Friday, June 29, 2018

In 1948, Palestinians lost land. But not to Israel

The May 9 The World article “A modest opening for new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem” described what the Palestinians call the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” as the anniversary of the date on which Palestinians “lost their land when the Israeli state was created in 1948.”

That is partially true: In the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, the Palestinians did in fact lose what was offered to them with the loss of the West Bank; the Palestinians did in fact lose what was offered to them with the loss of Gaza.

But the dark little secret that the manipulative sentence left out was that the Palestinians lost the West Bank not to Israel but to their land-grabbing brethren Jordan. And they lost Gaza not to Israel but to their land-grabbing brethren Egypt.

This set of facts is critical to assess what happened to the Palestinians and who is culpable. As most know, but The Post routinely omits, the war was started by the local Arabs and neighboring Arab countries. If the Palestinians had accepted the two-state solution of 1947, there would be no conflict today, and the two-state solution would be going on its 71st year.

The problem stems from the seminal point that the Palestinians have time and again refused the two-state solution and have continued this refusal to this day. Hopes and wishes by the media will not change this fact.

The empty words of peace by Palestinian leaders are in no way consistent with their actions. It’s time this is acknowledged. The truth may not bring peace, but culpability will shape world opinion and perhaps push the Palestinians to realize that their 70-year attempt to defeat Israel is over.


Cowardly European response to Terrorism

They have learned nothing from the failed attempts to appease Hitler. Hitler did not go away. Nor will the Muslims

The European Union lost €180 billion (USD $210 billion) in GDP due to terrorism between 2004 and 2016. The United Kingdom (€43.7 billion) and France (€43 billion) suffered the highest losses, followed by Spain (€40.8 billion) and Germany (€19.2 billion), according to a Rand Corporation study.

"Beyond those who have been directly physically affected by terrorist attacks, the extensive coverage of terrorist attacks through multiple media and social media channels has substantially increased the amount of people and companies that could be psychologically affected. This subsequently affects their economic behaviour".

New statistics have also come from the Britain's anti-terrorism office. 441 people have been arrested in the UK for terrorism in the last year alone, and 4,182 since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The threat of terrorism is exhausting Europe.

According to the Spanish "black book" of terrorism, 658 Europeans have been murdered in terror attacks on European soil, while 1,029 Europeans have been killed by them abroad. Half of the French army has been deployed within the French Republic to protect the civilian targets, such as schools, monuments, and religious sites. Europe's armies are exhausted from patrolling the streets, to the point that NATO planners now fear that, over time, European armies "may get better at guarding railway stations and airports than fighting wars". An officer who recently returned from Afghanistan for guard duty in Belgium said: "We are standing around like flowers pots, just waiting to be smashed". Germany also sent troops into the streets for the first time since the Second World War.

One has to ask: Is Europe really serious about its war on terror? The French magazine Causeur just called it "the Batman Syndrome":

"How can we respect a society that is too cowardly to fight those who threaten its citizens, and that demonstrates its weakness by systematically seeking appeasement at the price of the most unreasonable accommodations? It is the 'Batman syndrome': the hero refuses to kill, he systematically saves his enemy who escapes and kills new victims until the hero catches up with him, and so on."

France is now close to freeing at least 50 terrorists from prison. The UK is also due to free 80 Islamic fundamentalists from prison. According to a new French report, nearly 10% of the 512 prisoners incarcerated for terrorism are likely to be released by the end of 2018. Their release may well pose a major threat. Khamzat Azimov, a terrorist who stabbed a man to death and injured four other people with a knife in central Paris, was known to counter-terrorism forces. Belgium released from prison a terrorist who had gone on a "bloody rampage" in the city of Liege two days before he killed two policewomen and a passerby.

Unless it gets serious about arresting not only the terrorists but also their deadly ideology, Europe will not see the end of the jihadist siege. A few days after the attacks in Liege, France thwarted another jihadist plot "with either explosives or ricin, this very powerful poison". After that, there was another terror attempt to strike the French gay community.

"France is the priority target of the terrorism unleashed in Europe by conquering Islam" wrote Ivan Rioufol in Le Figaro.

"Since 2015, 247 people have been killed in France in attacks by Islamists. The 'knife intifada' is no longer reserved just for Israel. In Magnanville, a couple of policemen, Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and Jessica Schneider, were stabbed in front of their three year-old child. Father Jacques Hamel was slaughtered in his church. In Marseille, Laura and Maurane had their throats slashed. These crimes will continue so long as the Republic leaves the enemy in peace".

The level of threat in France remains alarmingly high. "9,157 people were subjected to at least one surveillance measure by the intelligence services in 2017 in the name of the prevention of terrorism", an official French report recently revealed. In 2017, 20 major terror attacks in France were foiled.

Regarding the West's current "war on terror," American historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote:

"The result is the present age of serial Punic conflict, perhaps intolerable to the psyche, but in amoral terms tolerable as long as casualties are kept to a minimum and defeat is redefined as acceptable strategic wisdom. In the past, such periods of enervating war have gone on for a century and more. Ultimately, they too end — and with consequences."

In the end, there might be still a region called "Europe", but it may no longer enfold European culture.


Anti-Christian bigotry in Massachusetts

by Jeff Jacoby

IF YOU WERE looking for someone to successfully manage a promising company, it would be hard to find a candidate with a better array of credentials and know-how than Andrew Bushell.

He's a natural-born entrepreneur, with wide and varied experience both in and out of the business world. He founded and successfully managed a $2.5 billion investment firm. He worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Co. After 9/11, he took a hiatus from the high-pressure world of finance and venture capital, immersing himself instead in the high-pressure world of war-zone journalism to cover Afghanistan and Pakistan for The Economist. And when, after years abroad, he returned to his New England hometown, he came up with an idea for a unique local business: making and selling gourmet salt from Atlantic seawater. Like Bushell's other endeavors, the Marblehead Salt Company flourished, with annual sales growing at a 25 percent clip and the salt winning raves from foodies.

So when Bushell approached the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency last year with an application for loans to grow yet another Marblehead business venture — a craft brewery and taproom — officials might have been expected to welcome him with open arms. According to MassDevelopment's website, after all, the agency was created to "help foster real estate and business projects that generate economic benefits for local communities and the state." Given Bushell's stellar track record, financing for Marblehead Brewing Co. should have been a no-brainer.

It wasn't.

The brewery applied for two loans. It intended to use the funds from one to improve its property in downtown Marblehead, and the other to purchase additional brewing equipment, in order to increase production from 700 barrels of beer in 2018 to 2,500 barrels by 2023. MassDevelopment said no. It demanded that the brewery enlist private backers who would personally guarantee the repayment of any loans. Bushell and Marblehead Brewing did so, providing the state with guarantees equal to three times the value of the loans applied for. The state demanded that the company's brewing equipment, worth $1.6 million, be put up as collateral. Bushell agreed to that too.

And still the agency says no.

Why? Because Bushell — more accurately, Father Andrew Bushell — is an Orthodox Christian monk. And the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is flummoxed by a loan applicant whose business chops are everything a state development agency dreams of, but whose mission and appearance are not at all what it's used to.

Marblehead Brewing is a for-profit corporation. Like any other commercial brewery, it pays taxes and must keep its federal, state, and municipal licenses current. It won't survive if it can't turn a profit. But turning a profit isn't its highest purpose. Supporting the work of the church is.

Bushell is the 192nd chairman of the St. Paul's Foundation, a monastic Christian charity more than 1,000 years old. Under Bushell, it has focused in recent years on easing the misery of Syrian refugees, providing food for 2 million displaced people, and supplying hundreds of thousands of tents and blankets for the homeless. The foundation also supports the Guitars Project, a charitable endeavor that provides guitars and musical instruction to hundreds of mostly Muslim children in the Middle East who have been displaced by violence. (Profits from Marblehead Salt have been donated to local causes as well, including the Marblehead Festival of the Arts and the anti-addiction work of the Marblehead Health Department.)

Marblehead Brewing is located at the Shrine of St. Nicholas, the first Orthodox Christian church in Marblehead. The church and the brewpub share the same building — the drinking establishment with its tables and tap is in the front room; the church, complete with altar and icon, is in a more private interior space — but they are separate entities, with different tax ID numbers, bank accounts, and legal profiles. The brewery is a secular, for-profit business. The church and the foundation are nonprofit religious entities that are among Marblehead Brewing's shareholders. In launching a commercial brewery to sustain the work of his church, Bushell is following the classic example of Trappist and Benedictine monks who for centuries have supported themselves through brewing and winemaking.

MassDevelopment has no problem with beer companies. It has provided financing for quite a few of them, including Notch Brewing in Salem, Tree House Brewing in Charlton, and Night Shift Brewing in Everett. But a brewing company run by an Orthodox monk who wears a black cassock, lives under a vow of poverty, and has devoted his life — and exceptional business talents — to God appears to give state officials the heebie-jeebies. According to Bushell, agency officials have told him his loan will not be approved "because you're a church" and the state doesn't want to be in the position of suing a church if a loan weren't repaid. Through a spokeswoman, MassDevelopment declined to comment for this column.

Rejecting Bushell's application because of his religious vocation may well be illegal under the First Amendment. It is unquestionably short-sighted.

"Entrepreneurs come in many shapes and sizes, and not all fit the typical business model," says Glenn Hutchins, a tech investment superstar who is a director of the New York Fed and sits on the executive committee of the Boston Celtics. In a phone conversation the other day, Hutchins sang the praises of Bushell's beer, Marblehead Ale No. 2. He was even more enthusiastic about the monk's ability to "take a blank sheet and turn it into something impressive."

