Sunday, April 21, 2019

Women are more susceptible than men to falling under the control of cults

I don't pretend to have a full understanding of it but I have long noted that women, particularly older women, are very commonly "spiritual" -- to the point that by the time they are 50, they nearly all seem to believe in something weird -- aromatherapy, Reiki etc -- so they are an easy mark for con-men. 

"Little Pebble" was one in Australia until he went to jail for sexual offensiveness. 

And you just have to look at the congregation in mainstream churches -- mainly old ladies.  So the NXIVM group differs only in being more criminal than most

I actually see the "spirituality" as a form of schizophrenia, as it is a belief in things that are not there.  I have spoken at length with some of the women concerned and they say that they know they are part of something that is all around them and bigger than themselves and they feel they are in partial contact with it.  So there is definitely a delusion involved.  But why women lose reality contact so readily is the puzzle.  Its pervasiveness suggests that it has a function so is it some sort of safety valve for the big stresses that child bearing and rearing places on women?

As a psychologist, it is my job to understand human behaviour and I do understand a lot of it (or think I do) but female gullibility in the face of improbabilities is a challenge that really stretches me.  My best guess is that females have to be gullible to believe and rely on men.  The one thing I am sure of is that it is very deep-rooted and, as such, almost certainly genetically encoded

As more details spill from the NXIVM trial, we get an insight into the cult world: branding, sex slaves and physical constraint

NXIVM has described itself as “a company whose mission is to raise human awareness, foster an ethical humanitarian civilization, and celebrate what it means to be human.” Critics have alleged other definitions for the group; definitions such as “sex-cult” and “pyramid scheme.” Federal U.S. prosecutors, meanwhile, are focusing on NXIVM’s alleged criminal activity: racketeering, wire fraud, sex trafficking, and forced labour, for a start.

The group’s spiritual leader and founder, Keith Raniere, goes on trial later this month, a bonus charge of possession of child pornography having been recently added to his already extensive list of alleged crimes. It’s ugly and confounding. How do people get away with this stuff and who falls for it?

Part of the answer is well established, if not well explained: women are more susceptible than men to falling under the control of exploitative movements. Or they do so more often, anyway. Research suggests as many as 70 per cent of cult members in the world are women.

In the NXIVM scandals, most of the worst stories emerge from something called “DOS” — a sort of sorority within NXIVM in which women allegedly recruited other women for all manner of abuse, including having their bodies physically branded with Raniere’s initials and submitting unconditionally to Raniere’s sexual wishes.

There are many theories about why women are disproportionately represented in the population of cult followers, perhaps the most common being that women are conditioned and/or wired to believe there is something wrong with them. The urge to self-correct to find outside acceptance is human, but it’s also familiarly female: lose weight, be gracious, be grateful, be obedient. Win without hurting anyone’s feelings. Be better than who you are.

That theory may be simplistic given that it rests on broad generalizations — which are themselves based on thought patterns whose cultural, evolutionary and biological bases are tough to tease apart. (Women certainly have no monopoly on feeling inadequate.) But even if it’s only part of the story, women’s general tendency to make self-acceptance contingent on improvement and external praise must play its role.

Others say that more women join cults than men because women have a greater need for spiritual fulfilment. According to Pew Research Center, women are indeed generally more religious than men, with women across the globe being somewhat more likely to affiliate with a religious faith than men. Or maybe women join cults because it’s what they know given their long history of oppression. (This made me wonder if other historically oppressed groups, such as African Americans, are more susceptible to cults, but I didn’t find ready evidence one way or the other. I did find a weird story about ties between Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam and Scientology. And I learned that most of the people who joined the Reverend Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple — most famous for guiding its members to mass suicide at their compound in Guyana via poisoned Flavour Aid — were African American. Women in Jonestown also outnumbered men, with black women making up close to half the population.)

What’s interesting, if not unique, about NXIVM is the strong role women appear to have played in attracting other women to the group and then keeping them in the group’s grips. Remember the disturbing branding of women’s flesh I mentioned earlier? This allegedly took place with several women holding down another woman on a table while a female doctor allegedly burned the restrained woman’s skin with a laser-like device. Raniere had a female cofounder, who is now accused of many of the same crimes perpetrated against women as he is. That woman’s daughter has admitted to keeping a female slave. One of the reasons NXIVM has been such a headline-grabber is that Smallville actress Allison Mack has pled guilty to two racketeering counts for her involvement in DOS, which included blackmailing women into compliance with Raniere’s demands.

So whatever part subservience may play in attracting women to cults, they are clearly also capable of the predatory instincts of male cult leaders like Raniere — even if often ultimately in service of the male leader himself. Anyone who watched Wild Wild Country, the Netflix documentary about Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, can attest that most of the aggressive acts taken in that movement (including brazen bioterrorism attacks) were initiated by Rajneesh’s personal assistant, a woman named Ma Anand Sheela.

