Monday, October 23, 2017



The good intentions racket

Politics is increasingly about motives, not results

The curse of modern politics is an epidemic of good intentions and bad outcomes. Policy after policy is chosen and voted on according to whether it means well, not whether it works. And the most frustrated politicians are those who keep trying to sell policies based on their efficacy, rather than their motives. It used to be possible to approach politics as a conversation between adults, and argue for unfashionable but effective medicine. In the 140-character world this is tricky (I speak from experience).

The fact that it was Milton Friedman who said “one of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programmes by their intentions rather than their results” rather proves the point. He was one of the most successful of all economists in getting results in terms of raising living standards, yet is widely despised today by both the left and centre as evil because he did not bother to do much virtue signalling.

The commentator James Bartholomew popularised the term “virtue signalling” for those who posture empathetically but emptily. “Je suis Charlie” (but I won’t show cartoons of the prophet), “Refugees welcome” (but not in my home) or “Ban fossil fuels” (let’s not talk about my private jet). You see it everywhere. The policies unveiled at the Conservative Party conference show that the party is aware of this and (alas) embracing it. On student fees, housing costs and energy bills, the Tories proposed symbolic changes that would do nothing to solve the underlying problem, indeed might make them worse in some cases, but which at least showed they cared. I doubt it worked. They ended up sounding like pale imitations of Labour, or doing political dad-dancing.

“Our election campaign portrayed us as a party devoid of values,” said Robert Halfon MP in June.

“The Labour Party now has circa 700,000 members that want nothing from the Labour Party but views and values they agree with,” lamented Ben Harris-Quinney of the Bow Group last week. I think that what politicians mean by “values” is “intentions”.

The forgiving of good intentions lies behind the double standard by which we judge totalitarians. Whereas fascists are rightly condemned in schools, newspapers and social media as evil, communists get a much easier ride, despite killing more people. “For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big,” read a New York Times headline last month.

“For all its flaws, Nazi Germany did help bring Volkswagen and BMW to the car-buying public,” replied one wag on Twitter.

Imagine anybody getting away with saying of Mussolini or Franco what John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn said of Fidel Castro or Hugo Chávez. The reason for this double standard is the apparently good intentions of communist dictators: unlike Nazis, communists were at least trying to make a workers’ paradise; they just got it wrong. Again and again and again.

Though Jeremy Corbyn is a leading exponent, elevating intentions over outcomes is not entirely a monopoly of the left. It is something that the coalition government kept trying, in emulation of Tony Blair. Hugging huskies and gay marriage were pursued mainly for the signal they sent, rather than for the result they achieved. (Student loans, to be fair, were the opposite.) Indeed, George Osborne’s constant talk of austerity, while increasing spending in real terms, was an example of the gap between intention and outcome, albeit less sugar-coated.

I can draw up a list as long as your arm of issues where the road to failure is paved with counterproductive benevolence. Gordon Brown’s 50p top tax rate brought in less tax from the richest. Banning foxhunting has led to the killing of more foxes. Opposition to badger culls made no ecological sense, for cattle, hedgehogs, people — or badger health. Mandating a percentage of GDP for foreign aid was a virtuous gesture that causes real inefficiency and corruption — and (unlike private philanthropy) also tended to transfer money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.

Or take organic farming, which has been shown repeatedly to produce trivial or zero health benefits, while any environmental benefits are grossly outweighed by the low yields that mean it requires taking more land from nature. Yet the BBC’s output on farming is dominated by coverage of the 2 per cent of farming that is organic, and is remorselessly obsequious. Why? Because organic farmers say they are trying to be nice to the planet.

My objection to wind farms is based on the outcome of the policy, whereas most people’s support is based largely on the intention. There they stand, 300ft tall, visibly advertising their virtue as signals of our commitment to devotion to Gaia. The fact that each one requires 150 tonnes of coal to make, that it needs fossil fuel back-up for when the wind is not blowing, that it is subsidised disproportionately by poor people and the rewards go disproportionately to rich people, and that its impact on emissions is so small as to be unmeasurable — none of these matter. It’s the thought that counts.

The Paris climate accord is one big virtue-signalling prayer, whose promises, if implemented, would make a difference in the temperature of the atmosphere in 2100 so small it is practically within the measuring error. But it’s the thought that counts. Donald Trump just does not care.

One politician who has always refused to play the intention game is Nigel Lawson. Rather than rest on the laurels of his political career, he has devoted his retirement to exposing the gap between rhetoric and reality in two great movements: European integration and climate change mitigation. In his book An Appeal to Reason, he pointed out that on the UN’s official forecasts, climate change, unchecked, would mean the average person will be 8.5 times as rich in 2100 as today, rather than 9.5 times if we stopped the warming. And to achieve this goal we are to punish the poor of today with painful policies? This isn’t “taking tough decisions”; this is prescribing chemotherapy for a cold.

Yet the truth is, Lord Lawson and I and others like us have so far largely lost the argument on climate change entirely on the grounds of intentions. Being against global warming is a way of saying you care about the future. Not being a headless chicken — however well argue your case — leads to accusations you do not care

SOURCE







England ‘must follow Scottish ban on spanking

The children’s commissioner for England has called on Westminster to follow Scotland’s lead on moves to ban the smacking of children.

The Scottish government has said it will ensure that a bill brought forward by John Finnie, a Green MSP, would become law. Yesterday Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, expressed concern that legal protection from assault could now vary depending on a child’s location.

“The current legislation in England, which grants an exemption from the law on common assault to allow the physical punishment of children, is outdated,” she said. “It should be updated to reflect what the vast majority of parents believe: that hitting children is wrong and there are better and more effective ways of disciplining children and encouraging positive behaviour.”

SOURCE





Air Force Punishes Colonel who Refused to Affirm Gay Marriage

The Air Force has punished a highly-decorated and respected colonel after he refused to publicly affirm the same-sex spouse of a retiring subordinate.

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Col. Leland Bohannon, who was on the verge of being promoted to a one-star general, was suspended from command and orders were handed down recommending he not be promoted.

“His career is likely over and he will likely have to retire as a colonel instead of as a general,” First Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry told the Todd Starnes Show.
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First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s most prominent religious liberty law firms, is representing the distinguished military officer.

“This sends a clear message - if you do not have the politically correct viewpoint, you are not welcome in the military,” Berry said. “The military is no longer a place of diversity and inclusion if you are a person who holds to a traditional belief on marriage.”

The Air Force did not respond to interview requests.

Col. Bohannon has flown combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and he is the recipient of the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Medal.

Last May the colonel declined to sign a certificate of spouse appreciation for a retiring master sergeant’s same-sex spouse.

He was unable to do so because it would have caused him to affirm a definition of marriage contrary to his sincerely held religious beliefs.

First Liberty Institute argues there is no Air Force Instruction requiring a commander to personally sign a spouse certificate.

Col. Bohannon sought the advice of his Command Chaplain as well as the Staff Judge Advocate. He was advised to request a religious accommodation. However, that request was returned six weeks later “without action.”

A two-star general signed the certificate instead.

“(The colonel) went out of his way to make sure his Airman was accommodated,” Berry told the Todd Starnes Show.

But when the master sergeant learned Col. Bohannon did not personally sign the spouse certificate, the Airman filed an Equal Opportunity complaint.

The Airman alleged the devout Christian colonel had “unlawfully discriminated against him on the basis of his sexual orientation.”

The EO investigator determined the colonel had discriminated against the gay Airman – and went on to say that “even had the accommodation been granted, Col. Bohannon would nonetheless be guilty of unlawful discrimination.”

“You have a case where a decorated officer like Col. Bohannon demonstrates integrity and character to go out of his way to accommodate one of his Airmen and the Air Force will not do the same for him,” Berry told the Todd Starnes Show.

First Liberty Institute is urging the Air Force to reverse its decision – charging the military violated their client’s Constitutional rights.

SOURCE






Inconvenient truths for statue topplers, NFL protesters

As activists stumble over themselves to locate Confederate statues to topple or an American flag and national anthem to disrespect, certain aspects undermining their racial claims, past and present, largely go unaddressed.

