Thursday, November 09, 2017

Australia: Homosexual community won’t forgive those who voted "no" to homosexual marriage

The homosexual writing below makes large and unwarranted assumptions about other people's motives so it is no surprise that he is filled with hate. He says, for instance, that  the plebiscite on homosexual marriage was a deliberate delaying tactic.  It was not.  It was a buck-passing exercise.  The Liberal party was disunited over the matter so they did the democratic thing and handed the decision to the people. 

He also says that "no" voters were motivated by a feeling that homosexuals are inferior. That may have been true in a few cases but he is totally ignoring that the case for the "No" vote was almost entirely put by Christian organizations.  Nobody could be in any doubt that homosexuality is condemned in the Bible and there are still many people who respect Bible teachings as at least wise.  I do myself, despite being an atheist.  The "No" vote was almost certainly a vote in favour of Christian teachings in most cases.

So he ignores both the virtue of democracy and the teachings of Christianity.  No wonder he is bitter and twisted and full of vindictiveness.  Ignoring reality is never wise.

What about the "hurt" that homosexuals have experienced when they heard their practices condemned?  They can only have felt that if they were previously unaware that people disapproved of them.  Being hauled into an awareness of reality must be regarded as a generally good thing. Political correctness normally inhibits people from speaking negatively of homosexuality so this was an occasion where the truth could come out.  Surely that must be on balance a good thing

FEW things have united the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ voters in the divisive, drawn-out campaign for same-sex marriage.

Mathias Cormann’s suggestion back in August that the postal ballot would be a “unifying moment” for the country now seems utterly laughable.

But if one thing unifies, it’s surely the relief that this postal ballot plebiscite finally ends today. People in both camps have felt injured or insulted over these six long weeks. Many of the public feel fatigued. They just want it to be over.

Make no mistake: this is what anti-equality MPs wanted. The optional, non-binding, expensive, unnecessary postal vote was a delaying tactic to prohibit or at least postpone marriage equality — and certainly to exhaust existing public appetite for it.

Turnbull’s continued insistence that this has been a “respectful debate” isn’t just a lie — it’s offensively ignorant. Trains were defaced with ‘Vote no to fags.’ Two lesbians in Redfern woke up in October to discover that dog excrement had been thrown on their doorstep. Graffiti instructed people to ‘Bash a gay today’. Respectful? This is incitement to homophobic violence.

A ‘No’ voter was sacked from her job for being public about how she’d vote. At Sydney University, food was thrown and threats made to “stomp on the face” of ‘No’ voters, which resulted in the police being called.

This is what happens when you put people’s human rights, basic dignity and simple equality up for debate. People get passionate. It gets ugly. And it was always going to.

Of course, passion makes the headlines. Many, myself included, tried to have the polite, respectful debate Turnbull wanted. I volunteered for the ‘Yes’ campaign, making calls to voters and asking if they’ll, pretty please, consider treating me equally. It was a demeaning exercise — but one I did on behalf of the anxious, upcoming generation of LGBTQI people who deserve to share in the happily-ever-after optimism that every young person does.

A typical response to asking a caller if they’d consider voting ‘Yes’ was offered by one particularly aggravated woman: “I don’t actually think that’s any of your fucking business, do you?”

What I wanted to say was: “Neither is the validity of my relationship with my boyfriend actually any of your fucking business, but you’ve still been invited to have your say on its legitimacy, haven’t you?”

What I actually said was: “No worries madam, sorry for interrupting your evening!” It’s a conversation, through gritted teeth, I had dozens, possibly hundreds of times.

But where did that politeness get me? Even if we win the postal ballot, we lose. A Sky News ReachTEL poll found 64 per cent voted ‘Yes’. But if that’s the case, I still find it devastating to know that over a third of the country have been encouraged to post a letter saying they don’t want to treat me equally.

That 36 per cent have been influenced by a ‘No’ campaign to solidify their gut feeling that I’m inferior to them. They could be my future employers. They could be people whose livelihoods I help fund by buying goods or services from them. And that makes me very uncomfortable.

