Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The incorrectness of Soylent

Soylent is a liquid meal replacement born in California a few years ago. For people too busy to eat or too busy to prepare meals, it offers great convenience.  You can live on Soylent.

It is a cleverly-made product that embodies answers to most criticisms that might be made of it.  It is for instance made from grains and other vegetable products so is acceptable to vegans. Yet there has been great opposition to it. Before I look at why, I should perhaps declare that I have an interest of sorts. 

In 1967 when I was in the 4th year of my psychology degree, our professor of physiology mentioned to the class that skim milk has a very similar nutritional profile to the liquid diet that American astronauts at the time were being fed.  Just add a few vitamins and you should be able to live permanently on nothing but skim milk.  Being both busy and having little money at that time, the idea appealed to me.  So for six months I lived on skim milk plus some supplements.  I was fine.  The diet worked.  No problems. I gave it up only because of boredom.  So I have the experience to find the Soylent story reasonable.

So what have people got against Soylent?  Just Google 'Soylent' and you will come across a whole lot of grouchy comments on it. I have read a lot of those comments.  The most scathing seem to come from people who have their own barrow to push -- from GMO opponents to sugar-opponents.  Soylent obviously does not bow down sufficiently to their particular obsession. From my reading of the medical journals, I consider opposition to GMOs and opposition to sugar as ill-informed so I regard all that they say in their attacks on Soylent as unreliable and not worth pursuing.

The majority of the negative comments however just seem to come from the break with normal human food practice:  It's unnatural; it deprives us of pleasures; and disrupts social interaction. And some of course didn't like the taste, texture etc.  Though the critics who actually made an attempt to live on Soylent for a little while were generally rather surprised by its palatability.

And like all new products it had teething problems, with early formulations triggering food insensitivities in some people.  Those problems were met with slight reformulations of the product and it should not now give those problems.

So, basically, it seems to me, the opposition to Soylent is mainly a combination of snobbery and a fear of the new.  As an alternative to a normal diet it would seem to have few problems. Living on it would probably reduce your social interactions and it will never taste as good as a well-cooked T-bone but nobody claims otherwise.

The only real scientific objection to it that I can see concerns the bioavailabilty of its ingredients.  Its micronutrient profile fits well with official guidelines but there are various ways of meeting those guidelines and some ingredients may have greater bioavailability than others.  Some further research on that may be worthwhile.  The product would however seem in general to do well what it purports to do -- JR.

Now here's some REAL Multiculturalism

A woman accused of shooting two of her three children dead is expected to appear in court later today to face charges in connection with their deaths.

Claudena Helton of Lori Sue Avenue, Dayton, Ohio was accused of shooting her two children Khmorra, 8 and Kaiden, 6, at their home on May 18. The children died over the weekend despite emergency surgery.

Police chief Richard Biehl said Helton shot the two children inside the home and moved them to the front yard to wait for police and emergency services.

He said there are suggestions Helton may have been suffering from a mental illness. 

The children's 11-year-old sister was unharmed.

According to court records, Helton was initially charged with two counts of felonious assault, but they are expected to be upgraded following the children's deaths. 

According to the Dayton Daily News, prosecutors are considering increasing the severity of the charges.

Neighbor John Sanders Snr said: 'From what I’ve seen and noticed, she and the kids got along fine. They were always out in the yard barbecuing, cleaning the car, going back and forth to school. I could see no problem whatsoever. I was very shocked to hear, and disturbed, as to what happened over there.

'I’ve always thought and felt if, whenever the authorities know of cruelty ... they shouldn’t wait for an incident such as this to take place in order to take action.'

Helton is expected to appear in court later today. 


Australian national anthem reworked to be more inclusive of  Aboriginal people

"Young" and "Free" are bad words?  And if everybody has to be recognized, where is the Vietnamese version, the Maori version, The Fijian version, the Sikh version etc?  And don't forget the Ulster Scots.  I am  descended from one of those.  And what about the convicts?

A version of Australia's anthem that recognizes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can be sung as a patriotic song at certain events, the government agreed this week.

The Australian government granted permission on Tuesday for the altered version of 'Advance Australia Fair' to be used, but not as an official anthem, according to 7News.

The more inclusive version introduces a third verse with references to Aboriginal culture, Uluru and 'respecting the country.'

It also alters the line 'For we are young and free' from the first verse to read 'In peace and harmony.'

Recognition in Anthem Project have pushed for the new patriotic song, written by Victorian Supreme Court Judge Peter Vickery, according to 7News.

The national anthem fails to recognize all Australians and many Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders find some of the lyrics upsetting, Judge Vickery said.

'Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people find the words 'For we are young and free' hurtful and offensive, and find it difficult, if not impossible, to stand or sing the Anthem with these words,' the Recognition in Anthem Project website read.

'A simple solution is presented for consideration. The strength of our proposal is that it retains all of the proclaimed words and music (with one change to Verse 1), while adding a new Verse 3 which acknowledges our First Peoples and their occupation of Australia for more than 50,000 years. Otherwise the words and music of the National Anthem stay the same.'

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told 7News the new version will be played at certain events but it has not been revealed which ones.


Who’s really afraid of the British working classes?

Margaret Thatcher isn’t to blame for modern-day chav-baiting and anti-working class sentiment. It was fashionable anti-Thatcherites who made a mockery of the lower orders.

There is a great book to be written about modern-day elite disdain for the working classes. Unfortunately, this isn’t it. Owen Jones does a fairly good job of scooping together all the bile that has been spat at Britain’s working-class communities by posh politicians and cheap hacks over the past 15 years. But his own political prejudices, and his embarrassingly paternalistic concern for ‘the vulnerable’ and ‘the poor’ who inhabit ‘conquered’ communities, prevents him from making sense of what motivates these top-down tirades against the lower orders. In keeping with the ‘chav’ theme, his book is a bit like a KFC: momentarily tasty, even fun, but ultimately unsatisfying. And if you look at its innards for too long, you might even feel a bit nauseous.

First, the good bits. Jones catalogues quite well, if unevenly, various cultural assaults that have been launched against so-called chavs, who are increasingly looked upon by elite movers and shakers as fat, dumb, racist and lazy. Some of his accounts will be familiar to readers of spiked, where we have written extensively about the new liberal bigotry against the great unwashed: the trendy London gym that offered people ‘chav-fighting classes’; the tourism firm that promised the middle classes ‘chav-free holidays’; the media attacks on reality TV star Jade Goody after she made allegedly racist comments to a Bollywood actress and was held up as an escapee from ‘ugly, thick white Britain’. Jones is on to something when he says ‘working-class people are the one group in society that you can say practically anything about’.

Yet it becomes clear very early in the book that this is going to be at best a partial account of ‘chav-bashing’. Jones, a former researcher for a Labour MP, focuses most of his fury on tired old right-wing arguments about single mums and the feckless poor, as if these caricatures have any purchase outside of the Home Counties these days. This means he misses what is new and distinctive about modern-day prole-mauling. He gets himself into such a tizz about anti-chav columns penned by James Delingpole and Simon Heffer in the Daily Telegraph, and by what he calls the ‘Thatcherite experiment’, and by the out-of-touchness of the Bullingdon-braised New Tories led by David Cameron, that he not only overlooks some glaring instances of liberal snobbery – he also misunderstands the very modern, decidedly post-Thatcherite political outlook that now motors chav-bashing.

Jones’s pro-Labour blinkers, his quaint attachment to a party that really ought to be given a one-way ticket to Dignitas in Switzerland, means he gives an historically patchy account of anti-working class sentiment. More than that, he holds Cameron – that doofus who has never once had an original political idea – responsible for things that Labour actually came up with. So, he frequently comments on the fact that in 2009, after two young boys in South Yorkshire seriously tortured and abused two other young boys, Cameron, then leader of the Opposition, put forward a ‘semi-apocalyptic vision of a Broken Britain’. Cameron exploited this rare crime to talk about a ‘social recession’, complains Jones, in the process demonising working-class communities. Yet it was Tony Blair in 1993, then leader of the Labour Opposition, who first used the term ‘Broken Britain’. Following the murder of Liverpudlian toddler James Bulger by two 10-year-old boys, Blair talked about the ‘moral vacuum’ in ‘lost communities’, exclaiming: ‘Look at the wreckage of our broken society.’ In milking an exceptional crime to paint a picture of morally unanchored communities ‘out there’, Cameron, not for the first time, was only aping Blair.

There are numerous instances when Jones throws his hands up in horror at Tory comments or policies that actually were nicked from Labour. ‘At the centre of Cameron’s political philosophy is the idea that a person’s life chances are determined by behavioural factors’, says Jones, accusing the New Tories of being obsessed with ‘personal behaviour’. Sound familiar? Maybe that’s because in the early 2000s, Labour’s Frank Field talked openly, and sans shame, about ‘the politics of behaviour’, a ‘new politics’ that is about ‘moderating behaviour and re-establishing the social virtues of self-discipline’ and which ‘reinforces what is good and acceptable behaviour’. Jones criticises Cameron for saying that ‘social problems are often the consequence of the choices people make’, and says that the New Tories’ focus on ‘individual responsibility’ for health problems and crime is a way of deflecting attention away from society’s own defects. Yet in the 1990s and 2000s, Labour leaders lamented the fact that many social problems are now seen as ‘entirely structural… we have eliminated individual responsibility from the account’.

