Sunday, June 30, 2019


Just that one topic today

Most poverty is behavioral

The Left talk about poverty incessantly but their only diagnosis of it seems to be that it is because of evil men who have somehow grabbed all the wealth. So it is about time that someone gave the matter some reality-based thought.

If you are a poor Indian farmer, your big problem is definitely a lack of money.  But in the Western world it is not.  If you are poor in the Western world your poverty is usually a result of bad  decisions.

I was born into a poor family myself so I have seen a lot of it.  The poor decisions vary, from a lack of frugality -- foolish spending -- to a woman who gets her legs up for a man who will be unwilling or unable to support her through a pregnancy and child rearing. Most of the really poor are single mothers who have loaded the dice against themselves. Babies are expensive and demand a lot of time.

I once ran a boarding house in a poor area and the sort of thing I often saw was a tenant who would buy a packet of chips for a snack from a nearby service station when the same product could be had for half the price from the supermarket just a little further down the road.  Such people will always be poor.

And there are of course many these days who spend big on drugs and alcohol, not to mention cigarettes and various sorts of entertainment.  It's a rare person who indulges in much of those things who can save.

But saving is the key to not being needy. Even when people have a windfall of some sort -- as in a lottery win or when a rich uncle dies and leaves you a legacy, the benefited person soon returns to poverty in the absence of frugal habits.

So I think there is no doubt that most poverty these days is self-inflicted. Frugality obviously does not come easily to everyone and to some it never will. 

But I do not like to be totally negative so I want to go on to setting out some ways of being frugal, in case there is someone reading this who needs encouragement in that direction.

So I reproduce initially below Sean Gabb's account of how he saves money. He emphasizes how well you can do by buying secondhand. Sean is an English libertarian.  The account below is long but that enables Sean to go into details

After Sean's account I add a few notes from my own life which might also be of some help:

The Joys of Buying Second-Hand

Sean Gabb

Though not at all rich in terms of income, I think my net wealth is somewhat above the average for men of my age. I have achieved this by spending less than I earn and by avoiding debt. Of course, I wish I could earn more than I do. A newer car than the one I have driven for ten years would be nice. On the other hand, I have not had a conventional job since I resigned in 1990, and I have spent the past generation mostly doing things that I enjoyed or that contributed to less immediate enjoyment. In this essay, I plan to make one explicitly political point. For the rest, I will explain one of the strategies by which my women and I live well and within our means.

Briefly explained, this strategy is hardly ever to buy new electronic equipment. It is not an invariable strategy. Earlier this month, we spent £3,500 on a new piano for our daughter – a Yamaha Clavinova CLP685. Since last September, she has passed the Kent and Dover Tests with impressive scores, being offered a place at the best secondary school in the area; she has passed examinations in the piano, in singing and in the guitar; she has played in several concerts; she has the leading part in the leaving play at her primary school; she has published her second novel and is working on a third. For doing less than this, other children have been given expensive telephones and gaming toys, and been taken on visits to Disneyland in France or America. She deserved that piano, and it was nice to see her face light up when I handed over my debit card in the showroom and arranged for immediate delivery.

But this was the exception. The general rule is not to buy new. I give two reasons which support the saving of money. First, most consumer technology has not significantly improved since about 2010. Things are smaller and sometimes prettier. They are not much better in terms of the uses my women and I have for them. Older things still work and do all that we reasonably want of them, and they sell on E-Bay or Facebook Marketplace at ten or twenty pence in the pound. Second, buying new gives money to corporations that undeniably make nice things, but also spend their profits on political enslavement and cultural degeneracy. Buying new also generates tax revenue for a state that at least should not be encouraged.

And so we avoid buying new. We save the money, or spend it elsewhere, or are freed from the trouble of earning it. We still have shiny electronic toys – but we make do with older shiny electronic toys, and we hardly ever feel the difference.


Now, to some of my more notable savings. I will begin with our main computer. We have two notebook computers, both of which I regret having bought new, but which I have kept going beyond their normal time by mending as required. We also have a desktop computer in the office. My last-but-one upgrade for this was in October 2009. Haunting E-Bay for a week, I bought an Asus P5Q3 motherboard and a Socket 775 Intel Q9650 processor, plus an Nvidia GeForce GF9500GT graphics card and 8Gb DDR. All second-hand, it cost about £160, and I put it together just in time for an almost free upgrade to Windows 7. Except I replaced power supplies and hard disks now and again, and took advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10, this ran without trouble for ten years. It began life on the edge of obsolete. It was soon comically obsolete. But it did everything asked of it – mostly running web browsers and Office software, and the occasional burst of video-editing. Otherwise, it served as a unified repository for about 4Tb of data.

It would be running still, had the motherboard not died last month. Back I went to E-Bay. After much thought, I laid out £30 on an Intel DQ670W motherboard and an Intel i3-2100@3 processor. I reused the existing RAM and hard disks, though I did spend an additional £35 for a Yucun 480GB SSD. I cloned the old boot disk, and switched everything on. After a frenzy of driver updates, the system started. A word next with a helpful young man in India, and my free Windows 10 upgrade was reactivated. It all runs very fast. I suppose the integrated graphics are an improvement on the 2006 graphics card I had been using. Total cost: £65. Take away the cost of the solid state drive, which I had planned to buy in any event. Take off also the £60 had from selling the unwanted but useable parts of the old system on E-Bay. You tell me the i3 runs slower than the i7, or that I am missing out on USB3. Well, if your taste is for playing Killer Krabs 5 in 3D, the system I have described will never suit. But our tastes are different, and what we have suits us. We have a newer system than we had. It runs as fast as we need. We made a profit of £25 on the upgrade. The only taxable events were a few E-Bay commissions – and I believe the E-Bay accountants have very sharp noses. The British State can go jump. Intel must look elsewhere to pay the salaries of its Diversity Directorate.

Then there is the printer. Last year, I decided we were in need of a colour printer. So I looked on the local freebie pages on Facebook. I found an Epson BX305 in Folkestone. This was old, but was said to be in good condition. What interested me most, colour and the round price of zero aside, was the integrated scanner and document feeder. I picked it up on my way to one of my lectures in Canterbury. The main cost of running an inkjet printer is the ink cartridges. Even refilled, these are luxury goods. My solution was to buy a continuous ink supply for £20 on Amazon. I top this up every few weeks from large bottles that I buy from Ink Express in Wolverhampton – you should never economise on the quality of printer ink: good stuff is still cheap, and poor will ruin the printing heads. In the past year, I have gone through twenty reams of paper, many pages reused on the clean side. My total running costs have been about £20 to that firm in Wolverhampton. Another win, I think, for economy.


In February, I got sick of the broken-down music system I had kept going for a decade. I mostly used it for playing MP3 files through a Bluetooth interface from Jongo. But the sound quality was poor. I looked on the Facebook Marketplace. I found a Denon M38 integrated system in Ramsgate. The seller was asking £25, plus £10 for delivery if wanted. No speakers or remote control. Having no business at the time in Ramsgate, I decided to pay for delivery. It came that evening. In 2010, this cost about £400. It won several awards. The modern upgrades do nothing to improve sound that was already excellent, but only add wireless and Bluetooth – which I already had with that interface. I bought a generic remote on E-Bay for £8, and then a pair of Wharfdale Diamond 9.1 speakers for £15, which I collected from a man who turned out to live just round the corner from me. The new system plays Wagner with a bang. I gave the old system to one of my students. He says he is happy with it. I was happy to see the back of it.

Then there is the television. For obvious reasons, my women and I watch little of this. But we do watch recorded films and documentaries, and DVDs which I always make sure to buy for a pound in the local charity shops: no copyright payments to the Enemy. We bought a Sony Trinitron in 2000. It had a 28-inch flat screen and cost £997 – we were feeling rich at the time from an insurance pay-out. It weighed a hundred pounds and took up about the same space as a cooking stove. Until last week, it sat in a corner of one of our living rooms. It had paint splashed on it from some redecorating we did without dustsheets in 2003. It had a dark patch on the screen. It stopped receiving in 2007, when the UHF channels were turned off. It still worked well enough with the Panasonic DMR EX79 Freeview recorder we bought on special offer in 2010.

However, we had part of the house rebuilt in 2014. While the scaffolding was up, we had a satellite dish installed, but never felt the need to buy a satellite receiver. There things remained until last week, when a casual look on Facebook Marketplace turned up a Humax Foxsat-HDR recorder for £30. This dated from 2011, when it sold for about £600. Its main difference from the modern upgrades is that it has no easy connection to the Internet – but I will think about that next year or the year after. I collected the receiver the same evening from outside Dover.

I now realised that the television was past it even by my standards, and might not be showing things to their best effect. So I looked on E-Bay. I found a Samsung LE40M8 40-inch LCD television with a starting bid of £19.90. There were no bidders. I did some research. It dated from 2010, when it cost nearly £800. I contacted the seller, who confirmed it was in good condition. I asked if she would end the auction early for £25 and a promise of instant collection from Sandwich. We closed the deal, and had the telly before bedtime. The next day, Amazon delivered the universal stand I had ordered – £50.

I now remembered – one thing invariably leads to another until you decide otherwise – that the Freeview recorder played only lowish-resolution avi files from USB stick. So I picked up an LG BP135 DVD player for £5 – from a council flat in Dover. This plays every format, and in high-definition.