Something unforgivable has occurred here. MPs were widely warned a plebiscite would unleash a Pandora’s box of harm. Gay people warned it’d give licence to homophobia and further ostracism. We pleaded with MPs to think of the suicide risk to vulnerable young LGBTQI people. Rainbow families travelled to Canberra to warn of the harm this’d do to their young kids. Bill Shorten listened, and reversed his initial support for the plebiscite.

Not only did Coalition MPs ignore and dismiss these warnings, they fought them at the High Court — and won. Look what happened. As Tanya Plibersek said on last night’s Q & A, gay people were distraught to discover members of their own family would be voting ‘No’.

I’ve seen gay people asking anyone on Facebook voting ‘No’ to de-friend them: from cousins and acquaintances to those they thought were their friends. Employers have been encouraged to turn against their staff for voting a different way. I’ve even seen divisions within the gay community itself emerge as a debate rages about how much tolerance or acceptance we should offer those who don’t want us to have equality.

With all this grimly predictable polarisation, I can think of one unifying moment for the LGBTQI community. It’s a reclaiming of power too often denied us, and one of the greatest powers of all: the withholding of forgiveness.

If gay people are angry that they’ve been pitted against each other and against their friends, family and colleagues, they have the power to punish at the ballot box — not just at the next election, but for a lifetime.

I’m hoping it galvanises LGBTQI people not just to vote for any other party than the LNP, but to join one, and campaign for one.

Why should we trust or forgive MPs who’ve ignored us, dismissed our legitimate concerns, made us beg for equality?

The real unifying moment is that the gay community now knows who has our backs. If you’re gay, and now consider voting LNP in your lifetime, shame on you.


Robots are no danger but the response to them could be

By economic historian Martin Hutchinson

My much-esteemed ex-colleague Andrew Stuttaford has written several times on the dangers of robotics. He believes that our living standards may come to suffer an “Engels Pause” similar to the impoverishment Friedrich Engels, writing in 1844, saw resulting from the early Industrial Revolution. Having studied that period in my work on Lord Liverpool, I will suggest that Engels was wrong about the Industrial Revolution. I also claim that whatever the unknowable future effects of robotization, we should today be more fearful of not Engels’ Pause but his statist Paws, meddling like an economically illiterate King Kong with the ineffably efficient wealth-optimizing mechanisms of the free market.

Turning now to the 21st Century, the possibility of an Engels Pause from robotization is given increased plausibility by the lousy wage growth in the last decade, both in the United States and in Stuttaford’s and my native Britain. If wage growth can be so sluggish even while full employment is returning and robots have yet to make their full mark, then robotization appears indeed to have the potential to immiserate us all.

However, on inspection the lackluster economic record of the last decade has been a Pause caused not by robotization, but by what we may call Engels’ Paws: clumsy attempts to mess with the economy, distorting the signals sent by the market, to produce more politically attractive results. Needless to say, the Paws have been ineffective, grotesquely increasing asset prices and inequality, and driving the economy far indeed from its optimum state, as Engels-style meddling always does.

The most important destructive Paws meddling with the global economy for the last decade have been the monetary policies of the rich world’s central banks, keeping real interest rates mostly below zero. Rates were a moderate distance from where the free market would have put them even at the bottom of the recession, but have been forced an ever-increasing distance from equilibrium as economies have recovered. In Britain, for example, Mark Carney’s Bank of England is doggedly maintaining rates below 1%, at a time of full employment when inflation is running at more than 3%. Thus, British short-term rates today are a full 5% away from the level at which they would settle in a free market. That has huge distorting effects on resource allocation, pushing the economy a huge distance from its optimum.

Those large and clumsy Paws have caused British house prices in London and the south-east to be bid up to levels completely unaffordable for domestic citizens without giant trust funds. For those London professionals of my generation who have maintained stable employment, this is fine; they bought houses in the 1980s and are now sitting on gigantic capital gains, which they can use to fund retirement if they are prepared to move out of London. For the young or those who have had to sell their houses it is catastrophic; they are cut off from any possibility of buying anything beyond a share of a slum-located hovel.