At one point, Jones gets upset by a proposal put forward by the Tory Iain Duncan Smith, who suggested that social housing tenants ‘should be rewarded for decent behaviour by giving them a stake in their property’. ‘Rewarded for decent behaviour’, says Jones (his italics). ‘It’s the sort of language used when dealing with prison inmates, children or pets.’ In fact it’s the sort of language used by Labour. Throughout its Opposition years in the 1990s and its authoritarian rule in the 2000s, Labour continually pushed the idea of ‘welfare conditionality’, which was summed up by one writer as: ‘The principle that an individual’s entitlement to benefits and services should depend upon his or her willingness to meet specified conditions regarding behaviour and activities.’ 

Indeed, the use of welfare to manipulate the behaviour of the hordes has long been an issue close to Labour’s heart. Beatrice Webb, the early twentieth-century Labourite, said of welfare: ‘The unconditionality of all payments under insurance schemes constitutes a grave defect. The state gets nothing for its money in the way of conduct.’ The aloof grandes dames of the old Labour machine were just as keen as Mr Duncan Smith to remould the mob through the allocation or withholding of welfare. They were just a bit more PC about it.

Jones spends chapter after chapter attacking the Tories and only a few pages on Labour’s snobbery. Even then he writes about the ‘private contempt’ felt by New Labour individuals for the lower orders, largely overlooking the vast institutional assaults made by Labour over the past 15 years on the working classes’ lifestyles, parenting habits, political outlooks, socialising mores, morality and receipt of welfare. Perhaps the best example of how his pro-Labour tendencies warp his ability to get a handle on modern-day chav-bashing is his claim that Cameron’s Tories, through their PR response to the South Yorkshire child-torture case and other rare events, have promoted a view of working-class kids as out-of-control, as ‘feckless, delinquent, violent no-hopers’, a ‘feral underclass’.

Yet the impact of Cameron’s opportunistic statements in response to occasional crimes pales into insignificance when compared with the sweeping overhaul of the legal system enacted by Labour in response to the murder of Bulger. Then in Opposition, Labour promised after the killing of Bulger by two children that it would abolish doli incapax, the presumption in British law that children under the age of 14 are ‘incapable of crime’. It abolished it in 1998. This reckless act of legal sabotage, driven by a PR compunction to be seen as tough on crime, did far more to institutionalise the idea that those people’s kids are capable of great evil than any half-hour press conference by Cameron has done.

One of Jones’s key arguments is that when Labour unfortunately forayed into chav-bashing territory in the 1990s and 2000s, it was mistakenly trying to curry favour with the middle classes and the right-wing press by carrying on some of the Thatcher regime’s dirty deeds. In short, Labour foolishly copied the Tories. This seems to me to get things the wrong way round. It is true, of course, that some Thatcherite social policy, most notably intervention into the family and the promotion of health panics, was carried on by New Labour. But the most striking thing about modern-day Britain is the extent to which the New Tories, the current rulers of Britain, have been shaped by New Labour – by its politics of behaviour, its nannying/nudging, its belief that it has the right and the power to remould the lower orders’ lifestyles, its focus on the link between ‘bad parenting’ and future crime, its penchant for ‘early intervention’ into poor people’s lives, and so on.

All of these Labour projects, all of which contributed enormously to the febrile climate of elite suspicion of chavs over the past 15 years, have been enthusiastically embraced by Cameron and Co. Jones presents Cameron’s Tories as the rehabilitators of the old Victorian view of the working classes as a ‘rabble’, but in truth they are the instantaneous heirs of the more PC, health-focused, pseudoscience-fuelled authoritarianism of Labour.

If Jones’s harshness on the Tories and relative softness on Labour only meant that he gave a skewed account of recent events, that would be bad enough. But I think it’s worse than that. He misses something fundamentally important. Which is that contemporary chav-bashing is underpinned, not by the outlook of Thatcherism, as he claims, but rather by the politics of anti-Thatcherism, by the now mainstream liberal narrative which says that the problem with Thatcherism is that it made people too materialistic and self-obsessed and not sufficiently ‘communal’. It is this which nurtured the eruption of anti-working class sentiment in the 1990s through to today.

At times, Jones’s argument that the ‘Thatcherite experiment’ gave rise to modern-day chav-bashing sounds positively conspiratorial. He says that ‘few men can claim to have had as much influence over modern Britain as Keith Joseph’. Who?, says everyone under the age of 35. Joseph was a leading figure in the Tory right in the 1970s. He was a ‘supporter of free-market guru Milton Friedman’, says Jones (and of course Friedman is responsible for every ill in modern society) and he inspired Thatcher. She went on to demolish working-class institutions in the 1980s, with her war on trade unions, and to champion and institutionalise the Josephite, Friedmanite, unfettered free-market machine. Thus did Joseph, ‘the Iron Lady’s Mad Monk’, rewrite the script of British politics and society, weakening the working classes, strengthening the capitalist class, and unleashing an orgy of bile against the lower orders (which, for some unexplained reason, did not reach fruition until the early 2000s, when chav-bashing really took off).

This is not good sociology. Of course it is true that the 1980s were a very important moment in the history of British class. Thatcher did indeed lead a war against the trade unions, an ideological war against the politicised working classes, which contributed to the historic defeat of that class as a powerful force in public and political life. Yet the 1980s was not, as Jones claims, a decade of free-market triumphalism, in which the right was swaggeringly cocky, ‘the wealthy were adulated’, there was the rise of ‘dog-eat-dog individualism’, and ‘aspiration [came to mean] yearning for a bigger car or a bigger house’.

For alongside what are referred to as ‘Thatcherite’ trends, there was also another, very powerful cultural dynamic – one which mocked the ‘Loadsamoneys’ of the working classes who wanted only material goods; one which frequently laid into ‘Essex Man’ and ‘Basildon Man’ and other members of the working classes who wanted cushie jobs and nice cars; one which ridiculed ‘Yuppies’ (wide boys with cash) and which lamented the alleged impact that Thatcher’s rule was having on the self-esteem and mental health of the working classes. (All of this nonsense was later outlined in early Nineties liberal tomes such as Thatcher’s Children and Unhealthy Societies: The Afflictions of Inequality.) Even in the Eighties – now presented to us as a decade of rampant and demented greed – there were powerful cultural forces mocking the desire for stuff and the temerity of material aspiration.

And it is this dynamic, this cultural narrative, which survived the Eighties and which gave rise to the politics of chav-bashing. That is, it was not Thatcher, whose grip on public consciousness was weakening even as early as the mid-1980s, but rather the fashionable anti-Thatcherites, the thinkers, academics, Labour officials and journalists who detested what they saw as the vulgar materialism of the Thatcher years, whose arguments have motored modern-day disdain for the grubby, fat, stuff-obsessed lower orders.

For example, you can see the explicit refashioning of the cultural elite’s war of words on Yuppies in the contemporary assault on the ‘bling’ and ‘big trainers’ of inner-city kids. You can glimpse the anti-Thatcher elite’s demonisation of so-called Basildon Man in the continued braying at anyone from Essex who has a mock Tudor house or a fake tan. The powerful Thatcher-bashers’ concern for the loss of tradition and the rise of ill-health amongst the lower orders is visible in the contemporary jihad against junk food and the promotion of allotments and organic fare.

One of the key complaints made by the frustrated anti-Thatcherites in the 1980s was that the working classes had been bought off by Thatcher with the promise of material comfort. And likewise, one of the key reasons that chavs are attacked today is for their alleged slavishness to stuff, their apparently selfish desire to own and scoff and throw away as much as possible. Influential books such as Oliver James’s The Selfish Capitalist: Origins of Affluenza and Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson’s The Spirit Level argue that the desire for affluence has made people unwell, even mentally ill; James says that Thatcherism turned Britons into ‘credit-fuelled, consumer-binging junkies’. It is that sentiment, not the outdated, discredited Thatcherite penchant for Victorian values against the feckless poor, which is at the heart of contemporary chav-hatred.

In short, things are vastly more complicated than Jones would have us believe. Thatcher’s assault on the trade unions may have represented the culmination of a long, drawn-out war on working-class independence and power, leaving that section of society exposed to moral assault. But it was the anti-Thatcherites, the liberal elite that came to the fore in the post-Thatcher era, who launched the moral assault, laying into the working classes for their lack of community spirit, their individual greed and their gluttony.

Ironically, these very prejudices are reproduced in Jones’s book. He favourably cites Labour MP Jon Cruddas’s claim that we now have too many people who ‘aspire to own more material things’ and he calls for a ‘total redefinition of aspiration’. His disingenuous contrasting of ‘rugged individualism’ (bad) with ‘the old collective form of aspiration’ (good) leads him to argue that the working classes should be less obsessed with ‘climbing the social ladder’ and more proud of what he embarrassingly calls their ‘working-classness’. He agrees with Hazel Blears, who says: ‘I’ve never understood the term “social mobility” because that implies you want to get out of somewhere… And I think that there is a great deal to be said for making who you are something to be proud of.’ That sounds very much like an updated, more PC version of the old idea that the poor should be happy with their lot: never mind ‘escaping’, just be proud of your roots! When Jones says that ‘rugged individualism’ is at odds with ‘social solidarity’, he misses the point that strong-minded and strong-willed individuals – yes, even self-interested ones – are the backbone of any social movement worth its name. Today, a defence of ‘rugged individualism’ and autonomy against the intervention of a pitying liberal class that wants the lower orders to enjoy and communally celebrate their existing living conditions would be a good start for any radical; Jones does the opposite of this.

