Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Advancing prison reform

Pastor Darrell Scott says Trump is being constructive about black crime -- unlike the Clinton policy of just locking them up forever.  Interesting that it takes a conservative to do humane  penal reform

President Trump is all-action on prison reform. The Democrats? All-talk.

In a matter of months, the president has done more for prison reform than Democrats managed to do in many, many years.

A problem that began well before Mr. Trump took office, over-criminalization and harsh sentencing in America, have had far-reaching effects. In fact, this president is actually fixing what some of his predecessors only made worse.

Instead of focusing on imprisoning the most violent offenders, the Clintons’ criminal justice system trapped non-violent offenders in decades-long prison sentences that ruined their lives, their families and their communities.

Inequities like these trickled down to sentencing as well, leaving black defendants with more time behind bars than whites.

Democrats, and even America’s first black president, endlessly promised to right these wrongs — and endlessly failed to do so.

It wasn’t until Donald Trump was elected that things actually started to change.

As America’s greatest jobs president, he’s working to get former prisoners back on their feet instead of using them for votes while they’re in prison.

“One of the single most important things we’re doing is to help former inmates in creating jobs. We’re creating so many jobs that former inmates, for the first time, are really getting a shot at it,” Mr. Trump said.

The president has met with members of both parties to address prison reform with the full force of the federal government, and created the prison reform roundtable, of which I am a member.

Making true on his promise to put former prisoners back to work, President Trump has been a vocal supporter of the First Step Act in Congress. This bill passed in the House this year, and is the first comprehensive attempt at the reform of our justice system in decades. It curbs mass incarceration, empowers former inmates to get their lives back on track and saves taxpayers money.

This legislation helps individuals reintegrate back into their communities by expanding evidence-based reentry programs, including drug treatment, job training, and counseling. It also offers prisoners time credits for good behavior, which incentivizes them to do the right thing, speeds up the judicial process, saves taxpayers money, and most importantly, gives them a second chance.

“We’ve passed the First Step Act through the House, and we’re working very hard in the Senate to refine it and pass it into law,” Mr. Trump said.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are stalling on the bill. They’re once again avoiding doing what’s right, choosing instead to obstruct Mr. Trump to score cheap political points.

They’ve even started a campaign opposing the current prison reform effort, stating that they won’t support the bill unless they can take credit for it. Even the left-leaning Politico, which is generally supportive of the Democratic Party, condemned the anti-prison reform Democrats for writing a letter “riddled with factual inaccuracies and deliberately attempts to undermine the nationwide prison reform effort.”

But Mr. Trump won’t let typical political posturing obstruct his progress — he isn’t here for talk, he’s here for action.

Above all the political rancor in Washington, Mr. Trump took the ultimate step earlier this year by using his executive powers to do something Barack Obama should have done long ago.

Alice Marie Johnson was one of the many young black Americans who had their lives ruined by the Clinton crime bill. Serving a life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense since 1996, Ms. Johnson appealed to President Obama multiple times while he was in office. She was denied each and every single time.

Mr. Obama was too busy granting pardons to violent drug dealers to care about doing the right thing for a grandmother and her family.

But in true Trump style, the president paid attention to the calls of none other than reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who lobbied aggressively for Ms. Johnson’s release. Mr. Trump answered those calls.

Now that it’s campaign season again, America has a clear choice on critical issues such as prison reform.

The two paths on this issue couldn’t be more clear. If the Democrats win in November, they’ll continue using prison reform as a political tool, at the peril of millions of Americans stuck in prison for decades.

Their goal is to take down Mr. Trump — not to help those thrown in jail because of outdated policies from the 1990s.

Unlike the all-talk-no-action Democrats, President Trump is actually fulfilling his promises, fighting to reform a system for those punished with harsh and excessive prison terms, and helping to integrate Americans who have already served their time back into their communities.

The Democrats had their chance to pass prison reform in the past and failed. Now they are blocking reasonable solutions from being passed, which would improve countless lives.

Our chance to enact comprehensive prison reform depends on our choice to bring more Republican leaders to Washington to support the president’s plan.


Yes, the Grievance Studies hoax is hilarious – but it’s also rather worrying

In order for a society to remain even vaguely healthy it has to have healthy institutions. And for institutions to be healthy, they need to be justly respected. [Sane would be even better]

Douglas Murray

One of the most beautiful things to happen in recent years was ‘the conceptual penis as a social construct.’ This was an academic paper which proposed that: ‘the penis vis-à-vis maleness is an incoherent construct. We argue that the conceptual penis is better understood not as an anatomical organ but as a gender-performative, highly fluid social construct.’

