Friday, January 30, 2015

The likely cause of addiction is not what you think

By British Leftist journalist Johann Hari.  What he says below is pretty right for heroin and cocaine use but may not apply to other drugs.  Hari's stress on the importance of human connections should sit well with conservatives.  With their connections to their families, their churches and their past, conservatives tend to have much better connections to others than do Leftists. Leftists think anything is a family, despise the churches and despise the past

Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine.

Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment.

The rat is put in the cage all alone.  It has nothing to do but take the drugs.  What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently?  So Professor Alexander built Rat Park.

It is a lush cage where the rats would have coloured balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want.  What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.  The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water.

They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.

At first, I thought this was merely a quirk of rats, until I discovered that there was — at the same time as the Rat Park experiment — a helpful human equivalent taking place. It was called the Vietnam War.

Time magazine reported using heroin was “as common as chewing gum” among US soldiers, and there is solid evidence to back this up: some 20 per cent of U.S. soldiers had become addicted to heroin there, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Many people were understandably terrified; they believed a huge number of addicts were about to head home when the war ended. But in fact some 95 per cent of the addicted soldiers — according to the same study — simply stopped. Very few had rehab.  They shifted from a terrifying cage back to a pleasant one, so didn’t want the drug any more.

Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation.  It’s not you.  It’s your cage.

When I first learned about this, I was puzzled. How can this be?

This new theory is such a radical assault on what we have been told that it felt like it could not be true. But the more scientists I interviewed, and the more I looked at their studies, the more I discovered things that don’t seem to make sense — unless you take account of this new approach.

Here’s one example of an experiment that is happening all around you, and may well happen to you one day.

If you get run over today and you break your hip, you will probably be given diamorphine, the medical name for heroin.  In the hospital around you, there will be plenty of people also given heroin for long periods, for pain relief.

The heroin you will get from the doctor will have a much higher purity and potency than the heroin being used by street-addicts, who have to buy from criminals who adulterate it.

So if the old theory of addiction is right — it’s the drugs that cause it; they make your body need them — then it’s obvious what should happen.  Loads of people should leave the hospital and try to score smack on the streets to meet their habit.

But here’s the strange thing: It virtually never happens.  As the Canadian doctor Gabor Mate was the first to explain to me, medical users just stop, despite months of use.  The same drug, used for the same length of time, turns street-users into desperate addicts and leaves medical patients unaffected.

If you still believe — as I used to — that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, this makes no sense. But if you believe Bruce Alexander’s theory, the picture falls into place.

The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to.

The medical patient is like the rats in the second cage. She is going home to a life where she is surrounded by the people she loves.  The drug is the same, but the environment is different.

This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts.

Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections.  It’s how we get our satisfaction.

If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe.  He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’

A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.

So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety.  It is human connection.


Spare the blogger and lash us instead

by Jeff Jacoby

ON JAN. 9, the government of Saudi Arabia publicly whipped a liberal Muslim writer, Raif Badawi, flogging him 50 times outside a mosque in Jeddah. It was the first installment of the 1,000 lashes to which Badawi had been sentenced — in addition to 10 years in prison and a fine of more than $250,000 — for the crime of "insulting Islam" on his former website, the Saudi Free Liberals Forum.

Two days later, following the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the Saudi ambassador to France joined in the great Paris solidarity march in defense of freedom of expression.

Such hypocrisy was more than seven members of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom could abide. The commission — an independent, bipartisan federal agency — had several times expressed concern about the persecution of Badawi; it denounced his lashing as "a cruel and barbaric act" inflicted "for nothing more than creating an online forum for diverse views to be expressed freely." Last week, writing in their individual capacities to the Saudi embassy in Washington, the seven commissioners drew attention to the glaring inconsistency between Saudi Arabia's public show of support for civil liberties in France and its brutal denial of those very liberties in Badawi's case.

Then, in a powerful demonstration of genuine solidarity, they offered to share personally in his flogging.

"If your government will not remit the punishment of Raif Badawi, we respectfully ask that you permit each of us to take 100 of the lashes that would be given to him," they wrote. "We would rather share in his victimization than stand by and watch him being cruelly tortured."

The signatories are as intellectually distinguished as they are religiously and politically diverse. They include Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor and former ambassador to the Vatican; Zuhdi Jasser, a physician and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy; Robert George, a notable public scholar and professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University; and Eric Schwartz, a former assistant secretary of state who is now dean of the University of Minnesota's school of public affairs. Another commissioner, Daniel I. Mark, is a political scientist at Villanova University; Hannah Rosenthal is president of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation; and Katrina Lantos Swett, the commission chairman, heads an international human-rights foundation.

Of course, the chances are nil that the Saudis will agree to administer lashes to prominent American thinkers and social activists. But that doesn't make the commissioners' willingness to share in Badawi's suffering insincere. "If you're a serious religious person, you don't make such an offer unless you're prepared to carry it out," George told me. The same conviction was expressed by Mark, who in a blog post titled "#IAmRaif" wrote that he had been thinking hard about "what it means to sacrifice for others, to go to the Cross, as some might say, in the fight for justice."

Vocal appeals in support of Badawi have come not just from the American commissioners, but also from Nobel laureates, from Amnesty International, from members of Congress, and from PEN, the international writers' organization. But from the president of the United States there has so far been only silence.

President Obama cut short his state visit to India this week so he could travel to Saudi Arabia to pay his respects to the deceased King Abdullah. Yet "the Saudi who should be on the president's mind and heart right now," George insists emphatically, "is not Abdullah, it is Raif Badawi — the brutalized freedom advocate who has become the living symbol of the oppression practiced by Saudi Arabia's rulers."

Obama's silence is a source of particular distress to Jasser, a faithful Muslim who since 9/11 has made opposition to radical Islam his life's mission. "Everybody asks why more moderate Muslims don't speak out against the poison of Islamism," Jasser said by phone the other day. "Well, Badawi's ordeal is a clinic in what happens when they do." It would so hearten reformers and moderates within Islam, he says, if the president would publicly express concern for liberals like Badawi — the way Ronald Reagan made a point of mentioning Soviet refuseniks like Natan Sharansky by name.

Realpolitik may require an ongoing US relationship with the Saudis. But Americans are not obliged to pretend that Saudi Arabia — where liberals are whipped, dissidents are tortured, and jihadists are incubated — isn't one of the world's leading producers of intolerance and fanaticism. Badawi and others like him are the antidote to those toxins. They need all the solidarity we can give them.


European Socialists, Radical Muslims United by ‘Mutual Hatred for Judeo-Christian Culture’

 European socialists are united with radical Muslims by a “mutual hatred for Judeo-Christian culture,” which is why they continue to defend failed multicultural policies that are promoting the Islamification of Europe, says Soeren Kern, a senior fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.

“It’s called the Red-Green Alliance, red being the socialists and the green being Islam. There’s sort of a mutual interest on both sides to deconstruct the Judeo-Christian culture in Europe,” he explained.

“What the socialists don’t realize is that the Muslims hate them even more than they hate the Judeo-Christians, and so once it works out to its logical end, the socialists will be in big trouble.

“But right now, there’s a mutual interest to change the established historical culture in Europe. And that’s really what multiculturalism is all about,” Kern, an expert on Euorpean politics, told

Kern pointed out that European politicians like French President Francois Hollande, leader of the Socialist Party, promote the expansion of social programs in return for Muslim votes. Because of this mutually dependent alliance, socialist leaders are reluctant to criticize the 10 to 15 percent of Muslims who have become radicalized, even in the wake of the bloody terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo.

“I thought that these attacks in Paris were going to be a turning point, but when Francois Hollande said these attacks had nothing to do with Islam, that made me realize that either he’s dishonest, or he’s so afraid of what the consequences might be if he actually says that these terrorist attacks are somehow linked to Islam, what the Muslim community in France might do, how they might react.

“I think he’s trying not to rock the boat because he’s very fearful of [National Front Party leader] Marine Le Pen, who is the most popular politician in France right now. He’s trying to show that he’s doing something about it to slow down her rise in French politics.

"On the other hand, he doesn’t want to upset the Muslim community. So he is really walking a very fine tightrope. And the problem is, if you don’t have convictions one way or another, then you lose the respect of everybody.”

Kern said that while most European leaders are “reluctant” to take on the threat posed by radical Islam, more ordinary Europeans are coming to the conclusion that multiculturism has been a failure.

“I think that the European elites are very reluctant to admit that they were wrong, because they have everything invested in this multicultural social model. But I do believe that in most European countries, a pretty significant segment of the population is beginning to wake up and beginning to realize that something needs to be done,” he told "And that is the appeal of people like Marine Le Pen, she's from the National Front Party.

“I think until European elites recognize that mass immigration, a model of multiculturalism, is not viable, and it’s actually damaging, it’s putting in jeopardy the future of Europe, until they come to that conclusion, this is going to continue. Because right now, there’s no political will whatsoever to crack down on this and to admit that there’s been a mistake.