Jones accuses old right-wingers of fearing the working classes. And it’s true, many of them do. But if there is one thing worse than fear of the workers, it is pity for them. This book has way too much of that. These are the ‘victims of social problems’, ‘the poor’, ‘vulnerable working-class groups’; sadly there is ‘no sympathy for them’ and there aren’t even any ‘likeable working-class characters’ on TV anymore. In one particularly embarrassing bit, Jones invites his largely middle-class readers to ‘imagine being a poor working-class youth in Britain today… lacking many of the things others take for granted: toys, days out, holidays, good food’. Oh dear. At least the right has a point when it fears the working classes: history shows that they can indeed be a fearsome class. But there is never an excuse to pity them.



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


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The war on fat - a big, fat waste of time

Until recently, the advice that we should avoid fat - particularly saturated fat - was regarded as simple common sense. Heart attacks were caused by fatty deposits in our arteries, right? It was obvious that these must have in turn been caused by the heavy, saturated fat in our diets. Obesity is excess storage of fat, so it must obviously be caused by eating fat. So all the fatty treats we once loved were replaced by boring, low-fat alternatives. Bacon and eggs were replaced by Shredded Wheat and All Bran; fatty steaks were replaced by dull, dry low-fat chicken breasts. Butter was replaced by odd-tasting, low-fat vegetable-oil spread. The pleasure of full-fat milk was skimmed away, to be replaced by a thin, insipid white liquid. But if the joy of eating was diminished, at least we could rest assured that we would all be slimmer and healthier in the long run.

But in recent years, the advice to eat a low-fat diet has increasingly been called into question. Despite cutting down on fatty foods, the populations of many Western countries have become fatter. If heart-disease mortality has maintained a steady decline, cases of type-2 diabetes have shot up in recent years. Maybe these changes were in spite of the advice to avoid fat. Maybe they were caused by that advice.

The most notable figure in providing the intellectual ammunition to challenge existing health advice has been the US science writer, Gary Taubes. His 2007 book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, became a bestseller, despite containing long discussions on some fairly complex issues to do with biochemistry, nutrition and medicine. The book’s success triggered a heated debate about what really makes us fat and causes chronic disease.

Into this controversy comes The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz, which examines both the history and the merits of the advice to avoid fat – saturated fat, in particular. Teicholz, a food journalist, was originally intending to write a book on a much narrower subject: trans fats. As Teicholz says, in the early twentieth century, it became possible to mass-produce vegetable oils. These are generally made up of polyunsaturated fats (1). These vegetable oils were cheaper than animal fats, like lard, which had been used before, but they had serious disadvantages in terms of texture and shelf life. Polyunsaturated fats are liquid rather than solid and much more reactive than saturated fats and so spoil more quickly. In order to tackle that problem, a process called hydrogenation was used to make these vegetable oils more saturated, causing them to solidify. By adding different amounts of hydrogen, different qualities could be created in the resulting oil, which is then described as ‘partially hydrogenated’.

The trouble is that these partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fats - chains with chemical bonds that are the ‘wrong’ way round. These trans fats have been linked to a variety of health problems and are now largely being phased out. But how they got into our food is an interesting story in itself. As Teicholz tells me over Skype from New York, it soon became clear that there was a bigger story, way beyond trans fats, to be told. ‘I spent over a year investigating that book, talking to dozens and dozens of insiders in the food industry. I became extremely well-networked among oil chemists just trying to understand the trans fats story and understanding that industry, which is extremely closed. It’s a tiny club of all-male oil chemists… It was really interesting how hoodwinked these scientists were in the Fifties that they thought that these just-invented foods could restore people to their previous state of health. And there are lots of interesting angles to that whole story. The embrace of polyunsaturated vegetable oils to begin with, how trans fats were ramped up to become the backbone of the food industry, and how the food industry had to back out of trans fats in the last eight years and went back to using those oils.’ Teicholz argues that the fashion for polyunsaturated fats has been misplaced. Indeed, when heated up for frying, polyunsaturated fats could be downright dangerous.

The most talked-about aspect of Teicholz’s book is her discussion of the evidence against saturated fat. In the Fifties, a well-known American researcher, Ancel Keys, came to the conclusion that cholesterol was responsible for heart disease and, in turn, that the consumption of saturated fat, mostly from animals, was to blame for boosting cholesterol levels. Yet the evidence for these claims was shaky from the word go. So how did Keys manage to make his views the official ones?

Teicholz tells me that the answer lies in Keys’ unshakable moral certainty, which found fertile ground in a medical and scientific establishment spooked by the rapid rise of heart disease: ‘Before Keys got on the nutrition committee of the American Heart Association, it was very hesitant about jumping to any kind of conclusions while at the same time acknowledging the enormous pressure to do so, given that the entire nation was focused on heart disease. It was a terrifying epidemic. President Eisenhower was out of the Oval Office for 10 days [following a heart attack in 1955]. This was an all-consuming panic for all the people that ran the country. All the people in science, it was their colleagues who over the previous 30 years had started dropping like flies. There was tremendous public pressure to find some kind of solution. It was into that vulnerable setting that Ancel Keys stepped. It was just this perfect storm of his oversized, highly aggressive personality meeting this vulnerable time in America.’

Teicholz never met Keys, but she has met one of his leading supporters and apostles, Jeremiah Stamler: ‘You could see why people would just fold in their presence. It’s like being in the presence of a gale-force wind, the power that comes at you. In Jerry Stamler’s case, he’s also profane and there’s this supreme self-confidence that he brings…There was a very aggressive tenor to the whole nutrition conversation back then. It was almost like internet manners, pre-internet!’

Once the politically astute Keys had packed the nutrition committee of the AHA and got its backing for the advice to avoid saturated fat, the war on meat and dairy could begin. But a major turning point came in 1977 when the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition, led by Democratic senator George McGovern, held hearings on the issue. The result was a set of guidelines, Dietary Goals for the United States, which promoted the consumption of ‘complex’ carbohydrates, and reductions in the consumption of fat in general and saturated fat in particular.

By 1980, this report had been worked up into government-backed guidelines – around the same time that obesity appears to have taken off in the US. The McGovern Report inspired all the familiar diet advice around the world that we’ve had ever since, and led to major changes in what food manufacturers offered. Out went fat, though unsaturated fat and hydrogenated oils were deemed less bad than saturated fat, so vegetable oils and margarines became more popular. In came more carbohydrate and more sugar, to give those cardboard-like low-fat ‘treats’ some modicum of flavour.

Yet two recent reviews of the evidence around saturated fat - one led by Ronald Krauss, the other by Rajiv Chowdhury - suggest that saturated fat is not the villain it has been painted as. (The latter paper, in particular, sparked outrage.) As for fat in general, Teicholz tells me: ‘There was no effort until very late in the game to provide evidence for the low-fat diet. It was just assumed that that was reasonable because of the caloric benefit you would see from restricting fat.’ Yet a diet low in saturated fat is still the standard prescription. For example, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) (the UK equivalent of the AHA) still suggests consuming unsaturated fat rather than saturated fat - though at least the BHF is now suggesting that more research should be done.

This mad, mad story of the battle over fat is not actually that new, though Teicholz adds new details to it. But there is much more to Teicholz’s book than that. Three things stand out.

First, there is her discussion of the Mediterranean Diet. Although mentioned in a cookbook by Keys in the early Seventies, the idea was first actively researched by two researchers in the Eighties - one Greek, one Italian. But it was when the idea got the backing of Harvard University medical researchers that it really took off. Now, it seems like a no-brainer that the kind of food served on a balmy Italian or Greek terrace, with lashings of olive oil, plenty of fresh vegetables and a substantial side order of wine, is the healthiest way to eat. At the very least, it was a relief: olive oil was the healthy fat that you were allowed to enjoy. But in truth, the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ doesn’t bear much relation to what many Mediterraneans actually eat. Diets vary substantially across the Mediterranean countries - and even within those countries. In reality, the Mediterranean Diet is a construct, a rose-tinted version of reality tailored to the anti-meat prejudices of American researchers.

The second thing that sets The Big Fat Surprise apart is its tale of how the other major backer of the Mediterranean Diet was the olive-oil industry. Conferences, funded by the industry and organised by an American organisation called the Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, would be staged in Mediterranean countries, with idyllic climates and lots of lovely, olive-oil-heavy food. Swooning researchers were literally wined and dined into going along with promoting the benefits of olive oil. But it is questionable just how traditional the consumption of olive oil really is. It certainly only became a major part of British and American diets over the past 20 years or so. Even in Greece, it seems olive oil had functions that were more ceremonial than dietary until perhaps 200 years ago. One French historian, quoted by Teicholz, says: ‘Less than 100 years ago, ordinary people in many parts of Greece ate far less oil than today.’ In any event, the notion that this is a battle between the longstanding food culture of peasant societies and an unnatural diet forced on us by big bad corporations in the West is far too black and white.