It took an hour to put everything together. It looks lush. It looks even better, now I have used one of the Facebook freebie pages to get the Sony out of the house. If you compare the television we have with new models in the shops, there may be slightly less definition, and the blacks will be less intense. But these are things the eye barely notices. I say again – consumer technology has progressed in the past decade, but not in the radical ways it progressed in the previous decade. Older stuff still does a fine job, and at a fraction of the price. Treated well, it lasts a long time.

My Camera

I have always bought second-hand cameras – always good ones from a few years before. In 2017, I felt the need of a very good camera. I did my research, and decided on a Canon G1X MkII. This had a 1.5 inch sensor and did almost everything that a really expensive camera did. It cost over a thousand in 2013. It still sells new for £490 on Amazon. I got one second-hand on E-Bay for £260. Two years on, it takes lovely pictures.

I could continue. Antique furniture pulled from skips. Floorboards reused from a demolished out-building. Coupon-clipping. A weekly trawl of the charity shops – clothes if someone your size has died, pictures occasionally, books all the time. Food bought in bulk. Home cooking. But I think you get the idea. We make do and mend. Mrs Gabb is good with a paintbrush, I with a soldering iron, and with all things electrical, plumbing and legal. We buy second-hand. Where possible, we get for free. The result is that everyone who visits leaves with the idea that we are rich. In a sense, we are rich. We live as we please. We have most of the things we want. We have money for treats like that wonderful new piano. We pay little tax. We contribute little to the profits of companies we despise.

Everyone else could do the same. If more of us did the same, the world would be a richer and a freer place. It would be richer, because there are opportunity costs in bringing new products to market that are functionally equivalent to what was on sale in 2014, and hardly better than the 2010 models. It would be freer, because people who live within their means have less reason to be afraid of overbearing authority. Though not inclined to follow their example, I feel some respect for people who grow their own food and make their own clothes. I have none for people, already awash in mortgage debt, who max out what remains of their credit on the latest 75-inch television from Curry’s. They are fools riding for a fall – often fools who grumble that the Gabbs are rolling in it.


Buying cheap - by JR

Savings (frugality) is the key to having money when you need it

My own experiences are dissimlar to Sean's in detail but similar in effect.  So it might be helpful if I outlined some of my experiences with frugality -- spending less than you earn -- as a supplement to Sean's narrative.

I have been frugal from childhood.  Frugality was preached to me at my Presbyterian Sunday school and I took to it like a duck to water. So as a kid I saved my 2/- per week pocket money rather than spending it on confectionry  -- which is what most of my peers did.  Though I would always buy the latest "Phantom" comics. But every now and again, my mother would borrow the money in my money box to buy family needs.  How poor can you be when you have to borrow the money in your kid's money box in order to put dinner on the table? My mother's purchases were almost all from convenience stores so she just did not have a frugal mind.

So I have always lived simply and very economically, which has left me in a very comfortable situation in my old age.

The high point of my frugality came during my student days, when I lived on skim milk plus a few vitamins for around six months.  I bought the skim milk from the local dairy factory in the form of a 56lb paper sack of dried skim milk, which was almost a give-away product at that time but was very nutritious all the same.  So in modern terms my food bill was something like $5 per week.  It was ridiculously small.  As the recipient of a government scholarship to go to university I had a small living allowance and I saved virtually the whole of my allowance at that time -- and also remained in perfect health.

With my savings much reinforced, I gave that up after a while,  and moved back on to a more normal but still economical diet featuring a lot of cheese sandwiches.  I still like a slab of cheese on a fresh bread roll. Did you know that a dollop of plum jam on top of the cheese in your cheese sandwich really lifts it?  Plum jam has always been the cheapest jam.

There are many ways you can have a good and healthy diet for a small cost -- with anything featuring eggs being high on the list.  A 3-egg omelette makes a very good breakfast, with the eggs costing you a total of around one dollar only. And oats for making porridge are also very cheap. I still like a nice plate of porridge on occasions.  And you can often get day-old bread for a song.  It makes great toast.

These days my frugality consists of buying most of my groceries as "specials" and "markdowns" from my local supermarket.  And I buy most of my alcohol in the form of Vodka, which is generally the cheapest of spirits. And if I eat out, I eat at ethnic restaurants, which often give me amazingly good dinners for a very modest price.

And I am not seized with the vice of old age:  Travel.  Travel can be very expensive but I did all I want of that when I was younger and highly paid.

Unlike Sean, I am not remotely a electronics technician.  But my son is.  So he takes care of any computer needs I have, giving me equipment that is far in excess of what I need.  Most people probably have a friend or relative who could help in that way.

So I now spend very little on myself and give about half of my income away to friends, relatives and conservative causes.


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

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

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


Friday, June 28, 2019

Politically correct London becoming more nutty by the day

If Boris Johnson does become British prime minister next month, he will surely challenge one of the most profound ideological movements in Europe today, and one which flowers in Britain perhaps more fully than anywhere else in the world. I refer, of course, to political correctness.

Britain, or rather, more specifically London, is surely the political correctness capital of the world.

I have been here a mere couple of weeks and I am positively dizzy from the blizzard of intersectional offence-taking, speech clipping, thought controlling, verbal over -regulation.

The loss of Christian belief seems to have resulted in the imposition of the most excessive version of psychologically damaged pseudo-religious scruples.

Let me offer you a few examples of PC purity, from the trivial to the ridiculous.

A GCSE English exam included a short passage from a 1935 novella by HE Bates.

The passage was unexceptional. But later in the story, not in the passage examined, a girl in domestic service is exploited and raped by her employer.

A Twitter storm erupted saying the examination paper should have had a trigger warning, and objecting to students being subjected to a story which included rape.

Rape is a serious and tragic business, but like other crimes it has often figured in literature. In any event, the popular culture is, to its vast detriment, saturated in stories of rape. There were at least a dozen in every series of Game of Thrones, which was watched by millions of Brits. Therefore it was not really a question of anyone actually being offended by anything, it was a question of people searching out an offence against political correctness.

And of course the exam authorities duly apologised for any distress they caused.

Another exam, a maths paper this time, asked students to calculate the number of calories someone had consumed in a breakfast the paper described. The paper was roundly condemned for potentially causing distress to anyone who had struggled with body shape issues.

Again, the hypocrisy is spectacular. Weight control programs are advertised all the time. But more than hypocrisy is the sheer psycho-silliness of the whole business.

Comedy legend John Cleese recently issued a low-voltage tweet saying London did not seem to him any longer to be really an English city. He thought the city he grew up in was a bit nicer than the London of today.

Now, as it happens, I'm more or less on the other side of this argument from Cleese. I like diversity. But Cleese's calm, modest, perfectly lame tweet was condemned as though he had called for the slaughter of the innocents.

There are many episodes far more serious than these. Some people lose jobs, others are silenced by fear. Jordan Peterson, the great Canadian writer and speaker, was about to undertake a fellowship at Cambridge to research the Book of Genesis. Somewhere on social media a photo was found of a fellow in a T-shirt with the logo "I'm an Islamophobe" who had draped his arm around Peterson's neck. There was no serious effort to inquire into the degree of Peterson's complicity or otherwise in such views as the T-shirt conveyed. His fellowship, however, was dropped.

Distinguished philosopher Roger Scruton lost a government appointment because of an outrageous misrepresentation of things he'd said in an interview with the wretched New Statesman. The whole point of the interview was to entice Scruton into saying something that would get him into trouble. The allegedly offending words, that Chinese people were robots, were misrepresented in the journalist's report. Scruton had criticised the Chinese government for trying to control its people.

But the allegedly conservative government of Theresa May sacked Scruton without even the most cursory inquiry into what he had actually said. I don't think an Abbott, Turnbull or Morrison government would have done that.

Often, too, there is a sinister political double standard to political correctness. A comedian on the BBC mocked demonstrators for throwing milkshakes at Nigel Farage and said they should use battery acid instead. This is genuinely shocking. It is a rare example of the kind of speech - incitement to violence - which should indeed be outlawed. But the BBC defended the comic, saying obviously no one would take the words seriously. Can you imagine a similar reaction if the object of the proposed acid attack were not a right-wing bogeyman but a member of some designated victim group?

Sometimes London is just a bit ahead of us in social trends. Are we going to be as nutty as this one day? Many people think the PC stuff will get worse if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister. I'm not entirely sure that's right. London isn't the whole of Britain. The Brexit rebellion was cultural as much as political. And the Conservatives would likely be braver in opposition than they have been in government.

They could hardly be less so.


Clint Eastwood To Film Latest Movie In Georgia In Defiance Of Hollywood’s Call To Boycott

Despite the boycott of filming in Georgia launched by Hollywood liberals angry over the state’s new pro-life “Heartbeat” law, legendary actor/director Clint Eastwood will be making his latest movie, “The Battle of Richard Jewell,” in Atlanta this summer, reported NBC Charlotte and other media.

“Clint Eastwood will perform new film in Georgia despite abortion bill boycott,” tweeted NBC Charlotte on June 25. The movie is about Richard Jewell, a police officer and security guard who discovered a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Ga., and saved countless lives. Jewell was initially hailed as a hero and then was viewed as a suspect.

CNS News Reports:

The liberal media criticized Jewell relentlessly and essentially practiced “trial by media.” Eventually, however, Jewell was completely exonerated and the real bomber, Eric Rudolph, was captured. Jewell sued NBC, CNN, and the New York Post for libel and won large settlements. His lawyer, L. Lin Wood, is the same lawyer now representing the Covington Catholic kid Nicholas Sandmann in defamation lawsuits against CNN and the Washington Post.

The heartbeat bill in Georgia prohibits abortion once a baby’s heartbeat starts, which is usually six weeks into pregnancy. The bill, signed into law in May, allows exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is at serious risk.

