Monday, December 31, 2018

Alt-Right: Are Racists Mentally Ill? Some Psychiatrists Say Yes

The article below isn't too bad, considering that it is written from a Leftist perspective.

There was in the '50s a big push (mentioned below) among psychologists, led by the Marxist Theodor Adorno, to brand ALL conservatives and racists as mentally defective.  That was very poorly founded so eventually ran its course and, by 1965, Roger Brown's textbook "Social psychology" declared ethnic favoritism to be universal and ineradicable.  That view seems to be held by the majority of psychologists and psychiatrists to this day and that has obviously frustrated some of the Left-wing activists below.

The innovation in the article below is that not all conservatives and people with racial views are in the gun.  It is only extremists who are mentally suspect. So it is interesting to read  that the psychiatrists have knocked back that theory too.

The scores of people carrying flaming torches and chanting “Jews will not replace us” last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, bore the message of the “alt-right,” the name given to the white supremacist movement dedicated to eradicating religious and ethnic minorities from America. This racist uprising will be followed by at least nine rallies this weekend—ostensibly dedicated to free speech but sure to broadcast messages of hate—across the U.S., held by members of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other groups.

Many find the sight of hundreds of racists chanting their intentions for a so-called "ethno-state" and the forceful removal from America of anyone who isn't white horrific. But others—namely, some psychiatrists—see these individuals as mentally ill. Which leads to a disturbing question: Are we seeing the emergence of a nationalist movement fueled by prejudice or a widespread personality disorder that requires psychiatric care? Answering that dredges up long-held notions about racism in America.

In the 1960s, Alvin Poussaint, now a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, was providing medical and psychological care to civil rights activists in Jackson, Mississippi. As a black psychiatrist in the South, he often feared for his life. He witnessed many acts of violence, cared for victims of racist acts and had frequent run-ins with state troopers. Once, when he told an aggressive police officer that he was a doctor, the officer continued to call him “boy” with a hand on the gun in his holster.  “I saw the malignancy of the racism much more clearly, and the genocidal element of the extreme racism where they wanted to kill you,” Poussaint tells Newsweek.

He wondered if that hatred was an actual sickness that could be diagnosed and potentially treated. When he was in his early 30s, and a prominent psychiatrist at Tufts Medical School, Poussaint and several other black psychiatrists approached the American Psychiatric Association (APA) with the idea that extreme racism wasn’t just a social problem or a cultural issue. To these professionals, extreme racism—the kind that leads to violence—was a mental illness.

Poussaint and his colleagues wanted the APA to include extreme racism in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a “delusional disorder.” The DSM is the definitive guideline used by mental health clinicians to diagnose patients.

The DSM is not infallible. Over the years, it has provided insights into the country’s ever-changing values and belief systems. Homosexuality, for example, wasn’t completely omitted from the DSM until the late 1980s. The APA now has a new system for continuous updates, but last time the APA revised the DSM (in 2013) they declined the request by a group of psychiatrists to add pornography and sex addiction to the index. For psychiatrists updating the guide—a process that in the past might take more than a decade—doing so means wrestling with the very nature of humanity, what is normal and abnormal when it comes to behavior and beliefs.

Poussaint wasn’t arguing about the relatively milder beliefs that cause a person to stereotype and classify groups of people negatively. Rather, he and the other psychiatrists were addressing the kind of racism that leads to violent behavior, like killing and injuring people by driving a car into a crowd, as happened in Charlottesville. That extreme form of racism, said Poussaint, could reasonably be classified as paranoid and delusional.

The APA was unreceptive. “There was a lot of resistance to the idea,” he says. The problem, Poussaint explains, was that those in charge saw racism as too ubiquitous to diagnose. “They felt racism was so embedded in culture, that it was almost normative, that you had to deal with all the cultural factors that lead to this behavior,”

Members of the APA also argued that the extreme racism is a mental illness claim lacked hard science. That objection was weak, says Poussaint, because many mental health diagnoses  listed in the DSM don't have a solid scientific premise, including personality disorders. Some APA members said classifying extreme racism as an illness would excuse terrible beliefs and reprehensible behavior.

But Poussaint wasn’t interested in excusing or stigmatizing behavior; he wanted to help people he believed were sick. Inclusion in the DSM, he insisted, could allow individuals suffering from extreme racism to access services such as state-mandated psychiatric counseling, and therefore benefit society because, “it could protect people they might otherwise attack.”

Poussaint still believes extreme racism is a form of paranoia and should be treated that way. In therapy, a psychiatrist would help the patient understand the origins of their racism. “Like any psychotherapy or treatment you would try to tie it all together,” he says. “Other psychiatrists have testified and acknowledged such individuals may improve from treatment when they come to understand these beliefs and why they are projecting them onto other people and acting out.”

Racism as a Symptom

The question of whether extreme racism is a mental illness still haunts psychiatry. About 15 years ago, Carl Bell, a psychiatrist at Jackson Park Hospital Family Medicine Clinic and professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Medicine, resurrected Poussaint’s attempt to convince the APA to classify racism as a mental disorder. But Bell tried a different tack from Poussaint. He viewed extreme racism as a type of pathological bias that signaled an underlying personality disorder.

Bell proposed adding pathological bias to the DSM as a trait of personality disorder. With that addition, extreme bigotry would be a major criterion for the diagnosis. The broad term could also apply to individuals who direct violence and hatred toward other groups, such as gays or women.

But again, the APA said no. “When I raised this issue for the personality disorders working group they shut me down,” says Bell, “they were like, ‘Hell, no.’” As in decades past, the APA justified their objection on the grounds that racism is and always has been entrenched in society.

“The difficulty is that if you are in a racist society, how do you tease that out from biology or personality?” says Bell, who could not even convince the APA to study why racist thoughts and action manifest in some people during manic episodes.

The Association did finally issue a statement in 2006 acknowledging that some psychiatric factors cause a person to become racist, although “further research would be needed to explore this hypothesis.” The group also noted that racist beliefs and behavior often cause depression and psychiatric illness in people who are subject to them. In a statement provided to Newsweek about its approach to prejudice-based violence, Saul Levin, CEO and Medical Director of the APA, said, "The APA has a longstanding policy noting the negative impact of racism on mental health. APA policy supports public education efforts and research on racism and its adverse impact on mental health."

Bell and other experts continue to view some instances of racism as a symptom of other disorders. Racist thoughts and actions are often a manifestation of some other established and diagnosable mental disorder, says Bell. People with narcissistic personality disorder—a mental condition many experts have claimed Trump has —often have fixed values rooted in racism. Dylann Roof, the teen white supremacist convicted of killing nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, had been diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder. People with conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder often experience extreme paranoia related to race or ethnicity, though not always violence.

There is also evidence that most of us harbor prejudices, leading some experts to believe we are hardwired to discriminate in some fashion (though not specifically against others). The Implicit Association test (IAT), a tool used to understand the roots and extent of bias, measures impulses of subconscious racism—for example, whether we associate certain types of people with negative or positive feelings. The test, which was developed by social psychologists at Harvard, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington more than two decades ago, has been taken by more than 17 million people. The results show that at least 90 percent of Americans are at least slightly biased against people unlike themselves. Psychologists remain split on where to draw the line, though. Some say discrimination requires a diagnosis when thoughts become actions. But others doubt whether acting on racist beliefs warrants a label of its own.

This Is Not Normal

The fact that many people who act on extreme racist beliefs lead high-functioning lives may also stand in the way of labeling this demographic as mentally ill. In the early 1960s, Jewish author and journalist Hannah Arendt covered the trials of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann for the New Yorker. She was shocked that “half a dozen psychiatrists had certified Eichmann as ‘normal,’” despite the fact that he orchestrated the mass murder of millions of Jews. One psychiatrist described his familial relationships as not just normal but desirable.

In the decades following the Holocaust, the idea that someone who commits crimes against racial and ethnic minorities could still be considered sane by psychiatrists was unsettling, says James M. Thomas, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Mississippi. “Many people turned to the explanation that there must be something wrong with the German psyche to have allowed this to happen.”

Social scientists knew that creating a clinical definition was critical. They understood that stigmatizing extreme racism could help society wake up to the abnormality of this pathology, and possibly prevent other genocidal acts. Three psychologists [There were actually four -- Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson & Sanford] devised the California F-scale —F stands for fascist—a test used to evaluate a person for “authoritarian personality type.” They thought  understanding how people were seduced by Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric could help prevent future such movements. Although the F-scale fell out of favor, it enabled psychologists to identify common traits of people who cling to dangerous ideologies. They included an inflexible outlook, strong allegiance to leadership, a tendency to scapegoat others and a willingness to lash out in anger and violence.

Sander Gilman, who teaches psychiatry at Emory University, and co-authored with Thomas the book Are Racists Crazy?, agrees that dangerous racists leading seemingly normal lives are hard to identify. “Racists, sadly, cope quite well with daily life,” says Gilman. “They have a take on the way the world should be, and that take functions in the world they live.”

Gilman does not favor a standalone diagnosis of extreme racism, and believes that attempts to categorize such people as mentally ill masks the greater problem of society allowing them to commit vengeful acts. “Those people are evil. They’ve made bad choices, but they’re not choices you can then attribute to mental illness,” says Gilman. “The minute you do that you let people off the hook.”


