Friday, December 02, 2016



Women's health at risk from political correctness

Professor Ripoff below is a feminist twit.  Because there are large areas of overlap between men and women, she says that proves men and women are the same.  That is totally illogical.  Just one defective gene can in some cases lie behind serious disabilities -- e.g. PKU.  But if one gene can have a big effect what must be possible from the many genetic differences between men and women?  Men are even missing half a chromosome compared to women!

So Prof. Ripoff certainly helps perpetuate the view that women are illogical



The male and female brain are different in many ways. But in the world of research, scientists are being warned to ignore this fact over fears they will be labelled sexist. 

As a result, women's health is being put at risk, with the majority of drugs only being tested on male brains, it has been claimed.

The way that male and female brains react to drugs can differ.

One area in which medication is understood to differ between genders is for the drugs that are used to treat stroke patients.

Under the current method, scientists are assuming that results can be generalised for both sexes, which could place women’s health at risk.

It is thought that scientists focused on male brains as hormone levels fluctuate during a woman’s menstrual cycle, making them more difficult to study.

The article stated that the evidence of differing reactions within the brains of men and women ‘matters fundamentally, powerfully, and pervasively’.

Professor Larry Cahill, a neurobiologist from University of California Irvine, said: ‘The assumption has been that, once you get outside of reproductive functions, what you find in males and females is fundamentally the same and therefore there is no reason to study both sexes — and beyond that it is not good to study females as they have pesky circulating hormones.

‘The last 15 to 20 years has overwhelmingly proven that assumption is false, false, false.’

Others have called into question the need to test both genders, suggesting that there are no significant differences.

Professor Gina Rippon, of Aston University, described some of the research as ‘neurosexism’.

Speaking in August, Professor Rippon said: ‘The latest evidence shows that we are all part of a spectrum, so dividing us into binary categories gives misleading results'.

She told The Times: ‘A key issue in this area is the large areas of overlap between the scores of males and the scores of females in almost any comparison you might compare to make, to the extent that you might be forgiven for thinking that, actually, the sexes are more similar than they are different.’

Professor Cahill claims that he has been warned against studying the difference between sexes as it could harm his career.

‘Some people start to get itchy though when you talk about sex differences in the brain. That in turn stems from a deeply ingrained, powerful and false assumption,’ he said.

‘The heart of the resistance is the view that if neuroscience shows males and females are not the same in brain function, we are showing they are not equal. That is false.’

The Times reported that another paper published in the journal highlighted a stroke treatment called Lazaroids that was rejected at the final stages of testing as its effectiveness seemed to decline.

The authors suggested that the drug may have continued to work, but only for men, and when it was given to women in the latter testing stages, the findings appeared worse as a result.

SOURCE





Breitbart declares war on Kellogg

BREITBART has called for a boycott of Kellogg’s products following the food manufacturer’s decision to pull advertising from the conservative news website.

Kellogg announced this week it was discontinuing advertising on the site because it was not “aligned with our values as a company”.

Breitbart was formerly run by Steve Bannon, one of President-elect Donald Trump’s top aides, and has been accused of being racist and sexist — claims the site vehemently denies.

“We regularly work with our media buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that aren’t aligned with our values as a company,” Kellogg spokeswoman Kris Charles said Tuesday.

“This involves reviewing websites where ads could potentially be placed using filtering technology to assess site content. As you can imagine, there is a very large volume of websites, so occasionally something is inadvertently missed.

“We recently reviewed the list of sites where our ads can be placed and decided to discontinue advertising on Breitbart.com. We are working to remove ads from that site.”

It came as Amnesty International warned multinational companies including Kellogg’s and Nestle were selling products containing palm oil from Indonesian plantations which used child labour and exposed workers to toxic chemicals.

In response, Breitbart has launched a #DumpKelloggs petition, urging its “45 million monthly conservative readers” to “ban bigotry from the breakfast table” and stop buying products including Coco Pops, Rice Bubbles and Special K.

“Kellogg’s has shown its contempt for Breitbart’s 45 million readers and for the main street American values that they hold dear,” Breitbart president and chief executive Larry Solov said in a statement.

“Pulling its advertising from Breitbart News is a decidedly cynical and un-American act. The only sensible response is to join together and boycott Kellogg’s products in protest.”

The media company said the move — which came on the heels of pharmaceutical maker Novo Nordisk, online glasses retailer Warby Parker, the San Diego Zoo pulling advertising — would have “virtually no revenue impact”.

“It does, however, represent an escalation in the war by leftist companies like Target and Allstate against conservative customers whose values propelled Donald Trump into the White House,” Breitbart said.

“Kellogg’s offered no examples of how Breitbart’s 45 million monthly readers fail to align with the breakfast maker’s values. Indeed, the move appears to be one more example of an out-of-touch corporation embracing false left-wing narratives used to cynically smear the hardworking Americans that populate this nation’s heartland.”

Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alexander Marlow described the website as “the largest platform for pro-family content anywhere on the internet”.

“We are fearless advocates for traditional American values, perhaps most important among them is freedom of speech, or our motto ‘more voices, not less’,” he said.

“For Kellogg’s, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice. They insult our incredibly diverse staff and spit in the face of our 45 million highly engaged, highly perceptive, highly loyal readers, many of whom are Kellogg’s customers.

“Boycotting Breitbart News for presenting mainstream American ideas is an act of discrimination and intense prejudice. If you serve Kellogg’s products to your family, you are serving up bigotry at your breakfast table.”

More than 50,000 people had signed the petition within hours. It comes after comments by PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, a Hillary Clinton supporter, sparked calls for a boycott of Pepsi products. Prior to that, the CEO of food delivery service GrubHub caused outrage by suggesting employees who supported Mr Trump should resign.

SOURCE






That wonderful multiculturalism again



The disturbing injuries suffered by a woman after an African man broke into her home and sexually assaulted her as she slept next to her partner and baby can now be revealed.

The 21-year-old victim was asleep in her bed at home when Lang Kouth, 21, broke in and started aggressively kissing her on the lips, neck, face, and touching her genital area – all while the couple's 17-month-old baby slept at the foot of the bed.

The young mother was left badly battered and bruised from the sexual assault which happened at her Cranbourne North home in Victoria, July 24.

In a photo, she reveals the extent of the injuries – including a large brown bruise stamped on the left side of her neck.

'She was bruised black, bruised black all down her jawline, all down her neck. He had bitten her like she was a piece of meat,' a family member told Yahoo.

She and her partner were left so disgusted and traumatised by the attack, neither of them have spoken about it since – refusing to make victim impact statements in court.

'She's got to live with that for the rest of her life. She sleeps in the lounge room because she doesn't want to go to the other end of the house,' the family member said.

Lang Kouth broke into the woman's home, in Cranbourne North, Victoria, on July 24 with the intention of stealing a car.

But instead he went into the young couple's bedroom, removed his shoes and climbed into bed before assaulting the woman.

Still half asleep, the she pushed him away from her, believing he was her husband at the time.

But when she felt the man's hair and realised it was a stranger, she began screaming and woke her partner, who was still asleep beside her.

When he awoke to the stranger in his bed, he chased the man out of the house.

Kouth was 20-years-old and intoxicated at the time of the disturbing home invasion, the court heard.

Kouth was sentenced to four years and four months jail in Melbourne court on Tuesday for the aggravated burglary and sexual assault.

Judge Tinney said the young mother's experience of waking up in her own bed with a stranger on top of her was 'the stuff of nightmares' – especially because the young baby was in the room at the time.

Although Judge Tinney worried an adult prison might further 'corrupt' Kouth, he said he needed to send a loud and clear message that the court would not tolerate this type of behaviour.

Kouth will serve at least two years and three months of his four years and four month sentence before being eligible for parole. 

SOURCE






Nigel Farage fears for his LIFE after threats over links to Trump – but it WON’T stop him backing Marine Le Pen in France’s elections

Nigel Farage has revealed his fears for his life after his high-profile backing for Donald Trump in the US presidential race.

The MEP, who is due to stand aside as Ukip leader tomorrow, said he has received a wave of death threats and no longer goes out in public without security guards.

But he has risked further fury by hinting he could endorse Front National leader Marine Le Pen in the looming French elections.

