Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Women win the mother of all battles on the home front

I long ago put my money where my mouth is on this issue. When I met Jenny she was a working single mother with 3 young kids. After we started a relationship, I soon told her she could stop working and become a full-time wife and mother. She was very pleased to accept. 40 years later she is now my carer in my feeble old age. Traditional ways have much to recommend them

The clear message Ireland recently sent to the feminist elite the world over is that the masses will not tolerate the erasure of womanhood or mothers. Women want to be acknowledged and supported in their role of caring for babies and young children. The steady march of feminists arm in arm with so-called progressives can no longer get away with leaving everyday women behind.

A referendum this month to erase a woman’s work in the home from the Irish constitution was rejected by 74 per cent of voters. The overwhelming No vote is a frightening insight into just how out of touch people in positions of leadership can be with the general population. It cost Ireland €23m ($38.1m) to indulge the ideological aspirations of a small minority who wish to erase mothers and erode a woman’s right to care for her children.

The referendum proposed to remove part of Article 41, which reads: “The state recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. The state shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”

This section was to be replaced with gender-neutral phrasing that erased “woman” and “mother” but also appeared to reduce the state’s obligation to support women in the foundational work of care. The amended section read: “The state recognises that the provision of care, by members of a family to one another by reason of the bonds that exist among them, gives to society a support without which the common good cannot be achieved, and shall strive to support such provision.”

It’s not just a matter of constitutional semantics that the Irish public voted on – they voted on how women should be valued in society, their visibility and how their unpaid work should be supported. The public wish to retain the constitution in its current form because it protects a woman’s right to work both outside and inside the home, as long as the decision is made freely. Under the current economic conditions, it’s the woman’s right to work inside the home that is most at risk.

The people of Ireland wish to safeguard and support a mother’s right to care for her family. Whether or not the Irish government, or any nation, is capable of upholding such an obligation is another question entirely. The message from mothers across the world has been loud and clear for decades – we can’t afford not to return to paid work. In the face of this gross incursion upon a woman’s freedom of choice, most nations simply promoted this as the new norm and “economic growth”. A woman’s work in the home was framed as an unnecessary luxury. Not in Ireland.

Ireland’s care referendum could be considered valuable as a rare case study that demonstrates the disconnect between elite career women who influence policy and the masses of women with jobs who have to live out the reality of the policy.

The imbalance of power among women and the vastly different goals of career women compared with the general population make for a dysfunctional women’s movement that ultimately benefits a select few. Most women want to be valued and supported in all the work they already do, whether inside or outside the home, paid or unpaid. On the other hand, career feminists believe women should simply achieve equality by doing different work. A certain kind of work. Women can be equal if they do “better” work.

The referendum is a refreshing departure from the usual echo chambers where wealthy professional women discuss the virtues of their choice to prioritise their careers and set about developing ways to impose their “better choices” on the rest of the population. For most of human history, it’s been the views of a minority group of women informing policy and dominating public discourse. The majority of women have been typically unable to afford the time and expense, and didn’t have the social standing or education historically required to engage in public and policy discussion. The majority of women have lacked the cultural and political influence required to develop policy that actually helps them, while women in leadership positions have failed to represent the interests of women from diverse backgrounds.

It’s astonishing what happens when the views of everyday people are actually publicly aired and taken into consideration. The chasm between what the top end of town thought was good for women and what grassroots women actually want was wider than anyone could have predicted.

The orchestrators of the referendum have been caught red-handed infantilising women, assuming they know what is best for them and imposing their own value systems on a diverse group. The only way to recover from this embarrassment, to redeem themselves, is a period of deep reflection and soul-searching. A 74 per cent No vote cannot be explained away by excuses of people being degenerates or not understanding the proposal. People in power cannot continue casting themselves as the enlightened and anyone who opposes them as backward.

The results in Ireland alone might not have necessarily reflected global trends except for the democratisation of the women’s rights movement now playing out across the internet. Mothers working inside the home now carry a tiny handheld portal to government hearings, parenting forums, social media platforms, national discussions and political debate.

