Tuesday, November 13, 2018


UK: New head of CPS under fire for refusing to use phrase 'Islamist terrorism'

Elite arrogance again.  How can someone so adrift from reality be a good Crown Prosecutor?

The new head of the CPS has been accused of adopting "deeply unhelpful” language about terrorists after spending 90 minutes with CAGE, the group that described ISIS executioner Jihadi John as “a beautiful young man".

The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) has criticised Max Hill QC's appointment as the Director of Public Prosecutions, claiming he has "aped" the rhetoric used by CAGE and its supporters.

Mr Hill, who replaced Alison Saunders [long overdue] last week, held a 90 minute meeting with CAGE last autumn - a month after the organisation's international director, Muhammad Rabbani, was convicted of a terrorism offence and fined for refusing to give police the PIN number of his mobile phone when he was stopped and searched at Heathrow Airport.

It came after the group had held a press conference following the February 2015 killing of ISIS’s chief executioner Mohammed Emwazi describing the brutal killer as “beautiful” and “extremely gentle”. The 27-year-old from Queen's Park, London, is thought to have been responsible for the beheading of western hostages including US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

Accusing the QC of being "influenced, inaccurately, by the Islamist group's agenda", the HJS pointed out similarities between Mr Hill's refusal to refer to "Islamist terrorism" and CAGE describing the use of the word "Islamist" as a smear on the religion.

In February, Mr Hill - then head of the Government’s terror watchdog - declared that it is “fundamentally wrong” to use the phrase “Islamist terrorism” to describe attacks carried out in Britain and elsewhere.

He said that the word terrorism should not be attached “to any of the world religions” and that the term “Daesh-inspired terrorism” should be used instead.

His comments put him at odds with Prime Minister Theresa May and the then Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who have both spoken about the threat posed by “Islamist terrorists”.

The HJS claims Mr Hill’s rhetoric appears “almost identical” to wording used by CAGE in 2017 to criticise Mr Hill’s predecessor David Anderson for his use of the “Islamist” term.

CAGE said: “This ‘Islamist’ smear is an ad hominem attack reminiscent of neoconservative “think-tanks” that seek to whitewash Prevent (the Government’s anti-terrorism strategy) and delegitimise community concerns.”

In his 2018 independent review of terror legislation, published last month, Mr Hill refers to "the perception and experience of racism and stigmatization in the workings of Schedule 7 and Prevent, whether repeat stops at borders or undue focus on Islamist extremism”.

Again CAGE have used very similar language, declaring on its website: “This follows the racial profiling of Muslim primary schoolchildren under the BRIT project, which had the effect of stigmatising nine-year-old Muslim children as prone to violent extremism.”

CAGE has also accused Prevent of having a counterproductive effect, quoting UN special rapporteur Maina Kiai as saying: “by dividing, stigmatising and alienating segments of the population, Prevent could end up promoting extremism, rather than countering it”.

According to the HJS, Mr Hill has also held meetings with other organisations which have been outspoken in their criticism of Prevent including MEND, Just Yorkshire and The Cordoba Foundation, once described by David Cameron as a “political front for the Muslim Brotherhood”. Its founder, Anas Al Tikriti, has openly supported the brotherhood and Hamas stating: “I believe that if you are occupied you need to fight back”.

Mr Hill has also met with the Friends of Al Asqa, founded by Ismail Patel who has stated that “Hamas is no terrorist organisation…we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel”, and was a spokesman for the British Muslim Initiative which has links to the terror Group. Friends of al-Aqsa’s bank account was closed by the Co-op to ensure that funds “do not inadvertently fund illegal or other proscribed activities”.

MEND were once described as “Islamists masquerading as civil libertarians” while Just Yorkshire is an anti-Prevent group funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which has also funded CAGE.

Emma Webb, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society said: “In the wake of negative publicity damaging the CPS, Max Hill has vowed that through his appointment he will “restore trust”. But it is difficult to see how this will be possible given his habit of meeting disproportionately with extremist and intolerant groups.

“Meeting with such groups is bad enough, but his apparent aping of their divisive rhetoric is a step to far. Their fingerprints are all over his own positions.

“He has shown himself to have bad taste and judgement in the company he keeps. This is certainly not a man who can be trusted to ensure justice is done when it comes to Islamist extremism.”

A CPS spokesman said Mr Hill has always been clear about his desire for “the need for consultation with the community, particularly Muslim communities, and awareness of the full range of what different organisations are bringing to the field, not just the government favoured ones”.

He added: "Max Hill QC was appointed by the Attorney General after a rigorous and open competition, overseen by a Civil Service Commissioner‎."

SOURCE





Ignorant hounding of Roger Scruton

Douglas Murray

There are times when you wonder whether our culture is too stupid to survive. The thought has kept occurring over recent days as I have watched the cooked-up furore over the appointment of Sir Roger Scruton to chair a British government commission looking into beauty in architecture.

What are Scruton’s qualifications for this unpaid job? Well, he has written two exceedingly influential books on architecture, The Aesthetics of Architecture (1980) and The Classical Vernacular (1995), as well as numerous papers and articles on the subject. He has spent more than half a century thinking about the question. And he is also Britain’s most famous living philosopher, respected in – and honoured by – many other countries and finally honoured in this country two years ago with a knighthood. Not only does Scruton have no betters: there are very few who come anywhere near to him.

But stupid ages get policed by stupid people along ever stupider lines. And so after Sir Roger’s appointment was announced, various minnows decided to do what they could to tear him down. One who led the charge was somebody who must – against very stiff competition – count as among the laziest journalists in Britain. Now at BuzzFeed News, Alex Wickham also contributes a tiny monthly political ‘gossip’ column to GQ magazine which stands out even in that organ for its sheer pointlessness, unoriginality and vacuity. It is so derivative and thin that you can see through it.

Anyhow, perhaps Wickham is hoping his new BuzzFeed colleagues will someday forgive his years spent at the right-wing Guido Fawkes website. Whatever the cause, Wickham has led a crusade to have Scruton fired from his unpaid job. Wickham’s latest offering promises an ‘exclusive’. It then goes on to misrepresent a single statement – which is wholly justifiable as it happens – about the nature of sex and regret. He then goes on to claim: ‘BuzzFeed News has unearthed footage of a lecture he gave in the US in 2005.’ ‘BuzzFeed News’ has done no such thing. Wickham has merely – clearly stretching his own investigative skills close to breaking point – gone on YouTube and found a lecture that has been freely available for years.

Inevitably various low-grade MPs have found it impossible to resist justifying their own occupation by destroying someone else’s. A Liberal Democrat MP called Wera Hobhouse – who has made absolutely no mark on the world to date – expressed ‘deep concern’ about Scruton’s ‘offensive views’. To which someone should reply, ‘And what do you think of his work on Kant? Or Spinoza?’

The Labour MP Wes Streeting also boarded the outrage bus. Streeting claimed that ‘It beggars belief that [Scruton] passed a vetting process’. Let me tell readers of something that beggars belief even more. What beggars belief is that a person as compromised as Wes Streeting was ever allowed to stand for Parliament. Because of the size of the Jewish community in his own constituency (and after defeating a distinguished Jewish MP in a squalid campaign) Streeting poses as a great friend of the Jewish community.

In fact his track record shows him to be interested only in his own career-advancement. I first encountered Streeting a decade ago when he was the head of the NUS. Back then the recently stood-down head of the Islamic Society at University College London had just tried to bring down a plane over Detroit by blowing up a bomb he had brought on board. I was among those who took a dim view of this, as I and others did of the university and student societies who had turned a blind eye to the bomber’s extremism during the time he was at university.

But did Streeting try to go for the source of the problem? Not at all. A typical NUS shill, he merely spent his time (including in a public debate with me at UCL still available – sorry, ‘unearthed’ – on YouTube here) attacking anyone pointing out the problem that existed on campuses. He spent his time eye-rolling, giggling and throwing around accusations of ‘Islamophobia’. On another occasion during his presidency Streeting – who is gay – sat in a room with a virulently homophobic Islamic cleric and spoke after that cleric’s speech, making no attempt to either correct, nuance or chastise the extremist’s views.

If Roger Scruton cannot be an unpaid chair of a small commission I have no idea how Wes Streeting should pass as suitable to be a member of Parliament. Once again we get into the Dawn Butler / Toby Young problem.

