Sunday, August 18, 2019

Gun massacres do have a real cause

And it's not the fault of the gun

One thing about tragedies: They reveal people for who they really are. In the past two weeks, we’ve learned a lot about our media and political class. Our country endured two separate and horrifying mass shootings, one in El Paso, Texas, and the other in Dayton, Ohio. Between them, at least 31 people were murdered. Two massacres, back to back. It’s tempting to look for themes that connect them, but if there are any, they’re not political. One gunman appeared to be a Trump voter. The other supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren. There’s no obvious ideological lesson here. But that hasn’t stopped the usual power-hungry politicians from trying to leverage human pain for political advantage. Here’s just a sampling of the commentary from the Democratic presidential field:

Rep. Beto O'Rourke: “You don’t get mass shootings like these, you don’t torch mosques, you don’t put kids in cages until you have a president who has given people permission to do that. And that is exactly what is happening in the United States of America today.”

Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “It is very clear that this kind of hate is being legitimized from on high.”

Warren: “White supremacy is a domestic terrorism threat in the same way that foreign terrorism threatens our people. And it is the responsibility of the president of the United States to help fight back against that, not to wink and nod and smile at it and let it get stronger in this country.”

Mayor Julian Castro: “This echoes the kind of language that our president encourages.”

Sen. Cory Booker: “I want to say with more moral clarity that Donald Trump is responsible for this.”

Thirty-one dead, and the only thing these politicians can think about is how to terrify Americans into voting for them. These are our political leaders. Their comments are disgusting. They’re also totally unimpressive, unequal to the task of fixing a society that on some days seems on the verge of collapse. Maybe that’s why they spend so much time trying to divert our attention from America’s actual problems.

Nobody really believes this is about Trump or about assault weapons. If only it were that simple. Our problems go far deeper. What’s the real diagnosis? Author James Howard Kunstler, one of our wisest cultural observers, summed it up this way: “This is exactly what you get in a culture where anything goes and nothing matters. Extract all the meaning and purpose from being here on earth, and erase as many boundaries as you can from custom and behavior, and watch what happens, especially among young men trained on video slaughter games.”

He’s right. Young men are the problem. Many of our boys are living in what Kunstler describes as an “abyss of missing social relations” with “no communities, no fathers, no mentors, no initiations into personal responsibility, no daily organizing principles, no instruction in useful trades, no productive activities, no opportunities for love and affection, and no way out.”

Our leaders are too cowardly to say so, but the signs are everywhere. Mass shootings are just the final manifestation. Suicide rates for young Americans are the highest ever measured. So are drug-related deaths. Fifteen percent of millennials still live with their parents. Fifty years ago, more than 80% of American adults ages 25 to 34 were already married and living with a spouse. Today, less than half of adults in that age range are married. A huge portion of American young people aren’t in any kind of relationship at all. It’s no wonder millions of young people feel helpless, miserable and alone. They lack friends or parents or religious organizations to give their lives purpose and moral coherence. They live in a suffocating culture they feel no control over: Local identity and local institutions are the weakest they’ve ever been in this country.

Most people think our democracy is fake. The policies they live under, the jobs they hold and even their personal opinions are controlled by tech monopolists, media scolds and Washington bureaucrats. America is supposed to be a free country, but millions of young people look around and feel like they’re trapped in a stagnant dystopia. In such an environment, a few people will lash out in violence. Millions of others will simply fade away, from suicide or overdose or diabetes. This is the real crisis, the one that produced those horrifying scenes on TV over the weekend. Washington is happy to pretend it isn’t happening. But it is. You can’t ignore it forever.


British bus company sparks fury for suspending driver who wouldn’t drive gay pride bus

A British bus company has been swamped by a wave of public outrage after it suspended a driver for refusing to drive a vehicle celebrating gay pride.

“I am not driving this bus because it promotes homosexuality,” the driver told passengers at Norwich Bus Station. He said they would have to “wait a minute” for him to swap buses.

In a drive to promote gay pride, bus operator Konectbus lit up service numbers on various bus routes, including route 501, in the colours of the gay pride rainbow flag.

Passenger Rebecca Sears, 19, lodged a complaint at the bus station’s front desk as the driver moved to another double-decker vehicle and allowed passengers to board.

“Was the driver informed that he would be required to promote LGBT causes on behalf of the company as part of his employment contract?”

The sixth form student, who posted a picture of the driver on Twitter, said that he was in his 50s with grey hair.

“Today I was waiting for the 501 bus to Thickthorn and we were told by the driver we had to wait for him to swap buses as ‘this bus promotes homosexuality and I refuse to drive it’ due to the multicoloured ‘501’ sign. Norwich doesn’t appreciate homophobia,” she tweeted.

“I’m aware everyone is entitled to their own views however, if you can’t do your job properly because of your bigotry, maybe you need rethink your choices,” she wrote.

Konectbus replied to her tweet, saying: “As a company we do not condone any behaviour from our drivers that does not support this view. The driver involved in this incident has been suspended and a full investigation is underway.”

However, Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, told Church Militant “it was the bus company who needed to be careful about their own compliance with the Equality Act.”

“If the driver’s objection to the rainbow colours was based on his religious or philosophical beliefs, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against him because of those beliefs. Employers have to be very careful in handling such situations, because in the eyes of the law, discrimination on the grounds of beliefs is just as bad as discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation,” she explained.

“The decision of the Supreme Court in Ashers Bakery case has made it clear that everyone is entitled to refuse to promote a message they disagree with—be that by baking a cake, driving a bus, or in whatever other way. So long as the driver’s objection was to the message, not to the messenger, he has not discriminated against anyone and has broken no law.”

Meanwhile, CitizenGO has launched an online petition addressed to Jeremy Cooper, Managing Director of KonectBuses, seeking the immediate reinstatement of the driver.

“So long as the driver’s objection was to the message, not to the messenger, he has not discriminated against anyone and has broken no law.”

“An increasing number of people are becoming uncomfortable with the corporatisation of the rainbow flag and Pride symbol for a variety of different reasons,” the petition observes.

“Pride marches are not family-friendly, they often feature public displays of nakedness and sexual behaviour and celebrate sexual fetishes,” and “promote gender ideology which is deeply divisive,” it adds.

“Were employees consulted before the re-branding of their buses, or given the option to switch vehicles? Was the driver informed that he would be required to promote LGBT causes on behalf of the company as part of his employment contract? Does this mean that those from religious minorities may not become employees of Konect or their parent company, the Go-Ahead group?” the petition asks.

Catholic journalist Caroline Farrow, who is UK campaign director for CitizenGO told Church Militant: “If anyone is intolerant it is the young woman who seeks to see a middle-aged man deprived of his income and publicly humiliated simply for expressing views with which she disagrees.”

“It is also very concerning that an employee of Konectbuses has suggested that this man’s dismissal is a forgone conclusion, meaning that he cannot expect to go through due process. If his direct line manager is gay, as has been suggested clearly the company is discriminating against religious minorities, in allowing one particular ideology to prevail.”

The suspension has sparked off a social media blitz against the bus operator and Rebecca Sears.

“Looks like Rebecca Sears, is like, offended at, like anything she hasn’t, like read in The Guardian. Well played driver. Time to stop this PC garbage being forced upon us. We are simply not interested,” David Fairey tweeted.


Who will speak up for the children?

In 2017, Dr. Allan Josephson was asked to speak on a panel at the Heritage Foundation entitled “Gender Dysphoria in Children: Understanding the Science and Medicine.”

As the Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Louisville for nearly 15 years, Dr. Josephson had a lot to say on the subject. He felt confident he could lend his expertise and perspective, so he agreed to participate.

But Dr. Josephson’s perspective isn’t exactly what you would call “politically correct” these days. In fact, he shares many of the same concerns you probably do, John.

He’s alarmed at the way many medical professionals treat gender dysphoria. And he’s particularly worried about the negative and often permanent effects of giving children hormones to treat it. After all, such drastic measures often result in the sterilization of children with no proven effectiveness. But far too often, these drugs are given almost immediately, without exploring what is happening in the child’s life.

Dr. Josephson felt strongly that he needed to speak up for the well-being of children. He just never imagined that doing so would cost him his job.

When members of Dr. Josephson’s division at the University of Louisville learned about his speech, a few became angry and called for the university to remove him as Division Chief. Less than seven weeks later, the university did just that.

It didn’t matter that Dr. Josephson had revitalized the Division, transforming a struggling department into a nationally acclaimed program.

It didn’t matter that he was a distinguished professor who had earned perfect marks on his 2014, 2015, and 2016 annual reviews.

And it certainly didn’t matter that Dr. Josephson is a scientist whose job is to ask questions, test hypotheses, and participate in academic debate.

The only reason the university demoted Dr. Josephson is because he holds a different view than some of his colleagues.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said over and over again that unpopular viewpoints are protected by the First Amendment. And that's especially true in the academic context because universities are supposed to be a marketplace of ideas, not an assembly line for one type of thought!

But that didn’t stop the University of Louisville.

On top of the demotion, Dr. Josephson was banned from faculty meetings. He was given academic assignments typically completed by much younger, less experienced faculty. Then, earlier this year, the university announced it would not renew his contract, which basically means the university fired him.

As you can probably imagine, Dr. Josephson was devastated. “It was probably six months before I felt comfortable and was sleeping again,” he says. “You know, the personal stress is pretty enormous, but then I decided to do something.”

Alliance Defending Freedom was able to help Dr. Josephson file a lawsuit against the University of Louisville.

Dr. Josephson has dedicated years of his life to science, higher education, and caring for children. He built his career around asking questions and figuring out the best ways to diagnose and treat psychological conditions in kids.

But because Dr. Josephson doesn’t think the way activists want him to think, or believe what they want him to believe about sex and gender identity, he’s being silenced.

And he’s not the only victim. Many in our society are bowing to the demands of radical transgender activists who want to pretend that one of the most controversial ideologies of our time is settled science. And they’re harming unsuspecting children and threatening hard-working, peaceful Americans who do not conform.

