Monday, October 31, 2016

Multicultural ethics deficit

After winning the Boston Marathon in April 2014, Rita Jeptoo tested positive for EPO in a September 2014 sample given during training for the Chicago race.

Former Boston and Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo had her doping ban doubled to four years and was stripped of her 2014 Boston title Wednesday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In its ruling, the CAS judging panel extended Jeptoo’s ban until October 2018 and stripped her of her prize and appearance money dating back to April 17, 2014. The Kenyan runner previously lost her 2014 Chicago victory.

The Boston Athletic Association said in a statement that it supports the CAS’s decision and that it will seek to recoup Jeptoo’s 2014 winnings. The BAA also said it will “initiate a review” of the 2014 race results.

Ethiopian runner Buzunesh Deba placed second in the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Jeptoo had been due to earn a $500,000 bonus for leading the World Marathon Majors series standings for the combined 2013 and 2014 seasons. She won back-to-back Boston and Chicago titles in 2013.

Now 35, Jeptoo tested positive for EPO in a September 2014 sample given during training for the Chicago race.

Last week, Jeptoo spoke of her intention to return to competition once her initial two-year ban expired. But on Wednesday her partner said they were expecting that the punishment might be extended after the IAAF appealed what it felt was a lenient ban imposed by the Kenyan track federation.

"They had said they would add two years and she was aware of that," said Noah Busienei, Jeptoo’s partner. "There is no other avenue available to appeal the decision and we shall decide the way forward."

CAS said it upheld the IAAF’s appeal to increase Jeptoo’s original two-year ban, which was to expire this week. Athletes can be banned for four years over a first offense if there are aggravating circumstances.

"[It] was obvious to the panel that the athlete used EPO as part of a scheme or plan," the panel ruled, citing evidence including her long relationship with the unidentified doctor and "multiple visits to see him" which she hid from her manager and coach.

The "undisputed source" of the red-blood-cell-boosting hormone was an injection by her doctor, the ruling stated.

Jeptoo was also criticized for deceptive and obstructive conduct throughout the [CAS] proceedings." "The athlete provided various differing accounts of the circumstances leading up to the injection and also regarding her relationship with that doctor," the court said.

Jeptoo is the highest profile of dozens of Kenyan athletes to be banned for doping offenses over the last four years. Her case reflects a common issue in Kenya: Doctors providing athletes with banned substances for cash.

Serious problems with Kenya’s anti-doping program — including allegations of corruption among authorities — led to the country being declared noncompliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency in the run-up to this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The IAAF gave the East African nation until the end of the year to sort out its problems or face an international ban like Russia.

A scheduled two-day court hearing for Jeptoo in April was postponed and two lawyers withdrew from representing her.

When a hearing in Switzerland was held in July, Jeptoo initially joined by telephone but "opted to leave the hearing during the opening statements," the court said.

The Kenyan track body also pulled out of the proceedings, CAS said.

Although CAS said that Jeptoo hid her EPO use from her coach and manager at the time, Jeptoo’s former coach is currently facing criminal charges in Kenya, accused of providing Jeptoo and another athlete with banned substances.

Jeptoo’s former manager also faces doping charges, although they relate to him allegedly providing two other athletes, not Jeptoo, with banned substances. Coach Claudio Berardelli and manager Federico Rosa, who are both Italian nationals, deny the charges.


Sweden Bans Christmas Street Lights; To Avoid Offending Muslim Migrants?

Towns across Sweden have banned Christmas street lights in the name of “security,” but the real reason is almost certainly because the country has completely capitulated to Islam after importing countless Muslim migrants over the last two years.

According to an SVT report, The Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) will not allow municipalities to erect Christmas street lights on light poles that the authority manages, meaning that many towns will have no festival lights at all on major streets.

According to Speisa, “The change is a victory for those who want to tone down the reminder of the country’s Christian traditions, but according to the Swedish Transport Administration, the decision for the drastic change is “security”.

“Poles are not designed for the weight of Christmas lights, and we have to remove anything that should not be there,” said Eilin Isaksson, national coordinator at the Swedish Transport Administration.

The argument that the lights are too heavy and pose a safety risk sounds like complete baloney.

Swedes are being asked to believe that lights normally held up by tree branches are now too weighty to be supported by metal poles.
Despite there being no safety issue with the street lights for decades, this new rule has been instituted right after record numbers of Muslim migrants flooded into the country – just a coincidence I’m sure.

In reality, the Christmas lights ban is almost certainly an effort to avoid offending Muslim migrants who are causing chaos in cities like Malmo, where the firebombing of cars and businesses in or near Muslim ghetto ‘no-go areas’ is becoming a routine occurrence.

As we previously reported, a top Swedish Bishop advocated removing crosses from a Christian church and replacing them with Islamic symbols in order to please Muslims.
Last Christmas, it was also announced that a Christmas Eve special broadcast on public television would be hosted by a Muslim woman.

Some areas of Sweden are even capitulating to returning ISIS terrorists by offering jihadists free driving licenses and housing benefits to help them “reintegrate into the job market”.


London’s biggest noise pollution problem isn’t Heathrow, it’s the loud whining of a bunch of rich liberals who won’t put Britain first

It must be great living in London mustn't it? They are the first to have everything; from free concerts to 5G, proper transport to world-class hospitals and city salaries.

In fact, London receives more funding from the public purse than every other English region put together; £5,305 per person, compared to UK average of £3,192 per person.

Despite having more businesses and more start-up businesses than any other region (the capital has 470 businesses and 98 start-ups per 10,000 residents) London still receives the most infrastructure investment.

You get my drift. In my native Devon, we are still communicating via coke cans and bits of string.

A lovely young electrician from an energy company came to fit a Smart Meter into my house (against my advice). He told me it would have to be a dumb meter, because we just didn't have the connectivity.

Frankly, it is surprising we even have sanitation. Most homes have made their outdoor toilet into an extra bit of kitchen.

Many of us still eat road kill to avoid a weekly trip to Sainsbury's.

But I am not complaining because I choose to live here, and commute like a crazy woman to earn a wage.

I choose to put my children in the place of my birth, because I want them to have the childhood I had; beaches, rolling countryside and plenty of smiling old people waiting patiently to die.

And that's the thing about the third runway at Heathrow. Here in the Rest of Britain, (a foreign country to London), we made our choices.

We swapped cheap public transport, for living near family and friends. And gave up decent wages for a better life, lived well.

If you bought your house at a place called Gatwick or Heathrow, expect there to be some planes. If you need a clue, when you go to a house viewing, look up.

In 1930, an aircraft builder, Richard Fairey paid £15,000 to the vicar of Harmondsworth for a 150-acre to build a private airport, the Great West aerodrome. The proposed new runway is in, you guessed it, Harmondsworth.

So I don't wish to be a stickler for detail, but unless you bought your house before 1930, I've little sympathy with your plight. You buy a home near an airport, you can expect it to expand. And if you don't like the sound or planes or the noise of them, an airport locale is not the place for you.

In fact, the government are going to be paying generous compulsory purchase sums to those needing to up sticks and relocate.

In the 13 years since the third runway was proposed, house prices in Harmondsworth have jumped nearly 75 per cent, pushing the compensation cost to home owners up £55 million to nearly £1.5 billion.

People with homes subject to compulsory purchase receiving 125 per cent of full market value for their homes, plus stamp duty, legal fees and moving costs. Where I live, that's called an opportunity.

I've spotted a lovely four bed detached house with a garage and garden in my neck of the woods is £330,000.

So if it's the countryside you're going to miss, move south and you'll be the wealthiest homeowner in the village.

We need to accept there are always going to be decisions the government makes we don't like. These are for the greater good.

My own town has allegedly block-sold social housing to councils in Birmingham, Bradford and other unsavoury places in the country, queue jumping locals desperately in need of a home.

My friends have changed the name of the new development from Cranbrook to Crimebrook in their honour.

Other parts of the country are equally impacted. Fifteen, four-hundred-foot wind turbines in Greater Manchester are either recommended for planning application approval or being built.

Local residents are furious. They bought their houses completely unaware they were near a future green energy paradise.

One minute they were walking their dogs admiring the view. The next a bunch of liberal do-gooders who recycle their used tea bags into tampons had whacked up thundering great turbines in their back yard, to meet our carbon commitment to the E.U.

A cute little village of 6,000 locals where I used to take violin lessons as a child, about as multicultural as Cornwall, has just accepted 70 'kids' from Calais (most of whom have beards and arthritis).

Stuck in the middle of nowhere without a passing truck for distraction, I am at a loss how this decision was ever made.

My point is that these things happen. To all of us. And most don't buy our house with the subtle hint of a flight taking off and landing every 45 seconds to give us due warning.

It is all very well for Zac Goldsmith to throw his teddies out of his pram and flounce off to the warm embrace of his wealthy London constituents, resigning his seat in Parliament.

I am pretty sure this has less to do with principles than swerving a tonne of wealthy widows in Waitrose, bating for his blood.

In his area, average second-hand sale prices in the year to May 2016 were £975,000, against £566,000 in London as a whole. A four bed semi-detached house near the town centre costs £2million.

So I can tell you Zac - from the Rest of England - we don't feel your pain. Your problems are more first world than Beyoncé's.