One such aspect "topplers" ignore is how they also disrespect those who fought for the North.

Any statue connected to the Confederacy has become fair game for them. It matters not most wearing the gray either owned no slaves or, like Gen. Robert E. Lee, were anti-slavery. Interestingly, the last U.S. president to own slaves fought for the North - Ulysses S. Grant.

Thus, despite issues driving North and South to take up arms against each other, these warriors shared some common beliefs.

Topplers also conveniently choose to ignore that the North did not go to war to end slavery, and, as some historians suggest, had the South won it would have ended it. Americans supporting slavery back then supported a flawed law, in human-rights terms, that, nonetheless, was the law of the land for both sides. Yet today's topplers fail to hold the blue to the same standard as the gray.

Common beliefs tended to create a bond of mutual respect, eloquently described by a veteran of the North who went on to become a famous jurist.

Almost two decades after the war, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes gave a Memorial Day speech. He observed he and his fellow Union soldiers had been driven during the Civil War by a belief their cause was just and noble. "But," he explained, "we equally believed that those who stood against us held, just as sacred, convictions that were the opposite of ours - and we respected them as every man with a heart must respect those who give all for their belief. ... You could not stand up day after day in those indecisive contests where overwhelming victory was impossible ... without getting at last something of the same brotherhood for the enemy that the north pole of a magnet has for the south - each working in an opposite sense to the other, but each unable to get along without the other. As it was then, it is now. The soldiers of the war need no explanations; they can join in commemorating a soldier's death with feelings not different in kind, whether he fell toward them or by his side."

As Holmes made clear, the commitment of those on the other side to die for their beliefs demanded respect. Accordingly, the acts of today's topplers fail to do so.

Another ignored aspect of liberal claims relates to an alleged Donald Trump-Russian conspiracy impacting the presidential election. While evidence is still lacking, and after two key members of former-FBI Director Robert Mueller's investigative team have departed, ignored is the fact Russia fanned the flames of America's racial discord with ads planted on social media. It is now established a Russian initiative known as "Blacktivist" used Facebook and Twitter to do so.

This was not something new for Russia. As a former KGB agent, President Vladimir Putin was well aware that agency played a key role during the 1960s in publishing fake news about Martin Luther King. The KGB planted stories such as King being on the U.S. government's payroll, in hopes of triggering his downfall and replacement by a militant leader.

Russia has a long history of sowing the seeds of racial hatred in the U.S. and, undoubtedly, now takes great joy our professional athletes are disrespecting our flag and anthem.

Yet another aspect ignored by race activists is their hypocrisy concerning appropriation claims of black culture by whites. While copying elements of another's culture should be viewed more as a compliment than a theft, these activists see it differently.

At Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, a white girl who had braided her hair was attacked by an enraged black girl for doing so. The latter felt offended the former appropriated black culture. Another incident occurred at San Francisco State University when a white male student wearing dreadlocks was attacked by a black female student for the same reason.

Additionally, after performer Miley Cyrus came out with a video in which she demonstrated her "twerking" talents - a form of dancing, rooted in African culture, involving gyrations of one's backside - she was criticized by black performers Jay-Z and Aealia Banks - for cultural appropriation.

The list of alleged appropriation incidents goes on and on.

But why, then, is the reverse not true - i.e., that blacks coming to America have, over time, appropriated many aspects of white culture?

This is especially so in the form of two major professional sports - American football and basketball - that were invented by white males. The former was the invention of Walter Camp; the latter of James Naismith. The case can be made Bob Douglas, recognized as the father of black basketball, appropriated it from white culture.

Today, watching any professional football or basketball game, a disproportionately larger representation - based on demographics - of black to white players exists. Clearly, these games have allowed more talented black athletes to thrive, reaping in millions of dollars of income in the process.

Arguably, the "appropriation" of these sports by blacks denies incomes to (less talented) white players. Yet at no time, and appropriately so, has the claim of appropriation of a white man's sport by blacks been raised. The truth of the matter is the combined talents of players - both black and white - have clearly made these sports much more competitive.

The political activists creating the racial turmoil in our country need reflect on whether there are realistic justifications for their actions. In doing so, they should consider whether they are being judgmental in attacking those who simply chose to comply with yesterday's law of the land and those being unfairly treated today by claims whites are appropriating elements of black culture.

But, more importantly, they need consider whether their acts, in dividing America, are exactly what others, long committed to our demise, seek to do by fanning the flames of activist discontentment.

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

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Sunday, October 22, 2017



Controlling wives and vengeful divorcees are putting men off marriage for life

What Peter Lloyd says below is similar to what I have often said.  Feminist-inspired divorce laws have made marriage a huge risk for men.  Unlike Peter, however, I have been married four times with minimal financial damage and I am still on good terms with the ladies concerned.  How did I manage that?  A major reason is that I married nice ladies to start with but I also never lie to women.  Simple, really

Making a speech in honour of my parents at their golden wedding anniversary last month, I spoke of my deep pride in their great achievement.

Here are two people, I told family and friends, who epitomise all that is good about marriage: a couple who put their egos to one side to raise their family and nurture a lifelong bond. I meant every word.

But what I left out is that, despite growing up with such a positive example, nothing will ever persuade me to follow the same path.

I will never, ever marry. That’s because the kind of traditional marriage that saw my mum and dad thrive no longer exists. It has been replaced with a modern version so warped that it has ceased to become an institution worth entertaining. Well, not for men anyway.

Indeed, I’ve written a book on the plight of modern man and recently I spoke on national radio imploring every unmarried man to avoid going up the aisle.

It was in response to Iain Duncan Smith’s astonishing claims, made during the Conservative Party conference, that unmarried men are ‘dysfunctional’ human beings and a blight on society.

The former work and pensions secretary said that, out of wedlock, men are ‘released to do all the things they wouldn’t normally do’ — in other words to behave like feckless idiots, committing crime, drinking too much, taking drugs and fathering multiple children.

What nonsense. Marriage doesn’t ‘fix’ or sustain men. I’d argue it does the very opposite, so weighted are our divorce laws towards women.

To illustrate my point, I suggested that a man might as well find a woman who hates him and buy her a house to live in, while he grubs around in a bedsit.

Because, in my view, that’s the brutal reality of what marriage does to men. He’d be better off, financially and emotionally, staying single.

Of course, I appear to be horribly contradicting myself — lauding my parents’ achievement one day and hammering marriage the next. But actually I’m just being realistic. Modern marriages simply aren’t built to last in the way they were when my mum and dad got married.

The year they tied the knot — 1967 — there were just over 43,000 divorces in England and Wales. You can roughly treble that figure today.

This means that as soon as you legally commit to a woman now, no matter how much you love her, you take the most reckless gamble on your future wealth, health and happiness.

The risk being that if it all goes wrong — and around 42 per cent of marriages fail — then matrimonial law, the family courts, indeed society as a whole, will conspire to ensure the biggest loser in the equation ends up being you.

Then there’s the mental impact. According to a 2013 survey, divorce makes men feel devastated, betrayed, confused and even suicidal. Women are more likely to feel relieved, liberated and happy following a split.

Research by Yorkshire Building Society showed that two years after a divorce, 41 per cent of men were still sad; for women the figure was just 33 per cent.

Those figures don’t surprise me. I have a friend who was married for just three years when his wife filed for divorce. She never worked and the house was solely in his name, but — because they had a one-year-old — she gets to live in it until the child turns 18 or finishes full-time education.

He now lives in a studio flat and works constant overtime trying to pay his rent, the mortgage, plus child support. Meanwhile, she still doesn’t have a job.

Another friend, who divorced more than ten years ago, was recently taken back to court because his ex-wife wanted more money after racking up credit card debts. Incredibly, she won, and he had to cough up another £12,000, plus legal fees, despite the fact they haven’t been married for a decade.

I know someone else — a successful lawyer — who’s been paying maintenance to his first wife longer than he’s been married to his second. The thing is, I’m not against relationships — not at all.

I’ve committed to relationships in the past and, as much as I’m currently happily single, hope to do so again in the future. But my friends’ salutary experiences mean I’ll never make it legally binding, no matter how in love I might be.

