Thursday, July 19, 2018

Standing Against the Rainbow Mafia's Speech-Squelching Agenda

Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine "just said no" to a plank of the homosexual agenda

A funny thing happened on the way to another progressive effort, led by the Rainbow Mafia, to restrict Americans’ freedom:

Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine “just said no.” He vetoed a bill that would have banned state therapists from working with individuals troubled by feelings of same-sex attraction or the idea that their gender identity and chromosomal reality are a mismatched set — a.k.a. gender dysphoria.

LePage’s reasons for doing so couldn’t be clearer. “This [bill] is so broad that licensed professionals would be prohibited from counseling an individual even at the individual’s own request,” he wrote. “We should not prohibit professionals from counseling an individual even at the individual’s own request. We should not prohibit professionals from providing their expertise to those who seek it for their own personal and basic questions such as, ‘How do I deal with these feelings I am experiencing?’”

He also struck a blow for religious freedom and parental rights. “Parents have the right to seek counsel and treatment for their children from professionals who do not oppose the parents’ own religious beliefs,” he added. “Because the standard of practice for these professionals already prohibits any practice or therapy that would amount to physical or mental abuse, what we are really trying to regulate are the private, consultative conversations between a licensed provider and a client.”

Anyone remember which side of the political divide champions the right to privacy, to the point of indulging in hysterical paroxysms with regard to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and the thought that Roe v. Wade might be overturned? That particular right to privacy has precipitated more than 60 million abortions since 1973, making a complete mockery of Bill Clinton’s 1996 assertion that the Democrat Party’s policy stance on abortion was that it should be “safe, legal and rare.”

The Rainbow Mafia and its allies in the media and Democrat Party denigrate any conversation between a therapist and a patient that attempts to address an individual’s own concerns with homosexuality and transgenderism as “conversion therapy.” And while a UCLA study revealed that historical concerns about some of the techniques employed in conversion therapy that began as early as the 1890s are legitimate, LePage made it clear he isn’t endorsing anything that could be construed as abusive. “At no time should such treatment take the form of mental or physical abuse,” he wrote, “and such treatment should always be subject to the statutory requirements of the standard of care for that profession.”

The same study reveals that nine states — California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont — as well as the District of Columbia currently ban conversion therapy. Therapists in those states who employ the practice can be disciplined for doing so. Yet even those states can’t ignore the First Amendment: The laws generally don’t apply to religious or spiritual leaders acting in a religious capacity, provided they are not paid for their services.

The study further notes that opinion polls show a substantial majority of Americans in Florida, Virginia and New Mexico have supported a ban on conversion therapy, and that members of Congress have introduced a bill, The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017, aimed at classifying conversion therapy provided for a fee as consumer fraud.

No doubt it’s indelicate to ask, but who’s attempting to convert whom? Perhaps polls should be taken to find out whether Americans are on board with state-sanctioned ruination of religious Americans’ livelihoods for failing to embrace the homosexual agenda, or teaching the transgender agenda at the kindergarten level in public schools to children — often with no opt-out choice given to parents who don’t want their children indoctrinated with “LGBTQ” propaganda.

Maybe Americans should be asked if they were okay with an Obama administration that mandated the imposition of the transgender agenda absent any input from Congress. Using Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as their vehicle, Obama & Co. threatened to initiate lawsuits, and withhold federal education funds from states that did not give students claiming to be members of the opposite sex access to bathrooms and lockers rooms of their choice. Other entities followed suit, ultimately leading to a 2015 law in Oregon that provides Medicaid coverage for the gamut of transgender treatments, including surgery — regardless of age.

The ultimate abrogation of parental rights regarding this particular type of “conversion therapy”? In Oregon, patients as young as 15 are not required to get parental consent for it. In other words, children can decide on their own to get life-altering vaginoplasties and double mastectomies — but psychotherapy advising them that such drastic measures might not be a good idea is forbidden.