He says the airport will be bad for noise pollution, bad for air pollution and bad for London.  Tough luck Sadiq. It is time London took one for the team. Look at it as a payoff for the extra £2,000 per head of public spending Londoners receive.

The Airports Commission have estimated that Heathrow expansion will create up to 179,800 jobs and up to £211billion in regional benefits across the UK by 2050.

Finally, the Rest of Britain will see their share of the pie. Heathrow has proposed six new routes to Belfast International, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley.

Given house prices in Richmond and London as a whole, I think a little extra noise in the city is a small price to pay.

And if the taxpayer is paying for your council house, then perhaps this is a good opportunity to move somewhere quieter and more affordable for hard-working Brits who pay your rent.

I asked the Rest of Britain what they thought about politicians and Londoners dithering over the third runway at Heathrow.

Seventy per cent said 'quit bleating and get it built'.

Remoaners, this is the Brexiteers speaking - build us a third runway. Put up, shut up or get up and move.


The Asian [Muslim] sex grooming scandal in Rotherham continues: Now a court has given lifetime anonymity to four men who preyed on a vulnerable girl for years. What IS going on?

A strange and troubling drama reached its conclusion behind the red-brick façade of the Civil Hearing Centre in Leeds on Tuesday, involving two QCs (both publicly funded), a High Court judge, several more barristers and solicitors, four Asian men and a vulnerable white girl in her teens known only as ‘Child G’.

The case was highly delicate: Rotherham Council was seeking to prevent this girl, who lives in the South Yorkshire town, from what it believed was the very real risk of sex abuse and exploitation at the hands of the four men. 

Child G’s tale stretched back to early childhood when she was born into a chaotic, impoverished and broken home. According to the judge, Mr Justice Cobb, she had suffered ‘physical, emotional and sexual abuse from different quarters over a number of years’.

In 2012, her situation came to the attention of social workers after she’d persistently played truant and run away from home, and was found to be regularly self-harming and taking drugs. By 2014, it was feared she was also involved in inappropriate and perhaps illegal relationships with a number of older Asian men.

In particular, the teenager (then still under the age of consent) embarked on what Justice Cobb called ‘personal and sexual relationships’ with three of the four individuals at the centre of this week’s proceedings.

Even more worryingly, the adult men soon began to be physically abusive towards her.

Police were told, for example, that two of them had assaulted her, while one had also ‘caused criminal damage’ to her home. At one point, according to Justice Cobb, Child G told officers that she was particularly ‘fearful’ of one of the men, who had a criminal record for ‘offences associated with drugs and violence’.

For a while, therefore, Rotherham Council used the Children’s Act to take her off the streets and into secure accommodation.

But matters came to a head on August 12 when Child G went missing. After a brief search, police found the teenager in a cheap hotel, alongside one of the three older men, who was referred to in court as LL.

‘Among the items found with them in the hotel were vodka, cannabis, condoms and Asian female clothing,’ said the judge.

Police quickly established that another older man, referred to as MM, had visited the hotel earlier that day, before leaving.

There was no record of the girl having previously met MM, leading to serious concerns about what he might have being doing at the hotel, and the judge said that ‘officers attending at the scene believed that she was the victim of child sexual exploitation’.

The police, he added, decided to immediately arrest both LL and MM ‘on suspicion of trafficking’.

Temporary injunctions were immediately sought and obtained preventing all four of the Asian men from seeking to contact the girl, who was taken to a safe house.

This month, some 60-odd days later, Rotherham Council was — quite understandably — seeking to have the temporary injunctions made permanent at the family court hearing in Leeds.

To that end, proceedings began last Wednesday.

However, they almost immediately took a series of odd and deeply worrying turns, and the case would soon end in disarray, at huge cost to the taxpayer, with the Asian men once more allowed to fraternise with Child G.

We shall consider these events in proper detail later. First, though, a crucial point: that on the streets of Rotherham, the troubling story of Child G happens also to be appallingly common.

For the town has been at the centre of a notorious child-grooming scandal, which since the late Nineties has seen an estimated 1,400 underage girls raped, sexually abused and, in some cases, forced into prostitution, usually by gangs of much older British-Pakistani men.

Like Child G, the vast majority of these tragic victims are white, working class, and emotionally vulnerable, with dysfunctional family backgrounds.

Typically aged 11 or 12 when first targeted, the stories of their abuse tend to be strikingly similar.

Usually they begin with the girl being befriended by an older Asian teenager in a local park or shopping centre, or even at the school gate.

Flattered by the attention, the girl agrees to exchange phone numbers. Messages are shared and a relationship — soon sexual — ensues.

Before long, the older man starts plying his underage victim with alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and other ‘rewards’. After a time, he frequently decides to coerce her into sleeping with adult friends and members of his extended family.

Eventually, he may even demand payment in exchange for allowing acquaintances to sleep with her, effectively turning the girl into a child prostitute.

In case after case, young girls caught up in such relationships have ended up being subjected to more serious abuse: beaten, driven hundreds of miles to be sexually abused by groups of men they barely know, set on fire. At least one has been murdered.

Other crimes identified in official investigations, including a damning 2014 report by Alexis Jay — recently named as the latest head of the Government’s troubled inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse — have included ‘rape with a broken bottle and girls being ordered to kiss perpetrators feet at gunpoint’.

For the hundreds of victims, the trauma of such abuse was for years compounded by the apparent indifference of Rotherham Council, social services and police force to crimes happening under their nose.

Social workers first identified the problem of Asian gangs targeting troubled white girls in the late Nineties. But a climate of political correctness in the Labour-run town meant that they refused to take it seriously, for fear of being called ‘racist’.

Also, it is suspected that Labour politicians don’t want to offend the Pakistani community, who form a sizeable proportion of their voters.

Over ensuing years, evidence was shamefully withheld from official inquiries. Reports detailing the problem, including a hard-hitting one in 2002 by a lawyer called Adele Weir, were buried by the authorities. Critical case files were lost or stolen, including a crucial tranche which disappeared from the office of a local youth charity called Risky Business in an unsolved burglary.

Even when underage girls approached the police or social workers for help, they were often dismissed as ‘slags’ or — since they looked older than their years — treated as hardened prostitutes.

At times, the Labour council seemed almost complicit in abuse.

In 2013, its former deputy leader, Jahangir Akhtar, was forced to resign after it emerged that he’d brokered a deal with police in which a violent offender who’d impregnated a missing 14-year-old girl would go unpunished provided he handed her over at a petrol station.

The offender, who was later jailed for multiple child sex offences, turned out to be a relation of Akhtar.

When Jay’s highly critical report was published in 2014 — tearing shreds out of council staff who were afraid to raise ‘ethnic issues … for fear of being thought racist’ — Rotherham found itself caught up in a national scandal.

Since then, two major court cases have seen some of the worst offenders punished, with 12 men and two women convicted so far.

In one, which ended in February, six members of a gang led by three brothers — Arshid, Basharat and Banaras Hussain (aged 40, 39 and 36 respectively) — were jailed for a total of 102 years, after being found guilty of 52 offences against 15 teenage girls.

During the trial, jurors were told of a shocking incident when police discovered Banaras Hussain receiving oral sex from a teenage girl in a town centre car park, but ignored it.

‘When, shortly afterwards, a police car pulled up alongside them and asked what was going on, Banaras Hussain shouted “She’s just sucking my c**k, mate”. The police car drove off,’ the court was told.

A fortnight ago, another eight men were found guilty of 19 charges related to the abuse of three teenagers. The main complainant, now grown up, had been 13 years old when she was ‘subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature’.

The ringleader, 30-year-old Sageer Hussain, was the brother of Arshid, Basharat and Banaras. He played a key role in ‘befriending young girls’ who were then ‘passed to his friends, elder brothers, and associates’.

Fast forward to last week and with the future of Child G, who is now in her late teens, at stake, Rotherham Council hired a QC, Frances Heaton, and a second junior barrister to argue that the four Asian men ought to continue to be prevented from contacting her.

Also in the family court that day were legal representatives of South Yorkshire Police, including Cathryn McGahey, a QC, and a second barrister, along with a second police barrister representing the vulnerable girl.

In addition to these publicly funded lawyers, there were also two journalists in court: one from The Times, the other from the Press Association.

No sooner had proceedings kicked off than Heaton, the counsel for Rotherham Council, asked for everyone apart from Child G’s barrister to be removed from the room — including, crucially, the journalists — so she could conduct a secret meeting with the judge.

This meeting, later chronicled in Mr Justice Cobb’s ruling, saw Heaton announce that ‘having considered with South Yorkshire Police the evidence filed for the final hearing, [her client] no longer considered it appropriate to pursue its applications for the injunctions’.

In other words, having brought an extremely important case to court, at huge expense to the taxpayer, Rotherham Council was, at the last minute, seeking to drop it due to a supposed lack of evidence.

So what on Earth was going on? It is hard to be entirely sure, though one possible explanation emerged after reporters were allowed back into court.

At this point, having abandoned its efforts to prevent the Asian men from seeing Child G, Rotherham Council said that it would like all four of them to be granted lifelong anonymity.

What is more, the council (supported by South Yorkshire police) wanted its arguments in support of this bid to be heard in private, with newspapers banned from reporting them.