Women engaging in care work inside the home are no longer locked out of public debate and cultural influence. Platforms and discussions that were once the sole domain of professionals and leaders are slowly being colonised by grassroots people. The smartphone, and the occasional referendum, are making their views impossible to ignore or overlook.


Sometimes biology triumphs


Betrayal of women in Scotland

On Monday, Scotland's new 'hate crime' law went into effect. It criminalizes 'threatening or abusive behavior' relating to age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and transgender identity.

Women, alas, do not rate.

Know what does? Misgendering a trans person, which could now send an offender to jail.

And it looks like JK Rowling would like to be the first one prosecuted.

'Arrest me!' she tweeted, furious that a convicted double rapist — who Rowling joked was a 'lovely Scottish lass' — and a convicted pedophile would be protected under this new law.

That violent rapist, né Adam Graham, switched gender while awaiting trial for assaulting two women, one in 2016 and one in 2019.

Graham's estranged wife Shonna said her husband had never expressed gender identity issues nor the wish to be a woman, and further claimed Graham raped and stabbed her while they were married.

'The way I see it,' Shonna said, 'he is a man, he done [sic] the crime as a man… he should do the time in a man's jail'.

Initially Graham, who now goes by Isla Bryson, was housed in a women's facility. That decision was rightly met with outrage.

'It cannot be right for a rapist to be in a woman's prison,' said Sandy Brindley, the chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland. Bryson was eventually moved to a men's prison.

Katie Dolatowski is the transgender pedophile in question.

Standing at 6'5" and born a boy named Lennon, Dolatowski was 18 years old when arrested for assaulting a 10-year-old girl in a supermarket restroom, ordering the child to remove her pants.

Dolatowski then threatened to stab the child and kill her mother — and this was just one month after Dolatowski was caught filming another 12-year-old girl in a bathroom.

'He needs to be locked up,' Dolatowski's father Simon told the Sun. 'These are horrible offenses… I washed my hands of him long ago'.

But in Scotland's new upside-down system, Simon Dolatowski could be arrested for the 'crime' of misgendering his own child.

JK Rowling — same.

The author also took a much-needed swipe at Beth Douglas, a trans activist who has threatened to attack biological women with 'throat punches' and axes if they push back against trans orthodoxy.

Douglas is protected under this new law. The women she loathes and targets — well, we are not.

And Western culture wonders why female rage persists.

We now live in an era where nomenclature supersedes criminality, where the thoughts and feelings of the offender are prioritized above female victims.

When President Biden mispronounced Laken Riley's name during his State of the Union address, he corrected himself swiftly — not for mangling, however unintentionally, the name of the 22-year-old nursing student so savagely beaten and sexually assaulted by a migrant that her skull was disfigured, but for calling the offender an illegal immigrant.

'I shouldn't have used "illegal",' Biden told MSNBC. 'It's "undocumented".'

That's our president, ever supplicant to the hard left. Forget the promising life of a young woman taken violently, at random, by someone who has no business being here — let's be careful to call this criminal, this waste of space, by politer terms.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's this kind of stuff that repels the average American. It's this kind of stuff that is going to get Trump elected.


Lawyers may invoke Titanic in decade-long legal fight over bridge collapse

The ship is huge. No bridge pylon could have withstood it. So the ship is clearly responsible. Whether the owners can be held liable for an acident does however seem very dubious to me -- unless contributory negligence by someone in the company can be shown. True accidents are sometimes called "An act of God" and I think that is the case here

The first shot in the legal fight over who will pay for the damage and loss from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge will likely occur in the next few days in a Baltimore courtroom, insurance academics said.

The Singaporean owner of the cargo ship that took down the bridge is expected to invoke a law dating back to the 19th century that limits the liability of ships’ owners, according to Lawrence Brennan, a law professor at Fordham University in New York. The law is similar to one used by the Titanic’s owners after that “unsinkable” liner hit an iceberg.

This Limitation of Liability Act law caps the liability of the cargo ship’s owners — and their multiple insurers — at the value of the goods the ship was carrying and the value of the ship itself.