The Brexit campaigner has long been a controversial figure, and has repeatedly voiced concerns about his own safety in the past.

One of the main reasons he decided to quit as Ukip leader in July was the rising number of threats he was receiving after the historic referendum result. He said his political career had come at a 'significant cost' to his wife Kirsten and children.

However, since then he has taken a high-profile role in the US presidential battle - appearing at rallies for Mr Trump and predicting that he would pull off a Brexit-style political shock.

After the billionaire Republican emerged victorious, Mr Farage became the first British politician to meet him, spending an hour at Trump Tower in New York.

By contrast Theresa May had to make do with a ten minute phone call, coming after a host of other leaders.

Mr Trump then ratcheted up the pressure on the Prime Minister by calling for Mr Farage to be made Britain's ambassador to the US.

The prospect has been dismissed by Downing Street, with Chancellor Philip Hammond telling the MEP not to 'hold his breath' for a call from the government.

Speaking to the Daily Express, Mr Farage said: 'Certainly I would not go out in London of an evening on my own without security – couldn't even think about it. 'I can't even walk down the street without it. I have to go to private places, private venues.'

Mr Farage suggested his support for Trump had 'changed everything' and upped the level of animosity towards him

He also hinted that he could support Marine Le Pen's bid in the looming battle to become French president. He said the Front National leader was 'very determined' and 'brilliant on TV', but there was 'lots of baggage' with her party.

Asked whether he could back her in the latter stages of the presidential race, Mr Farage said: 'It depends what the circumstances are, you'll have to ask me in April. I have never said a bad word about her but I have never said a good word about her party and that's where I am with this - it's slightly awkward.'

SOURCE

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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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Thursday, December 01, 2016



Australia: When does physical discipline of a child become unlawful abuse?

This highlights something I have long said.  Some, perhaps most, children are tractable enough to diverted from undesirable behaviour without spanking.  But others are so unruly that no control of their behaviour can be achieved without corporal punishment.  All men are not equal nor are all kids equal, difficult to understand though that seems to be for Leftists.

In the case below, a man used very violent behaviour in an attempt to control extremely violent behaviour by two out of five kids in his household.  What else was he to do?  Shut the kids out on the street?  He was in fact being responsible in trying to teach them restraint.

The judge apparently saw that, pointing out that the behaviour was illegal but  taking a very mild view of the matter.  He ruled that the father could have access to his own untroubled son but cut off access to the violent children, who are now in state care anyway. Rather a Solomon-like verdict, I think



The question arose in the case of a father who had beaten his two eldest children with a cricket bat, but who argued he should still be allowed to see his six-year-old son.

The boy lives with his mother, who opposed her estranged husband having any contact with their boy.

Both she and the father had previously smacked the boy, the Family Court in Newcastle heard. But the mother claimed he was at risk of physical abuse if left with the father, because of the way the man punished his older sons from a previous relationship.

Under the NSW Crimes Act, the defence of lawful correction permits a parent, or someone acting with their authority, to punish a child with physical force. But the force must be reasonable in light of the child's age, health and maturity, as well as their alleged misbehaviour. Force applied to any part of the child's head or neck, or elsewhere on their body in a way likely to cause harm "for more than a short period", is not considered reasonable.

The court heard that from around the time they were aged aged six or seven, the father hit his two eldest sons with a cricket bat and once left them with bruises and welts after beating them with a broken broom handle. In what judge Stewart Austin called a description of "cruel brutality", a sibling recalled hearing the boys beg for mercy and scream with pain, saw the bat used with such force it broke and saw welts on the boys' bottoms.

The boys are now in their early teens and in state care. The three other children in the household had not been abused by the father.

In determining the case, Justice Austin said it was necessary "to differentiate between physical 'discipline' and physical 'abuse'".

"Despite modern society's changing opinion about the morality of corporal punishment of children, the law of NSW still envisages the legitimate administration of physical discipline by an adult to a child, subject to certain constraints," he said. "It is only when the discipline transcends those constraints that it becomes abusive and ceases to be lawful correction."

Justice Austin described the two older boys as "very troubled children", throwing objects, damaging property and "using weapons like knives, broken glass, hammers and loaded spear guns to threaten people".

But the fact that their behaviour "presented an extraordinarily difficult parenting challenge was not an excuse for the severity of their treatment", he said. Their punishment amounted to abuse and "criminal assaults".

However, the judge granted the father unsupervised visits with his six-year-old son, ruling it was in the child's best interests.

The father was not "so unfit as a parent that he is utterly incapable of safely caring for the child for short stints", Justice Austin said. He noted that the father had undergone parenting courses and the little boy was unlikely to be as challenging as his older stepbrothers.

SOURCE






Final Statement of Geert Wilders at his Trial

Mr. President, Members of the Court,

When I decided to address you here today, by making a final statement in this trial against freedom of speech, many people reacted by telling me it is useless. That you, the court, have already written the sentencing verdict a while ago. That everything indicates that you have already convicted me. And perhaps that is true. Nevertheless, here I am. Because I never give up. And I have a message for you and the Netherlands.

For centuries, the Netherlands are a symbol of freedom.

When one says Netherlands, one says freedom. And that is also true, perhaps especially, for those who have a different opinion than the establishment, the opposition. And our most important freedom is freedom of speech.

We, Dutch, say whatever is close to our hearts. And that is precisely what makes our country great. Freedom of speech is our pride.

And that, precisely that, is at stake here, today.

I refuse to believe that we are simply giving this freedom up. Because we are Dutch. That is why we never mince our words. And I, too, will never do that. And I am proud of that. No-one will be able to silence me.

Moreover, members of the court, for me personally, freedom of speech is the only freedom I still have. Every day, I am reminded of that. This morning, for example. I woke up in a safe-house. I got into an armored car and was driven in a convoy to this high security courtroom at Schiphol. The bodyguards, the blue flashing lights, the sirens. Every day again. It is hell. But I am also intensely grateful for it.

Because they protect me, they literally keep me alive, they guarantee the last bit of freedom left to me: my freedom of speech. The freedom to go somewhere and speak about my ideals, my ideas to make the Netherlands -- our country -- stronger and safer. After twelve years without freedom, after having lived for safety reasons, together with my wife, in barracks, prisons and safe-houses, I know what lack of freedom means.

I sincerely hope that this will never happen to you, members of the court. That, unlike me, you will never have to be protected because Islamic terror organizations, such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS, and who knows how many individual Muslims, want to murder you. That you will no longer be allowed to empty your own mailbox, need to carry a bulletproof vest at meetings, and that there are police officers guarding the door whenever you use the bathroom. I hope you will be spared this.

However, if you would have experienced it -- no matter how much you disagree with my views -- you might perhaps understand that I cannot remain silent. That I should not remain silent. That I must speak. Not just for myself, but for the Netherlands, our country. That I need to use the only freedom that I still have to protect our country. Against Islam and against terrorism. Against immigration from Islamic countries. Against the huge problem with Moroccans in the Netherlands. I cannot remain silent about it; I have to speak out. That is my duty, I have to address it, I must warn for it, I have to propose solutions for it.

I had to give up my freedom to do this and I will continue. Always. People who want to stop me will have to murder me first.

And so, I stand here before you. Alone. But I am not alone. My voice is the voice of many. In 2012, nearly 1 million Dutch have voted for me. And there will be many more on March 15th.

According to the latest poll, soon, we are going to have two million voters. Members of the court, you know these people. You meet them every day. As many as one in five Dutch citizens would vote the Party for Freedom, today. Perhaps your own driver, your gardener, your doctor or your domestic aid, the girlfriend of a registrar, your physiotherapist, the nurse at the nursing home of your parents, or the baker in your neighborhood. They are ordinary people, ordinary Dutch. The people I am so proud of.

They have elected me to speak on their behalf. I am their spokesman. I am their representative. I say what they think. I speak on their behalf. And I do so determinedly and passionately. Every day again, including here, today.

So, do not forget that, when you judge me, you are not just passing judgment on a single man, but on millions of men and women in the Netherlands. You are judging millions of people. People who agree with me. People who will not understand a conviction. People who want their country back, who are sick and tired of not being listened to, who cherish freedom of expression.