Here, they were out of luck: Mr Justice Cobb said he regarded that level of secrecy, over a case which carried huge public interest, as ‘unnecessary’.

However, on the other count, Rotherham got its wish: on Tuesday, the judge controversially ruled that the men’s identities should be kept secret for ever, on the grounds that naming them might lead to the identification of the girl.

The judge also said there was a risk that ‘given the strength of feeling in Rotherham about those who engage in child sexual exploitation, they would be pilloried and/or targeted in their communities’.

All of which means that Rotherham Council has just spent four days in court pursuing an extremely expensive legal case which had only one substantive outcome: preventing the Press from naming four Asian men suspected of inappropriate relations with a very vulnerable teenage girl.

No one is able to explain why they so suddenly abandoned their — on paper, very sensible — attempt to prevent the four men from ever contacting this Child G.

It is a shambolic state of affairs, which cost a huge sum and may have left the vulnerable girl more, rather than less, at risk than she was previously.

Significantly, in this context, the judge criticised a ‘failure of collective responsibility’ by the police and the council to ‘work in partnership’ on the case.

‘If they didn’t have enough evidence even to try to pursue the case, or even to ask the judge to keep the four men away from this girl, why did they let it get so far?’ asks one observer of proceedings.

‘What was really going on? How much did this all cost? And why did they try to keep everything secret?

The truth is that it’s impossible to be entirely sure.

In a statement, Rotherham Council blamed the complex nature of such litigation, saying: ‘Work with young people who are at risk of or experiencing child sexual exploitation is very complex, and solutions are often difficult to achieve, particularly where the young person is at the age of consent and is unable to recognise potentially exploitative situations.’

One source with knowledge of proceedings says the bid to prevent the four Asian men contacting Child G was dropped because Rotherham’s legal team discovered, as they were walking into court, that the council’s request wouldn’t be supported by South Yorkshire Police.

‘Quite why the council’s in-house solicitors never bothered to speak about this with their colleagues from the police until moments before they turned up in court, I will never know,’ the source says.

Yet other, cynically minded observers wonder if the case was also dropped in order to avoid Press scrutiny.

Recent history in Rotherham certainly suggests a theme here.

For Rotherham Council has repeatedly smeared and undermined news organisations which have attempted to shed light on child sex grooming in the town.

The ugly scandal was first properly reported in 2010, by the Mail’s Sue Reid, who following a shocking court case in which five local men of Asian origin were jailed, wrote a report on the ‘troubling taboo’ of such exploitation.

Disgracefully, Reid was called a liar and a racist, and accused of making up stories that had, in fact, been told to her by victims and their families.

In 2012, a number of police and social service files, detailing awful abuse of girls in Rotherham, were then published by The Times newspaper.

In response, South Yorkshire police accused the paper of exploiting victims.

Rotherham Council, for its part, had previously attempted to obtain a gagging order preventing a Times story from being published.

When that failed, they complained of a ‘politically motivated’ attack on a Labour council by the Right-wing Press. They then launched an inquiry — not to examine its own misconduct, but to find and punish the source of the leak.

It was not until August 2013, when The Times published the story of a girl called Jessica, who before her 16th birthday had been twice impregnated by a convicted criminal allowed daily contact with her by Rotherham’s social services, that a proper investigation, the Jay Inquiry, was ordered.

With this in mind, the former Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who has campaigned against secrecy in the family courts, smells a rat about recent events.

‘Rotherham has a track record of trying to stifle Press scrutiny of what they are up to, and have often behaved as if their priority is covering their backs, rather than protecting children from sexual exploitation. Whatever their agenda in this particular case, they have spent an enormous amount of money on a legal process which achieved very little in terms of protecting a vulnerable girl.’

Following the Jay Inquiry’s publication two years ago, council leader Roger Stone, chief executive Martin Kimber and director of children’s services Joyce Thacker all quit, and councillors resigned en masse.

South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright, who had been councillor in charge of Rotherham’s children’s services from 2005 to 2010, quit three weeks later.

Since then, massive resources have been put into hunting down the men who abused girls with impunity in Rotherham for so many years. A National Crime Agency operation, Operation Stovewood, expected to run for around eight years and costing £30 million, is pursuing 91 offences involving 82 victims. A total of 69 officers were said to be on the inquiry this summer, with funding for another 48 approved by the Home Office.

Their work is supposed to ensure that girls in Britain never suffer at the hands of such evil men again.

Yet vulnerable teenagers are still finding themselves in the sights of Rotherham’s vile gangs. And this week’s court case shows that, despite everything that has happened, the local authorities would appear to be far better at gagging the Press than they are at protecting innocent victims such as Child G.



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


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Do taxi-drivers have more sense than singers?  It seems likely

Singer Lily Allen today claimed a taxi driver refused to pick her and her children up and told her to 'find an immigrant to drive you, you stupid tart'.

The 31-year-old sparked outrage earlier this month when she made a tearful apology 'on behalf of her country' to a 13-year-old Afghan refugee in Calais, France.

She broke down in tears and told the refugee, who has since been reunited with his father in Birmingham: 'I'm sorry for what we have put you through'.

And today she posted a message on her Twitter account to her 5.8million followers to inform them what a black cabbie [driver of a black cab] allegedly told her.

She wrote: 'Just tried to get in a black cab with my kids. The driver looked at me and said, 'find an immigrant to drive you you stupid tart'.'

Her tweet comes after she met the young boy at the 'Jungle' refugee camp near Calais after he risked his life attempting to board a lorry heading for the UK.

The youngster had been staying at the camp on the edge of the northern French port city for two months.

But her comments led to her receiving abuse online as some people claimed her 'crocodile tears' and apology were simply 'ridiculous'.

The mother-of-two continued to say on Twitter: ‘I had both my hands full with children, couldn’t get to my phone fast enough.’

She told another person they were ‘victim shaming’ her after he said the incident ‘definitely didn’t happen’.

Another Twitter user said: ‘When you insult the country the country’s going to insult you back. It’s called “consequences” and even happens to the very rich.’

Another accused her of deliberately smearing London’s black cabs on a day when rivals Uber were criticised.

Tom at Tjab1425 wrote: ‘@lilyallen what a load of b*******... Funny how this comes out on the day #ubered are found guilty of treating their workers as slaves.’

A spokesman for Transport For London, which licenses 25,000 black cab drivers, said: ‘We’ve asked for more information about this, it’s unacceptable behaviour for any TfL licensed driver.

‘We are taking this allegation very seriously and ask anyone with more information, such as the cab number, to get in touch with us.’

The Smile singer, who has released three albums, later defended herself by adding that she was saying sorry to a 'helpless child for the part this country has played in contributing to his dire situation'.

During the meeting with the boy, which was shown on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme, Allen said the English 'put him in danger'.

She said to the boy: 'It just seems that at three different intervals in this young boy's life, the English in particular have put you in danger.

'We've bombed your country, put you in the hands of the Taliban and now put you in danger of risking your life to get into our country.

'I apologise on behalf of my country. I'm sorry for what we have put you through.'

After she met the teenager, the singer - whose hit Smile reached number one in 2006 - continued to post online after she received abuse following her comments.

She added: 'A lot of people saying I should be more concerned about cases of migrants raping our own citizens.

'I was talking about the 1,022 unaccompanied children in Calais, who are to be evicted next week.

'I haven't heard any cases of children raping people here, I'd imagine they're far more likely to suffer at the hands of opportunist abusers.'

And her tweet this afternoon comes just days after she said animosity towards refugees in Britain should be compared to Hitler and the Nazis.

She suggested Britons are victims of Joseph Goebbels-style propaganda and that children are taught about the Second World War from 'an early age' and 'how evil Hitler was'.

Allen added: 'You always wonder how he (Hitler) managed to get the whole country to go along with that. Now we're seeing it.'

Her comments have led to criticism from Jewish groups and broadcaster Nick Ferrari told LBC listeners: 'So, another one of these people who likens what's happening in the Calais Jungle to what happened in the Second World War.

'The last time I looked, the showers in Calais dispensed water. As I recall, the showers with Hitler dispensed gas that killed people.

'The last time I looked, people were rounded up against their will, thrown on cattle trucks and driven halfway across Europe without water or anything.

'This time they're carefully processed, details are taken and if they can, they're send to countries such as Britain.' 


A reform of rape laws that's anti-men because of our desperation to increase convictions

When Ross Poldark kicked open the door of Elizabeth’s bedroom, kissed her forcibly and then had sex with her on the matrimonial bed, many insisted it was rape.

Women’s groups said the BBC shouldn’t have shown the scene because she initially seemed to resist him and ‘No’ means ‘No’.

It sparked a national debate over predatory male behaviour and whether rape victims are let down by the judicial system.

But I have watched the scene three times. Not once does Elizabeth actually say ‘No’.

She unlocks her bedroom door when Ross arrives. She taunts him and, when he kisses her, says: ‘You wouldn’t dare.’

Next she’s swooning in his arms as he throws her onto the bed, then she’s returning his kisses.

Despite her aunt being in the house, as well as her son and servants, she never cries out for help.

When Ross finally leaves at dawn, she coyly asks when she will see him again.