To a talented financier like Hutchins, hardheaded business acumen isn't to be discounted because it serves a larger, spiritual devotion. He knows better than to judge an entrepreneur by his cassock. If only Massachusetts bureaucrats were as clear-sighted.


Switzerland Welcomes Radicalization

There are approximately 250 mosques in Switzerland, but the authorities do not know who finances them. By rejecting the proposal compelling mosques to disclose who finances them, the Swiss authorities can now remain willfully blind.

Switzerland has just rejected a proposed law preventing mosques from accepting money from abroad, and compelling them to declare where their financial backing comes from and for what purpose the money will be used. According to the proposal, imams also would have been obliged to preach in one of the Swiss national languages.

While the proposal narrowly passed in the lower house of parliament already in September 2017, the upper house recently rejected it. The proposal was modeled on regulations in Austria, where already in 2015, a law banning foreign funding of religious groups was passed. The Austrian law aims to counter extremism by requiring imams to speak German, prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria, and stressing the precedence of Austrian law over Islamic sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

The Federal Council, which constitutes the federal government of Switzerland, was also against the proposal, and claimed that it constituted 'discrimination': "We must not discriminate against Muslim communities and imams and put them under general suspicion," Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said. The Federal Council noted that in Austria, Islam is officially recognized, whereas it is not in Switzerland. According to the Swiss government, therefore, the model applied in Austria does not apply to Switzerland, as "One cannot demand obligations without rights". Instead, the Federal Council evidently believes that the risks posed by extremist Islamist preachers and communities can be combated within existing law.

There are approximately 250 mosques in Switzerland, but the authorities do not know who finances them. The authorities have no jurisdiction to collect data on the financing of Muslim associations and mosques apart from exceptional cases in which internal security is threatened. By rejecting the proposal compelling mosques to disclose who finances them, the Swiss authorities can now remain willfully blind.

Several experts have pointed out the foreign Muslim networks at work in Switzerland. In 2016, Reinhard Schulze, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Bern, pointed out that donations from the Muslim World League, based in Saudi Arabia, and other funds from Saudi Arabia were flowing to "those mosques and organizations that are open to the Wahhabi tradition". Another expert on Islam in Switzerland, Saïda Keller-Messahli, has spoken and written widely on how "Huge sums of money from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey are flowing to Switzerland", and how the Saudi-based Muslim World League is behind "a whole network of radically-oriented mosques in Switzerland... with the clear intention of spreading Salafist thought here".

In addition to the Salafist influence, there are an estimated 35 Turkish mosques, financed by Turkey's official Religious Affairs Directorate, known as Diyanet. (Previous reports have mentioned 70 Turkish mosques in Switzerland).

According to a report published by Diyanet in 2017, Islam is "superior" to Christianity and Judaism and "Interfaith dialogue is unacceptable". Turkey supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist off-shoot Hamas.

In fact, the building of another Turkish mosque was just given the go-ahead in the Swiss town Schaffhausen. The people behind it reportedly claim that the 1.5 million Swiss francs (approx. $1.5 million) will be collected locally, and not from Turkey, but the imams for the mosque will nevertheless be sent from Turkey.

None of these facts, however, appears to bother the Swiss government, which seems to want to continue the flow of foreign funding of mosques and Islamic centers into the country.

Above all, the Swiss government seems not to have considered the rights of Swiss non-Muslim citizens, who are the ones left to live with the consequences of the government's ill-thought-out policies.

One such consequence was recently on display in Swiss courts, as three board members of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ISSC) were on trial for charges of having produced illegal propaganda for al-Qaeda and related organizations. One of them, Naim Cherni, was given a suspended prison sentence of 20 months for publishing an interview he conducted with Saudi cleric Abdullah al-Muhaysini in Syria in 2015, in which al-Muhaysini called on young Muslims in Europe to join the jihad. The two other board members, chairman Nicolas Blancho and Qaasim Illi, were acquitted.

In contrast to Switzerland, Austria recently announced plans to shut down seven mosques and expelling up to 60 imams belonging to the Turkish-Islamic Union for Cultural and Social Cooperation in Austria (ATIB), a Muslim group close to the Turkish government, on the grounds of receiving foreign funding.

The response from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman was that the policy was part of an "Islamophobic, racist and discriminatory wave" in Austria.

The strong message that the Swiss government is sending to those Muslim states and organizations that are fueling radicalization in Switzerland by funding Salafist, Turkish and other radical mosques, is that they are welcome to continue doing so; the Swiss government has no intention of stopping them, let alone asking any unpleasant questions. It might as well put up a sign, saying, "Radicalization Welcome"



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, June 28, 2018

Supreme Court Tells State’s Highest Court to Reconsider Case of Florist Who Declined Order for Gay Wedding

Barronelle Stutzman faces fines for violating Washington’s anti-discrimination law by declining to provide flower arrangements for a longtime gay customer’s wedding. (Photo: The Daily Signal)
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sent the case of a florist who declined to provide flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding back to the highest court in Washington state.

The Supreme Court asked the Washington Supreme Court to reconsider the case of Barronelle Stutzman, owner of a flower shop in Richland, Washington state, in light of its June 4 ruling in favor of Jack Phillips, a Christian baker in Colorado who declined to create a custom cake to celebrate a gay marriage.

“Today’s decision suggests that [the Phillips case] may provide more robust protections than many commentators initially thought,” Ryan T. Anderson, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” told The Daily Signal in an email.

Both Stutzman and Phillips are represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group that specializes in religious liberty. In both cases, the organization has argued that the First Amendment prevents government from forcing Americans to use their creative talents to express messages, such as same-sex marriage, with which they disagree.

Stutzman, a 73-year-old grandmother, faces fines for violating Washington’s anti-discrimination law by declining to provide the flowers for a longtime gay customer’s wedding. Like Phillips, she is a Christian who believes, as the Bible teaches, that marriage is between one man and one woman.

The Supreme Court “reversed Colorado’s decision to punish cake artist Jack Phillips for living and working consistently with his religious beliefs about marriage, just as Stutzman has also been trying to do while under legal attack by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the American Civil Liberties Union,” Alliance Defending Freedom said in a formal statement.

The organization’s senior vice president in charge of its U.S. legal division, Kristen K. Waggoner, acted as lead counsel in Stutzman’s case, Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington, as well as Phillips’ case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Stutzman’s case goes back to March 2013, when customer Rob Ingersoll asked her to provide floral arrangements for his wedding to another man, Curt Freed.

“Barronelle Stutzman served a particular gay couple for almost a decade—happy birthday flowers and get-well-soon flowers—but couldn’t do the floral arrangements for their same-sex wedding,” Anderson told The Daily Signal, adding:

Rather than respect her conscience and religious liberty rights, the state attorney general [Ferguson] went after her. But this disagreement about marriage isn’t discrimination, and the government shouldn’t punish people simply for acting on their belief that marriage unites husband and wife.


Supreme Court rules against California law targeting anti-abortion pregnancy centers

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dealt a major blow to a California law requiring anti-abortion pregnancy centers to inform women about publicly funded abortion and contraception services.

The 5-4 ruling by Justice Clarence Thomas, with the court's conservatives in the majority, said the law "likely" violates the First Amendment as a form of compelled speech.

"Licensed clinics must provide a government-drafted script about the availability of state-sponsored services, as well as contact information for how to obtain them," Thomas said. "One of those services is abortion — the very practice that petitioners are devoted to opposing."

In a concurring opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the law is "a paradigmatic example of the serious threat presented when government seeks to impose its own message in the place of individual speech, thought and expression."

The decision was aimed at a liberal state government seeking to notify pregnant women of their rights to an abortion. But it could have unintended consequences. Laws in more conservative states requiring women seeking abortions to view ultrasounds or learn about the growth of their fetus now could be at risk.

Justice Stephen Breyer read a synopsis of the four liberal justices' dissent from the bench. "If a state can lawfully require a doctor to tell a woman seeking an abortion about adoption services ... why should it not be able to require a medical counselor to tell a woman seeking prenatal care about childbirth and abortion services?" he said.

California's law forces licensed pregnancy centers to post notices about free or low-cost state programs that include abortion services. It also requires unlicensed centers to inform clients that they are not medical facilities. Challengers called it a form of compelled speech.

“No one should be forced by the government to express a message that violates their convictions, especially on deeply divisive subjects such as abortion," said Michael Farris, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the pregnancy centers. "In this case, the government used its power to force pro-life pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for abortion.”

The justices were divided over the requirements during oral argument in March. The court's conservatives, including California's Anthony Kennedy, complained that the law targets only clinics that counsel women to complete their pregnancies. But liberal justices compared it to laws, upheld by the high court, that require doctors performing abortions to advise women about alternatives.

The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, which operates or is associated with about 130 California pregnancy centers, argued such "informed consent" laws are warranted on the verge of a medical procedure, but the same is not true for centers counseling women to continue pregnancy.

The state contends that many pregnancy centers deceive and misinform clients by posing as medical clinics and running ads intended to attract women in search of traditional abortion and contraception services. It says more than half of its 700,000 pregnancies each year are unintended, and women need to know their options.

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, decried the court ruling, which she said gives "fake health centers ... a free speech right to dress up like medical centers and deceive pregnant women."

While the Supreme Court made abortion legal nationwide in 1973 and has struck down state restrictions that block access for women, it has defended free speech rights in a number of recent cases.

Cities such as New York, San Francisco and Baltimore were first to enact laws imposing requirements on pregnancy centers. The facilities fought back in court — successfully in most cases — by arguing that the cities were discriminating based on their viewpoints.