These are the people who claim to be the guardians of tolerance.  But tolerance is supposed to be a two-way street. A professor like Dr. Josephson should not have to fear for his career when he accepts speaking opportunities or holds different views.

And if this type of suppression is happening in our universities—supposed bastions of free speech and expression—what’s next?

“If someone like me can be demoted, harassed, and then effectively fired for expressing my views, think of what an intimidating effect this has on younger professionals,” says Dr. Josephson. “And that should not be how academics proceeds or how science proceeds. We think together, we reason together, we talk together. My colleagues couldn’t do that. And I think we see that nationally as well."

Thankfully, there are people out there, like Dr. Josephson, who refuse to be bullied and are willing to take a stand for freedom and truth.

All Dr. Josephson did was ask questions about the best way to treat children who experience gender dysphoria. And he encouraged others to think critically about whether prescribing puberty blocking and opposite sex hormones quickly or automatically is the best way to treat children who claim to be the sex they are not. For that, he was demoted, harassed, and then effectively fired from his job.

Activists want to strip away your right to speak freely. And they’re going to extreme lengths to punish those—like Dr. Josephson—who express any view that is different.

Praise God that He continues to provide the resources to fight back. ADF has become one of America's most successful constitutional advocates at the U.S. Supreme Court, having won nine cases at the High Court since 2011. And we're winning nearly 80% of all our cases (John 15:5).

To donate to Dr. Josephson's cause go here

Via email from

Let us now praise masculine men

(Alludes to Wisdom of Sirach 44:1)

Australia: On Tuesday afternoon a handful of men ran into the face of danger. Going about their business only seconds before, they confronted a man brandishing a bloody knife, pinning him down in the middle of a bustling Sydney street. The men who stopped further bloodshed have been called heroes, and they will be recognised for their courage. In passing, can we praise masculinity too? Or is that too controversial in an age when masculinity is raised only to condemn what is wrong with men and to preach how to change them.

Today, any celebration of masculinity is limited to praising men who do more housework and get involved with their kids, men who are able to cry, empathise with women and express their feelings. All very important stuff. But none of that would have restrained a crazed man who was threatening more violent carnage in Sydney’s CBD. Can we praise men who do both please?

Lawyer John Bamford picked up a wicker chair from the cafe he was in, raced outside and chased the attacker, 21-year-old Mert Ney, who was bloodied, jumping on a car bonnet while wielding his knife and screaming at passers-by. Ney was jammed to the ground by men using a milk crate and two chairs. Bamford returned the chair to the cafe and ordered a pie.

Traffic controller Steven Georgiadis tried to tackle Ney to the ground. “As soon as I saw the knife I moved to the side so I could crash tackle him sideways so he wouldn’t stab me,” said Georgiadis, who managed to stand on the bloody knife.

From their office window, brothers Luke and Paul O’Shaughnessy saw the mayhem unfolding in the street below and raced down to help. They followed a trail of blood to the man who is alleged to have murdered one woman and stabbed another. “(We) were like ‘Right, where is he? Where is he?’ … I’m shouting, because I’m a bit more risk-averse than Luke, (who is) straight in there.”

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller described these men as heroes of the highest order. It is also true that the heroes were all men exhibiting traits now routinely derided as part of traditional masculinity — brute force and ­aggression, taking charge, adrenalin pumping, taking risks.

Do we fear praising masculinity in case it leads to a scolding for encouraging toxic masculinity?

It’s not an unreasonable fear because the conflation of masculinity with toxic masculinity, to use the phrase favoured by the roving gender police, has become routine. This common sleight of hand to use gender to confect some crudely defined phenomenon stokes pointless gender wars and risks harming both men and women.

No one in their right mind endorses or condones or whitewashes genuinely toxic behaviour, let alone violence. A beautiful woman, Michaela Dunn, died on Tuesday allegedly at the hands of a man. Another innocent woman, Lin Bo, was stabbed, allegedly by the same man. But condemning violence should not be conflated with a male pathology.

The conflation of traditional masculinity with the poorly defined “toxic masculinity” won’t stop bad behaviour because when words lose their meaning, they lose their punch. Take the Gillette ad, “The Best Men Can Be”, where Procter & Gamble tried to hijack this latest fad to turn a profit. Proving that consumers are not fools, it didn’t work. This month, P&G reported a net loss of $US5.24 billion ($7.73bn) for the quarter ending June 30. The company said men today like more facial hair. The company could have added that men today don’t like being told that masculinity needs to be redefined by a preachy razor ad showing a series of men behaving badly. While whoops of delight came from Jane Caro and Clementine Ford, more thoughtful viewers saw an advert with as much nuance as a lightning bolt from God.

Perhaps Gillette’s next foray into “The Best Men Can Be” will include some vision of those brave men saving Sydneysiders from further violence earlier this week. It does no one any favours when gender is used as a cheap weapon, a stunt for ulterior motives.

This week, for example, former foreign minister Julie Bishop fronted a camera, again, to talk about her time in politics, again, this time on Andrew Denton’s Interview program on the Seven Network.

Repeating a story she has told many times, Bishop said that if a woman was the only female voice in the room, men showed a “gender deafness”. “It’s as if they just don’t seem to hear you,” she said.

How often has this happened to her? If it was once, maybe it was an innocent oversight? If it’s more than once, then that deserves a bit of prodding too. For every Julie Bishop who complains, in sweeping terms, about “gender deafness”, there is someone like me who has sat in many board meetings over many years as the only female voice and never experienced gender deafness, only respect and courtesy. But, because I don’t talk about my thoroughly normal experiences in all-male meetings, and Bishop complains endlessly about hers, we are encouraged to treat “gender deafness” as a widespread, deeply entrenched phenomenon that treats women as second-class ­citizens.

Predictably, the movement against toxic masculinity has become an open invitation for some women to grandstand about all kinds of silly, unproven claims, warping our understanding of the true state of affairs between men and women. And as Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.” Even if it is not a lie, repeating the tale of a single experience over and over again does not turn it into a wicked gender-based phenomenon either.

There is only one thing worse than Julia Gillard making claims about misogyny when her leadership tanked: that is hearing Bishop say this week that she was disgusted by the treatment of Australia’s first female prime minister, when Bishop said nothing about it when it was apparently happening. It’s like Bishop’s recent conviction that the Liberal Party has a problem with women, expressed only after she lost the leadership contest last year.

It’s time for the former foreign minister to draw stumps on her stage show because her smiling stage face can’t disguise the sour grapes. When men treat women poorly, it should be called out. And vice versa, if equality means anything. But credibility comes from acting on these matters when you have the power to change things, not afterwards as a stunt to get attention. After all, the bystander is sometimes as bad as the bully.

Bishop’s diminishing credibility aside, there is a far more serious side to the gender zealotry unfolding today. As The Australian reported this week, there are real concerns that NSW crown prosecutors are running sexual assault trials with insufficient regard for the strength of the evidence. One of Sydney’s most prominent criminal lawyers, Greg Walsh, who has acted for alleged victims and defendants, told this newspaper that the “hysteria”, the “zealous” and “activist” prosecutions had “gone too far”. “They (sexual assault cases) are becoming a cause celebre, they are just out of control,” Walsh said.

Lawyer Chris Murphy, another well-known Sydney criminal lawyer, said prosecutors were undoubtedly feeling the potential threat of public condemnation if they didn’t proceed to trial, and go hard in court. It was leading to especially aggressive tactics, Murphy said, with critical evidence being withheld from the defence in some trials.

Murphy cited the recent rape trial of Wolf Creek star John Jarratt, who was acquitted within hours of the jury retiring to consider the verdict. Murphy, who acted for Jarratt, said he had never seen “a more undeserving, weak” crown case go to trial.

Last week, a District Court judge implored the NSW parliament to consider changing laws that are aimed at protecting rape victims but are causing a serious injustice for defendants. The judge is presiding over a case where a man accused of rape is not allowed to bring evidence of 12 incidents in which his female accuser has made false complaints about sexual abuse. On two separate occasions, the woman made false reports to the police, and after being investigated she admitted fabricating the sexual assault allegations. The judge was precluded by law from allowing evidence of the woman’s history of making false claims of sexual assault because of laws that were introduced to stop “offensive and demeaning” cross-examination of an accuser’s sexual history. He described this as an “affront to justice”.

Gender zealotry is having a real impact on our culture and our legal system. It stops us publicly praising the kind of masculinity that unfolded on King Street in Sydney this week. And a fixation with gender is not a win for women either because when women make silly claims, they lose credibility.

The legal consequences are even more troubling given the pressure on prosecutors to proceed with flawed sexual assault trials. If it makes it harder to reform unjust laws, then surely it is time for more women to reconsider their role in stoking gender zealotry. After all, women who make false claims do real damage to genuine victims, and they should face the music for their lies.



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, August 16, 2019

Is the World ‘Rigged’ Against Women?

America’s Democratic presidential candidates are weighing in on one of the big issues of our day: sex inequality. “This toxic culture, this pernicious patriarchy in this country, has to stop,” says Cory Booker. “Since 1963 when we passed the Equal Pay Act, we have been talking about the fact women are not paid equally for equal work. Fast-forward to the year of our Lord 2019, and women are paid 80 cents on the dollar,” says Kamala Harris. “The game is rigged when women earn less than men for doing the same work. It’s rigged,” says Elizabeth Warren. “The systemic devaluation of women in our society” is undeniable, says Kristen Gillibrand.

These are fierce condemnations. Are they true? What’s the evidence? How much worse do women have it? Can we measure it?

A group of scientists sought the answer. Researchers from the University of Missouri and the University of Essex in the United Kingdom calculated a way to quantify it. Called the Basic Index of Gender Inequality, it measures educational opportunities, healthy life expectancy and overall life satisfaction. These folks analyzed data for 134 nations, representing 6.8 billion people.

So, do men have it better than women? You’ll be surprised by what they found.

I only saw a news report on this last week, but the study was published January 3 in PLOS ONE, a leading peer-reviewed journal on science and medicine.