Racist organizers cancel Women's March for being too white

Organizers of the Women’s March in Humboldt County, California, announced Friday that they have canceled the local Jan. 19 event because the marchers are overwhelmingly white.

In a Facebook statement, the group said it opted to nix the third annual march “after many conversations between local social-change organizations and supporters of the march,” saying they would work on how to “broaden representation in the organizing committee.”

“Up to this point, the participants have been overwhelmingly white, lacking representation from several perspectives in our community,” said the statement. “Instead of pushing forward with crucial voices absent, the organizing team will take time for more outreach.”

The Humboldt County group said it was still interested in holding an event in March on International Women’s Day.

Some followers on Facebook said they were disappointed in the decision. “I was saddened to hear that the March is off for 1/19,” said David Holper. “Isn’t there still time to reach out to minority groups and make this event more inclusive? I’d be happy to help.”

Others pointed out that the Northern California community of about 137,000, located near the Oregon border, is predominantly white.

Census Bureau data from July showed that the county was about 74 percent non-Hispanic white, 12 percent Hispanic, 6 percent Native American, 2 percent Asian, and 1 percent black.

“I was appalled to be honest,” said Amy Sawyer Long. “I understand wanting a diverse group. However, we live in a predominantly white area … not to mention how is it beneficial to cancel? No matter the race people still want their voices heard.”

The national Women’s March is scheduled to hold Jan. 19 its #WomensWave rally in D.C., while some state and local sister organizations are also holding marches.

Also organizing events that day are other women’s groups such as March On and the Women’s March Alliance, which have formed as alternatives to the Women’s March over anti-Semitism concerns. The four national co-chairs of the Women’s March have denied allegations of anti-Semitism.


Tennis legend Martina Navratilova is accused of being 'transphobic' in furious Twitter row after suggesting people born male should not be allowed to compete in women's sports

Martina Navratilova has become embroiled in a row with the transgender community after she claimed that people born male should not compete in women's sporting events.

Navratilova, 62, a former Wimbledon champion and LGBT campaigner, was accused of being 'transphobic', following her remarks which she made on social media.

Her comments had come in response to a question from a follower about transgender women in sport. She was forced to delete the comments last night following criticism.

'Clearly that can't be right. You can't just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.

'For me it's all about fairness. Which means taking every case individually… there is no cookie cutter way of doing things.'

Her accusers included Dr Rachel McKinnon, a transgender activist and competitive cyclist who won a women's event at the UCI Masters Track World Championship, earlier this year.

Dr McKinnon, who was born male, demanded that Navratilova apologise and criticised the comments. She wrote: 'Genitals do not play sports. What part of a penis is related to tennis? How does that "level" any playing field?'

The government held a consultation on changes to the Gender Recognition Act, between July and October this year, which has been accused of toxifying the transgender debate.

Navratilova said that she stood by her comments and wouldn't be 'bullied' into silence.

She did concede, however, that she would leave the conversation since 'it seems to be my decades of speaking out against unfairness and inequality just don't count with you at all'.

Dr McKinnon said Ms Navratilova's LGBT campaigning 'doesn't change the fact that you did something very wrong today. Past good deeds don't give someone a pass.'

Navratilova had originally said in response to the criticism: 'I am sorry if I said anything anywhere near transphobic – I meant no harm. I will educate myself better on this issue but meantime I will be quiet about it.

She then clarified: 'Rachel [Dr McKinnon], you might be an expert on all things trans but you are one nasty human.'


Diverse Coalition of Middle Eastern Women condemn FGM and Sharia and Endorse Donald Trump

An international coalition of women’s rights activists hosted a high-profile Speakers’ Forum and News Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about barbaric abuse of women and child brides under sharia law and to express their unwavering support for President Donald Trump, who champions their cause.

Elizabeth Yore noted that more than 513,000 women and girls across America are at risk for FGM, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Yore also said FGM is recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women. Over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel and barbaric practice.

“We are bringing women from all across the country and all over the world to raise our unified voices in support of President Donald Trump,” said Rabia Kazan, best-selling author, journalist and women’s rights activist against child marriage and president of the Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition. “President Obama created ISIS and encouraged sharia law throughout the Middle East, and for eight years he turned a deaf ear to our cries. Finally, there is hope for us because of President Trump. He is changing the game. He is the only one fighting for us and for our human rights.”

23 year old activist Kelly Long brought a youthful, Christian angle to the question of women’s rights in the Middle East

The Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition wants to reform the barbaric practices of child marriages, genital mutilations, honor killings and dress code restrictions by initiating a cultural and religious revolution throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. They believe that only President Trump has both the will and the international stature to do that.

Magda Odendaal, Ph.D. of South Africa, a psychologist and activist against female genital mutilation brought a unique perspective to the event

The Press Club gathering featured female anti-abuse crusaders from America as well as Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Libya and Kurdistan—all countries that allow or endorse sharia law. The stellar panel of prominent women speakers, many of whom at one time risked their lives to escape from oppressive conditions in their own native countries, included:

Elizabeth Yore: Internationally renowned attorney and activist specializing in human rights and child welfare advocacy and head of the national EndFGMToday campaign

Ola Hawatmeh (Lebanese-American): Women’s rights activist against arranged marriages, fashion designer, founder of Ola Style and vice president of the MEWC

Adele Nazarian (Iranian-American): Writer, filmmaker, Middle East expert and human rights advocate

Arian Lev (Israeli): Human rights activist and best-selling author

Nahren Anweya (Assyrian-American): Activist for persecuted Christians

Marilyn Matrisciana (American): Ordained Christian minister who spent 35 years in Middle Eastern countries and co-founder of Servant Group International

Chiman Zebari (Kurdish-American): Author and activist against honor killings

Uzma Hayat (Pakistani-American): Activist, writer and Middle Eastern expert

Magda Odendaal, Ph.D. (African activist): Psychologist and activist against female genital mutilation

Mina Attaran (Iranian-American): Women’s rights activist and Middle Eastern expert

Soat Tebrizi, Ph.D. (Persian-American): Women’s rights activist and psychotherapist

Eva Hasqueal (Iraqi-American): Human rights activist and Middle East expert

Sonya Elizabeth (Libyan-American): Women’s rights activist

“These courageous women will be telling their own personal stories,” said Kazan before the event. “Their stories are real, gripping and painful, as each one has experienced horrific abuse in some way, either in their own personal lives or in what they saw happen to their loved ones. Each one will share her testimony about women and little girls who have been subjected to forced child marriages, genital mutilation, honor killings and horrific abuse, perhaps even by fathers and brothers. You will leave better understanding the dilemma of women hopelessly trapped in the slavery and degradation that exists under sharia law, and why this has to change.”



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


Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Queen's piano

A few people, presumably Leftists, are angry at the Queen over her piano. A psychologist I know, who has worked a lot with prisoners, comments as follows:

"People distort and poison their own soul by being jealous of others. Jealousy always feels justified, even though it is not. Jealousy leads to anger, and anger leads to hatred, which is the desire to harm and see harm done.

Anger, like jealousy, always feels justified, always feels itself to be in the right, even though it is not in the right. The sense of rightness that anger feels is false. Anger is a delusionary condition. And the sense of justification that jealousy feels, is as false as the sense of rightness that anger feels. They are both bitter, resentful, poisonous conditions, maladapted to reality.

Prisons are full of people who have acted on jealousy and anger, feeling justified and righteous at the time of their crime, and often continue to feel justified and righteous afterwards. But they are in the wrong and are not justified. They are criminals with criminal attitudes.

Jealous angry lefties who complain about wealthy people, are just weak criminals. They have the criminal attitude but are too weak to commit the crime. Strengthened by weight of numbers, lefties tend to commit the crimes that their jealousy and anger drive them to commit.

History shows us that... the Soviet socialists, German National Socialists, Cambodian socialists, Chinese socialists,... they all enjoyed killing the wealthy people that they were jealous of.

There are two ways to see what a particular kind of person is really like. Look at what comes from them, their effect upon others, their fruits. And look at how they behave when they are in large numbers with unbridled power.

The jealous and angry socialists who have largely taken control of our universities feel justified and righteous in hating those who have more than they have. When they are in large numbers we can easily see their propensity to indulge in righteous crime"

There’s been an online backlash to the Queen’s Christmas message this year after viewers took offence at her gold piano.

The Queen was filmed sitting at a desk in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace when she delivered her speech, which included personal reflections on her long life and a wish for peace.

But it was the presence of a gold piano in the background that sparked accusations of hypocrisy and that she was out of touch.

Daily Mirror associate editor Kevin Maguire said the Queen had killed satire by “lecturing the nation to pull together” while sitting in front of a golden piano in a palace she was charging taxpayers to renovate.

Scottish National Party politician James Dornan also pilloried her message suggesting a singalong on the gold piano might cheer up those hungry and sleeping on the streets.

The gold piano is part of the Royal Collection, an art collection made up of more than one million objects owned by the British royal family. The Queen owns some of the objects as a private individual but others are owned in the right of the Crown.