A coalition of municipal groups argued that a ruling against California could put other required postings on shaky legal ground, such as those providing first aid instructions or requiring workers to wash their hands.


UK: Heterosexual pair WIN right to enter a civil partnership rather than get married after landmark Supreme Court ruling

A heterosexual couple have won the right to enter a civil partnership instead of getting married after a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court. Five Supreme Court justices unanimously granted an appeal by Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, and Charles Keidan, 41 this morning.

Speaking outside the court, the overjoyed pair said: 'We did it for Britain's 33million couples!'

Currently heterosexuals are not allowed to have a civil partnership because the Civil Partnership Act 2004 only allows same-sex couples.

But for four years Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan have argued it should be an option as well as marriage for cohabiting pairs. 

The academics, who live in Hammersmith, west London, suffered defeat at the Court of Appeal in February last year, but were given the go-ahead in August for a Supreme Court hearing today.

Speaking outside court this morning, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan spoke of their 'jubilation' following their landmark court victory after a four-year battle.

Ms Steinfield said: 'This is a resounding victory which would not have been possible without the help of our legal team.

'Today we are one step closer to making civil partnerships available for us all. But to get this far we have had to go toe to toe with the government over four years and they have wasted tax payer's money to defend an unfair system.

'So forgive us if today we also feel a degree of sorrow that is has taken this long to get to this point.'

Her partner Mr Keidan added: 'There are 33million cohabiting couples in the UK, we are the fastest growing family type.

He said: 'Many want legal and financial security but cannot have this because in the eyes of the law they are not married. The law and government needs to catch up with family life in 2018. People are already suffering because of this.

'Today's declaration means the government is legally bound to end the mistreatment of people who are not married; human rights is meant to be progressive.'

The couple then urged Women's Minister Penny Mordant to fast track a private member's bill supporting their cause.

The panel of Supreme Court justices, including the court's president, Lady Hale, heard the couple's case in May and announced their decision this morning.

The judges granted a declaration that the 2004 Act was 'incompatible' with human rights laws on discrimination and right to a private and family life. 

Lord Kerr, announcing the court's decision, said the Government 'does not seek to justify the difference in treatment between same-sex and different sex couples'.

He added: 'To the contrary, it accepts that the difference cannot be justified.'

What the Government sought was 'tolerance of the discrimination while it sorts out how to deal with it'. He concluded: 'That cannot be characterised as a legitimate aim.'

Lord Kerr said it was 'salutary to recall that a declaration of incompatibility does not oblige the Government or Parliament to do anything'.

The couple, who have two daughters aged nine months and two, claimed the Government's position is 'incompatible with equality law'.

During the hearing, their barrister, Karon Monaghan QC, told the court they have 'deep-rooted and genuine ideological objections to marriage' and are 'not alone' in their views.

She said matrimony was 'historically heteronormative and patriarchal' and the couple's objections were 'not frivolous'.

Ms Monaghan added: 'These are important issues, no small matters, and they are serious for my clients because they cannot marry conformable with their conscience and that should weigh very heavily indeed.'

The Court of Appeal agreed that the couple had established a potential violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which relates to discrimination, taken with Article 8, which refers to respect for private and family life.


‘You are unbalanced & one-sided’: Hungary’s FM tells BBC reporter in heated migration debate

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto hit back at a BBC reporter who suggested his government is xenophobic and authoritarian during an intense interview, in which the politician defended his country’s immigration record.

As Hungary’s foreign affairs chief sat down for an interview with BBC Newsnight on Tuesday, the talk quickly turned heated. Reporter Emily Maitlis recalled how the Hungarian parliamentary election, which happened two months ago, was criticized by the nation’s opposition parties.

“There is a sense of erosion of the rule of law. This is no longer a democracy. It is creeping authoritarianism,” she told Szijjarto, whose conservative Fidesz party won over 70 percent of votes in April. The minister rebuffed the allegations.

“You echo lies on this television. And I don’t think it’s fair. You are unbalanced, you are one-sided,” he responded. “You look only at the opinion of those who are frustrated because they lost the election.”

BBC’s Maitlis also suggested that Hungary’s anti-immigration law “flouts human rights” and recalled the fierce rhetoric of country’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, known for branding certain migrants “Muslim invaders” and speaking about the need to protect “Christian Hungary.”

“So, this isn’t actually about immigration, is it? It’s about xenophobia,” the reporter told Szijjarto who said that he considered the accusation a “very serious insult.”

“What we don’t want is a massive illegal influx coming from the south to us. We want to keep Hungary a Hungarian country. And we don’t think multiculturalism is by definition good,” he explained. “I understand that the liberal mainstream doesn’t like our laws. But it is the Hungarian voters whose expectations we have to fulfill.”

Orban’s Hungarian government regularly faces criticism from the European Union and human rights groups for its ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards migration from the Middle East and Africa. Hungary is one of the few countries that refuses to accept mandatory migrant quotas proposed by the EU.

Last week, Hungary adopted a controversial bill punishing NGOs and aid workers suspected of “enabling illegal immigration.” The law, like many of Hungary’s anti-immigration measures, was denounced by various human rights watchdogs.



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


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Federal Judge Says Public Prayer by Police Officers Violates Law

How perverse!  I would greatly prefer a cop who prays to one who doesn't

The city council of Ocala, Florida, has decided to fight back after a federal judge ruled that the city and its police chief violated the Constitution by promoting and holding a prayer vigil.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan ruled in May that Police Chief Greg Graham and city leaders broke the Establishment Clause by organizing, promoting and holding a 2014 prayer vigil after a drive-by shooting injured several children.

“The government cannot initiate, organize, sponsor or conduct a community prayer vigil,” Judge Corrigan wrote in his order. “That is what happened here.”

The American Humanist Association represented several local residents who were allegedly triggered and suffered microaggressions as a result of the vigil.

The lawsuit claimed the police chief was “reckless and callously indifferent” because of his involvement in the planning and promotion of the event.

The chief and the city were ordered to pay $3 in damages plus attorney fees, reported.

The city council filed a motion to vacate the judgement.

Mayor Kent Guinn told Fox News about 600 people showed up to pray “for the children that got shot in the drive by shooting.”

Renowned evangelist Franklin Graham said prayer is a basic human right and public employees should be able to petition the Almighty.

“George Washington prayed, Abraham Lincoln prayed, and other presidents have called on God publicly in times of war or crisis,” the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse tweeted.

“Atheists have the right not to believe and not to call on God,” he said. “People of faith have the right to pray, and it should not be taken away.”

But AHA legal director David Niose said prayer rallies should be run by churches, not police departments.

“Police departments shouldn’t be endorsing religion, yet that’s exactly what the Ocala Police Department did here by sponsoring and promoting a prayer vigil,” he said in a statement.

It really takes a perverted kind of reprobate to sue a police department for participating in a prayer vigil.


Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder's name is REMOVED from top children's literature honor over her 'stereotypical attitudes' to blacks and Native Americans

Far-left librarians again. Frustrated old maids? That the award went to a black writer for the fourth straight year tells you about their politics.  Race is all.  Literature can take a back seat

The famed author of the Little House on the Prairie series has been put out to pasture.

In a unanimous vote on Saturday, the board of the Association for Library Service to Children agreed to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from the group's top award honoring children's literature authors over her depiction of blacks and Native Americans in her work.

'This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness,' said the group in a statement after the vote.

Rob Lowe mocked the controversy on Monday, tweeting: 'Wait.. Laura Ingalls Wilder was a racist author? How did I miss that?! Say it ain’t so, Halfpint!!!'

At the same time, Wendy McClure, who runs a parody account under Wilder's name, wrote: 'Not to be controversial (though of course I AM) but don't you think an award should be more about honoring the person who WINS IT than the person it's named for? Don't worry about my name and what award it is or isn't on, flutterbudgets. Kindly save your outrage for other things.'

Wilder's name had still not been removed from the organization's website as of Monday morning.

'Administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children,' reads the page describing the honor.

Below that is a biography of Wilder, which consists of just two sentences, followed by three paragraphs under the heading: 'Wilder's Legacy, and the Award in Context.'

That section, which is three times longer than the one detailing Wilder's life, states: 'Wilder's body of work continues to be a focus of scholarship and literary analysis, which often brings to light anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments in her work.

'Her books continue to be published, read, and widely used with contemporary children. ALSC recognizes the author’s legacy is complex and Wilder’s work is not universally embraced.'

Later, the group stresses that while it will continue to preserve the works of Wilder, it has opted to not associate her name with a prize honoring a writer's lifetime achievements.

The decision was made as the honor, now awarded annually, went to a black writer for the fourth straight year.

Past honorees include E. B. White (1970), Beverly Cleary (1975), Maurice Sendak (1983) and perhaps the most famous children's writer of all, Theodor S. Geisel (1980).

Geisel, better know as Dr. Seuss, is now under investigation himself by the group's task force, along with British bookseller John Newbery, illustrator Randolph Caldecott, businessman Robert Sibert, Mildred Batchelder, and author May Hill Arbuthnot.

ALSC Blog Manager Mary Voors wrote on the group's website that the vote on Saturday was met with a standing ovation.

In Little House on the Prarie, Wilder writes early in the book that out west 'there were no people. Only Indians lived there.'

That line clearly reveals Wilder's belief that Native Americans were not 'people,' and was changed int he 1950s to read 'no settlers.'

These sentiments did not impact the success of her novels, which are still sold worldwide and were made into a hit television series starring Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert.