This effort to create an unbiased, reliable index to show gender inequality found that in poorer countries, women are worse off. Their opportunities for education are often limited, and their satisfaction with life is lower than that of men. These researchers found a relative disadvantage for women in 43 countries. At the bottom of the list were Chad, Benin, Liberia, Yemen, Mali, Lesotho, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Pakistan and several other countries, mostly African or Muslim or both.

What about women in richer countries, in the West—in America? Are women worse off than men?

Researchers found that here, the situation is actually reversed. The index showed that in 91 countries, men are worse off than women.

In rich countries, women have better educational opportunities, they live longer and healthier lives, or they have higher overall life satisfaction. In many nations—including the United States—all three of these factors favor women.

How is this possible when the whole system is supposedly “rigged” against women?

The study in PLOS ONE says we haven’t been measuring correctly. The way these issues are typically studied poses problems and distorts reality. “Apart from political agendas, research on gender inequality has also almost exclusively focused on issues highlighted in the women’s rights movement,” the study says. “Issues disadvantaging more men than women have been understudied … and are not heavily weighted (if at all) in widely used measures of gender inequality, such as the highly cited Global Gender Gap Index (gggi). Further, the gggi truncates all values such that no country can, by definition, be more favorable for women than for men.” Unsurprisingly, when you look at only half the picture, you find disadvantages for women everywhere.

“As a result, existing measures do not fully capture patterns of well-being and disadvantage at a national level,” the report continues. “This is an important oversight, as there are issues that disproportionately affect boys and men. Among the many examples are harsher punishments for the same crimes and an overrepresentation (93 percent worldwide) in the prison population; compulsory military service …; the large majority of homeless people without shelter are men; higher levels of drug and alcohol abuse; higher suicide rates; more occupational deaths; underperformance in schools; and men are more often victims of physical assault in general … and within schools, thus limiting educational opportunities. Men are also overrepresented in occupations that are risky (e.g. exposure to toxins) and physically taxing, such as front-line military duty, firefighting, mining, construction, or sewage cleaning.”

By these measures, there are plenty of areas in modern life where men are worse off. But people cherry-pick areas where women don’t perform as well, and use it as proof that women are systemically mistreated. They insist that every discrepancy is caused by sexism and discrimination.

This is the way many people have come to view every problem in society: Wherever they see differences, they blame bigotry.

The reality is, many factors contribute to differences and inequalities. These are inherent in human existence. Equality as it is being defined and sought after is impossible. In fact, I would argue it’s not even desirable.

For an idea of how misguided the quest for equality is, look at the U.S. women’s soccer team. Earlier this year, its players complained of inequality in their sport. They win more games than the U.S. men’s team does, so they decided they should get paid the same or more than the men. They filed a sex-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

This move earned plaudits from commentators and politicians. “The women make just as much of a sacrifice, put in just as much mental and physical energy, absorb just as much risk of injury as the men who play for our national team,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said. “Yet, when you break it down, a women’s national soccer team player earns a base salary of $3,600 per game while a men’s player earns $5,000.”

This implies that the only reason the women make less money is because of sexism. It is a great applause line for ignorant people.

But here are some very pertinent and irrefutable facts: The Women’s World Cup generated $131 million in revenue this year. The Men’s World Cup generated $6 billion—over 45 times more.

Blame it on whatever you’d like, but spectators for men’s soccer far outnumber those of women’s soccer. The same is true of basketball, football, baseball, golf, rugby, cricket, track, swimming, boxing and virtually every other sport. Athletes are not paid based on how much they sacrifice, or the mental and physical energy they expend, or how much they risk injury. They are paid based on how much money their contributions bring in. Just like everybody else in the economy.

That is how a free economy works. You can’t arbitrarily decide what someone’s pay should be based on whatever virtues you choose. If your work doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make money. If it isn’t creating paying customers, no matter how much sacrifice or energy or risk you take, it won’t pay.

That explains the pay gap in soccer. Not sexism. Not a toxic, “pernicious patriarchy.”

The broader pay gap between men and women has similar causes. Work tends to play different roles in men’s and women’s lives. Men tend to focus more on pay. Women tend to prioritize other things—family, flexibility, personal fulfillment. They’re less likely to move for a job. They are likelier to decline promotions. They tend to choose lower-paying fields. They tend to work fewer hours—the U.S. Census Bureau says full-time men average 2,213 working hours a year versus 1,796 for full-time women.

Ignore all these factors, and you will find “unequal pay.” But as economist Thomas Sowell said, if it were true that you can plug a woman into a position for 80 cents to the dollar compared to a man, every smart employer would hire all women. If he didn’t, any competitor who did would make thousands or millions more every year and probably drive him out of business.

The pay gap is a myth that explodes when met with facts. The facts are irrefutable and clear. Nevertheless, we keep hearing about the pay gap because, to unprincipled people, it’s politically useful.

If Chuck Schumer or those Democratic presidential candidates really care about women’s rights, why are they fighting on this battlefront? This study says, if you want to find disadvantaged women, look at the developing world. Where are the feminists seeking redress for their aggrieved sisters in Nepal, Morocco, Angola, Nigeria or India? There are countries that weren’t even a part of this study, like Afghanistan, where women are forced to wear burkas and girls are forced into arranged marriages with old men. That is real inequality between the sexes! Why aren’t they trying to help the lives of those women?

But those who focus instead on the supposed sexism in America want to highlight grievances, manufacture problems, and stir people into discontentment—even if they have to ignore reality and lie to do it. As with every social justice crusade like this, no matter how much “progress” is made, there is always “more work” to do. Its advocates simply change the standard; they redefine the “equality” they seek. And information like this study is pushed aside. People aren’t interested in the truth.


Despite Pressure, Many Hispanics Remain Pro-Life

Hispanics and pro-life advocacy go together naturally, in no small part because of Hispanics’ Christian faith.

Studies have shown that most Hispanics are religiously observant, with about 83% of them affirming a religious affiliation. More important than statistics, however, and more indicative of their views on the issue of abortion, is the emotion with which they explain their culture and views on life.

Pilar Sanchez, 46, a resident of Elizabeth, New Jersey, responded with a finger pointed up at the ceiling. “Firstly, it is an offense to God,” she said.

She has lived in the United States for less than 10 years, in a city where 61% of the population speaks Spanish. She perceives the pro-choice culture a greater threat here than it was back in her native country of Colombia.

“I’m sure things have changed on the political [front] since we left [Colombia]. [Abortion is] legal now there, too, but inside the home, things will always be the same. Our families always taught us about what it means to be a family. It means children come first,” Sanchez said.

“I don’t think Latino families will stop teaching their children to value the family, just because legislation is passed to permit something that is intuitively wrong,” she added.

Sanchez views it as her duty to raise her children with her Christian values, no matter what they are taught outside of the home.

Polls show that Hispanic public opinion on abortion is almost evenly split, but Sanchez said that polls and legislation do not reflect the views of most people like her who aren’t politically active, since they have heavy work schedules, yet are no less resolute in their convictions.

Sanchez smiled while stating her view on abortion directly but kindly. “Definitively and completely against it,” she said.

She shifted her hand gestures from pointing at herself to pointing at her children, who were sitting with her at their kitchen table.

“It is something that I talk about with my children, always telling them never to abort or support abortion,” she said.

Sanchez said that her church discusses the issue during its weekly Masses, and her parish priests have made the subject a part of their homilies. “I attended a women’s forum, in fact, that talked about this very topic,” she said.

In March, Sanchez recalled, she attended a bilingual women’s conference at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, promoted by the Archdiocese of Newark.

She recalled seeing various pro-life displays and tables at the event, at which one of the speakers was Lucia Baez Luzondo, co-founder and executive director of Renovacion Familiar, or Family Renewal Ministries, and director of mediation, public policy, and Catholic multicultural ministries at Live the Life Ministries.

“For decades, Hispanics have been targeted by agenda-driven, pro-abortion establishments, media, and lobbyists. This is not surprising, as the contraception and abortion industry, with its eugenics, anti-faith, and anti-family agenda, focuses on vulnerable and easily influenceable minorities as its main prey and a principal source of income,” Baez Luzondo said.

“Sadly, most of the main U.S. Hispanic television stations and other Hispanic media outlets are megaphones, who echo liberal and ‘progressive’ politicians, to misinform and indoctrinate Hispanics in favor of contraception and abortion, thus dehumanizing them and their offspring, many of whom don’t get the opportunity to be born and contribute to their communities and American society,” Baez Luzondo said.

Sanchez would presumably agree with that statement, especially since she, too, mentioned the importance of inculcating pro-life values to her children despite the outside influences of the media.

“The problem is that New Jersey is a liberal state,” said Sanchez’s son, Santiago, 17. “It is assumed that you have to be in favor of abortion, and when you talk about it with your friends, it’s not a fair conversation.”

He explained that it’s difficult to express dissenting opinions on the topic. “We don’t talk about abortion in health class or in school, so most of the views we hear about it are through social media. Then, when friends talk about it, it’s always the same point of view.”

His sister, Alejandra, 14, had a similar experience. “We don’t really talk about that in school, either. We just watch movies in health class,” she said.

While there’s a worry that younger generations might deviate in political and religious views from their parents, there is strong evidence that Hispanic youths, no matter the political affiliation, will sustain their pro-life support, in large measure due to the strong moral teachings of mothers like Sanchez on her children, the ministry work of women like Baez Luzondo, and the efforts of churches across the country.

“Nevertheless, thanks to the effort of Christian churches, especially the Catholic Church, and conservative entities and think tanks, and their effective outreach, they are reaching the minds and hearts of many Hispanics,” Baez Luzondo said, optimistically focusing on what’s yet to come.

“I believe that the Hispanic pro-life culture in the United States is beginning to hit critical mass, and more and more Hispanics are seeing past the smoke screen of lies promoted by the pro-abortionists, and are defending and supporting the sanctity and dignity of human life from the time of conception to natural death,” she said.


War on sugar could see the death of some of Britain's best loved sweets

Traditional sweets could be eliminated under plans dubbed "the largest extension of state control over the British diet since rationing".

Sherbet Lemons, Liquorice Allsorts, and Parma Violets are among the confectionary items which could be forced off the shelves under Government targets.

