Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Homofascist censors don’t want us thinking for ourselves
JENNIFER ORIEL writes from Australia as follows:
In their campaign for gay marriage, some activists have developed a regrettably totalitarian strategy. It is to target dissenters, gay or straight, and silence them through persistent bullying. It is a strategy where the ends justify the means. The ends are not the formal equality of homosexuals and gay marriage. It is absolute conformity to radical queer ideology.
Like many columnists, artists and voracious consumers of the late Bill Leak’s art, I have wondered what he might have made of the past week’s events.
In a discussion of Leak’s cartoons on Monday’s Q&A on ABC, panellists praised polite speech in contrast to his politically incorrect art. The prim thought police did not deem impolite the audience member who smeared Leak as a “racist” only three days after his death. At times like these, you need Leak on the illustration and Baudelaire on the caption.
In the following days, a draft letter on same-sex marriage was leaked to the press. The corporate chiefs who signed it apparently wanted the Prime Minister to abandon his pre-election commitment to a people’s vote on same-sex marriage.
Some queer activists have celebrated the idea of politicians snatching the plebiscite vote away from the people. They seem to believe that denying people freedom of thought is the constitution of equality. As a justification, they imagine some hypothetical harm that might result from fellow citizens exercising independence in a free vote on the matter of marriage. We are used to hearing the PC nonsense that free and civil speech causes harm. Now sections of the activist class contend that democracy too is harmful. They are unlikely to find accord among dissidents in totalitarian states.
In the same week, Islamophobia propagandists tried to stop enlightenment advocate and freethinker Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaking at events across Australia. She too has been criticised as harmful by people whose sense of self, status and taxpayer-funded careers rely on cultivating and maintaining a victim identity.
Just as the PC naval-gazers looked like they had reached peak narcissism, along came an outrage to outrage them all; a video of civil conversation between beer-drinking blokes. If not for the gallows of political correctness, the story could rival Springtime for Hitler in hilarity.
Consider the context. The scene is set on a balmy, late summer day. Two high-profile politicians from the political right — men in the prime of their lives — want to talk marriage. They have arranged to meet on none other than Valentine’s Day at, wait for it, Queen’s Terrace. Their brief, polite conversation is filmed by a fellow who recently has come out of the closet in Newtown, a Sydney suburb brimming with students, activists, lesbians and gays. Unfortunately, he has come out as a Christian and conservative in Newtown, which is something akin to staging a drag cabaret in the Kremlin.
The chat between the conservative straight politician who supports traditional marriage and the libertarian gay politician who wants same-sex marriage legalised is amicable. It is so civilised and friendly that it enrages activists who view dissenters as an enemy class to be silenced, not befriended. They dislike civility and public reason because it exposes their intemperance.
Some outraged activists took to Twitter and any social media platform they could find to launch a queer fear blitz on beer.
The video to discuss the meaning of marriage featured Coopers beer that was produced as part of a joint Coopers and Bible Society campaign, “Keeping it Light”. The brewer has a long association with the society and the campaign includes a series of beer cartons with inspirational quotes from the Bible. Such quotes shouldn’t be controversial in any country, let alone a Christian-majority nation.
In the past, some wine companies have inscribed bottles with scripture. It appears that the Coopers case became controversial for two reasons. Firstly, the company has a relationship with a Christian organisation (very politically incorrect). Secondly, the video celebrated public reason on the question of marriage, which is an issue the PC class wants to monopolise. It targets dissenters, regardless of whether they are gay, bisexual or straight. The aim is to shut down all debate to create absolute ideological conformity.
Several Coopers boycotters were associated with the Greens. Adam Bandt and Christine Milne backed the boycott, as did Jason Ball, who stood as Greens candidate in the last election. On Twitter, Ball wrote: “… conservative Christians buy up cases of alcohol to smite gay people”. James Brechney, a Mardi Gras board member, led an online petition to boycott Coopers. It read: “Coopers recent alignment with the Bible Society, who are openly against Marriage Equality, is shameful!” Brechney described the conversation on marriage between parliamentary mates Andrew Hastie and Tim Wilson thus: “A video where two Liberal Party MPs discuss the issue of same-sex marriage. It’s horrendous!”
On the Coopers Club forum, some members decried the company’s commercial relationship with a Christian group. However, when a member asked what they thought of Coopers’ halal certification, most declined to criticise the company’s relationship with an Islamic group. It is a double standard. Boycott and divestment campaigns against Christians or Jews are commonly justified while boycotts of Islamic organisations are deemed racist.
Coopers made the critical error of capitulating to PC bigotry. According to sources, the legal counsel for Coopers asked the Bible Society to take down the video. It is no longer available online. In a filmed apology, Tim and Melanie Cooper looked like a pair of thought reform victims in a re-education camp.
If you want liberty, democracy and Christianity to survive, never submit to the PC mob. In its response, Coopers might have stated simply that while the company didn’t finance the video, its leadership believes in free speech, freedom of association and a vibrant Australian democracy where mates can discuss any issue over a beer.
There was little to learn from the activist campaign against free speech between mates, but irony emerged in its wake. The biblical quote on Coopers’ controversial beer read: “Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light” (John 3:21).
