Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The racist Left again

British social workers are very Leftist

It is early on Friday morning, and if life had turned out slightly differently, there would currently be children scampering across the spotless new carpet in Sandeep and Reena Mander’s beautiful Berkshire home.

Plastic bowls and other toddler breakfast detritus would need to be cleared away in the kitchen. Upstairs, their four spare bedrooms would be cluttered with cots and toys. Instead, we sit sipping tea in the immaculate living room with their lawyer listening in – contemplating a silence they are desperate to fill.

This week, the normally intensely private British-born couple have found themselves propelled into the centre of a national storm, and over something as simple as wanting to adopt and raise a child of their own.

The Manders, both of whose parents came to this country from Punjab as children, have launched legal action against the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and its adoption service Adopt Berkshire after being refused permission to adopt a white child because of their “cultural heritage”.

After failing to conceive naturally and undergoing a brutal six years of fertility treatments, the couple, who are in their early 30s and work in senior professional jobs, approached their local council to be considered for adoption. But they claim they were told that because the council only had white babies on its register they would not even be allowed to apply.  Despite a year of campaigning against the decision and being backed by their local MP, Theresa May, the local authority is refusing to budge, prompting their legal action.

“We’ve always felt British,” says Reena, in their first newspaper interview since the story broke earlier this week. “When they refused us it was probably the first time I have ever felt different. This is my country. This is where I’ve been born and bought up. I can’t really identify with any other country being my home.”

Like many young couples up and down the country, Sandeep and Reena Mander first locked eyes over a sticky dance floor at a student nightclub. It was Reena’s first year of a business information services degree at Leeds Metropolitan University, where Sandeep was studying for a degree in business studies after finishing school in Maidenhead.

All of their parents had come to this country with nothing and worked hard to secure a better life for their children. Reena, whose grandfather fought for the British Army, was raised in Leamington Spa, where her father built up a successful haulage firm from scratch. She and her three siblings all went to university.

At Leeds, Reena embraced university life, playing lacrosse, netball and hockey alongside her studies, as well as taking part in student theatre. She was celebrating the end of her final exams in 2006 when she began to feel a pain in her stomach. At first she presumed it was due to having eaten some poorly-cooked chicken at a barbecue, but when the pain got worse she made several trips to the doctors. Eventually, she collapsed and was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.

“It was a cyst twisting on my ovary to the point where they had to perform emergency surgery,” she says. “If it had popped – which it was on the point of doing - it probably would have killed me. I lost one of my ovaries but thankfully it was after my last exams and didn’t impact me getting my degree.”

She was assured by the doctors that she would still be able to have children. Soon after her recovery, Sandeep booked a private “Cupid’s Capsule” on the London Eye and proposed, with all of London sprawling below them. They married in 2007, with a traditional Indian wedding in front of some 600 guests.

Although neither of them is particularly religious, they held the service at a Sikh temple in Leamington Spa and the reception afterwards at a hotel in Solihull. Sandeep arrived in the traditional Sikh manner on a horse - and then, in a nod to his British upbringing, ensured there was a Bacardi bottle on every table during the evening do.

Reena, 33, who is a senior project manager for the communications company Three, travelled to India to buy her array of outfits for the day. It was only the second time she had ever been to the country. “The first time I was five and I got bitten to death by mosquitos,” she says in her dry Midlands accent. “I’ve still got the scars now.”

Their plan was always to have children young – certainly before they were 30 – and about seven years ago they began trying for a baby. When nothing happened they visited a gynaecologist for advice and eventually were told there was no other option but IVF. Reena was around 26 at the time and excluded from NHS treatments, which at the time were unavailable to couples under 30.

When she finally reached that age, they were told she still could not receive NHS treatment as they had already gone private. This was the first time they enlisted the support of Mrs May. “She was very supportive,” says Sandeep, who is 35 and works as vice president of sales for a payments company. “She wrote a letter in our favour, but the health authority didn’t budge.”