Research by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) reveals that in the last two years, public health agencies have set 220 different goals to cut salt and sugar in common foodstuffs.

The IEA said the latest plans would make it "impossible" for some of Britain's most popular treats to exist.

The targets, drawn up by Public Health England, following instructions from Theresa May's government, advise manufacturers on how to cut sugar consumption in common foods.

In the new report the IEA warns that the detailed measures - which insist that in future, sweets should contain less than 50 per cent sugar - would bring an end to many well-known favourites.

Boiled sweets, such as Sherbet Lemons, are made almost entirely of sugar, as are Parma Violets, while Jelly Babies, Liquorice Allsorts and fudge are typically around two thirds sugar. 

Other popular confectionary - such as fudge - would face an uncertain future under the PHE plans, which say any reduction in sugar must not result in an increase in fat. Traditionally, fudge is made from sugar, butter and cream.

While attempts have been made to develop lower-sugar versions of some sweets, current efforts vary in taste and consistency and most carry the risk of a laxative effect.

Josie Appleton, author of the report, Cooking for Bureaucrats, said the plans were “infantile”, denying the public a choice, in “the largest extension of state control over the British diet since rationing.”

Hundreds of targets for manufacturers have been set as a result of the Government's anti-obesity policies.

Health officials are due to publish a report on efforts to cut overall sugar content from hundreds of foods by 20 per cent. Last year, such attempts showed limited progress, with puddings found to be getting sweeter.

The measures set specific targets for particular foods - with sweets set a target of 48.4 grams of sugar per 100 grams by 2020.

But the report from Public Health England (PHE) been repeatedly delayed, amid growing tensions about "nanny state" measures to improve Britain's diet.

And further guidelines - drafts of which were leaked to the Daily Telegraph- setting out stringent calorie limits on hundreds of foods, including a 134 calorie cap on vol-au-vents, are due to be published later this year.


Australia: Bitter woman told her online lover she would falsely tell police he had raped her unless he coughed up $30,000

A vile fraudster threatened to tell an online lover that she'd falsely report him for raping her if he didn't come up with $30,000.

But Beatrice Hinton claims it is she who has been hard done by.

The 61-year old, who migrated to Australia from Kuwait after marrying an Aussie she had never met, claimed she had been ripped off by males all her life.

First it was a bogus photographer in the 1990s who ripped-off her life savings.

Then when her husband died, she squandered their savings on various men she met online - none of whom she ever actually met or even spoke with.

She had tried a couple of dating sites before - Spice of Life and Widow Singles Near Me - but it was on Oasis Active where she found her mark.  Two days after meeting him in person, Hinton hit the man up for $20,000, which she claimed she would pay back.

The man refused and days later she asked him again, this time asking him to marry her because she refused to have sex before marriage.  She had sex with him anyway at his beach house, but the court heard this is when his real troubles began.

Days later she called the man a rapist and demanded $6000.

She told her victim she had medical tests done after their sex sessions and planned to use the results to make false rape reports against him if he didn't pay up. 'Either give me the money or I go to the cops,' she texted.

When that didn't work, Hinton got her soon-to-go-missing Italian online friend to threaten the man. This time Hinton demanded $30,000 or the rape would be reported.

The man called police, who arrested Hinton in July last year.

She admitted she had tried to get the money out of her victim.

County Court Judge Felicity Hampel warned she may jail Beatrice Hinton for blackmailing her victim

While Hinton hopes to escape jail on a community corrections order, Judge Hampel said she would consider jailing her.

'It's conduct that perpetuates the myth on women rape claims,' she said. 'It's the sort of conduct where one bad act like this undermines so much work ... It's a particularly insidious thing to do in (the victim's) situation.'

Hinton, who has pleaded guilty to blackmail, will return to court for a further pre-sentence hearing next month.



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, August 15, 2019

Meanwhile, This Is What LGBTQ Organizations Are Doing to Society


Virtually every week, there seems to be another issue that preoccupies the country. But while our attention is focused on President Donald Trump, Google, Charlottesville, Russia, impeachment, Jeffrey Epstein, the next elections, racism, a trade war with China, the #MeToo movement or something else, LGBTQ organizations are quietly going about their work dismantling ethical norms, making a mockery of education, ruining innocent people's lives and destroying children's innocence. If you think this is overstated, here are some examples:

The LGBTQ Dismantling of Women's Sports

Last month, a transgender weightlifter won multiple gold medals at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa. Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand won two gold medals and a silver in the three heavyweight categories for women weighing more than 87 kilograms, or 192 pounds. Hubbard is physically male.

Last year, two biologically male sophomores at different Connecticut high schools competed in the female division of the state open track and field competition. They came in first and second place in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.

Because the Western world cowers before LGBTQ demands, no matter how unfair they are to women athletes, men who deem themselves female must be allowed to compete against women. They almost always win.

The Dismantling of Male and Female -- Even at Birth

As reported by the Associated Press: "Parents also can choose (gender) 'X' for newborns. New York City is joining California, Oregon, Washington state in allowing an undesignated gender option on birth certificates. A similar provision takes effect in New Jersey in February."

What percentage of Americans believe children are lucky if born to parents who will not identify them at birth as male or female? On the other hand, how many of us think such parents are engaged in a form of child abuse?

The Dismantling of Children's Innocence and Parental Authority

The Associated Press also recently reported that "California has overhauled its sex education guidance for public school teachers, encouraging them to talk about gender identity with kindergartners."

Tatyana Dzyubak, an elementary school teacher in the Sacramento area, objected: "I shouldn't be teaching that stuff. That's for parents to do."

But parents and parental authority have always been a thorn in the side of totalitarian movements. Therefore, dismantling parental authority is one of the primary goals of the left, of which LGBTQ organizations are a major component.

Libraries in major urban centers now feature Drag Queen Story Hour -- drag queens reading stories to preschool-age children. (Read, for example, the laudatory New York Times article "Drag Queen Story Hour Puts the Rainbow in Reading" from May 19, 2017.)

A few weeks ago, the popular actor and TV host Mario Lopez told Candace Owens:

"If you're 3 years old and you're saying you're feeling a certain way or you think you're a boy or a girl, whatever the case may be, I just think it's dangerous as a parent to make that determination then: 'OK, well, then you're going to be a boy or a girl,' whatever the case may be. ... I think parents need to allow their kids to be kids, but at the same time, you gotta be the adult in the situation."

For sensibly and respectfully saying what any loving parent of a 3-year-old should say, he was so forcefully condemned by GLAAD and PFLAG, two of the biggest LGBTQ organizations, that, knowing his livelihood was on the line, he immediately recanted. In the style of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, he "recanted" everything he said and acknowledged how much he still has to learn about parents allowing 3-year-olds to determine their gender.

The Dismantling of Educational Norms

CNN reported last week: "Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill that ensures the contributions of LGBTQ people are taught in public schools..."

"(The bill states) 'In public schools only, the teaching of history shall include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State.'"

"Equality Illinois, the state's largest LGBTQ civil rights advocacy organization, supported the bill and said the curriculum can have a 'positive effect on students' self-image and make their peers more accepting.'"

Once the purpose of teaching history is changed from teaching what happened to "having a positive effect on students' self-image," history is no longer about what happened; it is propaganda. But rewriting history is not a problem for the left. As a famous Soviet dissident joke put it: "In the Soviet Union, the future is known; it's the past that is always changing." I note almost every day that truth is a liberal value and a conservative value, but it has never been a left-wing value. This is just one more example.

The Dismantling of Reality

David Zirin, sports editor of The Nation: "There is another argument against allowing trans athletes to compete with cis-gender athletes that suggests that their presence hurts cis-women and cis-girls. But this line of thought doesn't acknowledge that trans women are in fact women" (italics added).

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., in a letter to USA Powerlifting: "The myth that trans women have a 'direct competitive advantage' is not supported by medical science."

Sunu Chandy of the National Women's Law Center: "There's no research to support the claim that allowing trans athletes to play on teams that fit their gender identity will create a competitive imbalance."

How can these people say such lies? Because lying is not an issue when truth is not a value. LGBTQ organizations care about lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders as much as communists cared about workers. They use them as a cover for their real agenda: dismantling civilization as we know it.


Progressive Portland Catholics Protest Being Made to Act Catholic


A group of very progressive Roman Catholics in Portland, left to their own devices for too long and allowed to make up their own rules, is now bristling under a new pastor who is reminding them to which Church they belong.

The Oregonian:

St. Francis is one of the oldest churches in Portland. It has long been known as a bastion of progressive Catholic faith.

Parishioners have marched in the Portland Pride parade, fed and given shelter to people experiencing homelessness and worked to make the traditionally patriarchal institution more inclusive of women. For several years, a banner hung above the church steps that read “Immigrants & refugees welcome.

Now, the banner is missing. Vestments and one of several treasured photographs of the homeless community that had lined the walls of their parish had been piled in a trailer headed for the dump.

Many felt the new priest aimed to better align St. Francis with the archdiocese, who some feel is out of step with Catholics in Portland.

There is a lot of wrong to unpack in those paragraphs, beginning with the implication that helping the homeless is something that only "progressive" Catholics (which really isn't a thing) would do.

I should also point out that this lengthy, unquestioning article was not written by a religion reporter, which many newspapers still employ. Its author is a news intern according to his Twitter bio.

It matters not that "some" feel the archdiocese is "out of step with the Catholics in Portland." An archdiocese doesn't exist to adapt to the whims and social mores of a particular region. The Church would cease to exist in a matter of years were that the case.

There is a lot of confusion among the parishioners of St. Francis:

The Roman Catholic Church is rooted in tradition and hierarchy. Jerry Harp, chair of St. Francis’ pastoral council, is struggling to understand how he relates to this structure of authority. It was this hierarchy that was roiling his parish.

Harp considers himself a devout Catholic. He starts every morning with mediation and prayer and prays the Hail Mary at least once a day. He tries to attend Mass every Sunday. When he was in his 20s, he said he wanted to follow every rule he could. Now he questions how those rules bring him closer to God.