I feel the same way about becoming a father: it’s just too risky while women wield all the power, not only over when and if children are conceived, but also over whether the man is allowed to continue to play a role in a child’s life.

Think about it. The minute a man ‘puts a ring on it’, as the song goes, he stands to lose his home, access to his children and a huge chunk of his pension, too.

And nobody seems to bat an eyelid. When did you last hear of a man being the one to stay in the marital home, whether or not he pays the mortgage on it? What separated father do you know who gets to tuck his kids into bed every night? Meanwhile, the woman ending the marriage — and with 68 per cent of proceedings instigated by the woman, she’s the one most likely to — gets to walk away with a potential life-long meal ticket.

Mine might sound like a dystopian take on the world, but the depressing truth is that too often men who marry end up being treated as little more than sperm donors and cash machines. And so the best thing we can do to protect ourselves is not to bother in the first place.

The sad reality, as I see it, is that the writing’s on the wall from the moment a man proposes.

That’s when he gets sucked into a cripplingly expensive vortex, where getting married becomes more about the bride and an impending occasion than any emotional commitment.

What starts with an expensive diamond ring — typically costing at least £2,000 — evolves into the all-consuming organisation of an event where the groom plays little more than a walk-on role.

A wedding today typically costs £17,000 — my parents’ Sixties generation paid on average £50. And no matter how much you contribute financially, what you want out of that day is inconsequential, because remember, it’s not about you. At which point, a pattern is set.

Sadly, there’s even more bad news. Your sex life tends to dwindle after marriage.

A recent survey of 3,000 couples found that those who’d had sex four times a week before their wedding did it just once a week afterwards. Of course, you could argue that this has long been the case, and that my father was taking just as big a risk when he proposed to my mum.

But when they embarked on marriage, my parents shared the same expectations of it, while respecting what each was bringing to the table.

They worked as a team, with Dad the breadwinner and Mum happy to stay at home raising my three older sisters and me.

It’s an unfashionable opinion to express, but to me what they had was true equality.

Even if it happens to be the kind that modern feminism baulks at.

SOURCE





After 5 cheerleaders take a knee during national anthem, college takes them off the football field

Following a lead set by former NFL quarterback and radical leftist, Colin Kaepernick, an isolated group of “ill-informed” black cheerleaders at Kennesaw State University are getting plenty of media attention after taking a knee during the national anthem at a recent football game.

And that media attention is sure to grow now that the Georgia school plans to move the protesting cheerleaders off the field for Saturday’s homecoming game, according to The Associated Press.

Dubbed the “Kennesaw Five” — because catchy phrases sell — the cheerleaders will now be kneeling outside the view of fans in the tunnel of the 8,300-seat Fifth Third Bank Stadium — the students say they are protesting police brutality and racism.

Cheerleader Shlondra Young told the news agency they are being “purposely hidden” from public view. “I feel as though it was an attempt to silence us,” she said. “But even though they are moving us, we will not be silenced.”

University spokeswoman Tammy DeMel said in a statement that the school’s athletic department meets “to determine how best to enhance the game day atmosphere,” and while she did not mention the anthem, she noted “other changes,” to include “painting the KS logo at midfield for the first time, processes to help expedite fan entry, and more loud speakers by the student section.”

The story first drew attention when Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren, who regularly attends football games at the school, called Kennesaw State President Sam Olens and complained about the previous protest — Warren said he was assured by Olens “that this will not happen again.”

“Cobb County has lost sons and daughters at home and on foreign lands while protecting America,” the sheriff said.

“And to witness these ill-informed students acting this way clearly tells me KSU needs to get busy educating these students on more than just passing their classes,” Warren continued. “They need to learn all that the flag truly represents.”

SOURCE






Corporate PC vs. Patriotism

The widow of a military veteran was denied the ability to honor a fallen soldier by singing the national anthem.

On a Delta Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta on Saturday, a U.S. soldier was flying with the body of his fallen comrade. During the flight it was announced that upon landing the passengers were to remain seated as the soldier deplaned and as the honor guard escorted the casket from the plane.

Upon hearing the announcement, Pamela Gaudry, a widow of a career veteran, was inspired to honor the fallen soldier and went around the plane asking people if they would sing the national anthem with her once the plane landed while the honor guard removed the casket. She said that many but not all the passengers agreed to join her.

Later, after she was back in her seat, she said, “The chief flight attendant came back to my seat and she kneeled down and she said, ‘It is against company policy to do what you’re doing.’ And I said, ‘The national anthem? And there’s a soldier onboard?’ And she said, ‘Yes, you cannot sing the national anthem. It is against company policy.’”

After the plane landed, all the passengers including Gaudry remained silent as the casket was removed. Feeling ashamed for remaining silent, however, Gaudry, upon exiting the plane, posted a video detailing her lack of courage and what she had been told about Delta’s policy.

The video has since gone viral, and Delta spokesman Anthony Black responded stating, “There is not a policy about singing the national anthem, period.”

So where did the flight attendant come up with this false Delta policy idea? Part of the answer may be in another statement the flight attendant made. According to Gaudry, the flight attendant said that passengers from other countries might be made “uncomfortable” if the national anthem were to be sung.

Ah, the politically correct sensitivity that says displays of American patriotism may be deemed offensive by some and therefore should be suppressed. There are times when common decency should trump corporate policy. And the desire to express honor and gratitude to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice should be an obvious occasion. Has sensitivity to political correctness so dulled our cultural value for the need to express common decency?

SOURCE






It’s the Culture, Stupid

In Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign he used the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid.” That economics is important is true, but it is far from the whole picture. In the ideological and political realm, economics is just one part of how social change takes place.

In many ways the real issue is the culture. Simply put, if you can change the culture, you can more easily change politics, laws, and most other things. Thus those who are involved in the culture wars must know that to affect real change, lasting change, you have to do more than just tinker at the edges of legislation or political campaigns.

You have to focus on the culture. Sadly the other side knows this. Thus we speak of cultural Marxism. Even the Marxists realised long ago that trying to change a nation from without with tanks and bullets was not working. So they learned that it was better and easier to destroy a nation by subverting it from within.

Thus the Italian Marxist Gramsci spoke of the “long march through the institutions”. He taught that capturing a culture by taking over key institutions of power and influence was the way to go. So the cultural Marxists deliberately targeted schools, courts, the media, the arts, politics and even churches.

They knew that aiming at changing the culture would be the best way to implement their goals. They chose evolutionary change over revolutionary change. And they have done exceedingly well at all this. All throughout the West the secular left basically owns our institutions.

They are running things and calling the shots: the media, academia, law and politics are all pretty much under their control. They knew the value of targeting the culture and they have therefore been hugely successful in promoting their agenda items.

And the obverse has largely been true from our side. We have not engaged the culture. If anything, most conservatives and Christians have pulled out of the culture. They have abandoned politics and the other institutions of influence. They have adopted a siege mentality, which has basically handed the other side the culture on a silver platter.

By disengaging from all these fronts, the other side has won by default. And now we wonder why we keep losing in so many areas. Be it the culture of death, or the sleaze culture, or the war on marriage and family, the other side keeps winning because they are fully engaged, and we keep losing because we are asleep at the wheel.

Thus we have a very minimalist approach to the culture wars. Many people on our side think that if they sign a petition to protect marriage, or send in a $10 donation to some pro-family group, they have done their bit to save Western civilisation. They think they can go back to sleep for another year or two, and then maybe sign another petition.

Um, that is not how we are going to win. That in fact is exactly how we will lose – and keep on losing. Our commitment to what matters is almost non-existent. We certainly do not think in terms of the long term and the big picture. I have written before about why this is so very important: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/04/18/big-picture-long-term/

So the other side keeps on winning because they do see the bigger picture and they are in it for the long haul. Some on our side have seen the importance of getting fully into the wars, and not just a quick visit to a few of the skirmishes. This can be seen from a spiritual/theological point of view, or a cultural/political point of view.