U.S. Army training will now focus on actual battlefield skills, not social issues

Actual fighting will now take precedence over dealing with transitioning transgender troops, drug abuse and other issues as the Army seeks to overhaul its training regimen to hone its soldiers’ battlefield skills.

In a series of recent service-wide memoranda approved by Army Secretary Mark Esper and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and obtained by The Washington Times, service leaders are now making optional previously mandatory training on issues like transgender transition and drug abuse. The move, Army leaders argue, is designed to relieve stress on the already overburdened troop training regimen and refocus on soldiers ability to fight in combat.

“The Army’s regulations and policies that deal with training were pretty settled and there were not a lot of detractors to it. … It was all the other [training] requirements that we levied on ourselves, or we had levied from other places” that led to the increasingly cumbersome approach to combat readiness, said Col. John O’Grady, chief of the Army’s collective training division.

Those mandated training requirements “served as barriers to maximizing time … to build readiness and lethality” within combat units, he said in an interview. Aside from ending mandatory training programs on transgender troops and drug abuse, courses on media awareness and anti-human trafficking have also been eliminated from the mandatory curriculum, the service memoranda state.

Army officials are codifying the new marching orders into service-wide training guidelines and doctrine, which will bring the Army more in line with the Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy, Col. O’Grady said.

The strategy, which was one of Defense Secretary James Mattis’ earliest policy initiatives, shifted away from the George W. Bush and Obama-era strategies dominated by battling extremist groups like al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State, and putting the priority on challenging traditional nation-state rivals such as China and Russia. It also placed a greater emphasis on increasing lethality in conventional combat operations.


The Bad Hate the Good: The SPLC vs. Prager University

Dennis Prager

“Antifa” is to violence what the Southern Poverty Law Center is to words. In short, it is a hate group on the Left.

The SPLC smears individuals and groups it differs with by labeling them as some form of “hater”: “racist,” “white supremacist,” “extremist” and the like. That it is cited and even relied upon by The New York Times, Facebook, Amazon, Google, CNN and others, and that Apple gave the organization a million dollars, is testimony to the moral state of mainstream media and corporate culture in America today.

Were the SPLC not quoted and used as a source, there would be no reason to pay it any attention. All the SPLC does is politicize, and thereby trivialize, the fight against racism and other evils.

Any organization that labels Ayaan Hirsi Ali — the extraordinary Somali-American woman who devotes her life to fighting for oppressed women, especially in the Islamic world — an “extremist,” as the SPLC has done, is not a moral organization. No wonder it just agreed to pay Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz $3.4 million and issued a retraction for smearing him as an “anti-Muslim extremist.”

This kind of behavior should surprise no one. Since Stalin labeled Trotsky, the ideological leader of Soviet communism, a “fascist,” the Left (not liberals, to whom the Left is as opposed as it is conservatives) has libeled its opponents. Without lying about its opponents, there would be no Left.

Now the SPLC has placed an article about PragerU on its “Hatewatch” blog. It never actually accuses PragerU of “hate” because even it can’t substantiate such a charge. In over 300 videos, it could not find a single sentence countenancing hate or bigotry, so it simply describes two articles by outsiders about PragerU, knowing the dirty work will be accomplished via implication.

The article is about two PragerU critics, Kevin M. Kruse, a Princeton history professor who sought to rebut a PragerU video in a Twitter thread, and a self-described sociologist named Francesca Tripodi, who wrote an article examining PragerU’s reach.

Professor Kruse tweeted a series of disagreements with a PragerU video by former Princeton University and Vanderbilt University professor Dr. Carol Swain, a black scholar, on the subject of the Republican Party and the “Southern Strategy.”

Now, professor Kruse may be right, and professor Swain may be wrong. But that has nothing to do with hate. Nor does Kruse imply that it does. So, the SPLC citation of Kruse is just deceitful.

The SPLC article goes on to charge that “more than a few” PragerU videos “function as dog whistles to the extreme right.”

And how does PragerU blow these “dog whistles”?

The article uses Tripodi to make its case. Here is the essence of her argument, as described by the SPLC: “Tripodi says she discovered several elements tied to PragerU’s presenters and its online marketing that paint the brief videos watched more than a billion times in a troublesome light.”

And what are those “several elements?”

“To start with,” the article says, “when one visits the PragerU channel on YouTube, there is a column of ‘Related Channels’ with links to other outlets PragerU’s audience may find interesting: Fox News seems to be a no-brainer, as does The Daily Wire, given its founder Ben Shapiro’s relationship as a presenter for PragerU. But alongside those you also can find the channel of Stefan Molyneux, an extremist who espouses pseudo-scientific ‘race realism’ propaganda.

”‘[PragerU] … is very blatantly algorithmically connected’ to the extreme right content found on YouTube, Tripodi explains.“

Only a very careful reader will discern that PragerU has never had any connection whatsoever to Molyneux or any "extreme right content.” All Tripodi and the SPLC could write is that Google has “algorithmically connected” PragerU to such content.

Needless to say, PragerU has no power over how Google algorithmically connects anything.

Then the SPLC writes, “More troubling, Tripodi discovered, are the connections some PragerU presenters have with white nationalist thinkers.”

Again, only a very careful reader will realize PragerU has no connections whatsoever to white nationalist thinkers. Rather, “some PragerU presenters” do.

And who might they be?

Tripodi and the SPLC give one example: Dave Rubin. Dave Rubin made a video for PragerU titled “Why I Left the Left.” He is a very popular liberal video podcaster, and the fact that he is a gay Jewish liberal who left the Left disturbs the SPLC.

Now, do you know any gay Jewish liberals who support white nationalists? I doubt it.

So, on what grounds is Rubin smeared in this way? Not because of any views he espouses but because he has interviewed the aforementioned Stefan Molyneux.

As it happens, I differ with some of the admittedly little I have seen of Molyneux’s views (for example, I believe the entire race and IQ issue is utterly pointless and, on occasion, racist). But how does the fact that one PragerU presenter interviewed someone he disagrees with in any way impugn him — let alone PragerU?

Of course, it doesn’t. But that doesn’t stop the SPLC hate site from drawing such tenuous “connections” to smear fine people.

Would George Will, Bret Stephens, Charles Krauthammer — all Pulitzer Prize winners — Alan Dershowitz (a lifelong Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter), Arthur Brooks, Jonah Goldberg, Bjorn Lomborg, UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Marmer, former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (one of the most prolific living writers on Judaism), to name just some of our presenters, participate in a white-supremacist endeavor? The implication is absurd — and libelous.

In addition to videos on current political issues, history and economics, PragerU brings goodness and kindness into millions of people’s lives. It produces videos on forgiveness, refraining from gossip, raising grateful and kind children, remaining attracted to one’s spouse, God and suffering, happiness and the importance of gratitude, along with many other life-enhancing subjects. And these have been viewed by tens of millions of people — most of them under age 35.

On any given day, PragerU increases goodness and kindness on Earth while the Southern Poverty Law Center increases anger and resentment.

That’s why the SPLC hates PragerU. The bad hate the good. It’s a rule of life.



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


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

What Jordan Peterson Doesn't Understand About Religion and Free Speech

Only a principle of COMPLETE freedom of expression will ensure that YOUR freedom is not taken away. 

There  is also an interesting point about meaning below which aroused my philosophical instincts.  The nature of meaning is a major debate in analytical philosophy. 

With regard to the wedding cake controversy, apparently some Leftists say a cake can have no meaning: "It's just a cake".  Justice Kagan in her SCOTUS ruling concurred, saying the the Christian cake-baker "invests its sale to particular customers with ‘religious significance.’ So the meaning of the cake is entirely in the baker's mind, not in the cake, so therefore doesn't exist.

But that is a non-sequitur.  Meaning can only exist in someone's mind.  An inscription in Chinese will have meaning to Chinese people but will be meaningless to me because I don't speak Chinese. And different meanings may exist in different minds for the same word: What is covered by "freedom", for instance, is often disputed. 

What was at issue in the case was not some non-existent absolute meaning but the baker's feelings and responses.  Baking the cake for him meant disloyalty to the scriptures.  And the First Amendment tells us that he is at liberty to bake or not because of such religious beliefs.

It seems a pity that a Supreme Court justice was too thick to see that what was at issue was a man's beliefs, not some mythical absolute property of a cake.  Kagan was, however, an Obama appointee

Recently, Jordan Peterson was interviewed by Australian comedian Jim Jeffries's show on Comedy Central. The interview did not go particularly well for Peterson, who, among other things, has had a meteoric rise as public intellectual for deftly handling tense interviews regarding his opposition to the cultural left's assault on free speech. There's been some oddly triumphant coverage of what happened. Vice summed up the interview this way, "Watch Comedian Jim Jefferies Finally Shut Up Jordan Peterson."

Here's what happened. Peterson was asked about the issue underlying a recent Supreme Court case: Should bakers be forced to bake wedding cakes for gay weddings if they have religious objections? Peterson says, "I don't think that would be a very good idea." Jeffries then asked if a baker should be able to deny a wedding cake for black people. Peterson says they should probably be allowed to deny service to black customers, "but that doesn't mean it's right." Jeffries then says that the civil rights movement did result in passing laws that required people to serve black people and that made society better and asks Peterson why this is different than now. Peterson says, "Maybe it's not different. ... Maybe I was wrong about that." Obviously, I'm paraphrasing a bit, but you can watch the whole exchange here:

This exchange is useful because it gets at a fundamental problem with religious liberty debates. Peterson's first impulse in favor of free expression in the broadest sense was right, but he got caught flat-footed when presented with a very common and overly simplistic reading of the distinction between where public accommodation laws end and free speech begins. It's a debate that demands some real understanding, as the future of the First Amendment depends on it.