One of the lead Hollywood activists to protest the new law is Alyssa Milano, and she helped organize the boycott of the Peach State.

In a letter to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Milano — joined by 40-plus other actors and Hollywood activists — wrote, “As actors, our work often brings us to Georgia. We’ve always found your state to be populated with friendly and caring people. We’ve found the hotels in which we stay and restaurants in which we dine while filming there to be comfortable and of a high quality. We’ve been glad to bring billions of dollars in revenue to support Georgia’s schools, parks, and communities.

“But we cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if H.B. 481 [heartbeat bill] becomes law…. [W]e will do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women if H.B. 481 becomes law. You have a choice, gentlemen. We pray you make the right one.”

The letter was signed by many Hollywood personalities including Alec Baldwin, Billy Baldwin, David Arquette, Don Cheadle, Jon Cryer, Laura Dern, Lena Dunham, Mia Farrow, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kravitz, Brie Larson, Eva Longoria, Many Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, Patton Oswalt, Sean Penn, Natalie Portman, Emma Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller, and Naomi Watts.

Some of the actors slated to work on the Eastwood film include Kathy Bates, Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm and Sam Rockwell.

Clint Eastwood, 89, has worked in television and movies since the mid-1950s. He has won 13 Academy Awards (nominated 40 times) and won 8 Golden Globe awards (nominated 32 times).

Some of his more famous films include The Outlaw Josey Wales, High Plains Drifter, The Eiger Sanction, Dirty Harry, Escape from Alcatraz, Heartbreak Ridge, Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima, Sully, American Sniper, Gran Tourino, True Crime, and The Mule.

Clint Eastwood describes himself as libertarian. He endorsed Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. He also gave a speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention where he mocked an empty chair that represented President Barack Obama.


Pompeo Visits India Amid Spat Over Religious Freedom Violations

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting India Wednesday, just days after his department, in a major annual report, highlighted serious incidents of religious persecution there, including “an increase in attacks against religious minorities and the perceived diminishing space for religious freedom.”

In an assessment that raised the ire of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the State Department report released by Pompeo on Friday pointed to instances of Hindu mob violence against religious minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, in 2018.

It cited non-governmental organization (NGO) reports charging that “the government sometimes failed to act on mob attacks on religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government.”

Moreover, “some senior officials” in the BJP “made inflammatory speeches against minority communities,” it said.

The report identified as major triggers for mob violence accusations that non-Hindus are killing cows, which Hindus consider sacred, and accusations that Christians and others are converting Hindus, using inducements or coercion to do so.

“Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumors that victims had traded or killed cows for beef,” it said. “According to some NGOs, authorities often protected perpetrators from prosecution.”

Nine of India’s 29 states have laws that restrict or criminalize religious conversion, and Christians accused of “forced conversions” faced criminal charges in several states.

‘Clear bias’

Religious freedom is not the only potential irritant in the relationship between the world’s two biggest democracies, but it is a particularly sensitive issue.

“We see no locus standi [legal standing] for a foreign entity/government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights,” foreign minister spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in response to the report.

“India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion,” Kumar said.

“The Indian constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including its minority communities. It is widely acknowledged that India is a vibrant democracy where the constitution provides protection of religious freedom, and where democratic governance and rule of law further promote and protect the fundamental rights.”

The national spokesperson of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP, Anil Baluni, said the U.S. report “shows clear bias against the Modi government and the BJP.”

“The basic presumption in this report that there is some grand design behind anti-minority violence is simply false,” he said. “On the contrary, in most of such cases, these instances are carried out as a result of local disputes and by criminal mindsets.”

India has slowly been edging up the Open Doors USA annual watch list of “countries where it is most dangerous to follow Jesus.” In 2012, it was in 32nd place, but by 2016 – two years after Modi’s BJP came to power – it had climbed to number 17. Last year it was in 11th place, and this year India is at number ten.

The BJP is closely affiliated to radical Hindu nationalist groups accused of violence against converts from Hinduism to other faiths.

Modi’s own record is controversial too. He was chief minister of Gujarat state during the worst episode of interreligious violence in modern Indian history, when more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in 2002.

After Muslims attacked a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, Hindus carried out retaliatory attacks against Muslims across the state. Modi was accused of doing nothing to stop the carnage.

The State Department subsequently charged that there was “a comprehensive failure on the part of the state government to control the persistent violation of rights of life, liberty, equality, and dignity of the people of the state.” Modi was consequently denied a visa to enter the U.S., a restriction only lifted when he became prime minister in 2014.

Other difficult issues in the bilateral relationship include trade tariffs, U.S. visas for Indian nationals, and Indian arms sales from Russia, a longstanding ally.

Still, the partnership is an important one, the State Department stressed in a statement on Tuesday.

“As vibrant democracies rooted in shared values, with fast-growing economies, cultures of entrepreneurship, and leadership positions on the global stage, the United States and India are natural strategic partners,” it said.

“President Trump and Prime Minister Modi are firmly committed to accelerating the upward trajectory of this partnership.”

The statement also focused on economic ties, noting that the U.S. is India’s most important trading partner and number one overseas market, while India is the fastest growing major market for U.S. goods.

“Two-way bilateral goods and services trade with India totaled $142 billion in 2018, up 12.6 percent, or almost $16 billion, over the prior year,” it said. “The United States exported nearly 50 million barrels of crude to India in 2018, compared to less than 10 million barrels in 2017, and is on pace to export even greater volumes in 2019.”


Gender reassignment surgery could soon be ILLEGAL in Tasmania under sweeping changes to protect intersex children

The Tasmanians get something right at last

Tasmania could become the first state in Australia to make sex-assignment surgery on intersex children illegal.

The Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI) seeks community feedback on a controversial proposal to criminalise gender normalisation surgery without the consent of the child.

Doctors only need parental consent to conduct the surgery on children, babies and children born with intersex variations under current laws.

The institute is particularly keen to hear from medical professionals and the broader community on the 'complex' issue of sex-assignment surgery.

The bold proposal is part of a TLRI Issues Paper examining the Justice and Related Legislation (Marriage and Gender Amendments) Act 2019, ('the JRL Act') passed by the Tasmanian Parliament in April.

Making gender optional on birth certificates was among the landmark laws passed.

While legal amendments relating to recording sex and gender information on birth certificates were consistent with international trends and human rights obligations, the issue of consent to invasive medical procedures on children remains unresolved for the TLRI.

Paper co-author Dylan Richards said many concerns raised in earlier debate were addressed in the final Act or can be resolved through minor amendments or administrative procedures.

'However, non-consensual medical procedures performed on intersex children, often with long-term adverse physical and psychological impacts, remain a concern to the intersex community,' Mr Richards said.

'There are increasing calls from international bodies for legislation to protect the rights and dignities of intersex children.'

The institute has also called for a specialist tribunal be set up to oversee all operation performed on an intersex child with the exception of emergency surgery.

 Mr Richards said Tasmanians are still confused about the recent amendments.

'We hope that the clear explanation in the Issues Paper will provide a basis for an informed community conversation about the issues the JRL Act was designed to address,' he said.

Community feedback is open until August 20.

The Institute hopes to deliver its final report to Attorney-General by the end of September, which is due to be publicly released by the end of October.



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 27, 2019

Doctors may not forcibly abort the baby of a disabled British woman, appeal court judges have ruled

I understand the thinking behind the order to abort but the question is whether any court should have that power.  I think not. It is an outrage

Today three appeal court judges overturned a decision by Mrs Justice Nathalie Lieven, 55, that doctors should perform an abortion on the woman against her will.

The appeal was brought by the unnamed woman's mother, who is a Nigerian Catholic and a former midwife.

Lord Justice McCombe, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson considered the challenge to Lieven's ruling at a Court of Appeal hearing in London today, according to Press Association.

They said they would give reasons for their decision at a later date.

The new ruling follows days of protest as even some pro-abortion advocates reeled at the idea of the British state forcing a woman to undergo an abortion against her wishes.

On Friday, doctors petitioned the Court of Protection, a legal measure for making decisions on behalf of people believed mentally incapable of them, for permission to perform an abortion on the disabled woman, a black Briton of Nigerian descent, who is said to have the understanding of a ten-year-old child. Mrs Justice Nathalie Lieven, QC, agreed with the doctors that the woman's unborn child should be killed even though the woman did not want to undergo the procedure. 

Lieven, who was revealed in a recent article by UK-based Nigerian pro-life activist to have worked for years on behalf of the British abortion lobby, admitted that forced abortion was "an intrusion."

"I am acutely conscious of the fact that for the State to order a woman to have a termination where it appears that she doesn't want it is an immense intrusion," Lieven said. 

"I have to operate in (her) best interests, not on society's views of termination."

Lieven, the descendent of Baltic German nobility and a member of a highly accomplished German-British family of academics and journalists, dismissed the wishes of the pregnant woman, saying, "I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll."

The woman is twenty-two weeks pregnant, but Lieven said she believed the woman would suffer more if her baby was taken away than if she underwent an abortion. The judge suggested that the baby wasn't yet "a real baby."

"I think (she) would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed," Lieven stated. "It would at that stage be a real baby."

"Pregnancy, although real to her, doesn't have a baby outside her body she can touch," she said.

A 22-week old unborn baby is roughly the size of a coconut.

Not only do the pregnant woman and her mother oppose the abortion, the social worker caring for her disagreed that an abortion "was in her best interests." According to the Society for the Protection of Children (SPUC), her legal team said that there was "no proper evidence" to show that this was the case. 