"And I think that the rise of people like Marine Le Pen, whether you like her or not, she's a fixture in French politics and I think that she is going to end up putting a lot of pressure on the multiculturalists. But what they're going to try to do is they're going to try to demonize her. They're going to try to destroy her, and do whatever they can to make sure that she never gets into political power in France,"

Kern added that the European political elite’s embrace of multiculturalism, with all of its “internal contradictions,” has ironically created more segregation and less freedom in Europe by allowing Muslims to create their own enclaves governed by sharia law, which is often at odds with their own nation’s laws.

“In Europe, it’s not a melting pot at all,” Kern told “Multiculturalism allows minority immigrant groups to set up their own societies and there’s no expectation of integration, of learning the language and of adopting to the legal system.

“In Britain, what you have now is a parallel system of more than 80 sharia courts that adjudicate all sorts of family law for Muslims. And under Islamic sharia law, women are not equal to men. So in a country where all people are supposed to be equal, you have a certain segment of society allowed to be treated as lesser individuals because they’re subjected to sharia law instead of the British Magna Carta.

“You also have the question of polygamy,” he continued. “It’s illegal in Germany and all the European countries, but exceptions are made for the Muslim communities. And what’s even more outrageous is that in the U.K., for example, the polygamists are able to collect social welfare benefits for all of their wives and all of the offspring of those wives. So you have one family of maybe 30 or 40 people all living off the state, even though it’s illegal.

“Even women’s rights groups in Europe, they all want abortion rights, but then when you have all this mass female genital mutilation and all this terrible stuff going on against [Muslim] women, they don’t say anything because it’s a ‘cultural right',’"Kern said. “So there’s a lot of contradictions and a lot of hypocrisy going on in Europe, and I think we’re beginning to see the consequences of all that.”

Most Europeans, including the police, are afraid to enter Muslim enclaves, added Kern, who has written that there are “literally thousands of references to French ‘no go zones’ from academic, police, media and government sources."

“Radical Islam has momentum. It operates on fear and there’s a lot of intimidation going on,” Kern told “A lot of journalists and a lot of [other] people who see what’s going on are afraid to speak up because of reprisals. That’s been going on for at least 10 or 15 years, but it’s definitely picking up over the last couple of years.

“I think it has something to do with just the fact that there are more Muslims in Europe and that they’re beginning to become more politically assertive. And multiculturalism, which is closely linked with political correctness, is also a factor. People are afraid to speak out against Islam because they’re afraid of being accused of being Islamophobic or racist or whatever.”

Kern pointed out that “the majority of Muslims in Europe are peaceful and wish no one harm. But I’d say 10 or 15 percent of European Muslims are drawn into radicalized Islam. These are the guys that are really willing to die for their beliefs, and they’re the ones that are perpetrating what happened in Paris and setting up these sharia courts in different European cities and trying to intimidate even moderate Muslims into conforming to their ideas of Islam.

“To my mind now, it’s come to [the point] where it’s almost impossible to reverse because of the sheer numbers of radical Muslims. They’re becoming mobilized, they have the initiative, and they see that time is on their side. And they also see that the European authorities are afraid and don’t know exactly how to deal with them.

“Radical Islam plays on fear,” he noted. “Looking at Islam when it’s in power, like in the Islamic State or in the caliphates in the early period of Islamic history, it is essentially a totalitarian system that brooks no opposition whatsoever. And you pay for it with your life if you oppose it, so it does have parallels to [Nazi] Germany in the 1930s and ‘40s.” asked Kern why Europeans, who suffered under both Nazi and Communist rule, seem unable to defend themselves from this new form of totalitarianism.

“I’m a Christian. Personally I believe that it’s a spiritual issue at root. But from a secular perspective, there is a lot of confusion in Europe about nomenclature,” he replied.

“It’s like these PEGIDA [Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamification of the West] guys in Germany. These are just ordinary citizens. I did an analysis, and they are not even linked to neo-Nazi parties.

"And what’s happened is that automatically, the press and the German political establishment tries to brand these critics of Islam – they’re not really even critics of Islam, they’re critics of the Islamification of Germany, which is a different thing – they right away brand these people as Nazis. And they’re trying to delegitimize any criticism of what’s going on in the country.

“I don’t know if that is because of what happened to the Jews, that there’s a fear of singling out a certain religious group, but this is very, very different from anything that Europe has seen before.”

Kern noted that Princeton historian Bernard Lewis predicted back in 2006 that Europe would be majority Muslim by 2100.

“Islam is definitely not going away. It’s rising in every single European country,” he pointed out. “And so whether it’s in 2050 or 2100, things are going in a certain direction. And it’s partly demographics, because there’s a certain hedonism in European society and that contributes to the low birth rates.

“People don’t really care about tomorrow that much. They just think about enjoying today. Because when you have children and have to think about the future, that creates a burden that takes away your liberty of enjoying life today.

“Whereas I think the Muslims have a long-term view of history. They know that time is on their side. And I do believe that ultimately, there’s going to Muslim leaders, Muslim presidents in Europe, and European societies are going to be more Islamized. I don’t know when that will take place. But the trend is definitely going in that direction.

“As a dual German-American citizen, I’ve lived in Europe all my life,” Kern added. “I really do love it, but I feel very sad by what I see going on there and the reluctance of European leaders to do anything about it.”


Safety fear as EU make Britain's  railways go metric

Britain’s rail network is to go metric on the orders of EU bureaucrats – sparking safety fears that the move could cause chaos and lead to more accidents.

Miles and yards will be banished from official signs and documents and translated into kilometres and metres under the plans.

But an official report seen by The Mail on Sunday states that railway workers will have to calculate speeds and distances in both imperial and metric measurements during the change-over, causing a risk of dangerous confusion.

And last night the switch was branded unnecessary by train drivers’ union Aslef. General Secretary Mick Whelan said: ‘It’s a waste of money which would be better spent on keeping fare increases down.

'It is also an unacceptable safety risk to expect train drivers to cope with signalling data which switches between mph and kph depending on which bit of track they are on.’

According to a ‘risk analysis’ by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), problems could arise when staff are required to handle some trains which are metric-compliant and others whose speed is still measured in miles per hour during the transition period.

Trackside mile markers will be replaced by kilometre signs and staff rule books and training manuals will be rewritten following a directive from the European Railway Agency, an EU quango based in France.

The chain – a unit of measurement equivalent to 22 yards still used by engineers to calculate track lengths between stations and bridges – will also disappear. It follows a decision to introduce the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) in EU countries – a computerised signalling network that feeds information about the train’s location and speed to a screen inside the cab.

A test run of the system on the remote Cambrian line between Shrewsbury and the West Wales coast has been blamed for a series of problems, including five incidents in five months of trains passing red signals.

Train operator Arriva said in a report that difficulties had been encountered in introducing metric measurements on a route originally designed in miles.

Despite these problems, Network Rail has started rolling out the new signalling system across the country. The Department for Transport applied to Brussels for an opt-out from the metrication directive in 2012 but was turned down.

The RSSB ‘hazard analysis’ warns: ‘Signallers will be required to advise train drivers of speed restrictions in kph for ERTMS-compliant trains and in mph for non-ERTMS compatible trains. That means the signaller will need to be able to identify the type of train he is dealing with before sending the information.’

It adds: ‘Train drivers may… have to operate in metric one day and imperial another, thus exacerbating potential for confusion and error.’

The switch to metric will take place over the next two decades.

Network Rail said: ‘Our aim is to digitise the railway to ensure Britain has the network it needs for the future.’ The Department for Transport said: ‘To meet EU regulations, ERTMS-equipped trains and signs will use the metric system.’



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

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

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


Thursday, January 29, 2015

A multiculturalist abuses a position of trust

A bank adviser and her fiance stole £123,000 from a customer's account after they claimed fraudsters had threatened to reveal compromising photos in the run up to their wedding, a court heard.

Anisyah Ali, 25, who was working at Halifax's North Finchley branch in north London, passed confidential details to fiance Salim Hussain, 29, and used the money to buy cars and jewellery.

The Old Bailey heard that by the time customer Julian Masters spotted the transactions, £123,000 had been approved, while the bank had declined another £114,000.

Ali was allegedly able to use her position as a personal banker to remove blocks on the account when the bank became suspicious of unusual spending activity.

The couple changed his address and used his personal details to order a new debit card and PIN number and Ali quit her £16,500 job the day before she was arrested on 30 May 2012.

She initially made no comment, but in a prepared statement later told police her husband-to-be had been threatened by a man known as Raza Shah and co-defendant, 28-year-old Zain Hussain.