Which leads us to an important third point made by Teicholz: that the blame for our current dietary problems cannot solely, or even mainly, be placed at the door of big food corporations. Teicholz writes about how she discovered that ‘the mistakes of nutrition science could not be primarily pinned on the nefarious interests of Big Food. The source of our misguided dietary advice was in some ways more disturbing, since it seems to have been driven by experts at some of our most trusted institutions working towards what they believed to be the public good.’ Once public-health bureaucracies enshrined the dogma that fat is bad for us, ‘the normally self-correcting mechanism of science, which involves constantly challenging one’s own beliefs, was disabled’.

The war on dietary fat is a terrifying example of what happens when politics and bureaucracy mixes with science: provisional conclusions become laws of nature; resources are piled into the official position, creating material as well as intellectual reasons to continue to support it; and any criticism is suppressed or dismissed. As the war on sugar gets into full swing, a reading of The Big Fat Surprise might provide some much-needed humility.


Texas revives transgender ‘bathroom bill’ for public schools

A transgender “bathroom bill” reminiscent of one in North Carolina that caused a national uproar now appears to be on a fast-track to becoming law in Texas — though it may only apply to public schools.

A broader proposal mandating that virtually all transgender people in the country’s second-largest state use public restrooms according to the gender on their birth certificates sailed through the Texas Senate months ago. A similar measure had stalled in the House, but supporters late Sunday night used an amendment to tack bathroom limits onto a separate and otherwise unrelated bill covering school emergency operation plans for things like natural disasters.

Republican Rep. Chris Paddie authored the hotly-debated language, saying it had “absolutely no intent” to discriminate. Under it, transgender students at public and charter schools would not be permitted to use the bathroom of their choice but could be directed to separate, single-occupancy restrooms.

“It’s absolutely about child safety,” said Paddie, from the East Texas town of Marshall. “This is about accommodating all kids.”

His change passed 91-50. Final House approval should come Monday, sending the modified bill to the Senate, which should easily support it. Texas’ legislative session ends May 29, but that’s plenty of time — even if the bathroom bill is scaled-back enough to only affect the state’s roughly 5.3 million public school students, and not the general public.

“This amendment is the bathroom bill and the bathroom bill is an attack on transgender people,” said Rep. Joe Moody, an El Paso Democrat. “Some people don’t want to admit that because they are ashamed, and this is shameful.”

A small group of Democratic women legislators went into the men’s restroom just off the House floor before debate began in protest. With Republicans enjoying solid majorities in both of Texas’ legislative chambers, though, such opposition was purely symbolic.

Houston Democratic Rep. Senfronia Thompson, one of the House’s longest-serving and most-respected members, likened the new language to when restrooms nationwide were segregated by race.

“Bathrooms divided us then and bathrooms divide us now. Separate but equal is not equal at all,” Thompson said, drawing floor applause.

While Barack Obama was still president, the U.S. Department of Education tried to implement requirements that school districts nationwide allow transgender students to choose campus bathrooms or locker rooms they wished to use. Texas led a lawsuit challenging that directive and a federal judge in Texas ordered it suspended. President Donald Trump then rescinded the order in February.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has said he wants to sign a bathroom bill into law. House Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican from San Antonio, has been even more vocal opposing one — saying it could hurt a Texas economy that has been among the country’s strongest in recent years.

Top firms, chambers of commerce and lobbyists also have decried the bathroom bill in all forms as bad for business. Many Hollywood actors and music stars have suggested state boycotts, and the NFL and NBA have expressed concerns about it passing — even though Houston successfully hosted this year’s Super Bowl.

Since 2004, Texas has hosted more combined Super Bowls, NBA All-Star Games (three) and NCAA men’s Final Fours (five) than any other state. San Antonio is scheduled to host another Final Four in 2018, and Dallas is hosting the 2018 women’s NCAA Final Four.

Supporters described limiting the scope to schools as “middle ground” and hinted that it could soften the kinds of costly boycotts that hit North Carolina after it approved its bathroom bill last year. The NCAA pulled sporting events and the state faced losing billions of dollars in related economic fallout, though some opposition has quieted since North Carolina lawmakers voted in March for a partial repeal.

Straus said in a statement that the House amendment “will allow us to avoid the severely negative impact” of the original Senate bill, which was closer to what North Carolina’s original looked like.

But opponents still vowed to fight Sunday’s Texas amendment with lawsuits.

If the Legislature succeeds “in forcing discrimination into Texas law, you can bet that Lambda Legal will be on the case before the next school bell rings,” Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel and director of law and policy at the national gay rights group Lambda Legal, said in a statement.


‘Penises Cause Climate Change’; Progressives Fooled by Peer-Reviewed Hoax Study

Gender studies is a fake academic industry populated by charlatans, deranged activists and gullible idiots.
Now, a pair of enterprising hoaxers has proved it scientifically by persuading an academic journal to peer-review and publish their paper claiming that the penis is not really a male genital organ but a social construct.

The paper, published by Cogent Social Sciences – “a multidisciplinary open access journal offering high quality peer review across the social sciences” – also claims that penises are responsible for causing climate change.

The two hoaxers are Peter Boghossian, a full-time faculty member in the Philosophy department at Portland State University, and James Lindsay, who has a doctorate in math and a background in physics.

They were hoping to emulate probably the most famous academic hoax in recent years: the Sokal Hoax – named after NYU and UCL physics professor Alan Sokal – who in 1996 persuaded an academic journal called Social Text to accept a paper titled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”.

Sokal’s paper – comprising pages of impressive-sounding but meaningless pseudo-academic jargon – was written in part to demonstrate that humanities journals will publish pretty much anything so long as it sounds like “proper leftist thought;” and partly in order to send up the absurdity of so much post-modernist social science.

So, for this new spoof, Boghossian and Lindsay were careful to throw in lots of signifier phrases to indicate fashionable anti-male bias:

We intended to test the hypothesis that flattery of the academic Left’s moral architecture in general, and of the moral orthodoxy in gender studies in particular, is the overwhelming determiner of publication in an academic journal in the field. That is, we sought to demonstrate that a desire for a certain moral view of the world to be validated could overcome the critical assessment required for legitimate scholarship. Particularly, we suspected that gender studies is crippled academically by an overriding almost-religious belief that maleness is the root of all evil. On the evidence, our suspicion was justified.

They also took care to make it completely incomprehensible.

We didn’t try to make the paper coherent; instead, we stuffed it full of jargon (like “discursive” and “isomorphism”), nonsense (like arguing that hypermasculine men are both inside and outside of certain discourses at the same time), red-flag phrases (like “pre-post-patriarchal society”), lewd references to slang terms for the penis, insulting phrasing regarding men (including referring to some men who choose not to have children as being “unable to coerce a mate”), and allusions to rape (we stated that “manspreading,” a complaint levied against men for sitting with their legs spread wide, is “akin to raping the empty space around him”). After completing the paper, we read it carefully to ensure it didn’t say anything meaningful, and as neither one of us could determine what it is actually about, we deemed it a success.

Some of it was written with the help of the Postmodern Generator – “a website coded in the 1990s by Andrew Bulhak featuring an algorithm, based on NYU physicist Alan Sokal’s method of hoaxing a cultural studies journal called Social Text, that returns a different fake postmodern ‘paper’ every time the page is reloaded.”

This paragraph, for example, looks impressive but is literally meaningless:

Inasmuch as masculinity is essentially performative, so too is the conceptual penis. The penis, in the words of Judith Butler, “can only be understood through reference to what is barred from the signifier within the domain of corporeal legibility” (Butler, 1993). The penis should not be understood as an honest expression of the performer’s intent should it be presented in a performance of masculinity or hypermasculinity. Thus, the isomorphism between the conceptual penis and what’s referred to throughout discursive feminist literature as “toxic hypermasculinity,” is one defined upon a vector of male cultural machismo braggadocio, with the conceptual penis playing the roles of subject, object, and verb of action. The result of this trichotomy of roles is to place hypermasculine men both within and outside of competing discourses whose dynamics, as seen via post-structuralist discourse analysis, enact a systematic interplay of power in which hypermasculine men use the conceptual penis to move themselves from powerless subject positions to powerful ones (confer: Foucault, 1972).

None of it should have survived more than a moment’s scrutiny by serious academics. But it was peer-reviewed by two experts in the field who, after suggesting only a few changes, passed it for publication:

Cogent Social Sciences eventually accepted “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct.” The reviewers were amazingly encouraging, giving us very high marks in nearly every category. For example, one reviewer graded our thesis statement “sound” and praised it thusly, “It capturs [sic] the issue of hypermasculinity through a multi-dimensional and nonlinear process” (which we take to mean that it wanders aimlessly through many layers of jargon and nonsense). The other reviewer marked the thesis, along with the entire paper, “outstanding” in every applicable category.

They didn’t accept the paper outright, however. Cogent Social Sciences’ Reviewer #2 offered us a few relatively easy fixes to make our paper “better.” We effortlessly completed them in about two hours, putting in a little more nonsense about “manspreading” (which we alleged to be a cause of climate change) and “dick-measuring contests.”

No claim made in the paper was considered too ludicrous by the peer-reviewers: not even the one claiming that the penis is “the universal performative source of rape, and is the conceptual driver behind much of climate change.”