The gold piano is not actually made of gold but is mahogany, painted and gilt in gold. Queen Victoria commissioned the piano in 1856 and it was recently went through a 12-month restoration to clean it of surface dirt, which covered many parts of its decoration.

While the Queen’s wealth is offensive to some, others defended her and pointed out it was not surprising she had a gold piano.

"Look personally I love the Queen’s gold piano, is she supposed to stage a fake room for her Christmas address with IKEA furniture in it? she’s the Queen"

"She’s the freakin’ Queen. If anyone should have a gold piano, it’s her. Or Liberace."

"She has a gold piano!.. in a time of austerity!... who does she think she is, the Queen of England?"


A Morally Pretentious #MeToo Movement

Feminism is less about expanding independence or strength, and more about expanding victimhood.

One of the leading voices of the feminist movement is being excoriated for taking on the insufferably self-righteous perpetrators of the #MeToo movement.

“I want, I’ve always wanted, to see women react immediately,” Germaine Greer stated during an interview in London, preceding a gala where she was named Australian of the Year in Britain. “In the old days, there were movies — the Carry On comedies, for example — which always had a man leering after women. And the women always outwitted him — he was a fool. We weren’t afraid of him and we weren’t afraid to slap him down.”

“What makes it different is when the man has economic power, as Harvey Weinstein has. But if you spread your legs because he said, ‘Be nice to me and I’ll give you a job in a movie,’ then I’m afraid that’s tantamount to consent, and it’s too late now to start whingeing about that,” she added.

“Whinge” is the British version of “whine,” and there was no shortage of whining in response to Greer’s assertion. Columnist Tracy E. Gilchrist insists Greer appears “stuck in another era,” and that she “victim-blamed in the middle of making the point." Guardian columnist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, who believes older generations of feminists blazed a path for today’s social justice warriors, nonetheless characterizes Greer as "some older woman or other [who] is brought in to tell anyone who will listen how stupid the whole [#MeToo] endeavour is.”

Stupid? Selective is more like it, and in that regard Greer herself is rightly taken to task for giving Woody Allen a pass regarding allegations by stepdaughter Dylan Farrow that the director molested her when she was seven. “It was 20 years ago, so you want him to stop making movies now? It might be a good idea because he’s probably no good anymore,” Greer stated.

But why single out Greer? Many of the #MeToo warriors themselves also gave Allen a pass for years. And as it is with Harvey Weinstein, their newfound outrage demonstrates the same ex post facto hypocrisy of working for Allen first, and criticizing him afterward. Moreover, there’s no shortage of hypocrisy with regard to convicted child rapist Roman Polanski: Activist Natalie Portman, who champions her solidarity with sexual harassment victims, once signed a petition calling for Polanski’s pardon.

Nonetheless, Greer and other critics of the #MeToo movement, including Catherine Deneuve and 100 prominent French women, are getting hammered for suggesting #MeToo is rapidly devolving into a witch hunt. And as it must be for a generation marinated in progressive ideology, “intersectionality” drives that criticism. Thus New Yorker columnist Lauren Collins bemoans the fact that Deneuve, et al, are “mostly, though not exclusively, white members of the professional and artistic classes,” whose petition wasn’t signed by “housekeepers or bus drivers.”

For those insufficiently attuned to modern-day feminism, a 2014 column by Ava Vidal reveals what such “intersectionality” is all about. “There is no one-size-fits-all type of feminism,” she writes. “For example, I am a black woman and as a result I face both racism and sexism as I navigate around everyday life.”

In other words, today’s feminism is less about expanding the boundaries of independence or strength, and more about expanding the boundaries of victimhood.

Why the seeming paradigm shift? “Previous generations understood that our decisions, our whims and consents, had to be ordered by a larger purpose. But the millennial ‘nones’ are the least likely to understand that,” columnist Daniel Greenfield explains.

The term “nones” is a reference to those who do not identify themselves as having any religious affiliation. Tellingly, 36% of Millennials identify as such, a total double that of similar-minded Baby Boomers.

Why is a lack of religion important? “The history of human civilization is built on societies ordering the various states of human emotions to a higher purpose. That is one of the fundamental gifts of religion,” Greenfield explains. “Philosophers across thousands of years sought answers and offered solutions. And then in the last few generations, we tossed them all on the rubbish heap and exchanged them for Marxist pottage.”

That Marxist pottage swaps a higher purpose for “states governed by the emotions of the moment,” and a moral code “based on an academic analysis of power relationships between races, genders and sexual orientations.” As a result, leftists have created an environment “in which consent could be obtained with sufficient pressure,” but also one where “what can be obtained with sufficient pressure can also be withdrawn with sufficient pressure.”

Thus, as Greenfield and Greer have noticed, “retroactively withdrawn consent” drives far too many members of the #MeToo movement — and infuriates them when they’re called on it.

That fury can’t obscure the reality that the women who allowed Harvey Weinstein to exploit them made the choice that an acting career was worth compromising their integrity. That doesn’t mean Weinstein, and the rest of overwhelmingly leftist predators with power to procure sexual favors, aren’t utter low-lifes. It just means a lot of women need to be honest about what their priorities were.

And are. It’s worth remembering that after many of them became stars — and thus economically comfortable — the only real downside to outing these predators would have been having a harder time getting additional roles — often from the same predators.

That doesn’t mean outing them retroactively isn’t a good thing. Going forward, women will undoubtedly benefit from what appears to be a permanent alteration of a contemptible dynamic that has played itself out for far too long.

But telling America what paragons of integrity they are now? It is revealing that both Rose McGowan and Asia Argento, the two women who accused Harvey Weinstein of rape, and are arguably the primary catalysts of the #MeToo movement, both insist they weren’t invited to the 2018 Golden Globes, the awards-show-turned-paean to sexual harassment, in all its black gowns-only glory.

Thus, despite all of the ostensible high-mindedness championed by the current generation of feminists, perhaps “states governed by the emotions of the moment” — with an ample dose of hypocrisy added to the mix — is the best we can expect.



Pat Condell has below some scathing comments on the elitist opposition to Britain leaving the European union.  The British elite and the American elite would appear to have a lot in common

Democrats Question Judicial Nominee About Membership in Catholic Association

Two Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are pressing a nominee for the Nebraska federal trial court about his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal service organization of the Catholic Church.

Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Kamala Harris of California submitted written questions in December to Brian Buescher, an Omaha lawyer nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, proposing that he resign his affiliation with the Knights, which they call an “all male society” that “has taken a number of extreme positions” on social questions.

The Catholic News Agency was first to report Friday on Hirono and Harris’ questions respecting the Knights of Columbus.

Buescher leads the agribusiness litigation practice at Kutak Rock LLP, where he has practiced since graduating the Georgetown University Law Center in 2000. President Donald Trump nominated him to the federal bench on Oct. 10 at the recommendation of GOP Sens. Ben Sasse and Debra Fischer of Nebraska.

Lawmakers did not question Buescher about his enrollment in the Knights during his Nov. 28 confirmation hearing, though he listed his association with the group in a questionnaire he returned to the Judiciary Committee prior to his appearance. The issue was only raised in a series of follow-up questions Democrats transmitted to Buescher on Dec. 5. Senators often submit written questions to nominees following a confirmation hearing, though they generally escape public notice.

Christian leaders have previously criticized Judiciary Committee Democrats for perceived anti-Catholic bias. Hirono was among the Democratic lawmakers who expressed concern that Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s religious convictions would impede the discharge of her judicial duties during Barrett’s confirmation hearing for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2017.

Like Buescher, Barrett is a Catholic. She is considered a serious contender for the Supreme Court, should another vacancy arise during the Trump administration.

Among other items, Harris asked Buescher if he was aware that the leadership of the Knights opposes gay marriage, while Hirono asked whether he can assure litigants that he will fairly judge matters relating to reproductive rights.

Founded in 1882 as a mutual benefit society for impoverished Catholic immigrants in New England, the Knights currently operate in over a dozen countries and distribute almost $200 million in charitable funds annually. The organization has some 15,000 chapters.

“The Knights of Columbus is a Roman Catholic service organization with approximately two million members worldwide,” Buescher wrote in response to Hirono and Harris’ questions. “The organization has a religious and charitable purpose. I joined the Knights of Columbus when I was 18 years old and have been a member ever since. My membership has involved participation in charitable and community events in local Catholic parishes.”

“The Knights of Columbus does not have the authority to take personal political positions on behalf of all of its approximately two million members,” he said elsewhere in his responses.

Most members of the Judiciary Committee, including Harris, were absent from the Nov. 28 hearing, which took place an hour before a widely attended briefing with senior administration officials on the Saudi war effort in Yemen.

Aside from his affiliation with the Knights, Democratic lawmakers questioned Buescher about his unsuccessful bid for Nebraska attorney general. During the campaign he described himself as “an avidly pro-life person” and vowed to resist overreaching federal regulations.



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


Monday, December 24, 2018

An Evidence-Based Faith
“Eighty and six years I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong,” said Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, in A.D. 156, before climbing onto a pyre — where Roman authorities would burn him to death. Eyewitnesses reported that the local authorities respected Polycarp and begged him to recant his faith in Christ. He would not. The Romans did not even tie Polycarp to a post, as they knew he would not flee the fire. Polycarp fed his captors, prayed over them and then climbed the pyre to die.