Streeting’s Labour colleague Andrew Gwynne (shadow communities secretary), meanwhile chose to get even further ahead in the outrage stakes. After jumping on a set of Scruton’s comments on Jews, Muslims, gays and much more – all of which have been provably misrepresented – Gwynne declared that ‘Nobody holding [Scruton’s] views has a place in modern democracy.’ Gosh. Well perhaps once all the philosophers have been cleared from the national stage we can rely on the mind of Andrew Gwynne to guide us through all the big questions of life.

Finally we have the New Statesman (where Scruton wrote a wine column for many years). According to somebody called Ben Brock, whose qualification is that he ‘works in publishing’, Scruton is merely an absurd figure. ‘A man obsessed with 18th century fork handles’, apparently, who as a result ‘is not going to solve the housing crisis.’ One wonders what crisis, if any, Ben Brock might solve. Despite working in publishing, he cannot even address the problem of his own flamboyant ignorance. For instance he dismisses Scruton’s views on architecture as mere ‘Nimbyism’ and then writes, ‘This is all – aside from his beloved foxhunting – that Scruton has ever really been interested in.’ Sometimes you wonder how anyone can write a sentence that ignorant and still get up in the morning.

For example, if ‘all that Scruton has ever really been interested in’ is ‘Nimbyism’ and foxhunting, how are we to explain his more than 40 books? If he is uninterested in philosophy why has he written so many important works on it? Why did he write the seminal Modern Philosophy (1994), a book Brock might have trouble picking up, let alone reading? If Scruton is so dull and uninterested in other things why has he written several of the most important books of recent decades on music and aesthetics (including The Aesthetics of Music (1999) and Understanding Music, (2009))? Why the book-length studies of Tristan and Isolde and the Ring cycle? Why his absorbing 1987 book on Lebanon or his hugely influential book The West and the Rest (2002) which emerged from Scruton’s study of Farsi and Arabic? Why the many other books and papers on religion, sexual desire and the environment? And this isn’t to get started on the novels, memoirs and more. Including a remarkable book of short stories (Souls in the Twilight) published just last month which is a moving and deeply humane insight into a range of complex, diverse characters.

I could go on. It appears that Scruton’s detractors will continue to mine the columns Scruton has secretly published in all the national papers in order to expose his wrong-think. They will continue to ‘unearth’ his public lectures. And they will continue to pretend that none of the complex things in life – including the complexity of human relations – should ever be opened up or explored by anyone. Especially not philosophers. Perhaps they will have their way. Perhaps they will ensure that nobody who has thought seriously about anything important (and gained international acclaim for doing so) must ever be allowed anywhere near our increasingly ignorant and stupid public life. But I hope that Scruton does remain in his small advisory role. If he doesn’t then it would be the strongest demonstration possible that as a country we have got to a stage you might summarize as ‘the survival of the thickest’.

SOURCE






EU corruption at work

My biggest beef with the European Union has always been the way it stifles consumer-friendly innovation in the interests of incumbent businesses and organisations. Today’s victory for Sir James Dyson at the European General Court lays bare an especially shocking example.

Dyson’s case, which has taken five years in the courts, reveals just how corrupt and crony-capitalist the European Union has become. It is no surprise that Sir James was and is a big supporter of Britain leaving the EU. Essentially, the rules have been bent to allow German manufacturers to deceive customers about the performance of their vacuum cleaners, in a manner uncannily similar to – but even worse than — the way mostly German car manufacturers deceived customers about the emissions from diesel vehicles.

In today’s decision – a very rare case in which the EU courts have had to back down — the EU’s General Court said it would uphold Dyson’s claim and that “tests of a vacuum cleaner’s energy efficiency carried out with an empty receptacle do not reflect conditions as close as possible to actual conditions of use”. Yes, you read that right: until now, in Europe only, vacuum cleaners were tested without dust, the better to suit German manufacturers.

The case concerns labels on vacuum cleaners stating how much energy they use. The Energy Label for corded vacuum cleaners is mandated by the EU’s Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations. The purpose is to encourage energy efficiency in such products and the job of the Energy Label is to make sure that consumers get clear information about product performance. Dyson was the first manufacturer to support limits on the power consumption of motors in vacuums. Why wouldn’t it be: its Cyclone product is very efficient?

The Energy Label was introduced throughout the EU in September 2014 and updated in September 2017. It covers overall energy rating, rated A to G, with A being best and G being worst; annual energy usage in kWh; the amount of dust in air emitted from the machine’s exhaust (A to G); the noise level in decibels; how much dust the machine picks up from carpets (A to G); and how much dust the machine picks up from hard floors and crevices (A to G).

All very reasonable, until you find that the European Commission stipulated that under these regulations, vacuum cleaners are tested empty and with no dust. This flies in the face of the methods developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), an international standards organization, which have been adopted by consumer test bodies and manufacturers worldwide. It is out of line with the way other appliances, such as washing machines, ovens and dishwashers are tested “loaded”, not empty.

Why would the EC have made this strange decision? Because the big German manufacturers make vacuum cleaners with bags. Sir James Dyson invented ones without bags. And the bag ones gradually become clogged with dust so they have to use more power or lose suction. The decision to test them empty plainly benefits the bag-cleaners. Behind the scenes the German manufacturers lobbied for this outcome.

The result of this is that you can buy a bag cleaner with an A rating, take it home and find that most of the time it performs like a G-rated cleaner.

So in 2013 Dyson challenged the labelling rules in the EU General Court, arguing that, to reflect real-life experience, the performance of a vacuum cleaner should be tested in real-world conditions, and that might actually include – God forbid – encountering dust. In November 2015, the EU General Court dismissed Dyson’s claims saying that dust-loaded testing is not reliable or “reproducible” and therefore could not be adopted, despite the fact that the international standard does use dust. Nonsense: in its labs and in houses, Dyson tests its own machines using real dust, fluff, grit and debris including dog biscuits and Cheerio cereals – of both the European and the American kind.

Dyson appealed to the European Court of Justice in January 2016 and on 11 May 2017 it won. The court said that to reach the conclusion it had, the General Court “distorted the facts”, “ignored their own law”, “had ignored Dyson’s evidence” and had “failed to comply with its duty to give reasons”. The ECJ said that the test must adopt, where technically possible, “a method of calculation which makes it possible to measure the energy performance of vacuum cleaners in conditions as close as possible to actual conditions of use”. The case was passed back to the General Court, which was given time to reconsider its verdict at leisure. Today, after eighteen months of cogitation (what do judges do all day?), and with nowhere to go, the court capitulated.

Dyson has this to say about the case: “the EU label flagrantly discriminated against a specific technology – Dyson’s patented cyclone. This benefited traditional, predominantly German, manufacturers who lobbied senior Commission officials. Some manufacturers have actively exploited the regulation by using low motor power when in the test state, but then using technology to increase motor power automatically when the machine fills with dust – thus appearing more efficient. This defeat software allows them to circumvent the spirit of the regulation, which the European Court considers to be acceptable because it complies with the letter of the law.”

How much more shocking does the crony-capitalist corruption at the heart of Brussels have to get before people rebel against this sort of thing? They did already? Ah yes, Brexit, true Brexit, cannot come soon enough.

SOURCE








Security expert says we’re ‘feeding the beasts’ of terror with shoot-to-kill policy

As happens every time, somebody says the terrorist was mentally ill.  And that is true in one way.  He was certainly deviant from the norm.  The important point however is that when a Muslim feels out of sorts in some way for some reason he tends to see that as a call to Jihad.  Jihad provides an answer to your truobles that will send you straight to Paradise. Attacking unbelievers rewards people with problems.  So Islam is still the problem in these attacks

The claim that his actions were a cry for help is comoplete BS.  You don't load your car up with gas cylinders and try to explode them in a busy street as a cry for help.  He wanted to kill unbelievers and go to Paradise.  That is all



Karl Stefanovic has launched a scathing attack on the “timid” critics who wanted police to refrain from shooting a knife-wielding terrorist.

As a debate rages over Australia’s response to Friday’s sickening terror attack in Melbourne, Karl Stefanovic has backed police and launched a scathing attack on their “timid” critics.

The Today co-host praised said he felt sorry for the young police officers who were forced to shoot the knife-wielding terrorist dead.