The former I have discussed elsewhere, as in the above link, and in pieces like this: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/04/16/eschatology-and-fatalism-doing-right-fighting-evil-and-the-end-times/

But let me look a bit more at the latter. As mentioned, some folks know the value of reaching the culture and not just fiddling with the occasional bit of legislation. Back in 1996 Robert Bork wrote a very important volume called Slouching Towards Gomorrah.

It is a first-class analysis of the mess we are in – at least in America – and how things might be turned around. Let me offer just one brief section of the book. In his final chapter, “Can Democratic Government Survive?,” he writes these words:

"Elections are important not only because of the policies adopted and laws enacted but as symbolic victories for one set of values or the other. But it is well to remember the limits of politics. The political nation is not the same as the cultural nation; the two have different leaders and very different views of the world. Even when conservative political leaders have the votes, liberal cultural leaders operate and exercise influence where votes do not count.

However many political victories conservatives may produce, they cannot attack modern liberalism in its fortresses. If conservatives come to control the White House and both Houses of Congress, there will be very little change in Hollywood, the network evening news, universities, church bureaucracies, the New York Times, or the Washington Post.

Institutions that are overwhelmingly left-liberal (89 percent of journalists voted for Bill Clinton in 1992) will continue to misinform the public and distort public discourse. The obscenities of popular entertainment will often be protected by the courts. The tyrannies of political correctness and multiculturalism will not be ejected from the universities by any number of conservative victories at the polls.

Modern liberals captured the government and its bureaucracies because they captured the culture. Conservative political victories will always be tenuous and fragile unless conservatives recapture the culture…. This is at bottom a moral and spiritual struggle"

Or as Chuck Colson put it in a much more simplified version: “Politics is downstream from culture.” Unless we seek to change the culture, a few changes to laws, or a few Parliamentary victories just will not get us very far. Yes, we must be engaged in the political and legislative battles, but the real battleground is the culture.

Let me look at just one more thinker on all this. David French speaks about the death of our culture, especially in the area of education, and how the only resort for many may be things like home-schooling. He too sees the bigger picture, and realises that one key component of culture is education, and when the educational system is hostile to our very values and beliefs, we will likely get nowhere fast.

He writes:

"The stakes are now clear: We must fix our education system or slowly but surely lose our culture. Indeed, virtually every other conservative endeavor — whether it’s winning elections, transforming media, or infiltrating pop culture — will fail if the entire edifice of public education is arrayed against us.

The system, however, can’t be reformed from within: It’s stacked top-to-bottom with progressive activists even in red states. We must fix our education system or slowly but surely lose our culture. So that means creating a new model. States should consider rejecting federal education funding entirely (Texas is considering doing just that).

At the very least, charter schools should be completely disentangled — and not just from public employees’ unions but also from federal funds (in order to insulate them from federal influence); voucher systems should be dramatically expanded — giving every family the option to spend their share of tax dollars at the school of their choice; and private institutions and philanthropists should step up to provide needed funding.

Indeed, private citizens don’t have to wait for government reform. Scholarship funds can expand the ranks of tuition-paying private-school students immediately, and coalitions of churches can provide substantial support for their communities’ best private schools"

Many more folks have said similar things, and a whole book could be produced along these lines. But the point is, the other side is a lot more cluey than most of us are when it comes to capturing the culture. They have been successful at it while we have for the most part failed.

Of course questions remain. Is education redeemable or is it too far gone? Is home-schooling the only viable option for the near future? What about independent schools and Christian schools. Is culture itself too far gone, or with God’s grace can we win back at least some of it?

There are plenty of such questions that we have to deal with here. There are no easy answers or solutions, and conservatives and Christians will differ on what is the best approach to take in some of these areas. But at the very least we need to be thinking about such matters.

But I think it can be safely said that we keep losing because we have not taken our biblical duties seriously, including the command of Jesus for us to be salt and light. By running away from culture, instead of engaging with it, we have not been true to our calling to extend the Lordship of Christ into all areas of life. Instead, we have just handed it all to our opponents.

No wonder we keep losing.

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

***************************

Friday, October 20, 2017





If Noah had lived in our century...








Babies develop racial bias as young as six months old, study shows

Learning to discriminate is an essential part of human life -- and that includes discriminating between different people

Before they're even old enough to walk, babies have racist tendencies, two studies found.

University of Toronto researchers found that infants as young as 6 to 9 months show racial bias — contradicting the popular view that it first emerges in a child’s preschool years. Still, bias is believed to be learned behavior.

“What this means is that we’re not really born with some kind of racial bias,” said lead researcher Kang Lee.

Lee said he believes the phenomenon is not a result of parents teaching their kids to discriminate. Instead, it’s a function of the homogenous environments in which most children grow up.

S.C. toddler explains decision to buy doll that's different race
“One very likely source of bias is our lack of exposure to other — raced individuals in the first six months of life,” said Lee, a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. “That lack of exposure sets up this bias.”

The first study found infants older than six months associate people of the same race with happy music, and those of other races with sad music. Researchers came to that conclusion after testing 193 Chinese infants, ages 3 to 9 months, who had never had direct contact with people of other races.

The babies were shown videos of six Asian women and six African women, paired with either happy or sad music. Infants less than 6 months old didn’t associate happy or sad music with members of any particular race, the study showed.

But at nine months, the babies gazed at their own-race faces paired with happy music for a longer time. They did the same for other-race faces paired with sad music, researchers found.

“This suggests that when children see an other-raced person, they already have negative associations,” Lee said.

The second study examined whether the race of an adult factors into a child’s learning skills.

Researchers showed babies videos of adults of different races either looking toward or away from photos of animals.

When the adults were looking in the direction of the animals — indicating they were reliable — the infants followed them equally regardless of race, the study found.

The same results held when the adults were looking in the wrong direction — indicating that they were unreliable.

But when the adults were only sometimes accurate, the infants were far more likely to follow the gaze of adults of the same race.

The takeaway, Lee said, is troubling: Babies are less likely to learn from people of a different race than their own.

SOURCE





Håkan Juholt: Sweden “On the way to becoming a dictatorship”

The former Socialist leader Håkan Juholt is now making sharp criticisms of social developments in Sweden, which he believes is heading for a dictatorship. He himself has moved to Iceland and does not intend to set foot in Sweden again for several years.

It is in an interview with Svenska Dagbladet that the Socialist Democrats former party leader Håkan Juholt paints a bleak picture of Sweden.

He believes that in the long run, the country will undoubtedly become a dictatorship.

– How old is your son? Four? When he is old he will not live in a democracy but in a technocracy, or a dictatorship. It’s so bad in the hell. I’m sad to say that, but I’m 100 percent confident. We are in the process of decommissioning democracy, he says to Svenska Dagbladet.

According to Juholt, tanks will not roll on the streets of the country, but the dictatorship will be more sophisticated than that.

He points out that fewer people are elected by the parties while the parties tune down their ideology. Juholt believes that Sweden’s future will be ruled by an “elite” and not by the citizens themselves.

Democracy is slipping out of the hands of Swedes, he says.

Håkan Juholt himself has been working for a while as ambassador in Iceland. He is very serious in his statements and also explains to SvD that he is not going to visit Sweden once in the next few years. He is so worried about the development here.

Håkan Juholt could today have been Sweden’s prime minister but was forced to resign as Socialist leader in January 2012 following a media campaign on parliamentary compensation for his overnight apartment in Stockholm.

SOURCE






Boy Scouts: It's Time to Look Elsewhere

Rebecca Hagelin
   
One of the finest organizations for boys used to be the Boy Scouts of America, which provided parents with amazing help in raising young men of character and responsibility.

But with the sad announcement last week that the Boy Scouts will no longer be the Boy Scouts, the organization now is going to treat boys just like another girl.

My husband and I will always be grateful for the years our sons spent in scouting and the lessons they learned on their way to achieving the Eagle Scout rank.

In addition to the hard work and community service required in scouting, the camping, camaraderie and sometimes goofiness that occur when a bunch of boys hang out together were a real hoot to observe.

I’ll always cherish the magical years of watching my husband and the other patient Scout leaders corral the often scatterbrained, hormone-driven, hysterically funny boys as they learned to focus and complete manly tasks. Awards ceremonies for individual achievement of various milestones were punctuated by the expressions of pride on the young, freshly scrubbed faces as little men stood at attention and received their patches and pins.