Members of the court, you are passing judgment on the future of the Netherlands. And I tell you: if you convict me, you will convict half of the Netherlands. And many Dutch will lose their last bit of trust in the rule of law.

Of course, I should not have been subjected to this absurd trial. Because this is a political trial. It is a political trial because political issues have to be debated in Parliament and not here. It is a political trial because other politicians -- from mostly government parties -- who spoke about Moroccans have not been prosecuted. It is a political trial because the court is being abused to settle a political score with an opposition leader whom one cannot defeat in Parliament.

This trial here, Mr. President, it stinks. It would be appropriate in Turkey or Iran, where they also drag the opposition to court. It is a charade, an embarrassment for the Netherlands, a mockery of our rule of law.

And it is also an unfair trial because, earlier, one of you -- Mrs. van Rens -- commented negatively on the policy of my party and the successful challenge in the previous Wilders trial. Now, she is going to judge me.

What have I actually done to deserve this travesty? I have spoken about fewer Moroccans at a market, and I have asked questions of PVV members during a campaign event. And I did so, members of the court, because we have a huge problem with Moroccans in this country. And almost no-one dares to speak about it or take tough measures. My party alone has been speaking about this problem for years.

Just look at these past weeks: Moroccan fortune-seekers stealing and robbing in Groningen, abusing our asylum system, and Moroccan youths terrorizing entire neighborhoods in Maassluis, Ede and Almere. I can give tens of thousands of other examples -- almost everyone in the Netherlands knows them or has personally experienced nuisance from criminal Moroccans. If you do not know them, you are living in an ivory tower.

I tell you: If we can no longer honestly address problems in the Netherlands, if we are no longer allowed to use the word "alien," if we, Dutch, are suddenly racists because we want Black Pete to remain black, if we only go unpunished if we want more Moroccans or else are dragged before a criminal court, if we sell out our hard-won freedom of expression, if we use the courts to silence an opposition politician, who threatens to become Prime Minister, then this beautiful country will be doomed. That is unacceptable, because we are Dutch and this is our country.

And again, what on earth have I done wrong? How can the fact be justified that I have to stand here as a suspect, as if I robbed a bank or committed murder?

I only spoke about Moroccans at a market and asked a question at an election-night meeting. And anyone who has the slightest understanding of politics, knows that the election-night meetings of every party consist of political speeches full of slogans, one-liners and making maximum use of the rules of rhetoric. That is our job. That is the way it works in politics.

More HERE






The Muslim Non-Shooter at Ohio State

"What you need to know about the shooting at Ohio State," blared a headline at USA Today.

Well, first of all, what you need to know is that it wasn't a shooting at all. It was evidently an 18-year-old Somali refugee — a legal permanent resident of the United States and a student at Ohio State University — who drove a car into a crowd before jumping out to cut and stab people with a butcher knife. (Ohio State is a gun free zone, after all...) A campus security guard opened fire, killing the would-be murderer. (College cupcakes protest cops until they need one.) Several people were hospitalized with injuries, some critical, from either the car or the knife.

Media reports about such attacks are notoriously inaccurate, as various outlets scramble to be the first out with a "news alert." And the template for such incidents is to blame a "gunman." But somehow we don't expect to now see reports of the "carman" or the "knifeman."

NBC notes, "The motive was unknown, but officials said the attack was clearly deliberate and may have been planned in advance." No doubt. After all, it was modeled after attacks in Minnesota and California, as well as another that was slightly more famous — the one in Nice, France. In that attack, as in the aforementioned and countless other attacks, the Islamic State-inspired radical perpetrator yelled "Allahu Akbar!" as he took the lives of innocent victims. In Nice, 85 people were mowed down by a terrorist with a 15-ton truck. In September, The Washington Post reported on the model, as well: "The attacks carried out by Palestinians against Israelis often appear to be spontaneous and opportunistic. Many are undertaken by young, unmarried Palestinians. The most common weapon used is a kitchen knife. The second most common is the family car." Check, and check. The Islamic State has called for such attacks.

Meanwhile, the attacker's Facebook page featured a few clues: "America, stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak... By Allah, we will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims. You will not celebrate or enjoy any holiday." Furthermore, "I am sick and tired of seeing my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters being killed and tortured EVERYWHERE. Seeing my fellow Muslims being tortured, raped and killed in Burma led to a boiling point."

Well, it's not Ohio State students torturing and killing Muslims (and Christians and Jews and others). It's Islamic State radicals.

So you might say that, while the motive is unknown in terms of the official investigation, it is not a reach to speculate that radical Islam is, as usual, the culprit. Yet Obama has imported 43,000 Somalian refugees, 99% of whom are Muslim.

SOURCE






Can Democrats Quit Identity Politics?

For the Democrats, no activity is immune from reflexive accusations of sexism and racism, not even soul-searching.

The initial postelection debate on the left has brought some tentative breaks with the party’s oppressive and self-limiting identity politics. And they have been met, predictably, with a furious counterattack wielding all of the usual rhetorical weapons of identity politics — lest fresh air penetrate the intellectual and political hothouse where transgender bathroom issues loom incredibly large and it is forbidden to say “all lives matter.”

Rep. Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, is mounting a challenge against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and argues that Democrats are hurt by a paint-by-numbers view of politics. “We try to slice the electorate up,” Ryan said on “Meet the Press” over the weekend. “And we try to say, ‘You’re black, you’re brown, you’re gay, you’re straight, you’re a woman, you’re a man.’”

Ryan might have pointed to a critique of his own leadership bid by a writer at the website ThinkProgress, who opined that his run against Pelosi “is how sexism works.” How so? Ryan is a male; Pelosi is a woman. Q.E.D.

Outside of its political effects, this style of argument is childish and intellectually deadening, yet is too ingrained and widespread on the left to be extricated easily.

A recent essay in The New York Times elegantly diagnosed the problem and inadvertently illustrated it. Mark Lilla, a professor at Columbia and highly respected intellectual historian, wrote that “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.”

His piece itself occasioned a moral panic, focused overwhelmingly on how Lilla is, in fact, himself a white male. His op-ed was denounced from the left as “the whitest thing I’ve ever read,” and part of an “unconscionable” assault on “the very people who just put the most energy into defeating Trumpism, coming from those who will be made least vulnerable by Trump’s ascension.”

Most reprehensibly and sophomorically, a Columbia colleague, Katherine Franke, accused Lilla of promoting a “liberalism of white supremacy” (and, for good measure, of “mansplaining”). One wonders if Franke has any conception of words and arguments as a means to persuade rather than to excoriate and shut down debate, or any inkling of her own self-satisfied intolerance.

Bernie Sanders has entered this debate over identity politics, and, incredibly enough, as a voice of reason. He is cautiously on the side of less emphasis on race and gender. “It’s not good enough,” Sanders said the other day, “for someone to say: ‘I’m a woman! Vote for me!’” (Whom possibly could he have been thinking of?) The Vermont socialist argues, not surprisingly, that his style of populist economics is the real key to appealing to working-class voters.

The Sanders approach will have a lot of allure for Democrats, since it promises renewed political success on the basis of Hillary Clinton’s policy agenda, only more so. There’s nothing more comforting to any political party than the idea that the true religion is also a reliable vote-getter.

What Democrats won’t want to grapple with is that their problem with Middle America goes deeper than an insufficiently socialistic economic agenda, and deeper than their hard-to-control instinct to call people who disagree with them names. To have broader appeal, Democrats will actually have to meet working-class voters partway on a few cultural issues, whether it is abortion or guns or immigration, even if their concessions are symbolical or rhetorical.

This is what Bill Clinton did in the 1990s when he made inroads into what would come to be known as Red America. This will be a truly painful step, and surely anyone advocating it will be accused of every -ism and -phobia in the book.

SOURCE

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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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Mother is branded 'sexist and disgusting' after asking for advice on how to discourage her son from learning ballet

The subtext here is that male ballet dancers are frequently homosexual -- and a mother is entitled to discourage her son from such an unhealthy and unhappy lifestyle.  Just for starters, there is a very high incidence of spousal abuse among homosexual couples

It may have once been traditional for boys to play football and girls to do ballet but nowadays many children feel free to take up activities regardless of gender. 