He said they were “consumed” by a “politically correct” message from the public — which dictates that they should try to keep the terrorist alive.

“People (were) yelling, ‘Shoot him, shoot him’ they tried their best not to,” he said this morning. “I reckon, on second thought, someone comes at police with a knife you shoot them dead straight away?

“You know what the courage of the cops, this is a reminder again of what our police do. The first there, first to deal with it, fighting back. I’m amazed. Who would be a police officer? Who would be a police officer and they do it and they do it without complaint.”

“They do it sometimes with the public hating them. But they’re the first you call when you need them and they were the first to respond. I salute them this morning.”

The rant came after a counter-terrorism expert said Australia is leaving itself wide open to future attacks by training police to shoot terrorists dead.

Dr Allan Orr, a counter-terrorism and insurgency specialist who is researching and writing on the Sydney cafe siege — said Australia is “feeding the beasts” of terror and failing to prevent future attacks by giving cops shoot-to-kill advice instead of shoot-to-injure training.

He recommended creating a British-style rapid response anti-terror unit — with high powered weapons and access to helicopters — and powers to track people on terrorist watch lists to prevent more extremist attacks.

“These specialist police would be completely armed, unseen and just minutes away from the scene of an attack,” he told Fairfax.  “In the UK these frontline officers don’t deal with anything else but counter-terrorism, so they’ve got their play book down to response times of two minutes.”

The call comes in response to a deadly attack in Melbourne’s Bourke Street on Friday by Hassan Khalif Shire Ali — a Muslim refugee from Somalia. Ali crashed his car full of gas cylinders before stabbing three people, killing prominent Italian restaurateur Sisto Malaspina.

As Melbourne mourns over the tragic consequences of the deadly attack, a fierce debate is raging over how tough our immigration laws should be.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is advocating a tough-line approach which would allow the government to more easily deport residents before they become ­citizens. “I’ve been very open about the cancellation of visas, the numbers have ramped up, because there are some people who should not go on to become Australian citizens,’’ he said yesterday.

“The law applies differently, ­obviously, to someone who has ­Australian citizenship, by conferral or births, as opposed to someone here on a temporary status because they are the holder of a particular visa category.”

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has backed the call, according to the Herald Sun. “Deportation and the cancellation of visas are matters for the Commonwealth government, but we certainly support this action being taken against extremists and those who wish to do us harm,” he said.

Ali was known to federal police and had his passport cancelled in 2015 amid fears the Somali-born man would travel to Syria.

“It is important for us to get as much information from the imams, from spouses, family members, community members, council workers, people that might be interacting with those that might have changed their behaviours, that they think have been radicalised,” Mr Dutton told reporters in Brisbane.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he backs religious freedoms but has also called on Islamic leaders to call out the attack.

Those remarks that have in turn been labelled divisive by Muslim groups who say their community is not to blame for the actions of an individual and fear it could stoke Islamophobia.

“It is extremely disappointing in such difficult times and during a national tragedy, when all Australians of all faiths and backgrounds should be called upon to unite and stand together against any form of extremism and violence, to see our nation’s leader politicising this incident and using it for political gain,” the Australian National Imams Council said in a statement on Sunday.

Mr Dutton says the government’s community engagement programs have worked in building solid relationships with members of the public who have provided critical intelligence that has helped stop other attacks, but that there were still gaps in information gathering.

The family of a popular Melbourne restaurateur who was killed in the Bourke Street terror attack has been offered a state funeral as the city continues to mourn the tragedy.

Hundreds of flowers and cards line the footpath outside of Pellegrini’s restaurant as staff let mourners know the tributes would be passed on to the family of Mr Malaspina.

The 74-year-old man was walking down Bourke St, just a few hundred metres from the business he had run for more than 40 years, when he was caught up in the horrific attack.

Mr Andrews spoke to the family of Mr Malaspina and offered a state funeral.

Tasmanian businessman Rod Patterson and a 24-year-old security guard were also injured in the attack.

The attacker’s family has said the man had mental health problems in a note to reporters.

“Hassan suffered from mental illness for years and refused help. He’s been deteriorating these past few months,” a note given to Nine News showed. “Please stop turning this into a political game. This isn’t a guy who had any connections with terrorism but was simply crying for help,” it read.

SOURCE 

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, 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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Monday, November 12, 2018



Transgenerational advantage

Summary below of a particularly dumb TED talk from a New School professor. The New School is far Left from wayback so the idea presented is as dumb and impractical as you would expect of that. It's true that economic advantage tends to be passed on from father to son but why and how?  The Newschooler doesn't know.  He just knows that it is.  So he resorts to vague generalities -- which apparently sounded clever to his audience. 

That wealth is transmitted in some automatic way once you have it is absolute bunkum.  How many times have we read of people winning big in a lottery and blowing the lot in short order?  Having money does not even encourage you to keep it, let alone pass it on.

But there is no need for "cleverness" in order to explain the phenomenon that our Newschooler has noticed.  It's perfectly plain why rich men tend to have economically successful children.  It's because you have to be pretty smart to get rich (As Charles Murray showed decades ago) and IQ is highly hereditary.  Both father and son get rich because they are both  smarter than the average. 

Giving a son money will do nothing to alter the main operative factor in wealth acquisition: IQ.  If he is smart he doesn't need it and if he is dumb he will simply blow it.



Economists often point out the simple truth that having wealth makes it easier to get more wealth, which means those who have a lot of money pass on an advantage from one generation to the next.

To adjust for that, economist Darrick Hamilton, a professor at The New School in New York, recently proposed a kind of baby trust fund system. His idea is to give all kids in the US a chunk of cash when they’re born, ranging between $US500 and $US60,000 based on their family’s wealth. That would help give all of thems a fair shot at a prosperous future, he said.

“Wealth is the paramount indicator of economic security and well-being,” Hamilton told a crowd at the TED Conferences headquarters in New York in September. “It is time to get beyond the false narrative that attributes inequalities to individual personal deficits while largely ignoring the advantages of wealth.”

SOURCE






Good News for Americans Who Object to Obamacare’s Contraception Mandate

Those who cherish religious liberty can celebrate a major victory this week.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services published final rules that provide much-needed relief from one of Obamacare’s most egregious assaults on rights of conscience and religious liberty: the mandate that nearly all health insurance plans cover abortion-inducing drugs and contraception.

One rule provides an exemption for religious beliefs, and a second rule provides an exemption for moral convictions. Together, they provide meaningful relief to Americans who have long been burdened by the onerous mandate. These exemptions bring to a close a yearslong saga that never needed to happen in the first place.

Obamacare requires insurance companies to cover certain kinds of preventive services with no enrollee cost-sharing, and it gives the Department of Health and Human Services the task of specifying the types of preventive services for women that health insurance plans must cover.

According to guidelines issued by Health and Human Services following Obamacare’s enactment, insurance plans must include all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures, which include certain abortion-inducing drugs.

In other words, the statutory text of Obamacare itself does not require that plans cover contraceptives. That policy detail, among others, was left to the discretion of the executive branch. Furthermore, plans that already covered millions of women were “grandfathered” and exempted from the requirement to provide preventive services with no cost-sharing.

In the years that followed, Health and Human Services eventually included a very narrow religious exemption to the contraception mandate that effectively applied only to houses of worship. The Obama administration later extended that exemption to houses of worship and their integrated auxiliaries, such as church-run soup kitchens.

But other religious employers like hospitals, schools, social service organizations, and even businesses remained responsible for complying with the mandate, notwithstanding their sincere moral or religious objections.

The Supreme Court gave relief to closely held businesses in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, and to certain other religious institutions in Zubik v. Burwell. Yet many individuals, employers, and organizations are still subject to the mandate.

In October 2017, the Trump administration issued interim final rules—very similar to the ones finalized this month—that finally provided an adequate moral and religious exemption for those who objected to the mandate. Those rules were designed to go into effect immediately, with a public comment period following, but they were blocked from being implemented in court.

The finalized rules issued this month take into account the public comments that were received since the interim final rules were issued, and the changes made are technical in nature.

The administration estimates that the exemptions should affect “no more than approximately 200 employers with religious or more objections, with many entities not being affected because they were already permitted not to cover contraception under the previous rules, or are protected by permanent court injunctions.”

The estimated number of women whose coverage may be affected is 6,400—a fraction of the 165 million women in the United States.