No "safe spaces" for men?
Muirfield golf club voted by a large majority yesterday to drop its men-only policy and welcome female members for the first time. Members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers voted by 80 per cent in favour of allowing women to join the club.
The result means that Muirfield will again become a venue for The Open, thought to be worth around £80 million
In a statement the R&A - golf's governing body - said: "In light of today’s decision by the Honourable Company we can confirm that Muirfield will become a venue for The Open once again. Muirfield has a long and important history of hosting the Open and with today's vote that will continue.
"It is extremely important for us in staging one of the world's great sporting events that women can become members at all our host clubs."
In a second ballot on the question, the motion was passed by 498 votes to 123. Following the vote the club said: "We look forward to welcoming women as members."
The rule change required a two third's majority and Tuesday's vote appears to have exceeded that with ease. More than 92 per cent of members voted.
A first postal ballot on admitting women members held last May came up two per cent short, causing the R&A, the ruling body which oversees the game’s oldest major, to tell the privately-owned links that it would no longer be considered as a host venue of the Open.
“The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and going forward we will not stage the Championship at a venue that does not admit women as members,” a statement at the time said.
At the time of the last May's vote the then Prime Minister David Cameron described the club’s policy as “outdated”, while Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister, called the result of the ballot "indefensible".
She said: "Muirfield is a private club and they’re in charge of their own rules and regulations, and I accept that, but this is 2016.
“Scotland has women leaders in every walk of life, in politics, in law, in business and everywhere else. I think this decision is wrong and I hope there’s a way of looking at it again and overturning it.
“As well as being wrong, it’s damaging to Muirfield as a club. I want to see The Open played at Muirfield – it’s a fantastic golf course – so this really is a regrettable decision.”
With politicians, golfers, media and, more pertinently, the public heaping their derision on Muirfield, the embarrassment was so great that another vote was quickly planned.
On 6th Anniversary of Syria Civil War, UN Body Releases Report – Accusing Israel of ‘Apartheid’
On the day that the Syrian civil war entered its seventh year, a United Nations body focusing on the Arab world launched a report in neighboring Lebanon charging that Israel is “guilty of the crime of apartheid” in its dealings with the Palestinians.
A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that the report released Wednesday did not reflect Guterres’ views, but U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the secretariat should go further and withdraw it altogether.
Haley criticized both the body that commissioned and released the report – the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) – and one of the document’s two co-authors, a Princeton international law scholar notorious for criticism of Israel and controversial statements on Islamist terrorism against the U.S.
Richard Falk worked as U.N. “special rapporteur” on the Palestinian territories from 2008-2014. His harsh condemnation of Israel, remarks on an “apparent cover up” over the 9/11 terror attacks, and suggestions that the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing was an understandable consequence of the “American global domination project,” prompted calls by the Obama administration for his removal.
But Falk served out his six-year term, before being commissioned by ESCWA to co-author a study into something that he had previously alleged in his reports for the U.N. – that Israel’s policies in the disputed territories bear characteristics of apartheid.
Apartheid was the system of statutory, harshly-enforced racial segregation introduced by the white minority Nationalist government in South Africa in 1948, until formally ended in 1994.
Falk and co-author Virginia Tilley argued in the report that the legal prohibition of apartheid had not been rendered moot by the collapse of the system in South Africa, and determined that “Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid.”
The report went a lot further than make that determination: It recommended action from U.N. member-states’ governments including implementing “boycott, divestment and sanctions” against Israel; taking legal action “including allowing criminal prosecutions of Israeli officials demonstrably connected with the practices of apartheid against the Palestinian people”; and exploring “ways of cooperating in the discharge of their duty to oppose and overcome the regime of apartheid.”
It also recommended the revival of a U.N. “special committee against apartheid” (which existed from 1962-1994) and said Guterres should recommend to the Security Council and General Assembly that a “global conference” be held to discuss further action against Israel.
Headquartered in Beirut, ESCWA comprises 18 Arab countries. (Its membership overlaps that of the 22-member Arab League, but excludes Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti and Somalia.)
In a hard-hitting statement responding to the report, Haley noted that most of those countries do not recognize Israel.
“That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising,” she said.
“That it was drafted by Richard Falk, a man who has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments about Israel and espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories, including about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is equally unsurprising,” Haley continued.
“The United Nations secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether. The United States stands with our ally Israel and will continue to oppose biased and anti-Israel actions across the U.N. system and around the world. ”
The report’s release comes at a sensitive time for the world body, as the Trump administration reportedly mulls deep cuts to U.S. contributions to the U.N.
Guterres’ spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, was quick to distance his boss from the report when asked about it at a regular briefing in New York on Wednesday.
“We just saw the report today which, as you say, was published by ESCWA,” he said. “It was done so without any prior consultations with the secretariat, and the report, as it stands, does not reflect the views of the secretary general.”
Dujarric also pointed out that the report itself carries a disclaimer: “The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its officials or member-states.”
(Nonetheless, ESCWA at a meeting in Qatar last December passed a resolution stressing the need to disseminate the report widely.