By doing manly things, boys became manly in their own minds, a critical component in actually becoming a man. The Scout program was successful because it helped boys truly believe that manliness was something to be achieved and treasured.

Sorry folks, but you just can’t do that when you throw a bunch of girls into the mix.

The “manly” things they did, like learning to find their way out of a dense forest with only a compass in hand, build a fire from twigs and stones, and dress themselves in a clean uniform subject to inspection, were coming-of-age rituals designed to make boys learn to be independent.

Yes, yes, yes, of course girls can learn to do those things too. But there’s something really special and important about guys roughing it on a camping trip and jumping from rope swings into a swimming hole without having to worry about what the girls might be thinking.

The major focus of Boy Scout instruction has been on the impressionable years of 11 to 16, when minds and hearts immersed in goodness, adventure and the company of men who fully embrace their masculinity can mold a boy into someone he could be proud of becoming. The opposite of today’s politically correct little cabal, a Scout troop was the crucible where a boy became a man.

And not just any ‘ol man, but a man with the character traits that our nation and families need. Consider the Boy Scout Law, enforced in every activity and which boys were required to memorize and live by in order to advance. It is a recipe for creating a chivalrous man if ever there was one: “A Boy Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”

Reflect for a moment on the Boy Scout Oath, which I’m willing to bet anyone who spent even a year as a Boy Scout can still recite to this day:

“On my honor, I will do my best
"To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
"To help other people at all times;
"To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

Several years ago, however, the Scouts abandoned its time-honored principles of teaching fidelity and helping support boys to be “morally straight” when it decided to open its troops to openly homosexual leaders and students.

When the BSA decided to become “politically correct” by pandering to the homosexual activists and abandoning its principles and the families that believe in them, it was only a matter of time that it would decide to further destroy the mission of the organization by allowing girls in too.

Of course, the next step will be the removal of a pledge to God and country. Believe me, it’s coming.

Those who seek a genderless, homogenous society where everyone and every group is forced to be the same are celebrating the demise of the Boy Scouts.

But for parents who still strive to help their boys grow into men and their girls grow into women, and to celebrate the beautiful differences found in both genders, it’s time to look elsewhere for help.

Check out Trail Life USA (TrailLifeUSA.com) for your sons, and American Heritage Girls (AmericanHeritageGirls.org) for your daughters.

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************


Thursday, October 19, 2017



An experiment

Today I placed my Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver on a table next to my front door.
 
I left 6 cartridges beside it, then left it alone and went about my business.

While I was gone, the mailman delivered my mail, the neighbor's son across the street mowed the yard, a girl walked her dog down the street, and quite a few cars stopped at the "stop" sign near my house.

After an hour, I checked on the gun.   It was quietly sitting there, right where I had left it.   It had not moved.   It had not killed anyone, even with the numerous opportunities it had been presented to do that.   In fact, it had not even loaded itself.

Well you can imagine my surprise, with all the hype by the Left and the media about how dangerous guns are and how they kill people, either the media is wrong or I'm in possession of the laziest gun in the world.

The United States is 3rd in murders throughout the world.  But if you take out just 5 'left-wing' cities: Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, St Louis and New Orleans -- the United States is 4th from the bottom, in the ENTIRE world, for murders.

These 5 cities are controlled by DEMOCRATS.  They have the toughest gun control laws in the USA.   Do you think maybe the Democrats just might have something to do with all the gun violence or would it be absurd to draw any conclusions from these data?

Now I'm off to check on my spoons.  I hear they're making people fat.

Via email






Baby dies after being adopted by homosexuals

An 18-year-old baby who was allegedly murdered by her gay adoptive father died as a result of bleeding on the brain caused by a blunt head injury, a court heard today.

Elsie Scully-Hicks was allegedly labelled 'Satan in a Babygro' by her adoptive father who denies killing her at their home in in Llandaff, Cardiff, on May 25.

She was  formally adopted by Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, and his husband Craig Scully-Hicks, 36, two weeks before she died.

Matthew Scully-Hicks from Delabole, Cornwall, is accused of inflicting serious injuries on the toddler and denies murder.

On Tuesday, Cardiff Crown Court heard how Elsie was rushed to University Hospital of Wales after Scully-Hicks dialled 999 reporting Elsie was unresponsive at around 6.20pm. She died in the early hours of May 29.

Pathologist Dr Stephen Leadbeatter carried out the post-mortem examination following her death.

He concluded Elsie died from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain following cardiac arrest 'in a child with acute and chronic subdural haemorrhage', or bleeding on the brain.

Dr Leadbeatter said the cardiac arrest was caused by a blunt head injury including a fracture of the right lambdoid suture - a join in the skull bones.

Examination of Elsie's ribs revealed evidence Dr Leadbeatter said was 'suggestive of a healing microfracture'.

He said there were no external injuries apart from a small fading bruise above Elsie's left eye.

Dr Leadbeatter said he had not heard of any explanation given by Scully-Hicks which would explain how Elsie's skull was fractured and why there was bleeding in her eyes.

Consultant paediatric radiologist Dr Sarah Harrison was asked to look at X-Rays of Elsie's chest and abdomen after she was hospitalised on May 25 and examined a full skeletal survey carried out after she died.

She told the jury the survey was X-Rays of all the bones in the body and showed 'no abnormality to support evidence of any underlying bone disease that would make her more likely to suffer a fracture than the next child and there was no evidence of fracture either'.

Dr Harrison said she noticed a 'small line' on an X-Ray of Elsie's skull which she believed was an accessory suture - a normal variation in the pattern of joins between skull bones.

Prosecutor Paul Lewis QC said two pathologists including Dr Leadbeatter had since examined Elsie's skull and they did find a fracture.

Mr Lewis asked if Dr Harrison was surprised she had not seen it on the X-Ray.

Dr Harrison said: 'No I am not surprised. The thing we were looking at was very small and it is difficult to be 100% certain of things when they are quite small.

'It is well recognised that even when there is a larger fracture we can miss them.'

Dr Harrison told jurors she also re-examined an X-Ray taken of Elsie's leg on November 12, 2015 when she was taken to hospital having suffered a leg injury a week earlier.

The court previously heard Elsie was found to have fractured her leg above her right ankle and was placed in a full-leg cast which she wore for three weeks.

Dr Harrison said she found not one fracture but two during her review of the images; the lower leg fracture and a second fracture in Elsie's right femur, just above the knee.

She said they were not 'toddler's fractures', such as might be suffered by a child learning to walk and were more likely to have been caused by a child running and falling with more force.

Mr Lewis said: 'As far as we are aware, the child could not run.'

Dr Harrison said: 'It is very unusual to see two fractures in adjacent bones... without evidence of significant trauma... I have never seen fractures of both bones like that in a child of this age.'

Robert O'Sullivan QC, defending Scully-Hicks, asked if the fractures could have been caused by Elsie falling and twisting her right leg while pushing a walker.

Dr Harrison said she would expect the injuries to have been caused by a 'significant amount of trauma' but said if the foot was held 'perhaps between two objects and then the child twists and falls that fracture could be seen'.

Scully-Hicks is also accused of describing Elsie as 'a psycho' and 'Satan dressed up in a Babygro' in messages to his husband and friends.

Elsie, who was removed from her natural mother within days of her birth in November 2014, went to live with the couple in September 2015.

She fractured her right leg in November that year and suffered bruises to her head in December and January 2016.

On March 10, she was taken to the University Hospital of Wales after falling down the stairs.

Scully-Hicks denies murder and the trial continues.

SOURCE





'Czech Trump' Andrej Babis poised to deliver latest blow to EU order

Europe's year of political upheaval isn't over. In the Czech republic, a charismatic, controversial billionaire dubbed the 'Czech Berlusconi' – and more recently the 'Czech Trump' – is poised to take power.

Hot on the heels of Austria's hard shift to the right, this weekend's legislative election in the Czech Republic could be another shock to the EU which is still digesting the results in France and Germany, not to mention Brexit.

In his 2017 book What I Dream About When I Happen to be Sleeping, Andrej Babis set out an agenda that would transform, and some claim destroy Czech democracy.