May I suggest this simply wasn’t rape. Not that you’d know it from all the breast-beating the scene provoked as feminists reverted to the default position that all men are potential rapists and all women victims.

That is why 40 female MPs demanded this week that the law should be changed to protect alleged rape victims from having their sex lives revealed in court following the Ched Evans case.

Evans is, of course, the loathsome footballer who indulged with a drunken girl in a threesome.

He was acquitted of rape during a retrial in which details of the girl’s sexual history were revealed by two of her former lovers.

The MPs feel allowing this evidence will deter women from reporting rape, and want the sexual history of the victim to be inadmissible in future.

But whatever you think of Evans — and he’s clearly an amoral man — the girl’s sexual past was relevant in this case and helped prove his innocence.

So what is preferable?

The right of a woman who remains anonymous to have her past censored? Or a named man to be wrongly jailed because the jurors were denied vital information?

But then we live in a Kafkaesque world in which a draft amendment before the Lords would mean men accused of rape may not be allowed to know the name of their accusers.

This would be an appalling abuse of justice. In our desperation to increase rape convictions, the courts are tipping the scales against men. They are deemed to be guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent.


The BBC wins a landmark victory in the fight against Islamic extremism

Shakeel Begg is an influential extremist who is also chief Imam of the Lewisham Islamic Centre.  His radical views are readily available and well-known.  But despite these downsides a chap like him also possesses certain considerable advantages.  Not least is the fact that he lives in a society which is only very slowly waking up to the threat that people like him pose.

If Begg were a Protestant preacher from Northern Ireland then he would not have been able to make any public appearance for years without being forced to bake the biggest, gayest cake possible right there and then.  If he refused, the whole of civilised society would round on him to explain what a great big ‘phobe’ he was.  But Shakeel Begg is not a Protestant preacher and nor would he draw the line in his perfect society at merely not baking the cake for one’s gay nuptials.

As such, he is also lucky enough to live in a country where many people who should be in the business of investigation and inquiry fail in their obligations.  Many of them do so because they are understandably put off by being called names such as ‘racist’.  In these cases, such names are insincerely but deliberately used as a smokescreen to allow extremist behaviour to continue.

Another advantage for the Beggs of this world is living in a country where useful idiots from the other monotheisms are always on hand to play ‘interfaith’ games and in the process either wittingly or unwittingly provide further cover for some seriously bad people.

However, despite all of this, the Beggs do have a problem.  Like a bigamist dashing between their wives, he must perforce to keep two sets of books.  For although most of his interlocutors – like his beards at the interfaith councils – don’t know what they are doing or what questions to ask, he knows that were they to find out, even they may look askance at one of their peaceful members telling his audiences, for instance, to go abroad and fight Jihad.  They may even eventually recognise that the Imam in question means ‘Jihad’ in a very real sense and not in the sense of going and finding a Jew somewhere and then having a really intense personal struggle in front of them.

How to keep these two worlds apart?  Well here is where the extremists have their final advantage.  Which is that they can always revert to the law.  Not the law of Allah – immutable and all powerful though they claim to think it is – but the good old English legal system.  And unlike most of the rest of us, these chaps can generally find some low-grade legal team to represent them in their vexatious complaints.  The aim is clear.  They never really want to get to court, because they know if they do, they might be caught telling the truth on the record.  But they do want to make the cost of questioning their views exceptionally high.  Their long-term hope is that journalists get so fed up of the bother that they give up discovering stories about people who are trying to subvert our societies and report instead on what the Kardashians are doing today.

So three cheers for the BBC.  For our national broadcaster refused to give in when – in the wake of an edition of the Sunday Politics in November 2013 – Andrew Neil of this parish mentioned on air that Begg had described jihad as ‘the greatest of deeds.’  Begg sued for libel.  And while most papers and broadcasters worry about the extraordinary financial and reputational cost and try to settle when something like this comes up, the BBC fought Begg all the way.  Earlier today the judge in the case dismissed Begg’s case and his judgement is damning.  Mr Justice Haddon-Cave described Begg as ‘something of a Jekyll and Hyde character.’  He went on:

‘He appears to present one face to the general, local and inter-faith community and another to particular Muslim and other receptive audiences. The former face is benign, tolerant and ecumenical.
‘The latter face is ideologically extreme and intolerant.’
The Judge also went on:

‘The various core extremist messages which emerge from the claimant’s speeches and utterances would, in my view, have been quite clear to the audiences.
‘The claimant’s ostensible cloak of respectability is likely to have made his [extremist] message in these speeches all the more compelling and seductive. For this reason, therefore, his messages would have been all the more effective and dangerous.
‘It is all too easy for someone in the claimant’s position of power and influence as an Imam to plant the seed of Islamic extremism in a young mind, which is then liable to be propagated on the internet.’
Happily Shakeel Begg will now face a very large legal bill.  I for one will be opening a bottle to celebrate that fact tonight.

What the viewing and reading public often do not know is that because of two-faced Imams like Begg, for every tiny piece about some Islamist nutcase that does go on air, there are now often weeks or even months of costly work behind the scenes to respond to the resulting barrage of legal claims from the Islamists who use the law cost free most of the time.  This is how they operate.  And for once that fact has been exposed.

There are now some very serious questions for a set of institutions to answer.

The first is Lewisham mosque.  How can Imam Begg remain in place?  How can an institution led by a man proved in court to be a liar and an extremist possibly retain its charitable status?  Perhaps readers would like to ask the Charity Commission themselves.  Complaints to the Charity Commission can be registered here: The Lewisham Islamic Centre’s Charity number is: 285641.

There are also serious questions to ask of the Muslim Council of Britain.  Imam Begg’s mosque is a member of the MCB.  Why are the MCB happy to continue to have an affiliate member who is now so thoroughly exposed and disgraced?  If the Imam remains in place and the mosque remains a member of the MCB there will be very serious questions to ask of the MCB.

And what, finally, of all the Rabbis and Vicars and others who have given cover to Shakeel Begg all these years?  Have they no shame?  In my experience such people plead ignorance about the extremist connections of some of their Muslim counter-parts.  Well thanks to the BBC they can claim ignorance no longer.


British government's pogrom against journalists finally unwound

'The Met Police and Crown Prosecution Service effectively made up a law on the hoof.

A news reporter who was convicted after a controversial investigation into the payment of public officials has been cleared of all wrongdoing today. 

Sun crime reporter Anthony France, 42, from Watford, was accused of having a four-year 'corrupt relationship' with a police officer but saw his conviction quashed by three judges at the Court of Appeal in London on Thursday.

He was initially found guilty at a trial at the Old Bailey last year and given an 18-month suspended sentence.

Mr France was investigated under the high-profile, multimillion-pound Operation Elveden, which was launched in 2011 to investigate payments by journalists to public officials.

The Metropolitan Police operation, which cost £14.7 million, led to 90 arrests and 34 convictions, including police officers and 21 public officials.

But, out of 29 cases against journalists brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, the only jury conviction to remain standing was that in Mr France's case.

A number of reporters were cleared by juries. Others had charges against them dropped, or they launched successful appeals following conviction.

After the ruling, Mr France said: 'I am delighted that this serious miscarriage of justice has ended today, allowing me to rebuild my life after 1,379 days of sheer hell.'

A News UK spokeswoman added after the ruling: 'Today, Anthony France's conviction has been overturned on appeal and we are delighted that these proceedings are now over for him.

'In the course of the last five years, 19 journalists from The Sun were prosecuted as a result of Operation Elveden and not one has resulted in any conviction being upheld.'

The ruling led to criticism of both the police and CPS from within the journalism and legal industries. Lawyer David Allen Green, who has a column for the Financial Times, wrote on Twitter that the CPS 'cobbled together' a piece of 'legal daftness' to go after journalists and that 'serious questions should be asked' over the decision to prosecute.

He said: 'When evidence of reporters paying public officials came to light, there was a legal problem for the police/cps. 'The problem was to identify what offences had allegedly been committed. What would be the charges? A basic point, you could say. 'The alleged offences took place before the Bribery Act was in place. So that Act couldn't be used.

'The public officials were therefore prosecuted for the ancient but vague offence of "misconduct in public office". Many pleaded guilty. 'But that left the reporters. They were not public officials and so could not be prosecuted for that (primary) offence.

'But the CPS decided to prosecute the reporters anyway: and used a strange legal means for doing so. The CPS constructed an elaborate (secondary) offence of aiding/abetting/conspiring with he public official to commit misconduct.

'The courts and juries could not make much sense of the offence - what was the requisite criminal intention? And so on. So in case after case in this "Operation Elveden", at great public expense, all the reporters (but one) were acquitted.'

He added: 'Some may say it is unfair to criticse the CPS over any acquittal. But this failure by CPS was wide-ranging and systemic.  'With France's acquittal, serious questions can and should now be asked of CPS over its prosecutions of reporters under Elveden.'

Press Gazette Editor Dominic Ponsford also wrote a column taking aim at the police and CPS over the 'shameful episode in the history of the UK criminal justice system'. He wrote: 'The Met Police and Crown Prosecution Service effectively made up a law on the hoof.

'They used the obscure offence of misconduct in public office against journalists who paid state employees for stories.'