A representative of the ship’s owner, Grace Ocean, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The fight, maritime lawyers say, could run as long as a decade. “It will be one of the most contentious marine insurance cases in recent decades, ” said Brennan, the law professor and a retired captain in the U.S. Navy.

While the lawyers fight, most claims will likely get paid by the insurers, including money for the bridge’s reconstruction. Then they will duke it out among themselves. Other claims might take longer, including those by the families of the people killed in the crash.

Other big sources of claims include the loss of revenue for the port, for the vessels now stuck inside it, and for businesses affected by the resulting supply-chain snarl-ups.

The bridge part of this web of claims may be the simplest to resolve. The structure cost some $60 million to build in 1977, which is around $300 million today when adjusted for inflation.

The bridge is covered by the state of Maryland’s insurance. The policy, covering property damage and business interruption for bridges and tunnels, pays up to $350 million, documents show.

The state, with its insurers in support, will likely be among many claimants that sue the Singaporean owners of the giant cargo ship that struck the bridge, seeking to recover their losses.

That ship, the Dali, has coverage through a specialised property and indemnity insurer, the Britannia P & I club. It said that it is “working closely with the ship manager and relevant authorities to establish the facts and to help ensure that this situation is dealt with quickly and professionally.” Britannia is one of a dozen protection and indemnity, or P & I, clubs, which between them insure around 90% of the world’s ocean-going tonnage. Each club, owned by shipowners, operates independently. But the clubs pool resources to buy reinsurance, allowing them to pass on much of the risk they underwrite. That reinsurance covers up to $3.1 billion per ship, according to ratings firm AM Best.

This generous reinsurance safety net is led by French insurer Axa, according to people familiar with the matter, but involves in total around 80 insurers from across the globe. That means, despite a likely eye-popping overall claim, the payout is “unlikely to be significant for individual reinsurers since it will be spread across so many,” said Brandan Holmes, an official at ratings firm Moody’s.

Not all claims springing from the incident will be covered by the ship’s insurance agreements.

The bridge collapse will likely affect the operations of scores of importers, exporters and other companies that use the port. Many will likely find the event isn’t covered by their business-interruption insurance, according to Robert Merkin, a law professor at the University of Reading.

“Only some policies will cover this — it depends on the wording,” Merkin said. Business-interruption insurance is designed primarily to cover damage to the company’s own premises, although some policies have extensions that might cover external events, such as the bridge collapse, he added.


Australia: String of failed sex assault cases sparks claims of #MeToo overkill

Drumgold's folly in the ACT has many similar examples in NSW

There was once a story of boy meets girl or, in this case, man meets woman. He had been out drinking with friends, and met the young woman at a bar near the border of NSW and Queensland. They went back to his apartment in Tweed Heads, and they had sex.

When she tried to re-enter Queensland without a border pass, the woman appeared distressed and told officers she had been raped.

The matter went to court, with the man, in his late 20s, maintaining the sex was consensual. After just 25 minutes of deliberation, the jury agreed.

At the time, Judge Penelope Wass criticised state prosecutors for shepherding “incredible and dishonest allegations of sexual assault” through the courtroom.

A second, similar story unfolded with a different couple in inner-west Sydney. The man and woman had been out for drinks at a neighbouring pub. They went back to his house and engaged in oral sex before she woke up angrily, stormed out of the apartment and later reported the matter to police.

At trial, the prosecution formed a circumstantial case, relying predominantly on a DNA match from the man found in the woman’s ­vagina and the evidence of a blood alcohol expert.

That case, too, was thrown out by a jury that deliberated for less than an hour. This time, Judge Peter Whitford blasted the prosecution for bringing a “meritless” matter before the court.

A third story unfolded in a regional town. The pair met at a gym in Wagga Wagga. The man, a trainer, offered to help the woman improve her form. She accepted. They had sex.

What followed, though, was a classic case of he said, she said after the woman claimed their numerous sexual encounters were non-consensual.

The matter was brought before a judge, with the man’s lawyers insisting that due to a lengthy paper trail of text messages between the pair, the sex must have been lawful. Judge Gordon Lerve agreed, and deemed the case “doomed to failure” from the outset.