The mother of the pregnant woman has stated that she is willing to care for her daughter, who is in her twenties, and her grandchild, but Lieven doubted she was capable of it.


Senator blasts `politically correct CEOs,' `cultural elites' for imposing abortion extremism

Earlier today, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton skewered "billion-dollar corporations" that "wield their economic power as a weapon to punish the American people for daring to challenge their pro-abortion extremism."

The Arkansas Republican devoted a speech on the U.S. Senate floor to criticizing the CEOs of hundreds of companies for their loud criticism of states that have passed laws strengthening protections for preborn humans.

"These reforms are the work of the pro-life movement, which fights for the most vulnerable among us every day," said Cotton. "The pro-life movement seeks to change the laws of our country in the noblest traditions of our country, working within our democratic system so that our laws ultimately live up to our highest principle: That `all men are created equal,' in the words of our Declaration. That all have a basic right to life."

"Politically correct CEOs shouldn't be in the business of threatening normal Americans," he continued. "But that's exactly what we've seen lately."

The senator noted that "cultural elites" and large corporations are hoping to damage the economies of states whose legislatures have passed pro-life laws, naming Disney, Netflix, and Warner Media as examples.

"And just last Monday, the New York Times ran a full-page advertisement organized by the pro-abortion lobby and signed by the CEOs of hundreds of companies saying that legal protections for unborn babies are `bad for business.' How disgusting is that?" asked Cotton. "Caring for a little baby is `bad for business.'"

"Now, I get why outfits like Planned Parenthood or NARAL would say babies are `bad for business.' Abortion is their business, after all, and they're just protecting [their] market share."

Cotton went on to make a point Tucker Carlson has frequently emphasized on his nightly television show.

"But what about those other CEOs? Why do they think babies are `bad for business'? Perhaps because they want their workers to focus single-mindedly on working - not building a family and raising children," he suggested. "All these politically correct CEOs want company men and women, not family men and women. They'll support your individuality and self-expression just so long as you stay unattached and on the clock."

The company &Pizza, whose CEO signed the pro-abortion New York Times ad, is a "perfect example" of this mindset, said Cotton. "&Pizza doesn't even offer paid maternity leave to its employees - but it does celebrate their `oneness' and `individuality.' It'll even pay employees to get a tattoo of the company logo. So if you want to be a walking billboard for your employer, &Pizza will foot the bill. But if you're pregnant with a child, tough luck."

"As liberal activists have lost control of the judiciary, they've turned to a different hub of power to impose their views on the rest of the country," lamented Cotton. "This time it's private power, located in a few mega-cities on the coasts."

These coastal companies, along with a handful of foreign ones, are "hoping to rule the rest of us like colonies in the hinterlands."


`I can't be naive anymore': Targeted by arson fires, Mass. rabbis face anti-Semitism at home

ARLINGTON - Luna Bukiet smelled smoke first. It was late, sometime after 10 p.m on Saturday, May 11, the end of Shabbat. The kids were asleep. Her husband, Rabbi Avi Bukiet, was studying in his office. Luna was reading a novel on the living room couch.

Avi, Luna asked, do you smell that? A neighborhood bonfire, perhaps? Or a nearby barbecue? Nothing to worry about. Luna headed upstairs to bed.

Nearly an hour later, the fire alarm shrieked. Avi ran out of the office. Luna woke the kids and hurried them into the car. Tendrils of dusky smoke were creeping through the floorboards. The basement was engulfed in a black, impenetrable fog.

Firefighters arrived and quickly identified the source: a 10-foot stretch of shingle siding on the Bukiets' house was aflame.

The Bukiets' house is not just their home; it's the community's only Jewish outreach center and synagogue. They relocated the Chabad Center for Jewish Life Arlington-Belmont to Lake Street two years ago, after it outgrew a small storefront on Massachusetts Avenue. Here, the Bukiets host Sabbath services, Jewish holiday celebrations, and Hebrew classes for about 200 local families.

For Avi and Luna, arson was the last thing on their minds. But it was clear to investigators the fire had started from the outside. Their next-door neighbor had captured black-and-white surveillance footage of a stranger in a hoodie walking across their driveways.

Then, five days later, an arsonist struck the Bukiet home again. That same night, in Needham, another rabbi's Chabad house was set on fire.

The arson fires at the Chabad houses in Arlington and Needham are part of a disturbing trend of anti-Semitic violence across the country. In April, a gunman at the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego killed one person and wounded three others. That rampage occurred exactly six months after a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 and wounding six others in what is believed to be the deadliest attack on Jews in US history.

And then there are the insidious everyday acts of anti-Semitism. Last month, a Peabody rabbi said he and another local rabbi were accosted while they were walking down Lowell Street. A man driving past in a pickup truck yelled profane, anti-Semitic slurs at them before hurling a penny out of his window.

The Anti-Defamation League, which tracks anti-Semitic incidents ranging from vandalism and harassment to deadly assaults, recorded 1,879 attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions in 2018, a near-record level, surpassed only by the previous year (1,986 incidents) and 1994 (2,066 incidents). Massachusetts catalogued a record 177 incidents in 2017 and slightly fewer, 144, in 2018, following only the more populous states of California, New York, and New Jersey in reported incidents.

Meanwhile, hate crimes against Jews, according to the FBI's most recent data, jumped 37 percent in 2017 to 938 incidents, up from 684 a year earlier.

"Anti-Semitism has existed for centuries," said Robert Trestan, executive director of the ADL's New England office. "But the difference now is that it's becoming mainstream and I think for some people it's suddenly becoming fashionable and acceptable to target Jews and to do so in a very open and public way."

Federal authorities are leading the investigation into the Arlington and Needham arson fires, probing, among other questions, whether the fires are connected. An FBI spokeswoman declined to answer questions seeking updates on the cases. The state fire marshal, ADL, and Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations have offered a combined $21,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible.

At the Chabad Jewish Center in Needham, the fire charred a section of the house's vinyl siding and chewed a gash into the lattice below it. Rabbi Mendy Krinsky, 47, who lives there with his wife, Chanie, 43, and five of their eight children, put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher before emergency workers arrived. "I couldn't believe it. I was shocked," Mendy Krinsky said. "It was very shocking - very, very unsettling."

The arson fires at the Bukiets' home last month were not their first run-ins with anti-Semitism. Within a week of opening their Massachusetts Avenue Chabad center in September 2013, a cutout of a swastika arrived in the mail with no return address. The message was clear: You're not welcome here.

Avi, who is 32, recalled a more ambiguous incident from earlier that summer, when he and Luna, 29, were looking for a place to live in Arlington. As they were driving down a suburban street, Avi rolled down his window and asked a passerby what he thought about the neighborhood. The man, Avi said, glared at him with startling disdain and snarled, "People like you are moving down here."

Did the man look at Avi and see another gentrifier in town? Another millennial snapping up real estate and ratcheting up costs? Or did he see Avi's brown beard and his kippah and think, "outsider?" Avi drove away not knowing.

Although he grew up in neighboring Lexington, Avi is keenly aware of the pervasiveness and destruction anti-Semitism causes globally. In his teenage years, he went to school in a Paris suburb, where, Avi said, he routinely endured name-calling and worse. Once, an attacker shoved him down an escalator at a Paris train station. To ward off another assault, Avi had to defend himself and a friend with pepper spray. Avi has relatives who were murdered in the Holocaust. His grandfather fled Nazi-occupied Poland for Shanghai when he was 15 before settling in the United States.

"I grew up with that feeling of no matter how safe you feel, no matter how much a society embraces you . . . there's going to be that baseless hatred there," Avi said.

Surveys show Jews are the most highly regarded religious group in the country - more popular than Catholics or Protestants - despite representing less than 2 percent of the US adult population. Most Americans are not anti-Semitic, said Leonard Saxe, a social psychologist and Jewish studies professor at Brandeis University, but today's bigots are more emboldened than before.

Saxe pointed to a few factors that may be contributing to this uptick in anti-Semitic behavior: Record wealth inequality, he said, has provoked immense anxiety among struggling Americans and for some, Jews and immigrants are convenient scapegoats. Social media has fueled the dissemination of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. For perpetrators of horrific acts of violence, the 24/7 news cycle is both a megaphone and recruiting tool for their noxious ideology.

Other researchers and civil rights groups lay the blame on President Trump and his inflammatory rhetoric against Muslims and migrants. It's no coincidence, they've argued, that his political rise has corresponded with a spike in reported hate crimes.

"I think the president's behavior has something to do with this," said Matt Boxer, also a Jewish studies professor at Brandeis. "He has effectively signaled to these people who previously have been afraid to act on their bigotry in quite [as] public a manner that it's acceptable to do so."

Boxer cites the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, during which hordes of mostly white men, protesting plans to remove a Confederate statue, chanted, "Jews will not replace us" and other neo-Nazi slogans. Responding to the rally, President Trump remarked that there were "very fine people on both sides."

Before the arson fires, the Bukiets made a habit of leaving their doors unlocked in keeping with Chabad tradition. Also known as Chabad-Lubavitch, Chabad is a Hasidic movement within Orthodox Judaism that emphasizes unconditional love and acceptance above all. Any Jew seeking help, faith, or charity, they ensured, would feel welcome in their home.

Today, their house is a fortress, outfitted with security cameras and motion detectors that alert Avi and Luna's phones when anyone sets foot on their property. A sign advertising their home security system is prominently displayed on the sidewalk in front of their elegant teal Victorian. Arlington police regularly swing by. Neighbors have volunteered to stay up at night and keep watch. The Bukiets lock their doors.