The hierarchy that Harp struggles with traces itself all the way to St. Peter in the Roman Catholic Church. That's actually one of the big selling points for those of us who don't find ourselves roiled by it.

And talking to a Roman Catholic who is complaining about rules is like meeting a boxer who says he wants to keep fighting but doesn't want to get hit anymore.

There is a lot to pick apart in this article but I'll pluck out the one passage that made me want to slam my head against a wall then wrap up:

"Some would say 'Well you have to relate to the authority structure by following them to the letter,'" Harp said. "Well how do you know that? It's perfectly legitimate for other people to have other answers."

Long-time parishioners knew the answer. They didn’t like being told how to worship.

This was their church.

I hate to keep picking on Jerry, but he is the one who wanted to say dumb things to a news intern.

To Jerry's " do you know that?"  question I respond: almost 2000 years of history.

Everything that follows his question in the above passage is absolutely insane when one considers this is about Roman Catholics.

No, Jerry, we don't get to make up our own answers about the rules of the Church.

And it's not "their church," it's the Church.

I will say with all of the politeness that I can muster here that if the parishioners don't want to be told how to worship they have no business being Catholic.

That's really what's going on here.

But for a very (thankfully) brief faith crisis a couple of years ago which I chronicled here, I have been a practicing Roman Catholic my whole life. For twenty years I was a member of what many would say is the most "progressive" parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I now attend traditional Latin Mass every week.

Across that broad spectrum, many things remain the same.

The truly devout Catholics I know find things like the hierarchy and being told how to worship as big selling points for the Church.

In fact, almost everything that the parishioners in the article are complaining about are reasons most of us are Catholic.

We are HUGE fans of the fact that the Church isn't subject to our whims, which is what everyone in this article seems to want.

There are any number of feel-good Christian denominations where these people can find the progressivism and entertainment that they want, and they're free to join them.

What they are not free to do, however, is attempt to give a local rewrite to the Catechism of the Catholic Church so that it has more of a Portland hippie vibe.

People who do a Code Pink-like protest during Mass (video below) have really lost touch with their faith.

Yes, I'll say some prayers for them. Some Catholic prayers.

Which they'll probably want to rewrite.


Players at UK's first vegan cricket club ditch sandwiches to be more inclusive

A cricket club has become the first in the UK to go vegan after Muslim and Hindu players were excluded from tea between innings.

Players at the Earley Cricket Club in Reading, Berks, are now served a menu featuring vegan-friendly Moroccan tagine, curries and rice, lasagne and garlic bread and spaghetti bolognese.

The committee voted in favour of replacing the traditional platter of sandwiches and cake following a campaign by chairman and opening batsman Gary Shacklady.

The 33 year old, a primary school teacher who set up the club 12 years ago and is vegan himself, felt that the club's meat-based catering meant Muslim and Hindu players were being excluded from joining in fully with club life.

He said: "We had one member who was very against it. "He felt that it was quite exclusive and against people's right to meat."

Four of his teammates have been inspired to switch to plant based diets entirely as a result of the move.

They join a handful of the world's best players in making the switch, including India captain Virat Kohli and Australian fast bowler Peter Siddle.

Mr Shacklady added: "The teas have been well received as our players understand and support the reasoning behind the decision.

"It also means we can produce a far larger quantity of food for a lower cost. When other teams come to us, they pile their plates high. And when they eat the food, nobody complains.

"Although you usually get one middle-aged white man who is horrified. It's fine, he doesn't have to eat it. But the point is that everyone can."

The club play in Division 2 and Division 3 of the Berkshire Cricket League.

They are now is even trialling new vegan cricket balls in a bid to go completely animal-free, with a view to using balls made from synthetic leather instead.

A Vegan Society spokesman said: "Offering plant-based food as default is inclusive, cheap and convenient, as well as contributing to a healthier society and more sustainable food choices that don't harm others.

"We hope other clubs and organisations will follow Earley Cricket Club's decision to switch to an all-vegan menu for everyone's benefit."


Australian children as young as THREE who identify as transgender are being 'fast-tracked' into hormone treatment when they should be sent to counselling, expert says

This is just child abuse -- Left-enabled child abuse

The number of children being referred for transgender treatment has almost quadrupled in the past four years.

New figures have shown a rapid increase across four Australian states - with 727 child patients admitted to a gender clinic in 2018 compared to just 211 in 2014.

Victoria has experienced the greatest rise in young people seeking gender services, and a leading youth psychologist has now hit out at the 'fast tracking' of gender treatment.

'It's a psychic epidemic because the whole thing is being fuelled by a virulent trans lobby who are silencing dissenting voices,' Sydney Dr Dianna Kenny told 7News.

The adolescent specialist has written to the federal government to express her concern about the children seeking service becoming increasingly young.

The new data, obtained by the New South Wales psychologist using a freedom of information request, showed children as young as three years old in Victoria were being referred for gender treatment.

The state has experienced the largest growth in the number of child gender dysphoria cases since 2014, up from 104 to 981.

A paediatrics professor from Western Sydney University has also highlighted issues with the rise in transgender-identifying children.

He said the use of treatments such as those using hormones could cause issues for male fertility down the line and other medical complications.

In total, 2415 children have been referred to a gender treatment clinic in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland since 2014 and 2018.

Concerns have been raised about drugs known as puberty blockers, which proponents say delay the onset of development and give children the chance to self-identify.

But Western ­Sydney University paediatrics professor John Whitehall has hit out at new treatments, saying they lack a scientific basis and are essentially an experiment.

'We should give the psychiatry and psychology a full run before we start castrating children,' he told The Australian.



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


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Experts link diet soft drinks to ‘increase risk of heart attack, stroke and dementia’

As always, I looked up the original research report. It is: "Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Stroke, Coronary Heart Disease, and All-Cause Mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative"

It is junk research.  It was a study of old ladies only and the big drinkers of fizz were fatter, more idle, had lower diet quality and were probably poorer. I'm betting on low IQ as well.  So the small effects the researchers saw could be due to many factors other than the amount of fizz people drank

Drinking soft drinks like Diet Coke might seem healthier, but experts have revealed damage just two cans does to your body.

For those with a sweet tooth, diet fizzy drinks are generally thought of as a better alternative than the sugar-laden versions.

But while they are lower in calories, sipping on artificially sweetened beverages could come at another cost.

Experts have warned that diet drinks — such as Diet Coke — can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and even dementia, The Sun reports.

Research this year revealed that drinking two or more cans a day ups the risk of stroke by a quarter and heart disease by a third.

And compared with people who never touch them, the risk of early death is 16 per cent higher for diet drink consumers.

The findings, published in the journal Stroke, were based on a big study of women and showed being obese and downing diet drinks more than doubled the risk of stroke.

Dr Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, lead author of the study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, did stress while their findings suggested a link, they couldn’t prove diet drinks caused stroke and heart problems.


Australia: Blood-soaked man 'shouting Allahu Akbar' in Sydney's CBD attempts to stab multiple people - with one woman rushed to hospital and another found dead with throat slit in nearby building

Nothing to do with Islam, of course.  He was just insane.  They say that about every Muslim murderer.  He looks like a Palestinian.  So that could supply the motive

A blood-soaked man screaming 'Allahu Akbar' has gone on a rampage with a knife through central Sydney - allegedly killing a 21-year-old woman inside a unit and stabbing another in the back at a nearby pub.

The dead woman was found inside a Clarence Street apartment, allegedly with her throat slit, after the knifeman was subdued by heroic bystanders about 2pm using chairs and milk crates in Wynyard Street after attempting to stab multiple people.

Police are investigating whether the attacker, believed to be Mert Nay from Blacktown, had escaped from a mental institution.

They do not believe it is a terror-related incident, and said the alleged attacker did not have links to any terrorist organisations - despite witnesses reporting the attacker was muttering religious slogans including 'Allahu Akbar'.  

Dramatic footage showed the man, wearing a grey hooded jumper and holding a large knife, jumping on top of a Mercedes while screaming 'shoot me in the head'.

Brave witnesses were able to tackle the man and pin his head down with a milk crate until police arrived and arrested him as hundreds of workers gathered.

Police praised on Tuesday evening the civilians, fire fighters and ambulance staff for preventing 'what could have been a much worse situation'.

'Do you know how many people you just stabbed, you dog? You just stabbed a chick, mate, in broad daylight,' one of the men was heard screaming during the arrest.

Moments before the attacker was arrested, another woman was found inside The Grace Hotel with stab wound. She was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

A painter working on a mural near where the man was arrested witnessed him charging down the street with a 'big kitchen knife' with five or six people in close pursuit.

Witness Jess Warren, 35, said she was was having lunch at the Regiment CBD cafe when the knifeman was finally arrested. 

She told Daily Mail Australia fire and rescue workers wielding an axe and a crowbar, and a few civilians, two brandishing chairs, had given chase before finally restraining him.

'One of the guys who was chasing pushed him in the back, then as he was falling the firies got him in the legs, and then they pinned him down with the chairs,' she said. 'Then they just sat on him until the cops came.'

'People couldn't believe it, then everyone started standing on their chairs to see over the crowd.'

Megan Hales said there was a group of people running away from the knife man but it wasn't clear if he was chasing after them, or running away from the group that was trying to stop him.

'At that point there were people chasing him down the street trying to stop him,' Ms Hales, who was at work on Wynyard Street, said.

Ms Hales described the man as being in his late 20s or early 30s, Caucasian and with dark curly hair.

'He wasn't looking in great shape - it was fast. 'A whole lot of guys just came down on top of him and laid him down'.

A barrister named Marco, who was working at Batch Café, on York Street, watched in horror as the chaos unfolded.

'He was trying to smash a driver side window of a random car with the knife. He was unsuccessful.

'People were chasing him by that stage. There was fireys chasing him with axes and he went around the corner.'

Adrian Papaianni was walking along Clarence Street when when he suddenly heard terrified screams. 'There were a stack of people running down Barrack Place saying that there was a guy with a knife,' he told

'I ran into the Woolworths and people inside got them to shut the glass doors. I was feeling OK until I saw a mother crying with her baby in her hands, trying to get into the Woolies.

'Police started arriving about a minute later and started to chase him.'

