Sunday, February 25, 2024

Alabama hospital puts pause on IVF in wake of ruling saying frozen embryos are children

There are really two issues here: The failure to implant and the failure to thrive after implantation. As the father of an IVF son, I am acutely aware of the issues.

My wife undertook 10 IVF treatment cycles with only one embryo implanting. And it grieves me to this day that many of my children went down the drain. I would have loved them all. But to me there was no fault by any person involved. It is just nature's way that many embryos are lost during menstruation. Though I suppose that an argument could be mounted that taking any part in IVF is willingly creating life that will mostly not survive. You are both creating life and extinguishing it

In the abortion debate it has to me always seemed nonsenense to say that a "fetus" is not a human being. It is clearly just a human being at an early stage of growth. So I do have some understanding of the Alabama ruling. And I am an atheist so there is no religious issue involved in my case.

But there are clearly many adverse consequences of the ruling so I would say that a fertiized egg that is never implanted has never begun the process of developing so should not be regarded as a human person. A ruling to such an effect may be needed to allow IVF and its great blessings to continue

A large Alabama hospital has paused in vitro fertilisation treatments as health care providers weigh the impact of a state court ruling that frozen embryos are the legal equivalent of children.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham said in a statement Wednesday that its UAB Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility has paused the treatments "as it evaluates the Alabama Supreme Court's decision that a cryopreserved embryo is a human being."

"We are saddened that this will impact our patients' attempt to have a baby through IVF, but we must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments," the statement emailed by spokeswoman Savannah Koplon read.

The ruling by the all-Republican Alabama Supreme Court prompted a wave of concern about the future of IVF treatments in the state and the potential unintended consequences of extreme anti-abortion laws in Republican-controlled states.
Patients called clinics to see if scheduled IVF treatments would continue. And providers consulted with attorneys.


ADL Gives Head-Scratching Reason for Excluding Nashville Transgender Shooter From ‘Extremist Murders’ Report

Nashville Transgender Shooter Not a Left-Wing Extremist Because She Called Victims ‘Faggots,’ ADL Says

The Anti-Defamation League claimed that right-wing extremists committed “all” the extremist-related murders in 2023, discounting the apparent extremism of Audrey Hale, the transgender shooter who killed three adults and three students in March at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee.

Conservative commentator Steven Crowder released three pages of the shooter’s manifesto, which police confirmed were legitimate, in November.

Hale, a white female, reportedly identified as male and went by the name “Aiden.” Her manifesto expresses hatred for white people, whom she refers to as “crackers.”

“Kill those kids!!! Those crackers. Going to private fancy schools with those fancy khakis and sports backpacks with their daddies mustangs and convertibles. F— you little sh—s,” she wrote. “I wish to shoot your weak ass d—s with your mop yellow hair, wanna kill all you little crackers!!! Bunch of little faggots with your white privileges. F— you faggots.”

These remarks echo the Left’s ideological talking points on “white privilege” and reveal a disdain for others based on their skin color. This hatred of white people echoes the Marxist claim that America is institutionally racist, so justice demands stripping whites of their “privilege” and elevating racial minorities rather than securing a level playing field for all races.

Yet the ADL told The Daily Signal that Hale’s case does not show “clear evidence of extremism.”

“The case of Hale does not appear in the report, as we did not find clear evidence of extremism,” the spokesperson said. “Hale left some writings, not released by police, that they described as lacking any specific political or social issues. Three pages of a document were later leaked that contained hateful epithets directed at white and LGBTQ+ people, which did not provide evidence of any particular extremist ideology, but rather primarily resentment and grievance at students from the shooter’s former school perceived to be better off than the shooter was.”

“If additional information comes to light, this determination may change,” the spokesperson added.

The ADL appears to have considered Hale’s decision to condemn her targets as “faggots” to be an example of “epithets directed at … LGBTQ+ people,” thus muddying any potential left-wing extremism as a motivating factor.....

The ADL noted that “although our statistics determined that all extremist-related murders in 2023 were perpetrated by far-right extremists, as ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt made clear upon the release of the report: ‘Last week’s sickening attempted mass shooting in Houston by a woman who had praised Islamist terrorist groups reminds us we cannot stand idly by as hateful extremists continue to threaten our security from across the ideological spectrum.’”

The ADL has claimed that Fox News host Tucker Carlson endorsed a racist antisemitic conspiracy theory when he claimed that the Democratic Party is attempting to “replace the current electorate” with “third-world voters” by keeping the southern border open.

The ADL’s Center on Extremism has flagged critics of gender ideology, attacking conservative figures like Chaya Raichik, the Jewish woman behind the influential Libs of TikTok X account.

The ADL has even alerted law enforcement to conservatives who have criticized transgender orthodoxy, such as Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Chris Rufo and conservative commentator Matt Walsh.

The ADL has faced harsh criticism for adopting many of the Left’s favored causes, often in the name of fighting antisemitism.


Bandy Lee is back

image from

One of Korea's gifts to the USA, she behaved unprofessionally and gave an invalid dagnosis by passing judgment on a person she had not interviewed. She is a disgrace to her profession

The psychiatrist who led efforts in 2017 demanding a 25th Amendment ouster of then-President Donald Trump said she does not have the same concerns about President Joe Biden, despite a Justice Department report last week that said Biden has “diminished faculties.”

Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist who edited the 2017 book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,” told The Daily Signal and the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project that Biden’s case is different.

Asked about special counsel Robert Hur’s report, she, “Cognitive decline is a normal part of aging.” But she concluded, “The 25th Amendment question, therefore, is even more relevant to Trump, as long as he wishes to be president again, but neither appropriate nor relevant for Biden at this time.” (Her full comment can be found below.)

The 25th Amendment allows for the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members to determine whether a president should be temporarily removed from office if he is deemed unfit to serve. It would require two-thirds majorities of both houses of Congress to permanently remove the president under the amendment.

The report Hur released on Feb. 8 said Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen” at his home and office. However, Hur said he would not seek charges because Biden would appear to a jury to be an “elderly man with a poor memory” and because his “diminished faculties” make it less likely he intentionally violated the law.

The Hur report says Biden “did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended … and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began.” The report also stated: “He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died.”

After the report, several Republican lawmakers called for using the 25th Amendment to remove Biden from office, just as several Democrats pushed for using the amendment to remove Trump from the presidency


NYC law that would have allowed 800K non-citizens to vote struck as unconstitutional by appeals court: ‘Enacted in violation’

A controversial New York City law that would have allowed 800,000 non-citizens, but legal residents, to vote in municipal elections was struck down as unconstitutional by a state appeals court Wednesday.

“We determine that this local law was enacted in violation of the New York State Constitution and Municipal Home Rule Law, and thus, must be declared null and void,” Appellate Judge Paul Wooten wrote in the 3-1 majority decision.

Wooten said the state constitution broadly refers to only citizens having the right to vote in elections, municipal as well as statewide or for state legislative offices.

“Article IX provides that the elected officials of `local governments’ shall be elected by “the people, which incorporates by reference the eligibility requirements for voting under article II, section 1, applying exclusively to `citizens,'” the judge wrote.

The decision upholds a lower court ruling issued by Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio in June of 2022, which Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council had appealed.

Writing for the Appellate Division’s 2nd Department, Wooten said if non-citizens are allowed to vote, it stands to reason they could also run for mayor.

He ruled such a dramatic change violated the Municipal Home Rule Law, saying the council and mayor had failed to put the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.

Judges Angela Iannacci and Helen Voutsinas concurred in the ruling.

Judge Lilian Wan issued a dissenting opinion.

“The majority, by deeming the noncitizen voting law invalid, effectively prohibits municipalities across the state from deciding for themselves the persons who are entitled to a voice in the local electoral process,” she wrote.

“The majority’s determination also disenfranchises nearly one million residents of the City, despite the fact that its people’s duly elected representatives have opted to enfranchise those same residents.”

Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella was the lead plaintiff in the case along with Assemblyman Michael Tannousis (R-Staten Island), among others.

“During a time where nearly 200,000 migrants have flooded our city and streets, disrupting the public and attacking our police officers, my colleagues and I have worked tirelessly to protect our voting laws which were created for citizens of the United States,” Tannousis said.

“Democracy always wins and I am proud to say it was delivered yet again today.”

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) was also among the lawmakers who applauded the decision.

“We determine that this local law was enacted in violation of the New York State Constitution and Municipal Home Rule Law, and thus, must be declared null and void,” Appellate Judge Paul Wooten wrote in the 3-1 majority decision.

“There is nothing more important than preserving the integrity of our election system, and in today’s age, the government should be working to create more trust in our elections, not less,” the congresswoman said.

“The right to vote is a sacred right given only to United States citizens. It is my hope that left wing lawmakers stop pushing these unconstitutional and reckless measures that dilute the voices of American citizens,” she added.

A city Law Department spokesman said, “We’re reviewing the court’s decision and evaluating next steps.”