"I can't be naive anymore," Avi said. "I thought over here [in the United States], it was different and I have to realize, no, it's not different. There's going to be people that are going to treat you ill, and I need to have my eyes wide open."

In Needham, Mendy Krinsky declined to elaborate on his home's security measures for fear of tipping off another potential attacker.

Jeremy Yamin, associate vice president and director of security and operations at Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston, said anxiety about the recent surge of anti-Semitic violence here and across the country has spurred more demand among Jewish institutions for stronger security protocols. Rabbis, in particular, Yamin said, are more worried about safety than ever.

Since Nov. 1, CJP has held at least 40 security trainings and seminars for approximately 1,500 people representing dozens of Jewish organizations, including local synagogues and day schools.

"After Pittsburgh, after Poway, after the Chabad arson fires, the phones really haven't stopped ringing," Yamin said. "We have a hard time keeping up with requests for training and assessment."

After the arson fires, the communities of Arlington and Needham rallied around the Bukiet and Krinsky families. The Bukiets held Shabbat services the Saturday after the second arson fire that were so packed the crowd spilled outside. The following Monday, May 20, more than 600 people flooded Arlington Town Hall for a solidarity gathering in support of the Bukiets. Gifts, cards, and flowers turned up by the hundreds on their doorstep. On Lake Street, just about every house still has a sign on the front lawn that says, "Hate has no home here."

The response was similar in Needham. Observant Jews perform a ritual called Havdalah - Hebrew for "separation" - marking the end of Shabbat and the beginning of a new week. The Saturday night following the arson fire, hundreds of neighbors gathered on the Krinskys' front lawn to observe Havdalah with them - singing, praying, and carrying candles.

"The outpouring of love and support, that's the real Needham. Not whoever did this, this attack on us," Mendy Krinsky said. "As bad as the hate was, the love was many, many times more."


Australia: 'I lost my job and my marriage'. Man says his life's been 'ruined' since a girl, 19, lied about him sexually harassing her as he helped fix her car

"Always believe the woman" feminists say.  They ignore that there are a lot of lying bitches around.  Thankfully, this one is being prosecuted

A Bosnian refugee falsely accused of sexual harassment has set up a GoFundMe page to help him get his life back on track.

Kenan Basic helped Caitlyn Gray, now 20, fix her car for two hours in Bankstown, west Sydney in November.

Gray, who was 19 at the time, lied to police that he demanded sexual favours and lunged at her breasts and crotch when she refused.

Basic found himself charged and locked up in Silverwater maximum security jail for two weeks.

He lost his job and his wife divorced him and he has now launched a fundraising page. On the page, Mr Basic writes: 'Hi my name is Kenan Basic and l been falsely accused and jailed my life has been ruined after I was wrongly accused of indecent assault.

'I lost my job and my marriage.

'After all this happening to me it's really hard to come back on track when l don't know where to start from.

'So I am rising this profile for me if you guys can help me with anything l would extremely appreciate to all of yous (sic) who help me to come back on track of my life.'   

Gray faced Bankstown Local Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to lying about her initial accusations.

She said she did it because he had said something to offend her and she wanted him to go to jail. She submitted a written apology to Mr Basic. 

Gray falsely accused Mr Basic - who had spent more than two hours helping fix her car at a western Sydney petrol station after she had a minor collision - of acting inappropriately towards her.

She wrongly claimed Mr Basic had made unwanted advances towards her and subsequently grabbed her breast and vagina as a way of 'payment' for assisting her with the damaged vehicle.

The court heard Gray, who has no prior criminal history, had regularly been seeing a psychologist in November last year - before making the false accusations against Mr Basic.

Her psychologist's clinical notes, counsellor notes, character references and job history was also handed to the court.

Magistrate Glenn Walsh told Gray to ensure she attended Campbelltown Community Corrections office within seven days so that a full sentencing assessment report could be completed.

Gray will reappear in court for sentencing on August 7.

Mr Basic previously said he was grateful to be free after all charges, but was now hesitant to help strangers.

CCTV captured the interaction between the pair, but Gray told police he followed her after she drove away.

Mr Basic admitted he did follow her, but claimed he did so to ensure her car didn't break down again. - not to harass her as she claimed.

Gray later went to Liverpool police station and gave a statement about the ordeal - which resulted in the arrest of Mr Basic on November 23.

Mr Basic was then charged with multiple offences including one count of incite person over the age of 16 to commit an act of indecency and one count of stalk and intimidate intending to cause fear or physical harm.

Five days later police spoke to Gray again after they failed to find any CCTV evidence to comply with her version of events.

Again, Gray continued to lie and insisted she had been telling the truth. When she spoke to police for a third time on November 29 she repeatedly insisted she had been telling the truth.

Shortly after, Gray came clean and admitted she had fabricated the accusations.

'No-one would ever expect that as a Good Samaritan you stop to assist a broken down motorist that then you would subsequently be charged with these serious offences,' Mr Basic's lawyer said.



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 26, 2019

No, McDonald’s Does Not Make You Obese

Hans Bader

I lost ten pounds in the summer that I worked at McDonald’s, eating there all the time. Yet, people try to blame fast-food restaurants for their obesity. It’s one of the “myths about fast food” discussed this week in The Washington Post.

As that newspaper notes, this myth was based on the claim that poor people are getting fat because, as noted “in the New York Times back in 2011, … ‘junk food is cheaper when measured by the calorie, and that makes it almost essential for the poor because they need cheap calories.’” Based on this perception, “the Los Angeles City Council in 2008 banned new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles.”

But as The Post points out, “Studies and surveys show that fast food is most popular among upper-middle income brackets.” Indeed, “wealthier Americans – those earning $75,000 a year or more – are more likely to eat it at least weekly (51 per cent) than lower-income groups,” according to a 2013 Gallup survey. “Those earning the least are the least likely to eat fast food weekly – 39% of Americans earning less than $ 20,000 a year do so.”

Moreover, “regular restaurants aren’t appreciably healthier than fast-food joints,” according to a comprehensive 2015 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition that compared fast food with full-service restaurants. And entrees at fast-food restaurants typically have fewer, not more, calories, than those at fast-casual restaurants.

In America, obese people have so far been unsuccessful in suing McDonald’s over their weight gain. But in Brazil, a judge in 2010 ordered McDonald’s to pay an overweight employee the equivalent of $17,500, after he gained 65 pounds over 12 years of working at the restaurant and eating its food for free. That was a truly strange ruling that disregarded the fat man’s personal responsibility for his eating habits.

While restricting fast-food restaurants in places like Los Angeles, government officials have sometimes subsidized sit-down restaurants whose food is no healthier. Pancakes with butter and syrup have less nutrition and more empty calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger. But the Obama administration used federal funds to subsidize the opening of an International House of Pancakes in Washington, D.C.

Critics often have an overly negative view of McDonald’s food. To appease them, McDonald’s altered the contents of its Happy Meals, replacing some of their french fries, which do contain some vitamin C, with prepackaged apple slices that contain essentially no natural vitamin C (they do contain artificially-added vitamin C).

But my daughter did not like the prepackaged slices. She said they tasted different from a fresh apple. Such prepackaged apple slices lose virtually all of their natural vitamin C in processing. Even a fresh apple has far less vitamin C than a potato. A potato contains 40 percent of your vitamin C needs for the day, compared to about 10 percent in an apple, or 20 percent for a typical order of french fries.

Potatoes are highly nutritious, yet many people harbor irrational prejudices against them. They have a lot more vitamin C, and at least as much potassium, as a banana. And a baked potato typically has only about 110 calories, similar to a banana.

Despite this fact, the Obama administration banned white potatoes from the federal WIC program in a 2009 regulation, a ban that was repealed in 2017 after policymakers realized that potatoes were a nutritious and economical food source.

In 2010, an NIH official foolishly urged an audience of parents to stock their refrigerators with apple sauce, as a way of ensuring that kids always have access to fruits and vegetables. She made this silly recommendation even though apple sauce has no vitamin C (unless vitamin C is artificially added to it, since an apple’s natural vitamin C is lost when it is processed into apple sauce).


What the UK’s Orwellian Gender Policy Gets Wrong About Men and Women

The British government has adopted a concerning new policy regulating speech. The New York Times reports a new policy banning the use of “harmful” gender stereotypes in advertising—yes, private ads.

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority announced last week that it will “ban ads that connect physical features with success in the romantic or social spheres; assign stereotypical personality traits to boys and girls, such as bravery for boys and tenderness for girls; suggest that new mothers should prioritize their looks or home cleanliness over their emotional health; and mock men for being bad at stereotypically ‘feminine’ tasks, such as vacuuming, washing clothes, or parenting.”

The new policy was developed after a report from the agency supposedly found that ads containing such stereotypes “can lead to unequal gender outcomes in public and private aspects of people’s lives.”

I’m not even sure how this could be quantified, but that’s the springboard for these gender-neutral regulations.

There are several issues to point out here.

First, this is a dangerous incursion on free speech. Admittedly, the U.K. has always lacked the same affinity for free speech that America has, so it’s not completely surprising the public would tolerate this regulation.

But second, there is a more important cultural issue at stake here, one that is also starting to circulate in the United States.

While we can all dismiss certain stereotypes as crass and unwarranted—for instance, that women are worse than men at driving—this policy drives at something deeper and more radical.

In banning a wide range of gender stereotypes, the British government presumes that boys and girls are essentially the same and that any notion of “male” and “female” career tendencies is inherently oppressive.