However, one pushy parent took to Mumsnet to ask for advice on how to discourage her son from taking ballet lessons.

The woman said her son is an aspiring model and explained that she doesn't think the extra-curricular activity 'is going to fit in'.

In her post, Mumsnet user Ironriver said: 'How do I put my son off wanting to do ballet? I'm showing him how cool football, rugby and karate are but he's having none of it.  'He does modelling and I don't think ballet is going to fit in. Lots of the boys do football and other sports so I would like him to do that. Any ideas?'

Many commenters were outraged at the mother's behaviour and suggested she should let her son pursue his own interests.

Concerned commenter OohhThatsMe said: 'Your poor child, having such a sexist mother.'

Shocked reader coolaschmoola added: 'Stop being so bloody sexist and let him do the thing he is interested in and actually wants to do.

'It's 2016! Boys don't just play football. Just like not all girls do ballet.'

Other commenters were surprised that the woman had already decided her should would become a model.

Dodobookends said: 'He's nine and you have already chosen his career for him? Absurd.'

Some even suggested that taking up ballet would be beneficial to any future modelling aspirations. 

OlennasWimple said: 'Ballet would give him excellent posture, teach him to move well and have a better idea how to use his body effectively. 'And less chance he'll break his nose or get a cauliflower ear.'

OohhThatsMe added: 'Actually ballet would REALLY help a modelling career. In what way would football do that?

'Look at the girls doing modelling - most will have studied ballet.'

SOURCE






Israeli Bill to Hush Mosque Call to Prayer Stokes Controversy Among Muslims--Others Too

Proposed legislation in Israel’s parliament to prohibit the use of loudspeakers to transmit the five-times daily Muslim call to prayer is causing dismay among adherents of more than one religious group.

A preliminary vote on the so-called muezzin bill (a muezzin is the mosque official who recites the call to prayer) is scheduled for early next week.

It is not clear how the legislation, if adopted, would impact numerous areas of Israel and the West Bank that are under complex jurisdictional ruling and home to a mixture of religions.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere throughout the country, the three monotheistic faiths contribute to the cacophony of sounds at various times and on different days of the week.

The daily Muslim calls to prayer begin at about 4 a.m. and can be heard to differing degrees, depending on where you are. Where mosques are in close proximity to one another, there is a lot of overlap and duplication.

In Jerusalem, the Jewish “shabbat alarm,” which is essentially an air-raid siren, sounds every Friday at sundown to tell residents the sabbath has begun. Church bells ring on Sunday and important holidays.

Yaakov Litzman, Israel’s ultra-Orthodox deputy health minister, initially blocked the bill over concerns that it could be extended to include the shabbat alarm. Last week, Litzman withdrew his opposition after a loophole was added for the alarm, Ha’aretz reported.

In Bethlehem, which is heavily dependent on Christian pilgrims for tourism at several points during the year, the town’s main tourist center is home to a mosque with a loudspeaker set at a very high volume. The mosque towers over Manger Square, and faces the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

The town’s Christmas tree stands right in front of the church and numerous Christmas holiday traditions take place in or near the square.

Local business owners, many of whom are Arab Christians, don’t seem to mind the blend of sounds, though.

“I’m not against it, for sure,” said Sami Khouri, general manager of the Visit Palestine visitor center and gift shop-cafe a few hundred feet from Manger Square. “Turning down the volume is somewhat okay, but preventing them from doing it isn’t right.”

Khouri, who also runs a tourism company and lives in Jerusalem, says it’s just part of life in the region.

“Even where I live in Jerusalem, there are two mosques [making the call to prayer] nearby, five times a day. I just think this is co-existence,” he said. “The mosque has been there for who knows how long – and we also ring the church bells. For tourists, it’s part of the flavor. For me it’s part of the sounds of Jerusalem, the ambience.”

However, Khouri and others do suggest that if multiple mosques are situated in a given area they could possibly coordinate their broadcasts. The caveat is popular sentiment, but is not part of the bill before the Israeli parliament.

Some areas in the West Bank technically under full Palestinian Authority control have protested by staging multifaith demonstrations, with hundreds of Muslims, Christians, and Jewish Samaritans singing the call to prayer together.

Nablus is the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank and home to hundreds of mosques, which together produce a wall of uncoordinated sound.

The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is almost evenly divided on the issue, according to a poll on one of the community’s websites, Kikar HaShabat (Sabbath Corner). The poll found that 42 percent of respondents were against the bill.

There are also individuals working together behind the scenes, with unlikely, discreet alliances between some Arab and ultra-Orthodox lawmakers, according to a report in Al-Monitor.

Disputes over mosque calls to prayer are not uncommon, both in Western and Muslim countries. In 2004, some of the 23,000 residents of the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck, Michigan were at odds over mosque loudspeakers, with some telling local media they were simply “too loud.”

In Dubai in 2011, the volume of a mosque was checked twice for decibel level after residents complained about crying children being woken up at 4 a.m.

An online Indonesian housing forum for expats recommends visiting a potential new home “to make sure you can handle the disruption to the peace and quiet of your home during the call to prayer.”

SOURCE






The left is creating a new kind of apartheid

The student union at King’s College London will field a team in University Challenge that contains at least 50 per cent “self-defining women, trans or non-binary students”. The only bad thing Ken Livingstone could bring himself to say about the brutal dictator Fidel Castro was that “initially he wasn’t very good on lesbian and gay rights”. The first page of Hillary Clinton’s campaign website (still up) has links to “African Americans for Hillary, Latinos for Hillary, Asian Americans and Pacific islanders for Hillary, Women for Hillary, Millennials for Hillary”, but none to “men for Hillary”, let alone “white people for Hillary”.

Since when did the left insist on judging people by — to paraphrase Martin Luther King — the colour of their skin rather than the content of their character? The left once admirably championed the right of black people, women and gays to be treated the same as white, straight men. With only slightly less justification, it then moved on to pushing affirmative action to redress past prejudice. Now it has gone further, insisting everybody is defined by his or her identity and certain victim identities must be favoured.

Given the history of such stereotyping, it is baffling that politicians on the left cannot see where this leads. The prime exponents of identity politics in the past were the advocates of apartheid, of antisemitism, and of treating women as the legal chattels of men. “We are sleepwalking our way to segregation,” Trevor Phillips says.

Identity politics is thus very old-fashioned. Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism, says equality feminism — fair treatment, respect and dignity — is being eclipsed in universities by a Victorian “fainting couch feminism”, which views women as “fragile flowers who require safe spaces, trigger warnings and special protection from micro-invalidations”. Sure enough, when she said this at Oberlin College, Ohio, 35 students and a “therapy dog” sought refuge in a safe room.

It is just bad biology to focus on race, sex or sexual orientation as if they mattered most about people. We’ve known for decades — and Marxist biologists such as Dick Lewontin used to insist on this point — that the genetic differences between two human beings of the same race are maybe ten times as great as the average genetic difference between two races. Race really is skin deep. Sex goes deeper, for sure, because of developmental pathways, but still the individual differences between men and men, or women and women, or gays and gays, are far more salient than any similarities.

The Republican sweep in the American election cannot be blamed solely on the culture wars, but they surely played a part. Take the “bathroom wars” that broke out during the early stages of the campaign. North Carolina’s legislature heavy-handedly required citizens to use toilets that corresponded to their birth gender. The Obama administration heavy-handedly reacted by insisting that every school district in the country should do no such thing or lose its federal funding. This was a gift to conservatives: “Should a grown man pretending to be a woman be allowed to use . . . the same restroom used by your daughter? Your wife?,” asked Senator Ted Cruz.

White men played the identity card at the American ballot box
There is little doubt that to some extent white men played the identity card at the ballot box in reaction to the identity politics of the left. In a much-discussed essay for The New York Times after the election, Mark Lilla of Columbia University mused that Hillary Clinton’s tendency to “slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, LGBT and women voters at every stop” was a mistake: “If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them.”

He argues that “the fixation on diversity in our schools and the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life . . . By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good.” As many students woke up to discover on November 9, identity politics is “expressive, not persuasive”.

