal Guardianista, several years to appreciate what had happened’, he writes.

Barnett fought against the National Front in the 1970s. He now sees his fight to be against the ’new fascists’ – the left. I agree that the left today tends to undermine the very principles its representatives fought for in the past – liberty, equality and democracy – but the overused term ‘fascists’ is not particularly useful or illuminating as a description of the left. Where Barnett is right, however, is in locating the problem with the left in terms of a loss of faith in Enlightenment values. That is, because the left has abandoned human autonomy, agency and the power of reason, it will now ‘accept the right of the state to intervene in the most trivial matters of interpersonal speech and political and artistic expression’. Hence the case for state interference is largely made by the left rather than the right. As Barnett argues, ‘this new, authoritarian, puritanical movement of the left has been so successful that the conservative right has abandoned its old moralistic language and appropriated the new terminology of the left’.

Today the threat to liberty comes from a new army of morality campaigners largely on the left

Barnett focuses much of his ire on contemporary feminism – which has been transformed from a ‘force for liberation’ into a ‘force for censorship’. ‘Having spent years arguing that women were equally capable to men’, writes Barnett, ‘[feminists now argue] that women [are] indeed the weaker sex, requiring additional protection from the state’. The fact that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could entertain the idea of women-only carriages on trains indicates the changing attitudes to equality.

Barnett systematically takes apart the arguments of the new moralists, and shows the shoddiness of the ‘science’ they rely upon. Take feminist campaign-group Object’s shocking claim that ‘polls suggest 63 per cent of young women aspire to be glamour models or lap dancers’. This figure was arrived at by asking young women whether they would rather be Abi Titmuss (a model and actress), Germaine Greer (a feminist author and academic) or Anita Roddick (a businesswoman). As Barnett writes: ‘It was meaningless fluff designed to generate press coverage, but from Object’s point of view, it constituted evidence.’

Barnett recognises that to defend free speech we need to wholeheartedly defend the right of those with whom we disagree to say and think whatever they want. We have the right and capacity to challenge or ignore them, as we see fit. ‘Only a true elitist could try to dictate which ideas other people have access to, rather than join the debate and win by force of reason’, he writes. The most shocking aspect of the new forms of censorship for Barnett was the near silence on this issue from so-called liberals. ‘I found many apparently liberal people were only opposed to censorship of things they enjoyed, but would not extend that principle to things they disapproved of.’

Barnett defends pornography because he thinks it is a good thing. But he is equally prepared to defend the rights of those with whom he disagrees.

Not that he always had such a principled position on free speech. In the 1970s, Barnett supported the left’s No Platform policies. Even in 2009, when Nick Griffin, the then leader of the far-right British National Party, was invited to appear on BBC’s Question Time, Barnett was among those protesting outside the BBC’s studio about its decision to give Griffin a platform. However, he is now prepared to admit he was wrong to do so. It dawned on Barnett that Griffin’s ideas were neither powerful nor dangerous. In the television debate, Griffin’s simplistic and outdated ideas were exposed, and proved very easy to challenge.

In universities, No Platform policies have been extended to an ever-growing list of individuals whose ideas are seen as too dangerous for students to be exposed to. The erosion of liberal values in universities – with the emergence of trigger warnings, Safe Spaces and the banning of ‘homophobic’ or ‘misogynist’ songs – is, as Barnett puts it, one of the ‘most worrying signs of the change to British political culture’.

Barnett also raises concerns about the lynch-mob mentality of today’s moral entrepreneurs. This is perfectly encapsulated by the witch-hunt in 2013 against Isabelle Sorley, then 23, and John Nimmo, then 25, who were arrested and jailed for sending abusive messages to journalist Caroline Criado-Perez on Twitter. The public vilification of two rather pathetic individuals demonstrates the mean-spirited streak that runs through today’s elites, and their middle-class, liberal and lefty supporters. ‘The trial coverage reeked of sneering class snobbery’, Barnett writes. ‘The greatest impetus for censorship tends to come where unacceptable lines are crossed, and there is no line more fiercely defended by the middle classes than between themselves and the great unwashed.’

The fact that hardly anyone questioned whether the state should have the right to arrest and imprison people for what they say or write, shows the extent to which liberals have abandoned any belief in liberty. Drawing on the great work of the English philosopher John Stuart Mill, Barnett argues for the importance of differentiating between words and deeds. Of course, there are some exceptions, such as an army general ordering his troops to shoot randomly. But as Barnett points out, that is an order to be obeyed, not an argument to be debated.