Thursday, February 22, 2024

Black privilege

One day in my ninth-grade year at my private day and boarding school, I heard shocking news: A student whose last name adorned one of our dormitories would be kicked out of school. His crime? Breaking the school’s alcohol and drug use policy. I went home that day and told my parents, dismayed at what had just happened: The child of one of my school’s biggest benefactors was being expelled. For many years, I had believed that certain students with important last names would be above the rules. But I was wrong. My high school tried its best to apply rules equally to students. Going into university, I suspected that I would similarly find this equal application of school rules. But I was wrong again.

At Northwestern University, I would not be surprised if the progeny of mega-donors experience leniency when it comes to breaking the rules. What does surprise me, however, is how another group of students receives preferential treatment thanks to a different immutable characteristic: their race.

This past month, news came out that the pair of students who copied our campus newspaper’s designs would be facing Class A misdemeanor charges. The newspapers featured a headline accusing Northwestern of complicity in the supposed genocide of Gazans and poked fun at Jews who take their birthright. When news of these charges circulated campus, there was enormous public backlash. Why? The Student Publishing Company (SPC), which oversees The Daily Northwestern, supposedly engaged in clear discrimination by pursuing these charges because they happened to be against black students. In accordance with the university’s values of anti-racism, there was no other conceivable explanation for the SPC’s decision to press charges aside from its deep-seated hate of Northwestern’s black community.

Unfortunately, the SPC obsequiously bent the knee to students’ demands that the charges be dropped and decided to intercede with the state attorney. The SPC issued a letter, saying: “It’s only been in the last four days that we learned more information about the people charged: that they are students; that they are Black. Some may disagree, but these facts matter to us.”

This recent incident is not the only one in which a particular group experiences preferential treatment because of its melanin content. This past spring, our student government announced the distribution of $29,000 with $11,000 of it going to a single student group: For Members Only, Northwestern’s premier Black Student Alliance. On a campus with hundreds of student organizations, one group receiving over a third of distributed funds is blatantly unfair. But such complaints about fairness raised by a single courageous ASG senator were dismissed by declaring that lowering FMO’s funding would be the real unfair action. And what was FMO spending this money on? A spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to “learn about and engage with a landmark of Black history.”

I have now learned that it is not just mega-donors’ children who experience a double standard of justice; groups that are the subject of white guilt do as well. Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald has summed this up in two words: black privilege. I repeat this phrase with great trepidation, however. It is clearly not true that all blacks experience preferential treatment or double standards. But when one attends an elite university, the privileges that were once exclusively bestowed upon extraordinarily wealthy WASPs are now being granted to particular racial groups.

The creation of a quasi-racial spoil system in academia is emblematic of a much larger problem facing The Great American Nation: the absence of an individualistic spirit that tempers the collectivist desire to favor some at the expense of others. Given that the university serves as a harbinger of intellectual fads that eventually trickle down to the masses, a change in society’s attitudes about race will be limited by the extent to which universities move away from this new spoil system and toward a universalist framework that does not put group identity at the forefront of decision-making and discipline.

Still, as bad as things sound, I hold a lot of hope that eventually the tide will turn and the university will be made great again.


“London is Not London Any More, I Literally Feel Unsafe”: Jewish Father Reveals “Horrendous” Pain at Discovering Home Office Staff “Defaced” his Baby’s Birth Certificate

A Londoner whose baby’s birth certificate was “defaced” by Home Office staff no longer feels safe in the U.K. as cases of antisemitism continue to rise across the country. The Mail has the story.

Israel, a father-of-three who lives in Edgware, North London, and his wife Dorin, 29, were left in disbelief when they found five-month-old baby Ronnie’s identification papers had been tampered with.

The certificate, returned from the Passport Office, had been ripped and her father’s place of birth – which was Israel – had been scribbled out with a biro pen, leading the Home Secretary to launch an investigation into the case.

“I felt horrendous when I saw it for the first time,” the 32-year-old engineer said. “It took me a few more times to look at that and understand what’s going on.”

Ever since Hamas’s deadly attack on Israel on October 7th, the family have been living in fear and have started to feel “unsafe”.

“The situation here is not good,” Israel told Sky News. “To be Jewish in the U.K. is very hard. And it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse and worse.

“I think my daughter, in 20 years, that’s her future, because London is not London any more, and I literally feel unsafe.”

Yesterday Israel, who is also father to eight-year-old Adiel and five-year-old Ella, told MailOnline his family felt like a “target” as if they were living in 1930s Germany where Nazis would put notes on Jewish people’s documents.

“[My wife] found it was ripped half way through and my place of birth – which was Israel – had been scribbled out with a pen,” Israel, who did not want to reveal his surname, told MailOnline.

“We felt as if we had been taken back to 1930s Germany where the Nazis would put notes on Jewish people’s documentation.

“It is completely warped and it hurts my heart that my daughter is not even six-months-old and she has already been discriminated on in the worst way.”

“The Home Office is in charge of our safety as a minority in the U.K. and they deal with our most private documents but instead of sending us back the certificate in the right way someone within their system has scribbled out Israel because they have hostile feelings,” Israel added.

The shocked family were advised to contact the Campaign Against Antisemitism who approached the Home Office on behalf of the family to raise the issue.

The birth certificate was returned to the family with a tear on the right hand side, while the birth place of Ronnie’s father’s was scratched out in what appears to be a biro pen. Her mother’s birthplace of Israel, however, was left untouched.

As the certificate has been defaced it is no longer valid and the family will need to wait for the Home Office to re-send the document.


Australian public broadcaster host Paul Barry slammed by Jewish leaders over war coverage ‘analysis’

That squinty "host" above is a Leftist, has always been a Leftist and will always be a Leftist. And Leftists are feline predators that do not change their spots. And from Karl Marx on, Leftists have always despised Jews

Jewish leaders have expressed outrage at claims made by the ABC’s Media Watch program that the public broadcaster has been the only news outlet to “give equal coverage to both sides” in the Israel-Hamas war.

On Monday night’s episode of Media Watch, host Paul Barry referenced “preliminary analysis” by the Islamophobia Register that showed the ABC was the only news organisation to have provided impartial coverage of the conflict.

The analysis, by academic Susan Carland for the Islamophobia Register, was based on an undisclosed number of Instagram posts by media outlets.

The research found that the social media posts by The Australian and 9News “all humanised Israeli victims but not Palestinians”, according to Media Watch’s interpretation of Dr Carland’s report.

“So, what do we conclude from all this? Well, simple, really,” Barry told viewers.

“The big Australian newspapers we looked at have failed to cover the Gaza conflict fairly, in terms of giving equal weight to the victims on each side, with the Nine papers (The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age) not too bad, but The Australian failing in spectacular fashion.”

The Media Watch host praised other news sources, including Al Jazeera (which is funded by the Qatari royal family), for covering “human stories of Palestinian suffering”.

But when contacted by The Australian, Dr Carland said her report clearly stated the research “should not be taken as, a definitive analysis of Australian media bias against Palestinians”.

“As this research is limited to the Instagram posts of the six outlets, this report is also not a definitive account of the outlets’ reporting on the Israel-Gaza war, and does not comment on fairness or equality found in any of their other stories on the Israel-Gaza war on their other platforms,” the report says.

Asked if she felt that Media Watch had misrepresented her research, Dr Carland told The Australian: “I cannot comment on the intentions of Media Watch. That would be a question best posed to them.”

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president David Ossip told The Australian that the Media Watch story was “a joke”.

“If the subject matter wasn’t so serious, Media Watch’s report would have simply been parody,” Mr Ossip said. “Relying on sources such as the rabidly anti-Israel Al Jazeera and other highly partisan publications as evidence of the purported bias of legitimate news publications doesn’t pass the sniff test.”

Colin Rubenstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, said: “It’s no surprise that an ABC program like Media Watch finds The Australian’s coverage of the Israel/Hamas war to be appalling, given that much of the ABC seems to think the story of the war should be told overwhelmingly from a Palestinian perspective.

“It’s also predictable that Media Watch neglected to mention failings by much of the Australian media to the detriment of Israel, such as the failures to cover the links between journalists and Hamas, or UNRWA and Hamas, (stories) that were highlighted by The Australian, which was typical of its overall balanced, comprehensive and factually accurate coverage.”

Media Watch’s executive producer Tim Latham said in a statement: “We stand by our story and what we put to air.”


Australia: Stop treating child criminals like ‘little angels’, says NT Labor MP Marion Scrymgour

Youth justice laws need to stop treating [Aboriginal] criminal minors as “little angels” and start applying “tough love” to lawless children, the [black] federal Labor MP representing Alice Springs has declared.

In an extraordinary intervention against her own party’s handling of the Northern Territory youth crime crisis, Marion Scrymgour says authorities need to stop “pussyfooting around” on juveniles, that the decision to raise the age of criminal responsibility is not working, and that it is time for parents to be held accountable for their children’s actions.

It came as NT Chief Minister Eva Lawler said in a “perfect world” she would not have children in detention facilities, and linked her opening of a new youth justice centre in Alice Spring on Wednesday to the British sending convicts to Australia in the 18th century.

