Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Ministry of Trans Truth

The language of transgenderism is designed to silence dissent.

I’m fascinated by the way that concepts apparently arise from nowhere, take hold in the popular imagination, then become naturalised and beyond question.

One such idea is that individuals can be ‘born in the wrong body’, so that men can be women. Since there is no scientific evidence, neuroscientific or otherwise, that an unambiguously biological male can in fact be female, how can society have arrived at a stage where people who question the claim ‘trans women are women’ are routinely labelled Nazis, bigots and transphobes?

A new nomenclature has arisen which bifurcates women into two groups, ‘cis’ (biological women) and ‘trans’. This performs a linguistic sleight of hand that enables the idea that some men can actually be women. But no matter how cultivated their ‘feminine’ outward appearance, ‘trans women’ (as opposed to transsexuals) have penises.

The concept that ‘trans women’ are women, and that we must believe this is so because they affirm it, is further translated into the idea that ‘trans women’ are even more oppressed by the patriarchy than their ‘cis’ sisters. Progressives routinely turn with vitriol on women who challenge this newly minted ‘Truth’, labelling them ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists’ (TERFs), no matter how moderate, thoughtful, or indeed trans-friendly those women are.

This new definition of womanhood is having bizarre effects on our political institutions. The Labour Party now admits men who identify as women on to all-women shortlists, without any necessity for a gender-recognition certificate. A number of these men have successfully applied to the Jo Cox Women in Leadership programme.

Then there’s the misogyny. Labour continues to support Lily Madigan in the role of women’s officer for Rochester and Strood, despite his bullying of gender-critical feminists and other women. One of his latest Twitter missives states that TERFs ‘can go fuck themselves’, and he is allowed to say this with impunity not only by the party but by Twitter itself.

Labour also (briefly) appointed the ‘trans woman’ Munroe Bergdorf to an LGBT working group. Bergdorf had recently been quoted in Grazia saying that many feminists are biological essentialists, because we apparently ‘summarise women as walking vaginas… a similar approach to that of misogynists’.

A kind of informal Ministry of Truth has emerged around the trans issue – or rather, a Ministry of Propaganda, since it is responsible for the falsification of historical events and biological facts. In keeping with the concept of doublethink, the ministry creates and then spreads ‘Truth’ through the new language of ‘cis’ and ‘trans’.

And in a chilling twist, it is now feminists who are the alleged extremist misogynists, purely because they don’t allow human beings with penises to control the political narrative. The statement – both mundane and tautological – that women don’t have penises is now considered inflammatory. When a feminist group distributed stickers making this observation recently in Liverpool, the police opened an investigation.

A cold wind of authoritarianism is blowing through our allegedly progressive, liberal-democratic society. When telling the truth becomes hate speech, when oppression becomes ethics, when non-facts become Truth, we all better look out.


Starbucks bathrooms may be open to all, but good luck finding a free stall

Seven months ago, Starbucks declared its toilets open to all after a racism scandal. But the result of the policy has been disgusting.

When you’ve gotta go, don’t go to Starbucks.

Seven months after the coffee kingdom declared its toilets open to all — no purchase necessary — visitors who hear nature’s call are finding it isn’t always easy to lighten their loads.

Finding a usable Starbucks toilet in New York might actually have gotten harder since last spring’s announcement — and not just for non-customers.

Starbucks chief executive Kevin Johnson declared the open-toilets policy after two black men were infamously arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks. They asked to used the toilet and were told it was for customers only. When they sat to wait for a friend, they were handcuffed and charged with “trespassing”.

But a Post survey found some supposedly liberated loos in different Manhattan neighbourhoods closed to everyone.

It’s bad news, given that a “grande” drip coffee (around 450ml) contains a bladder-bursting 330mg of caffeine.

A half-dozen toilets were locked or barricaded for no clear reason. Others were closed for prolonged “cleaning” which an insider said was needed after extreme soiling caused by drug-using, incontinent vagrants.