Matt Moonen, executive director of Equality Maine, insists LePage is wrong. “Studies show that this actually causes harm to minors who are subjected to this so-called treatment so this sends a pretty terrible message from the governor to LGBT kids across the state,” he stated.

Here’s a message for kids across the state: Extensive data collated in 2016 by Dr. James Cantor revealed that 60-90% of children who believe they are transgender change their minds when they reach adulthood. Here’s another message: These children attempt suicide at a rate 20 times higher than their peers.

But psychotherapy that might address these realities should be banned?

LePage pointed out that Maine’s legislature, which failed to override his veto, has a decidedly curious outlook with regard to human rights. Led by Democrats last April, they voted against a bill that would have criminalized female genital mutilation (FGM) — as in the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for cultural, rather than medical, reasons. “What we should not be doing is counting potential victims at-risk by counting the number of Somali, Egyptian and Gideon females in immigrant families in Maine. Not unless we are willing to face the racism in that calculation and the racism and misogyny entrenched in so many of us,” declared Democrat State Rep. Charlotte Warren at the time.

How about facing the calculation that progressives will abide barbaric traditions utterly inimical to American values under the rubric of supporting multiculturalism and diversity?

LePage sees the irony in the legislature’s priorities. Yet irony is the wrong word, and California’s legislature reveals why. While Maine legislators would like to see certain conversations banned, California legislators passed a law in 2015 compelling conversations: Pro-life medical clinics were ordered to supply abortion literature to their clients. That law was just overturned (5-4) by the Supreme Court, which viewed the mandate as a violation of free speech.

How can two different state legislatures reach diametrically opposed ideas regarding free speech? Because protecting it comes in a distant second to serving the progressive agenda. And if it takes diametrically opposed and thoroughly misguided positions on the First Amendment to “win by any means necessary,” so be it.

Gov. Paul LePage is one governor who won’t be intimidated by the Rainbow Mafia — at least this time. Here’s hoping there are others.


Facebook ‘tells trainee staff not to take down violent videos’

Just conservative ones

Facebook content moderators are instructed to leave videos of violent abuse on the site to improve user experience, an investigation has found.

When dealing with a graphic violent post, moderators are told that they have three options — ignore it, delete it, or mark it as disturbing, which places restrictions on who can see the content.

Clips showing the “repeated kicking, beating or slapping of a child or an animal by an adult”, “the inflicting of a burn or a cut wound by an adult” or “the tossing, rotating or shaking of an infant too young to stand by their wrists, ankles, legs, arms or neck” are not taken down. Instead they are marked as “disturbing child abuse” and remain accessible to anyone who claims to be over 18.

An undercover reporter for Channel 4’s Dispatches filmed training sessions at CPL Resources in Dublin, Facebook’s largest centre for UK content moderation. Trainees were shown a video of a young boy being stamped on as an example of what type of abuse would be allowed to remain on the platform.

When asked why violent content was left on the site, a moderator told the reporter that it was “for better user experience”. He added that “if you start censoring too much, then people lose interest in the platform . . . It’s all about making money at the end of the day”.

Roger McNamee, a venture capitalist and an early investor in Facebook who has since criticised it, told Dispatches: “From Facebook’s point of view this is, this is just essentially, you know, the crack cocaine of their product. It’s the really extreme, really dangerous form of content that attracts the most highly engaged people on the platform.”

Nicci Astin, who campaigns against child abuse, reported the clip of the boy being stamped on to Facebook in 2012 but was told it did not violate the terms and conditions. It was not removed.

“Initially you see a little tiny boy, he must be about two or three in the video, with a man talking to him and shouting at him,” she told Dispatches. “Then he was hitting him and punching him, he was throwing him about. Then he was stamping and kicking on him. And then obviously the video cut. You’re left with knowing absolutely nothing apart from a sickening feeling that you’ve just seen some man beating up a tiny little boy.”

It emerged that the boy was treated in hospital and his stepfather jailed in Malaysia, where the clip was shot. The video, shared 44,000 times in the first two days of posting, remains online without a graphic content warning.