The best we can hope for is that when the NXIVM trials are done, the worst exploiters and abusers are brought to justice, male and female. And that women reading about the NXIVM story may become less likely to listen to that voice — whether from inside their own head or from a charismatic guru — telling them how much better they could be. Because they will be able to see they are good enough as they are.


Gender-Based Pricing? British Lawmaker Wants to Outlaw ‘Pink Tax’

Just because products look the same does not mean that the cost of puting them on the market is the same.  Women's products typically require a bigger marketing spend

Razors. Deodorant. Car insurance. These are just some of the products which are often cited as costing more for women than men, and British lawmakers are now considering legislation that would do away with this so-called “pink tax.”

A bill introduced in the House of Commons last month would extend consumer protection to prevent companies from charging more for “products and services that are substantially similar” but which are marketed differently for men and women.

“Products marketed at women are on average considerably more expensive than those marketed at men,” the bill’s author, Liberal Democrat lawmaker Christine Jardine, said in a statement.

“Often the only difference is the color [of the product concerned], yet this unfair price gap will have a significant financial impact on a woman over the course of her life,” she said.

In recent years, studies and newspaper investigations on both sides of the Atlantic have prompted calls for lawmakers to act against the ostensible practice of gender-based pricing differences.

In 2018, British tax firm RIFT found that women pay on average 6.3 percent more than men for a four-pack of disposable razors, and 10.6 percent more for deodorant sticks of identical size.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) said last August it found that in five out of ten personal health care categories examined, “average retail prices paid were significantly higher for women’s products than for men’s.”

“In 2 categories – shaving gel and nondisposable razors – men’s versions sold at a significantly higher price.”

The GAO said it did not have enough information to determine if the differences were due to bias, or to other factors, such as advertising costs or product demand.

In January, the California Department of Insurance issued new rules stating that auto insurers may not charge drivers higher premiums based on their gender.

Jardine’s bill is not being supported by the Conservative government, whose view is that the government should not be setting prices for goods and services.

“Although I share concerns on this issue, prices in the U.K. are set by competition, not by the government,” Victoria Atkins, the Minister for Women, told the House of Commons. “As intelligent, questioning consumers, women should not be afraid to challenge retailers or manufacturers who are trying to rip us off and, where we are not satisfied, to vote with our purchasing decisions.”

Atkins said although the government would not be supporting the legislation, it welcomed “the focus [Jardine] is bringing to this important issue.”

Bills brought independently of the government traditionally have a difficult time becoming law in Britain. If not passed into law by the end of the current parliamentary year, which is projected to end this summer, the gender-pricing bill will die.

During an earlier House of Commons debate on the issue, several years ago, Scottish National Party MP John McNally said that before entering parliament he had worked as a hairdresser, barber and salon owner – an industry in which he said there were “"universally accepted gender pricing inequalities.”

He noted then that “a haircut for a man with short hair could cost 40 percent less than one for a woman with short hair.”

“There are some cases, particularly in my profession, of a legitimate business need for gender pricing,” he said. “But the fact is that society is not generally aware of gender pricing inequality, which is of great concern.”

Last week, McNally said he was currently campaigning for the mandatory registration of all hair salons, which would in part, “address inconsistencies within the gender pricing, where applicable.”


The majority of American Jews have no spine

They are dead scared of being unpopular so Israel just embarrasses them

BY DAVID P. GOLDMAN a.k.a. "Spengler"

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN April 13 that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements wouldn’t hurt the administration’s forthcoming peace plan, a gesture of support to the Jewish State unthinkable under any previous administration. Following President Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights earlier this month, Pompeo’s declaration is a landmark victory for the Jewish State. It is also a victory for the small minority of American Jewish leaders who stood by President Trump, and joined hands with evangelical Christians and other conservatives to support the realignment of American policy with America’s closest and most reliable ally in the world. Zionist Organization of America's Morton Klein, whom I have the honor to call a friend, is the most outspoken advocate of this realignment among the leaders of major American Jewish organizations. Not surprisingly, he’s taking the most incoming.

We live in strange times, when supporting the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel makes you a pariah among the liberal majority of American Jews. An April 12 item in The Times of Israel reports that nine American Jewish organizations—including the Reform and Conservative movements—asked President Trump to stop PM Netanyahu from annexing West Bank settlements. Among other reasons, annexation “would create intense divisions” among American Jews, the statement said. The liberal Jewish organization got their answer the next day from Secretary Pompeo.