Even more important, however, is the appalling absence of productivity growth in countries with ultra-low interest rates. Without productivity growth, there is no possibility of a rise in living standards, and only the likelihood of a steady, probably accelerating further decline as unskilled Third World immigrants flood in and undercut the locals’ wages.

Economists in the United States are currently debating learnedly the incentive effects of possible tax cut packages, and whether a particular package may bring back the magic of 3% annual economic growth. However, non-market, Paws-operated interest rates have a far greater distorting effect on economic decision making than any possible tax package. For example, company after company among the Fortune 500 has engaged in gigantic stock buy-backs, rewarding management’s stock options but leaving the company itself denuded of equity and thus hugely vulnerable to even the mildest downturn. When giants such as AT&T and Boeing create balance sheets with negative tangible net worth through stock buybacks, they commit long-term suicide, a decision utterly irrational were they not forced into it by management greed and a decade of ultra-low rates.

In the United States over the last decade, there have been two possible explanations for the productivity lag, both examples of Engels’ Paws. One of them is interest rates; the other is the blizzard of environmental and other regulations under the Obama administration. When the government arbitrarily forces consumers to abandon a type of light-bulb they have been using for more than a century, that is the clumsy Engels in action. When government attempts to shut down the coal industry when many pits are still profitable, the hairy Paw of the subhuman Engels is again visible. The gigantic global scam of climate change, not the scientific reality showing a possible very modest anthropogenic warming but the huge government and supranational superstructure attempting to regulate much of the world economy out of existence, is the most dangerous Paw of all.

Under the Trump administration, economic growth and productivity have returned, at least at moderate rates. The last two quarters showed economic growth above 3% and productivity growth at 2.3%, both far above the levels in the late Obama years. The interest rate distortion has been lessened; real short-term rates have almost reached zero. Nearly as important, Engels’ paws in the regulatory area have been slapped down and tied behind the monster’s back – at least for the moment.

The improvement in growth produced by President Trump, without any great new policies, but simply by lessening Engelian meddling, suggests that our future may possibly be brighter than it appears. Robots will easily take over many of our current tasks, for example long-distance transportation, but will find it much more difficult to handle others, which require specialized motor and human interaction skills they still lack. Just because the middle classes are now threatened by robots in the way handloom weavers were by steam engines does not make the robot threat historically unique. Even among middle class jobs, you can’t tell me robots will in our lifetimes become effective salesmen for residential real estate (1.23 million jobs in 2016).

New jobs will appear, new needs will appear, which humans will fill alongside robots, perhaps with their capabilities enhanced by human-robot interfaces. Provided Engels’ Paws are firmly tied behind his back, the economy will adapt to these new jobs, and wages will tend to rise rather than fall. Only a possible glut of human beings, outweighing the physical capacity of our planet to provide Western living standards for all, remains a threat; Thomas Malthus, like Say, was a much better economist than Engels.

For two centuries, Engels and his leftist successors have been trying to subject us to the whims of government by denying the realities of the Industrial Revolution. Their economically illiterate fantasies, not robots, are the principal threat to our living standards in the next century, as they have been in the last two. The Engels Pause barely existed (and is subject to a simple non-pejorative economic explanation) but the Manichean struggle against Engels’ Paws is central to our existence.


NPR Legal Reporter Wants The Supreme Court To Stop Citing The Constitution

America’s newest Supreme Court Justice – Neil Gorsuch – has made news in the liberal media – not necessarily for his opinions though. The media has portrayed the Trump-appointee as pedantic, boorish and juvenile and annoying.

This is hard to square with the praise Gorsuch received from colleagues and former law clerks during his confirmation hearing, writes Elizabeth Slattery in a commentary on

As an example of the outpouring of support for Gorsuch, here’s a former law partner – almost breaking down in tears – talking about how “whip smart,” honest and honorable the man is.

But to read the headlines, you’d think that was all made up.

In a recent episode of the Supreme Court podcast “First Mondays,” NPR’s legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg took aim at Gorsuch. First in her crosshairs was his habit of frequently citing the Constitution. She objected to Gorsuch bringing things back to first principles at oral argument. He often prefaces his questions by saying, “Let’s look at what the Constitution says about this … It’s always a good place to start.” This should come as no surprise.

