Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Black Pastor: New Democrat members of Congress may look diverse, but their harmful ideas are not

Most of the newly-elected Democrats are fighting for agendas that hold my community down in poverty, Rev. C.L. Bryant writes

When I served as president of the NAACP branch in Garland, Texas in the 1980s, we believed in the dignity of work. We fought for equal treatment under the law, and quality education for our children. We called on society to judge our neighbors by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

I watched with pride as President Donald Trump delivered the opening remarks of his State of the Union address to the most racially diverse U.S. Congress in history. This scene, I thought to myself, is one big, beautiful step toward achieving the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

That pride was short-lived, as I realized most of these newly-elected Democrats are fighting for agendas that hold my community down in poverty.


When President Trump announced that African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American poverty rates have reached their lowest recorded points in American history, we should have seen a standing ovation from this modern and diverse Democratic Party.

Instead, we saw outright disdain on their faces. Nobody clapped. The message wasn’t worth celebrating, because they didn’t like the political party of the messenger.

In that moment, I realized the 116th Congress is not diverse at all. The new generation of Democrats in power may look different, but their ideas are the same: big government, less freedom, and a message of entitlement and victimhood.

Our abolitionist forefathers died fighting for the freedom and self-empowerment of black Americans. They believed our rights come from God, not the government. They knew that with equal access to jobs and education, the black community would rise.

Now we find ourselves enslaved once again, this time voluntarily, to a culture of government dependency. Big-government policies have trapped us on a plantation of food stamps and welfare checks.

The modern Democratic Party needs black Americans’ lives to depend on the size of government. They want our votes, and our fear. They want us to believe that without them in power, what little we are given to make ends meet will be taken away. That we can’t thrive in this world on our own grit. That we need them to survive.

Sadly, Stacey Abrams, the first black woman to deliver a State of the Union response, perpetuated this damaging message of entitlement and victimhood in her remarks following the president’s speech.

Within a matter of minutes, Abrams accused Republicans of voter suppression, racism, elitism, hurting women and families, attacking the LGBTQ community, closing plants, abandoning children, and conspiring against blue collar American families.

She insisted hard-working families are being left behind, despite 5 million new jobs and the lowest unemployment rates in half a century. She ignored the 304,000 new jobs created in January (double what was expected), and instead painted a picture of federal employees waiting in food bank lines to get a “box of food and a sliver of hope” during a 35-day partial government shutdown.

According to Abrams, plants are closing, and layoffs are looming. More than 600,000 people with new manufacturing jobs would be surprised to hear this, especially Roy James, a black plant manager at the Vicksburg Forest Products lumber facility, which was saved from having to close its doors by provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The reality is, Donald Trump’s economic policies have done more for the black community than Barack Obama’s ever did. Since President Trump took office, nearly 4 million people have left the food stamp program. Wages are rising. Unemployment for Americans without a high school diploma is at the lowest rate ever recorded.

Thanks to historic legislation like the First Step Act, black families suffering from an epidemic of mass incarceration are getting a second chance at life together. Their loved ones are getting a chance at redemption, to become productive members of society.

President Trump has loosened regulations on small businesses, empowering black business owners to keep their doors open and protect the livelihoods of their families and their employees.

Through entrepreneurship and empowerment, black America is rising to greatness. We are getting back to work. These achievements did not warrant applause from the Democrats on the House floor, or a single mention in Stacey Abrams’ rebuttal speech.

It was a painful reminder that the modern Democratic Party doesn’t want us to get woke, they want us to stay broke.


Swedish Feminists Demand State Ban on 'Dangerous' Sex Robots

Sex robots and sex dolls reinforce the view that women are objects and normalise men's violence against women, three feminist Swedish organisations claim. They're demanding legislation targeting technology that "reproduces ideas about exploiting women's bodies".

Three Swedish feminist organisations, Sweden's Women's Lobby, the National Organisation for Women's Shelters and Young Women's Shelters (Roks) as well as the empowerment organisation Unizon have published a joint appeal in the newspaper Expressen, in which they demand a state ban on "dangerous" sex robots for men.