And at Wednesday’s launch in Beirut, ESCWA executive secretary Rima Khalaf of Jordan embraced a report which she said was the first of its kind published by a U.N. body that concludes Israel has established an apartheid regime.)
A reporter pointed out to Dujarric that Falk was for many years attached to the U.N. (special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council) but the spokesman noted that he was no longer in that role.
He added that U.N. special rapporteurs “are independent.”
In 2011, Falk in a blog posting wrote about an “apparent cover up” over the 9/11 terror attacks, and said mainstream media were “unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events.”
Then-U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice in response called on the U.N. to remove Falk from his special rapporteur post.
In 2012, Rice again called for his removal, after Falk recommended in a report that U.S. and other businesses operating in the disputed territories should be boycotted, and face “legal and political” measures.
Then-U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was critical, but said he could not dismiss Falk, since special rapporteurs are appointed by HRC member-states, not the secretariat.
In 2013, Falk linked the Boston Marathon bombing to U.S. policies, citing its support for Israel in particular.
“The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world,” he wrote.
Rice again called for Falk to go. Instead, he doubled down on the Boston comments, telling the Daily Princetonian, “The U.S. is really the only country that projects its military power to all parts of the world,” and adding that “engaging in military undertakings around the world is bound to produce some kinds of resistance, and that resistance as in the Boston incident can assume a pathological form.”
Earlier controversies included a 2007 article entitled “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” in which Falk compared Israeli treatment of Palestinians to Nazi atrocities against European Jews.
“Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity?” he asked. “I think not.”
Less than a year later the U.N. Human Rights Council named Falk as its special rapporteur. He reportedly was picked from more than 180 potential candidates.
Study Debunks Oft-Cited Research Alleging Voter ID Laws Are Racist
New research suggests a widely cited study that claimed proof of the racist effects of voter ID laws was false.
“The results on voter ID laws are in — and it’s bad news for ethnic and racial minorities,” ran a September 2016 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, authored by University of California San Diego Professor Zoltan L. Hajnal.
“My colleagues Nazita Lajevardi and Lindsay Nielson and I analyzed validated voting data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study in order to follow voter turnout from 2006 through 2014 among members of different groups … in states with and without strict ID laws,” Hajnal wrote. “The patterns are stark. Where strict identification laws are instituted, racial and ethnic minority turnout significantly declines,” he wrote.
“Strict voter ID laws may reduce turnout, particularly among minorities, but the evidence presented [by the original authors] does not constitute reliable information documenting such a relationship.”
In February of this year, following President Donald Trump’s win and the installation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Hajnal recycled his op-ed in The Washington Post — this time with the other two co-authors of the study on the byline.
"Hispanics are affected the most: Turnout is 7.1 percentage points lower in general elections and 5.3 points lower in primaries in strict ID states than it is in other states. Strict ID laws mean lower African-American, Asian American and multiracial American turnout as well. White turnout is largely unaffected," Hajnal, Lajevardi, and Nielson wrote (note: in Zoltan's original LA Times op-ed, he claimed that voter ID laws actually increase white turnout).
The bottom line, according to the authors, is that voter ID "laws have a disproportionate effect on minorities, which is exactly what you would expect given that members of racial and ethnic minorities are less apt to have valid photo ID."
Unsurprisingly, the professors' op-ed and their study was enthusiastically repeated across much of the mainstream media. "New study confirms that voter ID laws are very racist," ran a Think Progress headline. "Study: Those Allegedly Racist Voter ID Laws Are Actually Pretty Racist," proclaimed GQ.
It paints a dark picture indeed — a shocking reminder of America's unspoken racial divides. Or it would if it were true. New research by scholars at Stanford, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania suggests the claims are not true at all.
"To study how voter identification laws affect participation in elections, Hajnal, Lajevardi and Nielson (2017) examines validated turnout data in five national surveys conducted between 2006 and 2014," noted the authors of the new study, published on Friday.
"The study concludes that strict ID laws cause a large turnout decline among minorities, especially Latinos. Here, we show that the results of this paper are a product of large data inaccuracies, that the evidence does not support the stated conclusion, and that model specifications produce highly variable results," the authors wrote.
"When errors in the analysis are corrected, one can recover positive, negative, or null estimates of the effect of voter ID laws on turnout. Our findings underscore that no definitive relationship between strict voter ID laws and turnout can be established from the validated CCES data," they said.
"Strict voter ID laws may reduce turnout, particularly among minorities, but the evidence presented [by the original authors] does not constitute reliable information documenting such a relationship," the authors of the new study concluded.
The results of the new study aren't surprising to advocates of voter ID laws and election integrity protections.
"If ever you wanted a good example for the term 'alternate facts,' look no further," said Public Interest Legal Foundation spokesman Logan Churchwell.
"For years, activists and academics have been searching for the silver bullet to prove voter ID is harmful to minorities, despite broad support for the laws across every demographic. Many federal courts have been asked to do the same: find a causal link between voter ID and intentional decreases in minority turnout. All eventually failed," he said.
"Despite this, too many in the media are willing to report an initial study as gospel before peer reviewers can weigh in," Logan continued.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.