Humans are not automatons who respond unthinkingly to words or images. Central to Enlightenment thinking is the idea that we are all capable of listening to, weighing up and refuting ideas if we disagree with them. If we think only some people can be exposed to backward ideas without turning into racists or misogynists, we have given up on the idea of equality. To silence ideas liberals don’t like, denies others the opportunity to challenge those ideas.

Porn Panic! does glorify pornography, and I found the arguments for porn unpersuasive. But Barnett provides an entertaining – albeit frightening – picture of the transformation of left-wing politics over the past three decades. He provides a refreshing defence of human autonomy and agency and our ability to find solutions to life’s many challenges without state interference. ‘Human problems require human responses’, concludes Barnett, ‘not the smothering security blanket preferred by the British state’.

SOURCE






UK: The hatefulness of Stop Funding Hate

This anti-tabloid campaign loathes ordinary people

In possibly the most middle-class attack on the free press ever, campaign group Stop Funding Hate has made its own John Lewis-style Christmas advert, calling on big brands to boycott the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express by removing their advertising.

According to its Facebook page, Stop Funding Hate aims to ‘tackle the culture of hate, demonisation and division that is poisoning our political discourse’, and claims tabloids are spreading ‘hate speech’. In the video, against the backdrop of sentimental festive advert clips and accompanied by weepy music, the viewer is informed, ‘The money we spend on gifts is used to stir HOSTILITY’. This is followed by snapshots of tabloid headlines about migrants and Muslims.

It goes on: ‘This is not a Christmas ad, but it is about them. Every year there’s another beautiful story with a message about looking out for others even if they are distant strangers, even if we’ve been told they’re our enemy. But once the tinsel has been taken down, everything changes and millions of pounds we spend at Christmas at John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and M&S is used to buy adverts in papers with another message, that some of us are different, that some of us are only a PROBLEM, a BURDEN or a THREAT.’

The idea is that – in a fit of moral rage, presumably – shoppers at those stores will write to the companies and demand they withdraw advertising from the nasty tabloids. Whether they do this before or after they’ve bought their organic Christmas turkey and curly kale is not clear.

The video has been viewed 6.3million times, shared over 200,000 times on Facebook, and garnered tens of thousands of retweets. It’s already had one significant win: Danish toy manufacturer Lego announced at the weekend that it was withdrawing all advertising from the Daily Mail. Apparently, the Co-op is also reviewing its advertising after pressure from campaigners, and Gary Lineker has backed the campaign and spoken to Walkers Crisps, which he promotes, about its advertising.

According to its Facebook page, Stop Funding Hate began as ‘an online community horrified by the upsurge in media hate speech that accompanied the [EU] referendum’. An online petition – the first tool in the armchair activist’s toolbox – inevitably followed. The petition, which has so far received over 46,000 signatures, calls on Virgin Media to stop advertising in the Sun. ‘We fully support freedom of expression, and freedom of the press’, the page declares, alongside other laughable claims, such as: ‘We don’t take sides in political debates.’ Strangely, it only seems to target right-leaning newspapers that backed Leave.

This campaign is entirely about censorship. Supporters of Stop Funding Hate want the Daily Mail and Co to lose money – hopefully leading to their demise – because they don’t like what they say. When the Daily Mail printed its ‘Enemies of the people’ front page after three High Court judges ruled that triggering Article 50 would have to go to a parliamentary vote, Stop Funding Hate tweeted a photo of the front page to the government, as well as to various advertisers, asking them to boycott. One tweet said: ‘Share if you think @British_Airways should stop funding newspapers that undermine British #democracy.’ But in a democracy, public figures should never be above criticism. Tabloids fulfil an important role by brashly questioning the status quo and the elites of society. You may not like what they say, but you are under no obligation to buy them.

Stop Funding Hate justifies its censorious activism by claiming it is simply encouraging people to exercise their rights as consumers: ‘We believe people have the right to make choices based on the values of companies they may purchase from – and to speak out when something doesn’t sit right.’ This is disingenuous. As a consumer, you can choose not to buy certain newspapers or shop in certain stores. But putting pressure on advertisers to withdraw money from newspapers due to their editorial line is something different. This is a barely veiled attempt to shut down newspapers some people disagree with.

Another thing that defines Stop Funding Hate is hypocrisy. ‘We are against all demonisation and hate speech, whatever the motivation and whoever the target’, claims its Facebook page. It is curious, then, that the group has remained so quiet about the hatred towards Leave voters expressed in the supposedly liberal media. During the referendum, a writer in the New Statesman described Brexit voters as ‘the frightened, parochial lizard-brain of Britain’, and Guardian writer Polly Toynbee said the Leave campaign had ‘lifted several stones’.