As someone who's covered religious liberty issues for more than a decade, here's the answer I would have given: Business owners should be able to turn down any customer for any reason, period. That's freedom, and I think we're far enough removed from Jim Crow that there would not be widespread discrimination if it were the law of the land tomorrow. Further, businesses who did discriminate would likely be punished in the marketplace. When a bakery in the Portland suburb didn't make a cake for lesbian commitment ceremony, they were run out of business in months. I don't like that this happened to them, but in an area as liberal as Portland, it was very predictable.

However, a funny thing happened. A year and a half after the business was shuttered, the Oregon labor secretary Brad Avakian slapped the bakery owners with a $135,000 fine. When Avakian ran for secretary of state in 2016 the state's major papers didn't endorse him on the grounds that Avakian was too "political," and while bakery wasn't often explicitly discussed the egregious fine was tacitly understood to be part of his problems. The result was Avakian became the first Democrat to lose a statewide election 14 years. Liberal Oregonians thought being punished by the marketplace was both appropriate and enough.

However, since horrifying official racism is still in living memory, commercial freedom is a difficult thing to argue for. So where does that leave us? Note that in the recent Supreme Court decision Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Justice Kennedy's decision very clearly articulated the difference between public accommodation laws and argument for protecting the expression of creative professionals such as bakers (without coming down one way or the other). Still, even defining the difference was a huge victory.

Public accommodation laws to combat Jim Crow were always understood to apply to services that were essentially uniform and interchangeable. A black man wanting a sandwich at a lunch counter, a hotel room, or a train seat wasn't getting service that was any different than the white guy next to him. Beyond that, it legal distinctions about providing more subjective and individualistic services were hazy and deliberately so. Policing the link here involves assuming or determining intent—and it's very easy perceive racist intent where none exists—and this creates a host of problems when it's not an outright a violation of rights. Then there's the intersection of speech and business. Selling racist pamphlets is an overtly discriminatory commercial activity by nature and a lot more harmful than not baking a cake, and yet perfectly legal commercial activity because not tolerating it to some significant degree is not only at odds with the First Amendment but invites the government to make highly subjective judgments about what speech is and is not tolerable.

When the New Mexico wedding photographer case (Elane Photography v. Willock) appeared in 2006, the initial reaction was pretty interesting. I remember going on relevant message boards for wedding photographers and there was a lot of "I'm a liberal who supports gays, but I'm concerned." Wedding photographers retain the copyright to their work, were legally viewed as artists, and very much saw themselves as creatives. It was instinctively understood that the government telling artists what art they had to create was a very bad precedent.

In the related cases that have popped up since, the clearer the occupation is relative to either artistic or lexical expression, the better the odds it will be protected. I think the only one of these cases that has won thus far in a lower court is that of Hands On Originals, a T-shirt printer in Kentucky who declined to print T-shirts for a gay pride event. A significant reason the printer won his case is that the public accommodation argument is belied by the fact he owns a literal printing press that prints words and messages, even if his medium is T-shirts and promotional tchotchkes rather than, say, newspapers.

From there, it's harder to make an argument whether or not bakers or florists count as expressive artists, though it should be obvious enough that a) when it comes to protecting free speech from government interference the prudent thing is to define these matters as broadly as possible b) accepting them on their own terms as artistry should be easy enough since this all centers on custom designs and there are big artistic competitions in both professions. (Bakers are also often asked to put words on cakes in addition to both professions being asked do create things that are overtly symbolic.) Obviously, if I pick up a sheet cake that's pre-made at the grocery store, public accommodation arguments would seem to be applicable. It's also why Jack Philips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, would sell his offended gay customers anything already in his store, but not make them a cake from scratch. His own effort was not intertwined with the wishes of the customer in selling pre-made goods the way it would be in a custom order meant to honor a specific ceremony of religious significance to him. (Notably Phillips doesn't do other things that violate his beliefs, such as make Halloween-themed baked goods.)

Now the media coverage of these issues has not been conducive to dealing with the nuances outlined above. Which has contributed to a situation where, even when liberals start to understand the speech implications, they stumble over their own hypocrisy on public accommodation measures. Having spoken on these issues publicly a number of times I've seen this happen a lot, and prominent defenders of religious freedom tell me it happens to them as well. The conversation you have tends to go something like this:

"What's the big deal? They just want a cake."

"Well, it's not 'just a cake.' What if the customer wants a 48-inch, five-layer cake that when you cut it open has been dyed to look like a rainbow pride flag and has an image of the two grooms respective faces on two fondant sculptures of Michalengelo's David on top and in frosting underneath it says 'Jesus Approves of the Union of Chuck and Buck's Open Marriage' and will take this baker baker three days of his life to make, if it didn't grossly violate his religious beliefs to make it in the first place?"

"That doesn't mean anything. It's just flour and sugar. Why won't this bigot sell him a cake?"

"If I forced you to bake me a cake that said 'Make America Great Again' you'd object, right?"

"Of course I would. Trump is practically Hitler."

"Ok, don't you see how the same principle of compelled speech applies to the first cake?"

"That's totally different. Those gay dudes just want a normal cake."

So long as the cake represents things the person believes in, there's nothing unique about it in their mind and for some reason they cannot be made to see it's in any way symbolic or representative of a viewpoint not everyone agrees with. And when you realize people are incapable of making this distinction, to the point of total moral disassociation that allows for compelling speech from others that they would object to explicitly being done to them personally, you realize there's a viral strain of argument that could be used to justify subjecting people they disagree with to any number of abuses. It also seems the most powerful people in America are infected with this thinking. Liberal Justice Elana Kagan voted as she did on Masterpiece because she understood the baker was subject to overt animus, such as a Colorado civil rights commissioner calling the baker a Nazi, that made his punishment appear to be arrived at predjudically. But then the "just a cake" non-argument rears it's ugly head in the much discussed bizzarroland footnote in her concurrence:

As Justice Gorsuch sees it, the product that Phillips refused to sell here—and would refuse to sell to anyone—was a ‘cake celebrating same-sex marriage.’ But that is wrong. The cake requested was not a special ‘cake celebrating same-sex marriage.’ It was simply a wedding cake—one that (like other standard wedding cakes) is suitable for use at same-sex and opposite-sex weddings alike… And contrary to Justice Gorsuch’s view, a wedding cake does not become something different whenever a vendor like Phillips invests its sale to particular customers with ‘religious significance.’

I suspect Jordan Peterson hasn't thought all this through, and I'm not surprised he hasn't because the public debate has been so bad. But there are abundant reasons to suspect that if it were explained to him, he'd get it. The fact a Supreme Court justice's can't see something so obvious and essential to the First Amendment, after she was specifically tasked with puzzling it out for months, well, that should keep people concerned with preserving free speech up at night.


'About 60 Organizations' Are Considering a Lawsuit Against the SPLC Following $3M Nawaz Settlement

About time!

No fewer than 60 organizations branded "hate groups" or otherwise attacked by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) are considering legal action against the left-wing smear factory, a Christian legal nonprofit leader confirmed to PJ Media on Tuesday. He suggested that the $3 million settlement and apology the SPLC gave to Maajid Nawaz and his Quilliam Foundation on Monday would encourage further legal action.

"We haven't filed anything against the SPLC, but I think a number of organizations have been considering filing lawsuits against the SPLC, because they have been doing to a lot of organizations exactly what they did to Maajid Nawaz," Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told PJ Media on Tuesday.

Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit against the charity navigation organization GuideStar for defamation after GuideStar adopted the SPLC's "hate group" list. That lawsuit is ongoing.

In 2016, the SPLC published its "Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists," listing Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, a practicing Muslim, as one such extremist. The left-wing group listed various reasons for including him, changing the reasons every so often, and even at one point mentioning that he had gone to a strip club for his bachelor party.

On Monday, SPLC President Richard Cohen extended his group's "sincerest apologies to Mr. Nawaz, Quilliam, and our readers for the error, and we wish Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam all the best." In settling the suit, the SPLC paid Nawaz's organization $3.375 million.

"This is a significant settlement," Staver told PJ Media. "3.375 million dollars, and it did not even go to litigation; it was a result of a demand letter."

Importantly, "the allegations that were at issue here were very similar to the allegations against the other groups," the Liberty Counsel chairman explained. "The SPLC promotes false propaganda, demonizes and labels groups they disagree with, and that labeling has economic as well as physical consequences."

The SPLC started as a group to oppose racist terrorism, and its first legal action targeted the Ku Klux Klan. In recent decades, the organization has begun marking mainstream organizations as "hate groups" on par with the KKK. Last year, 47 nonprofit leaders denounced the SPLC's "hate list" in an open letter to the media. The SPLC has admitted that its "hate group" list is based on "opinion."

Staver insisted that the settlement with Nawaz "will encourage further legal action." He suggested that the settlement "helps our lawsuit against GuideStar" and may encourage organizations that were considering suing the SPLC to actually file the paperwork.

"There are probably about 60 organizations that we're talking to — there's at least 60," Staver told PJ Media. He mentioned the group of 47 nonprofit leaders who denounced the SPLC last year, and said "that group has grown since then."

Furthermore, many of the "hate groups" attacked by the SPLC do not encourage hate or violence, but merely disagree with the left-wing organization's political views. Many — like the Family Research Council (FRC), the Ruth Institute, and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — merely stand for marriage as between one man and one woman. The SPLC has twisted 30-year-old arguments to smear these groups, and in one egregious case the group actually quoted as hateful the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Other organizations attacked by the SPLC also told PJ Media they are "considering their options" regarding a lawsuit.