In total, the couple had 16 rounds of IVF back to back using private healthcare both in the UK and Spain, where more donors are available. They estimate that they have spent around £150,000 on treatments.

Then, two years ago, Reena finally became pregnant, only to miscarry at around 10 weeks.

“It was at that point where we had enough and couldn’t go through it again after that,” she says. “It can mean one or two things for a couple because it is such a stressful and emotional process, but thankfully it’s made us stronger.”

Instead, the couple registered their interest with Adopt Berkshire, the council’s adoption service, and in December 2015 attended an introductory workshop. They spent several months deliberating before deciding to officially register in April 2016.

“The way we’ve been bought up, the race of the baby never really entered our mind,” says Reena. “We didn’t even discuss it between ourselves.”

Sandeep says he was rejected outright because of his “cultural heritage” on the first phone call. The couple demanded a home visit by a social worker, but the council reiterated afterwards that they would not be allowed to apply. They claim they were told to adopt a child from India instead, despite having no close ties to the country.

Agencies are allowed to prioritise parents from the same ethnic group, but government guidelines state that a child’s ethnicity should not be a barrier to adoption. The Manders’ lawyer, Georgina Calvert-Lee of the law firm McAllister Olivarius, says not even allowing them to join the register is a simple case of discrimination. Adopt Berkshire has refused to comment.

The Manders say their case - which is supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission - is no longer about them. “The reason we are doing this [legal action] is to help other couples,” Sandeep says.

They have recently been cleared to adopt in the US, where Sandeep’s mother has family, and hope to be able to bring a child home soon. It is another expensive process, costing some $80,000 (£60,000) in fees alone.

The money, however, means nothing compared to the thought that they may soon be able to have a family of their own.

“When we have kids here it will be the happiest day of our lives,” Sandeep says. “I always keep thinking what I would do for them on the first birthday and what sort of party we will have.”

And then he breaks off, contemplating the future they have always longed for. And the agony of love as yet unfulfilled.


Australia: The Left is renewing its hate of the Jews

Leftists hate success in others and Jews tend to be successful in all sorts of ways.  Even Karl Marx hated Jews, despite being one himself.  Read his "Zur Judenfrage" if you doubt it

Labor will formally abandon ­almost 40 years of explicit ideological support for Israel with a resolution expected to be passed at this month’s NSW state conference, a move that would ultim­ately bind Bill Shorten to an unconditional recognition of a Palestinian state should he ­become prime minister.

A dramatic shift in language from the NSW branch is set to force the ALP national conference to adopt the same position next year, effectively ensuring federal Labor goes to the next election with a foreign policy position of unqualified recognition for a state of Palestine.

A significant hardening in the position contained in a motion endorsed by the NSW conference foreign affairs committee, obtaine­d by The Australian, has elevated what was previously conditional support for a Palestinian state based on a negotiated peace settlement and consult­ation with other countries, to a policy of categorical and immed­iate recognition of statehood.

A senior source close to the drafting of the motion claimed it was a “historic” move by Labor to effectively drop decades of ­“instinctive” support for Israel, which was cemented in 1977 with the creation of the Labor Friends of Israel.

“It is inevitable that the same motion will go before the national conference next year and, with the numbers as they are, it would be adopted,” the source said.

But the move risks a bitter split within Labor ranks, with pro-­Israeli Labor MPs meeting last night to resolve to oppose it. The Labor Israel Action Committee said that motions came from individual local branches and did not represent the final NSW conference position, ­despite the foreign affairs committee recommending that it be supported.

NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chairman and Labor Israel Action Committee patron Walt Secord said LIAC opposed the motions. “We see them as one-sided and do not promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict resulting in a two-state solution,” he told The Australian.

“We support a two-state solution with a Palestinian state, but the proposed motions need to be amended to include a recognition of Israel. I stressed the proposed motion in the official conference book is not final.”

While not regarded as a leadership issue for Mr Shorten — who faced pressure from Labor elders in February for a policy shift ahead of a meeting with ­Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — the move will cause friction with the Jewish lobby, which he has traditionally been close to.