After revelations in The Australian of children as young as 10 driving stolen cars around the streets of Alice Springs, Ms Lawler said that young people had been in criminal trouble for “the whole history of Australia” and that the nation’s history was built on the convict system.

The NT Police Association on Wednesday alleged crime statistics in the territory were “not being reported properly” and Alice Springs locals said children were getting more out of control.

Ms Scrymgour – the federal MP for Lingiari – had her own home broken into while she was sleeping last month, and said governments needed to make serious changes to NT youth justice laws.

“There’s got to be a rethink of how we deal (with youth crime) … a bit of tough love never hurt anyone and I think that’s what needs to come into this equation,” she told The Australian.

“We’ve got to stop thinking we’re dealing with little angels here … When you look at those photos they’re laughing and smiling, they think it’s a joke, and it’s not, because they could have an accident and one of them could get killed.

“We’ve got to stop pussyfooting around here and thinking that these kids are going and they’re being taken home to a responsible adult because in a lot of these cases there isn’t a responsible adult there and the reality is these kids don’t listen.”

Ms Scrymgour did not directly call on NT Labor to reverse its decision to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 12 – the highest in the country – but said the policy was not working to bring down crime and that Alice Springs residents needed immediate action.

“At the moment, obviously lifting the age of criminal responsibility isn’t working,” she said.

“The government was saying they’d done this co-response team between police and territory families. Obviously, it’s not working, if we’ve got these kids out on the street and there’s still this issue; obviously, we’ve still got problems.

“Labor is talking about a review of the Youth Justice Act, there are some critical areas in the Youth Justice Act which can be done now … it doesn’t need to be put off for 12 months.

“I’m not left and I’m not woke, I just think we’ve got to hurry up and stop thinking that all of these measures are working, because they’re not.”

Ms Scrymgour’s comments come as Alice Springs locals say the rate of home invasions, incidents of violence on the streets and the theft of cars have “skyrocketed” rise despite Anthony Albanese’s visit to the area just over a year ago.

Locals say the children – who appear to be getting younger and younger – roam the streets late at night, when they breaking into the homes of residents and commit horrifying home invasions, stealing cars and ransacking for cash and jewellery.

Ms Lawler – who came to power only at the end of last year after her predecessor Natasha Fyles resigned, and faces an election in August – last Monday announced a review of youth justice laws as part of a public address into her priorities for 2024.

As she was opening a $32m detention centre for juvenile criminals on Wednesday, Ms Lawler conceded the crime crisis was a failure of government, but linked youth crime to colonial history.

“Overall, it would be the perfect world if we did not have a detention facility in the Northern Territory,” the Chief Minister said.

“Let’s not forget the history of Australia was built on us being colonised by a detention facility from England, so we have had young people, we’ve had people in trouble with the law for the whole history of Australia.”

NTPA president Nathan Finn on Wednesday morning claimed the Territory government was hiding crime statistics from the public as part of a “political campaign”, and that the work by police officers on the ground was “not being recorded” after the police force moved to a new $65m system.

“It’s a smoke-and-mirrors campaign as we lead into an election where crime is the biggest issue, policing is the biggest issue, safety and security of members in the public is a big issue … and the community and the police need to know this,” he told ABC radio.

Mr Finn said the new system was experiencing numerous glitches, including people being wrongly arrested, and that up to 200 domestic violence orders hadn’t been scheduled in court.

“That means possibly that there are 200 plus people out there who aren’t getting the protection they require right now.”




Wednesday, February 21, 2024

What a Lot of Women Confided to Me Behind Closed Doors in HR, Especially the successful ones

Many women would be tradwives if they could

One particular VP visited me often because she had ongoing issues with two employees who were constantly at war with each other. But one day I could tell she wasn’t there to talk about her usual troublemakers.

At 35, she was the highest performing VP in her division and the highest compensated by far. She had worked hard and it had paid off handsomely for her. An inspiration for women and young girls everywhere.

But that day, I could tell something was wrong.

She wouldn’t look me in the eye as she said her next words. She turned her body to the wall and dropped her voice down low as if what she was saying was a profoundly shameful confession.

She did not want to be the powerful executive they were grooming her to be.

In fact, she did not want to be a VP at all. She secretly wished she was the department admin where all she had to do were expense reports, schedule meetings, and organize holiday parties. She wanted a job she could walk away from at 5 pm and forget about when she got home.

And if she were being really honest, she didn’t even want to work. She wanted to stay home and take care of the house and garden.

And yes, make dinner for her husband.

Like a Boiled Frog

Things started out well for her.

Early in her career, she got hired into an entry-level job that she excelled in, and she was promoted repeatedly. She was quickly rewarded for her hard work and business sense.

Her first job as a manager was fun at first. She dove into leadership training and learning how to be a good manager. She enjoyed taking the lead in the department operations, running team meetings and managing a group of people.

That changed quickly as she got settled into her role.

When 5 pm came, she kept working, and when she did finally go home for the night, work came home with her. The more she advanced in her career, the more she hated the politics, the pressure, the constant demands from senior leadership.

She couldn’t turn it off in her mind, and she found herself spending more time on PowerPoint presentations and prepping for meetings than she spent relaxing with her husband or friends. Her personal projects and passions, including redecorating the house and putting together a greenhouse, were neglected.

The job had grown into something that didn’t feel good to her.

She loved to cook but had little energy to do it. She loved hosting gatherings at their house — now she didn’t have it in her to do that either. She had dreams of redoing the entire garden — but never had the time or energy.

There were parts of her job that she enjoyed. She felt valued at work. She knew how to do the job well. And she liked how admired she felt.

But she was secretly miserable. And she couldn’t see an exit.

She wasn’t the only one

I have lost track of how many women have confided that they just wanted to be stay-at-home moms or work part-time.

This doesn’t mean these women want to stay in entry-level jobs. I’ve known many who would have loved to stay in a high-level job — if they could do it for 20 hours a week.

Priorities change for women as they age and their lives evolve. Some women want to have their afternoons at home with the family. Or they have personal pursuits they want to focus on such as writing or a side business.

While some women thrive in leadership roles and feel great personal fulfillment, it’s worth noting that it isn’t for everyone. And that’s okay.

Some women are most fulfilled by taking a more traditional role of being a stay-at-home wife or mother. Some women prefer to have a part-time job that allows them to care for the home and their family so they can be with their kids when they get home from school.


Young Men Searching for Purpose on Valentine’s Day

For all the single ladies, it is Galentine’s Day. But what is it for the bachelors? To my knowledge, men do not band together en masse on February 14th to mix up fruity pink cocktails, watch chick flicks, and build solidarity in their singleness. In fact, bromances appear to be in decline, as 15% of men say they have zero close friends.

The male friendship recession is just one manifestation of the boy crisis, a crisis worth reflecting on especially today, the day of big romance. The boy crisis is widespread, impacting boys and men academically, economically, physically, and spiritually. On average, the IQs of boys are declining. The second leading cause of death for American men under 45 is suicide. Largely due to drug abuse and physical and mental problems, only 25% of men ages 17-24 qualified for military service in 2020. As the wages of those with a high school degree decline, some men are willingly checking out of the workforce altogether, so much so that male workforce engagement now matches the level it was during the Great Depression.All this adds up to millions of young men who have been left without purpose.

While our education system and the shift from a manufacturing to a global knowledge economy have done their fair share of damage, according to The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys are Struggling and What We Can Do About It, (Farrell & Gray, 2018) the ultimate driver behind the boy crisis is dad deprivation. Approximately 40% of children are born out of wedlock; because of this and high divorce rates, as Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, states, “only about half of children will spend the duration of their childhood with both of their biological parents.” Moms and dads contribute in unique and essential ways to the raising of children, but boys especially need the modeled manifestation of what it means to be a good man, and their first model is their fathers.

Single parents, who have sometimes been unwillingly left behind by divorce, make valorous sacrifices for their children, and nonresidential fathers are doing a better job of staying involved. But the practical realities of fatherhood apart from marriage are often challenging. For example, according toThe Boy Crisis, “when unmarried couples live together when their child is born, by the child’s third birthday, 40 percent of those children will have no regular contact with their dad for the next two years—between ages three and five.” For this reason, if we want to get serious about addressing the boy crisis, we need to get serious about marriage. Understanding the purpose of marriage will help us fortify it.

Many now believe that romance is the cornerstone of marriage. Once it dissipates, the couple should part ways so that each individual can find that lovin’ feeling again. More frequently than in the past, couples are divorcing for less serious reasons. The dissolution of “low conflict” relationships is particularly detrimental for children, as they can experience more stress and more of a feeling of loss following separation.

Much of our culture reinforces such attitudes towards relationships. The radical autonomy of expressive individualism permeates our moral imagination. Expressive individualism, “involves growing and changing as a person, paying attention to your feelings, and expressing your needs.” As Andrew Cherlin, a sociology and public policy professor at Johns Hopkins University, explains in The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today, under such conditions, “marriages are harder to keep together, because what matters is not merely the things they jointly produce—well-adjusted children, nice homes—but also each person’s own happiness.” And by happiness we mean pleasure and psychological self-actualization, not human flourishing grounded in virtue and obligation.