Authorities carted off Polycarp’s friend Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, and fed him to wild beasts in the Circus Maximus on July 6, 108. Ignatius had refused to renounce Christ. Histories of the time, their personal writings and the writings of others tell us Polycarp and Ignatius were students of the Apostle John. They vouched for him as the author of his gospel. John installed Polycarp as bishop of Smyrna, and the Apostle Peter placed Ignatius in charge of Antioch.

In A.D. 99, the Romans drowned their acquaintance Clement in the sea — tied to an anchor — for the same reason. Paul mentioned Clement in his letter to the Philippians, and history shows Clement interacted with Peter, Paul and John.

Clement, Ignatius and Polycarp were one generation removed from the direct eyewitnesses of Jesus. They were students of the Apostles. They vouched for the veracity of the apostolic letters that form the New Testament. They died refusing to reject Jesus as the Christ.

Some skeptics say Jesus did not exist, but by any historic standard, the man known as Jesus of Nazareth existed. If he did not exist, then neither did the Greek philosopher Socrates. We have no writings from Socrates himself. We only know of his existence through the writings of other people. But no one would doubt Socrates existed. We actually have more eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ existence than of Socrates’. Some, however, argue that because Jesus made claims of divinity, there must be extraordinary evidence — perhaps as to his divinity, but not for his historical existence. We have to wipe a lot of people out of history to wipe Jesus out of history.

The Apostle John was Jesus’ best friend. We know this from scripture. We also know this from Polycarp, Ignatius and others. They studied under John, recounted his stories of being with Jesus — including stories not in scripture — and confirm John, Peter, Paul and others as eyewitnesses to Christ’s resurrection.

According to John, Jesus’ own brothers — perhaps like some reading this — rejected Jesus’ claims of divinity. At Jesus’ death, John had to care for Jesus’ mother because none of Jesus’ brothers or sisters went with Mary to the crucifixion. John, Luke, Paul and others tell us that Jesus’ brothers then became leaders in the early Christian church.

Histories of the era recount that James and Jude, the brothers of Jesus, wrote the New Testament letters named after them. Both were executed for proclaiming Jesus as the risen Lord. In fact, the Romans ultimately exterminated the entire earthly bloodline of Jesus’ family.

The leaders of Jerusalem respected James. The oral and written histories of the early Christian church recount that they asked James to publicly push back against claims of his brother’s divinity. Instead, James proclaimed his brother Jesus, whom he had rejected prior to Jesus’ death, was Yahweh. The leaders of the city, enraged, carried James to the top of the temple wall in Jerusalem and threw him off — to his death.

Jesus could have been a conman surrounded by other conmen. They, in turn, were willing to die to keep the con going and got others to die keeping the con going. Or there is something else. Dozens claimed to be the Christ, but only Jesus is remembered and worshiped as the Christ. Why?

Perhaps because it is true. I, however, cannot convince you of more than that the historic evidence for his existence and the willingness of many to die for him is true. But if I am right, you can ask Jesus yourself. Take to your knees and embrace the wonder of this season. Cry out to Jesus, be still and listen. Merry Christmas.


Two Female Christian Artists Could Be JAILED For Not Creating Art For Same-Sex Weddings

Two female Christian artists in Arizona who refuse to make custom-art for same sex weddings could actually be jailed for sticking to their religious beliefs.

Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski , who own Brush & Nib Studio, make custom artwork using painting, calligraphy and handlettering. They filed suit against the city of Phoenix, as a Phoenix city ordinance threatens them with up to six months and/or a fine of $2,500 each day they refuse to make the artwork. First the women filed in state court to overturn the ordinance, but lost in a court of appeals, prompting them to appeal to the state’s Supreme Court, which said on November 20 it would hear the case.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the women, asked in their petition:

Does Phoenix violate the Arizona Constitution’s Free Speech Clause when it forces commissioned artists to create custom artwork—consisting of words and paintings—conveying messages they object to and when it bans commissioned artists from publishing a statement explaining the artwork they can and cannot create?

Does Phoenix violate Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act when it uses criminal penalties—including jail time—to force commissioned artists to create custom artwork expressing messages that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs and when it bans religiously motivated speech?

The petition added, “Their Christian beliefs forbid them from creating ‘custom artwork that conveys messages condoning, supporting, or participating in activities or ideas that violate their religious beliefs. For example, they cannot create artwork expressing messages that ‘contradict biblical truth, demean others, endorse racism, [or] incite violence.’”

ADF senior counsel Jonathan Scruggs stated at the time the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, “The government must allow artists to make their own decisions about which messages they will promote. Joanna and Breanna are happy to design custom art for anyone; they simply object to being forced to pour their heart, soul, imagination, and talent into creating messages that violate their conscience.”

On Friday, ADF reported that a group of legislators weighed in in favor of the women:

The Arizona attorney general joined by other states, numerous state lawmakers, various scholars, and a diverse array of business, artistic, and faith-based groups have filed friend-of-the-court briefs with the Arizona Supreme Court in support of preserving artistic and religious freedom. Specifically, the briefs support two Phoenix artists who face jail time and fines if they violate a sweeping Phoenix criminal law that forces them to design and create custom artwork expressing messages that violate their core beliefs.

The brief filed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and other state attorneys general states, “A government simply cannot force a citizen to engage in or endorse expression. ... [Phoenix] must not be allowed to force artists to create customized expressions contrary to their moral, religious, or political beliefs, even if such work is paid for by the one requesting it.”

Scruggs added, “As the briefs filed this week affirm, the government shouldn’t threaten artists with jail time and fines to force them to create art that violates their beliefs. Joanna and Breanna work with all people; they just don’t promote all messages. Creative professionals should be free to create art consistent with their convictions without the threat of government punishment. Instead, the government must protect the freedom of artists to choose which messages to express through their own creations.”


Colorado Is Still Trying to Destroy Jack Phillips
Over the past few years, Colorado has been on a crusade to destroy Jack Phillips’ business over a thought crime. The state’s Civil Rights Commission had bored into Phillips’ soul and established that his refusal to create a specialty cake for a same-sex couple was driven by his personal animosity toward gay customers rather than by his Christian faith.

Unelected officials began fining Phillips in an effort to put him out of business for being a Christian. I wrote about the case numerous times, and every time, I was assured that his actions had nothing to do with “religious liberty” — a term almost always placed within quotation marks to intimate that it’s a bogus concern. I was assured that it’s constitutionally acceptable for a gay couple to force a man to create art that undermines his faith. I was assured the case against him would be a slam-dunk for Colorado.

Perhaps it’s unsurprising that so many assumed Phillips’ cause was a lost one. After all, legacy media had fostered a number of misconceptions about the case. Most noteworthy, news reports (and, more importantly, headlines) created the impression that Phillips had refused not only to design an artistic cake with a personalized message that would have undermined his long-standing beliefs — the same beliefs Barack Obama and many other Democrats (but not all conservatives) were still pretending to hold when David Mullins and Charlie Craig walked into Masterpiece Cakeshop — but also to sell gay costumers anything in his shop. It was untrue.

In the end, the 7-2 Supreme Court decision earlier this year protecting Phillips from this attack was both heartening and welcome. But despite all the celebration by First Amendment advocates, it was also a narrow victory. The only real mistake the commissioners had made, according to the court, was openly demeaning their target.

It was then-Commissioner Diann Rice, for example, who had compared religious liberty to Nazism and slavery. The fact that Colorado would not take similar cases against bakers who refused to make specialty cakes for Christian customers (also a protected class) was another obvious example of its social activism. The Supreme Court found that Colorado didn’t display religious neutrality when punishing Phillips for his beliefs, showing “a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs.”

The commission would not make the same mistake next time.

On June 26, 2017, the day the Supreme Court agreed to hear Phillips’ case, Autumn Scardina, a transgender attorney and activist, called Masterpiece Cakeshop and asked Phillips to design a custom cake with a blue exterior and a pink interior to symbolize a transition from male to female. Phillips politely turned Scardina down. “I was stunned,” the lawyer risibly claimed in her complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Scardina, of course, didn’t accidentally ask the most famous Christian baker in the nation to make a “transition” cake. Scardina is leading a crusade against Phillips. In one call, Scardina allegedly asked for “an image of Satan smoking marijuana.” In a written request, members of “the Church of Satan” asked for “a three-tiered white cake” with a “large figure of Satan, licking a 9” black Dildo.“ "I would like the dildo to be an actual working model, that can be turned on before we unveil the cake,” went the request. You can just sense the sanctimonious smugness of people who think this sort of thing is edgy.

In any event, the state of Colorado has allied itself with activists, formally determining that there was probable cause that Phillips had indeed discriminated against Scardina based on “gender identity.” Of course, the baker’s refusal to make dildo and pentagram cakes only proves that Phillips isn’t specifically antagonistic to same-sex couples and the newly consecrated belief in malleable “gender identity,” as he’s shown a consistent adherence to his less malleable Christian values.

It’s those values that upset Scardina and members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Though they can’t say it explicitly, most progressives are fine with discrimination against religious groups. In their hierarchy of moral concerns, free expression isn’t nearly so concerning as the hurt feelings of aggrieved gay couples. And Colorado is again complicit in another attack on the Constitution. Until the Supreme Court comes down with a ruling that explicitly protects religious liberty from state-sponsored attacks on faith, they’ll keep trying.