Last week, in an unbearably symbolic move, Hampshire College in Massachusetts removed the American flag — a symbol of unity if ever there was one — from campus in order to make students feel safer. The university president said the removal would “enable us to instead focus our efforts on racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviours”. There are such attitudes in America, for sure, but I am willing to bet they are not at their worst at Hampshire College, Massachusetts.

The one group that is increasingly excluded from campuses, with never a peep of complaint from activists, is conservatives. Data from the Higher Education Research Institute show the ratio of left-wing professors to right-wing professors went from 2:1 in 1995 to 6:1 today. The “1” is usually in something such as engineering and keeps his or her head down. Fashionable joke: what’s the opposite of diversity? University.

This is not a smug, anti-American argument. British universities are hurtling down the same divisive path. Feminists including Germaine Greer, Julie Bindel and Kate Smurthwaite have been “no-platformed” at British universities, along with speakers for Ukip and Israel, but not Islamic State. Universities are becoming like Victorian aunts, brooking no criticism of religion, treating women as delicate flowers and turning up their noses at Jews.

The government is conducting an “independent” review into Britain’s sharia courts, which effectively allow women to be treated differently if they are Muslim. The review is chaired by a Muslim and advised by two imams. And far too many government forms still insist on knowing whether the applicant is (I have taken the list from the Office for National Statistics guidance): “Gypsy or Irish Traveller, White and Black Caribbean, White and Black African, White and Asian, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, African, Caribbean, Arab, or any other ethnic group”. So bleeding what?

The left has vacated the moral high ground on which it won so many fine battles to treat human beings equally. The right must occupy that ground and stand for universal human values and equal treatment for all.

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Fake news and post‑truth: the handmaidens of Western relativism

It isn’t Macedonian teens who killed truth and objectivity

Internet-savvy 16-year-old boys in Macedonia are undermining Western journalism and democracy. Have you ever encountered a faker news story than that? This is the great irony of the fake-news panic that has swept the Western media in recent days, with observers now claiming that the promotion of made-up news on Facebook may have swung the election for Donald Trump and done GBH to the Western ideals of objectivity and reason: it is underpinned by illusions of its own; by a refusal to grapple with hard truths about the West’s own jettisoning of those values; and by an urge to invent bogeymen that is every bit as dislocated from reality as are those myth-peddling kids in the East.

Still reeling from the failure of their idol Hillary Clinton to get to the White House, mainstream observers and politicians this week came up with another thing to blame: BS news. They claim the spread of stories like ‘The pope loves Trump’ and ‘Hillary is a paedophile’, many of which originate on phoney-news websites in Eastern Europe and get loads of likes among Westerners on Facebook, is a threat to truth and to the very practice of democracy. Angela Merkel bemoaned the ‘fake sites, bots, trolls’ which ‘manipulate’ public opinion and make politics and democracy harder. President Obama slammed this ‘active misinformation’, arguing that ‘if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made’, then we ‘lose so much of what we’ve gained in terms of democratic freedoms’.

Liberal columnists, wounded that so much of the public ignored their overtures first on Brexit and then on Trump, claim good, decent, supposedly ‘elitist’ journalism must now assert itself. Our role in ‘seeking the truth’ must be ‘harnessed with steely determination’, says one. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour says the ‘tsunami of fake-news sites’ is an affront to journalism and the thing that journalism helps to facilitate: democracy. We must now fight ‘hard for the truth’ in this world where ‘the Oxford English Dictionary just announced that its word of 2016 [is] “post-truth”’, she says. Numerous hacks have been despatched to Macedonia and Russia to confront the fresh-faced youths who run these fake-news sites for cash. ‘How teens in the Balkans are duping Trump supporters’, says one headline. ‘Russian propaganda effort helped spread “fake news” during election’, says another. The image we’re left with is of dastardly Easterners suckering stupid Westerners and undermining the democratic tradition, and now pain-faced, well-minded columnists must stand up to this foreign threat to reason.

It’s the fakest news story of the week. It might not be as utterly invented as the one about Hillary’s people abusing children in a pizza restaurant in Washington, DC. But it involves a profounder avoidance of truth, a deeper unwillingness to face up to facts. In particular the fact that the rise of fake news, ‘alternative news’ and conspiracy theories speaks not to the wicked interventions of myth-spreaders from without, but to the corrosion of reason within, right here in the West. It speaks to the declining moral and cultural authority of our own political and media class. It is the Western world’s own abandonment of objectivity, and loss of legitimacy in the eyes of its populace, that has nurtured something of a free-for-all on the facts and news front. Those Macedonian kids aren’t denting democracy or damaging objectivity – they’re merely milking a Western crisis of objectivity that began long before they were born.

The first striking thing about the fake-news panic is its naked paternalism. The suggestion is that voters, especially those of a ‘low-information’, redneck variety, were hoodwinked into voting Trump by outlandish stories about how evil Hillary is. Fake news whacks people who ‘could not… recognise [or] fact-check’, says Amanpour. It’s a ‘post-truth era’ where you can ‘play [people] like a fiddle’, says a liberal writer in the US. A Guardian columnist says people ‘easily believe’ lies that play to their prejudices and then ‘pass them on thoughtlessly’. We’re given the impression that masses of people are incapable of deciphering fact from fiction. They cast their votes on the basis of a daft pizza-paedo link they saw on Facebook. With a loud sneer, observers write off the general public’s capacity for reason and willingness to engage seriously with democratic decisions. Ironically, this demeaning of the demos, this calling into question of the very idea that underpins modern politics – that the public is reasoned and must be allowed to steer the fate of their nation – does far greater damage to the value and standing of democracy than any spotty Macedonian with a laptop could ever do.

Then came the paternalistic solutions. We need new ‘gatekeepers’, columnists claim: professionals who have the resources and brains to work out what’s true and what’s a lie and ensure that people see more of the former. Obama and others suggest Facebook must get better at curating news, sorting truth from falsehood on behalf of its suggestible users. The suggestion is that the internet, having thrown open the world of reportage and commentary to everyone, having enabled anyone with a computer or phone to say their piece, has disoriented truth and democracy and now must be tamed, or at least better managed.

This echoes the elite fears that greeted the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. Then, the religious authorities – the gatekeepers of their day – worried that all sorts of heresy might now find its way into the public’s minds and hearts, unfiltered by their wise, godly counsel. Today’s aspiring gatekeepers panic that fake news will get into and warp the minds of the little people in this era when knowledge filtering has been stripped back even further, so that increasingly the citizen stands alone before the claims and counter-claims of those who publish. And apparently this fake news often contains heresies of its own. In his interview with the New Yorker, Obama strikingly bemoaned the ‘fake news’ of climate-change scepticism, where ‘an explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll’. This cuts to the 15th-century-echoing fear that motors the panic over fake news: the belief that it will allow not only outright lies, but new heresies, new blasphemies, different ways of thinking, to make an appeal to people’s beliefs and convictions. The call to filter social media is a paternalistic call to protect the public from bad or mad or dangerous thoughts, in a similar way that early clampdowns on the printing press were designed to keep ‘evil’ from the swarm.

What this censorious, anti-demos view overlooks is the positive side to today’s unprecedented throwing-open of debate and news and politics: the fact that it implicitly calls on the citizen to use his own mental and moral muscles, to confront the numerous different versions of the world offered to him and decide which one sounds most right. Surely the internet’s downside of fake news is more than outweighed by its invitation to us to negotiate the rapids of public debate for ourselves and make up our own minds? ‘Ideally, in a democracy, everybody would agree that climate change is a consequence of man-made behaviour, because that’s what 99 per cent of scientists tell us’, said Obama in his handwringing over fake news. No. The ideal thing in a democracy isn’t that we believe something because scientists, or politicians, or priests, have told us it’s true; it’s that we believe something because we have considered it, thought about it, weighed it up against other things, and then deployed our own judgement. Believing something because others tell you it’s true isn’t democracy – it’s oligarchy.

Even the extent to which fake news is a bad thing – and of course it can be – its rise is not a result of wicked foreign poking into Western politics and debate. Rather, it speaks to the hollowing-out of the whole idea of truth in the West, to the march of the relativistic notion that objectivity is not only difficult but undesirable. The image of the old gatekeepers of knowledge, or just news, being elbowed aside either by new technologies or by interfering Easterners is wrong; it is more accurate to say that these gatekeepers gave up, and abandoned their posts, on the basis that it is arrogant to assume that any one way of seeing or reporting the world is better than another.