In truth, admirable marriages are replete with work and adventure. Their purpose is to provide a stable and loving environment for the rearing and education of children and to form the character of each spouse. Marriage is often not easy or comfortable. As human beings, we grow attached to our favorite vices, and letting them go can be painful. But it is also freeing. Ideally in marriage, rather than prioritizing his or her own emotional satisfaction, through choice and circumstance, each spouse sacrifices for the sake of that mysterious third entity: the marriage.

Our culture largely no longer promotes this understanding. Those Galentine’s Day favorites (excluding the incomparable work of ethicist Jane Austen) often don’t depict what it is that really matters when looking for a spouse. Indeed, it is no accident that many chick flicks end at the altar, perhaps because marriage occasionally falls short of being camera-ready. This is not to say that all romantic films are bad. Part of the reason they appeal to us is because they affirm how important relationships are for long-term happiness. The choice of a spouse is the decision of a lifetime.

Yet numerous singles today have been left confused about how to choose well. Many children of divorce grow up lacking a model of a solid marriage. As adults, such children can have a negative view of marriage, struggle to work through conflict in a healthy manner, and are unsure what characteristics to prioritize in a partner. Online dating makes this worse. After being bombarded with profiles, users end up thinking that they should be able to find someone who embodies all the features they dream they desire.

We need to shift our cultural conversation around marriage, to move away from pure romance toward the deep, abiding, and sacrificial love that husbands and wives offer each other and their children. Doing so will help end the dad deprivation that is the main driver of today’s boy crisis. And then, perhaps, our boys, too, will have valentines.


'All Hell Breaks Loose': Harvard Professor Recalls One Study That Caused the Left to Implode

Harvard professor Roland Fryer conducted a study that was timely and thought-provoking at a time when officer-involved shootings have become a media beat that’s not interested in the truth but a way for over-educated pseudo commentators to offer lectures about white supremacy and police overreach.

Remember, these shootings are part of a covert genocide against black men. More often than not, the police’s use of deadly force turns out to be justifiable. Fryer opted to do a study on whether there were racial biases in these shootings.

His study suggested race was not a factor, which caused everyone to lose their minds. Being a thorough scholar, he redid the study and hired a new team of researchers. The results were the same.

Fryer has come back into the news after he sat down with former New York Times editorial writer Bari Weiss, who also fled due to her former place of employment becoming an illiberal cesspool. Fryer said his study would ruin his career. He was forced to obtain armed security due to the backlash. You could say Fryer was canceled after sexual misconduct allegations were lobbed against him, which caused him to be suspended and close his research department. Then-President Claudine Gay said of these allegations, "The totality of these behaviors is a clear violation of institutional norms and a betrayal of the trust."

He remains at Harvard, but his access to teaching remains limited. Gay was busted for serial incidents of plagiarism, which is the cardinal sin in the academic world.

So, karma is a bitch, as they say. Or, in the words of Fryer, “I hear it’s a motherf**ker,” an appropriate message to his former boss, who one could argue was an academic fraud. Fryer’s persecution also exemplifies what happens when Harvard and other higher education institutions opt to move away from legitimate fields of study because it might anger progressives’ snowflake attitudes about life and politics

(via Fox News):

A Harvard professor said that "all hell broke loose" and he was forced to go out in public with armed security after he published a study that found no evidence of racial bias in police shootings.

During a sit-down conversation with Bari Weiss of The Free Press, Harvard Economics Professor Roland Fryer discussed the fallout from a 2016 study he published on racial bias in Houston policing.


When Fryer claimed the data showed "no racial differences in officer-involved shootings," he said, "all hell broke loose," and his life was upended.


Fryer said people quickly "lost their minds" and some of his colleagues refused to believe the results after months of asking him not to print the data.

"I had colleagues take me to the side and say, 'Don't publish this. You'll ruin your career,'" Fryer revealed.

The world-renowned economist knew from comments by faculty that he was likely to garner backlash. Fryer admitted that he anticipated the results of the study would be different and would confirm suspicions of racial bias against minorities. When the results found no racial bias, Fryer hired eight new assistants and redid the study. The data came back the same.

Fryer recalled how he was shopping for diapers for his newborn daughter with an armed bodyguard, noting how insane that whole situation was. He did a study on officer-involved shootings, and the data didn’t align with the Left’s worldview, so some threatened to kill him. But it’s conservatives and Donald Trump who are the real threats to societal norms, right? Receiving death threats for a research-based study is all too common with today’s progressives.


The Housing Crunch Is Causing Americans To Delay Marriage and Children

Failed public policies are undermining the institution of marriage in America. Rates of both marriage and child births have been trending down for decades, but the current cost-of-living crisis is poised to accelerate these declines. If you can’t afford a place to live, chances are you won’t get married and have kids.

That’s precisely the calculus for millions of young Americans today who can’t make ends meet despite a record number of them holding second or even third jobs. Sixty percent are living paycheck to paycheck. Americans have accumulated a record high $1.1 trillion in credit-card debt as many can’t cover even necessities.

But Americans aren’t just falling into debt—they’re falling behind on payments too. Defaults and delinquencies are rising at the fastest pace since the Great Recession when there was a mortgage meltdown and a global financial crisis.

The financial strain on American families explains why people view current economic conditions so unfavorably in polling. Perhaps nothing illustrates this pessimism better than the housing market.

The monthly mortgage payment on a median price home has doubled in the last three years. Unless your income has also doubled, you’re falling behind when it comes to buying a house.

The median price of a new home has shot up to a stratospheric $435,000. Even the median price of an existing home, at about $387,000, would have been inconceivable three years ago.

The typical family buying a home today will have a monthly cost of homeownership around $3,000. That’s about half the median household income—before income taxes. It’s no wonder that the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s homeownership affordability index is at a record low today.

The index even shows that the cost to own a median price home in several major metropolitan areas requires more than 100 percent of the median household after-tax income. In only a single metropolitan area with at least 500,000 people is the median price home affordable in America.

While homeownership is normally a great tool for building wealth, it is also often a precursor to major milestones in life, like starting a family. But with the American dream of homeownership having turned into a nightmare, nearly an entire generation of young people can’t buy a home and are delaying family formation because of it.

And this isn’t simply theory—empirical research published by Federal Reserve economists has already demonstrated that higher mortgage interest rates has a negative impact on the birth rate. That’s because those higher mortgage interest rates increase the cost of homeownership.

What caused this sad state of affairs? It was a deadly combination of impolitic public policies.

Since 2020, the federal government has been spending trillions of dollars it didn’t have, running massive deficits. The Federal Reserve covered these deficits by simply creating money for Congress to spend. That devalued the dollar, which fueled inflation as prices soared—including prices for housing.

But home prices got an extra boost from the Fed’s artificially low interest rates. What a homebuyer is really concerned about is the monthly payment on a home, not so much the home’s price. Lower interest rates allowed people to take on much larger mortgages for the same monthly payment, creating frenzied bidding wars for homes.

When interest rates finally rose to fight inflation, they pushed monthly mortgage payments through the roof, completely out of the reach of most Americans. It also trapped millions of Americans in their homes.

When a home is sold with a mortgage, the homeowner loses the loan and must get a new one, at current market rates. If someone bought a home just a few years ago, they are likely going from a 2-3 percent mortgage to a 7-8 percent one. That would cause their monthly payment to explode.

The options are to drastically downsize or not move at all—and millions have chosen the latter. That’s helped cause a severe shortage of homes for sale, the lowest level in decades. Consequently, home prices are staying high despite today’s higher interest rates.

While the failures of public policy are often measured in dollars, the unaffordability of housing today demonstrates that there can be even more far-reaching consequences: families never formed, and lives never lived.




Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Partnership With ADL Compromises FBI’s Integrity and Fairness

The ADL is just a far-Left outfit these days. The only remnant of their original advocacy for Jews is their hatred of Christians

Most Americans recognize that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as a far-left, dark-money behemoth with assets of nearly a quarter-billion dollars. The once-respected FBI is now viewed as being similarly politicized. Overall support for the agency has nose-dived to only 37% among the general public and a meager 17% among Republicans.

Yet few Americans realize how closely the ADL works with the FBI to advance their leadership’s political interests. This is a dangerous collaboration wherein the increasingly radical group provides ideologically driven guidance to people with the guns.

Right now, the FBI is pointing those guns at the political enemies of the far Left.

The ADL’s work covers the usual left-wing causes célèbres: fighting voting integrity measures, pushing for open-borders policies and amnesty for illegal aliens, and vigorously defending the Black Lives Matter riots, to name a few.

The group has now politically weaponized its charges of antisemitism, falsely smearing conservatives while excusing blatant antisemitism among its political allies. For example, the organization has groundlessly denounced Elon Musk, a powerful libertarian voice, as an antisemite in a baldfaced effort to drain his social network, X, of advertising revenue. Yet, when now-Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) came to the defense of his uncle for antisemitic remarks he made in the ’90s, the organization refused to condemn him.

