Friday, February 23, 2018






Max Hill: An official British ostrich

Britain's terrorism watchdog, Max Hill QC (Queen's Counsel), recently told a parliamentary committee that it is "fundamentally wrong to attach the word 'terrorism' to any of the world religions," and suggested that the term "Daesh-inspired terrorism" should be used instead of "Islamist terrorism" to refer to attacks carried out by Muslims ("Daesh" is the Arabic acronym for ISIS). His recommendation comes despite the fact that Hill himself, whose official title is Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, referred to the "threats from Islamist terrorism" in his first report, released in January.

In that first report, Hill also argued that "what [Islamic terrorists] claim to do in the name of religion is actually born from an absence of real understanding about the nature of the religion they claim to follow."

How impressive that he knows more about their religion than they do, despite the fact that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, received a PhD in Koranic Studies from Saddam University for Islamic Studies in 2007.

Although Hill's statements ostensibly put him at odds with Prime Minister Theresa May, she too has mystifyingly called terrorism "a perversion of Islam."

There are two problems with this expression of political correctness. One is that although the Quran and Sunnah contain inherently contradictory texts, most jihadi leaders and ideologues follow and act upon the most extremist and violent interpretation of them. Therefore, constantly apologizing for the religion is worse than counter-productive: it is incorrect. The other, related, problem is that British policy is forged and implemented on the basis of ideas; so when those ideas stem from a fear of offending Muslims, the policy is necessarily flawed.

In October, for instance, Hill told BBC Radio that Britons "possibly [brainwashed] in their mid-teens... who travelled [to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS] out of a sense of naivety... and return in a sense of utter disillusionment" should be spared prosecution upon their return home.

"Really," Hill said, "we should be looking at reintegration and moving away from any notion that we are going to lose a generation from this."

Meanwhile, also in October, MI5 Director General Andrew Parker delivered a speech in London, during which he talked about the threat of Islamist terrorism. He said that jihadists are increasing the speed at which they plan and carry out attacks, many of which security services have thwarted. In 2017 alone, there were four ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks in the UK.

Hill's skirting this issue impairs his ability to carry out his highly important and sensitive role, which is to review terror legislation for the British government and the public. His aim to ban the term "Islamist terrorism" indicates that political correctness is more important to him than strengthening Britain's counter-terrorist efforts.

SOURCE





Art should not have to bow down to political correctness

Grammy and Oscars rows are based on a puritanical idea about the function of artists

To hear many critics tell it, last weekend’s Grammy awards got the pick of winners all wrong. Not because they overlooked deserving performers or tracks on artistic grounds, the kind of complaint you’d expect to be levelled at an event dedicated to the subjective business of judging popular culture. No, the consternation stemmed from the event’s supposed failure to send the correct message about inequality and sexism, particularly during a period of reckoning around sexual harassment.

To many, the decision to award Ed Sheeran the award for best pop solo performance ahead of four female performers – Lady Gaga, Pink, Kelly Clarkson and Kesha – was a case in point.

Writing at Splinter, an American news website, one critic described Sheeran’s win as a damning comment on the “music industry’s commitment to highlighting the work of underrepresented and oppressed women”.

Over at Cosmopolitan, another writer lamented that, in a night with few female winners, Sheeran had beaten a field of women with a song containing the refrain “I’m in love with your body”.

Oscars run-up

The run-up to the Oscars has similarly been overshadowed by controversies to do with the political connotations of various nominated films.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, written and directed by Martin McDonagh, has been singled out for its supposedly “problematic” depiction of race.

In the UK Independent, one commentator complained that the “vitriolic racism” of one character “is not condemned or tackled in the film”. A white, male director such as McDonagh, he continued, should be “sensitive and truthful” when tackling a subject such as racism.

Fintan O’Toole: If theatre is not a safe space, what is left?
Truthful? A prerequisite for a documentary, no doubt, but a work of fiction?

In our current age of warring internet tribes and social media-fuelled outrage, such moral criticism dominates discussions of popular culture.

Barely a day seems to pass without another book or film being taken to task by critics, professional and armchair-rank alike, because it does not conform to a certain world view or brand of politics.

Embedded in these critiques is a curiously old-fashioned and indeed puritanical idea: that art exists only, or at least primarily, for our moral betterment. Forget the local priest or university philosopher professor – the instructions for a good life should be laid out in easy-to-follow steps in your favourite Netflix series or romance novel. To this mindset, it seems, entertaining or engaging the audience is an afterthought at best.