"Truthfully, I have not been following the activities of the SPLC too closely," Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute, an organization that lost its credit card processor, Vanco Payments, over the SPLC's "hate group" labeling last year, told PJ Media. "Pursuing our mission is more important than attempting to take on the behemoth of the SPLC."

"I must say, though, this apology to Mr. Nawaz has caused us to consider our options," Morse added, cryptically.

"We are reviewing all our legal options," J.P. Duffy, a spokesman for the Family Research Council, told PJ Media on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Prager University, another organization attacked by the SPLC, said that "at this point" the group had "no intention to sue," but they "reserve the right to change their mind as the situation evolves."

Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), echoed this trend, saying his organization is "evaluating all our options," including a potential lawsuit.

"It's appalling and offensive for the Southern Poverty Law Center to compare peaceful organizations which condemn violence and racism with violent and racist groups just because it disagrees with their views," Tedesco told PJ Media. "That's what SPLC did in the case of Quilliam and its founder Maajid Nawaz, and that's what it has done with ADF and numerous other organizations and individuals."

"This situation confirms once again what commentators across the political spectrum have been saying for decades: SPLC has become a far-left organization that brands its political opponents as 'haters' and 'extremists' and has lost all credibility as a civil rights watchdog," the ADF senior counsel added.

Tedesco defended the good name of Alliance Defending Freedom, which SPLC falsely maligns as a "hate group." "With eight wins in the last seven years at the U.S. Supreme Court and hundreds of victories for free speech at America's public universities, ADF is one of the nation's most respected and successful legal advocates, working to preserve our fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience for people from all walks of life," he said.


Spain: Ground Zero for Europe's Anti-Israel Movement

The proliferating anti-Israel activism, driven by the rise to power of the political far-left, is establishing Spain as the EU member state most hostile towards the Jewish state.

Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain, has approved a motion to boycott Israel and slander it by declaring the city an "Israeli apartheid-free zone." The move comes days after Navarra, one of Spain's 17 autonomous communities, announced a similar measure. In all, more than 50 Spanish cities and regions have passed motions condemning Israel. The proliferating anti-Israel activism, driven by the rise to power of the political far-left, is establishing Spain as the EU member state most hostile towards the Jewish state.

The Valencian measure, introduced by the far-left party València en Comú, was approved during a plenary session of the city council on May 31. The motion, which commits the city to refrain from engaging in business contacts or cultural events with Israeli authorities or companies, aims at establishing Valencia as "a global reference for solidarity with the Palestinians."

The motion, which libelously describes Israel as an "apartheid regime," accuses the Jewish state of "colonialism," "racism," "ethnic cleansing," "tyranny," and "genocide."

The measure, which claims to reflect the "dignity, solidarity and justness" of the Valencian people, was introduced by Neus Fábregas Santana, a city councilor whose Twitter feed reveals an obsession with demonizing and delegitimizing Israel.

Santana works closely with a group called BDS País Valencia, the local branch of a worldwide movement trying to delegitimize Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

BDS País Valencia is currently promoting a Spanish documentary about the Gaza Strip called "Gas the Arabs," a title that alleges, falsely, that the Jews in Israel are doing to the Arabs today what the Nazis in Germany did to the Jews during the Second World War.

An activist with BDS País Valencia, Mireia Biosca, said the motion in Valencia had three objectives:

"The first is the dismantling of the apartheid wall and the return to the borders of 1967. The second is the end of apartheid both in Palestine and in Israel, and the third is the right of return."

Biosca also said BDS País Valencia would work to prevent the Eurovision song contest from being held in Israel in 2019:

"There is a very clear line: first to ensure that states do not participate in the festival, and obviously a campaign to prevent the festival from being in Jerusalem. For me it is equally boycottable if it is decided that Eurovision will be held in Tel Aviv...."

A Madrid-based organization, Action and Communication on the Middle East (ACOM), which is fighting the anti-Israel BDS movement in Spain, said that Valencia's motion was anti-Semitic and an incitement to hatred. It said it was studying whether to take legal action against the City Council of Valencia for violating the Spanish Constitution and promoting discrimination based on religion, ethnicity or national origin:

"The declaration is full of lies, manipulations and libels, whilst it calls for the city to formally adhere to the BDS movement and declare itself 'free of Israeli apartheid' (a known euphemism in Spain for Judenrein [free of Jews], where any perceived sympathizer of the Jewish State is demanded to publicly denounce the policies of the only democracy in the Middle East in order to be admitted to social, political, economic or civic activities in the municipality) ....

"We informed the local press of the illegality of the BDS campaign, detailing dozens of judicial cases won by ACOM in the Spanish Courts that proved the unconstitutionality of exclusionary measures."

ACOM has filed more than twenty lawsuits against provincial and town councils which have enacted boycotts of Israel.

Much of the BDS activity in Spain is being promoted by Podemos (translated in English as "We Can"), a neo-Communist party founded in March 2014 to protest the economic austerity measures put into place after the European debt crisis. Podemos received more than 20% of the vote in the national election held on December 20, 2015 and is now the third-largest party in Parliament.

Podemos head Pablo Iglesias and his deputy, Íñigo Errejón, served as advisors to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and have been accused of receiving more than €7 million ($8 million) from Chávez to fund their political activities in Spain. Podemos has also been accused of receiving funding from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iglesias has a long history of anti-Semitism: he has downplayed the Holocaust, describing it as "a bureaucratic and administrative decision"; compared the Gaza Strip to the Warsaw ghetto; and described Spanish police who apprehend illegal immigrants as being the same as SS guards.

Iglesias hosts a television program, "Fort Apache," which is broadcast on HispanTV, a Spanish-language cable television network owned by the Iranian government. He has been accused of using his show to repeat anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and tropes.

In a June 7 interview on RTVE, a leading state-owned television and radio broadcast network, Iglesias, said that Israel was an "illegal" country: "We need to act more firmly against an illegal state like Israel. Israel's actions are illegal. The apartheid policies of Israel are illegal."

València en Comú, the political party which sponsored the BDS motion in Valencia, is a local offshoot of Podemos. The motion was approved with support from Compromís, a coalition of Communist and left-wing nationalist parties, as well as the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), which recently took over the central government in Madrid.

BDS motions have also been approved in: Abrera, Alcoi, Alhaurín de la Torre, Artés, Badalona, Barberà del Vallès, Barcelona, Benlloch, Campillos, Casares (Malaga), Castrillón, Castro del Río, Catarroja, Concentaina, Córdoba, Corvera, El Prat, Gijón, Gran Canaria, La Roda Llangreu, Los Corrales, Madrid, Mairena del Aljarafe, Molins de Rei, Montoro, Muro, Navalafuente, Navarra, Oleiros, Olesa de Montserrat, Onda, Pamplona, Petrer, Ripollet, Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Sabiñánigo, San Fernando, San Roque, Sant Adrià del Besòs, Sant Cebriá de Vallalta, Sant Celoni, Santa Eulària (Ibiza), Sant Boi de Llobregat, Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Sant Pere de Ruidebitlles, Santiago de Compostela, Sant Quirze del Vallès, Seville, Telde, Terrassa, Trebujena, Velvez-Málaga, Viladamat, Viloria del Henar, Xeraco and Zaragoza, among others.

ACOM President Ángel Más explained the dynamics behind the rise of the BDS movement in Spain:

"The BDS is a global phenomenon that is born from the modern anti-Semites' acceptance of the improbability of defeating Israel through military confrontation or terrorist attacks. The objective is the same: the annihilation of the Jewish homeland, 'from the river to the sea.' But now, BDS tries to push the international community to condemn Israel as a pariah state and ostracize all those that support her: Zionists. Jews.

"The delegitimizers, as old-time bigots, mask their thuggery, presenting themselves as victims and hiding their true intentions. They appeal to public feelings against oppression or abuse and the sympathy for underdogs and suffering minorities.

"The BDS movement in Spain acquired its current virulence with the emergence of Podemos, a 'Chavist' far-left party financed by Venezuela and Iran. Podemos won 25% of the votes in Spain's 2015 local elections. Before those elections, BDS was a marginal confederation of small groups focusing on academic and cultural boycotts of Israel. The core group that formed Podemos had been active in the BDS initiatives for years, and hostility against Israel was a top priority in their political agenda.

"As Podemos gained control of the municipal governments in the main Spanish cities, including Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Cadiz, the anti-Israel movement had access to multiple economic, human and organizational resources. When those far-left groups occupied public institutions, they didn't distinguish between their own sectarian agenda and the government's agenda.

"Local administrations (provincial and municipal) formally joined the BDS movement and declared their territories 'free of Israeli apartheid.' In effect, Judenrein. Stickers were distributed to be exhibited in shops and offices, public companies were instructed not to work with Israeli firms or individuals and Spanish citizens suspected of being associated or sympathetic to the Jewish state were demanded to repudiate it publicly in order not to be excluded from social, political, economic and civic life.

"Podemos has driven over 90 such declarations in Spain in jurisdictions covering a population of over eight million people. Its plan was to create an oil spill of hatred reaching the majority of Spain in 18 months. This was an existential threat, and we had to act....

"No local boycott is too small to go unchallenged. BDS groups carefully manipulate the information reaching political decision makers, spend massive resources on media campaigns and are masters at social media intoxication. In general, pro-Israel groups are lagging behind in the application of analysis and action in those fields."