Many on the left are characterizing the rules as denying women access to contraception. In reality, they do no such thing. Rather, they allow those with objections to not be complicit in choices that would violate their religious or moral convictions.

Women will remain free to make their own decisions about the drugs and devices listed in the mandate, and will be able to purchase or find coverage for them without trampling on the sincere moral or religious objections of those who wish not to be implicated in subsidizing them.

Moreover, these rules leave untouched the multitude of programs that subsidize contraception for women at the federal, state, and local levels.

The rules simply mean that groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns committed to serving the elderly poor and who operate 30 homes in the United States, will not be forced to be involved in the provision of employee health insurance that covers drugs and devices that directly contradict their religious convictions.

You don’t have to share the beliefs of people like the Little Sisters to recognize that the government should not be able to force Americans to set aside their moral and religious convictions when they serve the poor, heal the sick, or educate the next generation outside the four walls of a church.

America has a proud tradition of respecting the rights of conscience, which enable us to act in harmony with our sincerely held beliefs in the public square. The final rules issued by the Trump administration recognize this foundational principle and give much-needed, meaningful relief from an unnecessary assault on the rights of conscience.

SOURCE






White Women Don't Need Saving by arrogant feminists

Allie Stuckey

Republicans foiled Democrats’ dreams of a Senator O’Rourke, a Governor Gillum and a Governor Abrams, and, apparently, white women are to blame for it.

One Twitter warrior deemed white women “footsoldiers of the patriarchy” for voting Republican, claiming that their decision is based on a desire to submit to their husbands. Jemele Hill, staff writer for The Atlantic, argued that white women are not “the face of feminism,” because they voted for Ted Cruz and, in 2016, for Donald Trump. A viral tweet listed Republicans for which white women voted in the midterms and concluded, “white women gonna white.”

Don’t worry, though. The Women’s March is here to help us out: “There’s a lot of work to do, white women. A lot of learning. A lot of growing. We want to do it with you.”

Phew! For a second there I thought we were going to have to continue navigating these scary political waters on our own. I’m so relieved to know that, instead of thinking for ourselves, we’ll have obscure liberal Twitter activists and Linda Sarsour guiding us. I’m hoping my tyrannical husband won’t be too upset with me for going against his commands. Last week he gave me an extra fifty cents in my allowance and told me to “buy something pretty,” so maybe he’ll be just as gracious when I tell him I’ve started forming my own opinions.

The irony is, of course, rich. Leftist feminists, long-asserting the strength and independence of women, now argue that some women are so weak that they need to depend on liberals to tell them how to vote. They cannot fathom that we Republican “white women” may actually have different values than they do. It must be because we are “foot soldiers of the patriarchy.” (That’s newspeak for “self-hating idiots.”)

When certain demographics vote majoritively for Democrats, those people are smart, brave, strong, important. Ninety-seven percent of black women voting for Abrams has nothing to do with identity politics or the belief in the false narrative that big government policies will benefit them. No, they’re wise. White women who vote for Republicans, though—they’re idiots.

So much for judging people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin or their sex. I’m old enough to remember when this was considered racism and sexism. Today, on the left, it’s considered thoughtful analysis.

The claim is that we are voting against our own interests. But this assumes our interests are liberal interests—abortion, closing the “gender pay gap,” gun control, etc. And they’re just not. We women who vote Republican do so because, in general, we believe in things like the Second Amendment, lower taxes and restrictions on killing the unborn. We are not oppressed. We’re just not progressive.

For as much as feminists say they hate the patriarchy, they do a darn good job of patronizing women with whom they disagree. They are demeaning, self-righteous and condescending. They deemed women who supported Kavanaugh “gender traitors.” They called Susan Collins and other senators who voted “yes” on the now-justice “rape apologists.” They claimed women who voted for Trump did so because of “internal misogyny.” They think we’re pro-life because we want to set women back. They think, simply because we don’t align with their agenda, we’re controlled by men.

These are the same people who completely ignore successful conservative women like Nikki Haley, Condoleezza Rice, or Carly Fiorina–not to mention the Republicans who ran in the midterms. Martha McSally, colonel in the Air Force, congresswoman and Arizona senatorial candidate certainly isn’t trying to repress women. The first female governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, doesn’t seem to be relegating women to the kitchen. Young Kim, Congress’s first Korean-American representative, isn’t exactly a slave to the patriarchy. These women, though, just don’t fit the narrative.

Progressive feminists fancy themselves rebellious disruptors, but it’s a fantasy. They’re mainstream, their platform is tired, their hypocrisy is predictable and their constant bullying of women on the other side of the aisle is nauseatingly unattractive. It is obviously the underrepresented, constantly shoved-aside conservative women who are really countercultural. It takes much more fortitude to stick to your values despite being condescended than it does to acquiesce to emotional manipulation and the leftist politics of guilt.

They may never realize that it’s this very attitude repelling the women they so desperately want to “help.” Oh well. Better for us.

SOURCE





Australia's little socialist republic in Canberra goes rogue on religion

This week the ACT has proved yet again that Canberrans are living in a world of their own.

Our little socialist republic has gone ahead and passed a bill aimed at eliminating the legal exemptions to the anti-discrimination laws pertaining to freedom of religion aimed at schools and other religious institutions.

The exemptions have been branded by the Barr government as “loopholes” although they were deliberately included in the original anti-discrimination legislation to give religious institutions freedom to run the institutions on religious principles. What is more, the ACT has gone its own way, despite the commonwealth government having yet to respond to the Ruddock review, pre-­empting any changes the commonwealth may make.

It has always been the stated aim of the Greens and the left of Labor to get rid of the exemptions to anti-discrimination law. The last thing Mark Dreyfus did as­ ­attorney-general was to eliminate the never-used exemptions in religious aged care. That was a warning for Labor’s future conduct.

The timely leaking of parts of the Ruddock review and the “who knew?” outrage that accompanied the leak were deliberately engineered and have given the green-Left the impetus it was seeking to eliminate the exemptions.

In Canberra, where 40 per cent of children are in independent schools, it will have the effect of restricting the freedom of parents in the choice of school, accomplished under the mantle of eliminating “discrimination” and encouraging “diversity”. It limits parents’ right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, all of which are part of the international covenants to which Australia is a signatory.

This was blatantly admitted in an accompanying speech by Shane Rattenbury, who sponsored the bill: “The amendments will engage and limit the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief. They engage and potentially limit the right of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of a child in conformity with their convictions. However, in the context of the scheme of the Discrimination Act as a whole, these limitations are reasonable and proportionate in accordance with s28 of the Human Rights Act.”

This is Rattenbury’s interpretation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

No one should forget what happened to Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous, who was hauled up to a human rights board for disseminating Catholic doctrine on marriage. The archbishop was a victim of the human rights apparatus that has redefined and limited our rights. Advocates of human rights, and especially advocates on human rights commissions, are very keen to talk about “balance”.

However, the real problem is that the human rights apparatus, encompassing all the various commissions and boards, has been allowed to override fundamental human rights in favour of the rights of special interest groups. The Porteous case was the most blatant example of this.

All rights are important — religion, speech and right of minorities not to suffer discrimination — but the legal structure is skewed in favour of rights that appeal to identified groups (24 in fact), not the broader community. We have given priority to a handful of rights while ignoring the impact on rights that are just as important. Hence, the fundamental right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their moral and religious views is potentially compromised by the palaver about “balance” in the ACT legislation.

Freedom of religion is one of our foundation constitutional principles. Despite talk of the “private” practice of religion and those whingers of the freedom-from-­religion camp, the manifest practice of religion cannot be separated from freedom to “private” practice of religion. One must accept religion is not something separate from daily life. Belief must be manifest in thought, in conscience, which guides morality, and in speech.

Silencing religion in the public square is not just about silencing bishops; it is about silencing lay men and women. Governments have already begun to interfere in individual conscience in ways acceptable only in the worst totalitarian regimes. Victoria has overridden the right to freedom of conscience by requiring doctors to refer patients for abortion.

Religious bodies should not be subject to legislation that affects their foundation principles but, then, religious bodies should not have to rely on exemptions. The anti-religion activists have been allowed to set the terms of the debate by accepting the outrageous assertion that manifestations of religious freedom are, at law, mere incidents of discrimination that are permissible only because of exemptions in the law. Once they fell into that error, a bad outcome for religious freedom was assured.