Jonathan Tobin of Jewish News Syndicate traces ADL’s hard-left turn to its change in leadership from longtime leader Abe Foxman to Jonathan Greenblatt, a former staffer in the Clinton and Obama White Houses. Tobin writes, “Greenblatt has helped shift the ADL from its former stance as the nonpartisan gold standard for monitoring hate to being just another liberal activist group whose priority is helping the Democratic Party.”

Last month, The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project released an investigative report detailing an “Extremist Sitrep” email from the “ADL Law Enforcement” account to The Washington State Fusion Center, a collective of various law enforcement entities spanning from local to the FBI. The email advises law enforcement officers responsible for investigating domestic terrorists to focus their resources on the likes of Matt Walsh, Chris Rufo and Libs of TikTok. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

Much like the FBI’s infamous anti-Catholic targeting memo, the ADL email suggests that law enforcement agencies—people with guns and the power to imprison and financially destroy enemies of the state-should concentrate their efforts on nonviolent citizens whose only “crime” is to have exercised their First Amendment freedoms in support of political viewpoints contrary to the authoritarian Left.

The goal here is clearly to punish the “thought criminals” and force adherence to the dogmas of the state.

What’s the big deal about such a problematic email? Law enforcement agencies must get all sorts of memorandums, requests and phony tips from every corner of the nation, right?

The problem here is that, according to former FBI agents, they are conditioned from the very beginning of their careers to be receptive to ADL propaganda. One of the first experiences of a new agent is an ADL-sponsored trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. The ostensible purpose of the trip is to impress on new agents that they bear a tremendous responsibility that should never be abused.

That lesson should be salubrious. But former agents tell me the trip’s real purpose is to prepare agents to be receptive to the onslaught of propaganda and rewards that the ADL will be sending their way throughout the coming years. At the very beginning of an agent’s career, the FBI is sending the clear message that the ADL is a trusted partner.

The ADL and FBI partnership only grows from there. According to the ADL’s website, “We educate annually an estimated 15,000 law enforcement personnel from local, state and federal agencies.” Moreover, “in 2021 alone, the ADL Center on Extremism (COE) provided law enforcement with critical intelligence about extremism over 1,300 times and tracked over 7,300 incidents of hate on our online, interactive H.E.A.T. map.” The ADL even operates a school for executive-level law enforcement officials:

In 2003, the ADL founded the Advanced Training School, which has provided education on extremism and terrorism for senior law enforcement from more than 250 agencies across the U.S. This three-day course provides an examination of major types of extremist movements, case studies of recent terrorist acts presented by law enforcement leaders with firsthand experience, and guidance on the critical importance of protecting civil rights and liberties.

The very agency the feds trust to educate them on matters of “extremism” is producing politically driven, far-left reports on who counts as an extremist. Much like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ADL writes and applies the definition they wish government to enforce. They take care to ensure that it predominantly captures those opposed to their ideology, while excusing their political allies.

Were these organizations to apply a neutral definition of hate or extremism, it would undercut the leftist narrative that so-called MAGA extremists and their ilk are the most clear-and-present danger to the United States.

Beyond orientation, training, and propaganda, the ADL provides FBI personnel with awards. Since 2010, the ADL has been handing out “ADL SHIELD Awards” to FBI agents and Justice Department prosecutors for investigative and prosecutorial successes. It’s a brilliantly subversive tactic. The awards cost the ADL next to nothing, and in exchange, the organization receives a false veneer of legitimacy and builds a list of FBI executives and agents beholden to the ADL.

Conditioning FBI personnel to be receptive to ADL political propaganda and then doling out rewards to FBI leaders is beyond unseemly. With this incentive structure in place, is there any reason to doubt that the FBI would be more inclined to take in and act on slanted ADL material?

Small wonder that public confidence in the FBI is at record lows. One obvious remedial measure would be to end the partnership between the ADL and the FBI. It’s time to draw a bright line between dark, far-left operations and the most powerful law enforcement entity in the country and make sure that line is not crossed.


The feuding tearing apart the Royal Society of Literature

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that the Royal Society of Literature (founded 1820) might be one of those institutions that chugs on benignly year in year out with nothing to disturb the peace of its members. But on Thursday morning, a letter in the Times Literary Supplement, got up as I understand it by Jeremy Treglown and signed by 14 more distinguished writers (among them Ian McEwan, Alan Hollinghurst, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Fleur Adcock), calls on the leadership of the RSL to refer itself to the Charity Commission. That is, as charitable foundations go, something like demanding that they turn themselves in to the cops.

Everybody is briefing everybody, furious letters are circulating about leaks, and the whole thing is adding to the gaiety of nations

It’s only the latest fusillade in what seems to be something barely short of civil war in this longstanding institution. Many longstanding Fellows of the Society are deeply unhappy with the current management – principally its director, Molly Rosenberg and its chair, the poet Daljit Nagra. Everybody is briefing everybody, furious letters are circulating about leaks, and the whole thing is adding to the gaiety of nations and the public stock of harmless pleasures for popcorn-chewing onlookers, while causing considerable distress to those directly involved.

‘It’s such a clusterfuck! It’s such a clusterfuck! Everyone is falling out with everyone else,’ said one RSL Fellow I spoke to this week, with the characteristic mixture of grief and glee that attends any feud between writers. ‘It’s just unbelievable how much everyone hates each other. It’s like one of those long marriages that seems to have been perfectly happy… and then suddenly you discover they’ve both been seeing other people and have called in the lawyers.’

This rather well captures the multi-dimensional quality of the warfare going on. It’s a slightly tricky row to unpick, as the charge sheet against the present management of the RSL consists of several unrelated (or only marginally related) disgruntlements, but here goes.

The first (and it’s what has kicked off the latest round of sniping, writing of open letters, thinly veiled legal threats and furious behind-the-scenes gossiping) is the suppression of the society’s own journal, the RSL Review, and the alleged summary firing of its editor Maggie Fergusson. I should say, incidentally, that Maggie is a friend of, and frequent contributor to, the books pages of The Spectator. The RSL Review was in final proof, just before Christmas, when the RSL’s director Molly Rosenberg apparently took exception to an article in it about writers in Palestine. The whole magazine was summarily pulled from publication and the editor (a three-decade servant of the RSL and a former director herself) was hoofed out.

The RSL’s version is that the magazine’s publication has merely been ‘postponed’ for editorial improvements, that Maggie Fergusson departed by mutual agreement, that she had always known that this would be the last issue she edited (both of which claims Fergusson flatly denies), and that all contributors to the postponed magazine have been kept informed as to the fates of their contributions. Far be it from me to call this a pack of lies. But it does seem that, using the unimprovable formula of the late Queen, ‘Some recollections may vary.’ At any rate, the signatories of the letter to the TLS clearly feel on firm ground saying: ‘The issues to be investigated would have to include the censorship attempt, which we are quite sure occurred and which plainly contravened fundamental literary values.’

The second issue, which strikes that one slightly slant, is to do with a change in the way that Fellows of the society are elected. The laws of the society have it that candidates must have at least two works of ‘outstanding literary merit’ to their name, be proposed and seconded by existing Fellows, and approved by the Council. In the interests of diversifying the membership – which does skew whiter and older than the population at large – and making the RSL an institution ‘for all writers’ (as its president Bernardine Evaristo has put it) some new methods of election have been put in place. Evaristo wrote in this week’s Guardian that in ‘some schemes, members of the public sometimes get the chance to nominate writers who might otherwise be overlooked because they are outside the elite London literary networks’.

There will be those who frame this as a woke-youngsters-versus-traditionalists ding-dong, in which a doddery and snobbish old guard seeks to defend the citadel of their white privilege from the younger, browner writers hitherto denied their due by the literary establishment. I don’t presume to take a view on how the RSL manages its affairs. It also seems fair to Bernardine to make clear that her role in the RSL is ceremonial, so she is not the prime mover behind the controversial changes. (If this was all about a ‘woke agenda’, incidentally, it’s surprising that the piece alleged to have been censored was one sympathetic to the Palestinian side in the conflict.)

I restrict myself to a couple of observations. One is that the idea of the RSL being ‘for all writers’ is questionable: as one person I spoke to pointed out, we already have an organisation for all writers, and it’s called the Society of Authors. The RSL is supposed to be an organisation for really good writers. Which is as much as to say that being involved with ‘elite… literary networks’ is sort of the point. And if the guiding principle is to have two works of ‘outstanding literary merit’ in print, you would expect it to skew a bit older. Many, perhaps most, writers go a whole career without getting even one ‘OLM’; you can expect the majority to take a decade or two to get two written. It’s not like football, where if you haven’t done it by 23 you’re finished: the longer you go at it, in general, the better you get.