Prosecutor David Hughes told the court: 'She said prior to the offending her husband had been subjected to a campaign of harassment by way of threats to his mobile phone.
Salim Hussain, 29, is believed to have helped Ali spend the money on cars and jewellery in the run up to their wedding

Salim Hussain, 29, is believed to have helped Ali spend the money on cars and jewellery in the run up to their wedding

'She also stated that Shah threatened to reveal compromising photos of her to her family.'

However, there is no evidence to back up her claims, the court heard, and Mr Hughes added that Shah, real name Alexander Saeed, was not standing trial after admitting fraud.

Mr Hughes continued: 'It is the Crown's case that the role of Anisyah Ali is absolutely vital. She was a pivotal figure. The fraud could not have been carried out without the involvement of Ms Ali.

'She used and abused her position to access the account, obtain the necessary information to change the account owner's address to another one connected to the fraudsters and enabled the obtaining of the debit card used to carry out fraudulent transactions in a variety of locations on many occasions.'

The court heard how, on April 16, 2012, Ali accessed Mr Masters' account while in a private interview room at the bank.

She changed the address on the account to one in Southall, west London, and ordered a new debit card and PIN number destined to fall into the hands of the fraudsters, the jury was told.

The card was blocked on a number of occasions between April 21, and May 5, 2012 because of the unusual spending pattern on the account.

Mr Hughes said: 'The information she was able to get from the account enabled those carrying out the fraud to telephone the bank to have the card reinstated.'

Ali was arrested on 30 May 2012 at the bank's Wembley branch and receipts found in her handbag revealed cash deposits made to her Barclays account totaling more than £13,000.

At her Southall home, which she shared with Salim Hussain, more receipts were recovered, including ones from a local jewellery shop.

Checks at the shop revealed a forged utility bill had been used in conjunction with the debit card to make fraudulent purchases, the jury heard.
Ali, Hussain and co-defendant Zain Hussain deny the claims while another defendant - Alexander Saeed admitted fraud and is not standing trial at the Old Bailey (pictured), which continues

Ali, Hussain and co-defendant Zain Hussain deny the claims while another defendant - Alexander Saeed admitted fraud and is not standing trial at the Old Bailey (pictured), which continues

Other successful transactions included the purchase of two cars, for £7,950 and £6,900.


French mayor removes iconic statue of national symbol of freedom from his town hall - because she is black

A French mayor is set to remove an iconic statue of a woman symbolising France from his town hall - because she is black.

The statue of Marianne features in thousands of public buildings in France as a national symbol of freedom and democracy in the French Republic.

The effigies are usually of a white female wearing a cap, but for the last 16 years the statue in the council building in Fremainville, northern France, has been of a black woman.

But the town's mayor Marcel Allegre, who won local elections in March, has now ordered it to be removed. He said: 'This black sculpture was a Marianne of liberty, but not a Marianne of the French Republic. She undoubtedly represented something, but not the French Republic.'

Although Marianne is considered to be a national symbol, there is no official legislation how it should appear.

The black Marianne's 'eviction' from Fremainville has now sparked outrage from the country's minority rights groups.

Thaiba Bruni, spokeswoman for the Representative Council of France's Black Associations, said: 'Either we live in a white and racial Republic, and Marcel Allegre is right, or we live in a diverse Republic, and the mayor of Fremainville is wrong.'

The organization is also calling upon France's National Association of Mayors to pick 'black, Arab or Asian woman' as a new Marianne.

Maurice Maillet, the town's mayor for 25 years until losing to Allegre, was confused by the decision.  “I don’t see any reason why the French Republic would not be black,' he told France24. 'Just look at France’s national football team.'

The decision to remove the black Marianne has also triggered a row in social media.  One Twitter user wrote: 'In Fremainville, the first black Marianne de France is to be scrapped by the new mayor..It's stupid.'  A reader of le Parisien newspaper wrote: 'It's very beautiful, and it's a shame especially in these troubled times to do this.'

But another commented: 'We need to stop massacring the symbols of our history in the name of 'multiculturalism'.

'White or black, and why not yellow, our MARIANNE has always been white because we are in France, until proven otherwise, we are a white country.'

Fremainville's Mayor Allegre has now told Le Parisien that he will not scrap the black Marianne, but instead place it in another municipal building in his town.


Carly Fiorina: ‘Hypocrisy of Liberals’ on Abortion Is ‘Breathtaking’

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina criticized House Republican leadership in a speech Saturday for their decision this week to postpone the vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, after some Republican House members objected to the legislation.

She also took aim at the left as well, saying in her remarks at the Iowa Freedom Summit that “it is on the issue of life that the hypocrisy of liberals is at its most breathtaking.”

“Liberals believe that flies are worth protecting,” Fiorina, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said, “but that the life of an unborn child is not.”

Noting that the majority of women and Americans believed that permitting most abortions after twenty weeks was “extreme,” Fiorina talked about House GOP leaders:

Politics, apparently, intervened to prevent the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act from being brought to the floor for a vote. This is disappointing. Because what it says is that once again, politics has triumphed over principle, and expediency has triumphed over courage. This is not leadership of the House.

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would have banned abortions after twenty weeks, except in cases where rape or incest was reported to authorities.

Fiorina also spoke in her speech about her views on abortion, talking about how her mother-in-law had been urged to abort her husband, Frank, due to the health risks of the pregnancy.


British intolerance of minority politics goes to absurd lengths

Britain First, a far-right BNP spin-off which exists almost entirely as a Facebook group, is hardly a terrifying new presence on the British political scene. It’s known for its anachronistic political demands, like calling for the guillotining of nonces, and the often amusingly inept political stunts of its leader Paul Golding, who recently travelled to Ireland to confront Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at his constituency office in Dundalk. Unfortunately, Golding failed to check if Adams was going to be there first (he wasn’t).

Despite Golding lacking any real air of menace, the cops have been desperate to nab him for some time. He has been arrested several times on trumped-up charges. And his latest conviction is particularly absurd. In a typically poorly planned stunt, the gormless Golding went to confront alleged 7/7 plotter Sajeel Shahid. He called on the wrong house, that of Shahid’s sister-in-law Munazza Munawar, so he just decided to give her an ear-full instead.

At his trial for harassing Munawar, Golding was also landed with a second charge under the Public Order Act (1936) for ‘wearing a political uniform’. Under this archaic and largely forgotten piece of legislation, which was brought in to combat Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists (BUF), Golding’s trademark Britain First-branded windbreaker and Andy Capp-style flat-cap apparently constitute an illegal political uniform. As Golding himself pointed out, come election time we’ll no doubt see people of every political stripe out canvassing in branded political-party clothing, yet it is unlikely they will meet with any legal censure.

The banning of BUF uniforms in the Thirties coincided with, and some historians believe caused, an upsurge in the BUF’s popularity. Indeed, when the act was used to ban Irish republican uniforms in the Seventies, the same thing happened: it helped rather than hindered the republicans’ cause. Likewise, the prosecution of Golding for wearing a ‘uniform’ is unlikely to damage his slim support. Instead, it allows him to present himself as a persecuted party worthy of sympathy and support. He is not, but nor should he be singled out and targeted by the law for his political beliefs. Fringe crackpot groups like Britain First are not something society needs to worry about, but the state’s attack on people’s right to express their political beliefs is. 



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

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

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


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Violent multicultural kidnappers in Britain

A gang of kidnappers who held a man hostage and cut off his little finger when his family could not pay the £60,000 ransom were jailed today for a total of 152 years.

Victim Damien Lowe was abducted on a street in Coventry at gunpoint and bundled into a van where a group of ten masked men kept him without food or water for 31 hours.

When his family initially failed to pay the money his kidnappers demanded, the gang chopped off his finger and left it under a brick on a garden wall for his panicked relatives to find.

The kidnappers were sentenced at Leamington Justice Centre today.

Mr Lowe, 26, from Coventry, West Midlands, said: 'The moment they pulled up next to me in their van in balaclavas and bundled me into the back was the most terrifying experience of my life.

'It was so brutal I don't know how I survived. When it first happened I had no idea what was going on.

'The van was going all over the place I didn't have a chance to try and think where I was.

'When they took my phone and got me to find my brother's number I didn't know what they were going to do.

'I thought I was going to die there and then. When they told me I had to ask for £60,000 ransom I was almost relieved.

'But I knew there was no way my family would be able to pay and I thought I'd never see them again.

'My kidnappers kept disappearing and then coming back, always to beat me, harder and harder.

When they came in and covered my face I knew something bad was going to happen.

'That was when they cut my finger off. The pain was unbelievable and I was just crying out and then they just beat me again.

Mr Lowe was kidnapped from a street near his home on the afternoon of September 30 2014.

His kidnappers kept him bound and gagged in the van, which was parked in a lock-up garage, and beat him with a metal bar before severing his finger.

According to the Birmingham Mail, the gang had threatened to cut off another digit for every hour they didn't receive payment.

Mr Lowe's family scraped together £20,000 to pay the kidnappers, and the 26-year-old was later thrown out of the vehicle on a a suburban street, before being found and rushed to hospital.