The starting point for the debate must be that religious freedom is a fundamental human right — the position in international law. If this right is given only lukewarm recognition, the inroads on religious freedom will get only worse. Using the interpretative clauses in anti-discrimination laws to refer to the importance of religion is much weaker than a stand-alone act that asserts that everyone has the right to privateand public manifestations of religious belief.

This would change the debate as manifestations of religion would no longer be an exemption from laws against discrimination but a manifestation of a right accepted by federal law. Schools would no longer be allowed to “discriminate” but would be allowed to exercise a right to religious freedom.

The leaking of the Ruddock review was part of a campaign to scare the government in advance of the report’s full release. There seems little appetite to declare freedom of religion as a full right. However, those who fear such a law as the harbinger of a bill of rights should think again. There is a greater fear we will have a half-hearted ­response to the issue and lose a vital part of our freedom.

SOURCE 

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

***************************



Sunday, November 11, 2018



Women in physics: Why there’s a problem and how we can solve it

The title above and the excerpt below show that people with nothing better to do are still chewing away at this old issue -- even though all the attempted "solutions" have failed -- as they admit below.

But the first issue is surely why it matters.  There are many women in physics so clearly those who are inclined towards a physics career can have one if they give it priority.  There is certainly a lot of official encouragement of it.  So the issue is not whether women can contribute to physics.  Many can and do. What is at issue is the PROPORTION of women in physics.  So why does THAT matter? The proportion of women in physics is low but what is lost by that?

Feminists claim glibly that many valuable potential contributions to physics by women are not being made and see that as the loss to us all.  But where is the evidence for that? Given that there are large numbers of women already in physics could it not be that those women who have a serious avocation for physics are already there?  It certainly seems possible so the feminist claim seems nothing more than an unproven assertion.  Some proof would be nice -- but I am not holding my breath.

But feminists are routinely uninterested in proof for their various assertions so my call for proof in this matter will cause eye-rolling only.

So the real motivation for concern would appear to be the old falsehood that all men are equal -- and women are just as equal.  If that were true it would make some sense to expect equal representation of women in  all occupations whatsoever.  But it isn't true. All men are different, not equal and men and women are systematically different too.  The fact that different proportions of men and women are found in almost all occupations is ample evidence of that.  When do we let the evidence count?

And the relevant difference between men and women in physics is plain to see.  Physics is math-intensive and women are woefully outnumbered in the top tiers of mathematical ability.  The leptokurtic distribution of female IQ -- and mathematical ability in particular -- makes the small average difference between male and female mathematical ability translate into a large difference in absolute numbers at the top of the range. Some women have made and will continue to make significant contributions to physical knowledge and understanding but they will ALWAYS be a small minority in physics.  Given the different abilities between men and women on average, it cannot be otherwise.  Attempts to "solve" the difference are flailing at the wind. Flailing will continue to go on but it will be just as unsuccessful in the future as it has been in the past.

Finally, I must say something about the specific article below.  They mention the paper by the terminally incorrect Alessandro Strumia.  But in all the condemnations of his wickedness that I have seen (e.g. here), nobody mentions the powerful statistical evidence  he presented.  They content themselves with emotional reactions -- which is one of the things Strumia accused them of!  Below is one of his graphs, showing how much more the work of male physicists is cited compared to the work of female physicists



Citations are the normal criterion of excellence throughout academe.  You can get a less extreme difference by including  arXiv articles, as Hossenfelder does, but such articles are not not peer-reviewed -- so that one has to resort to them to elevate the work of women is in itself something of a defeat.  Given their unknown quality, it seems likely that they are most often cited only to rebut them.

So how do the authors below reply to Strumia's careful research?  By mentioning that only three woman had received the Nobel prize in physics in the 117-year history of that prize. I would have thought that that fact rather supported Strumia! But in any case, thinking that selected instances can invalidate an average is a profoundly unmathematical way of thinking so is in itself surely an example of why women rarely do well in physics.  With friends like that ....



Women are still wildly under-represented in physics – but it doesn't have to be like that. Our special report looks at the steps we can take to improve things

WHEN we were 16 years old, my friend Karen and I were interviewed for an educational video. With our hair thick with styling mousse, pale blue eyeliner and misplaced teen swagger, we explained why we had chosen to study physics. We were the only two girls in our school that year who had. Our video was going to inspire other girls to do the same. We were going to change the world.

Thirty years on, it is safe to say our ambition failed. In 2016, no girls studied A level physics in almost half of the schools in England that admit girls. In the same year, just one-third of schools had two or more girls taking the subject. It is a similar picture across much of the world. Despite all the initiatives to attract more girls into physics, the proportion remains stubbornly low.

Physics and sexism has been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks by the incendiary comments made by theoretical physicist Alessandro Strumia. At a workshop on gender in physics, of all places, at CERN near Geneva in Switzerland, he claimed that women were less capable than men at physics research. The day after he was suspended by CERN, Donna Strickland became only the third woman to receive the Nobel prize in physics in its 117-year history, sharing this year’s award for her pioneering work on lasers.

All this paints a picture of physics as a career that is unwelcoming to women to start with and isolating for many of those who do make it. But why is this still the case?

SOURCE






Young African-American Beauty Accused of Racism and Fired from Modeling Agency for Attending TPUSA Black Leadership Conference

Turning Point USA held its Young Black Leadership Conference in Washington DC in late October.



During the conference attendees were invited to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House.

President Trump was greeted with thunderous applause at the White House Friday from members of the Young Black Leadership Summit as he detailed how “America First” policies are imminently benefiting the African-America community.

Model Zoe Bethel attended the weekend conference and posted photos from the event.

After she returned home the young beauty was fired from her modeling agency. On top of that — The agency accused her of being a racist when she was fired!

Zoe is African American and conservative — And because of this she was fired from her agency!

SOURCE






Black Americans Thriving Under Trump/GOP

The party ended slavery and Jim Crow, and is now building an economy flush with jobs.

Frustrated at its party’s impotence in dealing with the issue of slavery, on March 20, 1854, former members of the Whig Party met in Ripon, Wisconsin, to form a new party; the Republican Party. Republicans considered slavery a moral evil and a stain on the character of our young nation, and just six years later a little-known Illinois Republican congressman named Abraham Lincoln won the presidency.

From its inception, the Republican Party has fought for equality for black people. The bloodiest war in American history began in large part because the Democrat Party violently opposed efforts to free black slaves. It was the Republican Party that passed the first Civil Rights Act in 1866 (struck down by a Democrat-appointed Supreme Court), and it was Republicans who secured the right to vote for blacks and women, and who led the effort to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

It is one of the greatest con jobs in history that Democrats now claim the title of defenders of black Americans, intentionally deceiving them with the outrageous lie that racist white Southern Democrats switched to the Republican Party in the late 1960s (as if it made sense that racists would flee to the party that just passed the Civil Rights Act they so loathed).

In reality, of course, it is the Republican Party that has fought, and still fights, for equality and prosperity for black Americans. And though they get little credit for it, Republicans are doing right by black Americans.   Joe Biden famously screeched that Mitt Romney, the most decent, milquetoast man to run for office in living memory, was going to put blacks “back in chains.”

Yet where are black Americans truly in chains? In the Democrat poverty plantations of cities like Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, Memphis, and St. Louis, where their hopes are crushed under generational poverty, high unemployment, sky-high murder rates, and gang violence. These are cities where Democrats have had free rein to implement their policies for decades, and blacks are the ones who suffer most.

The Democrat Party is the party whose leaders send their own children to elite private schools while striking down school-choice programs that have a strong record of educating poor minorities so they can escape the ghettos.

Of course, more than a third of black babies don’t get a chance to escape the ghettos because they never escape the womb. Democrats funnel more than $500 million a year to Planned Parenthood, an organization founded for the sole purpose of eradicating, through abortion and sterilization, blacks and other “undesirables.”

That’s all well and good, you may say, but what have Republicans done for black Americans lately?

For one, they continue to fight for school choice for mothers of poor black children. When Obama repeatedly defunded the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, it was Republicans who kept bringing the money back.

Under President Donald Trump, supposedly the most virulently racist president ever, black Americans, indeed all Americans, are experiencing a renewing of the American Dream. In October 2016, as we closed out the last few months of Obama’s eight year term, black unemployment stood at 8.6%. In less than two years under Trump, black unemployment hit 5.9%, a historical low.