On race, there is, no doubt, a pipeline problem here, too. If the publishing establishment has been reluctant until relatively recently to give writers of colour a fair shake (which I think you’d be a fool to dispute), the pool of candidates for Fellowship at this point will on average be whiter than maybe you’d like. There will be fewer writers of colour mid-career and with a belt full of OLMs, because 20 years ago fewer writers of colour were getting the chance to begin a career. You can take the view that this is a problem that time will solve – the fruits of today’s determination across the industry to platform diverse voices will be filtering through in the next decade or two – or you can put your thumb on the scales.

The third and final strand in the current row is the question of whether, and how, the RSL is to take a view on supporting writers’ freedoms and freedom of expression in general. Many Fellows were distinctly dismayed when a motion in Council to speak out in support of Salman Rushdie after an Islamist lunatic attempted to murder him was squashed. The reasoning, according to Evaristo, is that the RSL should remain ‘impartial’ in political matters. Let us say of this only that several writers, including Sir Salman himself, were not super impressed by this stance.

What unites these disparate threads seems to be a reluctance by the senior management to engage directly with the membership they ostensibly serve. ‘They’re treating us like enemies, rather than like colleagues,’ one Fellow told me. Complaints, queries, requests for explanations have, according to more than one Fellow I’ve spoken to, gone unanswered or been bureaucratically stonewalled. If Daljit Nagra does decide to bring the Charity Commission in (an option he seems to have at least countenanced in conversation with Treglown) that will at least be a step in the direction of clearing the air.


The problem with the ‘paraglider girls’ ruling

Leftists can do and say no wrong

Yesterday at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, three women were convicted of terror offences for wearing clothes or carrying signs that appeared to glorify Hamas – and they were let off virtually scot-free.

The leniency of this ruling raises yet more questions about judicial impartiality in this country

At a central London pro-Palestine march the week after the October 7 attack in Israel last year, Heba Alhayek, 29, and Pauline Ankunda, 26, had attached images of paragliders to their backs, while Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, had attached one to a sign. Paragliders, as had been reported widely in the media, were how Hamas terrorists crossed the Gaza-Israel border to carry out their barbaric pogrom against Israeli civilians. The trio were found guilty of appearing to show support for a terrorist group after a two-day trial. The Judge said there was no evidence that the individuals were supporters of Hamas, but the CPS said displaying the images amounted to the ‘glorification of the actions’ of the terrorist group.

Convicted under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act, they faced a possible six months in prison. But district judge Tan Ikram said he had ‘decided not to punish’ the defendants, instead handing the trio a 12-month conditional discharge each.

From a purely free-speech point of view, this leniency is welcome. Any glorification of the slaughter of more than 1,200 Jews is of course grotesque. Yet as hateful as these kinds of sentiments are, it is generally better to have them out in the open and to know they exist than forcing them underground. Unless it is clear and direct incitement to violence, the best answer to vile speech is rarely punishment or censorship, but counter-speech.

But the leniency of this ruling raises yet more questions about judicial impartiality in this country. These are questions that have been hanging over the justice system more widely since 7 October, after what many saw as a soft-touch approach by the police toward the pro-Palestine marches last autumn.

It’s not as if this leniency toward the ‘paraglider girls’ is down to Britain being a haven for free speech. Quite the contrary: the British state has proven it will come down hard on anyone who seems to violate today’s ever-expanding progressive taboos. Ed West has recently detailed the many sorry examples, such as a woman interrogated by police after photographing a sticker on a trans pride poster; a teenager arrested for saying a policewoman looked like her ‘lesbian nana’; and a Conservative councillor arrested for an alleged hate crime after retweeting a video criticising police treatment of a Christian street preacher.

Indeed, the record of the judge in this case, Tan Ikram, has repeatedly sparked concerns that woke sensibilities may be distorting the British justice system. In an unprecedented ruling in 2022, he jailed police constable James Watts for 20 weeks for sharing racist WhatsApp memes mocking George Floyd, the patron saint of Black Lives Matter. Not only was this sentence extraordinarily harsh, last year Ikram appeared to act against judicial conduct guidance that says judges should not talk about their cases in public, when he publicly boasted about the sentence: ‘This was a police officer bringing the police service into disrepute,’ he told American law students. ‘So I gave him a long prison sentence. The police were horrified by that.’

If Ikram’s comments suggest he might hold a grudge against the police, his later rulings do not dispel that suspicion. In December, he gave six retired Met officers suspended sentences and community service for racist messages sent in a private WhatsApp group chat. This followed his extraordinary ruling that, though the messages were never intended to be seen by anyone else, they were nevertheless ‘offensive to many good people in this country and not only people who might be directly offended’. One of the officers had sent a boomer meme about parrots and was convicted by Ikram on the sole basis of its offensive ‘implication’.

That Ikram has handed down prison sentences for private memes makes his leniency towards the paraglider trio more difficult to swallow. Attempting to explain his decision not to punish the defendants for their support of a terror group, Ikram said the offences had taken place at a time of ‘much passion and polarisation’. ‘You crossed the line’, he said, ‘but it would have been fair to say that emotions ran very high on this issue’. But why should the fact that emotions were running high reduce the severity of the punishment? No less bizarre was his claim that the defendants’ ‘lesson has been well learned’ – despite them being let off by the court.

It is not quite clear which emotions Ikram referred to in his sentence. It is indeed fair to say that emotions were running high at that time. Many will have seen the alarm, shock and distress of British Jews – who first witnessed a barbaric pogrom in Israel, in which many lost friends and loved ones – and then the orgy of violent anti-Semitism it brought to the streets of London. But it seems that to a judiciary steeped in identity politics, it is only certain emotions that count.


#MeToo has driven young men into an opposing stance of bullish conservatism

Feminism has driven men and women apart -- a loss for both

We have a problem. As a species. Particularly in the western world. An ideological divide is opening up in many countries that goes to the heart of the human race, the future of us. It is a problematic divide between girls and boys, a widening philosophical gap in terms of aspiration/outlook that’s having impacts in many arenas. Not least in our high schools.

Recent research shows that girls are becoming more progressive; boys, more conservative. The rift is demonstrated in a study from the Gallup Poll Social Series, which shows that political ideology for females aged 18-29 in countries such as the US, Germany, the UK and South Korea is veering towards a small-l liberal ideology, but boys, in opposition, are cleaving to conservatism.

So, Gen Z is split. Two separate worlds. Of increasingly aware girls not afraid to call it out, and frustrated boys trying to deal with the new voices roaring at them. What will the future be, for all of them, together? How will these findings affect marriage rates, birth trends, the politics of the schoolyard, workplace relations, societal harmony? The new dynamic is already being demonstrated in elections here – the rise of the Teals was thanks in large part to women. The trend will continue as females search for representatives who understand them, listen.

And ahead, an even more dramatically cleaved society. I watch, perturbed, feeling for both sides. The impetus for the girls is towards fairness and equality; a move away from subservience. A natural step for the educated, and why the Taliban wants to stop females from being educated at all. Ignorance keeps the female subjugated, in servitude to the male; it removes the threat of women with a voice.

The impetus for boys, understandably, is to preserve what they had. Which was power and control, for millennia. My heart goes out to males because so many are hurting, raging, lost. Imagine it. A person born to be at the top of the tree, who has expected this all their childhood, and who steps into adulthood wanting this cosy arrangement to continue. But girls are now digging in their heels, saying enough, we want those chances too. Life’s been unfair for usfor a very long time, and we’re just as competent.

Why all this now, so fractiously? A theory. The very loud #MeToo movement, which galvanised young women, has driven young men into an opposing stance of bullish conservatism. We all have to work through it, with compassion and sensitivity, until equality is normalised and young males don’t see this new way of being as a threat. But it will take many years. Generations.

What we have now is the fulcrum, the tipping point. Boys flinching into conservatism, into what’s been comfortable and known throughout history; conservatism by nature means a cleaving to traditional models, the status quo. Progressivism is about social reform. Embracing it, facilitating it. Which is where a lot of educated young women are now and there’s no going back from it. #MeToo and the first and second wave feminist movements before it are exploding the parameters that kept females in their place.

Meanwhile boys and girls retreat into their siloed worlds online, with little crossover. There’s a lack of tolerance for the “other” on both sides, a scorning and sneering at these divergent environments. Some boys find their Andrew Tates to cling to, while for girls the messaging all around them is that they can now be anything, do anything, and as well as the boys. Female teens are unstoppable and school boys have to concede some of their traditional power. But it’s messy. I feel for teachers in co-ed high schools right now, the cauldrons of this vast societal shift. What’s needed, urgently, is empathy and understanding. From both sides.




Monday, February 19, 2024

Why I despise Scottish nationalism

And other nationalisms like it. I was once instinctively for it but I was biased.