This isn’t just about the tabloids, it’s about the ‘little people’ who read the tabloids. Stop Funding Hate believes tabloid readers are brainwashed bigots. It accuses the Daily Mail of being divisive, and yet it assumes that vast swathes of the public are incapable of independent thought. Luckily, the tabloids’ popularity will probably limit the campaign’s impact. Combining print and online, the Daily Mail is the most popular British newspaper, with 23million monthly readers. The Sun remains the most read print title, with 12.7million monthly readers. These are figures I’m sure John Lewis and Sainsbury’s will bear in mind.

This Christmas, Stop Funding Hate’s heartwarming, festive message is that millions of tabloid readers cannot be trusted to think for themselves, so it is best that the bien pensant society censor the press for their good. Meanwhile, the Sun has just launched its Christmas appeal, asking readers to knit a blanket for children in poverty-stricken or war-torn countries. How hateful.

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Evil Empire-bashing is no longer the preserve of the right

During the old Cold War, it tended to be right-wing Western politicians who were most comfortable stoking the fires of anti-Russian fear and loathing. Think of McCarthyite warnings of reds under the beds in 1950s America or of US president Ronald Reagan’s attacks on the ‘evil empire’ in the 1980s. But no more. Today, conjuring up Russia as the nefarious demiurge of world affairs, with Vlad the Bad Putin as demon-in-chief, has almost become the self-styled progressive’s stock-in-trade. Think of Russia’s almost pariah status in the international community, of the ease with which the right-thinking liken its actions to those of Hitler’s Germany. And think of Hillary Clinton and her supporters during the US election routinely painting now president-elect Donald Trump as ‘Putin’s puppet’, and accusing Russia of hacking and quasi-rigging the election. So while there are of course still plenty on the right of Western politics (to the extent that a right exists) who cling to the certainties of the old Cold War, it’s the liberals, the left-leaning, the now frayed and frazzled establishment, who seem most keen to fuel the fires of the new Cold War, in an attempt to rediscover some sense of moral purpose.

You can see it in the anxious, Putin-fearing response to Trump’s election victory. ‘Some in Europe worry that the Russian president may already be rubbing his hands with glee’, reports NBC. This after all fits the pre-election narrative of Trump as Putin’s grotesque marionette. And now that Trump has been installed, Putin, noted for his ‘aggressive behaviour’, as the New York Times puts it, can continue ‘to try to revive Russian greatness’, with all the chaos and peril that entails.

Over and over again, Russia is portrayed as the bringer of global instability, and now the power behind Trump’s throne. So The Times (London) happily reports that a former UK ambassador to Moscow claims that Putin is gearing up for a ‘hot war’. Elsewhere, a commentator warns that Putin ‘is ruthless and decisive and we are not’. And all agree that Trump’s victory is also a victory for Putin. Former NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen even urged Trump to recognise that ‘the best approach with Russia is a firm hand’. After all, without the US’s firm hand, Russia will be all too free to pursue its ‘revanchist mission’, as the NYT puts it: its ‘Soviet policy [of] preventing Western encirclement… fighting proxy battles to support Russian interests… and challenging Western power wherever possible’.

From the liberal anti-Russian perspective, the post-Trump anxiety over Russia is understandable. Trump has called NATO, that remnant of US, Cold War-era imperialism, ‘obsolete’; he has praised Putin’s leadership, saying he’d give it an ‘A’; and, during this week’s phonecall to Putin, Trump stressed he was ‘very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia’. So if you’re convinced that Russia is intent on bringing the West down, and reviving its ‘evil empire’ in the West’s stead, Trump’s ‘bromance’ with Putin, his denigration of the Western military alliance of NATO, and his readiness to throw the US’s lot in with Russia really will look a little bit like the end of the world.

But then, that’s the problem with this all-too-mainstream animus towards Russia; not only does it fuel and entrench the new Cold War, it blinds its advocates to their own role in fomenting this new Cold War. They can demonise Putin, they can wax darkly about Russian atavism, and invoke its imperial designs, but it’s not Putin who is planning on deploying 4,000 troops to the Baltic states and Poland – it’s NATO. It’s not Putin who is going to send a heavy infantry brigade to Eastern Europe early next year – it is Obama’s US. And it is not Putin who, witnessing a section of another nation’s people protesting an election result, sides with the protesters and says conspiratorially ‘they deserve free, fair, transparent elections’ – that was then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in 2011, talking about Russia’s presidential elections.