But it goes well beyond those legal concerns. Activists — including the commission — are trying to destroy a man for thought crimes. This state-sponsored harassment isn’t only about Phillips’ modest business in Lakewood, Colorado, though that’s surely part of it. It’s a warning to all those with unpopular opinions to stay in line.

Trust me, no businessperson wants to deal with the Kafkaesque nightmare of having to account for the moral veracity of every transaction. So in many ways, no matter what happens in court, these inquisitors have already won.


Boy Scouts Facing Bankruptcy: Sacrificed on ‘altar of political correctness’

The Boy Scouts is reportedly considering bankruptcy amid what many saw as the imminent result of a series of poor decisions.

The 108-year-old organization may be seeking bankruptcy protection amid a significant decline in membership and a financial hit due to legal costs in dealing with sex abuse violations, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Multiple social justice decisions by the organization, including the controversial re-naming of the Boy Scouts to Scouts BSA in order to let girls join, and allowing openly gay leaders and members, led to a spiraling loss of membership and sponsorships.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it would be severing all ties with the Boy Scouts at the end of next year, signaling the end of a long-standing partnership which could cost the embattled organization nearly a third of its members. The Mormon Church indicated that its decision was based on the Boy Scouts representing values that diverge from its own.

In its pursuit to be more inclusive, it seems the Boy Scouts organization lost its way and is now looking at Chicago law firm Sidley Austin being able to help with what could be a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Decades-old cases of alleged sexual abuse were kept under wraps in what came to be known as the “perversion files,” leading to multiple lawsuits against the organization that has led to crippling legal debt.

Chief Scouts executive Michael B. Surbaugh noted the group’s “financial position” in a letter obtained by People magazine, issuing the statement “in anticipation of news reports that will speculate about the BSA’s financial position.”

“We have an important duty, and an incredible opportunity, to focus as an organization on keeping children safe, supported and protected, and preparing youth for their futures through our nation’s foremost program of character development and values-based leadership training,” Surbaugh said.

“To do so in perpetuity,” he continued, “we are working with experts to explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scout of America continues uninterrupted.”

Perhaps a return to its original principles would provide the oxygen mask the Boy Scouts needs, but it seems many think that time has passed and the demise of the program for 11- to 17-year-olds.



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


Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Leftist admits Leftist hypocrisy but says it is justified

Writing on the Leftist "Medium" site, a Seattle graphic designer is full of rage.  Excerpts below. His admission of the shallowness of Leftist claims is refreshing but he goes on to say that what really matters is that Leftists are fighting a huge fight against vast injustices.  The vastness of the injustices in the world is apparently sufficient to justify almost any opposition to it.

So what are these vast injustices?  He seems principally concerned about that old chestnut, black/white inequality.  Somehow whites are responsible for black failure and, to correct that, great and coercive changes are needed.

The immutability of low black economic success does not seem to faze him.  That it persists in the face of extensive affirmative action policies does not interest him.  He shows no serious interest in the causes of the situation at all.  It is all just WRONG and he and a heroic band of progressives must fight to overturn it.  He has elected himself as a hero of rightness and justice.

Black disadvantage first prominently manifests itself in the schools.  Blacks just find it very difficult to do the same work as their same-age white peers and about a third of of them drop out, never graduating from High School at all.

But teachers are overwhelmingly Left-leaning and have over the years turned themselves inside out in an attempt to bridge the black/white educational "gap".  But nothing works.  The gap barely changes regardless of what policies and ideas are thrown at it.  So that shows with perfect clarity that the gap is rooted in something inside blacks themselves.  Blacks are just not good at doing many important things.  The problem is IN blacks, nobody else.  So our Seattle graphic designer is tilting at windmills.  Far from doing any good for anybody he is just banging his head on a brick wall -- but it appears to make him feel big.  That he is in fact a great steaming nit he cannot acknowledge

I have some difficult news for everyone: Progressives aren’t interested in diversity. We aren’t interested in inclusion. We aren’t interested in tolerance. The progressives I know give exactly zero shits about those things.

We have no interest in everyone getting treated the same. We have no interest in giving all ideas equal airtime. We have no interest in “tolerating” all beliefs. I don’t know where this fairy tale comes from, but it’s completely disconnected from every experience I’ve had with progressive liberal folks in my lifetime.

When conservatives cross their arms and glare and shout “It’s not fair! You’re supposed to welcome everyone but you aren’t being nice to me!” it stings about as much as if they shouted, “It’s not fair, you’re supposed to be wearing tutus and juggling flaming donuts!”

The progressive liberal agenda isn’t about being nice. It’s about confronting evil, violence, trauma, and death. It’s about acknowledging the ways systemic power, systemic oppression, systemic evil, work in our world around us. I’m not fighting for diversity. I’m not fighting for tolerance. I’m fighting to overturn horrific systems of dehumanizing oppression.

What We’re Actually Confronting

Take a few facts on race. White America is exhausted of Blacks invoking 200-year-old history as an excuse for their problems. They’ve had it just like whites since the Emancipation Proclamation. Or since MLK. Or since Obama made it into office.

Let’s pause on this. I live in Seattle, Washington. A liberal city if there ever was one. Full of cheery whites with “Black Lives Matter” signs in their windows. But in Seattle, Washington, black residents make less money than white ones. 5% less, 10% less? No. The average black Seattlite’s income is less than half of the average white Seattleite’s income.

Less than half.

So, either there are unspoken forces at play that make it twice as hard for black people in Seattle to earn money, or black people are exactly half as intelligent and hard-working as white folks. Take your pick. But be honest about which one you’re choosing.

How’s the country as a whole? Well, on average, white families have more wealth than black families. How much more? Is it 200%, like Seattle’s income disparity? 500%. No. White families in the US, on average have 1700% the wealth of black families.

How much progress have we made on racial equality in America? Well, apparently we’re 1/17 of the way there. Only 16/17 more to go.

I have a four-year-old white son. A black boy his age, in the same income bracket, same level of education, will live, on-average, 5 years less than him. Half a decade. Mysteriously.

That same black boy has a higher chance of spending time in prison than my son. How much higher? 110% the rate? 150% the rate? Nope, 500% as likely to be imprisoned.


Envoy Says Trump Willing to ‘Stand Up and Push’ for Global Religious Freedom

President Donald Trump is committed to pushing for greater tolerance of different faiths by governments around the world and dismantling an “iron curtain of religious persecution,” his envoy for religious freedom said in an interview with The Daily SIgnal.

“Most people in the world move by what their faith tells them,” Sam Brownback, the former Kansas governor who is Trump’s international ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, said in the interview.

“Much of the world—we’re looking at numbers now—nearly 80 percent live in a religiously restrictive atmosphere, so they don’t have freedom of religion,” he said.

But in the United States, Brownback said, “religious freedom is a foundational right, it’s a God-given right,” and “governments don’t have the right to interfere with it.”

“So we’re going to push on it,” he said. “And the reason it’s so important is it impacts so many people, and so few countries are willing to really stand up and push for it.”

Trump nominated the Kansas Republican for the job in July 2017, while he was in his second term as governor after a stint in the Senate from 1996 to 2011. He resigned as governor and assumed the ambassadorship Feb. 1.

Brownback grew up a Methodist, converted to Catholicism in 2002, and as of last year attended a nondenominational evangelical church in Topeka, Kansas, according to an article by the Religion News Service.

Brownback, 62, called the current state of international religious freedom “not good” for citizens of countries such as Iran who live in “restrictive atmospheres.”

“Unfortunately, I think the religious restrictions have been growing over the last 20 years,” he told The Daily Signal in the Nov. 30 interview. “There are places where it’s quite good. But the trend line has been against religious freedom.”

“Yet,” Brownback added, “I think [the administration can make progress] with the United States really leaning in on this, pushing on this, and then showing to countries, ‘If you want to grow, one of the key things you can do is provide religious freedom.’”

Iran’s Islamist regime is a sobering example of what people face in countries that actively restrict religious liberty, he said.

“In Iran, you get caught, you’re going to jail, or you can get a hand cut off, or you’ll be killed for practicing a faith that’s different than the dominant Shia religion there.”

Brownback said Trump has made international religious freedom a focus of his administration. He said the inaugural Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, a conference hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, showcased the president’s commitment.

A total of 84 countries participated in the meeting, held July 24-26 in Washington, and the gathering included 1,000 representatives of civil society and religious groups, he said.

“I think what we found, because we did this on such short notice, is that we’ve hit a vein. This is something that touches a lot of people, and it touches them very deeply,” Brownback said, emphasizing that governments around the world not only have fallen short in providing their citizens with religious freedom, but also have taken steps to prevent it.

“Governments have been messing in this space in an increasing role for the last three decades,” he said. “It needs to stop.”

Brownback said organizers plan to hold a second international gathering next year and to set up regional meetings on specific topics in other countries.

“There are a number of countries who are stepping up to do this,” he said. “And my hope is, really, we can bring this iron curtain of religious persecution down. The same way as the Iron Curtain of communism came down, so you can get that burst of freedom as the world wakes up.”

