Thursday, February 21, 2019

Proposal to research 'trans regret' rejected by university for fear of backlash, claims psychotherapist

A psychotherapist who wanted to research reverse gender reassignment claimed that he had his academic proposal rejected because his university was scared of backlash from trans community, the High Court heard.

James Caspian, 59, planned to study the experiences of people who have detransitioned as part of an MA at Bath Spa University, but his idea was rejected because it was "too ethically complex for a piece of research at master's level".

When Mr Caspian proposed the project, the university’s ethics subcommittee said: "attacks on social media may not be confined to the researcher but may involve the university."

On Tuesday, Mr Diamond told the court: "That is not academic judgment, that is terror on the streets of our universities."

Mr Caspian’s barrister, Paul Diamond, argued that the Bath Spa had rejected the proposal on the grounds that "engaging in a potentially politically incorrect piece of research carries a risk to the university" and was seeking a judicial review of the process.

However, the judge, Michael Kent QC, quashed their case, saying: “I entirely accept that there are important issues of freedom of expression. I just do not accept that, on the facts of this particular case, there is an arguable case made out.

He added that the application was brought too late after the university's decision, and said: "I accept that it could be said that this is pedantic and it is far removed from the underlying decision, but I can’t see any way round that."

Speaking afterwards, Mr Caspian told The Telegraph: “I think this sets a dangerous precedent in that research into sensitive areas will not be carried out because universities don’t want to take ownership.”

Mr Caspian was described by his barrister as "a psychotherapist with an esteemed reputation in the field of gender transition and gender dysphoria", and as a "highly qualified and experienced professional" who is "clearly objectively qualified to do research on this subject matter".

“He’s not a spotty-nosed adolescent student. He’s the real McCoy,” said Mr Diamond.

He argued that "research in this complex field is needed as there are pressing social pressures on wider society to commence the procedure of gender realignment", but added: "There is an atmosphere of fear in the academic community on researching this phenomenon."

The psychotherapist had worked with transgender patients for eight years when he enrolled for the MA at Bath Spa University, and was a trustee of the transgender charity the Beaumont Trust.

He previously told BBC’s Radio 4 that he was “astonished” at the university’s decision to stop him studying people who regret changing their gender.

"I think that a university exists to encourage discussion, research - dissent even, challenging perhaps ideas that are out of date or not particularly useful,” he said.

Since 2017, when his case first gained public attention, more than 50 people have approached Mr Caspian after deciding to reverse their gender reassignment surgery.

Now, having failed in his bid for a judicial review, he says: “I will be discussing with our lawyers the next steps which may include going to the court of appeal.”


Outrage at recent anti-Semitic acts bring thousands to rally in France

Rallies against anti-Semitism attracted crowds of thousands in Paris and other French cities Tuesday following a series of aggressive acts with Jewish targets, including a cemetery where about 80 gravestones were spray-painted with swastikas overnight Monday.

In the French capital, former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy joined a rally led by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Republic Plaza.

Political parties from across the spectrum participated in the nationwide rallies with the theme "That’s enough," although Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party held a separate event.

French President Emmanuel Macron went to the Shoah Memorial, a Holocaust museum in Paris, to observe a moment of silence with Parliament leaders.

"Every time a French person, because he or she is Jewish, is insulted, threatened — or worse, injured or killed — the whole Republic" is attacked, Macron said at a news conference in Paris.

Hours before the rallies started, Macron visited the vandalized Jewish cemetery in Quatzenheim, a small town in the northeastern Alsace region. He said he felt shame at the sight of the defaced grave markers.

"This looks like absurd stupidity," the French leader said, looking visibly sad and concerned.

Macron observed several moments of silence in front of the vandalized graves while local Jewish community representatives stood by. "We will take action," he promised.

France is home to the world’s largest Jewish population outside Israel and the United States. Among the incidents arousing worries was a torrent of hate speech directed at Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut during a Saturday march by yellow vest protesters.

In recent incidents, swastika graffiti were found on street portraits of Simone Veil — a survivor of Nazi death camps and a European Parliament president who died in 2017. The word "Juden" was painted on the window of a bagel restaurant in Paris, and two trees planted at a memorial honoring a young Jewish man tortured to death in 2006 were vandalized, one cut down.

Two youths were arrested Friday after they allegedly fired shots at a synagogue with an air rifle in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, where a large Jewish community lives. Sarcelles Mayor Patrick Haddad told BFMTV on Tuesday that prosecutors believe the motive was anti-Semitism.

According to sociologist Danny Trom, author of "France Without Jews," thousands of Jewish people leave France every year because of anti-Semitism.

"This is a low-intensity war, perhaps, but let’s not forget the murder of children killed at close range by Mohamed Merah in a school," Trom told French magazine Telerama, referring to the 2012 slayings of three children and a teacher from a Jewish school by an Islamic extremist in the southwestern city of Toulouse.

"It is without equivalent in the history of France," he said. "Jews have been present in France since the dawn of time. Now, the pressure is such that they are led to consider their country inhospitable."

The French government reported a big rise in anti-Semitism last year: 541 registered incidents, up 74 percent from 311 in 2017.

Leaders from France’s main religious communities, including Christian, Muslim, and Jewish representatives, met at France’s Interior Ministry on Tuesday. In a joint declaration, they solemnly condemned anti-Semitic acts and called on people to make individual commitments to combat all forms of racism and hatred.