Facebook told Dispatches that it did escalate such issues and contact the authorities. It said that the video should have been removed.

Richard Allan, vice-president of public policy at Facebook, said: “Shocking content does not make us more money, that’s just a misunderstanding of how the system works. . . People come to Facebook for a safe, secure experience to share content with their family and friends. The vast majority of those two billion people would never dream of sharing content that, like that, to shock and offend people.”

Julian Knight, a Tory member of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, said the revelations were alarming but not surprising and criticised Facebook’s response to the MPs’ questions about extreme content.

In the documentary, to be shown tonight, Facebook bosses also admit that moderators are not allowed to take down pages with many followers, such as that of the far-right activist Tommy Robinson, even if they breach its rules.


In Germany, the 'Immigration' Worm Has Turned

I'm in Berlin at the moment, staying not far from Checkpoint Charlie, through which I passed many times during the Cold War, and not far from the spot where, sledgehammer in hand, I did my small bit to dismantle the Berlin Wall in November of 1989.

So much has changed in the nearly 30 years since that memorable moment: McDonald's and KFC have franchises on either side of the intersection of the Friedrichstrasse and the Zimmerstrasse, where the Wall briefly opened to allow a narrow passage from the American sector's principal checkpoint across a short block flanked on both sides by the Todesstreifen of barbed-wire and machine-gun free-fire fields.

On the western side -- actually the southern side, by the compass -- the fearsome Wall was gaily painted with graffiti; on the other, it was a blank slate of gray concrete, fully reflective of the Stalinist Leftist orthodoxy of the only captive nation that even remotely tried to make a go of the Marxist economic, social, and moral lie.

Now, three decades after the Wall came down, I'm back in East Berlin talking to old and new German friends -- most of them Ossis, or East Germans -- about the current state of Germany's overriding social and political issue: the influx of more than one million cultural aliens, mostly from the Muslim ummah and thus by faith and profession profoundly opposed to Western Judeo-Christian civilization. And their answer is... not good for the Merkel administration.

Since the end of WWII, the German impulse has been to apologize for... well, just about everything since Arminius wiped out the Romans in the Teutoburg Forest in the year 9 AD. And, to be fair, they've had a lot to apologize for. In the western sectors, occupied by the French, the British, and the Americans in the war's aftermath and united to form West Germany, they quickly got their economic system up and running, restored much of the infrastructure that had been obliterated, and got on with the business of building a social democracy that became a model for the rest of Western Europe.

But the restoration of Germany society was in part paid for by the taxpayers of the United States, who supported an enormous military force (upwards of 200,000 military personnel at the time of reunification in 1990) as the U.S. and NATO faced off against the Soviets and the Warsaw Pact nations across Charlie and all over Europe.

Too Late, Germany Realizes Its Mistake

The American presence preserved the peace and, eventually, was critical in the West's victory in the Cold War. But it was bad for Germany in that it gave the Germans the luxury to take the "high moral ground" and abjure their own self-defense while they poured money into social programs. Having been effectively a ward of NATO and America, the Germans unhappily combined their war guilt with the mistaken moral superiority of their newfound pacifism.

The result was that they were completely unprepared for the consequences of their Ossi-raised chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to allow free entry to the "Syrian" "refugees" in 2015, a vast trekking horde of mostly male Muslims of military age from as far away as Afghanistan, who marched on the rich countries of the West, passing through Greece and Hungary and Italy on their way to the greener pastures of France, England, and Germany. Proudly proclaiming a "welcoming culture" and mouthing Merkel's slogan, "Wir shaffen das" (We can handle this), Germany opened its arms to the "diversity" delusion.

What the Germans expected to welcome were people fleeing oppression, and who would abide by German norms of social civility, which include peace and (especially) quiet, who would quickly learn to converse and interact on a sophisticated level -- who would become, in short, exactly like most Germans. What they got was an Islamic rabble wholly uninterested in Germany except how to exploit its hospitality while loudly complaining about it. The molestation of more than a thousand German girls in Cologne by Muslim "refugees" on New Year's Eve in 2015 was the first indication that North African sexual norms were coming to roost in Germany. And while the government has downplayed "migrant" crimes against the local women, the word still gets out and around.