NSW Jewish Board of Deput­ies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said: “Refusing to expressly recog­nise Israel’s right to exist, and ignori­ng the position of two states for two peoples, is a disturbing and backward step which will do absolutely nothing to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

“NSW Labor has long supported a two-state solution and it would be unfortunate in the extreme­ if a fair and constructive resolution is not reached.”

Despite Mr Shorten’s own Victorian faction, Centre Unity, now being the only significant pro-Israel­i bloc left in the ALP, the Labor leader — who in February faced calls by Kevin Rudd and Bob Hawke for Palestinian recognition — is believed not to have lobbied against the NSW motion, recognising that with the numbers backing it within the party membership­ and the caucus, a policy shift at the national level was unavoidable.

The NSW motion, obtained by The Australian, marks a fundamental shift in language from the national platform and the previous NSW position, which called for a Labor government to consult first with other countries on recognition if no progress had been made toward­s a peace settlement.

The motion states conference “notes previous resolutions on Israel­/Palestine carried at the 2015 ALP national conference and the 2016 NSW Labor annual conference and urges the next Labor government to recognise Palestine”.

In 2014, following a motion sponsored by then Labor foreign minister Bob Carr, NSW Labor adopted a position that if there was no progress to “a two-state solution, and Israel continues to build and expand settlements, a future Labor government will consult like­minded nations towards ­recognition of the Palestinian state”. The Tasmanian ALP state conference passed a similar but more strident resolution at the weekend, affirming that the next federal Labor government would ­“immediately recognise the state of Palestine”.

The same words are expected to be adopted by the Queensland state conference, which will be held on the same weekend as the NSW conference, July 29 and 30.

The South Australian Labor government used its majority to pass a motion last week that also recognised a state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, marking the first formal recognition by a parliament in Australia.

A senior Labor source said it was now impossible for next year’s national conference to not adopt the same policy, with the numbers on the floor of the national­ conference dominated by the left, which on this issue would now be supported by the NSW right.

A source close to Mr Shorten said that the Labor leader, who has been a staunch defender of Israel, now believed Labor’s unequivocal support for Israel could not be maintained, with the issue of settlements­ still unresolved.

“He did not lobby against it,” the source said. “He is smart enough to know it is happening and is allowing it to happen.”

The biggest push has come from within the NSW right, includi­ng some of Mr Shorten’s most committed supporters, who are also facing pressure within their own branches to support a stronger resolution. Mr Shorten expressed Labor’s support for Israe­l at the time of his meeting with Mr Netanyahu but had also raised the contentious issue of settlem­ents in a meeting with the Israeli leader.

“We want to see Israel safe and secure of its borders; we support the rights of the Palestinians people­ to have their own state,” Mr Shorten said at the time.

The outgoing vice-president of the Queensland ALP, Wendy Turner, welcomed the move by NSW and said that momentum was now there for the national conference to adopt the policy. “This issue has really awakened the rank and file,” she said. “Just as we recognised ­Israel’s right to exist, we need to recognise a Palestinian state.”

She confirmed that the Queensland conference would seek to re-affirm its resolution passed last year for a federal Labor government to unconditionally recognise a state of Palestine.


Fatties survive heart attack better -- and are not as shaky

Being obese can increase the rates of surviving a heart attack, a new study claims. Researchers found that mildly obese patients who suffered a major heart attack were 30 percent more likely to survive three years later. They were also more likely to recover faster and spend less time in the hospital.

The cardiologists that conducted the study in Dallas, Texas, said this is called the 'obesity paradox' because being an unhealthy weight increases the risk of heart conditions but can lead people to have better outcomes.

The study was conducted by heart doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

They examined medical records from nearly 20,000 Medicare patients, including those with a normal weight, who had suffered a heart attack.

Researchers found those who were mildly obese, having a BMI of 30 to 35, fared better than those who were of a normal weight, having a BMI between 18.5 to 25.