You read that right. We argued that climate change is “conceptually” caused by penises. How do we defend that assertion? Like this:

Destructive, unsustainable hegemonically male approaches to pressing environmental policy and action are the predictable results of a raping of nature by a male-dominated mindset. This mindset is best captured by recognizing the role of [sic] the conceptual penis holds over masculine psychology. When it is applied to our natural environment, especially virgin environments that can be cheaply despoiled for their material resources and left dilapidated and diminished when our patriarchal approaches to economic gain have stolen their inherent worth, the extrapolation of the rape culture inherent in the conceptual penis becomes clear.

The fact that such complete drivel was published in a social science journal, the hoaxers argue, raises serious questions about the value of fields like gender studies and the state of academic publishing generally:

“The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” should not have been published on its merits because it was actively written to avoid having any merits whatsoever. The paper is academically worthless nonsense.

But they do not hold out much hope for it having any more effect on the bullshit in the social sciences industry than Sokal’s hoax did – because leftist stupidity in academe is so heavily entrenched.

As a matter of deeper concern, there is unfortunately some reason to believe that our hoax will not break the relevant spell. First, Alan Sokal’s hoax, now more than 20 years old, did not prevent the continuation of bizarre postmodernist “scholarship.” In particular, it did not lead to a general tightening of standards that would have blocked our own hoax. Second, people rarely give up on their moral attachments and ideological commitments just because they’re shown to be out of alignment with reality.


Australia: Victorian government gender agenda and mythmaking

By now, I’m sure you would’ve heard the news that the Victorian Andrews government is backing a brand new “feminist collective” strategy under the assumed guise of tackling domestic violence through a $21 million tax-payer funded school program called Respectful Relationships. Whether you like it or not, your kids will be made to feel bad about themselves for being white and male and lectured on how “white, male privilege” and “hegemonic masculinity” are the roots of domestic violence. It’s bad enough that us adults are already exposed to a constant drumbeat of feministic, anti-male hysteria on a daily basis, but our kids? This is beyond outrageous.

Fightback, the “feminist guide” has the approval of the state government and is part of this “domestic violence awareness program” that is already implemented in 120 schools across the state, and is designed to counter “everyday sexism” by brainwashing secondary school children about “negative attitudes towards gender equality that contribute to high rates of sexism and discrimination and ultimately … violence against women”.

The disturbing material also asks teachers to lecture kids on the concept of “privilege” – an idea that some groups have advantages over others just because of their birth identity (chiefly due to their parents’ hard work and moral choices).

The controversial program has long been a subject of criticism for foolishly simplifying the issue of family violence, putting the blame mostly on men and their apparent “privilege”.

“Being born white in Australia, you have advantages,” the guide claims. “By being born male, you have advantages … that you may not approve of or think you are entitled to, but that you gain anyway because of your status as male.”

And just so you know, I am not a white male. However, on more than one occasion on the Twitterverse, I have wrongly been called “entitled” and a “privileged white male.” (Hey feminists did you just assume my race and skin colour? I thought that’s racist!)

But when you think about it, the concept of “white privilege” is an elaborate invention of the “progressive” liberal collective – especially third wave feminists – to silence freedom of speech by discrediting white males for simply being what they were created to be. Instead of teaching respect for men and women equally, regressive programs like Respectful Relationships would prefer that the concept of “toxic while masculinity” is drummed into young minds.

It might surprise you to know that the theory of white privilege (if you can call it a legitimate theory, that is) started out being solely about men and their perceived privilege. It had nothing to do with the struggles of non-whites due to their lack of privilege. Peggy McIntosh, a feminist who is touted as the inventor of the white-skin privilege concept in the late 1980s, came up with the term “unacknowledged male privilege,” or the seemingly unearned advantages men have in society by virtue of being born male. She believed there was also a “white privilege” analogous to male privilege, and so the terminology of white privilege was born. McIntosh manufactured a crisis about males to prove they garnered favour over females but then expanded the concept to include white males and later evolved the concept to include all whites as the root of all apparently unearned privilege.

It is commonly (and wrongly) believed that women are the typical victims/ survivors of domestic violence and that most perpetrators are men. But the fact of the matter is both men and women are victims of violence and abuse. This is an issue that affects both genders, young and old. It is also a fact, according to the Royal Commission, that 25 per cent of domestic violence victims are men. Men also die earlier than women and young men have greater rates of youth suicide and self-harm. I guess somehow that’s white male privilege. No?

What about the apparent gender pay gap? Well, to put it plainly, it’s a complete hoax. Industries statistically dominated by men tend to attract better pay than those traditionally dominated by women. And then there is the choice women make, willingly, to trade career heights for job flexibility, shorter hours, maternity leave and more time to raise children, which a lot of mothers would agree is a priceless privilege. Raising healthy, secure children is tremendously productive to our society.

Christina Hoff-Sommers, “the factual feminist” has a good question: “If, for the same work, women only make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, why don’t businesses hire only women?”

That number is calculated in a way that doesn’t take into account several factors that contribute to wage. In fact, a feminist organisation’s own research found that the wage gap is 6.6 cents when factoring in these choices that men and women make. These are choices such as college major, specialities, hours worked, and location. The keyword here is choice (I thought you progressives love that word?).

And when it comes to education, women are the privileged sex. Girls outperform and outstay boys in school and, as a result, they go on to university in ever-greater numbers. According to 2013 statistics from the federal Education Department, the number of female students in higher education jumped by 33.5 per cent between 2002 and 2012, compared with a 22 per cent rise for males. In 2002, of the 151,550 Australian students who graduated from university, 56 per cent were women. By 2012, graduation numbers had increased to nearly 195,000, of whom 60 per cent were female, a ratio likely to be higher again this year.

Thus, the concept of “white male privilege” is nothing less than a complete myth. It is thanks to this regressive kind of thinking that in today’s brave new world, boys can no longer be boys and are instead forced to break traditional stereotypes by putting on makeup and playing with Barbie dolls. It is no wonder why problems such as effeminisation (the stripping away of all facets of manhood), homosexuality, acquired gender dysphoria and transgender-ism are rife among our youth.

The million dollar question is why are Victorian schools teaching our children this type of hogwash? The answer? The cultural Marxists backing these regressive programs such as “Respectful Relationships” have an agenda to create a genderless society and end any celebration of the unique qualities of each gender. Their ignorance of science, biology and, therefore, the truth will only create more depression in our youth, not less.



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


Monday, May 22, 2017

After Decades Of Involvement Mormon Church Cuts Ties With The Boy Scouts

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints announced last Thursday that it will be cutting most of its ties to the Boy Scouts of America, allowing younger boys aged 8-13 to remain in scouting while pulling the 185,000 older boys aged 14-18 from all scouting activities.

The Mormon Church has maintained that the move does not follow the Boy Scouts’ recent decision to allow gay troop leaders, a topic the church still rebukes, but instead wants a new program run by the church worldwide and more closely tailored for Mormon teenagers, ABC News reports.

For decades the Mormon Church has been allied with the Boy Scouts, being that the two organization’s values have been closely aligned. However, in the cultural shifts the country has seen, the Boy Scouts have diverged from Mormon principles.

In Thursday’s announcement, the church stated that the scouts have been discussing allowing girls into their ranks but remained fervent that the decision was separate of such talks.

“The church is wedded very much to traditional gender roles and they see the Boy Scouts of America increasingly move away from that,” Matthew Bowman, a Mormon scholar and history professor at Henderson State University said. “That means that they have come to see it as less of a hospitable place.”

For as long as most can remember, the Boy Scouts of America has been synonymous with Mormon culture. It is almost a requirement for the young boys to become apart of the organization. The withdrawal will deal a heavy blow to the Boy Scouts, whose numbers have decreased in recent years.


Labour: the party of the non-working class

The Tories are winning over those abandoned by Labour

Theresa May’s Tories have certainly been making eyes at ‘proud and patriotic working-class people in towns and cities across Britain’, as May herself put it last week. This week, the flirtation has continued, with May’s announcement of the ‘biggest extension of workers’ rights’ under a Tory government. And it appears to be an effective strategy. Polls suggest the Tories’ support among skilled and unskilled workers, and even the unemployed, now dwarfs that of Labour.

The Tories’ posture as the party of ‘ordinary working-class people’, as May characterised it last autumn, might not be entirely sincere, not least because some of the policies announced alongside statutory rights to unpaid leave for carers and bereaved parents look more likely to divide workers, rather than help them. In particular, Tory plans to force companies to publish data on racial pay gaps threatens to racialise the workforce, pitting workers against each other according to skin pigment. Still, while the Tories’ posture may not be convincing, it is revealing. Just not about the Tories.

No, it says far more about the transformation of the party that for much of the 20th century dominated and represented the working class: Labour. That’s the story here. Not that Theresa May has won the support of vast swathes of still-working-class Britain, but that the Labour Party has lost them, abandoned them, ignored them. That’s why the Tories are in a position to speak for working-class voters – because Labour is not.

Remember this is the Conservative Party we’re talking about here. Yes, it’s channelled the hopes and aspirations of many working-class people before, especially during the 1980s, when the promise of self-betterment understandably resonated. But that was a long time ago. More recently the Tory party has appeared to be little more than a post-Oxbridge venue for Old Etonians to trot out New Labour hits. What it has not been is an electoral destination for ‘ordinary working-class people’. And yet, just a few weeks before the General Election that is what the Tories have become: if not a working men’s club, then at least a Wetherspoons.