Much as religious censors demanded that art be wholesome in times past, our contemporary moral arbiters reject as impure any narrative, fictional or otherwise that contains even a hint of the “incorrect” politics.

More often than not, this includes anything that doesn’t belong unambiguously on the liberal-left edge of the political spectrum. The sins may have changed, but the underlying impulse to view people as easily-corrupted moral simpletons remains much the same.

Didacticism

While resurgent, the idea of art as a moral guide isn’t new. In fact, it’s literally ancient, fittingly described by a word, “didacticism,” that has its origins in ancient Greek. It’s also an extremely limiting principle on which to moor the creative impulse. By the 19th century, artists had accordingly begun abandoning the notion that art had to function, in the words of literature professor Carolyn Burdett, as “a means of self-improvement or a spur to good works”.

Oscar Wilde, a man who knew a thing or two about puritanism, wrote, in a similar vein, “A work of art is useless as a flower is useless. A flower blossoms for its own joy.”

One doesn’t need to look hard to see the chilling effect on artistic expression that has resulted from applying political purity tests to every facet of popular culture.

Last year, an article in US entertainment outlet Vulture detailed the rise of vitriolic social media campaigns aimed at ensuring that certain “problematic” works of young adult fiction don’t see release. Tellingly, the piece noted that many of those leading the charge against texts that “engage improperly with race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and other marginalisations” had never read them.

The artistic realm is surely the very place where contentious, dubious or even blatantly offensive ideas and scenarios can be explored without harm. Since when does a depiction constitute an endorsement of real-world behaviour?

Micro-parsing everything we watch, listen to and read for its moral connotations is a recipe for dull, staid art. Worse, it risks making us all dull people, too.

SOURCE





Steven Pinker at Davos: excessive political correctness feeds radical ideas

At the January 25th panel of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Steven Pinker, popular science author and cognitive psychologist who teaches at Harvard University, made the case that political correctness may be responsible for feeding some of the most odious ideas out there, developed by tech-oriented loners who grow such thinking in isolation from the mainstream discussion.

Pinker pointed out that by treating certain facts as taboo, political correctness helped “stoke” the alt-right by “giving them the sense that there were truths the academic establishment could not face up to.” He said the alt-right feeds on overzealous political correctness, pushing back with wrong-headed ideas that develop in their own bubbles - ideas on differences between the genders or capitalist and communist countries or things like crime statistics among ethnic groups.

Pinker thinks all discussion should be in the open so the bad ideas can be weeded out instead of inadvertently fueling movements like the alt-right and making them grow.

“If those beliefs are allowed to fester in isolation,” said Pinker, then people who hold them can “descend into the most toxic interpretations” of them. If such beliefs were in the open, then “they can be countered by arguments that put them in perspective that don’t allow them to become fodder for some of the more toxic beliefs of the alt-right”.

Pinker also argued that members of the alt-right are not necessarily all torch-carrying “knuckle-dragging brutes,” but often quite intelligent and literate, with some studying at Harvard University. He does think they “stay under the radar,” afraid of being put in professional jeopardy.

The professor related the story how at a previous panel held at Harvard University, he expressed such thoughts and immediately became praised by the alt-right for supposedly supporting their views, while being blamed by the left for somehow giving the alt-right cover. Of course, no such thing really happened as Pinker’s thoughts were grossly misrepresented by the opportunistic alt-right websites. But the incident illustrated how quickly even the meta discussion of political correctness was attacked by the “political correctness police” who distorted his views and misdirected the discussion.

Should there be some views that are taboo and that cannot be legitimized through discussion? Pinker thinks we should be “mindful of excessive taboos” on opinions because the demonization could “backfire by sapping the credibility” of academics and journalists, especially when discussing certain topics that are self-evident to many people. This can only help poisonous opinions grow.

Pinker explained that this problem extends further because it can make the knowledge offered by academia and experts less legitimate. If there are some opinions that are squashed and proper debate is not allowed, then who is to say that the bigger claims from the experts like climate change should be trusted?

“If only certain hypotheses can be discussed, there’s just no way that you can understand the world because no one a priori knows the truth. It’s only by putting hypotheses out there and evaluating them that you can hope to increase your knowledge about the world,” said Pinker.

Pinker warned against “left-wing orthodoxy” as much as any radical movement from the right, because there has to be a “range of opinions” to preserve the credibility of academia and journalism.