An Uber driver said the knifeman jumped on the bonnet of his car with a knife in his hand and blood on his shirt.

He told 2GB: 'I was next to a fire truck in York Street and he jumped on the bonnet of my car. He crashed across the bonnet and had a knife in his hand. 'There was blood on his shirt. People had their phones out and there was police'.


UK: A Judge told a career crook to slim down and get a job

Guess the result

Here is a perfect story of modern Britain. A Judge has been publicly reprimanded by a Tory Cabinet Minister, for advising a criminal to lose weight and get a job.

I do not know if the allegedly overweight offender took the well-meant advice, but I somehow doubt it. Having spotted the way power and morals are going in modern Britain, he made a formal complaint that the Judge had used ‘abusive language’ - and it succeeded. I wonder if he is now also entitled to compensation.

The Judge, Recorder Julian Malins QC, flatly refused to agree that he had done anything wrong. Partly because he stood up for himself in this way, he was given a formal warning by the then Justice Minister and Lord Chancellor, David Gauke. Mr Gauke has since left this post but is, I believe, still a member of the ‘Conservative’ Party.

The official public notice from the ‘Judicial Conduct Investigations Office’(JCIO) , highly damaging to a Judge’s career, says that, in reaching their decision, Mr Gauke and the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, ‘took into consideration that the recorder failed to acknowledge the inappropriateness of his conduct’.

The JCIO posted the reprimand on its website:

but refuses to discuss the matter. I asked Mr Gauke to comment, asking him what was conservative about his action, and in what way he differed from the most politically-correct wing of the Labour Party, but he has so far chosen not to do so.  I do not know the identity of the criminal.

Mr Malins, 69, an experienced barrister, tells me he still has no regrets.

He says the defendant involved, who is now in his fifties, had appeared in court 40 times in 35 years, had accumulated 60 convictions and served several prison terms including a lengthy sentence for GBH with intent. But on the day he came before Mr Malins, it was for a lesser matter and he was told he could go free. At that point the man interrupted proceedings to say a weight ‘had been lifted from my shoulders’.

Mr Malins replied ‘You had better not worry about the weight off your shoulders, but should rather worry about the weight on your body’.  The defendant then asked the judge to repeat himself, which he did.

Mr Malins, who tells me he is just over 5 ft 10 ins tall and weighs just over twelve and a half stone, says the man was so fat he had to be helped into the dock. He responded to the complaint by politely telling the defendant in detail that he needed to lose weight and get a job. He explained this was for his own sake and the good of society. 

As for the claim of abusive language, Mr Malins says ‘I reject that suggestion absolutely. On the contrary, the advice which I gave him was sincere, well meant, and, I believe, very good.’ 

At first glance, the thing is just ridiculous. You think that at some point you will wake up in the midst of this nonsense, and grown-ups will return, from wherever they have been hiding, to restore the country to sanity. But they don’t. The one thing you can be sure of in this country now is that the state, where it possibly can be, will be against common sense.

But it is deeper than that. We now have a state which, when asked to choose between a learned judge and a frequently-convicted criminal, sides with the criminal as if they are on an equal footing. There is no moral force and bite in our cardboard Criminal Justice system. It sees its job as to negotiate, neutrally between ‘society’ and ‘offenders’ whose misdeeds are not really their fault, but are explained by poverty, abuse or some other fashionable misfortune.

And it reserves special spite for anyone who tries to behave as if things were still as they used to be. The householder who defends himself against a burglar is more severely investigated than most burglaries. This is because his action threatens the monopoly of soft justice.

You are alone. If dangerous evil comes your way, do not expect our current establishment to take your side and defend you. If you dare to defend yourself, it will quite possibly be you who ends in the dock. As for the ‘Conservative’ Party, can someone remind me, what is it for?


Blacks believe in white supremacy    

There’s a right way to raise a child, and there’s a wrong way to raise a child. We as adults are capable of mistakes while raising our youth. (As a father of four, I’m certain to have some parenting faux pas of my own.) But there’s one critical childrearing mistake that desperately needs to be addressed, and that is teaching a child to embrace victimhood.

When applied to the black community, this victim mentality is common under the guise of white supremacy. Some black families view this ideology as a “rite of passage” to embracing their culture. In their minds, denying white supremacy would be to deny “Mama Africa.” As for white liberal parents, they feel as though adopting the white-supremacy idea offers atonement for the “sin” of being born Caucasian.

Parents — both black and white — pass down this negative perspective to their children without a second thought as to the consequences of playing this dangerous victim-playing game. These adults think more about how it makes them feel as individuals and less about what the belief in white supremacy communicates to their kids. And from what I’ve witnessed, this narrative can result in the following:

For black children, this idea teaches that white people are at fault for their lack of achievements and that the black child can be successful only if a white person allows it. This kid grows up to only know of a world that is against him. Everywhere he walks, he casts a dark shadow over every white person, all while overlooking the fact that he is standing on his own two feet.

For white children, the white-supremacy mentality is crippling, fostering thoughts of self-defeat but also automatic pity for black people. These kids become adults who think little of the unique abilities of blacks. Shackled to the ball and chain of guilt, they forever feel responsible for the ills of the black community. They are angry because they know the black community is beyond their control.

This has created for everyone a world that cannot see eye to eye. This war wages where many least expect it to, it’s battlefield being the tender, young minds of our children, easily molded into whichever form society chooses.

However, hope is not lost. I believe this is a war that those of us closer to the Right can win.

Teach a child that another child is his brother and they will look after one another. Teach hatred, victim blaming and finger pointing and you’ll set up a young person for failure before they’ve even begun to live.

So far, my four sons have steered clear from the road of victimhood. The road map I provided my children led them to this one very important idea — that we are all different shades of brown. Not only is this true (just look down at your own hand and see for yourself), it also conveys a unifying message: that there is a connection between all of us, whether we identify as white, black, Asian, Latino, or any other “race.” We are all brown because we all come from the same clay that God used to make each of us.

For many parents, it’s too late to turn back the hands of time and “unteach” this narrative. We can only hope that these young people will discover freedom from victimhood for themselves — be it through an ideological awakening or through professional counseling. Maybe one day our children of all “colors” will look each other eye to eye and see brethren rather than burdens.

My wish is that this next generation of parents understands its power to steer children toward the right attitude to navigate our society. Because there are only two options: perpetual despair on account of one’s skin, or freedom.


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


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Burger King staff mock cop by drawing cartoon pig on his lunch order

A group of fast food employees who insulted a police officer customer last week have been sacked after a Facebook post about the incident went viral.

The scandal began when officer Timo Rosenthal ordered lunch from a Burger King outlet in Clovis, New Mexico on August 9.

When he returned to his car and unwrapped his order, he found a crude sketch of a pig drawn on the wrapper.

The officer snapped a picture of the drawing and shared it to Facebook with the words “When you order food in uniform”.

It was accompanied by the caption: “Well, while on lunch break (and in uniform) I ordered food at Burger King and received this. The patties were burnt and the burger was of very poor quality. Guess that was the last time I ate at Burger King in Clovis, NM (New Mexico).”

The post has since gone viral, attracting thousands of likes, shares and comments.

However, the stunt has received a mixed reaction on social media, with many slamming the nasty prank, which was variously described as “sad”, “ugly” and “pathetic”.

“Thank you for your service we need you men and women in our community, what a shame people can really act out like this!” one Facebook user wrote, while another added: “I want to apologize (sic) to you for these cowards and thank you for your service sir. Our world would not be safe without your service. Very disrepectful! Shame on those employees.” “I’m sorry that people are rude like that,” another commented.

However, others also took the opportunity to criticise the police force. “...police brutality ... is the 5th most common cause of death to young men in this country,” one Facebook user wrote.

“You whined about this so much that you got five people fired. And by acting like that, you proved them completely right,” another posted, while one simply wrote: “Toughen up, snowflake.”

Burger King has identified five employees allegedly responsible for the drawing, and a spokesperson confirmed all had been sacked in a statement sent to Fox News. “What occurred is unacceptable and not in line with our brand values,” the statement reads.

“When made aware of the incident, the restaurant owner immediately reached out to the officer involved to apologise and terminated the team members involved.

“The restaurant is offering free meals to uniformed officers and will provide a catered lunch to the police department as a gesture of goodwill.”

However, the chief of Clovis’s police department told KRQE he was “disappointed” an officer had been treated in “a disrespectful and derogatory way”.


The culture war against Englishness

I’m going to talk about why I think Englishness, English national identity, can be so awkward and uncomfortable for the political and media elites these days.

Sitting here, in 2019, in the tolerant, open country that we are, it is not immediately obvious why so many influential people have such a problem with Englishness. Why does it unsettle them so much, given that, on all kinds of measures, English national identity seems increasingly benign, if not in some ways positive?

English is – naturally – the most widely shared national identity in the UK. But the vast majority of English people see themselves as equally British. Englishness is not, therefore, a narrow and parochial identity. It maps neatly for most English people on to the broader British collective identity.

Most crucially, Englishness is an increasingly post-racial identity. A recent survey conducted by the Centre for English Identity and Politics at Winchester University found that just one in 10 people in England now think that being white is important to being English.

This survey updated research first undertaken by the British Future think-tank in 2012. The change in attitudes it reveals, over just seven years, is remarkable – in 2012, more than two in 10 people thought being white was important to being English.

We still have some way to go. But we are a multiracial society that seems more at ease with itself than ever before. Culturally, we are comfortable with diversity. The sports and pop stars who young people look up to are testament to this.

What’s more, this shift in attitudes is not just a case of the bad old days slowly dying off with the bad old people. Just 16 per cent of over-65s today think whiteness is an important part of being English, compared to 35 per cent in 2012.

This shift in attitudes among older people is backed up by other evidence. In the wake of the Windrush scandal, according to one YouGov survey, Brits aged over 65 were actually the most supportive of the Commonwealth citizens who were treated so shamefully by the Home Office.

(Incidentally, the most supportive UK region of the Windrush children, according to that survey, was not London – it was the rest of the south of England.)