‘MAGA teen’ Nick Sandmann launches $350 million defamation suit against The Washington Post

An American teenager who was falsely accused of harassing a Native American activist while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat has launched a $US250 million defamation case against The Washington Post.

The complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on Tuesday by prominent defamation lawyer L. Lin Wood on behalf of Covington Catholic high school student Nick Sandmann. It is expected to be the first of many.

“In order to fully compensate Nicholas for his damages and to punish, deter, and teach the Post a lesson it will never forget, this action seeks money damages in excess of $US250 million ($AU350 million) — the amount Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, paid in cash for the Post when his company, Nash Holdings, purchased the newspaper in 2013,” the complaint reads.

Kristine Coratti Kelly, vice president of communications at The Washington Post, said in an emailed statement, “We are reviewing a copy of the lawsuit and we plan to mount a vigorous defence.”

Sandmann, a 16-year-old from Kentucky, was on a school trip to Washington to attend a pro-life rally last month when he was confronted by Nathan Phillips in an incident that made headlines around the world.

A short video clip of the teen smiling as the 64-year-old bangs a drum in his face went viral online, with Phillips claiming in multiple media interviews that he “felt threatened” as the teens surrounded and racially harassed him.

Longer video of the incident released soon after debunked Phillips’ claims — including that the teens chanted “build that wall” at him — showing it was Phillips who approached the group of students as they waited for their bus.

The students had begun a school chant to drown out verbal abuse from nearby members of the Black Hebrew Israelites hate group, who called them “dirty ass crackers”, “incest babies” and “future school shooters”.

The complaint alleges the Post “rushed to lead the mainstream media to assassinate Nicholas’ character and bully him”. It says the paper “wrongfully targeted” the teen because he was a “white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap”.

“In targeting and bullying Nicholas by falsely accusing him of instigating the January 18 incident, the Post conveyed that Nicholas engaged in acts of racism by ‘swarming’ Phillips, ‘blocking’ his exit away from the students, and otherwise engaging in racist misconduct,” it says.

It accuses the paper of using its “vast financial resources to enter the bully pulpit by publishing a series of false and defamatory print and online articles which effectively provided a worldwide megaphone to Phillips and other anti-Trump individuals and entities to smear a young boy”.

“The Post wanted to lead the charge against this child because he was a pawn in its political war against its political adversary,” it says, describing Sandmann as in the Post’s view “an acceptable casualty in their war against the President”.

The Post also later retracted a claim, widely reported in other media, that Phillips was a Vietnam veteran. Phillips served in the Marine Corps Reserve from 1972 to 1976 but was never deployed and left “after disciplinary issues”.

The complaint says Sandmann suffered “rampant cyber-assault and cyber-bullying” in the aftermath, from the Post as well as “the mob of other bullies made up of other members of the mainstream media, individuals tweeting on Twitter, church officials, celebrities and politicians”.

“The Post must be dealt with the same way every bully is dealt with and that is hold the bully fully accountable for its wrongdoing in a manner which effectively deters the bully from again bullying other children,” it says.

The complaint, which relates to four online articles and two print articles, alleges a number of false and defamatory claims were published “negligently and with actual knowledge of falsity or a reckless disregard for the truth”.

As a result, it says, Sandmann suffered “permanent harm to his reputation”, will continue to suffer “severe emotional distress” and is “forced to live his life in a constant state of concern over his safety and the safety of his family”.

The complaint outlines a number of Phillips’ “inconsistent and false claims” in media interviews. Sandmann’s lawyers have separately indicated they intend to sue Phillips for his “lies and false accusations” that are “well documented”.

Earlier this month, Sandmann’s lawyers sent out more than 50 “preservation letters” to media outlets, journalists, pundits, politicians, celebrities and Catholic dioceses seeking to prevent the destruction of evidence in advance of potential legal claims.

The list included everyone from New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman and HBO host Bill Maher to celebrities Kathy Griffin, Alyssa Milano and Jim Carrey. Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar and 2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren also received letters.

Wood, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is best known for acting on behalf of the late Richard Jewell, who was falsely accused in a “trial by media” of being behind the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing.


Australian Firemen are banned from climbing ladders more than two metres high because they may fall off and hurt themselves

The galoot behind this should be given the boot forthwith

Firefighters at airports have been banned from climbing ladders more than two meters high during training in case they fall and hurt themselves.

Airservices Australia chief fire officer Glenn Wood confirmed the ban during a Senate Estimates hearing on Monday.

It means firefighters cannot practise climbing high ladders as required to fight a real fire in a highly stressful situation.

Mr Wood told the Committee for Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport that the ban was for health and safety reasons. 'We take the safety of our people very seriously and there is a risk of fall from height,' he said.  

'We've examined that issue and we've determined that at this time we will restrict our firefighters from climbing up a ladder greater than two metres so they can practise the necessary skills while we form a working group to look at alternatives.'

Wood said firemen can 'work with' high ladders but just can't climb them.

Alternatives such as using harnesses are being explored, the committee was told.

Airport firefighters have also been banned from using power saws - and now have to wait for local firefighters to bring different tools if they need to cut through material. Mr Wood described them as 'out of date' and 'a safety hazard for our people.' 



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


1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

Well, I guess The Washington Post becoming the school newspaper of a Catholic School isn't likely to make it any WORSE.....