The debaters noted that today's sex robots often have the "appearances and attributes typical of the objectifying, sexualised and degrading attitude to women found in today's mainstream pornography".

"Why are men willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a robot that obeys their smallest command?" the feminists asked rhetorically. "A female robot cannot say no to something that the man wants, if she is not programmed to do so", the feminists complained.

The leaders of the women's organisations claimed that fantasies stimulated by such technology may lead to real violence against girls and women. They also drew parallels with pornography, whose consumption, they claimed, leads to sexist attitudes and actual violence. The dehumanisation of women justifies slavery, and the exploitation of the female body through new technology is part of this, they claimed.

The three organisations demanded that an inquiry be made to produce proposals on "how technology and activities that normalise abuse can be restricted and prohibited".

The feminists also want Swedish authorities to make it difficult for "brothels with sex robots and dolls" to open in Sweden. Unlike neighbouring Denmark and Finland, Sweden has yet to open an automated brothel with no human prostitutes. The organisations drew comparisons between sex robots and prostitution.

"Sweden has for 20 years had a regulatory framework that punishes sex buyers and which has reduced the demand for prostitution. <…> Now, Sweden must take the next step and dare to address the ongoing technological developments that are driven by the sex industry at the expense of real women and girls", they concluded.

Lastly, they demanded that such dolls and robots be included in sexual education curricula and addressed from a perspective that portrays the relationship between sexuality and power as problematic.

In 2014, Sweden received its first "feminist" government, which puts a special emphasis on women's rights.


Assessing Gay Priests’ Role in Scandal

According to Vatican observer Edwin Pentin, it is "not clear" whether "the role of homosexuality in the abuse crisis" will be addressed at the Vatican summit on clergy sexual abuse; it begins today. One thing is for sure: every effort to downplay the role of gays is being made.

A front-page story in the February 18 edition of the New York Times is typical of the way most of the media are covering this subject. "Studies repeatedly find there to be no connection between being gay and abusing children. And yet prominent bishops have singled out gay priests as the root of the problem, and right-wing media organizations attack what they have called the church's 'homosexual subculture,' 'lavender mafia,' or 'gay cabal.'"

Furthermore, Cardinal Blase Cupich, who will be at the summit, says that while most of the problem is a result of "male on male" sex abuse, "homosexuality itself is not a cause." He says it can be explained as a matter of "opportunity and also a matter of poor training on the part of the people."

All of these statements can be challenged. First of all, not all studies have shown that there is no link between homosexuals and the sexual abuse of minors.

A good summary of the literature that shows the central role of homosexual priests in the abuse scandal can be found in an article by Brian W. Clowes and David L. Sonnier. The most recent research that challenges the conventional wisdom on this subject is the study by D. Paul Sullins, a sociologist who teaches at Catholic University of America. He found that the link between homosexual priests and sexual abuse was strong.

Let it be said emphatically that it is morally wrong to blame all gay priests or to bully someone who is gay, be he a priest or a plumber. It is also wrong to call on all gay priests to resign: such a sweeping recommendation is patently unfair to those gay priests who have never violated anyone.

However, it is not helpful to the cause of eradicating the problem of sexual abuse in the priesthood to dismiss a conversation about the obvious. We can begin by talking honestly about who the victims are.

Notice that the New York Times says, "[s]tudies repeatedly find there to be no connection between being gay and abusing children." This is a common way of framing the issue, and it is a deceitful one. Most of the victims were adolescents, not children. In other words, the problem is not pedophilia.

We know from one report after another, in both this country and abroad, that approximately 80 percent of the victims are both male and postpubescent. Ergo, the issue is homosexuality. This does not mean that homosexuality, per se, causes someone to be a predator (Cupich is technically right about that), but it does say that homosexuals are disproportionately represented in the sexual abuse of minors. We cannot ignore this reality.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that puberty begins at age 10 for boys. A study of more than 4,000 boys examined by a doctor, nationwide, also put the figure at age 10. The John Jay report on priestly sexual abuse found that less than 5 percent of the victims were prepubescent, meaning that pedophilia is not the problem.