Englishness, therefore, is an increasingly inclusive, benign identity, and yet it is still treated with suspicion – certainly in relation to, say, Welsh or Scottish identity. And every once in a while that suspicion bubbles up to the surface.

Labour MP Emily Thornberry was famously forced to step down from the shadow cabinet in 2014 when she tweeted a picture, from Rochester and Strood, of a house draped in England flags, with a white van parked outside.

She offered no comment on it. It is to this day unclear what she was trying to achieve by posting that image. But for many, it represented a disdain for English identity that many politicians and commentators seem to share.

It was a presentation of working-class Englishness, in particular, as something between a museum piece and an exotic specimen – something sort of alien and strange, and perhaps a bit dangerous.

More recently, the writer Afua Hirsch – author of the book Brit-ish – summed up the feelings of the London intelligentsia in a TV discussion in 2017, when she said that Englishness, for many English people, was a ‘tribal white identity’.

In sum, despite the growing evidence that Englishness is an increasingly civic rather than ethnic identity, this discomfort with Englishness among the elite persists.

Why this is the case might seem obvious at first. The St George’s Cross is, for some, still synonymous with National Front thugs, and, more recently, the English Defence League and Tommy Robinson.

It is easy to forget how far we’ve come in a relatively short space of time. For many black and Asian Britons you don’t need to have been around that long to remember not just a less ‘inclusive’ England, but a deeply racist one.

But it is still striking that the suspicion of Englishness persists even as the content of Englishness is arguably more inclusive than ever before.

You could say that Englishness is a casualty of our new culture war. The spectre of racist, ignorant English folk – ‘gammons’, in the new lingo – is the caricature against which commentators pose as switched-on and virtuous.

But I think the elites’ dislike of Englishness also expresses something deeper. The culture war against Englishness is, I think, bound up with anti-majoritarianism – a discomfort with mass democracy, and a fear and loathing of the ‘little people’ who democracy empowers.

And this is where Brexit comes in.

To adapt a favourite adage of Will Self, not all Remain voters are metropolitan elitists, but all metropolitan elitists voted Remain. And indeed, the Brexit vote brought to the surface that elite section of society’s deep disdain for democracy and for supposedly ‘low-information’ voters.

And given how the votes fell, England was where most of these ‘horrendous’ people could be found. England voted to Leave, where Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay. England backed Leave at a rate higher than the national average – 53.4 per cent. Every English region outside London backed Brexit.

Anti-Brexit anger, therefore, quickly became mixed up with a kneejerk anti-Englishness. Brexit, writes Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, represents a ‘mix of arrogance and ignorance, a very English amalgam’. The vote, she adds, has damned us to ‘dull small island life, grey, inward, with shops full of pies and chips and blue passports in our bags’.

These nominally anti-English tirades were, at least in part, not about England at all. They were giving expression to the anti-majoritarian, anti-democratic inclinations of the elites. This is because England is not only by far the largest bloc of people in the UK — it is also that bloc most often painted as wrongheaded and backward, particularly by the liberal-left.

People once talked about the Labour Party’s problem with southern voters – its ‘southern discomfort’, as a Fabian Society pamphlet put it in 1992. For the best part of three decades now, southern working-class voters have been, in some circles, all but written off. They have been bought off by Thatcher, they are culturally conservative, they are not people to be dealing with.

But the chasm between Labour and its northern heartlands has also been growing all this time. In the wake of the 2010 election, Professor Philip Cowley warned of Labour’s ‘universal discomfort’. And this certainly came to the fore with Brexit.

The biggest majorities for Brexit in 2016 were delivered by the East Midlands, the West Midlands and the North East, encompassing longstanding English Labour heartlands. In those three regions, the Leave vote almost touched 60 per cent. Meanwhile, over 90 per cent of Labour MPs backed Remain.

It is due to these political shifts – which have taken place over recent decades, but came to a head with the Brexit vote – that the English have become a byword for the brutish throng.

There is certainly a discomfort with the idea of national identity in general in certain cosmopolitan circles today. But I would argue that the relatively sympathetic hearing the likes of the SNP or Plaid Cymru get from liberals in England shows that something else is going on here.

Scottish independence, in particular, is increasingly met by sections of the British left with either ambivalence or tacit support. This is a shift that John McDonnell’s explosive comments this week, where he said he was open to the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum, underlined.

I would argue that, in part, the project of Scottish independence is driven by the anti-majoritarian impulse I’ve been talking about. Scotland is presented – by the Scottish National Party – as the centre-left tail that cannot wag the Tory dog. England is supposedly lost to the forces of reaction, and thus Scotland must go it alone.

In turn, in England, Scotland has come to be seen as a kind of haven on a heartless isle. In an interview in the Guardian over the weekend, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon even urged disaffected English voters, angered by Boris and Brexit, to move to Scotland. And I dare say there will be some among the English metropolitan set who will be tempted.

So to sum up, I would argue that the liberal-left’s discomfort with Englishness is an expression of its discomfort with democracy, and the liberal-left’s distance from English identity is an expression of its distance from millions of their fellow country men and women.

But, turning to the central question of this event, the question of fostering a ‘civic English nationalism’, of cultivating a positive English national identity… I’m a little unclear about what that actually means.

I don’t think national identity is anything to demonise. It can in fact offer a more inclusive and expansive identity than the limited racial, gender and sexual identities pushed today by the identitarian left. National identity can provide a framework within which we can transcend our differences.

But while I don’t think we should demonise Englishness, I don’t think we should fetishise it either. We shouldn’t treat it as something fixed and definable, something that either needs to be rediscovered or built from the ground up. Society is more fluid and complex than that.

What I think we should do, however, is argue for some crucial principles – for democracy, for freedom, for universalism. And I think we should defend the nation state as the one construct we have at the moment capable of giving those principles meaning.

For it is those principles – of democracy, freedom and universalism – that I think are most often caught in the crossfire of the culture war over Englishness. And it is those principles on which any progressive nation must rest.


The Democrats who cried wolf

An article in the current issue of the New Yorker asks whether the automotive era was a ‘terrible mistake’. In the piece, cars are blamed for creating a climate crisis and wars. Roads are deemed the ‘setting for our most violent illustrations of systemic racism’. When we’ve reached the point where ‘roads are racist’ is taken as a serious argument, it’s clear that the term ‘racism’ is being applied too casually.

Many self-described liberals today view the world through the prism of race, especially educated white liberals who have mastered the skill of detecting racism in places unknown before. As Zach Goldberg highlighted in a recent essay, the percentage of white liberals who believe racial discrimination is a very serious problem jumped from just below 30 per cent 20 years ago to almost 60 per cent in 2016. Educated white liberals are now much more likely to believe racism is a major problem than black and Hispanic Americans. White liberals are also the only group that looks more favourably on other racial and ethnic communities than they do on their own. In other words, they are embarrassed by other whites.

At the same time as concern over racism among liberals has shot up, racism has become less acceptable in US society. Clearly, the US has progressed from the days of Jim Crow and its aftermath. And the rejection of racist views appears to have continued – even under Trump. A paper published by Daniel J Hopkins and Samantha Washington, sociologists at the University of Pennsylvania, found – against their expectations – that Americans have actually become less inclined to express racist opinions since Donald Trump was elected. Anti-black prejudice, they found, has taken a sharp dive since 2016, among both Republicans and Democrats equally.

And yet, today, the r-word is ubiquitous. We are told that the US itself is inherently racist, that it was founded on slavery and is thus irredeemable (ignoring the American Revolution’s breakthroughs for liberty, the thousands who gave their lives in the Civil War to end slavery, and the civil-rights movement). Reparations for slavery are being seriously considered by Democratic Party candidates for president (genealogy tests may become mandatory – invest in 23andMe!). The American flag and national anthem are protested against at sports games, because, activists say, the entire country is imbued with racism.

In the political sphere, the Democrats have overused the term racism so much that it has become predictable and tired. It is no longer good enough to denounce racism per se – Democrats now feel the need to point out that racism infuses all areas of life. Just listen to Elizabeth Warren during the recent Democratic debate: ‘We live in a country now where the president is advancing environmental racism, economic racism, criminal-justice racism, healthcare racism.’ Race and racial identity matter to Warren – so much so that she lied and claimed Native American ancestry to advance her career.

Of course, we know that Democrats believe Trump is a racist. That accusation was flung at him time and again during his run for president in 2016, when he was (rightly) castigated for his Obama ‘birther’ allegations, his Central Park Five fearmongering, and his remarks about Mexican rapists, among other things. And today the phrase ‘Trump’s racism’ flows freely, as likely to turn up in news articles as in opinion pieces.

But the Democrats don’t stop at Trump, or even Republicans, when it comes to making racism allegations. They use the r-word as a weapon against their fellow party members too, if doing so can advance their own standing. Consider how Kamala Harris called out Joe Biden on the issue of race in one of the recent presidential debates: she criticised his work with segregationist Democrats and his opposition to forced school busing. Harris’s attack was a classic in the style of identitarian call-outs. She accused Biden of racism while disingenuously claiming not to do so. She went back far in his history to find some material (1970s busing is not exactly a hot topic today). She claimed that Biden’s old views hurt her personally, making her unassailable. And she implied that her racial identity (Harris is of mixed race) gives her authority on the topic at hand. After the debate, Harris backtracked and said she wouldn’t impose busing on communities today… which just so happened to be the same position Biden took in the past. So it was just an exercise in political point-scoring, denigrating real issues of racism.

Likewise, Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently called out House leader Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of ‘singling out newly elected women of colour’ in the Democratic Party. This followed Pelosi criticising Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow members of the ‘Squad’ on the issue of border-protection funds. Rather than respond with a political argument, Ocasio-Cortez attacked Pelosi’s motives and implied she was driven by racism. Again, the issue of race was used as a political weapon, with Ocasio-Cortez hoping she could erect a forcefield around herself so that she could not be criticised.

The Democrats’ promiscuous wielding of the r-word is undermining their case against Trump. They have thrown the charge at Trump (and others) so often that, today, that epithet is likely to be greeted with a yawn by all except the most hardened Resistance types. Their cries of ‘wolf’ have been so frequent that when Trump truly does engage in racist language – as he did when he demanded that the Squad ‘go home’ – their denunciations of his racism now sound hollow and worn-out. The r-word just doesn’t have the devastating effect they expect it to have.