This group also did better than extremely obese patients, who fared the worst out of all weight categories.

First author Dr Ian Neeland said: 'One theory is that you have more energy reserves to combat the illness. You're able to weather the storm better.'

Other theories included that there has been oversight on factors that would explain the obesity advantage or if people of a normal weight have an diagnosed problem.


Obese people are nearly 20 per cent less likely to develop Parkinson's disease (PD), research reveals.

Having an obese BMI throughout your life lowers your risk of developing the condition by 18 per cent, researchers from University College London found.

This may be be due to the weight disorder sharing genetic variants with factors that protect against the neurological condition, according to researchers.

Yet, the researchers warn the health risks of carrying excessive weight will likely outweigh any reduced susceptibility to PD.

They said: 'Although our results suggest that higher BMI is potentially protective against PD, the negative health impacts of raising BMI are likely to be significant, and should be taken into account.'

Dr Neeland added: 'I think the message from this finding is that if you've had a heart attack and you're overweight or mildly obese, you shouldn't necessarily try to lose weight aggressively in the initial period after the heart attack.'

However, the heart doctor does not recommend patients to try and gain weight after a heart attack.

The expert said it's important to remember that being overweight or obese has a higher chance of developing heart disease and high cholesterol, among other health risks.

Senior author Dr James de Lemos added: 'Although obesity is clearly an important risk factor for the development of diabetes and heart disease, once a person already has heart disease, these relationships are not as clear cut.'

The new study's findings are consistent with a report from the American College of Cardiology in 2009.

The organization stated overweight heart attack victims should stay fat as they are more likely to live longer.

Their data found obese people were likely to outlive their leaner counterparts with the same severity of heart problems.

Experts also thought obese patients' survival rates were higher because excess weight meant patients had more reserves to fight disease than thinner patients.

Another explanation was that obese patients often seek medical advice earlier in the disease process because they are out of shape and suffering other symptoms, which gives doctors the chance to diagnose problems earlier.

Obesity continues to be an epidemic across the globe, with a recent global report revealing nearly a third of the world is obese or overweight.

The World Health Organization said the issue has become a 'disturbing global public health crisis', which is contributing to booming rates of diabetes and heart disease.

Excess weight is already contributing to one in every 14 deaths from any cause, the researchers found, a figure which they said is bound to rise.

The US had a rate of 33 percent obesity, which is around 79.4 million obese people.


Another Leftist conspiracy theory debunked

This essay is a response to the recent book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, by my Duke University colleague, Nancy MacLean, a professor in our distinguished Department of History.

It is, let me say at the outset, a remarkable book.

At first I misunderstood its method. MacLean has argued persuasively throughout her career for the historical method. For example, in Debating the American Conservative Movement: 1945 to the Present (with Donald T. Critchlow), she writes: “We hope this book will help students learn that the strongest, most tenable positions are arrived at through careful sifting of evidence and respectful encounters with opposing points of view” (2009, viii).

So perhaps I can be forgiven for my misunderstanding of her method in this book. Early in Democracy in Chains, in a preface entitled “A Quiet Deal in Dixie,” MacLean recounts an exchange, a conversation really, between two conservatives. One is the president of a major southern university, the other is an academic worker intent on reverse-engineering a repressive sociopolitical order in America, working from the ground up, using shadowy methods and discredited theories.

The academic writes a proposal for a research center where these ideas can be given a pestilential foothold, a source of viral infection hidden in a legitimate academic setting. The goal, as MacLean tells it, was to begin a Fabian war to re-establish a repressive, plutocratic society ruled by oligarchs. MacLean has actually examined the founding documents, the letters in this exchange, and cites the shadowy academic as saying: “I can fight this [democracy] . . . I want to fight this.” (xv, emphasis in original reference).

In his proposal, the professor expands on the theme, which I quote directly from Democracy in Chains (xv, emphasis in original): “Find the resources, he proposed to [the University President], for me to create a new center on the campus of the University . . . and I will use this center to create a new school of political economy and social philosophy.” Wow! That’s pretty big stuff.