The John Jay researchers try to protect homosexuals by saying that not all the men who had sex with adolescent males consider themselves to be homosexuals. But self-identification is not dispositive. If the gay priests thought they were giraffes, would the scholars conclude that the problem is bestiality?

It was the John Jay researchers who first floated the "opportunity" thesis that Cardinal Cupich picked up on. This idea is flawed. Predator priests hit on boys not because they were denied access to girls, but because they preferred males. More important, there is something patently unfair, as well as inaccurate, about this line of thinking.

It suggests that many priests are inclined to have sex with minors—and will choose the sex which offers them the greatest opportunity. There is no evidence to support this unjust indictment. Also, girl altar servers date back to 1983, after Canon law was changed. They became even more common in 1994 when Pope John Paul II ruled that girls can be altar servers.

If the "opportunity" thesis had any truth to it, we should have seen, over the past few decades, a spike in altar girls being sexually abused by priests, but this has not happened. Indeed, 80 percent of the victims are still male and postpubescent.

The notion that "poor training" is responsible for the scandal raises the obvious question: If all seminarians, straight and gay, were trained the same way (they were not segregated), then why didn't the "poor training" that the heterosexuals experienced lead them to sexually abuse minors?

Finally, every honest observer who has examined this subject knows there is a homosexual subculture in the Church. Two months ago, Pope Francis said, "homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church." Previously, he spoke about the "gay lobby" in the Church. Moreover, a 2016 decree on training for priests spoke about the "gay culture." Also, it was Father Andrew Greeley who used the term "lavender mafia."

Pope Francis is not a "right-winger," and neither was Greeley.

We need to stop, once and for all, playing politics with this issue and face up to some tough realities.


How political correctness assisted a vast con

For no particular reason, my summer has been filled with con men. Some old, some young, all charming and all cheats. Happily, it’s been from a safe distance, reading about, watching and listening to some shocking swindlers.

But the worst con wasn’t by any of these men. The worst con artist was a woman, a very young woman. She features in a mesmerising new podcast called The Drop Out. She is also the subject of John Carreyrou’s forensic book, Bad Blood — Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. She stars in a new HBO doco due out next month called The Inventor — Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. Here is a poster girl for gender equality, if you will, proving women can be just as bad as men.

And the story of Elizabeth Holmes is very, very bad. Though she shares much in common with con men, another part to her story deserves scrutiny.

The rise of Holmes reveals ­another, darker side to female empowerment. Feminist warriors won’t tell you how gender works a treat for women who seek to lie, con and defraud. The feminists talk only about woeful discrimination by men against women, glass ceilings that can’t be cracked, boys clubs and men’s networks that stop women from achieving their true potential.

Holmes reached her full potential as a con artist, aided and abetted by being a woman. She dropped out of Stanford after two semesters of chemical engineering with a mission to transform blood testing across the globe. Phyllis Gardner, a professor of medicine for more than 30 years, spotted ­delusion right away. She told the freshman at their first encounter in 2002 that her idea was not scientifically possible.

Holmes moved on to another professor, Channing Robertson. The middle-aged man was mesmerised by her and not long after joined the board of Theranos, the company Holmes set up in 2003 when she was 19 years old.

Holmes used her female charm to cajole many others, to trick and defraud legions of men, young and old. And women too, mostly young women, many of whom left Theranos disillusioned and disgusted.

Plenty of men fell out with Holmes eventually, but it is striking how many men fell for Holmes and her story. She spruiked a revolution delivered via a small device to extract a pinprick of blood, the sample fed into a Theranos machine called the Edison, which would run hundreds of tests simultaneously in an hour.