Working with intelligence gathered from West Midlands Police’s Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), officers then stormed a house where the kidnappers were staying, and recovered the £20,000.

DCI Simon Wallis, from the force's Criminal Investigation Department, said: 'The family were understandably distraught at the thought of what else could happen to their loved one and immediately paid a ransom of £20,000.

'When I finally got to hospital, the doctors told me that I probably wouldn't have survived if I'd got to them just an hour later because of the amount of blood I'd lost and how dehydrated I was.

'It was like being in a violent film - I'm still scared to go out by myself. You wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy.  'These people deserve to go to jail. I'm just pleased to see justice finally done.'

Kofi Poyser, 23, Kadeem Poyser, 31, Ricardo Grant, 24, Lamar Grant, 26, and Jermaine Campbell, 24, pleaded guilty to kidnap, possession of a firearm whilst committing a schedule one offence, unlawful imprisonment, blackmail and Section 18 wounding and were sentenced to 16 years, 13 years, 15 years, 16 years and 15 years respectively.

Anthony McLeod, 34, and Ismaeel Akbar, 32, pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment, blackmail and Section 18 wounding and were sentenced to 15 years and 14 and a half years respectively.

Ralph McLeod, 37, Lewis Poyser, 24, and Yusuf Akbar, aged 33 were found guilty of unlawful imprisonment, blackmail and Section 18 wounding at Leamington Justice Centre on December 8.

They were sentenced to 18 years, 18 years and 12 years respectively.

Four of the defendants, Anthony McLeod, Kofi Poyser, Lewis Poyser and Lemar Grant will also be sentenced for their part in a brutal assault on man outside a Coventry night club which happened on June 30 2013 and was captured on CCTV.


Oscars scandal: stop this racial policing of art

I feel a bit sorry for the Academy. You know, that glorified golf club that hands out Oscars each year. Yes, it’s the creaking, sexagenarian hangover of an old Hollywood that thought Braveheart deserved five gongs and Titanic deserved 11. But the now routine bashing of the Academy each time the nominations are announced borders on the distasteful. Casually labelled troglodytes, sexists and racists, its members are the target for the sort of insults usually reserved for Top Gear viewers and kids who name their kids ‘Sapphire’.

The Oscar noms, once respected as the entertainment-press cannon fodder that they are, have now been imbued with a bizarre socio-political significance. Each year’s list is now a launchpad for pre-packaged polemic on a host of issues. In 2013, it was Zero Dark Thirty’s alleged pro-Bush propaganda; last year, it was Jared Leto’s ‘trans-misogyny’; and this year it’s the ‘whitewash’. That’s right, the announcement of the list revealed that all of the named nominees – from Best Actor to Best Script to Best Prosthetic Nose Technician – were white. Most of them, as it happens, were also male.

It took all of six seconds for the shitstorm to gather. It was a sad reminder, wrote one critic, that ‘the Oscar statuette is a gilded white man’. It was the confirmation, wrote another, of a ‘white backlash’, an ‘unexpressed and not-quite-conscious feeling’ that, after showering prizes on 12 Years A Slave last year, it was time to return to white-cis-heterosexual business as usual.

Given that the Oscars is little more than an annual PR exercise for Team Hollywood, it is, admittedly, incredible that the Academy let this slip through the net. Controversy is not what the Oscars do – at least, not intentionally. This was the blunder to beat Seth MacFarlane-gate. Yet more proof that the committee is painfully out of touch with our twitch-hunting age.

Even so, the reaction was more than a bit overblown. Selma, Ava DuVernay’s portrait of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting-rights marches led by Martin Luther King, was dubbed the biggest loser of the whitewash – but it’s still nominated for Best Picture. And while enraged tweeters are still feeling the need to tweet the bleeding obvious – that white men have long had a bit of a winning streak at the Oscars – the iniquities of the past shouldn’t be used as an indictment of today. Times have changed. To suggest otherwise is to allege some sort of racist conspiracy at the heart of the Academy that the blundering old sods hardly seem capable of.

The only thing ugly about this year’s nominations was the response. It was an all too common attempt to crowbar the issue of race into a cultural sphere that has all but left such petty divides behind; an indictment of the fact that, today, anti-racism seems to rest on a constant re-insistence on the importance of race, on the differences that divide us. The sad irony of it all was hammered home by the fact that it all focused on the alleged ‘Selma snub’ - a film whose subject dreamed about his children living in a nation ‘where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character’.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has responded to the furore by calling for more ‘inclusivity’. This is bad news. Art, at its best, is a wholly egalitarian space, in which work can be understood, appreciated and judged on the basis of its richness and its beauty, aside from all other concerns. It is this admirable spirit that has kept The Birth of a Nation and the DWEM-dominated European canon on film-studies syllabuses, even as the society that produced them has moved on. Not because we secretly think the KKK wasn’t all bad. Not because white-male homogeneity in the arts is at all virtuous. But because these films, in their own way, contributed something unique to an unfurling film history that has now, rightfully, opened itself up to voices, perspectives and ideas that previously went unheard.

Sure, the Oscars is hardly the highest forum for artistic judgement. The fact that this year’s noms felt the need to honour the foppish Eddie Redmayne in the category once occupied by the likes of Al Pacino, Sidney Poitier and Daniel Day-Lewis, reflects the Oscars’ less-than-discerning standards. But while the Oscar committee shuffles on in its irrelevance, we need to uphold the idea that art is about so much more than race.


UK: No More Page 3 is no victory for women

This week, the Sun newspaper went to print without its infamous pair on Page 3

Celebrities in lingerie and bikinis take the place of topless models in the print version, while the boobs are still available online. Cue victory cries and tears of joy from the No More Page 3 campaign, which gushed on Twitter: ‘The wall of love coming our way is really powerful this morning! Thank you all. Best Tuesday ever!’

However, not all women are behind this ‘wall of love’. Describing the campaigners as ‘comfy shoe-wearing, no bra-wearing, man-haters’, several Page 3 models spoke out against the Sun’s decision to drop Page 3, and denied feminist tweeters’ claims that Page 3 models were victims.

I see three more reasons, beyond the No More Page 3 campaign being hugely patronising, why the removal of tits from the Sun’s print version is nothing to celebrate. Firstly, in terms of the argument that Page 3 objectifies women, there surely isn’t much difference between a scantily clad woman and a scantily half-clad woman. The Sun is now covering breasts with a few triangles of lycra, and surely that means, according to campaigners’ own logic, that viewers are still objectifying women – unless the secret to women’s liberation lies in concealed nipples.

Secondly, the campaigners behind No More Page 3 are hailing this not only as a victory over the Sun, but also as a victory over Sun readers. This willingness to play the victim while stamping pedicured feet on supposedly grubby tabloid readers is far more disgusting than a morning ogle. The miserable idea that working-class men need to be shielded from bare breasts to save them from a lifetime of misogyny is not only bizarre; it also indicates the deep-seated snobbery of these campaigners.

Lastly, I find myself nodding along to the campaign slogan of the whinge brigade, ‘boobs aren’t news’. This is not because I support No More Page 3; it’s because I am utterly bored by the croc-wearing feminists now clogging up the week’s news bulletins talking about tits.

How many women actually give a toss about topless women in a newspaper? The removal of Page 3 is not progress for womankind. Rather, it treats women like mousey damsels in distress, doomed to be blu-tacked to the garage door or passed around the mini-cab office. The No More Page 3 campaign is an insult to both sexes and, most of all, it shows up feminists today to be little more than nagging, censorious whiners.


Generation Rent, quit your whining!

It’s official: ‘Generation Rent’ is the hot, new, pity-me identity badge for Britain’s disgruntled twentysomethings.

Towards the end of last year, the average UK rent soared to £761 per month. And this has led to renewed calls from fresh-faced campaigners for the government to step in and enforce rent controls. On 4 February, the campaign group Generation Rent is organising a day of action, Rent Freedom Day, in an attempt to liberate what it calls ‘a generation sentenced to rent slavery’.

Rather than take on the lack of house-building that is thwarting people across society, people of my age seem to be taking it personally, demanding a safe, cosier start in the adult world of renting – perhaps with some IKEA furnishings thrown in. And this sense of entitlement is only being burnished by older enablers, like Ed Howker and Shiv Malik, whose book Jilted Generation argues that the ‘loadsa money’, spendthrift antics of our parents has meant that a generation of young people are now doomed to a life of penury.

The contemporary penchant for blaming the problems of today on the lifestyles of yesterday is a worrying trend. What’s more, it’s complete bull. The only difference between the previous generation and our own is that now people from wealthy backgrounds are finding it difficult to move past renting. This is nothing new for working-class kids. And, contrary to claims from the ‘jilted generation’ brigade, the youth of today are, on the whole, enjoying far better educational opportunities and standards of living than their parents. As Frank Furedi has pointed out elsewhere, the moaners of Generation Y have never had to face the indignity of an outside loo.