After eight years of Obama there were 18.1 million blacks with jobs. Under Trump, it’s up to 19.3 million, a 1.2 million jump in two years.

And that’s just the beginning. Congressional Republicans passed, and President Trump signed, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, without a single vote from the Democrats. The new law created Opportunity Zones, which gave “tax incentives for businesses to invest in economically distressed communities, making them a powerful vehicle for economic growth and job creation.”

As job creation and personal wealth continues to grow in the black community, they will be able to look at Democrats and say, “You didn’t build that!”   Realizing that far too many young black men are in a revolving door when it comes to prison, Republicans have been relentlessly pursuing criminal-justice reform with the goal of rehabilitating those sent to prison, and putting them on the path to prosperity through education and work. Republican-led states like Georgia and Texas are leading the nation in criminal-justice reform, leading to historic lows in the number of black prisoners.

In 2016, as he made his final pitch to voters nationwide, Trump asked black Americans to give him a chance and vote for him, inquiring, “What the hell do you have to lose?!”

Trump ended up with 8% of the black vote in the 2016 election — not much, but still 2% higher than Romney.

Today, having seen the benefits of Trump’s tax-cutting, regulation-slashing, job-creating, pro-growth policies, as well as important symbolic gestures — like declaring Martin Luther King Jr.‘s burial site a national landmark (which Obama didn’t do in eight years) — Trump’s approval rating among blacks stands at a mind-bogglingly high 40%.

Democrats are desperate to recapture the narrative of Trump and the Republicans as white-robe clad, cross-burning racists, but it seems that more and more black Americans are seeing their lives improved by Republican leaders and conservative policies and realizing an important truth: The Democrat Party has never been their friend.

SOURCE






More black Muslim mayhem in Melbourne

What will it take to show the do-gooders that black Muslims are too much of a risk to have in Australia?  How many innocent people have to die?

A Melbourne cafe legend was stabbed to death during a terrorist's knife rampage through Bourke Street that injured two others before police gunned the Somali immigrant down.

Sisto Malaspina, 74, was murdered by Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, 30, as he ran to help what he thought was a car crash victim just blocks from his iconic Pellegrini's coffee shop about 4.20pm on Friday.

However, Khalif had deliberately crashed his Holden Rodeo that was loaded with gas canisters and set the car alight after mounting the pavement near the Swanson Street intersection.

By trying to do a good deed, Mr Malaspina became the murderous knifeman's first victim. Soon two others would also be stabbed before Khalif attacked police.

Video shot from the scene showed the frenzied attack that carried on for more than a minute as Khalif chased the officers around as they tried to convince him to surrender, before finally shooting him.

Police said Khalif was inspired by ISIS to commit jihad, but they were unsure if he had direct contrast with the terrorist group. ISIS claimed his as one of their own, but often falsely associate themselves with lone wolf attacks.

Khalif's passport was cancelled in 2015 after he was flagged as one of 300 potential security risks when he it was discovered he planned to travel to Syria.

An AFP spokesman said in a press conference late on Saturday morning that though Khalif was on their radar, police decided not to intervene. 'While he held radical ideals, he didn't hold a threat,' he said.

His family were known to counter-terror agencies and believed to have ties with North African extremist groups.

His brother Ali Khalif Shire Ali was arrested in November 2017 over an alleged planned New Year's Eve attack on Federation Square.

Heartbroken friends and longtime customers left floral tributes to the slain food icon outside the Pellegrini's, just down Bourke Street near the Exhibition Street intersection.

Staff were in shock and a sign on the door said the cafe would be closed until November 12, with police standing guard outside.

Mr Malaspina's body was on Friday seen lying in the street covered by a white sheet with a bare foot sticking out after bystanders unsuccessfully tried to save his life.

SOURCE 

*************************

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

***************************

Friday, November 09, 2018




Jordan Petersen endorsed Trump

Jordan Peterson, the clinical psychologist and University of Toronto professor known for his stand for free speech and against radical leftism in his home country of Canada, weighed in on the midterm elections, saying he hoped the Democrats would “get walloped.”

On a tour promoting his best-selling book, “12 Rules for Life,” Peterson made his comments backstage at the Cambridge Union while preparing to address the crowd, according to Spectator’s James Innes-Smith.

Peterson told the Spectator that he is troubled by the Democrats’ determination to appeal to a “tiny radical fraction of the voter base,” Spectator reported.

“I don’t think they’re going to wake up until they get defeated,” he said.

Calling the left out as the “flailing liberal elite, hungry for impeachment,” the professor said the Democrats have been unfairly targeting President Donald Trump.

“It’s ridiculous to label Trump as far-right; he’s certainly an anomaly,” Peterson said.

“As a personality, he’s more of a libertarian. He’s not a traditional Republican and he’s certainly not a traditional right-wing figure apart from the fact that he has this large populist base.”

Peterson also condemned the left’s eagerness to label Trump a racist, particularly following the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue last month.

“We should leave the racist label to people who deserve it,” Peterson said. “Otherwise, we debase the currency. Once everyone’s a racist, well — that’s the end of that as a useful epithet.”

Peterson noted that Trump’s background seems to “rub upper-class educated people up the wrong way.”

“The one thing the intellectual elite will never understand is that if you are poor you can become rich, but if you are not part of the establishment elite, you will never become part of it.”

Nevertheless, Peterson said he can’t understand the Democrats’ insistent hatred for the president.

“Wages are rising, unemployment is down to levels not seen since the early Sixties and the economy is growing at a phenomenal rate,” the professor said.

“Trump is noisy and bombastic and he has a narcissistic edge, but he certainly hasn’t turned out to be the absolute disaster that his enemies predicted. He’s even making headway in North Korea.”

SOURCE





The 'Racist Ad' and News Judgment

During the last weekend before the 2018 midterms, the media decided an ad by President Trump was "racist" and therefore refused to air it. CNN, NBC, Facebook and even Fox News took that position.

The "star" of this commercial is Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican citizen who has repeatedly entered America illegally and who shot two California police deputies dead in 2014. In January, Fox News aired footage of Bracamontes boasting in court: "I don't (expletive) regret that (expletive). The only thing that I (expletive) regret is that I (expletive) killed two. I wish I (expletive) killed more of those (expletives)." But CNN and MSNBC didn't cover it as news. They covered it when Trump used the footage in his ad. They didn't grieve for the families of the two dead deputies. They didn't worry about the problem of crime by illegal immigrants. They worried about Trump's tactics.

Trump's ad played part of the Bracamontes clip, and a narrator said: "It's pure evil. President Trump is right. Build the wall. Deport criminals. Stop illegal immigration now. Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants."

CNN's Poppy Harlow was aghast and asked, "Is this politics at its worst?" MSNBC's Kasie Hunt asked Sen. Michael Bennet for his response. "I say it's appalling. I don't say that as a Democrat or as a senator," Bennet lectured. "I say it as an American and wish that we had a president who actually was trying to bring the country together rather than dividing us."

As if former President Obama and the Democrats gave America a blissful eight years of unifying moments? Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street were about as angry and divisive as they come. But Bennet and Co. didn't have a problem in the world. These militants and anarchists were celebrated by liberals and their media adjuncts as part of a glorious progressive future, no matter how many laws they broke.

But when an illegal immigrant shoots and kills two law enforcement officers and brags about it, bringing it up is somehow divisive. Why couldn't we unite as Americans around the idea that illegal immigrants shouldn't be killing our cops? Why can't the "news" networks define that as news, and not as inflammatory content to be banned? Why doesn't the president of the United States have the right to talk about this, not by others' standards but his own?

Then consider the newspapers. A search for Luis Bracamontes on The New York Times website finds 20 mentions in the last five years — and 18 of them are from Nov. 1 forward, centered on the new Trump ad that he debuted on his Twitter account.

The ad intersperses the Bracamontes clips with footage of the caravan of immigrants marching through Mexico. Trump's ad incorrectly states that Democrats let Bracamontes in and let him stay, when he illegally entered the country under both Democrat and Republican presidents.

But it's not the bad facts that they're finding offensive. They're too emotional to deal in facts. The ad is "racist" because it's seen as an attempt to scare white voters into choosing Republicans.