In the name of equality, the state is enforcing a policy of “sameness.”

It has essentially banned private companies from operating on the rational belief that men and women really are different, and that those differences factor into how men and women buy products.

In the name of equality, the state is enforcing a policy of “sameness.”
The Advertising Standards Authority has passed similar policies before. A few years ago, it hit Gucci hard for making ads with a model who looked “unhealthily thin,” to name just one example.

I can partially appreciate where this comes from.

As a woman who has seen advertisements of airbrushed women selling makeup or clothing, I know these ads can be misleading and even frustrating. Often these ads perpetuate false stereotypes that can be harmful to a woman’s self-esteem.

And yet, I don’t think a regulation against such stereotypes is the way to go. If people don’t like the ad, they should boycott the company.

But there is a difference between unhealthy stereotypes and ordinary stereotypes that might actually reflect reality. The U.K.’s new regulations ban the latter.

There is nothing wrong with stereotypes that generally reflect reality: Women tend to be drawn to careers with more nurturing aspects; men are often drawn to careers that utilize bravado—like construction or the military, or perhaps the STEM fields.

This doesn’t mean men can’t stay home with the kids or that a woman can’t be an engineer. That’s not the point.

The point is that, in general, there is a career divide that is largely driven by innate biology, not simply society’s expectations for men and women.

There is nothing wrong with stereotypes that generally reflect reality
We know this because in countries that have tried to engineer gender “equality,” like Sweden, there is still a gender divide.

In fact, Scandinavian countries now have lower levels of women entering STEM fields than other countries considered less egalitarian, like Albania and Algeria.

Many of the careers that men and women pursue—and the accompanying stereotypes—exist, and continue to exist, because men and women are naturally drawn to them.

For starters, it’s scientifically proven that men’s and women’s brains are different, and these differences contribute to how both function in different vocational fields.

Consider this piece in Stanford Medicine, which explores the difference:

Women excel in several measures of verbal ability—pretty much all of them, except for verbal analogies. Women’s reading comprehension and writing ability consistently exceed that of men, on average. They out­perform men in tests of fine-motor coordination and perceptual speed. They’re more adept at retrieving information from long-term memory.

Men, on average, can more easily juggle items in working memory. They have superior visuospatial skills: They’re better at visualizing what happens when a complicated two- or three-dimensional shape is rotated in space, at correctly determining angles from the horizontal, at tracking moving objects, and at aiming projectiles.

These are scientific facts. Men and women are different. To neutralize all advertisements that suggest as much—or worse, to flip reality on its head—might actually produce a feeling of shame among boys and girls, and men and women, for wanting to pursue the career that comes naturally to them.

The notion that men and women are wired the same, want the same things, and can do the same things at work or at home is one of the most dangerous myths animating the social-justice left today.

Not only are these things false, but male and female differences complement one another, helping men and women to accomplish equally important, yet often different tasks.

It’s a shame to see the British government bow the knee to political correctness and go into regulatory overdrive, banning stereotypical ads from the public.

This perpetuates the myth that men and women are biologically the same, and refuses to acknowledge that their propensity toward various vocations might just be due to those innate and incredible differences.


Leftists have always lied about Auschwitz

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's rhetorical strategy descends from Stalin himself

Danusha V. Goska

Cesława Kwoka was a Polish Catholic girl who was murdered at the age of 14 in Auschwitz

On Monday, June 17, and again on Tuesday, June 18, freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated that the "authoritarian and fascist" Trump administration "has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying." "Concentration camps are an institutionalized practice in the home of the free … a presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist."

I was a teenager the first time I visited Auschwitz. I grew up with one foot in New Jersey, and with one foot, through my parents' heartfelt stories, songs, recipes and reminiscences, in Poland and Slovakia. I met anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet resisters, victims of torture and rape, all members of my own family, when I was fifteen. I sat around the table and watched my strong, resilient, subsistence farmer aunts' and uncles' faces melt with shame and terror as they recounted Nazi, and then Soviet, occupation. I watched my mother, a monument to strength and stoicism, cry when she heard, firsthand, of the fate of her beloved Jewish neighbor who had saved her from drowning in the River Nitra. She had long known he was among the millions. She had read of his fate in letters. Now back in her village for the first time since her departure as a child, she just couldn't take it when they told her to her face, as she stood in front of what used to be his home.

After the visit to Auschwitz, I met both survivors of the camp and Polish citizens who had hidden Jews in their homes. These rescuers radiated a quality I can't quite capture in words but I can say that sitting in front of them and listening to them speak was comparable, for me, to sitting in front of Yosemite's Half Dome. These Poles, senior citizens in Soviet-era rumpled clothing, who spoke few and humble words, not lush vocabulary out of any epic saga but rather monosyllabic words focused on how to dispose of human waste without detection or how to manage to cadge enough calories while living under a genocidal occupation, conveyed the aura of massive natural wonders. These rescuers' souls seemed to have outgrown their human flesh and have already transcended to the ageless, the mythic.

I grew up a child of immigrants, and, inevitably, I went on to be an immigrant myself, living and working in Africa, Asia, and Europe. I held my mother's hand as she died, seventy-two years after her forced migration to America, and I can say that she never got over the trauma of that passage. She told me about walking to school along railroad ties because the ties hurt her bare feet less than the gravel between the tracks. She was barefoot so the "cardboard" shoes she received from the "Poor Board" would not disintegrate in her walk to school. She told me about being beaten by a nun who spoke Slovak but wouldn't speak it to her because it was her job, as a child immigrant, to sink or swim. She told me about the first time she ate that most American of foods, peanut butter, out of a half empty jar encountered while foraging in a garbage dump.

So, yes, those of us familiar, even though handed-down stories from our elders about the Nazis, are also familiar with the burdens of immigration. This much we know. A decent person does not steal the vocabulary of one horror to discuss the discomforts and inconveniences, or even the heartbreaks and tragedies, of the other. As horrific as the black lung, the police chases, the incarceration, and the death all were, they were not those horrors as lived in Auschwitz, which was an experience so cursed you don't use the same vocabulary when speaking of the one about the other. You just do not do that. 

The term "concentration camp" existed before the Holocaust, and pre-Holocaust governments have set up what were called, at the time, concentration camps. During the 1899-1902 Boer War between Boers, or Dutch-speaking South Africans and the British Empire, the Empire drove Boers into concentration camps. Approximately 28,000 Boers, that is 25%, of Boers in these camps, and 10% of the overall Boer population, died of hunger and disease. Twenty thousand black South Africans also died.

No one objects to the use of the term "concentration camp" for discussion of the Boer War, or other pre-Holocaust atrocities. Why, then, do we express such revulsion when Ocasio-Cortez claims "concentration camp" to discuss facilities to house illegal immigrants?

The answer is obvious. The answer is history. In the same way that the word "apple" is heard differently in the post-Steve-Jobs world, the term "concentration camp" is heard differently in the post-Auschwitz world. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous. And to pretend otherwise is to camouflage a very real leftist agenda.

The left itself has a doctrine that should, if followed, obviate this lie. It's the doctrine of cultural appropriation. You do not take the cultural inheritance of another group and claim it as your own. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez knows about this doctrine. She was blasted for violating it on April 5, 2019, when giving a speech to Al Sharpton's National Action Network. Ocasio-Cortez, in an attempt to curry favor with her mostly African American audience, adopted a faux Ebonics rhythm and syntax. All leftist cultural appropriation stories are ridiculous; it's difficult to pick which is most exemplary of the trend. Perhaps Lena Dunham fretting over Oberlin college students' sushi consumption. Perhaps the height, or depth of cultural appropriation sermonizing took place after Keziah Daum, a Utah high school student, wore a Chinese-style dress to her prom and posted the photo on social media. In a frequently retweeted twitter post, Jeremy Lam accused 18-year-old Keziah Daum of colonizing Asians.

Since leftists preach against cultural appropriation, why are leftists now trying to appropriate the term "concentration camp" to talk about immigration? One of the most disturbing, and obvious, trends in today's Democratic Party is anti-Semitism. Not all Democrats are anti-Semites, but Congressional Democrats surrendered to the anti-Semites in their midst when, on March 7, 2019, they failed to sanction freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for her frequent and egregious expressions of anti-Semitism. Ocasio-Cortez made it a point to support Omar in the midst of that controversy. Ocasio-Cortez was also happy to mouth anti-Semitic tropes, tropes she clearly did not understand and could not support when exposed to questioning. In a July 17, 2018 appearance on PBS's Firing Line, Ocasio-Cortez said she objects to "the occupation of Palestine" and a "humanitarian crisis." When questioned what she meant by these terms, she collapsed, laughing, acknowledging, "I am not the expert on geopolitics … Middle Eastern politics was not exactly at my kitchen table every night." Why the Democratic Party is currying favor with anti-Semites is a topic for another piece, but that toadying is on display for all to see. Ocasio-Cortez's attempt to claim the term "concentration camp" for her very own is part of that agenda.

And there's more. Leftists have always lied about the Holocaust. I saw those lies firsthand, during my visit to Auschwitz. In those Soviet days, visitors were shown a film. I watched the Polish language version of the film. I listened for the word "Jew" – "Zyd." I never heard it. What I do remember hearing, over and over, was the term "victims of fascism." I recognized that I was being propagandized. I wondered how many viewing this film would not recognize that. "After the war internal politics led the Soviet leadership to erase the Holocaust from historical memory," writes historian John Klier in "The Holocaust and the Soviet Union." Soviet Russia and its satellite states systematically lied about the Holocaust from the end of the war till its toppling in 1989. Communists inflated the numbers of those killed at Auschwitz. They did so in order to minimize the number of Jews murdered there.