Trinity Western University Loses Religious Freedom Fight

In a 7-2 decision, the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled against Trinity Western University in their fight to open a law school, siding with the Law Society of British Columbia in its belief that LGBTQ+ rights trump religious freedom rights.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Richard Wagner, along with Justices Rosalie Abella, Michael Moldaver, Andromache Karakatsanis, and Clement Gascon stated “The LSBC’s [Law Society of British Columbia] decision not to approve TWU’s [Trinity Western University] proposed law school represents a proportionate balance between the limitation on the religious protections under s. 2 (a) of the Charter and the statutory objectives that the LSBC sought to pursue. The LSBC’s decision was therefore reasonable.”

TWU is an evangelical institute of higher learning that has multiple locations in Canada. The institution was founded by the Evangelical Free Churches of Canada and America in 1962 and was upgraded to university status in 1985.

In June 2012, Trinity Western submitted a proposal for a law school at their main campus in British Columbia. In April of 2014 the LSBC, however, in October of 2014, the LSBC reversed its decision based on a referendum of British Columbia’s lawyers. Trinity Western sued the LSBC for their decision and thus began a years-long legal battle that resulted in the Supreme Court of Canada handing down a decision in favor of the LSBC’s favor on June 15.

At issue in this legal dispute was Trinity Western’s “Community Covenant” which, among other things, prohibited “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Justice Beverly McLachlin, who retired on Dec. 15, 2017 but was still on the bench in late November and early December of 2017 when Trinity Western’s appeal was heard, agreed with the majority decision, stating, “Where legislatures delegate regulation of the legal profession to a law society, the law society’s interpretation of the public interest is owed deference.”

Justice Malcolm Rowe also agreed with the majority, stating, “With the privilege of self-government granted to the LSBC comes a corresponding duty to self-regulate in the public interest. The LSBC was entitled to interpret its public interest mandate as including consideration of the effect of the Covenant on prospective law students. The fact that the Covenant is a statement of religious rules and principles does not insulate it from such scrutiny.”

Justices Suzanne Cote and Russell Brown disagreed with the decision, however, stating “Under the LSBC’s enabling statute, the only proper purpose of a law faculty approval decision is to ensure that individual graduates are fit to become members of the legal profession because they meet minimum standards of competence and ethical conduct. Given the absence of any concerns relating to the fitness of prospective TWU law graduates, the only defensible exercise of the LSBC’s statutory discretion would have been to approve TWU’s proposed law school.”

The full text of the Canadian Supreme Court’s decision including concurring and dissenting opinions, can be found here.

For its part, TWU mourned the majority’s decision, stating, “Until now, Canada has encouraged the rich mosaic created by the diversity of views, race, gender, and belief systems. Sadly, the Supreme Court has decided that this does not extend to a law school at Trinity Western University.”

Earl Phillips, executive director of what was going to be TWU Law School, said, “We feel this is a lost opportunity for Canadians, many of whom do not have affordable access to justice. There are only three common law schools in Canada that offer a course in charity law. The TWU Law School would have offered a specialty in charity law. Because Canada has the second largest charitable and non-profit sector in the world, this law stands to impact Canadians coast to coast.”
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Phillips further stated, “Without question, the Trinity Western community is disappointed by this ruling. However, all Canadians should be troubled by today’s decision that sets a precedent for how the courts will interpret and apply Charter rights and equality rights going forward.”



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, June 25, 2018

Pentagon Covering Up Fact That Female Officers Nearly Sank Navy Ship

The "diversity" mongers have blood on their hands

During the early weeks after the USS Fitzgerald was speared by a lumbering Philippine container ship, it was noteworthy that the captain and a couple of admirals were publically named, but not the actual officer in charge, the officer of the deck. (OOD) The other person who should have kept the Fitz out of trouble is the person in charge of the combat information center, the Tactical Action Officer. That individual is supposed to be monitoring the combat radar, which can detect a swimmer at a distance of two miles.

Not until a year later, when the final reports are made public and the guilty parties have been court-martialed, does the truth come out. The OOD was named Sarah, and the Tactical Action Officer was named Natalie, and they weren’t speaking to each other!!! The Tactical Action Officer would normally be in near constant communication with the OOD, but there is no record of any communication between them that entire shift!

Another fun fact: In the Navy that won WWII, the damage control officers were usually some of the biggest and strongest men aboard, able to close hatches, shore up damaged areas with timbers, etc. The Fitz’s damage control officer was also a woman, and she never left the bridge. She handled the aftermath of the accident remotely, without lifting a finger herself!

Look it up: The OOD was Sarah Coppock, Tactical Action Officer was Natalie Combs. . . .

When I noticed last year that they were doing all they could to keep the OOD’s name out of the headlines, I speculated to my son that it was a she. Turns out all the key people (except one officer in the CIC) were female!

Indeed, I did some searching, and Lt. Coppock pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty. Lt. Combs faced a hearing last month:

"In an 11-hour hearing, prosecutors painted a picture of Lt. Irian Woodley, the ship’s surface warfare coordinator, and Lt. Natalie Combs, the tactical action officer, as failing at their jobs, not using the tools at their disposal properly and not communicating adequately. They became complacent with faulty equipment and did not seek to get it fixed, and they failed to communicate with the bridge, the prosecution argued. Had they done those things, the government contended, they would have been able to avert the collision."

That two of the officers — Coppock and Combs — involved in this fatal incident were female suggests that discipline and training standards have been lowered for the sake of “gender integration,” which was a major policy push at the Pentagon during the Obama administration. It could be that senior officers, knowing their promotions may hinge on enthusiastic support for “gender integration,” are reluctant to enforce standards for the women under their command.

This was the story of Kara Hultgreen, the Navy pilot who died in a 1994 F-14 crash. Investigation showed that Hultgreen had been allowed to proceed in her training after errors that would have meant a washout for any male pilot. But the Clinton administration was pushing for female fighter pilots, which resulted in a competition between the Navy and Air Force to put women into these combat roles. It is not necessary to believe that (a) women shouldn’t be fighter pilots, in order to believe (b) lowering standards for the sake of quotas is a bad idea. Of course, you may believe both (a) and (b), but it is (b) that gets people killed.

It seems obvious that the Pentagon (and the liberal media) sought to suppress full knowledge of what happened to the Fitzgerald in the immediate aftermath of the June 2017 incident that killed seven sailors, in the same way the details of Kara Hultgreen’s death were suppressed. It took investigative reporters like Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times a lot of hard work to find out what actually happened to Hultgreen. Let’s hope other reporters will dig into what’s happening in our military with the “gender intergration” agenda at the Pentagon now.


Eurydice Dixon: ‘Rape culture’ facts just don’t fit

Australia's CLAIRE LEHMANN comprehensively demolishes feminist theory in just one article

It has been little more than a week since a young Melbourne woman, Eurydice Dixon, had her life cut short by young man who allegedly raped and murdered her, leaving her body in an empty oval in the early hours of the morning. The young man has since turned himself in to police. [He was a mental case]

In the aftermath of this brutal crime we have seen calls to action from Malcolm Turnbull to “change the hearts of men”, from Bill Shorten to “change the attitudes of men”, and from Adam Bandt that “we (men) must change the way we act”, as if there were some kind of unspoken bond between the person who committed this crime and the politicians who govern the nation.

Such utterances, while potentially comforting to those who are acutely distressed, are overly broad in their attribution of blame. Whether such broadness is intentional or not, it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of evil, and betrays the liberal principle that no person should be held accountable for a crime they did not commit.

In my brief time as a graduate student of forensic psychology, I learned about children who had “callous and unemotional” traits. These traits are the childhood version of what we call psychopathy in adults. Children who exhibit these traits are cruel to their pets and siblings in ways the ordinary person would struggle to comprehend. I read about one child who stuck pins into the eyes of the family dog, and another child who poured paint stripper over his disabled sister’s legs. The traumatised parents of these children live out lives of devastation and outrage, and suffer the fate of being blamed for their children’s disturbance (when most often it is not their fault). Fortunately, there are a handful of clinics around the world that try to train such children out of such behaviour. But in the long run many of them do grow up to be antisocial, some become criminals, others do not.

When Victoria Police Superintendent David Clayton said people “should be aware of (their) surroundings” and take precautions to protect their own safety following the discovery of Dixon’s body, he uttered a statement so commonsensical as to be banal. Yet, from the vicious reaction to his words, one might have momentarily thought that he was the murderer. Premier Daniel ­Andrews seemed to implicitly rebuke the senior police officer when he officiously declared: “Women don’t need to change their behaviour. Men do.”

Yet anyone who has had any real-life experience knows what Clayton was referring to: psychopaths exist in our midst, and these predators opportunistically engage in acts of malevolence. These criminals are rare but the damage they can do can be devastating. All the high-minded efforts to get men to “change” aren’t going to rid the world of psychopaths, unless one believes psychopaths don’t exist in the first place.

As a senior police officer, Clayton presumably knows a bit about crime. He is familiar with depravity and recognises its signs. Yet this simple fact of life, that evil exists, seems beyond the realm of the progressive imagination. Limited by an emaciated vocabulary, such crimes are now explained via the newspeak of “oppression”, “power” and “problematic attitudes” that have been “socialised”.

The fashionable explanation today is the idea that crimes against women are a cultural phenomenon. Prominent feminist Clementine Ford writes in The Age: “Sexual violence and homicide might be the extreme end point of it, but the spectrum they sit on stretches right back to ‘harmless’ casual sexism, the rape ‘jokes’ and threats that proliferate online and the attitude expressed towards women on a daily basis by groups of men who’ve been socialised to view themselves as superior. These toxic behaviours don’t manifest one day out of nowhere. They are cultivated.”