In fact, Clinton has been an orchestrator-in-chief of the anti-Russian forces. She has spoken of seeking to ‘confine, contain, [and] deter Russian aggression in Europe and beyond’; she said Russia’s annexation of Crimea after the West/EU-stoked unrest in Ukraine, was reminiscent of Hitler’s justification for taking over parts of Eastern Europe; and, in the run-up to her failed election bid, she declared, ‘I remain convinced that we need a concerted effort to really up the costs on Russia and in particular on Putin’.

This is not just rhetoric. It had and continues to have real, destablising consequences. So over the past couple of months, with many predicting the victory of the anti-Russian, anti-Putin Clinton, Russia has rapidly increased its involvement and intervention in Syria: Russian warships and submarines are in place off the Syrian coastline; aircraft are flying and bombing; and Iranian and Hezbollah militias are actively assisting the reinforced Syrian regime. And the strategic motivation for ramping up the military campaign in Syria now, and with such brutality? A fear of a Clinton presidency, replete in anti-Russian sentiment, and determinedly anti-Assad commitment.

This is the effect the new liberal, right-thinking purveyors of the Cold War have been having on world affairs. They have been destabilising relationships, exacerbating tensions and prompting Russia to retroactively aggress, act out, protect itself. Given all this, is it not possible that Trump’s seemingly conciliatory approach towards Russia, which while no longer super, is still a power, is far less likely to disorder and barbarise assorted regions of the world than the not-so-passive aggression of a Clinton White House?

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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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Friday, November 25, 2016



Europe Begins to Take Immigration Seriously

The victory of Donald Trump cements the fear among European elites that was first stoked by Brexit. Can they change quickly enough for their voters?

The Prime Minister of France says that both his nation and Germany are in danger, and the European Union may fall apart.  The hazard?  Governments refusing to listen to their people's concerns about immigration and Islamist terror.

    Immigration was one of the main drivers of Britons' vote to leave the EU, and Valls said the bloc, which more than a million migrants entered last year, had to regain control of its borders.

    He said the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's election victory showed how important it was to listen to angry citizens, and that politicians scared of making decisions were opening the door to populists and demagogues.

Valls is worried chiefly about France's National Front party, which has a number of similarities to the forces that recently won stunning come-from-behind victories in the United Kingdom and the United States.  In the United States, the election of Donald Trump came in large part because of his frequently repeated promises to get tough on immigration.  In the United Kingdom, the so-called "Brexit" campaign struck a blow for Merry England.  Though there are significant security challenges associated with Brexit, in all the results have so far been reassuring to those who backed the Leave campaign.  Voters in that nation reasserted control over their national destiny and character, with the result that in the wake of this election concerns about immigration fell to a recent low among English citizens.  Though immigration concerns remain the single largest issue for Britons, it has in the wake of Brexit fallen to the level of an ordinary political concern - only a few more citizens are very worried about it than are very worried about poverty, for example.

In Germany, however, concerns about immigration are still sky high.

    On the other side of the scale are nations like Germany, where a grand total of 15 per cent of residents are immigrants and 38 per cent express concern, and Sweden where 14 per cent are immigrants and 36 per cent are worried.

    Also high among German concerns is worries about crime and extremism. Thirty-five per cent of Germans told interviewers they were worried about terror, 28 per cent about extremism, and 36 per cent about crime and violence.

The result has been the repeated success of political movements in Germany at the local levels.  Even Angela Merkel has begun to take notice.  During her recent trip to Niger, the German leader cautioned refugees not to come to Germany.  Ostensibly she is worried about the rate of drownings associated with refugee ships crossing the Mediterranean sea.  However, like Valls, she has to be feeling the pressure of the electoral wave.

Merkel's shift puts her in good company.  Self-described "liberal" politicians in Germany are also now demanding a new crackdown on immigrants, especially those who - as these politicians phrase it - "reject our state and act against our social order."  It is pretty clear to what that coded language intends to refer.  However, if anyone doubts that the issue is radical Islam, they need only look to the proposed policy solution:  "an expansion of faith-led Islamic classes, which they say should be taught under state supervision in German, by teachers with full training." 

That move to take direct government control of how Islam is taught represents a solution far too radical for Americans, whose First Amendment protects the church from any such government intervention.  Nevertheless, that such solutions are even under discussion should go a long way to demonstrating that the public's patience with governing elites is largely gone.  A political community is not just a market, as Aristotle said, but a group bound by shared values and common beliefs.  That basic idea, as old as ancient Greece, is being restored to its central role in public life by another Greek idea:  democracy.

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Town Renames "Good Friday" for the Sake of "Cultural Sensitivity"

Whenever you hear a liberal talking about cultural diversity and sensitivity it normally means something insensitive is about to happen to Christians.