About my bias:

I do have some Scots ancestry; I was brought up to be pro-Scots; I have on occasions worn Highland Dress and very much enjoy that; I have been to Scotland more than once -- from Sauchiehall st to the Western Isles; I once married a bonnie Scottish lass and put on Scottish songs exclusively at our wedding reception; I have done extensive academic survey research in Scotland about Scottish attitudes. See:

From all that it should be clear that speaking ill of Scotland and the Scots pains me deeply. But it appears that I have to do so. The crux of the matter can be seen in this video

It's a prelude to a Scottish Rugby match at Murrayfiend stadium. The song is "Flower of Scotland", now accepted as Scotland's national anthem. The words are as follows:

Flower of Scotland

O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
Your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

The Hills are bare now,
And Autumn leaves
lie thick and still,
O'er land that is lost now,
Which those so dearly held,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Those days are past now,
And in the past
they must remain,
But we can still rise now,
And be the nation again,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

What they are singing about is the Battle of Bannockburn which took place in 1324. It is one of the few battles with the English that Scotland won. The song is however much later than the battle. It was composed in the mid-1960s by Roy Williamson of the folk group the Corries.

The thing that disturbs me about it is that it is hate-based. It is a song of hatred of the English. And you have to note above how devotedly it is sung by a whole stadium of apparently ordinary people. It is heartfelt among them. That they should be enthusiastic about antything that took place in 1324 is absurd. It is not that event which moves the singers in the video. It is hatred and contempt for their Southern neighbours that the event inspires.

The Left sometimes conflate nationalism and patriotism. It is part of their theory of "ethnocentrism". But that is typical of their slipperiness. All nationalists are patriots but not all patriots are nationaists. Nationalists dislike other nations. Patriots just like their own nation.

Americans are highly likely to be patriotic but nationalism among them is virtually unknown -- except for a regrettable period in the "progressive" era associated mostly with Theodore Roosevelt over 100 years ago. See

I have actually done some published survey research on patriotism and consistently found that liking for your own group did NOT imply dislike of "outgroups"

And Scottish hatred of the English has been disastrous for them. They lost many bloody battles. And hatred begrets hatred regardless of who "started" it. The Bhagavad Gita tells us that it is sometimes better to let our opponent win but the Gita has never had much of a following in Scotland. Matthew 5:38-40 has simlar advice but that too appears to have had no influence

I have personally experienced Scottish hatred of the English, as have many Australians. Scots cannot usually tell the difference between an educated Australian accent and RP, so when Australians go to Scotland, the Scots initially assume that we are English. They think we "sound like the TV", as one of my survey interviewees put it.

Wise Australians, however, hasten to undo that impression: "We are Australians, not English", we say. And the effect of that can be a wonder to behold. Scots see Australians as fellow "victims" of the English so the initial "dour" attitude towards us can immediately be replaced by a very warm one. We are suddenly friends and are treated accordingly. How sad that an accent can make such a diffrence.

So, as always, I can only deplore hatred. The current outpouring of hatred of Jews and Israel coming from the Left over Gaza shows how it can subvert all reason



Are blacks stressed by living among whites?

There is no scientific evidence for it but it suits the Left to believe it. For a REAL stressful environment try any city in Nigeria. If blacks can survive there, an American environment should be a doddle

In 1986, an upstart public health researcher named Arline Geronimus challenged the conventional wisdom that condemned the alarming rise of inner-city teen pregnancies. While activist minister Jesse Jackson and health care leaders were decrying the crisis of “babies having babies” as a ghetto pathology, Geronimus contended that teenage pregnancy was a rational response to urban poverty where low-income black people have fewer healthy years before the onset of heart problems, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

Although Geronimus’ claims gained little traction at the time, the concept she pioneered – “weathering” – eventually became a foundation for the social justice ideology that is now upending medicine and social policy. She has stated in interviews and in her writings that the term “weathering” was intended to evoke the idea of erosion and resilience.

A white professor at the University of Michigan whom The New York Times hailed last year as an “icon,” Geronimus has combined race theory with data and statistics to argue that the chronic stress of living in an oppressive, white-majority society causes damage at the cellular level and leads to obesity and other health conditions, resulting in shorter life expectancies for African Americans. In more than 130 published studies, she has expanded the weathering hypothesis from an explanation of poverty harming one’s health into a dystopian sociological worldview that identifies middle-class assimilation and professional striving within the “American Creed” of hard work as the silent killers of people of color.

“Living life according to the dominant social norms of personal responsibility and virtue is not universally health‑promoting,” Geronimus wrote in a Harvard Public Health essay last year. “On the contrary: if you’re Black, working hard and playing by the rules can be part of what kills you.”

The subject of hundreds of peer-reviewed studies and thousands of citations, the weathering hypothesis is now widely taught in public health schools and accepted as perhaps the most plausible scientific explanation of how American society grinds down black and brown bodies. And the weathering paradox – that “relatively young people can be biologically old” – is now influencing policy decisions at all levels of governance.

Geronimus’ hypothesis was the foundation of many of the policy decisions of the White House COVID-19 health equity task force. In New Hampshire, the governor’s COVID-19 Equity Response Team issued a report and recommendations in 2020, citing weathering (and “racial battle fatigue”) as documented and established realities of American life. Weathering was recently extended beyond American people of color and accepted as evidence in federal courts to win early release of non-white detainees, some as young as their 30s, who were deemed to be prematurely aged and therefore at higher risk for COVID complications.

Some critics are beginning to push back against what they see as the heavy-handed, COVID-era politicization of healthcare. Ian Kingsbury, research director at Do No Harm, a nonprofit that seeks to keep identity politics out of medicine, said the uncritical acceptance of the weathering hypothesis as factual science has created an aura of invincibility.

“Unfortunately, judges and other policymakers look to academic journals to be authoritative and trustworthy voices on what is evidence and what is science,” said Kingsbury. “And so you sneak this stuff in there and, unfortunately, as far as a lot of people are concerned, you’ve created knowledge.”

More broadly, Boston University public health dean Sandro Galea warned in a new book, “Within Reason: A Liberal Public Health for an Illiberal Time,” that his profession has veered into overcorrection and revolutionary excess. Galea doesn’t name names in his book, but he rebukes public health advocates for favoring political narratives over empirical data, denying the reality of social progress, and fixating on a utopian quest “to create a world free of risk.”

Geronimus' research on weathering's damage to blacks in a white world: "It’s the physiological consequence of being vigilant all the time or what we also call ‘managing your social identity’ or code-switching: various ways you try to put on your A-game and do what you need for the people around you to respect you and not to fear you."

The rise and reach of Geronimus’ weathering hypothesis – a once obscure and idiosyncratic idea that is becoming conventional wisdom in medicine – provides a window into how activist rhetoric and social justice ideology pioneered by feminist, queer, and critical race theorists are recasting healthcare as a Machiavellian power struggle between the privileged and the oppressed.

The public health field has long focused on “social determinants of health,” such as one’s environment and socioeconomic status, as contributors to health outcomes. The weathering hypothesis takes political empowerment to the next level, by medicalizing social relations and politicizing medicine. Weathering prefigured the recent flood of medical research that centers race in public policy and supplies the rationale for such moves as 265 public authorities declaring racism as a public health crisis; health officials jettisoning colorblindness and prioritizing people of color for COVID vaccinations and heart treatment; and medical schools training future doctors in social justice activism.

In her 2023 book, “Weathering: The Extraordinary Stress of Ordinary Life in an Unjust Society,” Geronimus sweeps across time and space, omnisciently diagnosing celebrities and public figures with weathering. She claims it explains why Martin Luther King Jr. had the damaged heart of a 60-year-old when he was assassinated at age 39 and why Fannie Lou Hamer died of breast cancer and complications of hypertension at age 59. She asserts that the trauma of being black in America is one reason why tennis greats Serena Williams had life-threatening blood clots at age 36, and why Arthur Ashe had a heart attack at age 36.

“Success comes at a spectacularly high health cost for those who have to fight the hardest to achieve it in the context of a society that doesn’t value them,” Geronimus stated in her book. “Structural violence is insidious, pervasive, and fateful. It is the fundamental cause of weathering, and it is entirely ignored in the age-washing narrative.”

It is amply documented that African Americans of all social classes have worse health outcomes, earlier onset of chronic diseases, and average life expectancies reported as five to six years less than whites. Weathering science, as Geronimus calls it, measures various biomarkers of what is presumed to be psychosocial stress – such as cortisol levels, telomere lengths, cytokine storms, and allostatic loads – to make the case that on average black adults are as much as 10 years older biologically than white people of a comparable chronological age.

But the data is complicated, requires interpretation, and doesn’t always add up. For example, in a 2021 study, a gerontology scholar at the University of Southern California assessed 13 measures of epigenetic aging. It found that some of the measures indicate accelerated aging among African Americans, while others indicate slower aging for African Americans. Epigenetics refers to the way genes function or malfunction under environmental stress and cultural conditions; most of these “epigenetic clocks” associate accelerated aging with obesity and lifetime smoking. This research, noting “the lack of expected effects of race and ethnicity,” suggests that there is no gold standard for measuring premature aging, and that weathering research is highly sensitive to the variables and measures that researchers select.