White Ribbon ambassador Andrew Swan joined the crime-is-cultural chorus, stating: “It is crucial to consider sexual assault and family violence as part of the same spectrum — a dark rainbow that begins with something as simple as a sexist joke, and our reaction to it.” The solution? “Try not laughing,” he said.

The focus on sexist jokes and “everyday sexism” seems disproportionate when weighed against the evidence. You wouldn’t know it from the amount of times the myth is repeated by media commentators, but there is no evidence that links the telling of jokes to sexual assault or murder. On the contrary, in the psychiatric literature, losing one’s ability to laugh (anhedonia) is a recognised sign of psychopathology, and a general sense of humour is considered healthy.

The fashionable idea that all men are somehow responsible for a culture of rape and violence is not supported by the evidence either. Crimes in general, including crimes against women, are committed overwhelmingly by a minority subset of the general population. In Sweden, for example, a population-based study that looked at more than two million people from 1975 to 2004 found that only 1 per cent of the population were responsible for 63.2 per cent of all crimes recorded — nearly twice as many as the other 99 per cent combined. That’s a tiny percentage of the population responsible for the vast majority of offending.

The same holds true for sexual assault. Offenders who commit sexual assaults are much likelier to be “life-course persistent offenders”; that is, individuals who have the greatest propensity to criminality. Again, a minority is responsible for the majority of offending. Even when it comes to sexual harassment, it is likely that repeat offenders cause most of the trouble. The fact is that recidivist offenders are responsible for the vast bulk of all crimes, and unfortunately these individuals are the least likely to be persuaded by rehabilitation campaigns or public education efforts.

“But what about domestic violence?” one may ask. Isn’t the high rate of intimate-partner ­violence evidence that we live in a culture that belittles and devalues women?

It is true that women experience the most serious forms of domestic violence, which can involve stalking and end in murder. In Australia, about 70 per cent of all intimate-partner homicides are female. And about one in four women (or about 25 per cent to 30 per cent) report having been the victim of intimate-partner ­violence at some time. Yet intimate-partner violence is not a male-only domain. In an Australian study, lesbians were likelier to report having been in an abusive relationship than gay men (41 per cent and 28 per cent respectively). And in the US, the lifetime prevalence of having been the victim of intimate-­partner violence is found to be much higher among lesbians and bisexual women when compared with heterosexual women and gay men. The feminist theory that claims violence is a tool used by men systematically to oppress women as a collective fails to account for such data. It also fails to account for the Nordic paradox.

A study published in 2016 coined the term Nordic paradox to refer to the puzzling finding that in countries with the highest level of gender equality — ­Sweden, Norway and Finland — rates of reported intimate-partner violence are substantially higher than in the rest of the world. (The global prevalence of IPV is estimated to be about 30 per cent but in Sweden it is 38 per cent.) Researchers do not know if this is because there is a backlash effect in which men are responding to shifts towards gender egalitarianism by lashing out, or if it is simply the result of increased awareness and reporting. But whatever the explanation is determined to be, the feminist prediction that violence declines as gender equality increases simply is not supported by the data.

The idea that our culture condones violence against women is farcical. There are no sympathetic portrayals of rapists or wife-­abusers in films, TV shows or in most of the Western canon. On the contrary, films often revolve around a plot of revenge where a morally depraved figure who has harmed a woman receives his just deserts. There are no cultural artefacts that glorify rape and, contrary to the accusations of some feminists, men who abuse or exploit women generally are held in contempt by other men.

Crimes against women are stigmatised and punished harshly. Sexual offenders generally are given lengthy prison sentences and are secluded from other prisoners precisely because the crime is so reviled — even in ­prison.

While ABC journalists ask why violence against women is an “accepted part” of Western civilisation we must remember that a long view of the trends in violent crime all point to violence decreasing substantially across time. In Australia, the homicide rate and sexual assault rate peaked in the 1970s and has been declining steadily since.

As documented by Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, all Western nations have seen dramatic and persistent declines in interpersonal violence dur­ing the past 500 years. While there may be variations from year to year, rates of violent crime are much lower now than at any point in our recorded history.

Yet in public conversations about crime, data is overlooked in favour of appeals to emotion. And to compound the naivety, the political narratives that surround crime today — especially crimes against women — are becoming increasingly toxic and divisive. While “equality” for the left once meant the removal of artificial barriers that impeded people’s ability to partake in social and economic life, today it means something different.

The contemporary left sees the world through the lens of groups warring over scarce resources. This perspective perceives res­ources as static: there is a pie that never grows, and the role of politics is to cut the pie up in a more fair and equitable manner. In this world view, if more men are in positions of power within a society, then this happens at the expense of women. Interactions between groups are zero-sum.

In this world of identity politics, individuality is subsumed into the collective. When one man holds power, he doesn’t do so on behalf of himself, he does so on behalf of the male collective. Likewise, when one man commits a murder, collectivists will portray it as being done in the service of all men. This regressive world view has no qualms about ascribing collective guilt to entire groups of people. But ascribing collective guilt strikes at the very heart of our understanding of justice and liberty.

One reason violence has declined in the West is because at some point along the way we decided that individual sovereignty matters, and that it was unjust to hold people accountable for crimes they did not commit. Let’s not reverse the trend.


SPLC agrees to $3.3 million settlement over its ‘Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists’


The Southern Poverty Law Center has made an apology and agreed to a $3.3 million settlement in a lawsuit over its “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” When the Field Guide was published in 2016 it included the name of Maajid Nawaz, a British Muslim who runs the Quilliam Foundation. Nawaz sued the SPLC in 2017 and today Quilliam announced the settlement victory:

The Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc. has apologized to Quilliam and its founder Maajid Nawaz for wrongly naming them in its controversial Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. In a public statement, the SPLC’s president, Richard Cohen, explained that “Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism.”…

The SPLC also agreed to pay a $3.375 million settlement, which Quilliam and Nawaz intend to use to fund work fighting anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism. “With the help of everyone who contributed to our litigation fund, we were able to fight back against the Regressive Left and show them that moderate Muslims will not be silenced,” said Nawaz. “We will continue to combat extremists by defying Muslim stereotypes, calling out fundamentalism in our own communities, and speaking out against anti-Muslim hate.”

The SPLC posted a video apology on its own site, which you can view here. The apology says in part, “Since we published the Field Guide, we have taken the time to do more research…” Yes, lawsuits have a funny way of making people do more research.

The SPLC’s tone today is very different now from what it was two years ago. When the Atlantic spoke to the Field Guide’s author, Mark Potok, about the inclusion of Nawaz in its list, Potok was confident no apology was forthcoming:

“Our point is not to make these people targets for violence, Potok said. “The point is to tamp down the really baseless targeting.” While Nawaz demanded a correction, retraction, and apology, Potok said none was coming.

In addition to Nawaz, the same document listed Ayaan Hirsi Ali as an extremist. She wrote about her inclusion on the list in a piece for the NY Times last August:

In that guide, the S.P.L.C. claims that I am a “propagandist far outside the political mainstream” and warns journalists to avoid my “damaging misinformation.” These groundless smears are deeply offensive, as I have dedicated much of my adult life to calling out the true extremists: organizations such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. Yet you will look in vain for the S.P.L.C.’s “Field Guide to Muslim Extremists.” No such list exists.

That’s a shame, because Islamic extremism — a movement that aims to impose a caliphate and Sharia law by violent means — is as toxic as white supremacy. In the past two decades, it has certainly been responsible for many more deaths.

The SPLC deleted the “Field Guide” from its website sometime in April of this year. It’s good to see them forced to backtrack, though the settlement will barely make a dent in their $432 million endowment. Finally, it’s worth noting that Popehat, who doesn’t seem to have much love for the SPLC, says there’s a worrisome aspect to this settlement:

The SPLC has fallen from being a justifiably respected warrior against bigotry and brutality to an unreliable, sophomoric, flailing orthodoxy-cop that struggles to distinguish organized hate groups like the Klan from trolls, idiots, or social conservatives. I would like to see them be more responsible. But I am worried — and you should be too — about the abuse of defamation law…

It’s impossible to overstate the extent of the SPLC’s surrender here — I can’t remember one combining this level of money and apology, especially pre-litigation. So why did they do it? Maybe there are specific false statements of fact in the Field Guide that haven’t come to light. Perhaps discovery would have revealed ugly things about the SPLC’s process of writing such lists. Perhaps the lawsuit would have resulted in sustained terrible publicity for the SPLC, undermining whatever credibility it has left. Maybe they’re actually contrite.

But though I celebrate an apology for wrongdoing, I can’t celebrate a surrender at swordpoint that encourages censorious litigation. Bad opinions are, and ought to be — must be — absolutely protected. If the SPLC surrendered because we’ve got a broken judicial system that makes litigation ruinously expensive and fails to protect free speech, the result is bad, not good.


Spanish authorities rescue 569 sub-Saharan African migrants in flotilla of more than 16 boats including two men in a canoe in the Strait of Gibraltar

Lucky old Spain.  A black wave is rolling across the Mediterranean as Leftist mischief-makers get into the act to facilitate it

Spanish authorities say they have rescued 264 people in 16 boats in the Strait of Gibraltar.

The country's Maritime Rescue Service says those rescued Saturday from the busy shipping lane with treacherous currents included two men were pulled from a canoe.

Twenty-seven others were found in the Mediterranean between Spain and Morocco and 129 more off the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean.

Fair weather and calm seas in recent days have brought a increase in migrants' attempts to reach the Spanish coast via the Western Mediterranean route.

Spain's new center-left government recently announced a softer stance on migration, extending public health care to foreigners without residence permits.



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