Soviet Russians called Auschwitz "the ultimate capitalist factory where the workers were dispensable." "One of the least appealing aspects of the Soviet analysis of Auschwitz, now and later, was the downplaying of the scale of suffering endured by Jews." This downplaying constituted "a rift in historical interpretation between East and West concerning the operation of the camps that would not be resolved until the fall of Communism," writes Laurence Rees in Auschwitz: A New History. This downplaying of Jewish suffering occurred throughout the Soviet Empire. Thomas Haury writes that East Germany, "emphasized the workers, the party, and the Soviet population as having suffered most from National Socialism. The genocide of the European Jews was only one crime among many, to which the GDR hardly paid attention."

Jews were also accused of crimes said to be "just as bad as the Holocaust." "Not only Holocaust deniers but also communists used Holocaust Equivalence early, aiming at Jews. In 1953, the Soviet Union's daily Pravda published alleged information about a conspiracy of mainly Jewish doctors to kill communist leaders through wrong diagnoses and sabotage in treatment," writes Georg von Rauch. Romanian textbooks emphasized Romanian suffering and downplayed Jewish deaths.

People often criticize Poles for their apparent lack of awareness of Holocaust history. After all, Poland was the site of many concentration and death camps. But Poles, too, were taught a Holocaust history consciously distorted by Communism, and it is only post-1989 that Polish historians have been able to tell their own country's story without that distortion dominating their work. When perusing a Soviet-era history book about WW II, or watching a Soviet-era film about the liberation of Auschwitz, or listening to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's justifications for using the term "concentration camp," one must remember this core principle: "The truth is that which serves the party."

Czeslawa (ches WAV ah) Kwoka was a 14 year old Polish Catholic girl. She was murdered in Auschwitz. Wilhelm Brasse, as his name suggests, had some Germanic ancestry. But he was born in Poland and he self-identified as Polish. After the Nazis invaded, the SS "invited" Brasse to identify as German. He declined, and he was sent to Auschwitz, where he was forced to photograph prisoners. Later he was ordered to destroy those photos. Through subterfuge, he saved many of the photos.

Brasse took the photograph we have of Czeslawa Kwoka. He described the process to an interviewer, who said that Brasse trembled while speaking. "She was so young and so terrified. The girl didn't understand why she was there and she couldn't understand what was being said to her. So this woman Kapo took a stick and beat her about the face. This German woman was just taking out her anger on the girl. Such a beautiful young girl, so innocent. She cried but she could do nothing. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was being hit myself but I couldn't interfere. It would have been fatal for me. You could never say anything."

I do not begrudge anyone the compassion they feel for immigrants. I do not begrudge anyone for actually extending aid to immigrants. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her leftist allies are not expression compassion, and they are not helping anyone, by appropriating the term "concentration camp." Rather, they are appropriating cultural material that does not belong to them, and that no decent person would want.

They are doing this as part of the left's current and growing anti-Semitic program. Stalin, we are told, said that one death was a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. If the deaths of the eleven million leave Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her allies cold, I ask them to look into the face of Czeslawa Kwoka, who was murdered at 14 because she was the wrong ethnicity.


Australia: Ads highlight CSR concerns

In the past two weeks, we have witnessed full page newspaper ads proclaiming that a slew of big companies “support the Uluru Statement from the Heart”. This followed the announcement of support for Recognition by 21 investment banks, super funds and accounting firms.

This renewed bout of corporate politicking was clearly planned in anticipation of an election victory by the Labor party, which had pledged to fast-track a constitutional referendum on a Voice to Parliament.

In the wake of the Morrison government’s re-election, big business — like many commentators and pundits — have found themselves on the wrong side of history … and found out just how tin their political ear is.

The election result offers a timely opportunity for those operating within the corporate bubble to reconsider what is being done by companies in the name of CSR.

I hope my book encourages such a reconsideration through the critique it offers of the current — highly political — approach to ‘social responsibility’ that is being enthusiastically embraced at the highest levels of business.

What the election result has demonstrated is the validity of the insider vs outsider thesis about modern politics.

The Quiet Australians’ rejection of Labor’s embrace of identity politics and progressive ideology has exposed the cultural divide between so-called inner city elites and ordinary Australians in the outer suburbs and regions holding mainstream views.

What the election result also ought to burst is the insider bubble —the propensity for corporate elites to live, work, and socialise with like-minded elites and not question self-reinforcing progressive agendas.

Bursting the bubble surrounding CSR exposes the contradiction that lies at heart of the CSR philosophy.

The standard argument for CSR is that that in order to earn a ‘social license’ to operate, companies must fulfil a range of social obligations beyond their traditional profit-making role, by considering the social impacts of their activities on the interests of broader groups of stakeholders in the community.

The book turns around the reputational and branding arguments for CSR to make the case against CSR by pointing out what the election result has now made even more obvious.

This is that corporate involvement in divisive social questions on which there is no community consensus among shareholders, stakeholders, employees and customers, can have negative brand and reputational consequences for companies that risk acquiring reputations for being ‘being political’.

The book, therefore, argues that because CSR politicking can be bad for business, corporate leaders should be encouraged to take a more hardheaded approach.



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 25, 2019

Meetings are a plague

I reproduce below the core message of a VERY long-winded article in the NYT.  The authors looked at different groups in Microsoft with a view to finding out which group were the happiest and why.  They found that meetings were the big bugbear. Lots of big meetings were seen as boring and stealing time from the main work that the employees were doing. Fewer and smaller meeting were needed for happy workers. 

I have always hated meetings myself.  Sitting around for hours listening to other people who I think have got it wrong was very hard for me to bear when I could be doing other much more interesting things

To figure out why the workers in Microsoft’s device unit were so dissatisfied with their work-life balance, the organizational analytics team examined the metadata from their emails and calendar appointments.

The team divided the business unit into smaller groups and looked for differences in the patterns between those where people were satisfied and those where they were unhappy.

It seemed as if the problem would involve something about after-hours work. But no matter how Ms. Klinghoffer and Mr. Fuller crunched the data, there weren’t any meaningful correlations to be found between groups that had a lot of tasks to do at odd times and those that were unhappy. Gut instincts about overwork just weren’t supported by the numbers.

The two kept iterating until something emerged in the data. People in Mr. Ostrum’s division were spending an awful lot of time in meetings: an average of 27 hours a week.

That wasn’t so much more than the typical team at Microsoft. But what really distinguished those teams with low satisfaction scores from the rest was that their meetings tended to include a lot of people — 10 or 20 bodies arrayed around a conference table coordinating plans, as opposed to two or three people brainstorming ideas.

The issue wasn’t that people had to fly to China or make late-night calls. People who had taken jobs requiring that sort of commitment seemed to accept these things as part of the deal. The issue was that their managers were clogging their schedules with overcrowded meetings, reducing available hours for tasks that rewarded more focused concentration — thinking deeply about trying to solve a problem.


John Lennon’s Son Slams Politically Correct Leftist Intellectuals As ‘Embarrassing… It’s Pathetic’

The son of the famed Beatles member John Lennon has publicly made it clear that political correctness has destroyed the left he once knew and respected.

Sean Ono-Lennon took to Twitter on Friday and tweeted out a message that stirred controversy within the left.

“When I was young the most interesting people were left-wing intellectuals. Believe it or not,” tweeted Lennon.

One person identifying themselves as a leftist intellectual attempted to argue that they still are the most interesting people he could meet, but Lennon flatly shot that idea down and dropped a major bomb.

“No we’ve become the church lady as person below says. It’s embarrassing. We’re offended by comedy and science. It’s pathetic,” tweeted Lennon.

He’s not wrong. The left has become so anti-science that what they now believe can be considered something along the lines of fantasy land. They believe in a limitless number of genders despite there being only two and will punish anyone who disagrees with them. Their stances on climate change rely on inaccurate sensationalism despite many scientists coming out and saying the doom isn’t upon us.

Their hot takes on abortion are even in direct defiance of science.

Now, the left’s primary goal isn’t knowledge and understanding, it’s finding where you stand on the victim hierarchy and asserting your power based on your place in it. It is, as Lennon described, pathetic. More importantly, it’s boring, and it causes boredom to arise in everything it touches. Introduce a bit of social justice into escapism and people immediately begin to tune out.

What’s more, is that the left doesn’t allow discussion that may ruin their narrative. Free thought isn’t allowed to exist. You have to subscribe to the body politic or be punished. Nothing grows, everything stagnates.

Now the counter culture consists of those willing to actually question the mainstream narrative with logic. Those who actually respect things like the constitution and individualism are considered the “fringe.” It’s within these circles, where speech can actually go unfettered, that you’re going to find the most interesting conversations and intellectual thought.


Peaceful death threats

Threatening me over Mohammad cartoons provokes more Mohammad cartoons

Bosch Fawstin

Were it not for my Mohammad cartoons, some Muslims believe that they would be peaceful, and they act as if my “terrorism”, (yes, they call my Mohammad cartoons “terrorism”) must be responded to in kind, with terrorism, even though they’re “peaceful”.

If you want to maintain your illusions that “Islam means peace” and that “99.9% of Muslims are peace-loving”, then my book, Peaceful Death Threats, is not for you, as you’re either a Muslim or you might as well make it official and become one. If you can’t imagine threatening to murder cartoonists over cartoons, then my book is for you.