Mr Ponsford added: 'What sort of a country puts journalists who wrote true stories about matters of public interest behind bullet proof glass at its top criminal court?'

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, said: 'The appeal court's decision shows why there needs to be far wider protection for journalists reporting in the public interest.

'In most of the cases in which journalists were charged, ordinary members of the public who made up juries clearly decided that journalists were working in the public interest.

'The police and the Crown Prosecution Service need to think more carefully before they charge journalists for informing the public.  'Careers and lives were destroyed by the over-long and hugely expensive police investigation.'

In May last year Mr France was given a jail sentence of 18 months, suspended for two years, after being convicted of aiding and abetting PC Timothy Edwards, who worked at Heathrow Airport in SO15 counter-terrorism command, to commit misconduct in public office between March 2008 and July 2011.

Mr France, described by the sentencing judge at his Old Bailey trial as a journalist of 'hitherto unblemished character' who was 'essentially a decent man of solid integrity', had his conviction overturned by Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice King and Mr Justice Dove.

Lady Justice Hallett said Mr France was 'one of a number of journalists and public officials whose conduct was investigated by police during Operation Elveden'.

She said: 'He was employed as a junior crime reporter at The Sun newspaper. The Sun openly advertised the fact it would pay money for stories.' Between March 31 2008 and July 1 2011, Edwards 'sold them 38 pieces of information'.

She added: 'The applicant wrote the articles that followed and submitted the necessary forms to his employers for Edwards to be paid. 'The forms had to be approved first by the news editor and then by an editor or deputy editor. In total, The Sun paid Edwards over £20,000.'

Edwards pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office and was jailed for two years in 2014.

The jury at Mr France's trial heard that Edwards passed on details ranging from airline pilots being breath-tested to a drunken model flying into a rage after 'catching her boyfriend romping with a woman next to him'.

The appeal centred on directions given to the jury at the trial by Judge Timothy Pontius.

Lady Justice Hallett said: 'Taking any one of those criticisms in isolation, we may not have been persuaded the summing-up rendered the conviction unsafe. 'However, we must consider their cumulative effect and read the summing-up as a whole.

'Having done so, we are driven to the conclusion that the jury were not provided with legally adequate directions tailored to the circumstances of the case and that the conviction is unsafe.'

Mr France said afterwards: 'Having spent more than three years and nine months fighting to clear my name, this is not a time for celebration. 'Nobody has 'won' and the public are less informed.'



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


Friday, October 28, 2016

Do religious people understand the world LESS? Study claims belief in God makes you struggle with reality

Annika M. Svedholm-Häkkinen is a prolific publisher on religious matters but this piece suggests to me that she knows very little of Christianity:  A rather large lacuna, one would think. Her findings below sound methodologically acceptable but her interpretation of them is naive. 

She falls victim to the logical fallacy that correlation is causation.  She thinks that the unscientific thinking of Christians lies behind their poor knowledge of science.  It probably does, but not in the way she thinks.  Her clear opinion is that her findings show Christians as a bit dumb and intellectually deficient -- with those limitations also explaining their religiousness.  So once again we have Leftist academics trying to show that religion is stupid (Islam excepted, of course).

But an equally possible interpretation of the findings is that faith leads to reduced interest in science. Annika M. Svedholm-Häkkinen is apparently unaware that Christ said, "My kingdom is not of this world" and that Christians follow on from that by slighting physical world matters in favour of an interest in what they see as metaphysical matters. 

I am an extreme atheist.  I agree with Carnap that all metaphysical statements are meaningless.  But that is just my opinion. Most of the world does find some metaphysical statements persuasive.  So we will have situations where a Christian spends his time on his knees in prayer rather than hunched over a laboratory bench. The Bible will be of interest where a  Bunsen burner is not. And both will learn different things from those different experiences

So I would argue that the results tell us only that Christians and unbelievers have different interests.  They do not tell us anything about mental inadequacies in religious believers. 

I am just speaking basic science in saying that we would need some sort of before and after experiment to isolate the causal direction. A survey cannot do that

I have added the journal abstract after the summary below

A new study has suggested that religious people are more likely to have a poor understanding of the world.

It claims that those with a belief in God are more likely to think that inanimate objects, such as metal and oil can think and feel.

Researchers say that the findings suggest people's lack of understanding about the physical world means they apply their own rules, 'resulting in belief in demons, gods, and other supernatural phenomena'.

The study comes from the University of Helsinki, where researchers went as far as comparing religious people with those with autism, after finding they struggle to understand the realities of the world.

People with strong religious beliefs tended to have a worse understanding of physical phenomenon, such as volcanoes and wind, and were more likely to believe that inanimate objects can think and feel.

For example, religious people tended to agree with statements such as 'stones sense the cold.'

Marjaana Lindeman and Annika Svedholm-Häkkinen, who led the study, told The Independent: 'The more the participants believed in religious or other paranormal phenomena, the lower their intuitive physics skills, mechanical and mental rotation abilities, school grades in mathematics and physics, and knowledge about physical and biological phenomena were.'

The study involved 258 Finnish participants, who were asked how much they agreed with the statement 'there exists an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving God' and if they believed in paranormal phenomena such as ghosts and psychic visions.

They were also tested on a range of other topics, including intuitive physics skills and understanding of basic biology.

The results showed that religious people tend to base their actions on instinct, rather than analytical thinking.

A study in 2013 by researchers at the University of Rochester suggested that religious people tend to have a lower IQ.

It suggested that those with high IQs had greater self-control and were able to do more for themselves - so did not need the benefits that religion provides.

But other studies have also found the religious people tend to be happier than those who do not believe in God.


Does Poor Understanding of Physical World Predict Religious and Paranormal Beliefs?

Marjaana Lindeman and Annika M. Svedholm-Häkkinen


Although supernatural beliefs often paint a peculiar picture about the physical world, the possibility that the beliefs might be based on inadequate understanding of the non-social world has not received research attention. In this study (N = 258), we therefore examined how physical-world skills and knowledge predict religious and paranormal beliefs. The results showed that supernatural beliefs correlated with all variables that were included, namely, with low systemizing, poor intuitive physics skills, poor mechanical ability, poor mental rotation, low school grades in mathematics and physics, poor common knowledge about physical and biological phenomena, intuitive and analytical thinking styles, and in particular, with assigning mentality to non-mental phenomena. Regression analyses indicated that the strongest predictors of the beliefs were overall physical capability (a factor representing most physical skills, interests, and knowledge) and intuitive thinking style.

ACPsy Volume 30, Issue 5, September/October 2016, Pages 736–742

Multiculturalist jailed for eight years for sex attacks on women as they slept at parties

An actor who played a prisoner in the hit TV show Broadchurch now faces eight years behind bars in real- life after being convicted of a series of sex attacks.

Nyakeh Kpaka, 26, whose stage name is Nakay Kpaka, was regarded as a promising young black actor with a bright future ahead of him after appearing in a number of popular crime and detective dramas including ITV's Broadchurch where he starred alongside David Tennant and Olivia Colman, playing the criminal son of a lawyer who has been locked up for six years.

But in real life he was a 'dangerous sexual predator' who targeted lone women at parties, sexually assaulting victims while they lay sleeping, it can now be revealed.

Kpaka was jailed for eight years for sexual assault yesterday at Woolwich Crown Court after being convicted of three sex attacks on two women.

Now it can be revealed for the first time that while he rose to fame starring in detective dramas, including ITV's Grantchester and Whitechapel, a series in which modern detectives in London's Whitechapel district deal with crimes which replicated Jack the Ripper, Kpaka was preying on vulnerable women off-screen.

In May 2015, Kpaka attended a house party in Blackheath, South East London where he later crept into a bed where a woman was sleeping and sexually assaulted her twice. Terrified, the victim woke up and ran screaming from the bedroom.

Police were called and Kpaka was arrested. But he claimed the victim had consented, even though she had never met him before and had, had little to do with him at the party.

Detectives released him on bail while they investigated.

But a second victim came forward in September last year claiming she had also been sexually assaulted by Kpaka in similar circumstances when she fell asleep at a different house party in Finsbury Park in December 2014.

The woman, who did not know Kpaka prior to the party, had gone to sleep in a bedroom at the house and was woken by Kpaka touching her.

Kpaka was charged with three counts of sexual assault by penetration in February 2016, but he denied the allegations saying the victims willingly took part. But after a short trial he was convicted at Woolwich Crown Court and sentenced to eight years.

Yesterday Detective Constable Peter Thompson, the investigating officer from the Met's Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: 'Kpaka is a dangerous sexual predator who has attacked vulnerable lone women whilst they were sleeping in bed at two different house parties.

'Thankfully he has now been caught and convicted and is serving a prison sentence.

'I would like to take this opportunity to thank those present at the parties who came to the assistance of the victims and the victims themselves who showed a great degree of courage to report these offences and give evidence against Kpaka.'

Police believe the actor who trained at Drama Centre London and also worked as a producer, may have attacked others.

Detective Inspector Faye Churchyard, said: 'This is a very positive result for both victims and their families and all those witnesses who came forward.

'I would use this opportunity to appeal for any further victims to come forward and report to police.'


Court halts Obama contractor blacklist

A Texas District Court told the White House it couldn't enforce a proposed blacklist for federal contractors, saying that President Obama exceeded his authority when he called for the new rule.