CNN's Don Lemon picked up where his network left off, saying: "this horrible guy who is a convicted cop killer, you know, mouthing things in court and smiling. It just — every racist immigrant trope that you can think of is in this ad." NBC's Peter Alexander said, "the president is facing sharp condemnation for what critics call fearmongering and racism by promoting this web video trying to terrify Republicans to vote."

Haven't CNN and NBC and the other networks just spent two years making videos to terrify everyone into voting against Donald Trump and his alleged enablers? Haven't they been divisively fearmongering about "democracy dying in darkness" through this entire presidency?

SOURCE 






Retired man, 69, 'who identifies as a 45-year-old' begins legal action to have his age reduced so he can attract more women on Tinder

A 69-year-old Dutchman is battling to legally reduce his age by 20 years so he can get more work and attract more women on Tinder.

Emile Ratelband argues that if transgender people are allowed to change sex, he should be allowed to change his date of birth because doctors said he has the body of a 45-year-old.

The motivational speaker, a media personality in the Netherlands, is suing his local authority after they refused to amend his age on official documents.

Mr Ratelband's case has now gone to a court in the city of Arnhmen in the eastern Dutch province of Gelderland.

He was born on 11 March, 1949, but says he feels at least 20 years younger and wants to change his birth date to 11 March, 1969.

Mr Ratelband, who has converted to Buddhism, said: 'I have done a check-up and what does it show? My biological age is 45 years.

'When I'm 69, I am limited. If I'm 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car. I can take up more work.

'When I'm on Tinder and it says I'm 69, I don't get an answer. When I'm 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.

'Transgender people can now have their gender changed on their birth certificate, and in the same spirit there should be room for an age change.'

The Dutchman said he is discriminated against because of his age on a daily basis. He complains that companies are reluctant to hire someone the age of a pensioner as a consultant.

And he says his move would also be good news for the government as he would be renouncing his pension until he reaches retirement age again.

The judge said that he had some sympathy with Mr Ratelband as people could now change their gender which would once have been unthinkable.

But the court said there would be practical problems in allowing people to change their birth date and it would mean legally deleting part of their lives.

The judge asked Mr Ratelband about the status of his early years, from 1949 to 1969, if his official birth date was put back.

'For whom did your parents care in those years? Who was that little boy back then?,' the judge asked.

The court is due to deliver a written ruling within four weeks.

SOURCE





Feds threaten councils over Australia Day date change

Minister Dutton not hoodwinked

The federal government has threatened to strip several NSW councils of the right to hold Australia Day citizenship ceremonies amid plans to hold them a day earlier.

Hawkesbury City is reportedly considering holding its ceremonies on the evening of January 25 because of the daytime heat.

Kempsey and Bellingen shire councils have similar plans, according to Macquarie Media.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton suggested the move was political rather than weather related and warned them against changing the day. "I don't care whether people are seeking to move it in an obvious way or playing games - the intent is very clear," he told Sydney's 2GB on Thursday. "Australians don't want councils playing politics with these issues."

Mr Dutton said ratepayers expected Australia Day to be "respectful" to those new citizens who consider it one of the proudest days of their lives. "We're not going to have that disrupted by this nonsense," he said.

"The rules are pretty clear. If they're not going to abide by it, then they'll find themselves without the ability to conduct the ceremony."

Last month, Byron Shire Council backed down on its plan to move its citizenship ceremonies from January 26 after threats from Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He called the move "indulgent self-loathing".

Citizenship Minister David Coleman later wrote to all council mayors to reinforce that citizenship ceremonies should be apolitical, bipartisan, non-commercial and secular.

SOURCE 

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

***************************

Thursday, November 08, 2018



Star Parker: Democrats Are 'The Party of Anti-Christ'

Because of its support for abortion on demand, including in the ninth month of pregnancy, the Democratic Party is "evil" and is "the party of Anti-Christ," said conservative author and activist Star Parker, the founder of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education.

Parker made her remarks during a Facebook Live interview earlier this year with Patrina Mosley, the director of Life, Culture, and Women's Advocacy at the Family Research Council.

Mosley spoke about Rep. Steve Cohen's (D-Tenn.) support for abortion and the donations given to liberal lawmakers by the abortion industry and asked Parker why that "symbiotic connection is there"?

Parker, author of Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor, said, “Well, the Democrats have always been the party of control. They are the party of slavery, they are the party of Jim Crow, they are the party of the welfare state."

"So, I am not surprised that the Democrats are invested so heavily in making sure that the truth is not out," she said. 

"The people that saw [the exchange with Rep. Cohen] were surprised, I suppose—in particular, those that are voting for Democrats," said Parker. "I don’t think that they understand how evil that the Democrat Party has become and how entrenched it is in the Democrat philosophy and their platform—abortion, killing what God calls His reward.”

“It is the party of anti-Christ,” she said.

“They do not believe anything of Scripture," said Parker.  "When the Bible says don’t do something, they want to do it. When the Bible says do do something, they don’t want to."

SOURCE






Urban America's Vagrancy Outrage
    
It’s appropriate that the U.N. special rapporteur devoted to adequate housing has visited encampments in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Mumbai — and San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.

The homeless situation in those cities and others around the country is positively Third World, a blight that shows the persistence of human folly and misery, despite what we take to be our steady progress to greater enlightenment and prosperity.

San Francisco is a crown jewel of the new economy, and a sink of vagrancy. One of the more compelling pieces of reportage that The New York Times has run recently was on the dirtiest block in San Francisco, the 300 block of Hyde Street, blighted by discarded heroin needles and other filth.

In the 21st century, in the richest country on the planet, you would think that we would have figured out how to live without having to step around human feces. The experience of San Francisco says that, against all expectations, we haven’t — or at least we forgot how.

It used to be a journalistic trope that homelessness spiked whenever a Republican occupied the White House, but it’s more obvious than ever that it is an endemic social problem. Homelessness is roiling the politics of impeccably progressive cities like San Francisco — where tech barons split on a proposal for a new tax to fund homelessness programs — and Seattle.

In an article for the journal National Affairs, Stephen Eide of the Manhattan Institute recounted how we got here over the past 50 years.

Cities wiped out or drastically diminished their skid rows, once a last-ditch housing recourse for men who had hit bottom. As urban renewal and regulations to improve the quality of housing eliminated these down-on-their-luck areas, the people who once lived there decamped to public places.

We “deinstitutionalized” the mentally ill, too often a euphemism for dumping them onto the streets and into jails. About 20 to 30 percent of the homeless are mentally ill.

Meanwhile, the number of single-parent families drastically increased. Women only rarely lived on skid row, but poor families headed by single mothers are a large component of the homeless. Eide notes that in New York City “two-thirds of the homeless population is comprised of families with children, and around 90 percent of those families are headed by single mothers.”

These large-scale trends have been met with a new, more permissive legal environment. The Supreme Court in 1972 made it more difficult for city police forces to hustle along vagrants, and subsequent free-speech jurisprudence has made outlawing panhandling tricky. Civil commitment of the mentally ill has become highly restricted. The American Civil Liberties Union is a great de facto friend of vagrancy.

Not that anything is easy in this area. The hard core of the homeless population is cut off from human relationships and finds the perverse freedom of the streets more appealing than the structure that would come with assistance. Many refuse help, either because they are too sick to make rational decisions or they don’t want to deal with any rules.

Eide suggests localities do more to nudge the homeless to make use of social services, and allow more dense housing to create a greater housing stock overall, thus reducing some of the upward pressure on rents.

But the beginning wisdom is to consider the status quo intolerable, and resist the advocates who want to normalize panhandling and camping, and the associated drug abuse, petty crime and disorder. Houston has had success with a tough-love policy of more services, coupled with a crackdown on encampments and other public nuisances.

One of the advantages of modern society is that people don’t have to live in public, or in squalor. That it is widely accepted in some of our greatest cities is an outrage of our age. It is deeply harmful to our civic life, and does no favors for the men and women living in parks and highway underpasses.

SOURCE






1,600 “Scientists” Defy Science To Support Transgender Activism

This story came out earlier this week but it was shocking enough that it bears a look. The transgender activist community was all abuzz on Thursday over a letter that had actually been featured in the New York Times a week earlier. Buzzfeed picked it up and ran with it, adding to the celebratory mood. The document in question was an open letter published by a gaggle of 1,600 scientists who are rejecting the anticipated HHS memo defining sex and gender in traditional, scientifically accepted terms for purposes of Title IX questions.