In Germany, the case of a young Muslim refugee charged with the rape and murder of a teenage girl has captured media attention and rocked Germany’s Jewish community: The victim, 14-year-old Susanna Feldmann, was Jewish. Missing since May 22, the girl’s  body was found June 6 buried in a shallow grave near her hometown of Mainz. The case has rattled Germany, which is beset with worries about crime emanating from the large Muslim refugee population — many of whom are young, single men, frustrated and aimless.

While many facts have come out since the body of Susanna Feldmann was found and the suspect was arrested and interrogated, the incident still feeds populist speculation and anger at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who in 2015 opened the door to more than a million refugees from the war-torn Middle East on humanitarian grounds. Many are young, single men between 16 and 30 years old — like Ali Bashar,  the 20-year-old former asylum seeker who admitted killing Susanna.

Now the realization is dawning that few, if any, of Mutti Merkel's kinder are going to turn into Germans or become assimilated into the host culture. The realization has been delayed by the international media's cultural-Marxist insistence on conflating citizenship with ethnic nationality and declaring there is no difference between them. This may be true in the United States, which is unique among nations, but most definitely is not in continental Europe, where the modern nation-state first evolved; in Germany, the jus sanguinis made possible the prompt repatriations of the Volga Germans -- whose families had lived in Russia for hundreds of years -- after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, until 1990 when Germany introduced a very limited form of birthright citizenship, children of foreigners born and raised in Germany had no call on German citizenship at all.

It's not a conclusion most Germans are comfortable with, but as the gap between fantasy and reality widens, inevitable conclusions are being reached. Merkel's recent climbdown on "immigration" may have temporarily saved her administration, but it's only a matter of time before she falls, to be replaced with someone who realizes "Wir kann das nicht schaffen."

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who staked her legacy on welcoming hundreds of thousands of migrants into Germany, agreed on Monday to build border camps for asylum seekers and to tighten the border with Austria in a political deal to save her government. It was a spectacular turnabout for a leader who has been seen as the standard-bearer of the liberal European order but who has come under intense pressure at home from the far right and from conservatives in her governing coalition over her migration policy.

Although the move to appease the conservatives exposed her growing political weakness, Ms. Merkel will limp on as chancellor. For how long is unclear. The nationalism and anti-migrant sentiment that has challenged multilateralism elsewhere in Europe is taking root — fast — in mainstream German politics.

Ms. Merkel agreed to the latest policy after an insurrection over migration policy led by her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, threatened to bring down her coalition. Mr. Seehofer demanded that Germany block migrants at the border if they have no papers, or have already registered in another European country. Ms. Merkel, who supports free movement across Europe’s borders, has been opposed to any moves effectively resurrecting border controls until Monday night, when she made the deal to stay in power.

Anyone who's ever spent a week in Germany -- and I've spent a good deal of my life here -- could have known that Merkel's social experiment in soft-headed egalitarianism was doomed to failure. The Islamic invasion of the West is succeeding in places like France, where it has taken advantage of the French civic dogma of laïcité and the residual anti-Christian sentiment of the French Revolution, first by having the religious trappings of Islam ignored and now, as the Muslim population grows, by forcing the French to take notice of their faith and demanding its open expression in contravention of French law.

Meanwhile in Britain, the church founded by Henry VIII in a fit of pique, and currently presided over by a 92-year-woman, looks to be on its last legs except in a strictly ceremonial sense; into this spiritual void has rushed the former colonials of Africa and Pakistan, bringing vibrant Islam with them.

Whether the Germans are made of sterner stuff than the Brits and the French remains to be seen. Certainly, everyone is trying to tread as lightly as possible, tiptoeing around the unpleasant truths while trying to avoid the even-more-unpleasant consequences of Merkel's folly. At this point, the best that can be hoped for is a halt to further invasion, rapid processing of the alleged "asylum" seekers and speedy repatriation of those found to be unqualified, even under the generosity of the German constitution's Asylrecht -- which has already undergone a considerable rollback since 1993.