The court's decision was a preliminary injunction, but the sharp tone of the ruling suggested the administration would face an uphill battle to preserve the rule, which was scheduled to start Tuesday.

"The executive branch appears to have departed from Congress's explicit instructions dictating how violations of the labor law statutes are to be addressed," Judge Marcia Crone said in a ruling issued Monday.

The decision involves a 2014 executive order regarding any company bidding on a federal contract larger than $500,000. Obama's order, issued by the Labor Department last year, requires bidders to report any violations within the last three years of 14 federal labor and safety laws, as well as violations of any equivalent state laws. The contractors also had to report any pending complaints made against it, regardless of whether of a court has reviewed them. If the company wins the contract, it must make follow-up reports every six months until the contract is completed.

A coalition of business groups led by the Associated Builders and Contractors challenged the rule, arguing it was unfair because it meant that companies could lose out on contracts even if the complaints against them were ultimately dismissed. Crone agreed.

"Contracting agencies [are given] the authority to require contractors to report for public disclosure mere allegations of labor law violations, and then to disqualify or require contractors to enter into premature labor compliance agreements based on their alleged violations of such laws in order to obtain or retain federal contracts," Crone wrote. "By these actions, the executive branch appears to have departed from Congress's explicit instructions dictating how violations of the labor law statutes are to be addressed."

Later in the ruling, Crone said Obama's executive order "explicitly conflict[s]" with existing federal rules for banning contractors that violate labor laws and that it "defies reason" that Congress meant to give federal agencies that power.

The National Labor Relations Board, the main federal labor law enforcement agency, reported in its 2015 performance review that it issued more than 1,200 unfair labor practice complaints and that it prevailed "in whole or in part" in 88 percent of the cases litigated.

The Associated Builders and Contractors' vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs, Ben Brubeck, said his organization was "pleased" with the ruling. "The Obama administration cannot order private businesses to publicly disclose mere accusations of labor law violations that have not been fully adjudicated," he said.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, also applauded the decision. He argued that the rule would have allowed the government to "to play political favorites, picking and choosing which businesses are ineligible to receive federal contracts — even blocking them for a labor violation that hasn't been proven."


Immigration Controversies

Thomas Sowell

Despite controversies that rage over immigration, it is hard to see how anyone could be either for or against immigrants in general. First of all, there are no immigrants in general.

Both in the present and in the past, some immigrant groups have made great contributions to American society, and others have contributed mainly to the welfare rolls and the prisons. Nor is this situation unique to the United States. The same has been true of Sweden and of other countries in Europe and elsewhere.

Sweden was, for a long time, one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries in the world. As of 1940, only about one percent of the Swedish population were immigrants. Even as the proportion of immigrants increased over the years, as late as 1970 90 percent of foreign-born persons in Sweden had been born in other Scandinavian countries or in Western Europe.

These immigrants were usually well-educated, and often had higher labor force participation rates and lower unemployment rates than the native Swedes. That all began to change as the growing number of immigrants came increasingly from the Middle East, with Iraqis becoming the largest immigrant group in Sweden.

This changing trend was accompanied by a sharply increased use of the government’s “social assistance” program, from 6 percent in the pre-1976 era to 41 percent in the 1996-1999 period. But, even in this later period, fewer than 7 percent of the immigrants from Scandinavia and Western Europe used “social assistance,” while 44 percent of the immigrants from the Middle East used that welfare state benefit.

Immigrants, who were by this time 16 percent of Sweden’s population, had become 51 percent of the long-term unemployed and 57 percent of the people receiving welfare payments. The proportion of foreigners in prison was 5 times their proportion in the population of the country.

The point of all this is that there is no such thing as immigrants in general, whether in Europe or America. Yet all too many of the intelligentsia in the media and in academia talk as if immigrants were abstract people in an abstract world, to whom we could apply abstract principles — such as “we are all descendants of immigrants.”

A hundred years ago, when a very different mix of immigrants were coming to a very different America, there was a huge, multi-volume study of how immigrants from different countries had fared here. This included how they did as workers in various industries and in agriculture, and how their children did in school.

Some people like to refer to the past as “earlier and simpler times.” But it is we today who are so simple-minded that it would be taboo to do anything so politically incorrect as to sort out immigrants by what country they came from. As Hillary Clinton said in one of her recently revealed e-mails, she is for “open borders.”

However congenial the idea of open borders may be to elites who think of themselves as citizens of the world, it is not even possible to have everyone come to America and the country still remain America.

What is it that makes this country so different that so many people from around the world have, for centuries, wanted to come here, more so than to any other country? It is not the land or the climate, neither of which is so different from the land and the climate in many other places.

Nor is it the racial makeup of the country, which consists of races found on other continents. What is unique are American institutions, American culture and American economic and other achievements within that framework.

People who came here a hundred years ago usually did so in order to fit within the framework of America and become Americans. Some still do. But many come from a very different cultural background — and our own multiculturalism dogmas and grievance industry work to keep them foreign and resentful of Americans who have achieved more than they have.

Some immigrant groups seek to bring to America the very cultures whose failures led them to flee to this country. Not all individual immigrants and not all immigrant groups. But too many Americans have become so gullible that they are afraid to even get the facts about which immigrants have done well and improved America, and which have become a burden that can drag us all down.



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, October 27, 2016

British press ordered NOT to reveal which terrorists are Muslims

European human rights chiefs have told the British press it must not report when terrorists are Muslim.

The recommendations came as part of a list of 23 meddling demands to Theresa May’s government on how to run the media in an alarming  threat to freedom speech.

The report, drawn up by the Council of Europe's human rights watchdog, blamed the recent increase in hate crimes and racism in the UK on the 'worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians', although the research was done before the EU referendum campaign had even begun.

The suggestions sent to Downing Street urging the UK Government to reform criminal law and freedom of the press and in a brutal criticism of the British press, the report recommends ministers 'give more rigorous training' to journalists.

But UK ministers firmly rebutted the remarkable demands, telling the body: 'The Government is committed to a free and open press and does not interfere with what the press does and does not publish, as long as the press abides by the law.'

The report, from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) body, said there had been an increase in hate speech and racist violence in Britain between March 2009 and March 2016.

In an audacious move, the report recommends the British media be barred from reporting the Muslim background of terrorists.

And it comes after multiple terror atrocities by Muslim extremists across Paris, Brussels, Munich and other German cities over the last year.

Over the same period, there have been no major terror attacks in Britain.

The 83-page report states: 'ECRI considers that, in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of recent ISIS-related terrorist acts around the world, fuelling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety.

'In this context, it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators' motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.'

Theresa May's government firmly rebutted the remarkable demands, telling Brussels: 'The Government is committed to a free and open press and does not interfere with what the press does and does not publish, as long as the press abides by the law'
Theresa May's government firmly rebutted the remarkable demands, telling Brussels: 'The Government is committed to a free and open press and does not interfere with what the press does and does not publish, as long as the press abides by the law'

The aftermath of the referendum has raised tensions on both sides of the divide but the report today warned of a rise of in racism
The aftermath of the referendum has raised tensions on both sides of the divide but the report today warned of a rise of in racism .'

The ECRI regularly assesses incidents of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance across the EU's 28 member states.  It bases its analysis on 'a great deal of information gathered from a wide variety of sources'.

ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund, said: 'It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians.'

The report also claimed that June's Brexit vote 'seems to have led to a further rise in 'anti-foreigner' sentiment, making it even more important that the British authorities take the steps outlined in our report as a matter of priority.


The Radical Turn In World Affairs

The voice of an angry populace will be heard. Recent elections in Germany, Austria, and Spain suggest the migration of displaced Syrians across the continent is leading to political convulsions rarely seen since World War II. Some will describe it as the radicalization of conventional politics. Others will describe these convulsions as a safety valve for the Europeans obliged to deal with the migration issue. For many, any party willing to say "stop" will receive a hearing.

It is not coincidental that in the U.S. that Donald Trump has ridden this horse to the nomination. There are many Americans fed up with uncontrolled immigration and its effect on the criminal justice system, the schools and the quality of city life. Trump may be a maladroit as a spokesman for a movement, but he has a remarkable instinct for unleashing the pent up frustration of a class of people left behind in the race for success.

This populism is a Western wide phenomenon that will reach the Asian shores at some point. In Japan, this political condition will translate into a demographic concern as the population decline affects everything from tax revenue to retail sales. China's disruption isn't far off either.  When the government pulls the plug on inefficient state subsidized businesses and unemployment soars, a dramatic political effect is inexorable.

Later in the fall, Italy faces a constitutional referendum seen as an up-or-down vote on Premier Matteo Renzi's pro European government. In each case, a vote represents a persistent sense of fragmentation, an antiestablishment sentiment dogging most of Europe. Clearly the possibility of the EU unravelling is real. Each populist success seems to engender the next in what detractors would describe as the "populist contagion". French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen is likely to make it into the second round of French voting for the presidency next spring, a prediction that would have seemed far-fetched three years ago.