Brownback said the release in October of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor held for two years in Turkey on terror and treason charges, showcases Trump’s commitment to religious freedom.

“He’s an amazing man, Andrew Brunson, and President Trump’s an amazing president,” Brownback said. “He, the president, Trump, got that done.”

Trump’s work for Brunson’s release was remarkable, he said, including tariffs on aluminum and steel from Turkey that “tanked” that country’s currency.

“It was gratifying to see an administration go to bat for somebody that was innocent, in spite of all the other equities and all the other relationship issues we have with Turkey,” Brownback said. “They said, ‘This guy is an American citizen being wrongly treated, and we’re going to go to bat for him,’ and they did. I was delighted to see him get on out.”

Brownback said his role as international ambassador-at-large for religious freedom has given him the opportunity to hear many stories of people like Brunson who are faithful even in adversity.

“You can elevate the topics, and that’s been very gratifying, but the most gratifying thing is when you talk with people that you help get out of jail,” he said, adding:

The beauty of their soul that’s gone through such persecution just really grows my faith, because I look at that and I’m just so impressed with the peace and the joy that they have. You can’t counterfeit it. You can’t act this way. It has to be a real thing that flows out of you. And I get to meet people and work with people like that every day.


US Pushes Back Against ‘Reproductive Rights’ Language in UN Texts

The United States waged a lonely struggle at the United Nations on Monday as it opposed language that some advocacy groups have used to promote abortion – and even a global “right” to abortion.

The U.S. attempted, without success, to remove references to “reproductive rights” and “reproductive health services” in two resolutions – one relating to child, early and forced marriage, and the other to preventing sexual harassment of women and girls.

The votes went overwhelmingly against the U.S., which stood alone in one (131-1, with 31 abstentions) and was supported by only Nauru in the other (134-2, with 32 abstentions).

After the amendment to delete four paragraphs from the text on child, early and forced marriage failed, U.S. delegate Sofija Korac explained the administration’s stance, voicing U.S. “concerns about wording that exceeds prior international consensus on issues related to reproductive health care.”

The United States believes that women should have equal access to reproductive health care,” she said, adding that the U.S. continues to support commitments laid out in key documents that came out of the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, and the 1995 Beijing world conference on women.

“As has been made clear over many years, there was international consensus that these documents do not create new international rights, including any ‘right’ to abortion,” Korac said.

While the U.S. supports “the principle of voluntary choice regarding maternal and child health and family planning,” she said, it does “not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance.”

Soon after his inauguration President Trump reinstated a Reagan-era policy prohibiting federal funding for organizations promoting or performing abortions abroad.

That “Mexico City policy” was subsequently strengthened, to cover all U.S. foreign health assistance, not only funding for family planning programs as had been the case earlier.

Korac reminded the U.N. on Monday that the U.S. remains the largest bilateral donor of reproductive health and family planning assistance.

Since the 1994 and 1995 U.N. conference documents referred to by the U.S. delegate, pro-abortion advocacy groups have frequency asserted that the term “reproductive rights” includes abortion.

Some NGOs, citing those documents, have sought to pressurize governments to annul or amend their abortion laws. At the same time they, and supportive governments, have accused Republican administrations in Washington of trying to “roll back women’s rights” by opposing the vague terms in U.N. documents.

In its annual country reports on human rights for the year 2017, the State Department earlier this year removed subsections on “reproductive rights” for each country assessed, which had been inserted by the Obama State Department.

Instead the department reverted to the requirement – in legislation dating back to 1961 – for the annual report to “include information on practices regarding coercion in population control, including coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization.”

Accusing the State Department of having “omitted vital information on reproductive rights” from the report, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records relating to the decision.

When the CRR filed a second FOIA lawsuit earlier this month, its foreign policy counsel Stephanie Schmid said it would continue to hold the administration accountable, to ensure that U.S. foreign policy “promotes, rather than hinders, women and girls’ access to basic health care like contraception, safe abortion, and maternal health care in order for them to achieve economic, social, and political empowerment.”


Secularism Is Attempting to Destroy Christmas – And America

The Christmas season is upon us, with trees up, lights twinkling and general merriment abounding.

These things put most people in the Christmas spirit—but some will say “reason” should prevail instead.

Here are just a few examples:

The Chicago chapter of The Satanic Temple was recently permitted to place a statue in the Illinois Capitol building alongside displays of a Nativity scene and a menorah. The sculpture, called “Knowledge Is the Greatest Gift,” depicts the forearm of a woman holding an apple with a snake coiling toward her hand.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation posted a “free-thinking” banner in a New York park declaring “Reason’s Greetings,” as well as erected two digital billboards in Atlanta depicting a snowy scene with the phrase, “At This Season of the Winter’s Solstice May Reason Prevail.”

FFRF also demanded that several Ohio towns cease displaying nativity scenes this Christmas season. After the mayor in Ravenna relented and announced there would be no nativity this year, townspeople protested. The town of Dover was also forced to remove its nativity and Ten Commandments display. In Streetsboro, however, the mayor says the nativity will stay up after receiving a similar threatening letter several years ago.

Another nativity scene was removed from a park in Woodland, Washington, where it had been displayed for 40 years. The mayor decided to move the scene to a privately-owned spot after several complaints.

The atheists are ready again to try to save the U.S. from the season’s irascible burdens of “tidings of comfort and joy.” But the annual roadside “Humbug!” proclamations and community banners elicit little more than a “ho-hum.” Each December, atheists have put up strategically placed, carefully worded signs and made efforts to turn people away from Christmas. But when groups like these work to promote a worldview that denies God and undermines truth, there are repercussions in terms of human behavior—tragically negative ones. At this point, atheists will say that the greater tragedy is to believe in a “mean old man in the sky” or an “antiquated book of fairy tales.”

But the reality is this: the encouraged, and often enforced, secularism we are living with is destroying the country. As a scholar, I would argue that the atheists’ anti-Christmas efforts are vacuous from the standpoints of historical fact and logic. To get any sort of traction in the public consciousness, or the press, atheists must have something to “ride on”—usually something directly or indirectly Christian. These attempts to evangelize for unbelief represent the atheists’ annual attempt at relevancy. This season is an opportunity for the God-deniers to emerge from their ideological vacuum and enjoy some momentary news coverage. But this requires the presence of and reality of Christianity. Strangely enough, God and Jesus have to “be there” in order for the atheists to fight recognition of them—thus highlighting the schizophrenic nature of these annual campaigns and of atheism itself.

At a time when more youth are leaving their faith behind or identifying as the religious group “nones,” the culture needs God more than ever—and Christmas is a time when many find Him.



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


Friday, December 21, 2018

Neo-Nazi couple who named their son after Adolf Hitler jailed for membership of far-Right group

No free speech in authoritarian Britain.  These people have been jailed for their opinions only.  They have harmed nobody.  And psychologists have long known that there is a negligible relationship between attitudes and behaviour in racial matters

A fanatical Neo-Nazi couple who named their baby son after Adolf Hitler have been jailed for membership of a terrorist group that a judge warned wants to use "serious violence and murder" to "overthrow of democracy" in the UK.

Adam Thomas, 22, and Claudia Patatas, 38, were found guilty of being members of the extreme Right-wing organisation National Action, which was banned in 2016.

The jury was told that Thomas and Patatas gave their child the middle name "Adolf", which Thomas said was in "admiration" of Hitler, and the couple had Swastika scatter cushions in their home.

Thomas and Patatas were jailed at Birmingham Crown Court for six years and six months, and five years, respectively.

The sentencing judge said both had "a long history of violent racist beliefs".

Their close friend, Darren Fletcher, who admitted National Action membership before trial, was also jailed for five years for the same offence.

In all, six people were sentenced on Tuesday, for being members of what Judge Melbourne Inman QC described as a group with "horrific aims".

He said: "Its aims and objectives are the overthrow of democracy in this country by serious violence and murder, and the imposition of a Nazi-style state which would eradicate whole sections of society by such violence and mass murder."

Last week, the court heard the prosecution claim that Fletcher had taught his daughter to give a Nazi salute, and that he sent a message to Patatas saying "finally got her to do it".

Photographs recovered from their address also showed Thomas cradling his newborn son while wearing the hooded white robes of a Ku Klux Klansman.

In conversation with another National Action member, Patatas said "all Jews must be put to death", while Thomas had once told his partner he found "all non-whites intolerable".

Former Amazon security guard Thomas, and Patatas, a wedding photographer originally from Portugal who also wanted to "bring back concentration camps", were found guilty after a seven-week trial.

Thomas, a twice-failed Army applicant, was also convicted on a majority verdict of having a terrorist manual, namely the Anarchist's Cookbook, which jurors heard contained instructions on making "viable" bombs.

The couple, of Waltham Gardens, Banbury, Oxfordshire, held hands and wept as they were sentenced.

Daniel Bogunovic, 27, of Crown Hills Rise, Leicester, a leading member in National Action's Midlands chapter, was also jailed. He was convicted of membership of National Action after standing trial with Patatas and Thomas, and sentenced to six years and four months.

He was described by prosecutors as a "committed National Action leader, propagandist and strategist", within the group's Midlands cell.