It makes perfect sense when you look at it, though. While May is donning the proverbial donkey jacket and talking about workers’ rights, what is Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn doing to ‘woo working-class voters’, as the Guardian inaccurately described his latest policy announcement? He’s promising to save the NHS, of course, with a promised £37 billion cash injection over the course of the next parliament. The recourse to a ‘save our NHS’ gesture is predictable, but it’s revealing, too. It captures a party that knows not how to speak for its one-time social base, only to speak to it, as an agglomeration of the poor and needy, people in want of treatment. Because that’s what the working class is for Labour now: patients in waiting, objects of public-health prohibitions, and sermons about fizzy drinks and fags. That’s why the NHS has become the sacred cow to whose udders Corbyn et al are determinedly attached. Because in Labour’s eyes, it’s what people need: beds and no circuses.

Not that Labour’s estrangement from the working class can be laid solely or even mainly at the sandals of Corbyn. Its social base has been atrophying for years – at least since the collapse of the postwar consensus in the late 1970s. As one study reveals, in 1966, 69 per cent of manual workers voted Labour; by 1987, only 45 per cent did. That’s a third of its working-class support haemorrhaged in a couple of decades. And this wasn’t, as the standard leftish narrative maintains, down to the evil influence of The Murdoch Press or an epidemic of home-owning selfishness; rather, it was a result of Labour’s having become a party of the state and, with it, the public sector, an increasingly careerist enclave that spoke for the interests not of the working class, but of the subsidised and the middle class.

Admittedly, under Tony Blair, whom Labourites now universally despise, demon eyes and all, Labour did increase its share of the working-class vote once more – but then, such was New Labour’s late 1990s appeal, burnished by the decrepitude of the Tories, that it picked up support from all sections of society. What is more telling, as one former Labour pollster pointed out earlier this year, is that while it was in government New Labour largely hung on to its middle-class base and lost the working class. ‘Between 1997 and 2010’, he writes, ‘for every voter Labour lost from the professional classes it lost three unskilled or unemployed workers’.

And so it continues. While May turns the Tories into the Party of the People, Corbyn, breathing sweet NHS-things into his supporters’ ears, almost unwittingly pushes on with Labour’s long metamorphosis into the party of the non-working class: the students, the vulnerable, the ill, and other ‘victims’ Labour now longs to look after.


In Limited Praise of Charlie Elphicke

British Libertarian Sean Gabb is voting Conservative

Last Sunday, my daughter assisting, I delivered about three hundred leaflets in North Deal for Charlie Elphicke, my Conservative candidate in the General Election. This was the first time in thirty years I had lifted a finger for the Conservative Party. I explained the electoral system to my daughter. I canvassed a dog who tried to eat one of the leaflets. I got into a kerbside debate that may have brought over a few Labour households. It brought back memories of my youth.

When I mentioned this on Facebook, one of my friends responded that Mr Elphicke had not been a Conservative Member of Parliament of the kind I would once have let myself support. I will not quote this response. It seems to be both accurate and damning. For his lack of commitment on the European issue, Mr Elphicke would, at the beginning of the present century, have been one of the easier targets of my Candidlist project. Now, I am willing to vote and even to campaign for him. I defend my choice with these observations:

First, Mr Elphicke has been a decent constituency MP. In 2010, I approached the British Council in Slovakia, to ask for its assistance in promoting my books. I was told that the officials there were too busy lobbying for action on “global warming” to find time for the promotion of English literature. I wrote to Mr Elphicke, who wrote sharply and at once to the relevant funding agency. Ever since then, the British Council has helped me pay my gas bills from the Slovak translations of my novels. I know other people with similar tales.

Second, and following from the above, he has been willing to put up with me for seven years. He gets an e-mail of denunciation from me on average once a fortnight. He usually answers these at length, and sometimes with confidential admissions that make it impossible for me to publish the correspondence. Indeed, after the Referendum, in which he had campaigned on the wrong side, I wrote him a nasty open letter of denunciation. He joined in the Facebook debate over this, and entered into another confidential e-mail exchange. He has not since then visibly avoided my company. The last time we met, he spoke to me in Greek.

These two are important observations, particularly the second. There are countries – I think of America – where parliamentary representatives are hardly ever accessible to their electors. I am lucky to live in a country where I can see my Member of Parliament walking about the streets without armed guards. I once bumped into Mr Elphicke while he was at my daughter’s school. One of my students once made fun of him in the local Tesco. Everyone knows where he lives.

You can, of course, say this about most Members of Parliament. England is a country with a limited record of political murder, and even Cabinet Ministers are expected to show themselves in public. Mr Elphicke, though, steps somewhat beyond the minimal custom. You can ask him for help. You can make a nuisance of yourself, and have some chance of being tolerated. The Labour man he replaced in 2010 answered about one in three of my letters, and always with an unsigned postcard.

Most Members of Parliament are less than ideal guardians of the public interest. So far as I can tell, about half of them are nasty pieces of work. There is nothing to be done in the short term about this first. When you find yourself represented by a reasonable human being, you are under some obligation to re-elect him.

But I come to my third observation. Let us agree that Mr Elphicke is a man without any principled view of the European Union. When the Conservative leadership was in favour of staying in, so was he. Now the leadership is of a different view, so is he. I do not blame him for this. It does not in itself make him a bad man. It does not hold me from voting for him with a clean conscience.

The European issue appears to be settled in all but its details. Theresa May – herself a woman of no fixed principle – has committed herself to leaving. Her present peace of mind and her place in the history books both depend on how well she extricates us from the European Union. She seems clever enough to know this. She looks the sort who can bully or blackmail her way to an advantageous deal. Whatever else she has said or done, whatever else she may stand for, is not presently important. All that matters is that she should get the biggest possible mandate next month, and that the men we elect to sit behind her should be reliable. Mr Elphicke strikes me as completely reliable, and he therefore gets my support.

All this being said, I move of one of the more absurd wisdoms of British politics, which is that Conservatives are sentimental loyalists, and Labour is a party of hard-faced ideologues. The truth is exactly the opposite. Labour stopped being recognisably the party of ordinary working people at the end of the 1970s. After a fifteen year struggle, during which it split, the party was taken over by a charismatic liar fronting a generation of apparatchiks who proceeded to do well for themselves and for nobody else. During these thirty five years, Labour hung on to its core voters. It did badly in 1983 because of the Falklands War. It did badly in 1987 mainly because of the electoral system. It is only now that ordinary working people are responding to Mrs May’s revised brand of One Nation Conservatism.

The Conservatives core cote, on the other hand, has been far more volatile. We abstained in large numbers in 1997, because of Europe. If all of us who abstained or voted UKIP in 2001 and 2005 had voted Conservative, Labour would have at least lost its majority. The Conservatives could have got an overall majority in 2010, and could have won a big majority in 2015. The main reason Mrs May seems headed now for a crushing majority is because almost none of us will vote UKIP. Large numbers of conservatives take a purely instrumental view of the Conservative Party. There is little brand loyalty. When it seems likely to do something conservative, it gets support. When it seems a lost cause, it is dumped.

About twenty years ago, I listened to Peter Tatchell’s explanation of why he could no longer support the Labour Party. I forget what had upset him, but I do recall that he was almost in tears at the thought of no longer being a member of the Labour Party. It was a reaction I found hard to understand. Conservatives abstain, or vote UKIP, or come back to the Conservative Party, without a twinge of guilt; and returners are generally welcomed without recrimination.

In 2010, I voted Conservative for the first time this century because I feared Labour more than I despised the Conservatives. It was the same in 2015 – and because, in spite of all else to be said against him at the time, I rather liked Charlie Elphicke. Because the present election is effectively a rerun of the Referendum, I will vote for him again. However, a big win for the Conservatives this time may leave the political landscape so altered that other options will emerge.

Until then, Mr Elphicke, and through him Mrs May, will have my support. I may even accept his invitation, come polling day, to sit as a Conservative teller….


Inflating Muslim Claims To Jerusalem

Last Tuesday, coinciding with Israel’s 69th Independence Day, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution entitled ‘Occupied Palestine.’ The resolution denies Israel any sovereign claim to its own capital city, Jerusalem, and falsely describes Israel as the city’s “occupying power” and speaks of the “cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem.”

Clearly, the intention of the UNESCO resolution is to achieve internationally the direct repudiation of Israel’s Jewish history and sovereignty in favor of Arab claims.

Lying behind this Arab diplomatic offensive is an Arab street and Muslim world, neither of which have reconciled themselves to Israel’s existence nor even the peoplehood of the Jews and thus the Jewish immemorial association and claim to Jerusalem.

However, this clamor and fixation on Jerusalem, quite recent in Muslim history, has led many to conclude that Jerusalem is holy to Islam and central to Palestinian Arab consciousness. This is, however, a propaganda fiction.

Though possessing important Muslim shrines, such as the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosques, Jerusalem holds no great significance for Islam, as history shows.

Jerusalem rates not a single mention in the Quran, nor is it the direction in which Muslims turn to pray. References in the Quran and hadith to the ‘farthest mosque,’ in allusion to which the Al Aqsa Mosque is named, and which has sometimes been invoked to connect Islam to Jerusalem since its earliest days, clearly doesn’t refer to a mosque which didn’t exist in Muhammad’s day.