To some degree the political turbulence is a function of the challenges weighing on Europe's economies. It is instructive that the Brexit vote did not have the catastrophic effect on the United Kingdom as was predicted. But, interestingly the EU has suffered from the British vote. The precise contours of the political debate vary from one place to the next, but the disaffection with  the so-called establishment echoes across the continent and to the other side of the Atlantic.

Clearly the major point of contention that accounted for the Brexit vote and the emergence of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate is the refugee policy. Merkel's German rivals use slogans such as "Politics for our own people" and Trump contends "we must be a country again". The meaning is clear. Many people have a diffuse feeling the government no longer has this refugee challenge under control.

With stagnant economies and the insertion of millions of refugees into the equation, Europe is facing the prospect of radical politics and the U.S. is not far behind. The globe is shaking with the realization that the assumptions of the past are not valid, that history is taking a turn into the unknown and the precarious. It is time for a reckoning; when it will end and where it will end is anyone's guess.


The latest attack on free speech in South Africa

Minister Michael Masutha: Media briefing on the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill

Our nation is founded on the commitment to build a non-racial, non-sexist and human rights-based society. The Bill of Rights in the Constitution sets out the very basic rights that we all enjoy in a democratic South Africa. The recent racist utterances and many other incidents of vicious crimes perpetrated under the influence of racial hate, despite our efforts over the past two decades to build our new nation on these values, has necessitated further measures to uproot this scourge which is reminiscent of our unenviable apartheid past.

Democracy does not thrive in an environment that is fraught with divisions, hatred and violence hence social cohesion is important for the development of the country and the sustenance of stability. As the media, you are often at the pulse of developments in the country and have reported extensively on racial and xenophobic incidences including the so-called ‘corrective rape’ of LGBTI persons and violent attacks on sex workers.

It therefore gives me great pleasure to announce that today we have published for public comment in the Government Gazette, the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill which was approved for public consultation by Cabinet on 19 October 2016. The Bill creates the offences of hate crimes and hate speech and seeks to put in place measures to prevent and combat these offences.

A hate crime is committed if a person commits any recognised offence, that is a common law or statutory offence (referred to as the “base crime or offence”) and the commission of that offence is motivated by unlawful bias, prejudice or intolerance. 

The base offences most often committed against victims of hate crimes are offences relating to the physical and emotional integrity of the person, as well as offences against the property of the victims, for instance murder, attempted murder, rape, assault in all its various manifestations, robbery, housebreaking, malicious damage to property, crimen injuria and arson.

The prejudice, bias or intolerance towards the victim of the hate crime would be because of one or more of the following characteristics, or perceived characteristics, of the victim or the victim’s next of kin: Race, gender, sex, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, religion, belief, culture, language, birth, HIV status, nationality, gender identity, intersex, albinism and occupation or trade.

Although nationality, gender identity, HIV status, albinism, intersex and occupation or trade are not expressly mentioned in section 9(3) of our Constitution it has been argued that they should be included in the Bill because of the hate crimes that have been committed on the basis of these grounds.

The Bill has been drafted after a thorough study of other similar pieces of legislation internationally, such as those in Kenya, Canada and Australia. Developing specific legislation on hate crimes will have a number of advantages. It will provide additional tools to investigators and prosecutors to hold the perpetrators of hate crimes accountable and provide a means to monitor efforts and trends in addressing hate crimes.

The Bill may be accessed on the departmental website and interested parties and individuals may make inputs until the due date of 1 December 2016.

As government, we are encouraged by the voices of those who stood to challenge the emergence of these remnants of our tragic past, an act which shows that our country is neither racist nor xenophobic. Together let us draw from that consciousness which resists any attempt to take us backward.

You will recall that that during March this year, the Department launched the National Action Plan (NAP) to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances. The NAP provides the basis for the development of a comprehensive policy framework against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. We are grateful to all who shared their inputs through various platforms and commit to speed up the finalisation of the NAP.

We are certain that the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill will build on to the existing measures such as the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA), 2000 (Act No. 4 of 2000) to combat the social ills of racism, xenophobia and related intolerances. This Act has enabled government to establish Equality Courts in all magisterial districts. Currently, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is facilitating information sessions in various communities around the country to raise awareness of the Equality Courts.

Steps are also underway to amend PEPUDA. Upon approval of the proposed draft amendments, a formal public consultation process will be embarked upon. We envisage the introduction of the amendments into Parliament in early 2017. The PEPUDA Amendment Bill will be made available for a public participation process in March 2017.

The Constitutional and legal instruments are only one element of the approach that must be taken to safeguard our democracy. I call upon all South Africans to view the processes underway in a positive manner and to make their contributions to the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.

In this spirit, I would argue that we should all take the opportunity at hand to contribute towards ensuring that once sanctioned into law, the Bill will assist all of us to deal with recurring incidences of racial, xenophobic and related intolerance.

We are clear that this Bill of itself may not end racism and other intolerances but will create an instrument that will hold those guilty of committing acts accountable before the law. It is important that the final version of the Bill must represent the collective wisdom of the nation and reflect our renewed commitment to uproot these social ills


Australian judge backs wife: Islamic ‘divorce on the porch’ not on

The Family Court of Australia has refused a Muslim husband’s effort to divorce his wife under Islamic law under conditions that would have left her with 10 per cent of their million-dollar property pool.

The wife, who cannot be named but is known in court documents as Ms Basra, appealed to the Family Court for help after her husband attempted to get out of the marriage, which produced three children, for $100,000, ­despite having more than $1 million in assets.

The husband, known as Mr Ahmed, wanted the court to recognise an Islamic divorce he says took place on his porch in 2009, with a sheik and several other men as witnesses. But Ms Basra denied she had taken part in such a ceremony and produced an official document from Beirut that recorded her husband as married to two women — herself and a second wife — rather than having been divorced and remarried.

The court heard the couple was married in an Islamic ceremony in Australia, and again in Lebanon in July 1997, when Ms Basra was 18. He was 10 years older. The Lebanese marriage was recognised under Australian law.

Mr Ahmed told the court, with judge Garry Watts presiding, that he divorced his wife in 2009 in front of a sheik and “a number of other men” from the community.

He said the sheik asked his wife whether she wished to go through with the divorce, and whether she understood her entitlements under Islamic law, which were vastly less than she would have­ ­received under Australian law, as a full-time mother of three.

He said he then divorced his wife by uttering the words “I ­divorce you” in front of witnesses, and both parties signed the statement of Islamic divorce.

Ms Basra admitted she had been taking a single-parent payment from Centrelink for several years, saying she had done so only after her husband told her to “call Centrelink, and tell them we are separated but living under one roof so you receive the single parent benefit payment”.

Justice Watts said it was unclear from her evidence whether she had done so because she believed they were actually separated or was defrauding the taxpayer.

Counsel for the husband argued Ms Basra was “attempting to portray herself as this downtrodden, under-the-thumb Islamic woman”. The wife “quite candidly conceded this was exactly how she saw herself”, and she was “cynically trying to present her husband as (a) barbaric, misogynist, Arab man”. The wife presented evidence of three apprehended violence orders she had taken against him during the marriage.

The husband argued against a settlement larger than $100,000, saying his assets had been boosted more than $150,000 by compensation for an accident. He said he had given his wife more than 2kg of gold, valued at $115,000; she said it was more like four gold bangles, a necklace and ring.

Judge Watts ruled the divorce on the porch “is not a divorce that would be recognised under Australian law” and ordered a 70-30 settlement in the wife’s favour — partly because he believed the husband had access to resources beyond those he had declared.



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, October 26, 2016

Donald Trump slams ‘ridiculous’ transgender reforms in attack on ‘politically correct military’

Comments below from "Pink News"

Donald Trump today agreed with a soldier who complained about “social engineering” allowing transgender people to serve in the military.

Five years after lifting the ban on openly gay and lesbian soldiers serving openly in the military, earlier this year the Obama administration made reforms to allow trans people to also serve.

The plan altered decades-old regulations that listed “transgenderism” as a mental illness.

However, today Donald Trump hinted he would roll back the move when asked by a soldier who claimed it had harmed military readiness..

In a Q&A with the right-wing American Warriors PAC chaired by anti-LGBT hate group leader Tony Perkins, Mr Trump was asked whether he would reinstate the ban.

He was asked: “Under this administration the warrior ethos has been under attack and undermined by the forces of political correctness – the military has become an institution for social experiments, and as a result the military has undergone a number of changes with regards to women in combat, transgender rights and other issues.

“None of these PC actions were combat-effective or readiness driven… the opposite is happening. Deployability, readiness and morale are all adversely affected. What will you do about the social engineering that’s been imposed on our military?”

Trump replied: “We’re going to get away from political correctness – we’re going to have to do that.

“You’re right, we have a politically correct military and it’s getting more and more politically correct every day. A lot of the great people in this room don’t understand how it’s possible to do that. That’s through intelligence, not through ignorance.

“Some of the things they’re asking you to do and be politically correct about are ridiculous. I will say, I would leave many of the decisions about the things you mentioned to the generals, the admirals and the people on top.

“We’d get our military people to make recommendations to me and I will follow those recommendations.”

At the same event, Mr Trump was also asked about the case of anti-gay Navy chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder – who was reprimanded after homophobic rants in which he told troops that “the penis was meant for the vagina and not for the anus” and God had sent him to “save” homosexuals – and former Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk, who attracted seven homophobia complaints for his actions towards trainees but claims he’s just being targeted because of his religion.