Two other men, cyber security worker and National Action Midlands cell "banker" Joel Wilmore, 24, and van driver Nathan Pryke, 26, described as the group's "security enforcer", were also sent to prison.

Fletcher, 28, of Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, Wilmore, 24, of Bramhall Road, Stockport, Greater Manchester, and Pryke, 26, of Dartford Road, March, Cambridge, all admitted membership of the banned group prior to the trial.

Pryke was handed a jail term of five years and five months, and Wilmore was sentenced to five years and 10 months.

Opening the case, Barnaby Jameson QC, prosecuting, said all six defendants had been members post-ban and taken part in the organisation's chat groups, which were staging posts for comments of "virulent racism, particularly from Thomas, Patatas and Fletcher".

He added: "Leaders Pryke, Wilmore and Bogunovic were more circumspect in their views but on occasion the true depth of their racial hatred leeched out."


Why the National Enquirer Probe Threatens Free Speech

Buried in all the hoopla over the Michael Cohen plea deal is something that should frighten any member of the press. The federal government’s criminal probe has included editorial decisions made by the National Enquirer about the purchasing and publication of various stories from women who claimed to have had affairs with Donald Trump more than a decade ago.

Let’s put the personal morality of paying off porn stars and Playmates for their silence aside. Whether these are campaign expenditures or illegal donations as opposed to a personal matter is, thanks to the hairy mess that is campaign-finance law, now hotly disputed. There is actually a bigger issue here: The First Amendment.

For all the complaints that come from some media personalities about how Trump is a threat to freedom of the press, perhaps we should be looking at those who are investigating Trump instead. The criminalization of the National Enquirer’s exercising its editorial prerogatives is a dangerous precedent and could enable some renegade bureaucrat to investigate other outlets.

The accusation is simple: A decision to publish (or not publish) a story would be viewed as a campaign contribution. When The Patriot Post covered the big differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016, First Amendment issues played a big role, and Hillary came out the poorer. Under the perversions espoused by some, that would have been seen as a campaign contribution.

Far-fetched interpretation? Well, in that piece, it was also noted that Democrats on the Federal Election Commission were targeting conservative media and talk radio. Imagine a Democrat-controlled FEC or Department of Justice probe on The Patriot Post team for deciding to drop George Will.

We don’t have to imagine the Democrats using the power of the government to target political opponents. Look at Andrew Cuomo’s use of financial regulations against the NRA. Look at the IRS scandal that the Obama administration got away with. Look at the John Doe investigations in Wisconsin. These are just the high-profile cases. Granted, the NRA’s suit has gone to discovery, and under Trump the DOJ settled allegations, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court put an end to the witch hunt against conservative groups, but the incalculable damage has been done.

How many Second Amendment supporters or other conservatives have decided not to get involved because they don’t want to risk the wrath of some Lois Lerner-type in a cubicle who could kick off a process that could lead to crushing legal fees in the best case of a successful defense? How much advocacy was delayed or halted because of the need to deal with investigations? We can never truly know.

It’s not as if a prominent Democrat didn’t have his political future aided by a decision to bury a story. In 2005, then-Senator Barack Obama was photographed in the company of Louis Farrakhan at a Congressional Black Caucus event by journalist Askia Muhammed. The photographer chose to bury the photo in order to protect Obama’s political future. It stayed buried for more than a dozen years, until January 2018. That photo, had it come to light a decade sooner, would have killed Obama’s campaign — and Muhammed’s comments indicate he knew it would have.

Somehow, we get the feeling that had Muhammed been investigated by the Justice Department, the FEC, or Congress, the folks who are eagerly hoping that the Enquirer payoffs can bring down President Trump would be much less eager to see “justice” done. So, the question that some conservative Trump critics must answer is why they would seek to subject conservatives to yet another witch hunt?

That is already on the agenda. According to former Investor’s Business Daily reporter Paul Sperry, Democrats are planning to investigate conservative media outlets for “ties to Russia.” In reality, the real “crime” will be supporting President Trump. Even without a successful prosecution, the process itself will serve as punishment for those who dare oppose progressives, as was the case with the IRS and John Doe abuses.

There is only one way to stop this: We must put aside the grievances and disagreements that have emerged since the Trump candidacy began in 2015 and draw a line in the sand. The right of media outlets to make editorial decisions that are protected by the First Amendment must be defended.

It is better to have to explain editorial decisions with our free-speech rights intact than to accept a double standard and find our ability to make the argument extremely limited at best. If conservatives can’t make the argument, how can they win debates, much less elections?


Sweden's 'man-free' feminist music festival is found guilty of discrimination by authorities

A 'man free' feminist music festival in Sweden has been found guilty of discrimination, it has emerged.

The event, called Statement, was held in Gothenburg in August this year having been billed as 'the world's first major music festival for women, non-binary and transgender only'.

But describing the festival as 'male-free' was a violation of anti-discrimination legislation, Sweden's Discrimination Ombudsman (DO) has ruled.

Men were not prevented from buying a ticket or entering the festival grounds but male members of artists' entourages and the likes of technicians and managers were reportedly restricted to a so-called 'man-pen' in a backstage area.

DO press officer Clas Lundstedt said in a statement: 'It is important to point out what an infringement is. These are the statements made before the festival, what they wrote on their website.

Lundstedt said nobody suffered damage as a result of Statement saying men were not welcome and there will be no penalty for organisers.

The festival was billed as being a 'safe space' featuring 'cis-men free' artists, security and catering. The term cisgender refers to a man or a woman whose gender matches the sex they were at birth. A trans or non-binary person is someone whose gender does not conform to their sex assigned at birth.

Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare came up with the idea for the festival after a huge number of sexual offences were reported at Bravalla, Sweden's biggest music festival, last year.

No such crimes were reported during Statement, which carries pictures of women dancing and celebrating together.

Lundstedt added: 'Clearly, we believe that sexual abuse, especially at festivals, is a serious problem. So we are looking forward to trying to correct this. However, it shouldn't happen in a way that violates the law, which their statements in the media and their website do.'

In response, Statement said on Facebook that it was unfazed by the ruling and was 'busy changing the world'.

'It's sad that what 5,000 women, non-binaries and transgender experienced as a life-changing festival, made a few cis-men lose it completely.

'The success of the Statement festival shows that is exactly what we need, and the DO's verdict doesn't change this fact. Otherwise, we have no comments. We are busy changing the world.'


State Bills of Rights Have the Real Protections

By presidential proclamation, December 15 is Bill of Rights Day. President Donald Trump urges Americans to take time to “recognize the key role of the [federal] Bill of Rights in protecting our individual liberties and limiting the power of government.”

While we are better off for having the first ten amendments to the Constitution, it is intellectually dishonest for the media and our national leaders to pay such obeisance to the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is a mere shadow of the protections the states originally urged Congress to pass and pales in comparison to the rights guaranteed in many state constitutions.

James Madison, the primary architect of the Bill of Rights, merely sought to mollify Anti-Federalist critics of the Constitution without imposing real limits on the powers of the federal government.

The various states had sent Congress many substantive amendments that would have limited federal power and protected individual liberty. For example, Virginia offered a lengthy amendment aimed at limiting federal judicial power. Massachusetts suggested amendments on the power of taxation as well as prohibiting gargantuan congressional districts, where the people would have little chance of truly knowing their representatives. New York wanted an amendment requiring two thirds of Congress to approve any borrowing on the credit of the United States.

Unfortunately, Madison and Congress ignored these proposals. Madison followed the advice of Samuel Johnston, the governor of North Carolina, who had counseled that amendments should be “a little Flourish & Dressing” and no more.

Americans desiring real protections and limits on federal power were not deceived by the final product. Virginian William Grayson, writing to Patrick Henry, complained that Congress’s proposed amendments “are so mutilated & gutted that in fact they are good for nothing.” Theodorick Bland of Virginia lamented that the congressmen “have not made one single material” alteration to the Constitution. South Carolina’s Thomas Tudor Tucker thought the amendments sent to the states were “calculated merely to amuse, or rather to deceive.”

Amusement and deception aside, today, when we think of the Bill of Rights and landmark cases, we typically think of restrictions on state power. It does not occur to modern Americans that the Bill of Rights originally applied only to the national government. As the preamble to the Bill of Rights declares, “further declaratory and restrictive clauses” were adopted because the state conventions wanted some security to “prevent misconstruction and abuse of” powers delegated to the national government. The people of the states were satisfied with their own bills of rights and restrictions on state power appearing in the various state constitutions.

It was not until 1925 that the U.S. Supreme Court began applying selected provisions of the Bill of Rights against the states – a practice that is still questioned by a number of legal scholars.

While most Americans have some general familiarity with notable provisions of the Bill of Rights, such as guarantees to free speech, the right to bear arms, and the free exercise of religion, it’s doubtful they have any comprehension of what is contained in the bills of rights of their home states. This is a pity. Most state bills of rights have far more extensive protections than those found in the federal version.

For example, in addition to the “usual” protections associated with its federal cousin, New Hampshire’s bill of rights recognizes that the people possess the “natural rights” of acquiring and using property; are entitled to an “open, accessible, accountable and responsive” government; and have a constitutional right to revolution if government becomes oppressive.