I was saddened to read Armin Rosen’s diatribe against Mort Klein April 10 in the Jewish webzine The Tablet, a publication to which I have contributed since its inception, and several of whose writers and editors I count as friends. It’s a kitchen-sink sort of attack, dredging up every complaint from every disgruntled employee that an organization might incur over decades, including a security guard’s suit for alleged back pay. And it even cites a salacious personal smear against Mort and his wife Rita, emailed to the publication from an anonymous account. Rosen, to be sure, quotes the Kleins’ refutation of the story, but they should not have been subjected to this sort of thing in the first place.

“The ZOA is squatting on a piece of the ideological spectrum that could be put to good use,” Rosen quotes an unnamed Republican activist. “On the far left, J Street has built a meaningful membership by paying attention beyond DC—building local chapters, college campus groups, and so on. Tragically, nobody is doing this on the responsible right. ZOA should have been—and not only because it historically had this foundation.” This is twaddle from a source too timid to go on record reciting a bromide. Just the opposite is true. Pro-Trump Jewish students on college campuses are hunkered down, persecuted by a faculty that is liberal by an 8:1 margin and administrators who are liberal by a 12:1 margin. J Street has the near-official support of most university administrations. Jewish conservatives on campus are subject to a reign of terror, and what they require is a courageous leader who can speak for them. That’s what Morton Klein has been doing, and that makes him the most effective leader of any of the major organizations.

Iran wants to destroy Israel. Hamas is Iran’s cat’s paw. Without the Israeli Army, Hamas would overthrow the feckless Palestine Authority in days, the way it kicked Mahmoud Abbas’ papier-mâché government out of Gaza in 2007 after Israel withdrew. Iran has brought 80,000 mercenaries into Syria in addition to its own Revolutionary Guard Corps, and emplaced 150,000 rockets with Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. Those are undisputed facts. Disputed, but nonetheless true, is that Hamas seeks to maximize casualties among the civilian population it controls in order to win the sympathy of the squeamish West. No combatant in history has ever behaved so cruelly to its own people.

President Trump has responded by withdrawing from the Iran deal, slapping sanctions on Iran, branding  the Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organization, moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the West Bank, and, most recently, endorsing de facto Netanyahu’s promise to extend Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements. In short, Trump refuses to play the insipid, hypocritical game that sapped the credibility resources of his predecessors. The sky has not fallen; on the contrary, Israel’s prospective adversaries in the region, including Russia, Egypt, and the Gulf States, accord Israel all the more respect for it. The regimes of the Middle East respect strength, not squeamishness, and America’s show of strength has restored respect to America and its allies. One doesn’t have to endorse everything the president does to recognize that he has done more for Israel’s security than any other American.

The problem, I wrote in Tablet nearly five years ago, is not the settlers, but the unsettlers. ISIS has been crushed as a unified military force but its militants lurk in the civillian population, ready to regroup. Iran has imported at least 80,000 militiamen into Syria as shock troops and settlers. Hezbollah has 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel from its northern border. Egypt is fighting a dirty war against Muslim Brotherhood terrorists. And Hamas, the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, uses its base in Gaza to fire rockets at Israeli civilians. As al-Jazeera reported last year, “regional dynamics have pushed Hamas back into Iran’s embrace.” Hamas would seize control of the West Bank from Abbas in moments if not for the presence of the Israeli army. Under any foreseeable conditions, a Palestinian state in the West Bank would become a cesspool for jihadists attacking Israel in combination with the rocket jihads of Gaza as well as Hezbollah.

Everyone knows this, which means that the two-state solution is merely a Potemkin village left standing to assuage liberal sensibilities and the residual sense of grievance in the Arab world. Israelis are tired of the whole sick charade, which is why they voted Netanyahu back into office with a mandate to establish Israeli sovereign over territories that otherwise would be staging grounds for Iranian rocket attacks.

Suicide by cop, suicide by Israel: There is a reason that Black Lives Matter cohabits with Linda Sarsour and Rep. Ilhan Omar on the lunatic fringe of American politics. Michael Brown sadly chose suicide when he put his head down and charged at Officer Darren Wilson in 2014, and we listened to two years’ worth of lies about the incident before Wilson was exonerated. The cannon-fodder of Gaza whom Hamas herds to the Israeli border chooses suicide in a similar way. This is too horrible for liberal sensibilities to absorb. The fault must lie with the policeman defending his life, or the Israeli soldiers defending their border against terrorists who want to massacre civilians. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, like Hamas and ISIS, are fanatics who would rather die than live peacefully next to a Jewish State; at the very least, they would rather arrange the deaths of large numbers of their subject populations. Liberal Jews can afford to preen their moral feathers. Israelis have to live under the threat of rockets and know better.