Islam wasn’t “hijacked” by jihadists, peace was hijacked by Muslims. In my acceptance speech after I won the Mohammad cartoon contest, I asked the audience, “Why do you think we have this kind of security?”, and as the audience started to applaud, and even laugh, as they had a good idea where I was going with it, I said that it was because Islam did not mean peace. The Only reason any of us are talking about Islam is because it doesn’t mean peace. Islam hasn’t given us any reason to talk about it outside of our concern over it.

When a lone evil scumbag goes on a shooting spree in America, the “national conversation” is that it has something to do with America, that it says something about us, and that we all have to answer for it in some way. Only self-loathing leftists would define America by a small minority of evil scumbags. Yet when daily atrocities are committed by Muslims across the world, the “national conversation” crowd tells us that it “has nothing to do with Islam”, while also saying that we had it coming. They live for a chance to condemn America for things it’s not responsible for, and to exonerate Islam for things it is responsible for. These “national conversationalists” don’t want a conversation about Islam, about jihad, or about the truth. And the “national conversation” that needs to take place is about Islam and its calls for violence against non-Muslims. As for “nice Muslims”, especially those in the West, they embody Western values that they fancifully attribute to Islam, and it’s left to “mean” people like me to have to point that fact out.

The reason why many of us choose to define Islam by the behavior of its least devout Muslims is because devout Muslims who model themselves after their warlord prophet, Mohammad, are monsters. “But what about Muslims who support Israel and condemn jihad?” It’s not Islam that leads some Muslims to support Israel and condemn jihad. I give credit to these individual Muslims and their embrace of Western values, even though they themselves usually deny it, and falsely credit Islam. We need to stop pretending that the anti-Islam positions of some Muslims somehow derive from Islam. They don’t, no matter what these Muslims tell us, or what we tell ourselves. Like the so-called “Imam of peace”, he represents the West in his criticisms of Islam, and he’s naturally rejected and condemned by most Muslims, and embraced by the West. The best Muslims are the least Islamic, and the most Western. But of course, in this increasingly truthless world we’re living in, merely pointing that fact out makes me a monster.

In the summer and fall of 2018, I got a wave of death threats from Muslims the likes of which I’ve never experienced, and my life has not been the same. Thousands of Muslims from across the world, with many from Pakistan, threatened to murder me after I was announced as the judge for a Mohammad cartoon contest that Geert Wilders announced in the summer of 2018 (and which ended up being canceled). Many of the threats were monotonous and I couldn’t keep up with all of them, as they came from all corners of the internet, from social media, email, YouTube, my blog, and I even got audio death threats in Facebook messenger. So the “peaceful” death threats in my book are the “best” 400 of them.

I’ve been called a “dangerous” cartoonist, and Peaceful Death Threats has the potential to be my most “dangerous” book yet, as it will make it more difficult for some among us to maintain their illusions about Islam and its “peaceful” followers. My “co-writers” in this book are average, everyday Muslims who think it’s normal to threaten to rape and murder a cartoonist over Mohammad cartoons. They are not to be “understood”, but condemned. This book is a good document to show that Islamic culture, at large, is a problem, and that Muslims at large want cartoonists who draw Mohammad to be murdered, by their hand, or by the hands of their more devout co-religionists. All of the thousands of Muslims who wrote me death threats want me dead, and those who didn’t write me would likely celebrate if I were murdered, or at “best”, would “understand” why I had to die. “Not all Muslims”? Not One Muslim wrote me to say, “I may not like what you do, and I may even hate it, but you have the right to draw whatever you want, and you shouldn’t be threatened or killed over it.”

Not one.

When the Muslims who’ve threatened me hear of this book, what do you think their response would be that their threats were published, and that they inspired my 60 new Mohammad cartoon that are in my book? More threats. The threats in this book are from Muslim students, doctors, engineers, musicians, etc., and I think that will be a revelation for some, for those who still cling to the idea that it’s only “extremists” who are the problem, because seeing is believing. Seeing death threats along with the names and pictures of average Muslims might open some eyes.

After years of getting death threats, they’ve become white noise to me, in a way. They’re meant to scare me into silence and inaction, but I’m more likely to laugh at them than be terrified. But I do pause at times, at the casual, decadent evil of it all, and the mass support that it gets from far more Muslims than many would like to believe. What did Muslims do after the massacre of Charlie Hebdo? They callously ran over the dead bodies of the murdered innocents to defend Mohammad. Islam didn’t teach them to live and let live, despite whatever criticism came their way, Islam taught them that the answer to criticism is to silence critics, by any means necessary.

Regarding my new Mohammad cartoons in my book: I think it’s important to show Mohammad, the murderous figure who inspires Muslims to murder, alongside screenshots of the death threats over my Mohammad cartoons, which inspired even more Mohammad cartoons by me.

The threats in Peaceful Death Threats will be a revelation for some, and a confirmation for others. And to those who’ve dismissed me when I say that Hitler is Islam’s favorite Infidel, there were endless Muslims who expressed their admiration for Hitler to me, and I have a page of the “best” ones in my book, where I draw Hitler as Mohammad.

I’m well aware that most of these threats are just talk, however obscene that talk may be, but unlike members of other groups, Muslims are more prone to back up their threats with violent action, and so I take their threats more seriously than I do the threats of others. And some of them get very specific and personal. It’s one thing for Muslims to have their prohibitions, but it’s quite another thing for them to try to force their prohibitions on us. Since 9/11, we’ve waged war the way Muslims wage peace, and we’re gong to have to learn how to wage war, in order to have peace.



Socialism appeals to the young but many don't know what it means

Red is the new black, right? Jeremy Corbyn leads the British Labour Party. Bernie Sanders came close to winning the Democratic Party's nomination for the US presidency describing himself as a "democratic socialist".

And the 2018 US midterm elections saw a surge of enthusiasm for Democratic candidates running on policy platforms at least as leftist as Mr Sanders espoused in 2016.

That the young are thought to lead the revival for socialism is not surprising.

The most prominent face of the leftward turn among Democrats is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, just 29 years old and only four months into her legislative career.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez is one of the sponsors of the Green New Deal, a suite of social-democratic and pro-environmental proposals, supported by several of the Democratic presidential candidates (eg Senators Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, Sanders, Warren).

It's happening here too. Australian public opinion also exhibits an unmistakable age gradient, with younger Australians more likely to support Labor — and especially the Greens — than older Australians.

But what do people — and younger people in particular — mean when they say they favour or oppose socialism?

New polling by the United States Studies Centre and YouGov reveals considerable confusion and ignorance about socialism in both Australia and the United States.

We asked: "What is your understanding of the term socialism?"
Respondents could provide any answer they liked, in their own words.

Twenty-eight per cent of Australians fell at the first hurdle, with "don't know", "unsure" or "no clue" responses.

Another 13 per cent of Australians gave answers indicating they understand socialism as being sociable (eg "spending time with friends", "talking with people").

Just 59 per cent offered a response that was even close to any conventional definition of socialism (greater equality, public control of the means of production, etc).

Younger Australians are more likely to offer "don't know" or the "being sociable" classes of responses.

Less than one in three of our youngest Australian respondents could offer an even vaguely correct definition of socialism, a rate that rises to about two in three or better for respondents in their 50s or older.

The "s" word has been thrown around far more frequently in America than in Australia in recent years. Seventy-four per cent of Americans respond with something close to a conventional definition of socialism.

Although younger Americans were less likely than older Americans to be able to define socialism, more than 60 per cent of even the youngest US respondents could do so, compared to less than 30 per cent of young Australians.

Socialism is generally much more popular in Australia than America, but there are nuances in what Australians and Americans like and don't like about socialism.

Despite plenty of Australians being unable to define socialism, Australians do have strong views on the components of socialism, whether specific sectors of the economy should be owned and operated by the government, by the private sector, or if respondents were indifferent.

Here Australians report more socialist preferences than Americans, with clear majorities for government control in six out nine cases, spanning roads and highways (70 per cent), health care and hospitals (67 per cent), public transport (62 per cent), schools and universities (59 per cent), electricity, gas and water (58 per cent) and aged care (53 per cent).

A much different picture emerges in the United States.

In one only case out of nine — roads and highways — do a majority of Americans prefer government to private sector control or indifference, and only barely, with 51 per cent support.

Australians are more likely to support public ownership and control than Americans, but not because young Australians are embracing socialism. Just the opposite.

In six out of nine sectors we asked about, older Australians support public ownership and operation at rates of around 75 per cent or higher, typically outpacing younger Australians on this score by more than 20 percentage points.

Perhaps older Australians are pining for the "pre-privatised" Australian economy of their youth, while younger Australians have known nothing else.

It's the opposite in America

In the United States we see not only less enthusiasm for government ownership across the board, but a reversal of the age gradient we observe in Australia.

Younger Americans are almost always more enthusiastic about government ownership than their elders, typically by about 15 percentage points. There's is the only sector of the American economy with majority support for public ownership and control among any age cohort: roads and highways.

This finding helps explains the political headwinds encountered by advocates of public-private partnerships in the United States, including the Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey.

Roads and highways have been the domain where public-private partnerships have had some acceptance in the US, with Australian institutions prominent among the private investors and operators.

Americans sure aren't socialist, but roads and highways is the domain where support for public ownership runs the strongest and support for private ownership is weakest (just 23 per cent, compared to 11 per cent in Australia).

While generally quite sceptical about socialism, Americans need further convincing of the utility of "Australian style" asset recycling and public-private partnerships as a model for transport infrastructure.



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