Such is the tension some believe is gripping the criminal justice system, resulting in a bitter war between prosecutors and judges.

The judges say the office of NSW chief prosecutor Sally Dowling consistently puts accused rapists on trial for crimes that will never secure a conviction. Some in the legal fraternity put this down to a deep fear on the part of prosecutors that they won’t be seen to be taking rape cases seriously enough.

NSW District Court judge Robert Newlinds, who presided over another case featuring a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted ­because she was so drunk she had a blackout and could not ­remember the events, summed up the judges’ gripes when he said cases were repeatedly being prosecuted “based on obviously flawed evidence”.

“I do wish to record that I am left with a deep level of concern that there is some sort of unwritten policy or expectation in place in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions of this state to the ­effect that if any person alleges that they have been the subject of some sort of sexual assault then that case is prosecuted without a sensible and rational interrogation of that complainant so as to at least be satisfied that they have a reasonable basis for making that allegation, which would include to at least being satisfied that the complainant has a correct understanding of the legal definition of sexual assault or sexual intercourse without consent,” Judge Newlinds said.

His comments are echoed by judges Wass, Lerve, Whitford and acting judge Paul Conlon, all of whom have criticised various prosecutors for bringing unviable cases before the court.

However, Dowling and senior staff in her office “unequivocally” refute the accusations, labelling some of the comments as “unfounded and inflammatory”.

This week, in a last-minute staff meeting, Dowling encouraged ­solicitors in her office for applying ­published guidelines “in a diligent fashion”, and told them that other judges had expressed faith in her office.

She has lodged a judicial complaint against Judge Newlinds for his comments, rejecting “any suggestion that (her office) makes prosecution decisions lazily or on the basis of political expedience, or that it operates according to ‘some sort of unwritten policy’ ”.

The feud has sent Australian legal corners into a spin.

Members of Dowling’s own staff have started speaking out, with some telling Inquirer the judges are completely correct in their criticism of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. They have said it is incredibly difficult to have a case discontinued, and they are often shut down by senior members of staff when they try to do so.

So, how did we get here?

We have come a long way from a horrifying time in the 1970s, when rapists could only be men, and victims could only be women. When rape within marriage was legal, and sexual assault was considered a crime only if penile vaginal intercourse occurred.

Age immunities were embedded in the law, and boys under the age of 14 were deemed “unable” to rape somebody. So-called “rape shields” had not yet been introduced, which meant complainants could be grilled in the witness box about the full extent of their past sexual experiences, and have this weaponised against them.

That all changed in 1981 with huge amendments to the NSW Crimes Act. Feminist advocacy ­argued the law addressed sexual assault in discriminatory ways, and perpetuated well-debunked myths, such as that rapes are most likely committed by strangers.

Nationally, we’ve had affirmative consent laws introduced in five jurisdictions, broadly requiring someone who wants to engage in a sexual act with another person to actively gain consent. Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory are the final jurisdictions to adopt new laws, with reviews under way and many believing the reforms are now ­imminent.

Snuggled in between the legal reforms have been social movements encouraging the uptake of accusations on face value, and the integration of a “believe the victim” mentality.

The Hollywood-born #MeToo movement spurred on thousands of women to come forward with ­allegations of harassment and assault. Rape advocacy came front and centre in Australia in 2021 when Grace Tame was appointed Australian of the Year and the interview with Brittany Higgins was aired on The Project.

The #March4Justice and Scott Morrison’s beyond-mediocre response to the pleas of Australian women forced a colossal shift in the dialogue around sexual assault, ultimately manifesting in the demise of his prime ministership. Or at least contributing to it.

The aborted rape trial of Bruce Lehrmann in 2022 sparked further discussion about trial by media, an individual’s right to a presumption of innocence, and the great responsibility held by a prosecutor when deciding whether or not to proceed to trial.

During the subsequent Sofronoff inquiry into former ACT chief prosecutor Shane Drumgold’s handling of Lehrmann’s rape case, counsel assisting the inquiry and senior police officers submitted the #MeToo movement and “intense public discussions” about low conviction rates affected the decisions made to prosecute ­Lehrmann.