What’s truly amazing is the fact that these supposed pillars of the scientific community are calling on the Trump administration to reject such notions and formulate a policy which is more scientific and ethically based.

The memo states that any disputes about a person’s sex would be clarified using genetic testing, which scientists who signed the letter called unscientific and unethical.

“This proposal is fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights, and basic dignity,” the scientists wrote.

Among the signatories are eight Nobel laureates.

The letter emphasizes that both biological sex and gender are on a spectrum and are not clear cut.

For a document supposedly written by scientists, the arguments being put forth sound suspiciously unscientific. Like many in the social justice warrior club, the authors are claiming that centuries of established medical science are simply wrong. Fair enough. If you’re a scientist it’s your job to reexamine the data and provide new information as it is revealed through research. But that’s the problem. By their own admission, these scientists are signing onto a document which states they can’t prove what they’re saying. Here’s one example:

“Though scientists are just beginning to understand the biological basis of gender identity, it is clear that many factors, known and unknown, mediate the complex links between identity, genes, and anatomy.”

So you don’t understand it yet. And you’re leaning on factors both known and unknown. What kind of research is this? Did it involve a deck of tarot cards? Here’s another one:

Mollie Manier, an assistant professor of biology at George Washington University and one of the coauthors of the letter, told BuzzFeed News, “The science on gender is very much still in development, but more importantly, the lived experiences of transgender and intersex people should not be co-opted by a genetic test.”

You’re basing your conclusions on science that’s “in development” and rejecting what we already know in favor of “the lived experiences” of people.

The authors go on from there to adopt a favorite trick of activists and attempt to conflate the conditions displayed by the tiny fraction of the population with legitimate intersex traits caused by genetic anomalies (a completely valid topic) and all of the people who just really, really, really feel like they were born in the wrong body. Granted, some men produce more or less testosterone than others. That doesn’t make the ones producing less women. Ditto for females and estrogen levels.

What we’re seeing here is the downstream effects of the corruption of the educational system by liberal politics. As schools are overrun by social justice warriors and those controlling the flow of grant money bend to liberal demands, we’re seeing this nonsense now being passed off as science. And as it bleeds over into other areas, everyone in society will be paying the price for it.

SOURCE





The three great lies corroding western cultures

PAUL KELLY, commenting from Australia

The degeneration in the culture that drives the corrosion in our politics has its origins in three great lies now being propounded daily in our universities, media, corporates and obviously among the politicians.

These lies are becoming embedded in our discourse. National politics in America and Australia was once about the fight for control of the shared narrative or common destiny. Not any more. Politics is about tribal messages derived from the breakdown of the agreed national ethos.

The recent statement of this pathology based on the US university sector comes from American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and lawyer Greg Lukianoff in this year’s "The Coddling of the American Mind", and in this column I have drawn on their thesis as modified by my own assessments.

In the 1980s politicians such as Ronald Reagan and Australia's Bob Hawke offered appeals based on the shared national imagination — Hawke won office in 1983 calling for consensus under the slogan: “Bob Hawke — Bringing Australians Together”. Reagan helped Americans manage adversity with his “It’s morning again in America” slogan, a fusion of nostalgia and optimism.

The Haidt-Lukianoff book is based on the “three great untruths” in our cultural and university life now spilling into politics.

* The starting lie or untruth is that disputes and differences today are a battle between good and evil, between the oppressed (the virtuous victims) and the oppressors (evil tyrants of the status quo.)

This turns the mundane injus­tices of everyday life into a moral contest. Yet it is a contest based on distorted morality. There are many illustrations: if you don’t support radical action to curb climate change you are a moral threat to society and betraying your friends. In short, your support for the status quo marks you as a bad person no matter how many charities you support.

In her recent Helen Hughes lecture for the Centre for Independent Studies, Quillette editor-in-chief Claire Lehmann called out the technique: “If there is a gender pay gap then this is because men are oppressing women. If there is a gap between the earnings of immigrants and a native population, then this is because the native population is oppressing the immigrant group. If there are health discrepancies between LGBTI people and heterosexual people, then this is because of discrimination. This simple formula gets repeated over and over and over again.” Eventually this false logic seems to become the only way a sensible person would think. In fact a sensible person, while recognising discrimination as a factor, would analyse the other explanations at work to avoid reaching the wrong conclusion.

As Lehmann said, a conclusion endlessly repeated — that the gender pay gap is caused by sexist oppression — takes hold when a considered analysis shows the fact that women have children is critical in the explanation. Adopting a conflict framework, an oppressed versus oppressor narrative, means politics becomes more divisive and problems are harder to solve because the analysis is wrong. One reason for this is while many advocates would like to solve the problem they have a higher motive; their purpose to dismantle the power structure, whether it is allegedly patriarchy or white supremacy or heteronormativity.

The Haidt-Lukianoff book argues the key to an inclusive community is to create the sense of common humanity, not tribalism based on gender and race. The authors point out that in his heroic 1960s civil rights campaigns Martin Luther King declared his dream was “the American dream” and asked the entire nation “to rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed”, to honour equality beyond race. King relied on American values. He aspired to unite, not destroy. He appealed to one America, not a collection of tribes. Haidt and Lukianoff contrast the impact of the oppressed-oppressor paradigm that enshrines “whiteness” as a power construct. They quote a student’s essay: “White death will mean liberation for all.”

These days social issues are frequently presented in mainstream media as rituals of injustice and grievance. This mentality originated in Marxist ideology. Once you believe social problems arise primarily because of power and the oppressed-oppressor conflict, then the scene is set for tribal warfare justified by a moral principle.

Referring to American universities, the authors state an enduring reality: “The more you separate people and point out differences among them, the more divided and less trusting they will become.” None of this is to say power is irrelevant. It is always relevant. Indeed, academic opposition to the Ramsay Centre courses on Western civilisation is an insight into the pathology. The Ramsay people are bad because they arrive, the critics assert, in the name of white supremacy, racism, neo-colonialism and so forth. They represent the oppressors and you cannot deal or debate with oppressors; you can only resist them.

* The second great lie or untruth from the Haidt-Lukianoff analysis is people will be weaker by being challenged in their ideas and preconceptions. They need to be protected and made safe. This is the notion of a fragile society. It was given focus last year in the campaign against the same-sex marriage plebiscite when politicians and mental health experts united against a democratic vote and debate because its extremes would damage too many people.

Because identity politics relates to the personal, it becomes dan­gerous. It is not just your political views being threatened, it is your identity. That makes it a health issue. Female students in the US have refused to hear lectures denying America is a rape culture because it threatens to invalidate their own identity and experience.

In this world the public policy test to prevent trauma and offence becomes a subjective test. This was the issue in relation to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Defenders of the law said subjective views must prevail and what mattered was how people felt — whether people felt offended and intimidated. Haidt and Lukianoff say that if people and students come to believe they cannot handle offence then they will become less able to do so. Fragility begets more fragility. The authors say leaders and health professionals have made the wrong call.

The task of institutions and universities is to “prepare students for conflict, controversy and argument” and students must learn that having cherished beliefs being questioned is not a personal attack on them but preparation for life. At present institutions are “setting up a generation for failure”.

* The third lie the authors nominate is “the untruth of emotional reasoning”, the false nostrum you must “always trust your feelings”. Much of our political and media debate now revolves around displays of emotions to prove you care. Be unemotional and you are uncaring. The oppressor-oppressed mentality largely thrives on emotion at the cost of reason.

“In an age of social media, cyber trolls and fake news it is a global crisis that people so readily follow their feelings to embrace outlandish stories about their enemies,” Haidt and Lukianoff state. They quote Hanna Holborn Gray, president of the University of Chicago from 1978 to 1993: “Education should not be intended to make people comfortable; it is meant to make them think.”

Because politics operates at the intersection of emotion and reason, it becomes hostage to the cult of emotional reasoning; witness the appeal of Donald Trump among many. Social media generates a mob mentality based on emotion. Once emotion takes control, people view the world through one single lens, not through a more balanced understanding based on reason.

Single-lens emotion is the path to anxiety and depression for people and hysteria and irrationality in politics. Human beings are tribal creatures and civilisation was supposed to lead us from the tribe to society. Are we regressing?

SOURCE 

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, 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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