But it annoys liberals, who want a “modern” interpretation of the Constitution, without the baggage of the historical record. That’s not how Gorsuch operates. A former clerk wrote: “Whenever a constitutional issue came up in our cases, he sent one of his clerks on a deep dive through the historical sources. ‘We need to get this right,’ was the memo—and right meant ‘as originally understood.’”

But Totenberg wasn’t done criticizing Gorsuch. She also claimed there is a fight brewing between the new Justice and his colleague, Justice Elena Kagan. Here’s what she said:

"My surmise, from what I’m hearing, is that Justice Kagan really has taken [Gorsuch] on in conference. And that it’s a pretty tough battle and it’s going to get tougher. And she is about as tough as they come, and I am not sure he’s as tough—or dare I say it, maybe not as smart. I always thought he was very smart, but he has a tin ear somehow, and he doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the conversation".

Here’s how Slattery put it:

First, I’m highly skeptical of someone purporting to know what happened when the court met in conference. The justices are notoriously secretive about these meetings—not even law clerks are allowed in the room. During conference, the justices discuss cases following oral argument and cast their initial votes in conference, though they sometimes change after draft opinions have been circulated. This is precisely the time for the justices to debate the issues in a case.

Second, Totenberg’s assertion that Gorsuch is “maybe not as smart” as she thought is off base. Anyone who has read his speeches or his written opinions—either from his time on the appeals court or his first two months on the Supreme Court—can see why that is patently false. The Columbia-Harvard-Oxford-educated judge weaves literary references into his opinions and writes in a clear, concise manner that’s easy for lawyers and lay people alike to understand.

Totenberg also claims that she doesn’t think Gorsuch believes in precedent. This is likely her fear – and the fear of millions of liberals – that he would vote to overturn the 40-year-old Roe v. Wade decision lifting bans on abortion.

Unless Nina Totenberg has a microphone in the chambers, she should leave her analysis to what she can actually see and hear.


Google Not Feeling So Lucky Over Australian Defamation Case

A recent decision in the Supreme Court of South Australia is a warning shot across the bow of publishers of online content. Hannah Marshall and Daisy Von Schoenberg from Marque Lawyers explain.

The latest defamation case about Google’s search engine results has just come out. It’s a warning to search engines and online publishers generally, and a nod to defamation litigants everywhere to pursue them.

It all started when Dr Janice Duffy, a medical researcher, consulted some online psychics about her love life. After the psychics’ predictions didn’t eventuate (shock!) Dr Duffy posted negative reviews about the psychics on a website called the Ripoff Report (who’d have thought psychics might be a rip-off?).

The psychics responded with posts labelling Duffy a “psychic stalker”.

Because of this, a Google search of her name started returning results with extracts of the articles calling her a psychic stalker, and its autocomplete function offered the words psychic stalker after her name.

Dr Duffy asked Google to remove all that. Google refused. Litigation ensued.

This latest judgment was Google’s appeal of the original judgment, in which it lost and Dr Duffy won $115,000 in damages.

You might think that a payment of $115,000 would be immaterial to a multinational tech company like Google, but the broader implications for its business and other online intermediaries were huuugggeee.

The legal question was whether Google was a publisher of the search engine results in a way that makes it liable for defamation. Here’s the short version of the appeal court’s answer.

Google said it was not a publisher of the defamatory results because its algorithms automatically produce results at the request of users, performing over 100 billion searches every month.

The court accepted this, and found that Google was not liable for the results prior to it being made aware that they were defamatory. However, the court also said that once Dr Duffy notified Google of the defamatory material, its failure to remove the results amounted to further publications of the defamatory material.

This largely reaffirms the position of secondary publishers like search engines, or hosts of user generated content like chat rooms, Facebook page operators, or any news or other sites with user comments.

Once you know, or should reasonably know, that material is defamatory, then you can be liable for publishing it.

What happens now? Keep your eyes and ears peeled for a High Court appeal by Google. Our bet is that the mega search engine is not going to roll over on this decision lightly.

In the meantime, if we were Google we’d be reviewing our complaints handling procedures very carefully.



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

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

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


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