“Letting everybody in has resulted in nobody getting in,” an employee at one branch fumed.

“Restroom closed,” declared signs at two Manhattan outlets. At another, the road to relief was blocked by rubbish bins. And furniture and boxes formed a barrier at yet another New York store.

A rope and traffic cones barred the way at one Downtown Starbucks. When a desperate visitor asked if the loo would reopen any time soon, a barista directed him to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.

After The Post asked for explanations from Starbucks’ Seattle headquarters, corporate spokesman Reggie Borges said that all the shuttered rest rooms had reopened.

But signs posted on about one-third of Manhattan’s Starbucks toilet doors don’t reflect the new policy, still saying “for customer use only”.

Most Starbucks toilet doors also sport numerical punch-code panels. Although some post the magic number, many don’t.

Mr Borges said: “Yes, some stores are still in the process of removing the signs.”

He said it wasn’t “as simple as using a screwdriver. Our stores have to work with landlords to make sure they’re appropriately removed.”

But, he added: “As soon as someone enters our door they are considered a customer whether they buy anything or not.”

On the punch codes, he said: “They don’t mean that you’re not allowed to use the rest room. “We are reconsidering them and might do away with the punch cards. If a barista won’t give you the code, you should call it to a manager’s attention.”

The new open-toilets rule pushed by Starbucks chairman emeritus Howard Schultz was supposed to help the chain repair the damage to its socially conscious reputation — which includes “community outreach” and a “fair trade” policy with its Third World suppliers.

Starbucks toilets can be an adventure even when they are open. At Broadway and 47th Street on Thursday, the men’s and women’s bathrooms were suddenly plunged into darkness, sending panicked customers fleeing to the bright lights of Times Square.


The myth of xenophobic Britain

Take it from an immigrant: this is one of the most welcoming nations on Earth

Konstantin Kisin

Since moving to Britain from Russia as a boy in the 1990s, I have been continuously shocked by the British attitude to foreigners: the mix of healthy curiosity, warmth and acceptance that is, globally speaking, the exception, not the rule.

As someone with dark hair and dark skin, I experienced more xenophobia in my own country than I have in my new home. My only encounter with racism here was at school. ‘Go back to Russia’, my tormentor implored, before adding ‘you… uhh… Paki’. Naturally, I was offended – I haven’t spoken to that teacher since.

Joking aside, my parents taught me that the best way to give ignorance power is to take it seriously. When did we decide that endless outrage about stupid people saying stupid things was the best way to improve the world, one Facebook post at a time?

To be clear, for the permanently offended: I am not saying that racism, xenophobia and stereotypes are harmless. They aren’t, and they must be resisted: the sooner Bond villains stop speaking with terrible Russian accents, the better.

As a comedian, I have travelled the length and breadth of Britain, poking fun at British idiosyncrasies from my viewpoint as an outsider. Routines where I ridicule the locals are often better received than jokes about Russia or my marriage. By contrast, a British comic who made fun of the locals in Russia would be the one in stitches, not the audience.

This tolerance of others, of free speech and of freedom of choice, is the reason Britain and the West are an example and a draw to the rest of the world.

Immigrants may come here to share in our prosperity, but often they stay because of the other freedoms on offer: freedom from corruption, nepotism, suppression of thought, oppressive religious dogma, and government interference in their lives.

But the backlash to the Brexit vote has shown that, in one of the most open, welcoming and inclusive nations in the history of humanity, many prominent voices have become convinced that half of our fellow citizens are racist xenophobes. As someone who voted Remain, I find this allegation to be disrespectful, hugely damaging to society, and, most importantly, untrue.

Oddly, the hordes of mainstream journalists gleefully labelling millions of people racist for exercising their democratic rights offer little by way of explanation for how half of voters became such horrendous bigots. At best, the assertion is that the suffering caused by the 2008 financial crisis led to frustrations which have coalesced around the issue of immigration. There is some truth to this, but it is, at best, a partial explanation.