You don’t have to be a Daily Mail leader writer to say that us young people really need to get off our arses and do something – because we really do. The housing crisis in the UK is not down to high rents, but a severe lack of new and adequate housing. We need to build millions more homes now. This is the kind of change the new generation needs to get out of bed for.

Generational tension has always been propellant of history. Young people have always carved out their own destinies, even when the odds were stacked against them. But Generation Y seems more interested in whinging about today than thinking about tomorrow.



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

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

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


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

House Republicans drop controversial abortion bill ahead of Roe v. Wade anniversary

House Republicans on Wednesday dropped a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks, abandoning legislation that at one time seemed certain to pass the chamber but fell victim to intra-party disputes over concerns that the law would alienate women voters.

The failure of the bill, which was intended to be Congress' first anti-abortion legislation of the new session, reflects divides in the GOP just weeks after it assumed control of both houses for the first time in eight years.

Instead, the House will vote Thursday -- the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision -- on a bill that would ban the use of tax dollars for abortions, the same law that was passed by the House nearly one year ago but died in the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats.

The substitute bill would make permanent the so-called Hyde amendment, which bans all federal money for abortion services. Currently, Congress simply renews the amendment each year, which it has done since the mid-1970s. Voting on the bill Thursday would provide Republicans with a symbolic act on the same day that the anti-abortion March for Life is scheduled to begin in Washington.

The failed bill, which reflected the idea that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks, would have criminalized virtually all abortions for pregnancies of 20 weeks or longer. It would offer some exceptions, including for victims of rape that have already been reported to authorities.

But some Republicans, including female members of Congress, objected to that requirement, saying that many women feel too distressed to report rapes and should not be penalized. A 2013 Justice Department report calculated that just 35 percent of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to police.

"The issue becomes, we're questioning the woman's word," Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., said earlier Wednesday. "We have to be compassionate to women when they're in a crisis situation."

There were also objections to the bill's exemption for minors who are victims of incest and have reported the incident.

"So the exception would apply to a 16-year-old but not a 19-year-old?" said Rep. Charles Dent, R-Pa. "I mean, incest is incest."

There was concern that the bill would have looked bad for the Republican Party as it struggles to court female voters in the 2016 presidential and congressional elections, and primary and general election candidates could have turned the vote around on the Republicans. The GOP also wants to demonstrate that it can focus on issues that matter to voters and not get bogged down in gridlock.

But members who backed the 20-week bill were furious that those who shied away didn't raise their objections until essentially the last minute.

“We’ve been working on this for two years. Where were they?” a source who is close to the process told Fox News on Wednesday afternoon.

The source added that it was expected that the abortion bill would be one of the new Congress's first votes of the session, and that any members suggesting otherwise are “being dishonest.” 

Thursday's debate was timed to coincide with the annual march on Washington by abortion foes marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 legalizing abortion.

In a statement, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said he was disappointed by the failure of the 20-week measure, but said he was encouraged that Congress would vote on banning taxpayer funding of abortions.

"Americans have been forced to violate their conscience and religious convictions long enough by being made to fund President Obama's massive abortion scheme," Perkins said.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., a chief sponsor of the 20-week bill, called it "a sincere effort" to protect women and "their unborn, pain-capable child from the atrocity of late-term abortion." He had also said GOP leaders "want to try to create as much unity as we can."

The White House had threatened to veto the legislation, calling it "an assault on a woman's right to choose."

Democrats were strongly against the legislation and said the measure was nothing more than a political gesture.

"This is not only insulting to the women of this country, but it's just another pointless exercise in political posturing," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. "It will never become law."

The GOP rift on the issue was discussed Wednesday at a private meeting of House Republicans, who by a large majority are strongly anti-abortion.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a brief interview earlier Wednesday that he believed the House would debate the bill as planned. But he did not rule out changes.

"We're moving forward," he said earlier Wednesday. "There's a discussion and we're continuing to have discussions."

The legislation would have allowed an exception where an abortion is necessary to save the mother's life.

Under the bill, those performing the outlawed abortions could face fines or imprisonment of up to five years.

A report this week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office cited estimates by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that about 10,000 abortions in the U.S. are performed annually 20 weeks or later into pregnancies. The budget office estimated that if the bill became law, three-fourths of those abortions would end up occurring before the 20th week.

The House approved a similar version of the bill in 2013, but the measure was never considered in the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats. Its fate remains uncertain in the Senate, where anti-abortion sentiment is less strong than in the House.


Britain's Nazi social workers again

Social workers seized a man aged 91 from his house and imprisoned him in a care home against his will for 17 months, a judge said yesterday.  Staging an early morning raid, they took the former civil servant away from his home of 50 years in his dressing gown.  They claimed they were taking him to a hotel – and threatened to call police when he refused.

He was then locked up in a care home, subjected to ‘continuous supervision and control’, and forbidden from seeing his friends or attend services at his church, the court heard.

But for a friend’s protests, he could have been imprisoned for life, District Judge Paul Mort said, condemning Essex County Council and its social workers, who repeatedly refused to accept independent expert reports that found he was fit to live at home.

They ignored the elderly man’s consistent pleas to go back to his house and his cat, Fluffy.  Not until the day of the final court hearing in the case did they change their minds.

Judge Mort said the treatment of the former RAF gunner was ‘inexcusable’ and ‘disturbing’. He found the man was unlawfully detained and awarded him £150,000, together with free care at home for the rest of his life. The case is one of hundreds now going through the secretive Court of Protection to challenge imprisonment of vulnerable people by councils using the controversial Mental Capacity Act.

The man was not identified, and nor were the social workers, despite senior judges saying that the courts should name social workers just as they name police officers or medical experts.

In his ruling, Judge Mort said the man lived in his home for 50 years, first with his parents and his sister, and since their deaths alone with his cat. He went to church every Sunday and had a group of friends, who described him as generous towards those in need and charities.

After he developed dementia and health problems, his friends told the council he could be vulnerable. A social worker visited, but her report said nothing about his mental state or his wishes.

Instead, she and a colleague returned at 8.30am the next day. The man ‘was wearing his dressing gown and was without trousers or pyjama bottoms’. The court heard that the social worker insisted he go with her to a ‘hotel’ – really the care home. When he refused, she told him she would call police. He was ‘very reluctant to leave’ and ‘very distressed’.

The social workers had no legal authority for this, the judge said, adding: ‘He was detained against his wishes for 17 months.’

Social workers next applied for legal control of the man’s finances, at a time when his care fees were £1,500 a month. A friend complained, and was told to take her case to the Court of Protection.  As a result, the man was finally allowed home last November.

The judge said: ‘I fail to understand why [this] was considered to be a reasonable and proportionate solution to the problem.

‘It is hard to imagine a more depressing and inexcusable state of affairs. Had it not been for the alarm raised by his friend, he may have been condemned to remain there for the remainder of his days.’

He said the social workers were ‘unprepared to countenance any view contrary to their own’.  ‘They maintained their resolute opposition to his returning to his home until the last possible moment . . . the conduct of Essex County Council has been reprehensible. The very sad and disturbing consequences for him cannot be ignored,’ he added.


Baker Faces Complaint for Refusing Anti-Gay Message on Cake: Case is new twist on growing issue

A dispute over a cake in Colorado raises a new question about gay rights and religious freedom: If bakers can be fined for refusing to serve married gay couples, can they also be punished for declining to make a cake with anti-gay statements?

A baker in suburban Denver who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding is fighting a legal order requiring him to serve gay couples even though he argued that would violate his religious beliefs.

But now a separate case puts a twist in the debate over discrimination in public businesses, and it underscores the tensions that can arise when religious freedom intersects with a growing acceptance of gay couples.

Marjorie Silva, owner of Denver's Azucar Bakery, is facing a complaint from a customer alleging she discriminated against his religious beliefs.

According to Silva, the man who visited last year wanted a Bible-shaped cake, which she agreed to make. Just as they were getting ready to complete the order, Silva said the man showed her a piece of paper with hateful words about gays that he wanted written on the cake. He also wanted the cake to have two men holding hands and an X on top of them, Silva said.

She said she would make the cake, but declined to write his suggested messages on the cake, telling him she would give him icing and a pastry bag so he could write the words himself. Silva said the customer didn't want that.

"It's just horrible. It doesn't matter if, you know, if you're Catholic, or Jewish, or Christian, if I'm gay or not gay or whatever," said Silva, 40, adding that she has made cakes regularly for all religious occasions. "We should all be loving each other. I mean there's no reason to discriminate."

Discrimination complaints to Colorado's Civil Rights Division, which is reviewing the matter, are confidential. Silva said she would honor the division's policy and would not share the correspondence she has received from state officials on the case. KUSA-TV reported the complainant is Bill Jack of Castle Rock, a bedroom community south of Denver.