It's important to remember that the Germans have seen this movie before, starring the Turks, who came as Gastarbeiter in the 1960s and, rather than returning home the way the Spanish, Greeks and Italian guest workers largely did, stayed in Germany to evolve a parallel society in which they stayed Muslim and Turkish. But the non-assimilation of a new, restive group of militant Muslims who've arrived not in search of a job but of a handout, is a whole new order of magnitude for Germany.

How will they react? With the Wall now gone for longer than it was up, Germans still shudder at the memory and don't wish for Checkpoint Charlie to reappear in the form of restrictive immigration policies. But that Wall was built by the Communists, and meant to keep the East Germans in, whereas the nationalist movements now sweeping Europe want to keep Islam out -- the way they have since the Battle of Lepanto and the Gates of Vienna. The Germans are going to have to decide, and quickly, which side of the Wall they're looking at it. The future of Europe depends on it.


Australian judge bans niqab in court's public gallery

A Victorian judge has banned a woman whose husband is facing terrorism charges from wearing a niqab in court, saying it posed a potential security risk.

The woman applied through her husband’s lawyers to wear the face veil, which she said was a “a fundamental way in which she observes her faith”, while sitting in the public gallery to support him through the six-week trial.

She said she had been permitted to wear the niqab during a committal hearing in the magistrates court and was willing to show her face to security guards manning the metal detector and weapons check at the court entrance to verify her identity.

But the supreme court judge Christopher Beale said the risk of a mistrial or other incident caused by “misbehaving” in the public gallery would be heightened if a person could not be instantly identified because their face was covered, and ruled that the risk outweighed the infringement upon the woman’s right to freedom of religious expression.

“Deterrence, identification and proof are all served by a requirement that spectators in the public gallery have their faces uncovered,” he said in a decision handed down on Monday.

Beale said lawyers for the accused had indicated there were other women who would also wear niqabs in court if permission were granted, which would further confuse identity issues because “such dress tends to be very similar”.

Lawyers for the woman argued that she did not pose a security risk and would abide by all court orders, but Beale said the stress felt by people accused of serious crimes was often shared by family members and that “as a consequence of that stress, incidents happen from time to time in court”.

“Australia is obviously a multicultural society and I agree that religious dress should be accommodated as much as possible, but the right of religious freedom and the right to participate in public life are not absolutes,” Beale said in his decision.

He said the Victorian charter of human rights recognised that rights “may be subject to limitations which can be ‘demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom’”.

Lawyers for the woman said there was an implied right of wear a veil when not giving evidence, citing a number of cases in Commonwealth countries.

Those cases generally concerned whether a person was able to wear religious facial coverings while giving evidence and did not contest a person’s right to wear religious attire when not on the stand. Among them is a ruling by the New South Wales court of appeal concerning a civil damages trial against NSW police, which upheld the trial judge’s ruling that the complainant could not wear her niqab while giving evidence.

“A requirement that spectators have their faces uncovered is not to force anyone to act immodestly,” Beale said. “First, the exposure of one’s face in a courtroom cannot reasonably be viewed as an immodest act: subjective views to the contrary cannot rule the day, or the management of a courtroom.

“Second, if someone feels strongly that it would be improper for them to uncover their face in court, they can choose not to attend.”

He said the trial could be livestreamed to another room in the court building to allow the woman to follow it if she chose not to remove her veil.

The Victorian equal opportunity and human rights commissioner, Kristen Hilton, said religious and cultural rights were protected under Victorian law, and that those rights also applied in a courtroom.

“Victorian law is clear that when courts are acting in an administrative way – such as making decisions about procedure in the courtroom – they must consider and act compatibly with human rights,” Hilton said.

“The law allows for restrictions on human rights, such as restricting a person’s right to observe their religion or culture through what they wear, but limits are only justified where there is clear evidence the limit is reasonable.”



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


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