A week after the ‘go home’ comments, Democrats threw the allegation of racism at Trump again. This time it was in response to his criticisms of Democrat House member Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore: Trump called Cummings’ district a ‘rat- and rodent-infested mess’. But this time around, the accusation was treated even more sceptically. Trump’s focus on a black representative and a majority-black city seemed like it could have been driven by racist intent. But, on the other hand, Trump is known for waging petty personal attacks on anyone who investigates him (Cummings is chair of the House Oversight Committee).

In this case, the accusation of racism was not so easy to stick on Trump. It was easy enough to find Democrats who have said similar things: former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh once said the city stank of rats, while Bernie Sanders once likened Baltimore to a ‘Third World country’. The Democrats’ double standards – ‘it’s racist when Trump says it, but not when we say it’ – are noticed, and they lead people to tune out.

Some Democrats appear to believe that if they can just firmly attach a scarlet letter ‘R’ to Trump, they will win. This is politics via name-calling. The desire to declare Trump beyond the pale relieves Democrats of having to win political arguments. For example, most of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates view the issue of immigration in racial and moral terms. What’s the answer to the border crisis and immigration generally? All Democrats have to offer is that Trump and his wall are racist, and that putting kids in cages is immoral – which is not really a compelling policy argument. The throwing around of the ‘racism’ charge is another way of telling people to shut up about immigration (or other issues), or else risk being labelled racist themselves. The implication is that if you don’t agree with the Democrats, then you too are racist and immoral.

Indeed, for a section of voters the repeated cries of racism coming from Democrats sound like accusations directed at them. Democrats have not denounced and distanced themselves from Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ comment, which she made during the 2016 campaign. If anything, some Democrats continue to make sweeping generalisations about Trump’s white working-class voters. They denounce as ‘privileged’ some of the least privileged people in society. This attempt to shame Trump voters into feeling guilty for supporting him will only get people’s backs up.

For all of their efforts, the Democrats’ push to make ‘Trump is a racist’ a commonsense view among the population isn’t working. As a recent Rasmussen poll showed, the country remains divided on this question: 47 per cent think Trump is a racist, while 49 per cent disagree and say his opponents are accusing him of racism only for political gain. Trump deserves to be denounced for many of his statements, old and new. But given the Democrats’ use of the ‘racism’ accusation for partisan advantage, you can understand why many end up giving Trump the benefit of the doubt.

Many commentators are now talking about Trump having a ‘race-baiting strategy’ going into the 2020 election. But his outbursts seem to be more impulsive than evidence of a master plan. Moreover, the Democrats are keen to play the race card themselves, in particular to signal their moral superiority. The latest imbroglios show that both sides have an interest in stirring up racial divisions.

Many modern progressives see the world through a racial lens. They put plus signs against certain races and minus signs against others. That is a recipe for conflict. Levelling a charge of racism should be a serious matter, but the term has lost much of its sting and opprobrium today due to overuse and its extension to things that are clearly not racist. There’s an unfortunate irony to this weaponisation of race: if everyone and everything is racist, then nothing and no one is racist.


The German state’s turn against democracy

In supporting the European banking union, Germany's highest court reveals its anti-democratic heart.

Last week, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) rejected a legal challenge to the European banking union. This union is the means through which the European Central Bank supervises Europe’s larger banks and organises structural funds for banks that fail. The plaintiffs had claimed the ECB’s oversight and liquidation powers were not covered by EU treaties or the German constitution. The court, aligning itself with the German government, concluded otherwise.

After the verdict, I caught up with Markus C Kerber, a professor of public finance and political economy at the Technische Universität of Berlin, and one of the leading plaintiffs in the challenge to the European banking union. He told me the court had lost credibility by siding with the government. ‘If we continue down the road of this ruling’, he said, ‘then it means that in the name of Europe we will have to sacrifice national democracy for centralisation in Brussels’.

Kerber’s right. The banking union rests on a set of unified rules that have transferred responsibility for financial policymaking from national governments to the EU, and strengthened the role of the ECB. It was designed in 2012, and implemented in 2014, as a response to the Eurozone debt crisis, which hit Greece, Ireland and Spain especially hard. It means that the ECB has been responsible for the supervision of all larger banks in the Eurozone, through the single supervisory mechanism (SSM), to use the EU jargon. This system is complemented by the single resolution mechanism (SRM), which promises to ‘ensure the efficient resolution of failing banks with minimal costs to taxpayers and to the real economy’. A third component, still to be fully implemented, is the European deposit insurance system (EDIS) – a centralised fund through which the EU’s bank-deposit guarantee schemes are to be financed.

The wide scope of the banking union is no secret (the pro-EU European Banking Federation (EBF) describes it as an ‘important step towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union’). In acting as it did, and supporting the banking union, Germany’s highest court has exposed a contradiction between its role as the guardian of the German constitution and its determination to be pro-EU. After all, how does the court square its constitutional role to protect citizens’ democratic rights with its support for a system that moves political responsibility further away from the government and, therefore, from those it claims to represent? Or, as Kerber puts it, ‘there is a rift between the court’s claims [to protect the constitution] and its latest ruling’.

Most importantly, the court’s ruling confirms its disregard for democracy. After all, the banking union, which has also been called a transfer or liability union in Germany (on the grounds that it could potentially move more money from the richer member states to the poorer ones) has never been put to any democratic vote.

Not that the court’s decision to support the banking union should be a surprise. Its support for the EU, even when it undermines Germany’s sovereignty, is longstanding. In 1993, for instance, it rejected a legal challenge, supported and led at the time by the prominent Green politician, Christian Ströbele, against the Maastricht Treaty. Ströbele rightly claimed Maastricht violated basic democratic rights. The court countered that the EU was a union of states but not a state based on a European people. Its powers and tasks were therefore sufficiently defined and limited. Nonetheless, the court cautioned, Germany’s continued membership had to be tied to the condition that ‘legitimation and influence emanating from the people are secured, even within a group of states’.

Similarly ambiguous was its 2009 ruling on the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. ‘The European Unification is a treaty union of sovereign states’, it read. ‘It must not be implemented in such a way that the member states no longer have sufficient room for the shaping of their economic, cultural and social living conditions.’ Nevertheless, the court believed that the requirements of the German constitution – which explicitly states that Germany was to become part of a united Europe – were upheld within the treaty. Democracy was secured, argued the court, if the government sought the support of parliament before agreeing to any law negotiated within the European Council.

Kerber is well aware of what amounts to a gradual outsourcing of sovereignty. ‘Since Maastricht’, he tells me, ‘we have witnessed so many transfers of additional powers to the EU institutions that we are waiting for a ruling hinting at a red line’. Anyone who, like Kerber, hoped the emergence of a banking union would force the court to draw this red line must feel disappointed.

The court was not oblivious to the threat to democracy posed by the banking union. ‘The rules, drawn up after the Eurozone’s financial crisis in 2008 and 2009’, stated the court’s second senate, ‘did indeed raise questions of democratic legitimacy, because the ECB and its local supervisory authorities could act very independently’. But this concern was not enough to turn the court against the government, the EU and, therefore, the status quo.

Are we experiencing a trade-off between economic stability and democratic legitimacy, I ask Kerber? ‘Yes, we are’, he says, ‘and I am unhappy about that. Democracy is more important than European integration.’

Kerber is unsure about what will happen now. Germans, he says, were already feeling the pinch of Brussels’ tutelage. Protest was growing and the AfD was its unfortunate expression. But he feels that, for the time being, the German political establishment is still too addicted to the EU to change tack.

He is not without optimism, however, telling me that hopefully a moderate, liberal, less pro-EU politics might soon emerge. Whether he is right to put his hopes in a more liberal establishment will have to be seen. But, by legally challenging the banking union, Kerber has performed a great service, shedding light on the democratic deficit we are now all facing within the EU.


The ludicrousness of offence culture

Apparently paintings can now breach your human rights.

Lee Hegarty, a civil servant in the Northern Ireland Office, was paid £10,000 in compensation because he was offended at having to walk past a painting of the queen. He said having to do so day in, day out breached his human rights.

Speaking recently about the case, which was settled under David Cameron’s premiership, parliamentary under-secretary of state for Northern Ireland Lord Duncan of Springbank said ‘the Northern Ireland Office takes its responsibilities under fair-employment legislation very seriously and seeks to ensure a good and harmonious working environment for all staff’.

The queen is, as with the rest of the UK, the head of state in Northern Ireland. But to many she is still a symbol of colonial rule. Discussing the case this week, the author Kehinde Andrews said on Good Morning Britain that he was not at all surprised someone working in the Northern Ireland Office would be offended by images of the royals.

Now, I am no fan of the monarchy. Unelected hereditary power is anathema to a functioning democracy. And I understand there are specific sensitivities around the monarchy in Northern Ireland. But this demand that the portrait be removed because it is ‘offensive’ is highly questionable.

How is it a matter of rights that this painting be removed? Hegarty was not really demanding his rights in this situation — he was demanding a privilege. A right applies to everyone in society, and it exists prior to government. A privilege, meanwhile, is something granted by government. What Hegarty did here was demand the privileging of his own offence.

If we accept that people have a right to cleanse their working environments of things they find offensive, where will it end? We are all offended by something, and this case could very well set a ridiculous precedent. It could lead to a proliferation of civil servants seeking compensatory damages due to hurt feelings.

There are parallels here with the Rhodes Must Fall campaign at Oxford University a few years ago. There, students demanded that a statue of the colonialist Cecil Rhodes be torn down, because its presence was an ‘act of violence’. But just as you can’t change the past by toppling statues, you also can’t change the present by removing portraits.

Indeed, what has Hegarty achieved here? Other than to receive some handy compensation. The queen is still the head of state in Northern Ireland, regardless of whether her portrait hangs in the Northern Ireland Office.

This strange episode has only trivialised the issues this civil servant seems to care so much about.


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