Except . . . there’s something odd. The italicized text above is written in the first person and is also italicized in the original setting. But, the italicized passage has no quote marks. It’s not footnoted.

I was curious about that omission, so I tracked down the founding documents themselves: “Working Papers for Internal Discussion Only—General Aims” (1959) and “The Jefferson Center for Studies in Political Economy and Social Philosophy” (1956) (both from Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.). And it turns out that the reason there are no quote marks, and no footnotes, is that this exchange, and in particular the first-person italicized portion, never actually took place. It’s not a quote. No, seriously: It’s not a quote. It’s made up. Fabricated. Fictional.

MacLean, to her credit, never actually claims it is a quote, although a careless reader could be excused for thinking it was, given the first-person voice and the italics. Once I realized that this was the approach, the larger point became clear: Democracy in Chains is a work of speculative historical fiction. There is considerable research underpinning the speculation, and since MacLean is careful about footnoting only things that actually did happen she cannot be charged with fabricating facts. But most of the book, and all of its substantive conclusions, are idiosyncratic interpretations of the facts that she selects from a much larger record, as is common in the speculative-history genre. There is nothing wrong about speculation, of course, but there is nothing persuasive about it either, in terms of drawing reliable conclusions about history.

The reason that Democracy in Chains is remarkable is that it is such a great story. The evil mastermind of the secretive “Public Choice” movement, James M. Buchanan, was the winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. MacLean is able to decode the true meaning of his mostly rather bland, academic-ese writings, after which Buchanan achieves the status of a Bond villain. Buchanan sought nothing less than to bring down the America we all love, and replace it with a plutocracy. The account is rendered plausible by MacLean’s excellence as a writer.

The problem with history, of course, is that many narratives about a few cherry-picked events and documents are “plausible.” The task of the historian is to try to distinguish among plausible accounts “through careful sifting of evidence and respectful encounters with opposing points of view.” There is none of that here. Even a casual familiarity with the basic facts of James Buchanan’s life and scholarship, and of the growth and success of the Public Choice movement, reveal far simpler, and more plausible, explanations.

MacLean violates a fundamental principle of historical and philosophical biography: the principle of charity, which according to the esteemed philosopher Simon Blackburn (2016, 62) requires that the analyst must “maximize the truth or rationality in the subject’s sayings.” There are several versions of this principle, analogous to Occam’s Razor in the sciences. The principle of charity requires that you take the claims, words, and arguments of a subject at face value, unless there is compelling direct evidence to the contrary.

So (quoting now from the actual founding document of the Jefferson Center at the University of Virginia) when Buchanan said he wanted to establish a center “to preserve a social order built on individual liberty, and . . . as an educational undertaking in which students will be encouraged to view the organizational problems of society as a fusion of technical and philosophical issues,” the researcher should not call this “code” and infer a desire for racial segregation. The words might just mean what they say.

But decoding and paraphrasing, rather than charitable quoting, is the organon of MacLean’s book. Not of her other work, however, which as I have said is admirably academic and careful. Just this book. She examined some documents from the Buchanan archives, which by her own account (xvii–xx) were so poorly organized that no systematic review was possible.

MacLean decided a systematic review wasn’t necessary, because she found what she needed. For example, on page 66 of Democracy in Chains, we learn of the attempt by segregationist forces to support vouchers. MacLean says, “The economists made their case in the race-neutral, value-free language of their discipline, offering what they depicted as a strictly economic argument—on ‘matters of fact, not values.’” MacLean quotes nothing that would cleanly support the claim that Buchanan advocated vouchers for the purpose of achieving segregation.

The problem is that this view does not withstand even minor scrutiny as an actual account of Buchanan or Public Choice. Buchanan’s support for vouchers and for school choice arose from a deeply held concern for individual liberty. In fact, since the theme of Democracy in Chains is that Buchanan opposed majority will, the example of desegregation seems an odd choice for MacLean to emphasize. It was after all desegregation that was imposed, at the point of a bayonet, at the command of an anti-majoritarian institution, the Supreme Court. The electoral majority in Arkansas, and in rural Florida where I grew up, and in much of the South, strongly preferred a repressive apartheid society where African-Americans were denied the basic rights guaranteed to all U.S. citizens.