Nevertheless, Geronimus compares the African American experience of living and working among white people to the fight-or-flight adrenaline rush of a prehistoric human fleeing a cheetah – except, she says, that a 21st-century black person in a majority white society is trapped in that high-stress mode all day, every day, without reprieve, resulting in a flood of stress hormones that dysregulate the body.

Fluent in the language of social justice activism, Geronimus describes American society as a relentless onslaught of “microaggressions,” “othering,” “existential insults,” “daily indignities,” “voice erasure,” “identity threat” and other forms of “cultural oppression” that lead to early death. In response to those ever-present dangers in “the privileged space known as whiteness,” black people are constantly forced to adopt “high effort coping strategies” that Geronimus describes as “identity management” and “identity safety.” In a 2015 study titled “Black Lives Matter,” Geronimus and her co-authors estimated that racism and weathering caused 2.7 million “excess black deaths” in the United States between 1970 and 2004, a death toll of genocidal proportions.

This one-dimensional way of analyzing social relations has the effect of privileging the stress of those presumed to be oppressed, said Stanley Goldfarb, a professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school and founder and chairman of the Do No Harm nonprofit.

“The problem with the theory is that these hormones and these stress responses don’t know what skin color you have,” Goldfarb said. “The point is: What’s unique about their stress? The point isn’t that stress is bad. The point is you decided that your stress is unique and different from everybody else’s stress.”

Still, weathering is an attractive explanation to researchers because the link between psychosocial stress and physical wear and tear is consistent with lower life expectancy for African Americans and lower-income people.

Moreover, the hypothesis is “very intuitive” to economists because of its similarity to modeling health depreciation, and to social scientists who seek explanations of differential outcomes, said economist Robert Kaestner, a University of Chicago public policy professor who co-authored a weathering study with Geronimus in 2009.

However, weathering studies do not actually measure stress or racism, but only correlate biological metrics back to the weathering hypothesis. The scientific conundrum is that the same biological evidence that supports weathering could also be “consistent with a lot of other things,” Kaestner said in a phone interview. “It’s always a measurement problem.”

“Weathering is a hypothesis, still in search of definitive evidence,” Kaestner said. “I’ve never seen one [study] – including my own – where it’s a definitive study that this really is a smoking gun that racism or prolonged psychosocial stress causes adverse health outcomes.”


Teachers Sue Gavin Newsom Over Policy Forcing Them to Lie About Student’s Transgender Status to Parents

Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West, two teachers at Rincon Middle School in Escondido, sued the Escondido Union School District in April, alleging violations of their First Amendment rights. They allege that the school district’s “Parental Exclusion Policy” prevents teachers from disclosing “the fact that a student identifies as a new gender, or wants to be addressed by a new name or new pronouns during the school day.”

The teachers added Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta to the lawsuit last month.

“The governor is the boss,” Paul Jonna, the lawyer representing Mirabelli and West, told The Daily Signal in a statement Friday. Newsom “has ultimate responsibility for setting education policy for those under his supervision,” Jonna, special counsel at the Thomas More Society and partner at the firm LiMandri and Jonna LLP, added.

“Rincon Middle School and the Escondido Union School District do not operate in a vacuum,” he noted. “The California Constitution provides that education is ultimately a matter of state responsibility.”

The lawsuit alleges a school district procedure titled the “Parental Exclusion Policy” prevents teachers from disclosing “the fact that a student identifies as a new gender, or wants to be addressed by a new name or new pronouns during the school day.”

The legal nonprofit Thomas More Society, which is representing Mirabelli and West, claims that “the district outright refused to exempt the teachers from the Parental Exclusion Policy—compelling them to systematically deceive the parents of their students.”

In August 2022, the teachers received an email with a list of students, including their preferred names and pronouns. The list included directions on whether teachers could disclose the names and pronouns to the students’ parents or guardians. Mirabelli reportedly received an email with a list of students like this: “[student name]: Preferred name is [redacted] (pronouns are he/him). Dad and stepmom are NOT aware, please use [redacted] and she/her when calling home.”

Mirabelli and West claim the policy violates their First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.

In September, a U.S. district court judge granted a preliminary injunction preventing the school district from enforcing the Parental Exclusion Policy on Mirabelli and West.

Judge Rodger T. Benitez called the policy a “trifecta of harm:”

It [the policy] harms the child who needs parental guidance and possibly mental health intervention to determine if the incongruence is organic or whether it is the result of bullying, peer pressure, or a fleeting impulse. It harms the parents by depriving them of the long recognized Fourteenth Amendment right to care, guide, and make health care decisions for their children. And finally, it harms plaintiffs who are compelled to violate the parent’s rights by forcing plaintiffs to conceal information they feel is critical for the welfare of their students—violating plaintiffs’ religious beliefs.

In January, the educators added Newsom and Bonta to the lawsuit, claiming that the school district is acting under their direction in attempting to enforce “state and federal anti-discrimination law.”

The California Department of Education has interpreted the law to require school districts to hide students’ transgender identity from certain parents on pain of state education funds.

The amended legal complaint also says that “according to the attorney general, the State of California will sue any school district who fails to adopt these policies.”

Bonta “has been threatening school districts to adopt policies to conceal student gender incongruity from parents and legal guardians, pitting students, parents, and schools against each other,” Jonna, the teachers’ lawyer, said.

He said Benitez’s order deemed those policies unconstitutional, and the attorney general has shown no willingness to follow it.

“Bonta’s actions have demonstrated the state of California is not taking any actions to comply with Judge Benitez’s orders, so he will now be made to,” Jonna said.

Jonna says his clients are also desiring “a declaration that the parental exclusion policies violate parental rights because they cannot be forced to break the law.”

When asked to respond to Newsom’s arguments about such policies, Jonna said, “The policies are not needed to protect students—they harm students.”

“When teachers are forced to lie to the parents who have entrusted a child into their care – that is unconscionable,” he added.


Scranton Joe and the Temple of Doom Spending

Millions of young Americans seem to have given up on their economic future, turning instead to “doom spending.” Rather than save up for a house, to start a family or for retirement—which they view as fruitless—they’re spending more than they earn without a plan to get ahead.

That’s the upshot of a recent study by Intuit, the company that makes TurboTax. It shows Americans, especially the young, are spending beyond their means to alleviate stress. But like the dieter who thinks progress is impossible and gives up trying to lose weight, these doom-spenders are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and digging the very financial abyss they fear.

The problem is becoming systemic. The study found that 96% of Americans are concerned about the economy today. (The remaining 4% are presumably politicians and their donors.) In response, 27% of Americans, about 90 million, have simply given up and turned to doom spending.

Even among those who haven’t thrown in the towel, things look bleak: Almost 60% of respondents are living paycheck to paycheck and lack sufficient savings to pay for an unexpected expense, like a major appliance breaking down. About a quarter of Americans—roughly 80 million—have zero savings.

And things aren’t improving, with half of respondents saying economic conditions have deteriorated further in the last six months. Pessimism is concentrated among the young, with more than 70% of Millennials and Zoomers reporting financial anxiety. A full quarter of Zoomers, those just entering the workforce, cannot even find decent-paying jobs.

That explains why more than one-third of these young Americans are doom spending, as are more than 40% of Millennials. Consequently, adults under 30 are moving back in with their parents at rates not seen since the Great Depression, giving up on the American dream of homeownership.

What used to be the most common age to start a family—mid to late 20s—is now the exact point Americans instead give up and resign to living for today.

Like many problems, this one started in Washington, D.C.

To finance perpetual government deficit spending, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates artificially low for almost two decades, creating money for the politicians to spend. That devalued the dollar and imposed a hidden tax of inflation, which sapped the value of savings and gutted the real return on investment, while simultaneously incentivizing spendthrift behavior.

It also grossly distorted prices and created misallocations of capital. Take the construction of densely packed apartments instead of homes. This drove up home prices, helping make homeownership the exclusive purview of the wealthy. Meanwhile, those same interest rates that drove inflation suckered people to go into debt for worthless college degrees while racking up more than $1 trillion in new credit-card debt that now has an average interest rate of over 21%.

At this point, horrendous fiscal and monetary policy have created two whole generations of Americans who have largely given up. They don’t believe it’s possible to ever afford their own homes and to afford the lifestyle in which they themselves were raised. They live only for today.

The tree of big government has born its noxious fruit of inflation, and those who have tasted it have contracted hedonism.

After all, why scrimp and save for something in the future when the real value of those savings is taxed away through inflation? If with each passing year as home prices climb faster than incomes, an adequate down payment will be forever out of reach, leaving the young to rent with roommates for life or move back in with their parents.

Instead of running to exhaustion on this treadmill, young Americans have thrown up their hands. The end result is a broader cultural decline where family formation, community stability and the perpetuation of American ideals have lost value in the minds of our youth. They become abstract, unattainable, old-fashioned luxuries for a previous generation.

This assault on the young continues with Bidenomics, which has added another $6.5 trillion to the national debt, created 40-year-high inflation, and produced record costs of home ownership. So long as the uniparty in D.C. keeps spending like there’s no tomorrow, America’s youth will believe there’s no tomorrow for them.