In a statement to the television station, Jack said he believes he "was discriminated against by the bakery based on my creed."

"As a result, I filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. Out of respect for the process, I will wait for the director to release his findings before making further comments."

Jack did not respond to emails from The Associated Press seeking comment. No one answered the door at the address listed for Jack in Castle Rock.

The case comes as Republicans in Colorado's Legislature talk about changing the state law requiring that businesses serve gays in the wake of a series of incidents where religious business owners rejected orders to celebrate gay weddings. Republican Sen. Kevin Lundberg said the new case shows a "clash of values" and argued Colorado's public accommodation law is not working.

"The state shouldn't come in and say to the individual businessman, 'You must violate your religious — and I'll say religious-slash-moral convictions. This baker (Silva), thought that was a violation of their moral convictions. The other baker, which we all know very well because of all the stories, clearly that was a violation of their religious convictions," Lundberg said.

But gay rights advocates say there is a significant difference in the cases. Silva refused to put specific words on a cake while Jack Phillips, the baker who turned away the gay couple, refused to make any wedding cake for them in principle.

"There's no law that says that a cake-maker has to write obscenities in the cake just because the customer wants it," said Mark Silverstein, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Colorado.

Phillips' attorneys had argued in court that requiring him to prepare a gay marriage cake would be akin to forcing a black baker to prepare a cake with a white supremacist message. But administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer disagreed, writing that business owners can refuse a specific message, but not service.

"In both cases, it is the explicit, unmistakable, offensive message that the bakers are asked to put on the cake that gives rise to the bakers' free speech right to refuse," administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer said.

Phillips' attorney, Nicolle Martin, said she has sympathy for Silva, arguing she is in the same category as her client. "I absolutely support her right to decline," Martin said. "I support her right as an American to pick and choose the messages she will express."

Silva said she remains shaken up by the incident. "I really think I should be the one putting the complaint against him, because he has a very discriminating message," she said.


It’s not color; it’s culture

Let me make myself perfectly clear: Al Sharpton is a racist.

He makes his considerable living and derives his undeserved social status by going around the country and causing trouble complaining about white people being racists when it is he and his ilk who are the racists. He’s a relic of the past who judges human character and prejudges people solely upon the color of their skin.

Well I have some breaking news for Brother Al: It’s not about color; it’s about culture.

Racism, for the most part is dead in America. Most Americans, with the notable exception of Al Sharpton and his small cadre of race baiters, no longer categorize people on the basis of skin color.  Today most of us judge others on the basis of their culture, i.e., the ideas they accept; the philosophy they live by. Black and white has nothing to do with it.

There are millions of people in America who embrace the philosophy of statism and the culture of sloth. They’re intellectually lazy, envious, dishonest, unreliable, irresponsible and ignorant. They lie, cheat, steal and often violently victimize society. Yet they see themselves as victims and like to blame others for their problems.

As opposed to producers they’re takers. They believe they’re entitled to status, money and power simply by virtue of being born but without making any honest effort to succeed. The recent case of Michael Brown from Ferguson Missouri is a perfect example of that kind. There are plenty of them, black, white and every color in-between. Al Sharpton is one of them; he represents them.

Last week Sharpton claimed that the “lily-white” Oscar nominations are “appallingly insulting.” He called for an "emergency meeting next week in Hollywood to discuss possible action around the Academy Awards."  No black skinned actors or actresses were nominated this year. "In the time of Staten Island and Ferguson, to have one of the most shutout Oscar nights in recent memory is something that is incongruous," he whined.

Now he’s threatening to meet in Hollywood this week with a group of his fellow race baiters to discuss “potential actions.” He’s going to do what he does best: use his weapon of racism as a club to shakedown businesses for money and other concessions in order to have his dishonest way with them. 

Al Sharpton is a racist. His time has passed in America. Today...

It’s not color; it’s culture.



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

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

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


Monday, January 26, 2015

King Abdullah dead: The late Saudi monarch's 'jailed' princesses

As world leaders including Prince Charles and US President Barack Obama  converged on Saudi Arabia to mark the passing of its monarch, the late Saudi King Abdullah was lionised by politicians around the world. En route to the World Economic Forum in Davos, US Secretary of State John Kerry hailed Abdullah as "a man of wisdom and vision" and a "revered leader". Similar statements were made by other western leaders.

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, even hailed the monarch as "a strong advocate for women".

That last eulogy ought to furrow brows. After all, when it comes to gender rights, Saudi Arabia's absolute monarchy is one of the most heavily criticised regimes in the world. Its draconian religious laws place limitations on everything from the clothes women can wear to the means by which they travel outside their homes. Controversially, women are still banned from driving in the country.

Ms Lagarde did qualify her comment, saying Abdullah was a reformer "in a very discreet way", credited with initiating a number of measures aimed at giving women a bigger stake in the country's economic and political life. But the change is very gradual, stymied by traditionalists who still hold sway in the country's courts. Abdullah's reforms, writes one commentator, have "all the substance of a Potemkin village, a flimsy structure to impress foreign opinion".

Closer to home, moreover, there are a few women related to the late monarch who may object to the praise being heaped upon him. Abdullah, like other Saudi royals, had numerous wives - at least seven, and perhaps as many as 30. He had at least 15 daughters. Four of them, according to news reports, live under house arrest.
Britain's Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron arrive in Saudi Arabia to offer their condolences.

Britain's Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron arrive in Saudi Arabia to offer their condolences. Photo: Reuters

The plight of the princesses Jawaher, Sahar, Hala and Maha attracted attention last spring, when details emerged of their supposedly dire condition in captivity in Saudi royal compounds in the city of Jeddah. Their mother, Alanoud al-Fayez, has lived in Britain for the past decade and a half. She was divorced by her husband multiple times, the final instance being in 1985.

Ms Fayez claims her daughters' supposed incarceration, which has gone on for some 13 years, was both a mark of Abdullah's vindictive streak and intolerance of his daughters' modern, independent upbringing. She says the four have been locked away for more than a decade, subject to abuse and deprivation.

Last year, various news stations managed to reach Sahar, 42, and Jawaher, 38, who live in a separate compound from Maha, 41, and Hala, 39. In an interview with Russia's RT television channel last May, the pair described how they were running out of food and water.

The British TV network Channel 4 ran a video, which included footage allegedly taken by one of the daughters, that depicted the depths of their neglect at the hands of Saudi authorities.

In another interview with an Arabic-language channel, the princesses described how they were being punished for championing women's rights and resisting the kingdom's strict rules mandating male guardianship over women.

Speaking to the New York Post last April, their mother claimed her daughters' continued detention was "about psychological warfare and breaking them down", and that her children "are wasting away".

There are some doubts about the extent to which the women are living in genuine captivity. When confronted with the daughters' claims, Saudi authorities have been tight-lipped, insisting that the situation "is a private matter". The women have not been formally charged with any crime.

Last June, in an email exchange with a Middle East affairs news site, Princess Sahar explained why she and her sister had been ostracised by the rest of the royal family: "We, along with our mother, have always been vocal all our lives about poverty, women's rights and other causes that are dear to our hearts. We often discussed them with our father. It did not sit well with him and his sons Mutaib and Abdulaziz and their entourage. We have been the targets ever since.

"We have been treated abysmally all our lives, but it got worse during the past 15 years. When Hala began to work as an intern at a hospital in Riyadh, she discovered political prisoners thrown in psychiatric wards, drugged and shamed to discredit them. She complained to her superiors and got reprimanded. She began to receive threatening messages if she didn't back off. The situation deteriorated, and we discovered that she was also being drugged. She was kidnapped from the house, left in the desert, then thrown in Olaysha Women's Jail, Riyadh. She soon became yet another victim of the system, as were the so-called 'patients' she was trying to help. Maha, Jawaher and I have all been drugged at some point . . . We have been told to lose all hope of ever having a normal life."

Since the series of media stories last year, reports on the condition of the princesses have dried up. On social media, their mother continues to call for their release, using the hashtag #Freethe4. She holds regular protests in London urging action.


In Defense of Blackface

Racism, envy, and the complicated politics of minstrelsy

Thaddeus Russell

If this Halloween is like every Halloween of the last two or so decades, at least one white college student or minor celebrity will arrive at a party wearing dark-brown face paint as part of a costume imitating a famous black person, photos of the incident will emerge on the Internet, and condemnations will rain down from authority figures.

In recent years, Facebook surveillors discovered and publicized photos of six University of Southern Mississippi students who colored their white skin to depict the Huxtable family from The Cosby Show, two Northwestern University students who painted themselves coal-black and dressed as Bob Marley and Serena Williams, Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes and his wife dressed and darkened as Jay-Z and Beyoncé, and a blonde Dallas Cowboys cheerleader appearing at a costume event as the rapper Lil' Wayne, complete with gold teeth, long black braids, tattoos, and chocolate-brown makeup covering her body.