Indeed, the site of the biblical temples is called Temple Mount, not the Mosque Mount and –– in contrast to innumerable Palestinian Authority statements today –– was acknowledged as such for decades by Jerusalem’s Muslims.

Throughout the British Mandate period, the Jerusalem Muslim Supreme Council’s publication, ‘A Brief Guide to the Haram Al-Sharif’, stated of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on p. 4 that “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” (After 1954, all such references to the biblical temples were excised from this publication).

During the illegal annexation and rule of the historic eastern half of Jerusalem by Jordan (1948-67), Amman remained Jordan’s country’s capital, not Jerusalem, even as Jews were driven out and their property and sanctuaries laid waste: the Old City’s 58 synagogues destroyed and Jewish gravestones used to pave roads and latrines. Jewish access to the Western Wall was also forbidden, in contravention of Article 8 of the 1949 Israeli/Jordanian armistice.

Historically, Jerusalem under Muslim control was no more a capital city than Mecca or Medina in Saudi Arabia or Qom in Iran. Jordanian-controlled Jerusalem enjoyed neither the attention nor affection of the Arab world or its rulers.

Quite the contrary: the eastern half of the city became a backwater, infrastructure like water and sewerage were scanty or non-existent, and its Christian population, denied the right to purchase church property, also declined. No Arab ruler, other than Jordan’s King Hussein, ever visited. As Israeli elder statesman Abba Eban put it, “the secular delights of Beirut held more attraction.”

Significantly, neither the PLO’s National Charter nor the Fatah Constitution, the latter drafted during Jordanian rule, even mention Jerusalem, let alone call for its establishment as a Palestinian capital.

This would never be obvious from the tenor and content of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim pronouncements on the city today, which are as emphatic as to the Arab, Muslim and Palestinian primacy of the city as they are in denying its Jewish provenance.

Conversely, Jerusalem, the capital of the biblical Jewish kingdoms, is the site of three millennia of Jewish habitation — hence the ‘Jerusalem 3000’ celebrations initiated in by the government of Yitzhak Rabin.

The holiest of Judaism’s four holy cities, Jerusalem is mentioned 669 times in the Hebrew Bible and alluded to in countless prayers. Major Jewish rituals, including the conclusion of the Passover Seder and Yom Kippur service, end with the age-old affirmation, ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’

Jerusalem is the only city in the world in which Jews have formed a majority since the 1880s. Today, Jerusalem, in addition to being home to Judaism’s greatest sanctuaries, is the seat of Israel’s government, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, the National Library and the Hebrew University. Its population is two-thirds Jewish.

It is only under unified Israeli rule since 1967 that the city as a whole has been revitalized, enjoyed stunning growth and also, at last, full freedom of religion for its mosaic of faiths ––precisely what would be threatened by its redivision, as is already obvious in the Christian exodus from Palestinian-controlled Gaza and Bethlehem.

Whatever form a final peace settlement might one day take, there is no morally just or legally sound reason inflate or fabricate Muslim claims while denying Jerusalem’s Jewish primacy and history.

The Trump Administration rightly condemned the UNESCO resolution. It should now defund UN bodies that practice this form of delegitimizing political warfare, starting with UNESCO.



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


Sunday, May 21, 2017

College student reveals how her white privilege allowed her to freely run around campus with a 'giant SWORD' - while a black student holding a glue gun triggered a four-hour lockdown

Attributing this to white privilege is obtuse.  The plain fact is that blacks with guns kill people; young white girls with a katana (Samurai sword) do not.  What happened was a cautious and realistic response to that reality

A college sophomore has been praised online after candidly revealing how her white privilege enabled her to run around a campus with a dangerous weapon - while a black student was accused of being a dangerous gunman after carrying a glue gun around the same college.

Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, was in the news earlier this month after going into lockdown for four hours over reports of a gunman on campus.

However, investigators soon found that the panic all came from witnesses mistaking a glue gun for a real firearm - a glue gun that happened to be in the hand of a black student. 

Now, the community at the university is questioning whether or not the young man was racially profiled, and one former student has spoken out to candidly illustrate that point with a powerful post about her own white privilege.

Colgate student Jenny Lundt shared a picture of herself the day after the lockdown, posing with one leg up on a chair and a sword held aloft.

In the caption, she wrote: 'THIS is what white privilege looks like.'

She explained that the photo had been taken one year earlier on the university campus. In fact, she claimed that she had spent the day 'running around the academic quad with a f****** sharp metal sword.'

'People laughed - oh look at that harmless, silly white girl with a giant sword!!" she said.

She then compared that reaction to the one that was elicited by a black student walking around campus with a glue gun.

Jenny also mentioned that the vague information released about the alleged shooter 'put all black men on this campus in danger.'

'That is the reality of the institutionalized racism in the United States,' she said. 'If you think for even a second this wasn't profiling, ask yourself why this sword is still in my room and has not ONCE made anyone uncomfortable. No one has EVER called the police on me.' 

She pleaded with her readers to look into the 'larger forces at play' and recognize the institutionalized racism among them.

The post has since gone viral, with more than 16,000 shares and over 26,000 reactions. Many came out to praise Jenny for her words.

'I am a 54 year old grandfather of two little girls. Because of young people like you, I have hopes that the world they grow up in will be a better place. Keep fighting the good fight!' wrote one user. 'You are my new hero.'

Another added: 'Thank you for your words; your use of the privilege you are afforded to speak up is appreciated.'

As the post spread, Jenny added multiple edits to the original caption, at one point addressing other white readers and asking them to 'use this as an opportunity and wake up call to confront the privilege in your own life.'

She also apologized to people of color for her viral post 'taking up space' that should be filled by their voices about privilege.


How to Get Our Immigration Courts Back to Enforcing Federal Law
With the backlog of immigration cases hitting a record high of 585,930 cases in April according to Syracuse University, the initiative announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month in Nogales, AZ, to hire more immigration judges is a vital step in bringing our immigration courts back to enforcing federal law. This includes the long overdue hiring of an additional 50 immigration judges this year and another 75 next year under a “streamlined” hiring process.

Now that Sessions has “already surged 25 immigration judges to detention centers along the border” and the Trump administration ended the Obama era “catch and release” policy, we may once again see U.S. immigration courts fulfilling their mission: trying the cases of those who have entered or remained here illegally.

Why are these moves important? Because the huge backlog of untried cases and the prior “catch and release” policy allowed many illegal aliens to disappear, never to be seen again. Their numbers are stark evidence of a breakdown in the immigration court system that only accelerated during the Obama years.

Ending the “catch and release” policy — a policy Border Patrol agents rightly refer to as the “catch and run” policy — was a critical first step.

“Catch and release” is the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) policy of arresting illegal aliens, giving them court dates, and then releasing them. Unsurprisingly, many of those released never showed for court.

The numbers tell the story. In 2016, 39 percent of aliens who were free pending trial failed to show up for their hearings. In 2015, 43 percent did the same. Over the past 21 years, 37 percent of all aliens the U.S. permitted to remain free before trial — some 952,000 people — were ordered removed for dodging court.

Courts are three times more likely to issue removal orders for evading court than removal orders from cases that were actually tried. Predictably, American immigration courts have the highest “failure-to-appear” rate of any court system in the country, averaging more than 45,000 per year.

This is why “surging” more judges to immigration detention facilities along our border is critically important.

Deploying judges who can swiftly conduct hearings to grant relief to the deserving and direct removal of offenders not only assures due process to all claimants, but it also serves to warn others away from illegal entry. In short, alert and empowered courts harden our borders.

Restoring the authority of immigration judges is just as important. At the end of 2008 — right before Barack Obama became president — federal immigration courts reported a backlog of 186,108 cases.

By the end of 2016, backlogged cases had increased 300 percent to 542,411, and now we have reached almost 586,000 cases. Much of this backlog resulted from procedural changes directed by Justice Department political appointees that radically slowed down court cases. In 2006, 233 immigration judges completed 407,487 cases. Yet in 2016, more than 270 judges completed only 273,390 cases.

At the same time that these Justice Department appointees nearly halted adjudication, DHS political appointees refused to enforce removal orders issued by the immigration courts. Today unexecuted removal orders stand at 953,506 — a 58 percent increase since 2002 — and the great majority of these orders were issued to those who evaded court.

One final note of concern that few mention: From 2003 through 2015, 62,409 asylum applicants from the 36 “Specially Designated Countries” — countries that DHS designates as aiding and abetting terrorism — entered the U.S.

Forty percent of this group (24,975) received asylum. From the remaining asylum seekers, 3,095 never showed for their court hearings and were ordered removed. Within this group of absconders were 338 people from Iran, Sudan and Syria, countries the U.S. identifies as “State Sponsors of Terrorism.”

Never has there been an accounting to Congress or the public about what became of these people from terrorist safe-havens who claimed asylum before disappearing into the United States.

On top of that, almost no one noticed another alarming fact that came out of former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3. Comey said that out of over 2,000 “violent extremist investigations” about “300 of them are people who came to the United States as refugees.”

The bottom line is that America has a well-organized immigration court system that can help secure our borders and remove violators while also redeeming the persecuted. But it works only if it has enough judges to handle its cases and if illegal aliens are detained, so they actually show up for court.