The latest case in point: Bloomington, Indiana - the home of Indiana University and a nesting place for a gaggle of intolerant liberals.

Mayor John Hamilton recently announced that are renaming two paid holidays for city workers -- in an effort to respect "differing cultures."

Columbus Day will henceforth be known as "Fall Holiday" and Good Friday will be known as "Spring Holiday."

Mayor John Hamilton told Fox 59 the name change will “better reflect cultural sensitivity in the workplace.”

According to our Fox television affiliate -- some folks around town got upset when City Hall posted a closing sign referencing specific holidays.

“As a mayor we are in charge of government. We do not set religious policies, we are not supposed to be part of religion and we are just trying to make sure that our government is open to all people and inclusive,” the mayor told the television station.

And apparently the only way to achieve cultural diversity and sensitivity is by disrespecting Italians and Christians.

"It was not necessary and just stands to divide rather than unite when it comes to Good Friday," the Herald Times wrote in a staff editorial.

The newspaper said a case could be made for changing Columbus Day.  "To some in our country the idea of celebrating him is akin to celebrating a marauding invader who sought to destroy a culture," they wrote.

But Good Friday?  "It’s a day important to the faith of many in this country," they wrote. "The idea of acting as if city leaders don’t acknowledge its existence and would rather stick a “Spring Holiday” name on it is insensitive to those for whom it means a lot. It’s an unnecessary poke in the eye to many Christians."

Well said, editors!

Mayor Hamilton may not be aware but Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. It's about remembering that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.  Good Friday is a holy day -- not a day to frolick around a maypole in a field of pansies.

And to be honest - I've grown weary of boorish bureaucrats trying to whitewash our faith from the public marketplace all in the name of tolerance and diversity.

They never touch the Muslim holidays, do they? When was the last time you saw a liberal lawmaker launch a crusade to rename Ramadan? You'd have a better chance of spotting Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail.

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Conservative Group Launches Boycott of Target Over Bathroom Policies

A conservative watchdog group has started a campaign to boycott Target over its bathroom policies.

In April, Target announced that customers and employees at its locations would be allowed to “use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”

At the time, the American Family Association launched a petition to boycott the company for the policy, which garnered over 1 million signatures.

Now, watchdog group 2ndVote has launched the #AnywhereButTARGET hashtag and website to encourage customers to do their Christmas shopping elsewhere.

The stated purpose of the boycott is to “make Target understand that there are consequences for supporting a radical movement that is determined to redefine marriage, gender, and, ultimately, the First Amendment.”

According to the group’s press release:

2ndVote is calling on conservative consumers to engage the country’s second-largest retailer on its company-wide policy that allows and encourages individuals to choose restroom and changing room facilities based on gender identity rather than biological sex. Immediate pushback from conservatives forced Target to spend $20 million to add gender neutral bathrooms to its stores shortly after announcing the policy earlier this year.

Following the American Family Association boycott, Target announced it would spend $20 million to install private, unisex restrooms in its stores.

“When a company as large and well-known as Target chooses to insert itself directly into such a radical movement that seeks to ultimately destroy religious liberty and completely goes against our conservative values, it’s our role as an organization to give conservatives a way to communicate directly with the company,” 2ndVote Executive Director Lance Wray said in a statement.

According to its website, 2ndVote is a group that seeks to “expose the corporate influence on major policy decisions and turn the tide on the attacks on conservative values and principles.”

Boycotts of companies for the political views of their owners has become a trend in recent years, with supporters of same-sex marriage boycotting Chick–fil–A in 2012, and supporters of mandatory contraception coverage boycotting Hobby Lobby in 2014. 

SOURCE






At least half of anti-Trump protesters arrested in Portland didn’t vote, report says

After Donald Trump’s upset victory last week made him the next president of the United States, thousands of protesters marched in Portland’s streets to proclaim the businessman was “not my president.”

But, according to KGW, state election records indicate that at least half of those arrested didn’t register to vote or turn in a ballot in Oregon.

The television station cross-checked a list of 112 people arrested by Portland police and determined that 34 of those arrested did not return a ballot and another 35 were not registered to vote in the state. The voting records for another 17 protesters had yet to be confirmed, according to KGW.

One protester, though she was registered to vote in Oregon, told the station that she had voted in Washington state after recently moving across state lines. Opponent Hillary Clinton won Oregon’s seven electoral votes.

Most of those who were arrested in connection to the demonstrations had their charges dropped while police are completing paperwork, and will receive traffic citations instead, according to a statement from the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office. But two teenagers, who were arrested after a man was shot and hurt early Saturday morning, are being charged with attempted murder or aiding and abetting it, OregonLive reported.

SOURCE

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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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