Before her story turned rancid, Holmes hit all the sweet spots. She was young and gorgeous with big blue eyes, articulate and passionate about her claim to change the world. Holmes dazzled a bunch of pale, stale males who joined her board. The all-male board included Henry Kissinger, then US Marine Corps general John Mattis, who became secretary of ­defence, former secretary of state George Shultz, and other men who made their millions in Silicon Valley. Shultz was taken with her “purity of motivation”. Mattis was impressed with her “well-honed sense of ethics”. Park these thoughts.

Holmes claimed she was revolutionising blood testing, reducing medical costs, even saving lives on the battlefields of Afghanistan. Brilliant young graduates, even senior people from Apple, flocked to work with the next Steve Jobs.

Holmes raised $US700 million from investors — again lots of men, including Oracle founder Larry Ellison, venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the Walton and De Vos families, and Rupert Murdoch. Theranos also signed a game-changing deal with pharmacy chain Walgreens.

The media loved Holmes too. The blonde, self-made billionaire, worth $4bn at her height, was a ­female success story in the boys club of Silicon Valley.

Her pitch to be the modern-day cross between Marie Curie and Steve Jobs was kind of sexy. Though more Jobs than Curie. Holmes deliberately dressed like her icon, copying the Jobs uniform of black skivvies and trousers. She even changed her voice to a weirdly slow and low baritone.

A brilliant woman in a man’s world was forced to do this to get ahead? Or a cunning young woman exploiting her gender to con the world? Undoubtedly, both.

Business journalists know how this goes. A picture of a pretty young woman makes the front page, no matter how small the news value or how shallow her achievement. It breaks the long run of grey men in suits. The media, drunk on the Holmes Kool-Aid, were so excited to promote gender diversity that they didn’t listen for alarm bells. Holmes was plastered over the media, scoring covers and profile puff pieces, appearing on TV, collecting awards and addressing rapturous crowds. Introducing the ­inventor at an event, Bill Clinton was especially excited. Of course.

Did Holmes cash in on lashings of gender virtue-signalling by men too? No doubt. Just like those Male Champions of Change in Australia, male board directors who flock to promote women ­because it gives them a public glow of goodness, the men around Holmes gained gender cred by boosting her. Except their outer glow blinded them from seeing the red flags about her poor leadership and her false claims about Theranos technology and revenues. As Carreyrou observed, there was also a dose of FOMO — a fear of missing out.

That said, Holmes’s skin-deep CV piqued the interest of Carrey­rou. Why not others? There is a reason, writes The Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, that Nobel prize winners in medicine are in their 60s. It takes time to develop, test and authenticate genuine medical innovations. This Stanford dropout was in a rush, leading a company that lied to ­patients, ­investors and even staff.

Carreyrou’s first explosive report about this con woman ran in October 2015. Holmes claimed Theranos machines could run hundreds of blood tests from a single drop of blood. That was untrue. The tests that it did run were often faulty. Holmes ran fake tests to convince investors and her board.

Holmes and her chief operating officer Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani set up silos within Theranos, forbidding staff members from communicating with other sections. Employees were routinely sacked on the spot for raising questions about the technology. They were threatened with lawsuits, and dossiers of information on them were collected for “leakage”.

The Theranos offices were gripped by a culture of secrecy, fear and retribution

Holmes was at the centre of this cult-like story of a tech girl genius. Even as the myth exploded, she ­responded to critics by saying: “This is what happens when you work to change things. First, they think you’re crazy, then they fight you, and then all of a sudden you change the world.” Employees chanted “f..k you, Carreyrou” over and over again at a staff meeting.

As Carreyrou continued his forensic exposes in the Journal, Theranos staff members created a Space Invader game with Carrey­rou as the villain.

The house of Holmes came crashing down in March last year when the SEC charged her and Balwani with widespread fraud.

Holmes settled with the SEC and has been banned from running a public company for 10 years. Theranos closed its doors six months later. Holmes and Balwani are awaiting trial for other offences that could put them in prison for 20 years.

The most despicable con was inflicted on people who used dodgy Theranos blood tests to make decisions about their lives.

So, the next time someone says that more women are the antidote to a toxic culture, remember that women can be bullies, harassers, and fraudsters too.



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

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

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


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