As with all blackface performers since the civil rights era, charges against the latest range from insensitivity to outright racism. But virtually all critics of blackface agree that, as the Northwestern University president put it, the practice "demeans a segment of our community."

Some recent instances of blackface were obviously and viciously hostile toward African Americans. A photo of a 2001 Halloween party at the University of Mississippi showed a white student dressed as a policeman holding a gun to the head of another, who was wearing blackface and a straw hat while kneeling and picking cotton. A year later, two fraternity brothers at Oklahoma State were photographed wearing Ku Klux Klan robes and holding a noose over the head of another sporting black face paint and a striped prisoner's uniform.

But while blackface is nearly always assumed to be anti-black, the most common charge against contemporary blackface performers is that they are ignorant of its meaning and history—that they don't "know" that it's necessarily bigoted—which suggests that their intentions were not in fact hostile.

In fact, blackface performances are not always unambiguously antagonistic toward African Americans. Several scholars of the phenomenon have argued that blackface has usually been, to some degree, an expression of envy and an unconscious rebellion against what it means to be "white." There is substantial evidence that this was especially true in the first half of the 19th century, when white men first painted their faces with burnt cork and imitated slaves on stage in what were called "minstrel" shows.

Some early blackface minstrel performance was clearly little more than anti-black parody, but many historians see the songs and dances of T.D. Rice, Dan Emmett, Dan Rice (Abraham Lincoln's favorite), and other originators of the genre as expressions of desire for the freedoms they saw in the culture of slaves. "Just as the minstrel stage held out the possibility that whites could be 'black' for awhile but nonetheless white," David Roediger, the leading historian of "whiteness," has written, "it offered the possibilities that, via blackface, preindustrial joys could survive amidst industrial discipline." Similarly, the Smith College scholar W.T. Lhamon argues that slave culture represented liberation to blackface performers and fans, who "unmistakably expressed fondness for black wit and gestures." In early blackface minstrel shows, whites identified with blacks as representations of all the freedoms and pleasures that employers, moral reformers, and churches "were working to suppress."

The latest addition to this revision of our understanding of blackface is Yuval Taylor and Jake Austen's book Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy From Slavery to Hip-Hop. The authors focus on the many, largely unknown, African Americans who performed in blackface from before the Civil War to the middle of the 20th century, but they also rescue white blackface performance from the simplistic moralizing that normally greets it. "If you dismiss [minstrelsy] as simply 'demeaning,'" they write, "you miss half the picture."

Taylor and Austen's book is an encyclopedic record of not only the black performers who coaled their faces but also of the minstrelsy's many contributions to what is now considered respectable popular culture: "If we were to throw out every song originally composed for the minstrel stage, every joke first uttered by painted minstrel lips, every performer who blackened up, every dance step developed for the olio (variety) portion of a minstrel show, our entertainment coffers might seem bare." They show that much of American music, dance, and comedy originated in an art form that was "wildly popular with black audiences" but is now reflexively dismissed as mere racism. For whites, they argue, minstrelsy offered the opportunity to indulge in a "carefree life liberated from oppression, responsibilities, and burdens"; and for blacks it represented freedom as well. "Despite the appearance of minstrelsy as a servile tradition, there were elements of liberation in it from its very beginning, and these were instrumental to its popularity."

The enormous popularity of blackface in the 19th century cannot be explained without understanding that it coincided with a period in American culture in which Puritan values merged with Victorian ideas about work, leisure, sex, and emotional expression. Nineteenth-century children's books, school primers, newspaper editorials, poems, pamphlets, sermons, and political speeches told Americans that work in itself was a virtue, regardless of what one gained from it materially. European visitors frequently commented on what they called the American "disease of work." Typical was a popular textbook of the time, which instructed children that "Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do."

There was no such idea of work as godly in Africa, nor among American slaves. According to the African-American social scientist W.E.B. DuBois, the slave "was not as easily reduced to be the mechanical draft-horse which the northern European laborer became. He was not easily brought to recognize any ethical sanctions in work as such but tended to work as the results pleased him and refused to work or sought to refuse when he did not find the spiritual returns adequate; thus he was easily accused of laziness and driven as a slave when in truth he brought to modern manual labor a renewed valuation of life."

Slave beliefs and practices also offered an alternative to the famously repressive attitudes about sex among Puritans and Victorians. As opposed to white Americans' rigid adherence to lifelong monogamous marriage, most slaves had a far more flexible and forgiving attitude toward sexual and romantic relationships. Slave women who had sex outside marriage were not condemned as whores or "fallen" women, children born out of wedlock were not branded as "bastards," and divorce was not considered a sin.

It should therefore be no surprise that, though they certainly never expressed a wish to be enslaved, the white men who invented blackface performance often sang of a wish to be like slaves. Their songs celebrated the free, joyous, and sensual movements of slave dances—which were condemned by Victorian moralists as barbarous—and the slaves' relaxed attitudes toward love and work.

The two best-known songs of early blackface minstrelsy, Dan Emmett's "Dixie" and T.D. Rice's "Jump Jim Crow," are commonly regarded as anthems of Southern racism. But in their original versions, they were actually laments for being born white. In "Jump Jim Crow," the singer sympathizes, in slave dialect, with those "who happen to be white." It is "dar misfortune, and dey'd spend ebery dollar, if dey only could be gentlemen of color. It almost break my heart to see dem envy me." Emmett's "Dixie" was originally written as the longing of an ex-slave—whom some scholars have suggested represents Emmett himself—for his former life. Though normally regarded as post-Civil War propaganda for the "Lost Cause," "Dixie" was actually written before the war and with intentions that did not serve the interests of those who eventually adopted it. After the war, Confederate veterans' groups declared it the "official song of the Confederacy" and changed the lyrics to "more appropriate words" that made the singer a white soldier pining for his life atop the Old South hierarchy. When Emmett learned of the Confederate appropriation of "Dixie" he declared, "if I had known to what use they were going to put my song, I will be damned if I'd have written it."

Since then, the idea of "blackness"—not necessarily the actual beliefs and practices of real black people—has remained the primary representation of opposition to Puritan and Victorian values. The repressive norms that drove millions of white Americans during the 19th century to seek at least temporary refuge in the fantasy of being black remain powerful today. Belief in the virtue of work has helped drive the annual number of work hours in the U.S. far beyond that of most other industrialized nations. And observers from Europe are regularly stunned by the size and importance of American sexual scandals that wouldn't make the news there.

We will likely never know what motivates contemporary blackface performers. But those who reject the beliefs planted in our culture by Puritans and Victorians might consider the possibility that, like the originators of the practice, they are joining a 200-year, unconscious struggle for freedom.


Where’s the “je suis Page 3″ movement?

Well, there you have it, an answer to the question: ‘How long will it take for Britain’s political and media classes to go from saying “Je suis Charlie” to being their old censorious selves, celebrating the crushing of words and images they don’t like?’ The answer is 13 days. Not even two weeks. They couldn’t keep up the pretence of being in favour of press freedom for one measly fortnight. For yesterday, just shy of the second-week anniversary of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, the right bunch of Charlies who make up Britain’s illiberal liberal set were hollering ‘Victory!’ following reports that Page 3, the Sun’s daily serving of a scantily-clad woman, has apparently been put to bed. ‘Charlie Hebdo is dead!’, shouted those French lunatics two weeks ago; ‘Page 3 is dead!’, yelp Britain’s chattering classes today.

No, there’s no comparison between two men using Kalashnikovs to murder 10 people who worked on an allegedly offensive magazine and gender-studies graduates using prudish petitions to pressure the Sun to ditch its pics of half-naked women. Murder is a heinous crime; Mary Whitehouse-style campaigning is not. But you know what can be compared? The desire of Islamists to squish images that upset their religious sensibilities and the urge of feminists and others to halt the publication of imagery they claim has a ‘negative impact’ on their ‘self-esteem’. In both cases, the esteem of small groups of people — Koran-devouring Islamist sects, bel hooks-reading feminist cliques — is elevated over the right of everyone else to publish and read what they want.

Remarkably — or not, given Britain’s opinion-forming set is famous for its double standards — the same people who stood up for Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish offensive cartoons were yesterday at the forefront of celebrating the longstanding, slow-motion and now reportedly successful questioning of the Sun’s right to publish allegedly offensive photographs. So just five days ago, the grand dame of Guardianistas, Polly Toynbee, was laying into the pope over his suggestion that Charlie Hebdo, and others, should stop offending religious people. It’s the job of raucous press outlets to ‘stick two fingers up to propriety’, she said: ‘It is a belch in the face of established taste and dignity.’ But then yesterday, in an about-face so colossal it threatens to skew the Earth’s orbit of the Sun, Toynbee was saying ‘Victory!’ about the Sun’s ‘retreat’ on Page 3. She celebrated campaigners’ smashing of images of women as ‘dumb bare bodies’. What happened to sticking two fingers up at propriety? No, no, not at Polly’s proprieties! Where Pope Francis wants to punish those who make a tit of Jesus, Pope Polly wants to punish those who show tits. Different focuses, same shit.