He wants to abolish institutional checks and balances such as the Senate and regional government, he wants to ditch proportional representation and have the country vote first-past-the-post.

While he doesn't oppose the European Union, he has denounced EU-imposed migrant quotes and other "EU meddling", and favours an end to sanctions against Russia.

He admires the kind of centralised power enjoyed by Hungary's Orban, and he dislikes journalists (except the ones he employs).

He said he wants to run the country "like a family firm".

And the people love it – or at least some do. According to the polls, Babis' ANO party will get close to 30 per cent of the vote, while none of the seven other parties likely to get into parliament would top 15 per cent.

Those other parties include far-right populist Tomio Okamura's Freedom and Direct Democracy, an increasingly popular group with an anti-Roma, anti-Islamic message.

Andrej Babis is the second richest person in the Czech republic, a local financial paper calculated. His agriculture and media empire is worth 88 billion crowns ($5 billion) – and his worth had doubled in the four years he's been in politics.

"Babis is a populist," Sean Hanley, senior lecturer in East European politics at University College London, wrote this week.

"His folksy self-presentation as the plain-spoken practical businessman finally disgusted by corruption… taking on a decrepit and corrupt party establishment who have failed ordinary people since 1989, is textbook stuff".

Emily Mansfield, analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit says Babis is likely to lead coalition-building talks after the election as head of the biggest party.

But a number of controversies are swirling around him, Mansfield says. Earlier this year he was forced to place his business interests in a blind trust.

Babis was finance minister and deputy prime minister in the coalition government until May, when he was dismissed due to allegations he had avoided paying tax as CEO of Agrofert in 2012.

Since then his legal woes have deepened. Earlier this month he was charged with fraud over the use of €2.3 million in European subsidies in the construction of his Stork Nest Farm ten years ago.

And a court case in Slovakia has reopened over his possible collaboration with the former communist secret police (though a court previously ruled there was no proof of the collaboration, and Babis denies it).

But mud just doesn't seem to stick to him.

"He's very charismatic," Mansfield says. "He's a big character with a very big public profile. The ANO movement doesn't have much ideological basis to it, it's very much based around Babis' personality and his leadership.

"He's been described as the Czech Trump, but he' s not the kind of nationalist ideologue, he's very much a pragmatic businessman, he's not a nationalist or far-right leader.

"He says he wants to clear out corruption… he's much more technocratic and pro-business. You could perhaps compare him to (France's Emmanuel) Macron – a charismatic anti-establishment person coming into the political scene and pretty much exploding it."

It was primed for such an explosion. Though the Czech economy has been ticking along nicely (it has the lowest unemployment in the EU), the Social Democrats, for most of two decades the country's biggest party, have a reputation for low-level rent-seeking.

"People have got worn down by the impression that politicians are always acting in their own interest, with business interests in the background," says Mansfield. "Babis came in and said 'I'm too rich to steal'. That's attractive."

Miroslav Mares, professor of political science at Masaryk University in Brno, says Babis is a symptom of the dissatisfaction with political development in the post-Communist country.

"This is irrational dissatisfaction, the people… have better expectations," he says. "Salaries are not as high as in Germany or Austria, for example. People compare themselves with these countries, they don't compare themselves to the worse situation in other eastern European countries such as Hungary or Slovakia.

"(Babis) promises that he is able to stop the corrupt system, and people believe they will then receive more money from the system."

Professor Mares says Babis has retained support despite his legal problems because he has presented them as a conspiracy against him.

"His supporters feel they should fight for their leader," Professor Mares says. "On the other hand you can see lower support than one or two months ago."

Babis is likely to be in the best position after the weekend to lead a coalition government.

Unfortunately, he doesn't like coalitions. The necessary negotiations and compromises are neither his business nor political style, local financial paper Hospodarske Noviny wrote.

And some potential coalition partners may demand that Babis should not lead a government they join, due to the scandals hanging over him.

But whether Babis ends up prime minister or elsewhere in government, this election is likely to see another big change in Europe's halls of power.

SOURCE





Feminists bash actress for saying she tries to "dress modestly," doesn't "act flirtatiously"

'Big Bang Theory' star Mayim Bialik has opened herself up to some sharp ridicule from fans after give her point of view on the ever-growing Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal.
Mayim Bialik targeted for victim blaming
Fox411: 'Big Bang Theory' star Mayim Bialik has opened herself up to some sharp ridicule from fans after give her point of view on the ever-growing Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal.

In an effort to give her point of view on the ever-growing scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein and sexism in Hollywood, “Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik has opened herself up to some sharp ridicule from fans.

The star clarified in a Facebook live video Monday that she regrets how her lengthy op-ed for The New York Times about the Harvey Weinstein scandal has been received. In the piece, the actress condemned a culture that puts women in situations like the ones Weinstein’s accusers found themselves in.

"It has become clear to me that there are people that think I implied, or overtly stated, that you can be protected from assault from the clothing you wear," Bialik said in a Facebook live video with the NY Times. "That is absolutely not what my intention was and I think that it is safe for me to [say]...there's no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave."

She later added, "I really do regret that this became what it became."

Fans took issue with a portion of Bialik's op-ed in which she wrote how she avoided harassment in Hollywood by presenting herself in as a modest person.

While describing how she avoided such things by getting into the business at a young age and not being the typical Hollywood pretty-girl archetype, she mentioned how her choices in the business as an adult have helped her get by.

“I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy,” she wrote.

Bialik immediately qualified the above statement by saying, “Women should be able to wear whatever they want. They should be able to flirt however they want with whomever they want. Why are we the ones who have to police our behavior?”

However, many still took her words as evidence that she was shaming the women who fell victim for the way they dressed or acted.

Bialik clarified on Monday, "How you dress and how you behave has nothing to do with you being assaulted. Assault and rape are acts of power...I really do intend to convey that I understand that."

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

***************************


Wednesday, October 18, 2017



Trump Pulls the U.S. Out of UNESCO

This particular UN organization has done little more than stoke the fires of anti-Israel bias   

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert announced that the U.S. will pull out of the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) by the end of this year. The reason for Donald Trump’s decision? The fact that UNESCO has for decades existed as little more than an anti-Israel organization. UNESCO has gone out of its way to “erase” Jewish history in Palestine, often referring to Israel as an “occupying power.” Essentially, UNESCO has promoted a false narrative on the Jewish state that has proven to increase tensions and hostility between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East.

While this is a good first step, there is a long way to go in weeding out the anti-Israel bias that has corrupted the UN. For example, since its creation in 2006, the UN’s ironically named Human Rights Council has condemned Israel more than 60 times. That’s more than all other nations on the planet combined. Following that logic, both Syria and North Korea are bastions of justice and human flourishing compared to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the decision as “moral” and “brave” adding, “UNESCO has become a theatre of absurd. Instead of preserving history, it distorts it.”

SOURCE





In defense of the Confederate dead

Alex Beam writes from Massachusetts

Right about now, the state plans to remove from Georges Island the memorial to 13 Confederate prisoners who died there during the Civil War. The offending headstone is going to the state archives, away from public view.

After ordering that the grave marker be boarded up this summer, Governor Charlie Baker justified its removal as a “symbol . . . that [does] not support liberty and equality for the people of Massachusetts.”

I find this decision abhorrent, but I understand why Baker did it. Who needs the headache, and the ferocious headwinds of willful ignorance, naivete and lack of imagination swirling around the debate over Confederate memorials?

It’s now received wisdom that the Civil War was “about” slavery from Day One, and that everyone who fought for the South was either a slaveholder, or a racist, or most likely both. But the Civil War became about slavery only in the fullness of time. Abraham Lincoln’s declaration of war against the refractory states never mentions slavery. He disdained slavery, but had no intention of eradicating it in 1861, when he hoped some southern border states would support the Union cause.

It’s odd that the memorial is said to commemorate rebel soldiers, when you can plainly see one of the deceased described as a “citizen” of Virginia, one is a ship “passenger,” and two are merchant seamen. Do we so hate the mate of the steamer Nita, which was ferrying food and hospital supplies from Havana to Mobile, Alabama, that we have to plow up his gravestone?