How might MacLean justify occupation by federal troops and for forcible desegregation, against the express will of democratic majorities? It’s easy: forcible desegregation was justified because segregation had itself been achieved by force—the illegitimate force of majorities! Jim Crow was a majority rule policy. The Constitution, or at least the Bill of Rights and Amendments 13-15, exist precisely to suppress the murderous and racist impulses of majorities.

Of course, this leaves us to argue about which impulses of majorities pass constitutional muster, and which must be forcibly suppressed, as in Little Rock, by heavily armed troops. That seems like an important debate. MacLean may disagree with Buchanan’s position, and that would be useful. But MacLean’s core claim throughout the book is that majorities are always right. But it was Brown v. Board of Education, not “majorities,” that sparked school desegregation.

Buchanan’s work certainly did have a perspective. He opposed state monopoly of education, but he was certainly not opposed to state participation in education. In fact, in the very document in MacLean cites (Buchanan and Nutter, 1959, 1) we can find this:

The case for universal education is self-evident: a democracy cannot function without an informed and educated citizenry....If education is to be universal, compulsion must be exercised by government - that is, by the collective organ of society - since some parents might choose to keep their children out of school. For similar reasons, minimum standards of education must be determined by government. Otherwise, the requirement of education is empty and meaningless...

The principle of charity would require at a minimum that a scholar not fabricate a set of evil motives that happen to fit an ideologically motivated narrative, but rather should take the argument as a possibly mistaken, but sincere expression of professed goals. In this case, however, Buchanan clearly says he favors state regulation and financing of education. In fact, he favored something that might surprise many observers: a confiscatory estate tax (Brennan and Munger, 2014, 337). MacLean’s description is more than uncharitable; it is grossly inaccurate.

On the other hand, and to her credit, MacLean has discovered a number of important documents from the history of Public Choice, and other aspects of the history of the 1960s and 1970s in academic economic circles. There is a terrific example on pp. 115–117, where the “glee” of Buchanan and others about their conspiracy, gathered around a roaring fire in the remote mountains of Virginia, is documented. Buchanan said that what the cause needed was to “create, support, and activate an effective counter-intelligentsia” to begin to change “the way people think about government.”

But some nuance is in order. I can imagine Buchanan saying just those things, and everyone present laughing at his sarcastic use of Marxist language and imagery. But notice that there was no swearing to secrecy; there was no claim that the goals of the movement should be hidden. In fact, Buchanan actually said, “If a history of the . . . movement is ever written, it can talk about origins in a log cabin deep in the Virginia mountains.” Friends, MacLean has in fact written that history, using easily available public documents that no one has made any effort to disguise or destroy.

This wasn’t a conspiracy; like anyone trying to establish an academic “school,” Buchanan very much hoped that the movement would sweep the nation, and the world. Another of my Duke colleagues, Fredric Jameson (1982, 75), used similar language:

I happen to think that no real systemic change in this country will be possible without the minimal first step of the achievement of a social democratic movement; and in my opinion even that first step will not be possible without two other preconditions (which are essentially the same thing): namely the creation of a Marxist intelligentsia, and that of a Marxist culture, a Marxist intellectual presence, which is to say, the legitimation of Marxist discourse as that of a “realistic” social and political alternative in a country which (unlike most of the other countries in the world) has never recognized it as such.

If you think that the current system is bad and getting worse, then you hope to start a movement. That movement is likely to be accelerated by (1) the existence of an educated cadre, and (2) the legitimation of that sort of discourse, so that it is academically acceptable to have such discussions. So, while Buchanan and Jameson disagree about almost everything else, they agreed about what was required for changing society in the direction that they honestly thought would be useful for society.

Much more HERE


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


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