For the past two decades, Western news reporting has openly called into question its own definitiveness. It has thrown open news items to ceaseless commenting below the line, on the basis that ‘news coverage is a partnership’, as the BBC’s Richard Sandbrook said in 2005. It celebrated ‘citizen journalism’ as a realer, less top-down form of newsgathering. And it has jettisoned the very thing that distinguished it from other, more opinionated views on world events: its objectivity. From the rise of the ‘journalism of attachment’ in the 1990s, in which journalists eschewed the apparently cold, forensic habit of objectivity and took sides with the most victimised groups in certain conflicts and situations, to the media’s embrace of ‘data journalism’ in the 2000s, where churning through thousands of leaked documents took the place of discovering stories and faithfully reporting them, Western journalism has redefined its mission from one of objectively discovering truth to simply offering its increasingly technical or emotional take on what might, or might not, have happened.

Journalists have explicitly disavowed objectivity, and with it their ‘gatekeeping’ role. It is time to ‘toss out objectivity as a goal’, said Harvard journalism expert Dan Gilmor in 2005. By 2010, even Time magazine, self-styled epitome of the Western journalistic style, was celebrating ‘The End of “Objectivity”’. The ‘new-media openness [has] upended the old media’s poker-faced stoicism – and it’s about time’, it said. The Western media started to replace the ideal of objectivity with values such as fairness, transparency and balance. And as one European observer pointed out, these are very different to objectivity: where objectivity points to ‘the active quest for truth’, these newer, more technical values reduce the news media to just another voice ‘among the many voices in a pluralistic world’. When someone like Amanpour says Western journalism and democracy are in ‘mortal peril’, largely thanks to ‘foreign powers like Russia paying to churn out… false news’, she overlooks journalism’s weakening of its own ideals and authority, including by her and others in the 1990s when they ditched objectivity in preference for taking sides in conflicts like the one in Bosnia. She conspiratorially displaces on to Russia a crisis of objectivity that has its origins in the newsrooms and academies and political chambers of the West.

The abandonment of objectivity in journalism did not happen in a vacuum. It sprung from, and in turn intensified, a rejection of reason in the West, a disavowal of the idea of truth, and its replacement either by the far more technical ambition of being ‘evidence-based’ or by highly emotional responses to world events. Indeed, the greatest irony in the fake-news panic, and in the whole post-Brexit, post-Trump talk of a new ‘post-truth’ era, is that it was the very guardians of Western culture and knowledge, the very establishment now horrified by how the little people think and vote, who made us ‘post-truth’; who oversaw the turn against Enlightenment in the academy, the calling into question of ‘male’ science, the throttling of the idea of any one, clear morality to which people might subscribe, and the rubbishing of the entire project of objectivity, even of ‘news’ as we understood it. When Obama says we live in an era where ‘everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made’, he isn’t wrong. Only that refusal to distinguish, to judge, to elevate truer things over questionable things, is not down to Facebook or Macedonians or allegedly dumb Trump voters – it is an accomplishment of the very post-Enlightenment, self-doubting, technocratic elites Obama is part of.

And what happens when you give up your conviction that truth can be discovered, and instead promote the idea that all ways of looking at the world, and interpreting the world, and feeling the world, have validity? You disorientate public discussion. You slay your own cultural authority. You create a situation where people doubt you, often with good reason, and go looking for other sources of information. You create the space for other claims of truth, some of them good and exciting, some of them mad and fake. Don’t blame Russia, or us, for the crisis of journalism and democracy or for our so-called ‘post-truth’ times. You did this. You, the gatekeepers. We’ll be our own gatekeepers now, thanks.

SOURCE

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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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016



Germany's Merkel announces plan to deport 100,000 migrants

ANGELA MERKEL today announced plans to deport 100,000 migrants who arrived in Germany last year as she continues to backtrack on her controversial open door asylum policy.

The beleaguered Chancellor said authorities would significantly step up the rate of forced returns as she battles to arrest an alarming slump in her popularity which has fuelled a surge in support for the far-right.

Mrs Merkel, whose decision to roll out the red carpet to migrants from across Africa and the Middle East spectacularly backfired, has taken an increasingly tough tone on immigration in recent months.

And in her toughest rhetoric yet the German leader told MPs from her party this week: ”The most important thing in the coming months is repatriation, repatriation and once more, repatriation.”

The stance marks an astonishing U-turn from the once pro-refugee Chancellor, who has been widely pilloried by critics at home and abroad for her decision to throw open Germany’s borders to millions of migrants.

Her extraordinary change of heart has been prompted largely by a series of catastrophic local election results for her ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, which was trounced by the populist Alternative fur Deutschland in both her home state and the capital Berlin.

The party’s slumping poll ratings have sparked alarm amongst her allies in both the CDU and its coalition partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU), with talk that senior officials would try to oust her.

But instead Mrs Merkel last week announced her intention to stand for a fourth term as leader of Germany, and now she is striking an increasingly anti-immigrant tone as she attempts to restore her battered reputation ahead of next autumn’s election.

Speaking at a conference of conservative MPs in Neum√ľnster yesterday evening the Chancellor revealed that she expects 100,000 migrants to leave Germany this year, of which a third will be forcibly removed.

And employing a tough new form of rhetoric, she warned local regions to deport all migrants whose asylum applications are rejected, using force if necessary.

She warned them: "If state governments refuse to forcibly deport migrants, then of course everyone will say, 'I will not do this voluntarily, because they will not do anything anyway’.

And in a stunning U-turn on her open borders policy, she added: ”It can not be that all the young people from Afghanistan come to Germany.”

Her rhetoric this week is a far cry from the now infamous rallying cry of Wir Schaffen Das - ‘we can do this’ - which the beleaguered leader has now dropped after issuing a statement verging on an apology.

It is estimated that some 215,000 migrants have been denied the right to stay in Germany over the last 18 months, most because they come from countries in eastern Europe and north Africa which are not ravaged by war.

Mrs Merkel is now insisting that resources must be concentrated on refugees fleeing war and turmoil who genuinely needed support, and that public acceptance for asylum seekers can only be maintained by deporting economic migrants trying to abuse the system.

SOURCE






On taking offence

One of the rules I try to live by is not to take offense when no offense is intended. A corollary to that rule is to presume, whenever possible, that no offense was intended. This is not, I admit, a discipline I've mastered perfectly. But it's not as hard as you might think. Make a daily point of affirming that you harbor no ill will, and you tend not to smolder with resentment and unresolved umbrage. At a time when Americans by the millions seem to go out of their way to keep themselves in a state of high dudgeon, choosing not to be offended can be wonderfully refreshing.

Not taking offense isn't the same as not having pet peeves. (I've got a bunch of those.) Nor does it mean never condemning shameful, foolish, or destructive behavior. (Where would newspaper columnists be if we never uttered any criticism?) It does mean recognizing that being offended is always a choice, and that other people's words and views can bend you out of shape only if you choose to let them have that effect.

This isn't a column about politics, but during last week's "Hamilton" kerfuffle, Vice President-elect Mike Pence provided a pitch-perfect demonstration of how not to take offense. Rather than bristle and fume when he was booed by audience members and pointedly addressed by the cast during the curtain call, Pence took it all with gracious equanimity. "I wasn't offended," he said afterward. He praised the "great, great show" and the "incredibly talented" cast, and made clear that actor Brandon Dixon's impassioned statement from the stage didn't trouble him or require any apology.

"I nudged my kids," Pence told Fox News, "and reminded them, 'That's what freedom sounds like.'"

And that, in turn, is what a mature emotional perspective sounds like. It would be nice to encounter more of it in our national discourse.

Unfortunately, picking at scabs has become a national pastime. Americans have lost their ability to shrug off other people's obnoxious comments or insensitive gestures or politically incorrect views. Instead of rolling their eyes and letting it pass, they proclaim: "I'm offended." They demand apologies. They insist on "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces." They howl about "microaggressions" and whinge about "mansplaining" and compile lists of banned words. When they get offended, they expect heads to roll or companies to be blackballed. They even take offense on behalf of people who don't take offense.