Traditionally non-partisan organizations like the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee are less effective than they used to be, because the Democratic Party has made Israel a partisan issue. Most of the Democratic presidential hopefuls boycotted last month's AIPAC annual conference in Washington. As noted, the liberal Jewish denominations, as well as the venerable Anti-Defamation League, have turned on Israel. As Jews around the world prepare for the Passover feast that marks the birth of the Jewish people at the Exodus from Egypt, I can’t help recalling an ancient rabbinic commentary (Midrash) that claims that most Jews did not leave Egypt with Moses. They were too comfortable and too complacent to heed God’s call and venture into the wilderness. Gathered around the fleshpots, American Jews are abandoning the liberal denominations in droves and joining the ranks of the none-of-the-aboves.


Is This Bank Chasing Away Conservatives?

I have been a Chase Bank customer for years. Who knows how much longer it’ll be? Will the company’s thought police come for me next? How about you? If you are a non-leftist who does business with the financial giant owned by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., you need to ask questions and get answers.

On Tuesday, investigative journalist James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas team released a disturbing new video on the runaround that Chase officials gave Texas conservative entrepreneur Enrique Tarrio about his canceled account. Big business may very well be enabling America’s very own version of the Chinese social-credit system in which political dissent is flagged, shunned, punished, and eradicated.

First, some background:

Tarrio is a young, peaceful, Afro-Cuban freethinker and chairman of the Proud Boys organization. In February 2019, the Texas Trump supporter received a letter from Chase Bank informing him that “after careful consideration,” the financial institution could “no longer support” his banking account. The notice followed a hit piece against minorities who support the president by The Daily Beast, a reliable echo chamber for the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center smear machine.

Tarrio was subsequently kicked off Chase’s payment processor, which he used to sell patriotic and pro-Trump T-shirts. Next, he was deplatformed from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Airbnb, FirstData, Square, Stripe, and PayPal before losing his bank accounts. When I asked on Twitter in February why we can’t have just one financial institution that doesn’t cave to social-justice warriors, the official Chase Twitter account tweeted me back:

“Hi Michelle, this article is inaccurate. We did not close his personal account. We do not close accounts based on political affiliation.”

NOW WATCH: 'Trump Is Reportedly Thinking about Replacing the Fed's Chairman with a New Conservative'

I pointed out that Chase’s letter clearly stated that the company had closed his account. “So if not for political reasons,” I asked, “why, ‘after careful consideration,’ did you close his account?” The social-media manager of Chase’s corporate Twitter account, previously so eager to spill the tea, replied: “For privacy reasons, we can’t say more.”

Thanks to Project Veritas, we now know more. Undercover audio and video exposed how:

One Chase employee blamed “clerical” issues for Tarrio’s account cancellation.

Another stated: “I see nothing that indicates any reason why the account should be closed. I don’t see any outstanding transactions or anything ridiculous.”

Another explained: “Chase is not involved with any like, you know, alt-right people or anything.” Those with “no moral character” are people that “the bank usually doesn’t get involved with in any business relationships, period.”

Several repeated a company line in Tarrio’s mysterious file: “Decision is not reversible.”

Others who received Chase shutdown notices so far in 2019: conservative Rebel Media contributor Martina Markota and U.S. Army combat vet and vocal Trump supporter Joe Biggs.

ere Markota’s and Biggs’s removals “clerical” errors or unfounded, or were they based on an ideological litmus test disguised as a “moral character” assessment?

More questions arise:

How exactly is J.P. Morgan Chase’s $500,000 donation last year to the SPLC left-wing operatives being put to use?

Why did the company embrace a known defamation racket whose stated mission is to “destroy” its political enemies on the right?

What comment does Chase have now that SPLC’s top leaders have been purged amid internal accusations of intolerance and discrimination within the walls of the notorious Poverty Palace?

Does Chase keep tabs on high-profile conservative customers’ political speech on social-media platforms?

Is Chase operating from the same playbook as Paypal, which is booting off conservatives in consultation with the SPLC? One of its most recent victims: Luke Rohlfing, a young reporter for, who had exposed how the payment processor was allowing Open Borders Inc. heavyweight Pueblo Sin Fronteras to raise money for illegal-immigrant caravans conspiring to break our immigration laws — even though Paypal’s own terms of service state clearly that users may not engage in any activities that “violate any law, statute, ordinance, or regulation.”

Tarrio warns of the speech-squelching pattern emerging across Silicon Valley and on Wall Street: “First we get silenced on social media, then Paypal, then I get debanked. It’s a very dangerous trend.”

As for Chase Bank, I sent all my questions to chief communications officer Patricia Wexler, who challenged the authenticity of one of the employees recorded by Veritas (O’Keefe showed proof of the Chase New York media relations number dialed and had audio of the employee identifying himself as a Chase rep) and ignored the substance of the report.

Evasion and denial are surefire ways to lose business. Is it Chase Bank or Chase Away Bank? Inquiring customers would like to know.



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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