Eight years of intentional neglect can’t be reversed overnight. But Jeff Sessions seems intent on making sure that all of this finally happens by empowering judges, prosecutors, and enforcement officers to do their jobs.

He is restoring common sense and effectiveness to an immigration court system that, until recently, had neither.


The Problem Is Not the Islamic State but Islamic Hate

A lie conceals the truth.  And ugly but hidden truths never have a chance of being acknowledged, addressed, and ameliorated.  Because of this simple truism, one of the greatest lies of our age-that violence committed in the name of Islam has nothing to do with Islam-has made an intrinsically weak Islam the scourge of the modern world, with no signs of relief on the horizon.

It is, therefore, useful to expose the main strategy used by liars in government, media, and academia: 1) to ignore the generic but chronic everyday reports of Muslim violence against non-Muslims around the world; 2) to address only spectacular Muslim violence, which, because it is almost always committed by professional jihadi groups can be portrayed as a finite, temporal, localized problem: defeat that particular "terrorist group" and the problem vanishes.

By way of example, consider the Islamic targeting of Christian churches.  Last month, after two Egyptian churches were bombed, leaving 51 worshippers dead, everyone was quick to point out that something called "ISIS"-which of course "has nothing to do with Islam"-was responsible.

On Easter Sunday, 2016, more than 3,000 miles away from Egypt, in Pakistan, approximately 70 Christians were killed in a bomb attack, also specifically targeting Easter celebrations.  Then we were told that something called "Taliban"-also "nothing to do with Islam"-was responsible.

Meanwhile, some 3,000 miles west of Egypt, in Nigeria, Christians are also under attack.  There, 11,500 Christians have been killed and 13,000 churches destroyed.  According to the official narrative, something called "Boko Haram" is responsible.  This is another group that habitually bombs churches during Christmas and Easter; another group that, we are told, "has nothing to do with Islam," but rather is a finite, temporal, localized problem: defeat it, and the problem vanishes.

About 5,000 miles west of Nigeria, in the U.S., Americans were told that something called "al-Qaeda" attacked and killed 3,000 of their countrymen on 9/11; defeating that finite group would cease the terror.  Its leader, Osama bin Laden, was reportedly killed, and victory loudly proclaimed-until, that is, an even more savage manifestation called the "Islamic State" came on the scene and went further than al-Qaeda could've ever dreamed.

The problem is not merely that the liars in media, government, and academia refuse to connect the dots and insist on treating each of the aforementioned groups as disparate, finite groups with different "political" or "territorial" motivations-none of which has anything to do with Islam.  The greater issue is that regular Muslims who are not called "ISIS," "Taliban," "Boko Haram," or "al-Qaeda," commit similar acts-and much more frequently-though this is rarely mentioned by big media lest people begin to connect the dots.

Thus, although ISIS claimed the Egyptian church bombing before Easter, it is everyday Egyptian imams who "preach hatred and violence against Christians to the public over loudspeakers";  it is everyday Muslims who persecute Christians "every two or three days";  every day Muslims who riot and kill whenever a rumor surfaces that a church is going to be built, or that a Coptic kid "blasphemed" against Muhammad, or that a Christian man is dating a Muslim woman.  In short, it is every day Muslims-not "ISIS"-who cause Egypt to be the 21st worst nation in the world in which to be Christian.

Similarly, though the Taliban claimed 2016's Easter bombing, it is everyday Muslims who discriminate against, persecute, enslave, rape and murder Christians almost every day in Pakistan, making it the fourth worst nation in the world in which to be Christian.  And, though Boko Haram is always blamed for the more spectacular attacks on Christians and their churches, it is everyday Muslims, including the Muslim Fulani herdsmen, who make Nigeria the 12th worst nation in which to be Christian.

This is the real issue.  While the media may name the terrorist groups responsible for especially spectacular attacks, few dare acknowledge that Muslims in general engage in similar acts of violence and intolerance against non-Muslims all around the world.  Indeed, Muslims-of all races, nationalities, languages, and socio-political and economic circumstances, hardly just "terror groups"-are responsible for persecuting Christians in 40 of the world's 50 worst nations in which to be Christian.  Accordingly, what "extremist" "terrorist" and "militant" groups are doing is only the notable tip of the iceberg of what Muslims are doing all around the world.  (See "Muslim Persecution of Christians," reports which I've been compiling every month since July 2011 and witness the nonstop discrimination, persecution, and carnage committed by "everyday" Muslims against Christians.  Each monthly report contains dozens of atrocities, most of which if committed by Christians against Muslims would receive 24/7 blanket coverage.)

It bears repeating: Media aren't just covering up for Islam by pretending that the spectacular attacks committed by Islamic groups on non-Muslims are finite, localized, and most importantly, "have nothing to do with Islam." They are covering up for Islam by failing to report the everyday persecution non-Muslims experience at the hands of everyday Muslims-Muslim individuals, Muslim mobs, Muslim police, and Muslim governments (including America's closest "friends and allies")-and hardly just Muslim "terrorists."  They dare not connect the dots and offer a holistic picture which doesn't merely implicate this or that group but Islam in general.

Accordingly, the world must continue to suffer from Islamic aggression.  Not only have these lies allowed countless innocents to be persecuted into oblivion in the Muslim world, but they have allowed the same persecution to enter America and Europe, most recently via mass immigration.

The fact remains: an ugly truth must first be acknowledged before it can be remedied.   It may be hard to acknowledge an ugly truth-that Islam, not "radical Islam," promotes hate for and violence against non-Muslims-but anything less will just continue to feed the lie, that is, continue to feed the jihad and terror.

In short, the problem is not so much the "Islamic State"; it is Islamic hate.  The former is but one of many temporal and historical manifestations of the latter, which, as an integral part of Islam, transcends time and space


Former Australian Labor party leader slams Sydney council for putting screens around a public pool for Muslim women to swim in private

Media personality Mark Latham says putting up curtains at a Sydney public swimming pool to cater for Muslim women is a step towards putting drapes around section of Bondi Beach - as an Islamic sheikh likened it to imposing sharia law in Australia's suburbs.

The council-run Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre in the city's west has installed a retractable curtain around one of its three pools so women can swim privately during two set time slots on Wednesdays, infuriating many residents who said it was like 'segregation'.

The organiser of the swim group, Yusra Metwally, said the idea behind the sessions was to 'accommodate people who wouldn't otherwise swim at a beach, or swim in a swimming pool because they don't feel comfortable'.

However Mr Latham, a former federal Labor leader, said it set an awful precedent and undermined Australia's egalitarian values about people from all different backgrounds mixing together.

'Where does it end? What's the next step? Down at Bondi Beach, we're going to have some curtained-off area, or something, it's just ridiculous,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

While Mr Latham supported the right of Muslim women to swim in a burkini, he said councils were bowing to left-wing demands to protect minority groups instead of encouraging individuals to come to terms with their modesty issues.

'It's not going to be very helpful for Islamic integration into the broader Australian community,' he said. 'Enclaves are a disaster for Australian multiculturalism. It becomes monocultural.'

There are even critics within the Muslim community, with Adelaide Shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi likening the swimming pool policy to sharia law.

'It is part of sharia law that a strange man must not see the body of another woman, therefore they are installing the curtains,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Sheikh Tawhidi said religious Muslims should build 'Muslim-only swimming pools for themselves' rather than have their laws imposed on non-Muslims.

'Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre is not an Islamic swimming pool, therefore they should not be accepting of such an idea in the first place,' he said. 'The Muslim community can afford a private swimming pool for themselves that observes their sharia laws.'

Some locals have slammed the idea as 'segregation,' saying the women are receiving 'special treatment'.

'These communities should be encouraged to integrate and uphold the values of equality and respect not division and segregation paid for by taxes and council rates,' one woman wrote.

Anthony McIntosh, manager of the centre's operator Belgravia Leisure, said the covering for the swimming pool's glass walls was intended to make Muslim women more comfortable with aquatic activities.

Behind the curtain, Muslim women who wear a hijab would be able to swim in whatever attire they feel comfortable instead of a modesty suit or burkini.

Ms Metwally said other swimmers would not be affected as the other pools would be open to everyone during the session times.

'We had a record number of people drown at the end of last year which matches up with the road fatalities,' she said.

'So if we can have more women who are water-safe, that's surely a good thing.'

Cumberland Council general manager Malcolm Ryan told Daily Mail Australia female lifeguards are present during the women's only swim sessions. 'Council has a responsibility to cater for the needs of its community,' he said.

'The curtains, which are retractable and can be used or not used at any time, ensure we have provided a space that is accessible to and inclusive for all'.

The pool is also used for children's swimming classes and use by the elderly, people with a disability and patients having hydrotherapy or physiotherapy, who may prefer additional privacy during their use of the pool.

It is not only used by Muslim women and can be used by any women.
Cumberland Council General Manager, Malcolm Ryan, told Daily Mail

Cumberland Council General Manager, Malcolm Ryan, told Daily Mail Australia female lifeguards are present during the Women's Only swim sessions

Ms Metwally said although she is an avid swimmer, she 'didn't like swimming in a burkini and for a long time.' 'I remember when I was younger I was told by a lifeguard that my clothes weren't appropriate for the pool — you feel like you are being policed and that you stand out.

'Some women are worried that what they wear in the pool can expose them to questions, comments or stares.'



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