Trump said: “It’s a great question… have we ever had a time like this?

“There has to be a melding of both, we’re living in a time where there has to be a melding of both, but it’s very unfair what they’re doing to religion in this country.”

The Republican had already previously reversed his support for domestic transgender rights, siding with North Carolina over a contentious ‘Bathroom Bill’

Mr Trump was once a moderate within the Republican Party on LGBT issues, suggesting that people shouldn’t be fired because of their sexuality.

But he has reneged since, saying he would “consider” appointing ultra-conservative Supreme Court justices to repeal equal marriage, and confirming he would sign a Republican-backed law to directly permit homophobic discrimination.

On September 23, Trump confirmed he would sign the so-called First Amendment Defence Act, which bans the government from taking any “action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognised as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

The broadly written law would effectively legalise all discrimination against LGBT people in all sectors – from employment to retail to healthcare – as long as the person discriminating claims it was due to their religion.

The shocking move would require the repeal of Barack Obama’s landmark LGBT discrimination protections, which Trump also confirmed he would axe.

He said in a statement: “Religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

“It is our first liberty and provides the most important protection in that it protects our right of conscience. Activist judges and executive orders issued by Presidents who have no regard for the Constitution have put these protections in jeopardy.

“If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.”

Mr Perkins, who chaired today’s event, is an extreme anti-LGBT activist who made a number of extremely disturbing claims about LGBT people in the past, insisting that gays will attempt a ‘Christian Holocaust’.

Perkins also compares gays to paedophiles, insisting: “While activists like to claim that paedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. It is a homosexual problem.”

Trump has faced questions about his ties to Perkins in the past.

Earlier this year, when Trump was mocked for misquoting the Bible in a speech, he revealed it had been co-written by Mr Perkins.


UK: Christian bakers lose court appeal in ‘gay cake’ row

Bakery owners who refused to make a ‘gay’ cake have lost a court appeal, after claiming it is a sin to print pro-gay messages.

The owners of Ashers Bakery in Belfast were found guilty of unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation and political or religious grounds, after the company in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland refused to bake a cake showing the message ‘Support Gay Marriage’ above an image of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie.

Despite losing its initial case, the bakery owners took their case to the Belfast Court of Appeal – with financial and legal help from the anti-LGBT Christian Institute.

However, the court today dismissed the appeal from Daniel and Amy McArthur, who claimed in their appeal that God considers it a sin to make cakes with pro-gay messages on.

Their appeal had challenges the grounds for a discrimination case – claiming the alleged discrimination was against the message on the cake, and not the person buying it.

However, in its ruling today, the appeals court upheld the initial verdict against the pair.

Northern Ireland’s Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan ruled: “The fact that a baker provides a cake for a particular team or portrays witches on a Halloween cake does not indicate any support for either.”

The judgement continues: “Counsel for the appellants [claimed] that a protected characteristic could not be established by a difference in treatment in respect of a message on a cake.

“We do not accept this. The benefit from the message or slogan on the cake could only accrue to gay or bisexual people.

“The appellants would not have objected to a cake carrying the message ‘Support Heterosexual Marriage’ or indeed ‘Support Marriage’.

“We accept that it was the use of the word “Gay” in the context of the message which prevented the order from being fulfilled. The reason that the order was cancelled was that the appellants would not provide a cake with a message supporting a right to marry for those of a particular sexual orientation.

“This was a case of association with the gay and bisexual community and the protected personal characteristic was the sexual orientation of that community. Accordingly this was direct discrimination.”


Canada:  Hijab police uniforms were politically correct publicity stunts; no demand from Muslim officers

Earlier this year I shared with you exclusive documents from the RCMP regarding its rollout of the official uniform hijab, showing that the final product was rushed after all prototypes failed testing.

We also looked into other police departments that have taken similar action, and found that political correctness rather than officer need has been the driving force.

After the Edmonton Police Service unveiled its uniform hijab, the Calgary Police Service, despite having no requests for it and no known female Muslim police officers, wanted to get in on the action itself, setting in motion a process to include hijabs in the uniform for “recruitment” purposes.

In an email to a CPS representative, an Edmonton staff sergeant said that they needed to get their policies “up to 2015, if you know what I mean.”

In fact, as media outlets were looking into police hijabs, a CPS communications staffer said that it was a “great national story to have our voice in!”

Politically correct policing has become the norm in Canada, with some departments focused on progressiveness rather than law and order.


‘Politically correct’ being used as cudgel, but why?

A view from the Left

I get a lot of angry mail. It goes with the turf.

To work as an opinion journalist these days is to be automatically enrolled in the Suck It Up and Move On School of Insult Response. The alternative is to subject your audience to a hand-wringing treatise on the decline of civility, a sort of kindergarten teacher’s plea to the kids to talk nice and don’t bite. You may wheedle a little sympathy, but the point is probably lost on the incorrigible biters.

Only a few critics, I can truthfully say, are so dramatically and sometimes creatively awful that I’ve had to block their messages and try to hypnotize myself into forgetting what they’ve said.

But I’ve got some regular critics who routinely unload both barrels when they don’t like my political opinions. They’re the folks who use “liberal” as a blistering taunt, who see me as marching in conspiratorial lockstep with some broader progressive agenda, and who strongly feel my views should not go unchallenged.

More than any other descriptor, they accuse me, and most of my media brethren, of being politically correct. To their mind, we’re empty-headed toadies paying automatic obeisance to the lefty cause du jour.

“PC” has been around so long that it was actually becoming an hoary old chestnut, until it emerged as the white-hot kernel of resentment at the heart of this interminable death-march political cycle.

So last week, I brought it up myself. I combed through the mailbox, identified some of my most ardent-but-not-unhinged critics, and asked them to tell me: What do you mean when you say “politically correct?” What does “political correctness” mean to you?

I’m glad I asked, because I got a lot of thoughtful, candid answers. And while these are people with strong opinions who aren’t likely to change their views any more than I’m likely to change mine, the conversation we had was an interesting one.

To me, it’s an outdated term, generally lobbed as an all-purpose insult from right to left. And if you break it down, being “PC,” to me, is observing common civilities in the way we treat each other.

But by and large, these writers described a maddening brand of repressive Orwellian Newspeak that silences dissent for fear of giving offense to specific interest groups.

P.C., one gentleman said, is “excessive restrictions on free speech that, directly or indirectly, result in attempts to squash debate or limit open discussion of a topic due to under and misplaced concerns for the feelings of others.”

Another called it the “dogma of the liberal left that someone can challenge only at the risk of being ridiculed and bullied.”

These are folks deeply offended at being called “racist,” “bigot” or “homophobe.” While such hatred certainly exists, they say, they feel they’re often labeled — and dismissed — for expressing their views.

A surprising number of them mentioned that what they view as the “political correctness” movement was a necessary response to the glaring inequalities of previous generations — but they think the movement has spun out much too far and too long.

“PC surfaced as a way to influence civil discourse,” one writer said. “Quite frankly, it was probably long overdue. It became no longer acceptable to refer to or address someone based on their ethnic background, gender, or sexual orientation.”

“Being just plain insensitive is the other extreme of the spectrum,” said another. “We certainly should not offend others.”

The sticky part, of course, is who gets to define what is or is not offensive. Several of these readers said, for instance, that the Black Lives Matter movement ignores and stifles discussion of black-on-black crime, or the cumulative social disadvantages of single parent households. They believe the danger of terrorism is soft-pedaled to avoid offending Muslims. They believe we’re ignoring the social and economic toll of uncontrolled immigration.

We’re not likely to agree on these issues. But I can’t (or shouldn’t) demonize conservatives — I have one in the house, after all.

Does “political correctness” hamper legitimate debate? I don’t think so, but plenty of people do — and they’re not all alt-right pro-Trump diehards.

And I do think it’s too easy to conflate traditional Republican conservatism with the Trumpian excesses of the alt-right. The mean little schadenfreude dance a lot of us are doing over the internecine warfare in the GOP could boomerang back on us one of these days.

A lot of the frustration I heard from these dozen or so writers was not that the “progressives” or “elites” don’t agree with them, but that they feel disrespected and heckled for their disagreement. One man cited the NBA’s decision to move its All-Star game out of North Carolina after legislators there passed a law restricting transgender access to public restrooms.

“I don’t question their right to do it, but it smacks of a certain arrogance, an indication that opposing views simply deserve to be squelched,” he wrote.

Another cited what he views as the hypocrisy of coaches and athletes who want to restrict demeaning “locker room talk,” yet try to cover up bad behavior by star players. And several said that while they don’t think much of Donald Trump as presidential candidate, his lack of appeal for the mainstream press has turned us into inappropriately one-sided cheerleaders for the Clinton campaign.

Most of these folks and I are rarely, if ever, going to be in the same political camps, especially where social matters are concerned. I’m not sure I even really subscribe to the view some of them hold about being stifled or denied a right to free speech. Of course you get free speech — but you get the consequences, too. We all do.

In all honesty, though, I enjoyed reading their sincere assessments. It was surprisingly pleasant to have straightforward conversation with some of my fieriest critics.



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