This gobbledegook was presented as an academic journal, was peer-reviewed and published in Cogent Social Sciences. The only problem was that it was a hoax. A big, beautiful brilliant hoax carried out by two academics – Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay – who had immersed themselves in the academic BS of their time. In that paper they successfully punked an academic scene which (in the humanities at least) allows the most insane and untrue claims to be presented as truth, so long as they are suffused in fashionable grievances and coated in a form of academic vocabulary which is an insult to academic inquiry and an offence against language.

Since the authors of that paper exposed their own spoof, the Cogent Social Sciences journal has unpublished the article. But the article and the background on it can still be read here.

Now the authors of that hoax – with the addition of a third, Helen Pluckrose – have released a video saying that they have spent part of the last year working on a wider-ranging demonstration of the problems in ‘peer-reviewed’ academic studies. They have been firing off more papers. And a number of them have been accepted. One of these papers, published by an academic journal, claims that dog-humping incidents in parks can be taken as evidence of ‘rape culture’.

In order for a society to remain even vaguely healthy it has to have healthy institutions. And for institutions to be healthy they need to be justly respected – not respected because they ‘demand’ respect or play-act at earning respect.

When institutions – like academic institutions and academic journals – become corrupted by ideologues of any political stripe, people can be left able to respect almost nothing and believe almost anything. Anyone need only glance at numerous fields of ‘academic studies’ today (gender ‘studies’, queer ‘studies’ and more) to realise that much of the humanities, and nearly all of the social sciences have become pulpits for frauds and megaphones for radical inadequates.

The first foray of Boghossian and Lindsay may not have been enough for people to call time on this fraud. But with the addition of Pluckrose perhaps the wider point will now be heard. Or to put it another way, perhaps rape culture among dogs will break through where the conceptual penis could not.


Feminists want to blame men for everything

Melanie Phillips

The classics professor and broadcaster Mary Beard is well on the way to becoming a national treasure thanks to her personality and wit. She has conducted herself in an admirably courageous way against much personalised insult and nastiness, giving as good as she gets.

That doesn’t mean, however, that her judgment is flawless. Discussing Greek myths at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival last week, she observed that men sometimes installed women in temporary positions of power so that when these women mucked it all up men could “come in on their white chargers”. This, she thought, might explain Theresa May’s rise to power. “Part of me thinks she has been set up to fail; they needed a female leader . . . to let one of them come in later to rescue her.”

Excuse me? May became prime minister only because she happened to be the last person standing on the battleground after her opponents stabbed each other in the back and themselves in the head. Her political failings, for which she alone is responsible, are on conspicuous display for all to see.

Beard, who has made this general argument on previous occasions, acknowledges that successful and powerful women now work as politicians, CEOs, prominent journalists, police chiefs and so on. Her objection seems to be that power for such women is narrowly identified with prestige and celebrity and is thus largely “coded as male”.

Well, perhaps this might apply to Medusa, Athena or Clytemnestra but down here in the world of mere mortals the claim seems to be a few laurel leaves short of a circlet.

Women are often levered into top posts, sometimes above their level of competence, not through some infernal male plot but to fill an ideological quota in response to feminist pressure for equal representation in public life. Yet success still isn’t enough. Dame Inga Beale, the first woman to run Lloyd’s of London, says all female chief executives accept that their successors will be men determined to take power back. So let’s get this right. If women get to the top, it’s a conspiracy against them by men; if they don’t, it’s a conspiracy against them by men. It’s an all-purpose, all-weather, all-exits-closed theory of female victimhood.

Rational? Hardly. It’s also sinister and nasty. Quite how much has been on display across the Pond in the confirmation circus around Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the US Supreme Court. Democrats determined to stop his appointment in order to prevent an inbuilt conservative majority on the court deployed the forces of #MeToo to do their dirty work.

Kavanaugh was accused of attempted rape, in claims for which there was no corroboration and which were full of holes. In the world of #MeToo, however, all men accused of rape are guilty and all their women accusers tell the truth.

So the Democrats and their feminist allies doubled down. Kavanaugh was subjected to vicious character assassination and smears. He was deemed guilty as charged merely because women had made these charges. More than 300 vigils were held against his confirmation. “Kavanaugh has shown that he is hostile to women,” wrote MoveOn, one of the groups behind these vigils. Demonstrators broke into chants of “Vote him down!” and “Believe survivors!”

The treatment meted out to Republican senator Susan Collins was a particular eye-opener. While displaying empathy with sexual-abuse victims, Collins justified her vote for Kavanaugh by defending the presumption of innocence. For this, she and her staff were targeted by protests, mailings, phone calls, physical intimidation, direct threats and a tweet that plastered the words “rape apologist” across her image.