Remember Frank Costanza? He was the character on "Seinfeld" who invented Festivus, an idiosyncratic family holiday commemorated with a dinner, an aluminum pole, feats of strength, and — the high point — an Airing of Grievances. "I got a lot of problems with you people!" bellows Costanza to those at his Festivus table. "And now you're gonna hear about it!"

It was funny as a sitcom shtick. As a national pastime, perpetual outrage is exhausting and debilitating. America could do with a little less Frank Costanza and a little more Mike Pence.

As Mike Pence knows but Frank Costanza doesn't, offense is never really given. It's taken.

Waxing wroth when we're offended may feel temporarily satisfying, but the weight of all those chips on our shoulders does long-term damage. "In my work treating alcoholics," writes Abraham Twerski, a psychiatrist and founder of the renowned Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, there is "great emphasis on divesting oneself of resentments," since "resentments are probably the single greatest factor responsible for relapse." Twerski quotes one recovering alcoholic's insight: "Carrying resentments is like letting someone who you don't like live inside your head rent-free." No lasting benefit comes from that, but all kinds of misery do.

In a society that often seems to thrive on taking offense — just turn on talk radio, or read an online comments section, or follow Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren on Twitter — it can't be overemphasized that nursing a grievance is always optional. You may not be able to control other people's opinions, ignorance, bad jokes, or political loyalties. But you alone determine how you react to them.

Everyone knows the biblical injunction to "love thy neighbor as thyself." Less well known is the first half of the verse: "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge." That's excellent counsel, for believers and nonbelievers alike.

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“Fake News” Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

For whatever strange reason, the entire failed pundit class became interested in the notion of purging so-called “fake news” all at once, immediately following an election that produced an outcome they despise. I’m sure it was just a big coincidence that they all suddenly coalesced around this potential solution.

Back in August I wrote on the folly of obsequiously begging Silicon Valley tech titans to attain social progress on your behalf. That was in the context of the craze around curtailing so-called “targeted harassment” on Twitter, but the same concept applies here: if you’re requesting that Mark Zuckerberg and @jack use the blunt instruments of censure and extirpation to suppress phenomena you dislike, you’re ensuring that the phenomena won’t actually be curtailed. It will just manifest elsewhere. You’re also ensuring that people with conspiratorial inclinations will assume that the “powers that be” are maliciously restricting their ability to consume information, thus increasing their level of alienation from the existing political/media order. You’re also demanding that these tech princes be endowed with extraordinary power — they already have a ton, but you want them to have more, and you want them to exert their power in service of removing certain types of information from the free internet. That’s what you want done.

These are fundamentally authoritarian impulses. Maybe not “authoritarian” in the sense of explicitly violating citizens’ civil liberties — authoritarian in a softer, but still insidious, sense. You want these all-knowing tech demigods to solve social problems for you, instead of undertaking the hard work of solving them yourself. How to solve them? How about helping to remake presently-loathed institutions such that they’re not automatically distrusted by wide swathes of the populace. That might help. How about trying to reform the political system such that the anxieties of ordinary people are actually addressed substantively, so they don’t feel the need to latch onto “fake news” floating out there in cyberspace to explain why they are incredibly disillusioned.

I can also guarantee you, with 100% certainty, that the specter of “fake news” will be wielded as an ideological cudgel. I already have evidence for this, as the Washington Post has published a ridiculous report citing a team of unvetted “independent researchers” who have produced “a list” (love that neo-McCarthyite sloganeering) of all the worst offenders on the internet in terms of propagating “fake news” at the behest of sinister Russian agitators.

Included on the list that the Washington Post trumpeted, and which was breathlessly promoted by cartoonish political elites such as Neera Tanden, are several reputable media outlets of longstanding provenance that happen to diverge from the mainstream pundit consensus, and are therefore viewed as unconscionable:

That’s just a small selection. You’ll notice that the “blacklisted” media entities include examples from both the left and right, proving that the operative ideological function of the “fake news” crusade is about discrediting media that deviates from the establishmentarian consensus, rather than enforcing any kind of traditionally “ideological” goal in the sense of the hoary liberal/conservative dichotomy.

That will be the function of the coming “fake news” expurgation campaign — not to instate any kind of objective measures of determining what is “fake” news and what is “real,” but mandating conformity, and punishing those who defy conformist standards.
If these people were sincerely interested in doing away with “fake news,” the first thing to do would be to look inward. They would be reprimanding many of their own esteemed colleagues and demanding that they permanently withdraw from public life. But of course they won’t do this, even though there was plenty of flagrant misinformation propagated by the more conventional “mainstream” press over the course of this election cycle — you won’t see the Washington Post demand that those responsible be purged.

Furthermore, the Washington Post itself propagated a veritable avalanche of fake news, notably by way of its lunatic “columnist” Anne Applebaum, who repeatedly spread debunked and fake conspiracies that Trump was a knowing conspirator of the Russian intelligence apparatus.

Joy Reid of MSNBC spread one of the most egregious examples of fake news that I have ever seen, but she never retracted it or apologized, and (to the best of my knowledge) was never sanctioned by MSNBC higher-ups. Her fakery was then amplified by neoconservative speechwriter and Hillary supporter David Frum.

Much like the word “terrorism,” the phrase “fake news” will be manipulated to accord with whatever pre-existing ideological commitments its newfound opponents already espouse. There really is a problem with false information circulating on the internet, but the main perpetrators are failed media elites.

SOURCE





Farmers left feeling 'very threatened' and unable to sleep after a new animal rights campaign group abuses slaughterhouse staff and writes anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls

Farmers have reportedly been left unable to sleep and 'very threatened' after a new animal rights campaign group has started to invade slaughterhouses in the UK.

The vegan group, called The Save Movement, now has 24 branches in the UK from Cornwall in the south to Scotland in the north. They have 'Save groups' in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, USA, Sweden and Poland and they claim to use a 'love-based approach'.

The description of the movement also adds that they focus on 'non-violence' and they believe animals are individuals which have rights.

But some groups have taken a different approach and it is 'only a matter of time' before a protester or worker gets hurt, according to an industry spokesman.

The movement - which has a 'zero tolerance approach to animal exploitation' - has staged around 60 demonstrations, reports Andrew Gilligan at the Sunday Times.

And it seems the number of protesters ranges from a handful of people to more than 50 activists.

Their demonstrations included an invasion of a kosher abattoir in London and anti-Semitic graffiti was plastered on the walls.

A video of the East London Chicken Save - a branch of The Save Movement - shows activists enter the Kedassia kosher abattoir in Hackney Wick earlier this month.

They pushed past security and abused staff because they were 'helping to kill babies', reports the newspaper.

Police were called and a group spokesman criticised the arrival of officers. They said the police presence stopped them 'from liberating these innocent chickens'.

The 12-minute video, which was uploaded to YouTube, has been viewed more than 5,000 times.

A caption underneath the video said: 'East London Chicken Save were able to get inside the slaughterhouse and the kill room.

'The pipes were filled with guts and the stench of death and faeces was overwhelming. 'The chickens in the truck were extremely disfigured and many had huge sores on their bodies.'

And following a second demonstration last week, anti-Semitic graffiti was daubed on the walls of a London abattoir.  A Star of David was drawn on the walls along with refences to Nazism, reports the newspaper.

The Save Movement said: 'We have a strict code of conduct which rejects any form of violence, intimidation,and racism, including anti-Semitism.' 

Lizzie Wilson, from the National Pig Association, told the newspaper: 'It has grown up very quickly. In the main, they are a peaceful protest and entitled to their views.  'It's when they start to become more aggressive that it's obviously a concern.'

She added that some farmers felt 'threatened' and can't sleep at night after some groups turned up at farms and slaughterhouses at night.

This resulted in extra police patrolling the areas surrounding the farms because people are worried the protests will 'continue to escalate', reports the paper.

A British Meat Processors Association spokesman said campaigners were jumping in front of lorries in order to get their point across. He said: 'It is only a matter of time before a protester of a member of plant staff is injured.' 

SOURCE

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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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Monday, November 28, 2016



Italy is poised to become next country to reject the establishment as shock poll finds referendum protest vote is poised to beat the government

The upcoming vote on prime minister Matteo Renzi's reforms will be thrown out by an 11 percentage point margin in the south of the country, according to a Demos poll. 