The vast majority of the immigrants who have come to Britain in recent decades are thoroughly decent, hard-working people. I am proud to be one of them. They sweep our streets, pick our fruit and prop up our NHS. One day they might bring their ingenuity to bear on the railways, so that a smattering of autumn leaves no longer brings the system grinding to a halt.

I am confident that over the decades to come, the children and grandchildren of today’s migrants will help to write our laws, run our businesses and judge our talent shows.

The truth, however, is that, over the time I have lived in Britain, this country has witnessed unprecedented levels of migration. Whether you think this is good or bad is irrelevant – any honest discussion of immigration has to begin with this fact.

In 1995, net migration to the UK was 76,000 people. I was among them. By 2015, net annual migration had reached 330,000. This dramatic change in the pace of immigration has caused an abrupt shift in attitudes: according to figures from YouGov and Ipsos MORI, as late as 1997, just three per cent of the British public thought that immigration was a major concern. Today, this figure hovers around 50 per cent.

While this was happening, successive governments, starting with Labour under Tony Blair, sought to dismiss rising concerns about immigration through the effective combination of deceiving the public and smearing anyone who called them out on the lie.

This has led to the self-censorship of moderate voices in the immigration debate, thus polarising the conversation. When we hear concerns about the issue, too often they are voiced by unsavoury characters like Katie Hopkins. The people who refuse to listen to the two-thirds majority of the British public who think migration levels are ‘too high’ can then conflate criticism of their politics with ignorance, bigotry and prejudice.

Where ignorance cannot be used to explain away worries about the scale and pace of immigration, as in the case of someone like the articulate conservative author Douglas Murray, people simply dismiss him as a ‘gentrified xenophobe’, the thinking man’s racist. God forbid we should engage with his arguments.

This potent mix of lies and slander remains the dish du jour: in polite company, the mere suggestion that concerns about immigration might have some validity raises the heavily plucked eyebrows of the chattering classes.

Just as we can support our troops while being opposed to war, we can appreciate the contribution immigrants make while acknowledging that a society’s ability to integrate them is not limitless.

While mainstream media continue to churn out their clickbait nonsense about xenophobia and intolerance, ordinary people continue to live their lives in peace, harmony and understanding. The reason we avoid getting to know our neighbours isn’t intolerance: it’s that it is the British thing to do.

The growing chasm between the stories being told about Western culture and the reality of our daily interactions is the reason that we have grown so utterly distrustful of politicians and the media. When truth becomes unspeakable in the public square, when nuance and detail are replaced with Twittermobs and bad-faith arguments, all of us withdraw further and further into our echo chambers.

It is time for people in Britain to remember who we are and what we stand for: tolerance of opposing views, diversity not just of skin colour but also of thought, and freedom to speak and hear the facts, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. And the fact is this: British people don’t hate immigrants — they hate the politicians who keep claiming that they do.


Combating Racism and Anti-Semitism Includes Fighting Against BDS

Calls on Congress to combat anti-Semitism and racism are well-taken. The massacre at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue where 12 congregantswere murdered at the hands of a Neo-Nazi white supremacist was a horrific act of evil.Though still on the fringe of society, members of white supremacist groups pose a significant danger to blacks and to Jews.

However, there is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which targets Israel as an illegitimate state. Many see this movement as being fundamentally anti-Semitic since Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. Of concern now is that two supporters of the BDS movement have been elected to Congress.

Although these victories are minimal in comparison to the number of seats there are in Congress and even in comparison with the amount of seats the DemocraticParty holds, this nonetheless encourages the BDS movement to stay its course.