The actress Nancy Lee Grahn went further, tweeting of Collins: “You may have female parts but you are no woman.” Wow. Isn’t the sisterhood wonderful? The level of viciousness by certain women was astounding. Ariel Dumas, a writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, sent out a tweet (later deleted) that read: “Whatever happens, I’m just glad we ruined Brett Kavanaugh’s life.”

After Kavanaugh’s appointment was finally confirmed, a Georgetown professor called Carol Christine Fair denounced the “chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement”. She went on: “All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.”

Why are women behaving in this appalling way? Male sexual violence towards women is real. So too is male sexual violence towards other men, as well as female violence against men and other women.

What we are witnessing is the gross abuse of power fuelled by explosive rage. Why are these women abusing power in this way? Because they can. What is the cause of their pathological rage? An ideology of victimhood that turns men into monsters.

Everything that happens is viewed through that prism. Those events thus confirm the initial prejudice. So a perfectly closed thought system is created, grotesquely inflicting vicious oppression in the name of justice.

The Greek philosopher Socrates was executed for dissent by being made to drink hemlock. It would be nice if Mary Beard — herself no stranger to hateful attacks — supported the real victims of today’s sexual show-trials rather than providing further justification for those administering the poison.


Australian High Court to examine the rights of pro-life activists to be present outside abortion clinics

If the killers didn't have guilty consciences scrutiny would not bother them

Abortion clinic staff fear going back to the “dark ages” as anti-abortionists challenge in the High Court the Victorian and Tasmanian laws that banished religious protesters from outside their workplaces

Kathleen Clubb, a mother of thirteen who was the first person to be convicted under those laws, is asking the High Court to consider if the legislation infringes on political free speech.

For decades, self-described "sidewalk counsellors" were a fixture outside centres across the state, until they were finally exiled in 2016 with the introduction of “safe access zone” laws that obliged protesters to stay at least 150 metres away.

After Ms Clubb was arrested by police in 2016 when she was caught approaching a couple outside the East Melbourne Fertility Control Clinic, she reportedly said: “I don’t intend to leave. I believe I have the right to offer my help to women.”

Ms Clubb is challenging her conviction and $5000 fine in a case that will be heard on Tuesday by the full bench of the High Court. They will also consider the case of another anti-abortionist, John Graham Preston, who breached similar Tasmania laws.

The case has alarmed staff at abortion clinics, who say they used to be too afraid of the protesters to leave their office without a security guard.

“I shudder to think what it would be like if we returned to the dark ages and women were forced to walk the gauntlet simply to see their doctor,” said senior associate Katie Robertson from Maurice Blackburn, which is representing the Fertility Control Clinic pro-bono.

Susie Allanson worked at the East Melbourne clinic as a clinical psychologist for more than 25 years and often feared she would be hurt by one of the anti-abortionists, who would arrive by 7.45am each morning.

She was working at the clinic in 2001 when a radical recluse came to the centre armed with a modified high-powered rifle and other weapons, ready to massacre dozens of patients and staff. He murdered security guard Steven Rogers, before being disarmed by the boyfriend of a pregnant woman.

Dr Allanson said the safe access zones had been an overnight success. “Instantly, women were no longer being harassed and intimidated on the public footpath.”

This week’s case is likely to centre on the issue of whether preventing protesters approaching women within the safe zone is a breach of the implied freedom of political communication.

Ms Clubb and her legal team were contacted for comment and declined.

In her submission to the High Court, she argued that abortion was inherently political and that political communication about abortions was most effective at the place at which abortions are provided, where they can reach clinic users and their medical staff.

“Australian history is replete with examples of political communication which were effective because they were conducted in a place where the issue was present and viscerally felt,” it said.

The 1998 Australian waterfront dispute, Eureka Stockade and the Freedom Ride of 1965 are listed examples.

In an interview with NewsCorp in June, Ms Clubb denied distressing women with graphic images of abortions on signs, saying that she only prays and distributes pamphlets.

She said at the time she was fighting for the right to speak on her beliefs, even though they were unpopular. “But the point is, if parliament can ban this kind of protest, what other kind of protests can they ban?” she told NewsCorp. “I am fighting for all Australians.”

But Ms Clubb faces a formidable opposition, with the case attracting not only the attention of the Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula, but governments across the nation, who have made submissions through lawyers in defence of the Victorian and Tasmanian laws.

The Attorney-General will argue that if there is any impact on the implied freedom of political communication, it is insubstantial.

“While it may be accepted that some individuals might be engaging in political communication, in other cases the aim is to deter women from having an abortion, often through imposing guilt and shame,” the submission said.



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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