It is being seen as his failure to reach out to the working class in the poorest areas of Italy, predominantly located in the south.

The vote could prompt an exit from the European Union and rejection would follow results in the Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidency race in citizens turning their back on the political status quo.

Italy is proposing to run a budget deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP for the year, significantly higher than the 1.8 percent level it had promised to deliver earlier this year.

Deputies on Friday voted overwhelmingly in favour of a draft 2017 budget that the European Commission has warned will breach EU rules on the management of public finances.

Luca Comodo, director at polling company Ipsos, told the paper voters think blocking the government's plans is a vote against the establishment and said: 'The south is where protest and rage are amplified.'

A rejected vote would reduce the senate's influence and withdraw power from 20 regional governments in the country. 

The issue has provoked sharp exchanges in recent weeks with Renzi seen in some quarters as Brussels-bashing in the run-up to a December 4 referendum on constitutional reform, on which he has staked his political future.

New spending plans in the budget include two billion euros more for healthcare, one billion for education and measues to help small companies and poorer families.

Renzi said earlier this month that he would no longer bow to "diktats" from Brussels over fiscal restraints he regards as counterproductive at a time when most of the eurozone is struggling.

He has also threatened to block the approval of the EU institutions' collective budget if other countries do not offer Italy more help in coping with the arrival of thousands of migrants on its southern shores.

A 2017 deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP would leave Italy comfortably within the EU ceiling of three percent.

But the Commission's economists say Rome should bring down its deficit faster to ensure that the upward trend in the country's huge debt mountain - equivalent to over 130 percent of GDP - is reversed.

The 2017 budget law will only be definitively approved once it has been examined by the second chamber of parliament, the Senate, which has not scheduled any debate on it until after the December 4 referendum.

SOURCE






Another Trump/Brexit/Hanson event and the Australian Greens have a fit

NSW has a Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, the name of which is self-explanatory.  They mainly want an easing of gun laws but you can see similarities with Trump and other recent uprisings against political correctness.  They have previously got seats in the NSW Upper House only -- with the help of proportional representation.  Now that they have taken a lower house seat it is therefore quite an upset


The NSW MPs of the Australian Greens have chucked one of the most childish and immature tantrums ever seen in any Australian Parliament, after Orange elected Mr Phillip Donato from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP).

The three Greens MPs including Tamara Smith, Jenny Leong and Jamie Parker have announced they do not want to sit with the newly elected MP from the SFFP.  Resorting to behaviour better suited to your local primary school, they have asked that Mr Donato be seated with the Labor MPs.

Ms Leong who has clearly been triggered by this event has spoken out and declared that Mr Donato should sit “with his Labor mates,” a swipe at Labor for preferencing the SFFP over the Greens in the by-election. It is clear to see that the Greens are deeply and emotionally scarred by the tragic preferencing deal.

The people have spoken and it is time for the greens to take a big spoonful of cement and harden up.  Our parliaments are not places for the weak hearted.

SOURCE.  More background on Mr Donato here.  He is no rube.





Privately-funded (better measured, more accountable) social services

Jeremy Sammut

National Adoption Awareness Week has redrawn attention to the appallingly few adoptions in Australia -- despite the appallingly high number of children in foster care that will never go home safely.

The opponents of adoption continue to claim the real problem with the child protection system is that not enough is done to help parents to stop kids entering care.

They falsely claim that adoption advocates (such as me) believe that early intervention services are a "waste of time" (see this review of my book).

This is nonsense, of course.  The problem is that child protection services bend over backwards to support parents to the point that children suffer prolonged abuse and neglect; hence there are many thousands of damaged children in care with maltreatment-related 'high needs' -- development, emotional, and other problems.

The critics also ignore the lack of evidence to support the 'family preservation' policies they endorse.

Take the 2015 Victorian Auditor General's report that found there was no way of knowing whether increased government spending on family support services  was "effectively meeting the needs of vulnerable groups ... because there are significant limitations in the service performance data and a lack of outcomes monitoring at the system level."

This is a sector-wide problem identified by my (sadly departing) colleague Trisha Jha in her excellent recent report detailing the lack of robust evaluations of early childhood interventions.

But change is slowly occurring in the social services sector, driven by privately-financed funding initiatives. The Benevolent Society's privately-financed Social Benefit Bond is used to fund the Resilient Families programs, which has had some early success in reducing the number of children entering care.

The success appears to be underpinned by a robust, independent evaluation mechanism. This includes the virtually unprecedented use of a matched intervention-group and control-group to generate a gold-standard measure of effectiveness.

Rewarding programs based on their demonstrated outcomes makes providers accountable; it encourages innovation and discovery of what actually works -- a virtuous circle.

We still need thousands more adoptions each year because there simply are some families that can never be fixed whose children will need rescuing.

But better measured, more accountable social services would also help ensure the child protection system protects children properly.

SOURCE






American universities struggle to balance hate crime surge and politically-correct overdrive

He campaigned on a promise to end political correctness and bring pride back to the United States.

And yet in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, American universities have taken political correctness to the extreme – with one removing the US flag from their campus, and another speaking out against a “party in the USA”-themed celebration, in case students were offended.

Mr Trump’s campaign and his surprise victory has undoubtedly energised extreme elements on all sides of US society.

Police across the country have reported a surge in complaints – on November 14 the FBI reported a 66 per cent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes for 2015. The Southern Poverty Law Center said that it has received over 700 reports of hate crimes since the election, with 40 per cent of them in schools and universities.

Students and teachers reported graffiti reading: “Make America white again” and swastikas daubed on playgrounds, while mobile phone footage captured children in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas chanting “build the wall” and “white power”.  

But on the other end of the spectrum, American educational establishments have found themselves being ridiculed for taking their desire not to offend to extremes.

Last week the president of Hampshire College, a small university in Massachusetts, announced that the American flag was being removed from campus, in a bid to calm tensions.

The day after the election students began calling for the removal of the Stars and Stripes from their campus, saying it was a symbol of racism and hatred. It was lowered that night, and then a day later someone set fire to it.  The flag was replaced, but the college board announced that it would be flown at half-mast, “both to acknowledge the grief and pain experienced by so many and to enable the full complexity of voices and experiences to be heard.”

But that only served to pour fuel on the fire – especially among military veterans, who said it made a mockery of the tradition of flying a flag at half-mast to symbolise mourning.

Jonathan Lash, the president of the college, then announced the flag would temporarily be removed from the university land. He said he hoped that removing the flag would “enable us to instead focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviours.”

He added: “Some have perceived the action of lowering the flag as a commentary on the results of the presidential election — this, unequivocally, was not our intent.”

His decision was met with derision, however. Twitter users described themselves as “disgusted” and “ashamed” by the move, with many pointing out that the college received federal funding.

And the Massachusetts university was not the only one to struggle with the flag and patriotic gestures.

At Brown University, some students tore up and stomped on flags from an event honouring veterans last week, while others hurried to replace and protect the flags. At American University the day after the election, students upset about Trump’s victory burned flags and shouted “F— white America!”

And at a university in Maryland, student leaders at Loyola University apologised for the theme – “Party in the USA.”

“As an organisation, we want to extend our deepest apologies to those that were hurt by this theme and the negative impact it had on them,” they wrote, in an email to students who will graduate this summer.

“Although it was not our intention to create such a divisive climate, we understand that the impact of this decision is much greater than our initial intention.”

The party went ahead as planned – but not without much hand-wringing about the “divisive” theme.

Reverend Brian Linnane, president of the university, said the student leaders were right to be concerned.

"We heard from members of our community who were concerned that some students intended to manipulate the theme to create an unwelcoming environment at the event,"he said. He said they suggested postponing it, until a later date when the country would be “less politically charged.”

“My senior leaders and I have a responsibility to create an intellectual and social environment where all students feel welcomed, included, and supported — an environment where students of all political viewpoints can engage in substantive, meaningful dialogue in the pursuit of truth," he said.

Emily Burke, a senior and president of the Loyola Republicans, said she was deeply upset at student leaders feeling “they needed to apologise in some way for being proud to be an American.”

She added: “The theme was supposed to be unifying, and it should have been.”

SOURCE

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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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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