To think that every one of those men was a fire-breathing racist is as silly as thinking that every Union soldier was a glorious abolitionist anxious to lay down his life for Americans of African descent. In every war, men enlist for a variety of reasons — patriotic, economic, and social. The guy next door is enlisting; maybe I should, too. Right here in Boston, men enlisted because other men paid them to. These were the famous “substitutes,” mercenaries at the service of well-to-do young men seeking to avoid military service.

There is no reason to assume that the Confederates who died in captivity here were any more eager to serve in the Civil War than the men and women who participated in the notorious Boston Draft Riot of July 1863, when militia commander Stephen Cabot opened fire on a largely Irish crowd of protesters sick of being impressed into Mr. Lincoln’s war.

Cabot’s men, eventually bolstered by two Harvard classes holding reunions in Cambridge — a nice touch — killed several protesters, including a 12-year-old boy. All this to say: It’s hard to know who your dead enemy is. Maybe it’s someone who had no interest in fighting against you at all.

Not far from the Normandy beaches, where 2,500 American soldiers lost their lives on D-Day, there are Canadian, American, and German war cemeteries commemorating the tens of thousands of men who died in the ensuing battle for the liberation of France. A sign at the entrance to the German cemetery reads:

“With its melancholy rigour, it is a graveyard for soldiers not all of whom had chosen either the cause or the fight. They too have found rest in our soil of France.”

Death is inglorious enough already. Finger-in-the-wind politicians exploiting deaths for political gain is simply disgusting.

SOURCE





Dave of Dave’s Soda and Pet City posed with President Trump. Now he’s under fire

Another victim of the vicious Left.  Stalin's heirs are among us

HOLYOKE — Business owners in Western Massachusetts apparently associate themselves with the 45th president at their peril.

Just ask Dave Ratner, owner of Dave’s Soda and Pet City, a small chain of shops selling the unlikely combination of pet supplies, birds, fish, and beverages for humans. Ratner attended President Trump’s signing of an executive order authorizing changes to the Affordable Care Act designed to create cheaper — and less comprehensive — health insurance plans. An Associated Press photograph of the event, with Ratner smiling broadly behind Trump, has come back to haunt him, big time.

“It was 42 years of building a wonderful brand and having it destroyed in one day,” said Ratner, interviewed Sunday morning after what he terms “the worst two days of my life.”

Ratner has been excoriated on social media, and many customers are calling for store boycotts. He was not prepared for the strong reaction.

“I feel like I walked into a room, and somebody shot somebody when I was in the room, and so people are looking at me,” he said.

Ratner, a Springfield native who opened his first store in Hadley in 1975, said he built his brand on the idea that customers want to feel connected to the owners of the shops they patronize.

“My theory on doing business is that all things being equal, people do business with people they like,” he said.

Indeed, Ratner is a big presence in Western Massachusetts. He appears in zany television commercials, prompting strangers to stop him on the street to say hello. He makes robo-calls to a large customer base — it’s not uncommon for his customers to come home from work to a message with Dave’s voice informing them of a sale. His distinctive voice answers the phone at all the stores, from Stafford Springs, Conn., to Agawam, Ware, Northampton, Ludlow, and Hadley.

He tracks what customers purchase in order to provide better service.

So why did he kick this hornet’s nest?

Ratner says he didn’t fully understand what he was going to the White House to witness. He said his wife now tells him that was naive, and he’s deeply regretful of his actions.

He’s tried to explain this to his customers, and he’s pained that many of them won’t even listen.

For those willing to hear it, here’s the back story: Ratner is an active member of the National Retail Federation, a trade association supportive of small, local businesses. For years through this federation, his company and others negotiated for cheaper group insurance rates, giving them some of the advantages large companies have. With the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, this negotiating power vanished. Since then, he has trekked to Washington, D.C., annually, talking to anyone who will listen about how unfair that is.

Fast-forward to two weeks ago. Ratner received a call from the federation, inviting him to a ceremony in which Trump would sign an order restoring that power to small businesses.

“My first reaction was ‘Holy smokes, he’s doing something good,’ ” Ratner said. He didn’t think long or hard about whether to attend. He said he had no idea the scope of the rollback of the ACA included in the executive order.

Trump’s Thursday order was swiftly followed by a second move, halting a subsidy that makes health coverage affordable for many low-income citizens — an action which drew a lawsuit from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, among others.

“I absolutely abhor what he did, and I would not have been there had I known what was happening,” Ratner said.

For some of Dave’s customers, that explanation is not good enough. Comments on the company website and on social media have been brutal. Some have called him a scumbag or a fool. In an interview with the Globe, Ratner was moved to tears several times.

Ratner’s Northampton store manager, Shannon Durand, said her shop has been swamped with angry phone calls. Most people, she said, “just wanted to yell.”

Durand said her boss acted out of a desire to obtain better insurance coverage for his 150 employees. “I really believe that he was motivated to do a very good thing for all of us.”

On Sunday morning, nearly every dog owner interviewed at an unofficial dog park on the grounds of the former Northampton State Hospital was familiar with the controversy.

Asked if he is a Dave’s customer, Northampton resident Eric Olsson, out walking his 8-month-old puppy, Mochi, said simply, “I was.”

He said the image of Ratner standing behind Trump while he signed the order caused him to reconsider his patronage, even while he acknowledges that Ratner is in a tough position.

SOURCE






Australia: Senate urged to reject mandatory sentences in bills

I don't have much respect for the Law Council but they are right on this -- JR

The Law Council of Australia is urging Senators to reject new mandatory minimum sentences included in bills to be debated this week, due to the very real risk of unintended consequences with potentially life-shattering outcomes.

The bills, targeting sex crimes against children and firearms trafficking, are intended to better protect the Australian community from the dangers of such grievous conduct.

Law Council of Australia President, Fiona McLeod SC, said that while these aims were laudable, mandatory sentencing has been shown to have no effect on crime rates, while undermining the independence of the judiciary and creating unjust and unintended consequences.

“Sex crimes and gun trafficking are all patently serious offences and it is absolutely appropriate that harsh maximum sentences are available to our courts,” Ms McLeod said.

“But mandatory sentencing is always likely to trigger unintended consequences that are at odds with the intention of the laws and fundamental principles of justice.

“The idea of a standardised mandatory sentence may be appealing on a theoretical level, but in practice, mandatory sentences can see people doing life-shattering stints in prison for actions that might have significant mitigating circumstances.

“For example, a 15 and 17-year-old might be sharing sexual images with each other in a consensual relationship, yet the day the older partner turns 18, under this legislation that 18-year-old would be looking at an automatic five-year sentence,” Ms McLeod said.

“Teenage years can often be marked by rash decisions and regrettable mistakes. A blunt instrument like a mandatory minimum sentence will not take this into account.”

In the case of the firearms bill, Ms McLeod pointed to other potential unintended consequences.

“Former Victoria Police Chief Commissioner, Simon Overland, inadvertently carried a magazine containing live rounds of ammunition on a flight from Melbourne to Canberra in 2010. Prior to travelling, Mr Overland had removed a firearm from his bag, but forgot to take out the magazine. Under the proposed laws he could be facing a mandatory five-year jail term,” Ms McLeod said.

“Judicial discretion is a core principle of our justice system for a very good reason.

“When you take away the ability of a judge to take into account the seriousness of the offence, the degree of culpability of the offender, their personal circumstances or the explanation for offending, you generate disproportionate and, often, unconscionable outcomes.

“Furthermore, there is no evidence that mandatory sentencing is effective at driving down crime, but ample evidence of its long-term criminogenic effect. The US and other jurisdictions are winding back mandatory sentencing regimes because they don’t work.

“Mandatory sentences actually make it harder to prosecute criminals, by removing the incentive for anyone to plead guilty or to provide information to the police. There is every incentive to fight on and appeal against convictions,” Ms McLeod said.

Media release from the Law Council

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

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017



The reality of women in the Israel Defence Force

A friend of mine in the army serves with women (a unit in the IDF called “Lions of the Valley”) and he says it’s a hell which is being silenced and completely ignored by the media as well as other government organizations.