It is important to understand that BDS operates on a strategy that follows the ideas of early 20thcentury Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci argued that the dominant capitalistic class does not only dominate through economic means but also through cultural domination. This cultural domination takes place in society through a consensus of values, norms, and beliefs that are widely accepted including by those who are victims of this domination. In other words, the dominated believe in the values of the dominant.  Thus, the media, universities, religious institutions, the school system and other spheres of the system reproduce this set of values and beliefs and individuals “buy into them”. Gramsci proposed a strategy to combat this type of sophisticated domination. The idea was to create a counter-hegemony. The strategy was to begin to advance alternative ideas that could affect the mindset, values and beliefs of society so as to adapt them to a possibility of change.

The idea was to define a new normal and a new concept of what is legitimate in order to seek gradual changes that would eventually lead to total change.

As an example, before the Muslim Brotherhood took over the reins of power in Egypt, it managed to gain control of the trade unions, student unions, professional associations, the educational system and certainly the mosques.  Later they won seats in parliament and eventually the presidency of Egypt.

Although more limited in scope, the method used by BDS is similar. Islamization in the secular and Christian West is not a realistic goal in the short run. However, the de-legitimization of Israel and the breakdown of pro-Israel sentiments in American public opinion is viewed as an attainable goal.

BDS is not the work of one man or one organization. BDS is a coalition of groups that include well-funded Muslim organizations (mostly with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood) such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others, Palestinian student organizations, anti-Israel Jewish groups and individuals, and left-wing students and academics. (To clarify, I make a distinction between Muslim Americans and organizations such as CAIR. Muslim Americans, as a community, are not part of this movement. Muslim Americans constitute a complex and diverse community and for many of them the Israeli/Palestinian conflict does not mean much).

The strategy of the de-legitimization of Israel is possible through a combination of two elements. First, the openness of the left to these ideas. Second, and as a direct consequence of the first, is BDS’s skillful use of intersectionality.

To be sure, the Soviet influence on the Western intellectual left from the cold war era denoted a predisposition by elements of the left to adopt anti-Zionist views. The logic was simple: the USSR and the communist/socialist idea stand with the oppressed and against imperialism. Israel oppresses the Palestinians and stands with America. Therefore, all those who represent oppressed people should stand against Zionism and Israel.

The Arab oil embargo of the 1970’s added fuel to this idea. The 1975 resolution, “Zionism is Racism,” as absurd as it sounded, made inroads in many elements of the left. That was aggravated by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict where Palestinians were succeeding in portraying themselves as victims rather than perpetrators despite the fact that they were responsible for multiple terrorist attacks and despite the Palestinian leadership’s rejection of any compromise with Israel. The first Israel-PLO war on Lebanese soil (1982) and the first intifada (1987-1993) reinforced that image of David vs. Goliath, where Israel was the latter.

The idea of intersectionality stands on similar ground: different forms of discrimination and oppression “combine, overlap, or intersect”. Thus, oppression of or discrimination against women, African-Americans and other minorities, homosexuals, immigrants, and others are all part of the same scheme. Therefore, the fight against the oppression of the Palestinians is an integral part of the oppression of the groups mentioned above. Thus, a rabid pro-BDS, anti-Israel supporter such as Linda Sarsour becomes a leader of the Women’s March when her main agenda is the de-legitimization of Israel. Sarsour could not fake it any longer when she began associating with homophobic and anti-Semitic personalities such as Louis Farrakhan and Imam Siraj Wahhaj.

By the same token, BDS also made alliances with Immigration coalitions and with movements such as Black Lives Matter. The latter is a movement that emerged as a response to police killing of black people and racial profiling. BDS, through one of its organizations, Jewish Voice for Peace, created a website called “Deadly Exchange.” That website includes an entire pamphlet directed at Black Lives Matter where they try to prove in a document full of distortions that the “exchange programs that bring together police, ICE, border patrol, and FBI from the U.S. with soldiers, police, border agents, etc.” to Israel, “promote and extend discriminatory and repressive policing practices that already exist in both countries, including extrajudicial executions, shoot-to-kill policies, police murders, racial profiling, massive spying and surveillance, deportation and detention, and attacks on human rights defenders.”