South Carolina’s bill of rights provides constitutional protections for crime victims, prohibits imprisonment for debt, and guarantees court review of the decisions of administrative agencies.

California’s bill of rights specifically secures the property rights of noncitizens, the right of a victim to receive restitution from the perpetrator of a crime, and the right to have all relevant evidence introduced in criminal proceedings.

Americans should pause on December 15 and contemplate their rights. But their time would be better spent on the texts of their state constitutions rather than idolizing the “Flourish & Dressing” of James Madison’s offering.



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


Thursday, December 20, 2018

As CAIR Challenges Texas Ban on Boycotting Israel, Governor Retorts, ‘Texas Stands With Israel. Period’

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced a lawsuit Monday challenging legislation in Texas which prohibits government agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel.

CAIR’s legal defense fund is supporting a speech therapist whose attempt to renew her contract with a school district in an Austin suburb hit a hurdle when she refused to sign a document affirming she does not boycott Israel.

According to documents filed in the U.S. District Court in the city on Monday, Bahia Amawi, who supports the so-called boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, declined to sign an addendum to contract papers, and was told her contract could not be renewed as a result.

“Ms. Amawi advocates for boycotts of Israel due to Israel’s continuing violations of international law in its treatment of Palestinians,” the suit says. “Specifically, Ms. Amawi boycotts products created in Israel in support of the peaceful Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.’

“As an advocate for Palestinian rights and justice, she cannot in good faith certify or state that she does not boycott Israel, and will not engage in a boycott of Israel.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last year signed into law legislation prohibiting state entities from entering into contracts for goods and services unless the entity concerned verifies in writing that it “does not boycott Israel” and “will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract.”

The Texas House of Representatives had earlier approved the bill by 131-0, and the Texas Senate by 27-4.

On Monday, Abbott sounded a defiant note on Twitter: “Texas stands with Israel. Period.”

CAIR, which calls itself the nation’s biggest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, claims the BDS movement is “in support of Palestinian human rights.”

Other prominent backers include the first two Muslim women to be elected to the U.S. Congress, Rep.-elect Ihlan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)

Critics view BDS as inherently anti-Semitic, on the grounds that it targets only the Jewish state and none of the other nations around the world embroiled in territorial disputes.

A working definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the U.S. and 30 other countries in 2016 provides among “contemporary examples” in public life, requiring of Israel “a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

In an address to an “anti-BDS conference” in New York last year, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said, “how tragic is it that, of all countries in the world to condemn for human rights violations, these voices [from college campuses to the U.N.] choose to single out Israel.”

“We should boycott North Korea. We should sanction Iran. We should divest from Syria – not Israel,” she said. “It makes absolutely no sense. And it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice.”

As governor of South Carolina, Haley in 2015 passed the nation’s first “anti-BDS” law.

At least two dozen U.S. states have now enacted similar laws, and the ACLU is currently warning against any attempt by the U.S. Congress to include legislation entitled the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” into a year-end omnibus spending bill.

That measure also enjoys substantial bipartisan support – in the U.S. Senate, it is sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and has 58 co-sponsors; and in the House, the bill introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) has 292 co-sponsors.

The ACLU argues that the legislation violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The case in Texas also invokes the First Amendment.

The lawsuit document states that the state of Texas “chose to categorically take Israel’s side in this international conflict by adopting” the law signed by Abbott last year.

“Political speech on issues of great national and international importance is central to the purposes of the First Amendment,” it says.

“Speech and advocacy related to the Israel–Palestine conflict is core political speech on a matter of public concern entitled to the highest levels of constitutional protection.”

The lawsuit calls on the court, among other things, to declare the Texas law “unconstitutional and unenforceable.”


No more excuses: British health chiefs vow to step up war on salt as targets to cut content missed Health chiefs have demanded “no more excuses” after new figures showed just half of targets to cut salt intake in common foods have been met

Food authoritarianism. NOBODY should heed government food advice.  It goes into reverse too often to be worthy of respect.  And the war on salt is absurd.  The Japanese are the world's greatest salt eaters by far and they have especially long lives.  Japanese soy sauce is almost solid salt

A report by Public Health England (PHE) reveals zero progress reducing average salt content in some foods – including bacon and ham – since pledges were made four years ago.

Ministers have repeatedly vowed to wage war on salt, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The new analysis found that just 52 per cent of the average sodium level targets were met for products consumed in the home, PHE said.

Meat products were the saltiest culprits, with no average targets met and 43 per cent of products above recommended maximum limits.

No progress at all was made reducing the average salt content of ham and bacon, the figures show, with targets missed for sausages, ready meals, rice and soups.

Overall, manufacturers met just 37 per cent of their average targets, the figures show, with better progress by retailers, who achieved 73 per cent of the goals they were set.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said: “Too much salt can lead to increased blood pressure which can cause heart disease and stroke – two of the biggest killers of adults in the UK – which is why government has set such stretching targets.

“While we have seen some progress, those that have taken little or no action cannot be excused for their inactivity. It is clear that, with the right leadership from industry, further salt reduction in foods continues to be possible.”

The health body is calling for mandatory labels on foods so that they display their salt content.

Health officials recommend that adults should eat no more than 6 grams of salt a day.


UN immigration pact loses support in Belgium

Charles Michel, the Belgian prime minister, resigned on Tuesday night after his government collapsed in the face of virulent opposition to his signing of a UN migration pact from his erstwhile coalition partners.

Mr Michel lost the support of the Flemish nationalist N-VA, the largest party in his coalition, over the non-binding UN agreement, which opponents had claimed would open the door to greater migration.

Belgium is now bracing itself for a snap election as early as next month after Mr Michel said he was going to the king to offer his resignation amid demands for a motion of no confidence in his now minority government.

He had refused to submit to such a vote or the calls from some in the assembly for an early election. A snap poll, he said, would only lead to "stagnation for the whole of 2019". The next election is due in Belgium in May.

Instead, Mr Michel announced: "I am taking the decision to offer my resignation. I am now going to see the king."

Amid applause from parlamentarians, he picked up his briefcase, shook the hands of a number of government ministers, and left.

King Philippe of Belgium received Michel and is now expected to hold consultations between the political parties before calling elections in January.

The right-wing Flemish party quit the government after Mr Michel refused its demand to drop his support for the migration pact, and secured parliamentary approval to go ahead against its wishes.

It branded his weakened administration "the Marrakech coalition," after the city where the accord was signed just over a week ago.

Its withdrawal left his French-speaking liberal MR supported only by two smaller Flemish parties.

The UN migration pact was agreed in July by all 193 members except the United States, but only 164 formally signed it at the meeting on December 10.

Some European politicians say the accord, aimed at fostering global cooperation on the issue, could increase immigration to the bloc, which tightened restrictions on refugees and migrants in recent months. But supporters of the deal say claims it will encourage uncontrolled flows and embed migration as a human right are entirely false and aimed at fearmongering.

On Sunday, thousands of people turned out in Brussels to protest against the pact, at a rally called by Flemish right wing parties. Some 5,500 people, according to police figures, marched in the district housing the main European Union institutions, eclipsing a smaller demo of around 1,000 people in support of the deal.

Police deployed teargas and water cannon after scuffles broke out at the right wing demonstration, where some held banners bearing slogans including "Our people first" and "We have had enough, close the borders."

Riot police stepped after projectiles and firecrackers were thrown, an AFP journalist on the scene reported. Some 90 people were detained, according to the Belga news agency.

The UN's Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is designed to frame an effective international approach to the issue, which has become deeply divisive in Europe since the peak of the migrant crisis in 2015.

Several EU countries pulled out of the pact before it was signed, including Austria, which holds the EU presidency,  the Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, and Slovakia.

On Tuesday, Pope Francis warned against a growing tendency of politicians to exploit nationalism and fear of foreigners. He used a message to mark World Peace Day to insist: "Political addresses that tend to blame every evil on migrants and to deprive the poor of hope are unacceptable".


Australians For Tommy Robinson

Below I reproduce the current iteration of Avi Yemeni's home page.  Avi is a conservative Israeli of very Arab appearance who lives in Australia.  His videos are on the right (Fittingly!) of his original page.  His latest efforts are in defence of British immigration critic Tommy Robinson, who is greatly feared and therefore heavily persecuted by the British elite.  Robinson has the daring to speak common sense about Muslims

Avi Yemini was one of a handful of real reporters who went to London to cover Tommy Robinson’s court appearance. As you know, the British media are so hostile to Tommy, they can’t even be trusted to accurately report the facts of the case.

So Tommy’s supporters crowdfunded Avi’s flight, and other reporters from Canada and the U.S. too.. Afterwards, Tommy said it made a huge difference having honest journalists there — it helped get the truth out, despite the mainstream media’s lies.

Well, Tommy had another demonstration — this time, it was about Brexit.

Tommy supports Brexit, and he worked with UKIP to organize this rally. But the British media are demonizing Tommy, and everyone involved with the demo. They know that Tommy is a growing political force, so they think that they have to defame him.

So when Tommy asked Avi to come all the way to London again, he agreed.

And we’re glad he did. Because it’s so important to have real reporters covering Tommy’s activities, because the BBC, Sky News and other British outlets lie and defame him.



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