So during boot camp/basic training, the field and combat units always do journeys for a respectable amount of kilometers. (Infantry typically do 70–80 km and elite units can even reach for 120 km, if I remember correctly, our famous Shayetet 13 do the three 40s which is 40 km long walk, 40 kg of weight on your back, 40 cm deep in the water). These journeys are done with weight on your back. Again, depends on the unit, but the minimal is 10 kg (vest+ mags+ full canteens).

During one of the first journey’s he was shocked to see how many of the girls simply fell behind and needed to get evacuated by a medic because they couldn’t withstand the pain and in the end of the journey, all the guys were there, while only 5 girls (out of 17 girls) have made it.

The doctors afterwards diagnosed most of those girls with stress fractures, womb related damages, other leg injuries, etc.

Afterwards most of those girls cried and begged to be put in a less combat job and were denied, for the sake and glory of our great liberal,feminist,accepting state of course.

Our news channels (the “big” ones) are mainly liberal and leftist and they keep posting articles about how “chauvinist male organizations want to try and stop women from serving in combat units and making their dreams come true” and how females are showing that they are “strong as men” by serving in the mixed infantry units. Well yeah, they really showed us…

They keep romanticizing this b.s while they blatantly hide the statistics of injuries per female during boot camp, and the number of girls who dream of dropping out of combat.

And what most irritates me is that crazy feminists literally ignore scientific facts that men are physically stronger than women, and maybe, just maybe that’s why we would prefer them in the battlefield.

All these injuries only lower the army’s standards which only lowers our combat availability and hurt the girls in the army more. And what people don’t understand is that the army is a serious tool and should not be used to promote any sort of agenda because it may cost us our lives in the long term

But hey! At least we have gender equality! :)

SOURCE





More black racism

Symone Sanders, CNN's resident Berniecrat, says white people aren't allowed to criticize the NFL protests. What does that sound like? Maybe systemic racism??

The tactic isn't a new one for the Left, as they have made that argument about men and abortion for a long time. They've been claiming for decades that, if you don't have a uterus, you shouldn't be able to be pro-life (because, let's face it, if a man is pro-choice, they don't really have a problem with that).

So now Sanders is making it about standing for the National Anthem too. If you're white, you can't have feelings on the matter. And it's even worse if you're Vice President Mike Pence. Maybe her former boss who's white, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D/I-VT), shouldn't be able to have strong feelings on anything either?

And check out this other heated exchange on CNN. A black conservative contributor told them that the only political stunt was the kneeling, not the fact that Pence left the game. All hell broke loose.

SOURCE






A RESTAURANT has been forced to close just 72 hours after praising Trump

Leftist hate asnd aggression again

AN ARIZONA restaurant was forced to close its doors indefinitely this week after a politically charged Facebook post the eatery’s owners wrote prompted mass criticism from social media users.

Christopher Smith and Jay Warren, the owners of Cup it Up American Grill in Tucson, posted a statement on the restaurant’s social media page last week with a list of things the two support and resent, including the president, kneeling for the anthem and late night hosts, Fox News reports.

The post stated: “We believe in and support 100% in the following: OUR President, Always Standing for the National Anthem, repealing Obama Care …”

The post also listed, God, the Bill of Rights, drug screening for welfare recipients and the US Armed Forces among others they praised.

Their list of things they don’t believe in or support included: “Those that DON’T respect our President, Armed Forces and First Responders, kneeling for the national anthem, Antifa, fake news, global warming and late night hosts getting political …”

The post concluded with: “If you like this post, please share it with 5 friends and we look forward to your next visit! If you disagree with this post, please share it with 100 friends and we won’t be expecting you anytime soon!”

The restaurant’s post also mentioned the eatery would not broadcast NFL games until “the organisation got it together.”

The post, which went viral, was met with widespread backlash and criticism, forcing the restaurant to delete it and all its social media accounts.

The restaurant received “so many angry phone calls” that several employees chose to quit, reports say.

“People threatened to burn down the restaurant with the owners in it. It’s a crazy world we’re in,” Ron Sanchez, whose daughter worked at the eatery, told ABC15.

Ericka Ayup, a regular customer of the restaurant, told ABC15the post was not “smart” but respected their opinion.

“I respected their decision to speak up and be patriotic whether people agree or not,” Ayup said. “It wasn’t smart for them to do what they did from a business aspect especially being down here in the University — which is more liberal and young.”

The restaurant apologised for the post but social media users flooded the eatery’s Yelp page with negative reviews.

Last Monday, the restaurant posted a statement on its door, announcing it would be closing indefinitely.

“We have made a decision to close our doors indefinitely as of today, Monday, October 9, 2017. The safety of our employees, and our families is of great concern and is our #1 priority at this time,” the statement said.

“We would also like to extend a special thanks to our Military and First responders. Thank you all and God Bless.”

SOURCE






First, They Came For The Biologists

The postmodernist left on campus is intolerant not only of opposing views, but of science itself.

By Heather Heying

Who would have guessed that when America cleaved, the left would get the National Football League and the right would get uncontested custody of science?

The revolution on college campuses, which seeks to eradicate individuals and ideas that are considered unsavory, constitutes a hostile takeover by fringe elements on the extreme left. Last spring at the Evergreen State College, where I was a professor for 15 years, the revolution was televised—proudly and intentionally—by the radicals. Opinions not fitting with the currently accepted dogma—that all white people are racist, that questioning policy changes aimed at achieving “equity” is itself an act of white supremacy—would not be tolerated, and those who disagreed were shouted down, hunted, assaulted, even battered. Similar eruptions have happened all over the country.

What may not be obvious from outside academia is that this revolution is an attack on Enlightenment values: reason, inquiry and dissent. Extremists on the left are going after science. Why? Because science seeks truth, and truth isn’t always convenient.

The left has long pointed to deniers of climate change and evolution to demonstrate that over here, science is a core value. But increasingly, that’s patently not true.

The battle on our campuses—and ever more, in K-12 schools, in cubicles and in meetings, and on the streets—is being framed as a battle for equity, but that’s a false front. True, there are real grievances. Gaps between populations exist, for historical and modern reasons that are neither honorable nor acceptable, and they must be addressed. But what is going on at institutions across the country is—yes—a culture war between science and postmodernism. The extreme left has embraced a facile fiction.

Postmodernism, and specifically its offspring, critical race theory, have abandoned rigor and replaced it with “lived experience” as the primary source of knowledge. Little credence is given to the idea of objective reality. Science has long understood that observation can never be perfectly objective, but it also provides the ultimate tool kit with which to distinguish signal from noise—and from bias. Scientists generate complete lists of alternative hypotheses, with testable predictions, and we try to falsify our own cherished ideas.

Science is imperfect: It is slow and methodical, and it makes errors. But it does work. We have microchips, airplanes and streetlights to show for it.

In a meeting with administrators at Evergreen last May, protesters called, on camera, for college president George Bridges to target STEM faculty in particular for “antibias” training, on the theory that scientists are particularly prone to racism. That’s obvious to them because scientists persist in using terms like “genetic” and “phenotype” when discussing humans. Mr. Bridges offers: “[What] we are working towards is, bring ’em in, train ’em, and if they don’t get it, sanction them.”

Despite the benevolent-sounding label, the equity movement is a highly virulent social pathogen, an autoimmune disease of the academy. Diversity offices, the very places that were supposed to address bigotry and harassment, have been weaponized and repurposed to catch and cull all who disagree. And the attack on STEM is no accident. Once scientists are silenced, narratives can be fully unhooked from any expectation that they be put to the test of evidence. Last month, Evergreen made it clear that they wanted two of its scientists gone—my husband, Bret Weinstein, and me, despite our stellar reputations with the students they claimed to be protecting. First, they came for the biologists . . .

Science has sometimes been used to rationalize both atrocity and inaction in its face. But conflating science with its abuse has become a favorite trope of extremists on the left. It’s a cheap rhetorical trick, and not, dare I say, very logical.

Science creates space for the free exchange of ideas, for discovery, for progress. What has postmodernism done for you lately?

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

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