The pamphlet resorts to anti-Semitic rhetoric by claiming that those who are promoting these programs are “the neo-conservative Jewish Institute on National Security of America (JINSA), Jewish Federations, the Anti-Defamation League, and even Birthright.” In other words, Jewish institutions with different views, whether they are right, left or center are all without exception systematically promoting violence against black people. Black Lives Matter adopted a statement repudiating these exchanges despite the fact they have been purely professional, as many black officers who participated in these exchanges testified. BDS scored a victory when the city of Durham in North Carolina prohibited police officers from participating in those exchanges.

Mainline protestant Churches adopted harsh resolutions and some of their religious leadership defined the Israeli occupation of the West Bank as a “sin against God,” misappropriating a term used by Pope John Paul II to describe the Holocaust.

Victories of this type are not only based on distortions but are blood libels that are too often accepted as unquestionable truths. Thus, it is in academia where this point is best proven. Professors who are supposed to have an open mind and critical judgement have too often joined the boycott of Israel. Likewise, academic associations adopted resolutions condemning Israel.

Thus, BDS aims at creating a counter-hegemony to force changes in mindset by conquering key cultural and ideological positions in the university, the churches, the black community, the artistic community, some trade unions, liberal causes and other civil society entities. BDS is not just about economic boycotts. They are well aware that a thriving economy such as Israel’s is not going to be sabotaged so easily.

Passing anti-Israel resolutions in different academic entities is not always successful. So Why bother? The answer is that the more the idea that Israel is an illegitimate entity based on “land theft” and oppression of the Palestinian people is heard and the more the idea of the “horrors” of the occupation makes its way into people’s minds, the more the Zionist narrative breaks down. Although BDS has not succeeded in exercising substantial pressure on Israel or its supporters, it has created significant doubt about the purity and justice of the state of Israel. When the only Jewish state is coming under such attack and the fact being that Israel was created to protect Jews from anti-Semitism, an attack against the very foundation of Israel is an attack on the Jewish community, which generally supports the existence of the State of Israel.

In other words, BDS is turning anti-Semitism into a social movement. In pre-Holocaust Europe, antisemitism was already a social movement.

In addition, last summer it was reported that the Virginia-based U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, which oversees the work of 329 different BDS organizations, funnels money to the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC). This committee is based in the West Bank and Gaza and one of its members is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, which includes Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. All of these entities are designatedterrorist groups by Israel, the U.S. and Europe. In fact, this requires an FBI investigation as to how donations made in the U.S. are being spent since American charities are not allowed to benefit terrorist groups.

The election of Ilhan Ohmar and Rashida Tlaib to Congress is the last major victory of BDS in its hegemonic ambition. Omar called Israel “evil” although she said nothing about the cruelty of the Assad regime in Syria that claimed the lives of 500,000 people or the violence in Yemen where Arabs kill Arabs and Muslims kill Muslims. Likewise, except for one insignificant tweet, she never acted to help prevent the genocide perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar or raised an issue about children starving in Yemen as a result of a war between two Muslim groups and countries. Tlaib-who like Omar remained silent on Syria, Myanmar, Yemen and other cases-expressed her support for a one-state solution and cutting off military aid to Israel. The one-state solution is an idea that from a Palestinian point of view would merge Israel with the West Bank and Gaza with the objective of destroying the Jewish character of Israel by overpowering its Jewish majority.

Ron Klein, chairman of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, called the problem raised by these two new congresswomen a matter of “policy disagreement” and failed to acknowledge the extremism of their anti-Israel positions. Policy disagreements exist within a certain consensus, not when one side seeks to destroy the other. It is the obligation of the Democratic Party to vehemently reject these two Congresswomen’s positions on Israel.

However, pushing back against extremism and anti-Semitism is also the obligation of both parties in Congress, the president and every sector of civil society.



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

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

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


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