Or consider deputy Labour leader, Harriet Harman. Two weeks ago she wrung her hands over the possible post-Charlie Hebdo ‘chilling [of] free speech’. She hailed the ‘right to satirise, to lampoon and to criticise’. ‘No democracy can function without freedom of the press’, she said. Fast forward 13 days and she’s loudly cheering campaigners for helping elbow aside Page 3. Photos of women in their underwear is ‘not the representation of women… that I want to see’, she said. Who does she think she is? God? Muhammad? Photos of half-naked women is not what she wants to see and therefore it’s good they’ve been expunged? Her tyrannical instincts are the match of any pope’s or imam’s.

The flimsiness of the ‘Je suis Charlie’ outburst could also be glimpsed in the Independent’s joyous dancing on the grave of Page 3. This paper that just a few days back was upholding the right of cartoonists to stir and shock now features columnists crowing over the demise of ‘toxic and demeaning’ Page 3 and demanding that the Sun go even further and ditch the pics of women in bras, too. Or as a writer for the New Statesman said: ‘Now that Page 3 is gone, we just have to get rid of pages 1, 2 and 4-39.’ What intolerance! As surely as Islamists want to crush blasphemy, so they want to crush the Sun. I know, not with guns, but certainly with pressure and harassment and shame. And as Ray Bradbury said, ‘There’s more than one way to burn a book’.

The whooping over the reported end of Page 3 shows what a blip ‘Je suis Charlie’ was. There has been no shift in the mentality of the British elites. Rather, their post-bloodshed nods to the importance of free speech were total lip service, all thesaurus-fuelled gesture and no substance. So now, not a fortnight later, we’re back to business as usual. Back to the post-Leveson norm of elitist assaults on the wicked tabloids; back to living in a nation straitjacketed by hate-speech laws and the worst libel statutes on Earth; back to the era of the Twittermob getting coppers to knock on the doors of people who tell off-colour jokes; back to politicians believing with implacable arrogance that they can say what is and isn’t acceptable in the press, as if the entire demos just died and MPs accidentally became the sole determiners of truth and discussion. ‘Je suis l’état.’

Some will say, ‘Well, Page 3 was silly and outdated, so who cares?’. I agree it was silly and outdated, and it would probably have been retired by the Sun long ago if it hadn’t been for Clare Short, No More Page 3 and others unwittingly keeping it alive by turning it into a massive moral battleground. But caricatures of Muhammad are also silly, usually, and I defend the right of newspapers to publish those. The problem is not the disappearance of Page 3, but the arguments that were used to help it disappear. The anti-Page 3 campaign represents a 21st-century revival of something that is truly outdated: the pseudo-scientific, super-censorious idea that culture warps people’s putty-like minds and makes them do terrible things. With searing contempt for your average Sun reader — whisper it: white, working class, probably didn’t go to Oxford — anti-Page 3 campaigners say Page 3 ‘conditions’ the ‘behaviours’ of men, ‘encouraging negative attitudes… and at worst, acts of violence’. Monkey see, monkey do. Page 3’s demise is regrettable because it represents a victory — a long, slow victory, admittedly — for a deeply misanthropic, authoritarian outlook: media-effects theory, the notion that the public, or at least Them, lack free will and good sense and thus We must control the media and culture in order to stop Them from becoming twisted. Like every censor in history, Page 3 bashers were driven by a deep distrust of the plebs and a corresponding urge to hide certain images and words from us.

Page 3 made it through the Eighties, the high point of PC. It survived the Nineties, a decade of top-down tut-tutting over ‘lad culture’. It got through the Noughties relatively unscathed, despite that being a decade of Twitterfury over everything. But it couldn’t keep it up — no pun intended — in the 2010s, after Leveson, with the ideal of press freedom shoved in the bin, at a time when the right to be offensive has rarely been so weak, now battered by everyone from coppers to students. You might not miss those daily boobs, but you should mourn the passing of an era in which showing boobs, and in the process belching in the face of propriety, was at least a possibility.


Christian Lawyers and Doctors Need Not Apply

It has become a scary time to be a Christian professional in Canada

In 2014, lawyers and doctors were targeted by their own professional associations for direct attack because of their religious beliefs.

For Christian lawyers, the first salvo was fired at Trinity Western University’s law school. TWU, which exists to “develop godly Christian leaders” in a variety of marketplaces, requires its students and staff to sign a Community Covenant. This pledge, based on religious beliefs, to abstain from certain activities and behaviours during their time at TWU, includes the use of alcohol on campus, viewing pornography, and “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

For some, TWU’s biblically based principle of marriage is abhorrent. As a result, a concerted effort to block TWU’s law school was engaged by lawyers’ professional associations deciding to disapprove of its graduates. The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, the (Ontario) Law Society of Upper Canada and the Law Society of British Columbia each decided to refuse admission to TWU graduates to the practice of law because of TWU’s adherence to the biblical view of marriage. To do so, these law societies chose to disregard the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2001 decision, which ruled that a professional body could not refuse to accredit students from a TWU program because of TWU’s Community Covenant. This implies Christian lawyers are no longer welcome in the law profession. TWU is just the first step.

I did not attend TWU, but I share its biblical view of marriage. I have appeared before the Superior Court of Ontario, the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the Tax Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada for a variety of clients. Do my religious beliefs, particularly about marriage, somehow disqualify me from ably practicing law? That is the inevitable conclusion and consequence if we endorse barring TWU law graduates from practicing law.

With the TWU battle raging, another overt campaign to drive out or silence Christians in the legal community was commenced. The Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD) and is made up of the heads of the legal departments from more than 70 major corporations. The campaign involves its own form of community covenant by these 70+ corporations (including BMO, Ford, The Globe and Mail and the Edmonton Oilers) to restrict hiring of law firms for their legal work to those who have a commitment to “diversity” and “inclusiveness.” The LLD’s definition of these words requires approval of same-sex marriage and excludes Christians or others who might have a different opinion.

The LLD publicly opposed TWU’s proposed law school on the basis that TWU’s Community Covenant is not “inclusive.”

This direct attack on Christian lawyers is meant to create a chilling effect in the legal profession. Lawyers who work for law firms seeking to do business with these corporations will hesitate, and perhaps even be barred from voicing their religious and moral beliefs, or for acting for religious clients in human rights cases dealing with these issues. It’s a scary time to be a Christian lawyer in Canada.

For Christian physicians, the most recent attack was triggered by a series of media stories about doctors in an Ottawa clinic who do not prescribe contraceptives because of their religious beliefs.

In the wake of this coverage, the College of Physicians and Surgeon’s of Ontario (CPSO) decided to revise its policy which sets out physicians’ obligations and expectations vis-à-vis the Ontario Human Rights Code. Despite several submissions from various lawyers and organizations—including myself on behalf of two groups of Christian physicians—that set out the legal basis for which the CPSO was required to protect the religious and conscience rights of physicians, the CPSO has released a draft policy which specifically requires physicians to provide referrals for procedures, treatments, or pharmaceuticals they object to on religious or moral grounds.

For some, such referrals are as morally problematic as doing the procedure itself. If a physician has the moral or religious conviction that abortion or euthanasia is the taking of an innocent human life, then the physician who formally refers a patient to the abortionist or euthanist has contributed to the taking of that life and, therefore, the doing of harm.

If the CPSO policy is finalized as currently worded, Christian physicians are no longer welcome in the medical profession unless they are willing to compromise their religious and moral beliefs. Dr. Marc Gabel, who chairs the group which produced the draft policy, has publicly stated that physicians who refuse to refer for procedures or pharmaceuticals they object to should leave family medicine. It’s a scary time to be a Christian doctor in Canada.

Where do we go from here? As a litigator, my immediate reaction is to take these battles to court. While the law societies and the CPSO may disregard Supreme Court jurisprudence, I hope that the courts will follow it. All Canadians, lawyers and doctors included, have constitutional rights to freedom of conscience and religion.

Beyond this faith in our legal system, my instinct to fight these battles in court is founded in an awareness that for some time, many in the Christian community have been passive and unwilling to stand up for our constitutional rights. That passivity has contributed to the current state of affairs. TWU has not been passive. Physicians have also fought back. It’s time that Christians stand with other Canadians in securing our constitutional rights.

By defending ourselves when attacked, we accomplish three goals. Taking these issues to court and fighting these battles will ensure protection of our rights. Sending the message that we will no longer be bullied or intimidated will reduce the attacks. And we will be better positioned to fulfill our spiritual obligation to remain faithful to God’s Word.

You may not be a lawyer or a physician, but if you are a person of faith or conscience, then you have a stake in this fight. It’s a scary time to be a Christian professional in Canada, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.



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

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

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