And now, it seems, similar accusations are arising in the neighbouring jurisdiction of NSW.

University of Wollongong criminal law professor Julia Quilter says society has long progressed past the concept of the “ideal ­victim” and now many “different types of complainants are coming forward”.

“I think that’s a really good thing because in the past there was very much a perception that you had to have an ideal victim. The ideal victim who was attacked by a stranger in a dark place, she was quote unquote chaste,” she says. “We no longer ascribe simply to that concept of the ‘real rape’ but that has produced the capacity for matters to be charged and investigated and trials to be run that don’t have those central features of the complainant.

“For example, in the past it would be uncommon for a complainant to have been heavily intoxicated.”

Professor Quilter takes issue with a causation being drawn between an increase in women reporting complaints and the criticism being dished out by judges. She says it is a small number of judges criticising the ODPP and that there is a “gap in reasoning” between an uptick in reporting and baseless prosecutions being brought to court.

However, if you ask criminal defence lawyer David Barron, he would disagree. Barron was the solicitor acting for the Wagga Wagga gym trainer who was accused of sexually ­assaulting a client. The case was eventually thrown out – with costs awarded to Barron’s client – after Judge Lerve found the ODPP failed properly to consider dozens of messages sent between the pair after they had sex.

“It’s something that has become an issue ever since the #MeToo movement took effect,” Barron, who has been practising for about 30 years, tells Inquirer.

“It seems as if the authorities are more inclined to believe every complaint that comes across their desk.

“In relation to the gym instructor case, the authorities had the complaint and really looked no further. It was incumbent on us to properly investigate. We obtained a long chat history through messenger … and as the trial judge said, once you read that material, there was no prosecution case.”

Barron made two separate “no bill” applications to try to have the case thrown out, claiming there were unreasonable prospects of a conviction. Both were dismissed by Dowling’s chambers, and the matter proceeded through trial.

“We are not optimistic when filing no bill applications, but we still do so in the interest of our clients,” he says. “In fact, sometimes the no bill has been lodged at the suggestion of local prosecutors, but Sydney still knocks them back.”

Barron says the issue is indicative of a distrust between senior staff in Dowling’s office and prosecutors on the ground.

“Prosecutors used to be trusted to make judgment calls and decisions on whether to proceed with cases or how to proceed with cases to a much greater extent than they are now,” he says.

“These days it seems like the powers-that-be don’t trust the people in the courtrooms to make decisions on the evidence they have got in front of them.

“The solicitors who actually run the cases should have more say in whether or not they proceed,” he says. “They are the person who acknowledges the case. So, really, there should be more autonomy for prosecutors.”

Criminal barrister Megan Cusack, who acted for the accused in the Tweed Heads matter, agrees.

At the time, Judge Wass ripped into the prosecution, saying they must do more than “shepherd incredible and dishonest allegations of sexual assault through the criminal justice system, leaving it to the jury to carry the burden of decision making that ought to have been made by the pro­secutor”.

Cusack says the attitude towards sexual assault “has been shifting for a while”, citing a case in which a wife accused her husband of rape because he did not explicitly ask her whether she wished to have sex or not.

“I said to the jury: ‘How many times, while you’ve been married, have you asked if they want to have sex?’” she said, adding that the jury took about five minutes to return a not guilty verdict.

Not only does it have a ­colossal impact on the accused, it can also devastate a complainant, Cusack says.

“This whole thing about having your day in court is ridiculous,” she tells Inquirer. “They should be told realistically what is going to happen. If you’ve got a weak case because there’s all this evidence against them, they should be told what they are in for; that their ­credit is going to be run through the mud.”

This saga is far from over.

The Australian Law Reform Commission has undertaken an inquiry into justice responses to sexual violence and is due to deliver a report early next year.

Meanwhile, The Australian this week revealed up to 400 rape cases in NSW will be reviewed by crown prosecutors in an audit announced by Dowling following judges’ criticism.

The results of the audit are ­expected to be made public once it is completed.


My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


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