He also proposed that students are not necessarily more intolerant today towards dissenting opinions. The students in the 60s were much the same in their practices. “Free speech is highly unintuitive,” remarked the author.

"Everyone understands why there should be free speech for themselves. The idea that there should be free speech for people that you disagree with is a major accomplishment of the Enlightenment and one of the things America should be proud of,” pointed out Pinker.

He elaborated that the idea of free speech in a way goes against human nature and always deserves fighting for. This is why the rationale for free speech needs to be articulated and people need to be reminded that the principle is important for our society.

“Human beings are highly fallible," proposed Pinker. "Most of the things we think are right, history will show to be wrong. A lot of human progress was advanced when people voiced heterodox opinions in the face of opposition.”

Our world today has features, like improved civil rights, that were banned just recently, pointed out the professor. And many of these changes that we experienced in our society began as opposition voices that were allowed to be heard under the commitment to free speech. For that reason, it's important to not sink into tribalism or make free speech “an alt-right issue."

He also cautioned that societies which enforce their version of political correctness are often the ones experiencing a “descent into totalitarianism.” Just look at Soviet Russia, Maoist China, and Nazi Germany. They all began by criminalizing speech, said Pinker.

SOURCE





Whither political correctness?

A striking illustration of lunacy perpetrated in the name of political correctness is the banning by some US cities of two classic American novels, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, from their schools.

The first novel describes a principled white lawyer fighting a losing battle for the life of a colored man wrongly accused of murdering a white woman, and Mark Twain’s story tells of two boys, one white and one black, who run away together, and the white boy’s affirmation of friendship over racial discrimination.

It does not require a bachelor’s degree in literature to grasp that these books are two of the most forceful and dramatic arguments against racial discrimination.

Beautifully and, in the Harper Lee novel, heart-wrenchingly written, one does not have to search for a hidden message to understand that these powerful writers bent their creative skills to making people understand that the dignity of the human being is blind to color and race.

That the ban on these books should be praised by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) makes me wonder whether the lunatics really have taken over the asylum.

What do the burgomeisters of the cities issuing these proscriptions imagine is the meaning of a free world?

It is bad enough that university students in Hong Kong think it is acceptable to shout down a speaker with whose opinions they disagree, forgetting that for free speech to have legitimacy it must apply across the board.

It used to be that civilized communities were based on consideration for others, in every form of social intercourse

What is meant by political correctness? It does not help that the very concept is highly subjective. From where does it spring?

May I respectfully suggest that at bottom, it is a question of good manners. Before Donald Trump erupted on to the scene, there was an almost universal norm of accepted behavior. Quite distinct from criminal behavior, it was not permitted to insult people for no good reason or describe people in derogatory terms just for the sheer hell of it.

It used to be that civilized communities were based on consideration for others, in every form of social intercourse.

When societies experienced discriminatory practices, it became necessary for those discriminated against to take a public stand against such practices. Inevitably, some of those advocating non-discrimination expressed themselves in a manner that offended parts of those societies. In so doing, these overzealous advocates alienated part of the community they wanted to win over, leading to a backlash.

Again, each situation had to be looked at through the prism of those discriminated against, and where the discriminators were themselves excessively vocal, it required equal emphasis to overcome it. Thus the oppression of America’s black communities demanded powerful advocates. But it was voices of reason like Dr Martin Luther King who achieved the results, rather than those of the Black Panthers and their ilk.

The quest for equal opportunities and rewards for women is an ongoing evolution, but it is not strident feminism that wins the day but the reasoned professionalism of successful women that will succeed eventually.

Underlying all these movements are fundamental principles that the liberal Western democracies recognize as givens.

At its heart, the battle against discriminatory practices is a quest for balance in society. It is no less true for being trite that moderation in most things is to be preferred.

If a rabid Christian sets fire to a mosque, that is no cause to blackguard all Christians any more than condemning all Muslims for an attack on a church. This leads to blind, indiscriminate hatred and anarchy.

Humor is a particularly interesting area in the context of political correctness.

John Cleese has gone on record asserting that only humor that is intentionally hurtful should be considered politically incorrect. Think of the countless jokes that Englishmen tell about Irishmen, Jews tell about Gentiles, indeed the whole cornucopia of jokes that involve one nationality poking fun at the idiosyncrasies of another. Unless they are manifestly cruel, why can there not be an equality of humor by one race at the expense of another?

Or are we to live in a world where only Chinese can tell jokes about Chinese and only Irishmen can tell jokes about the Irish?

It is both sad and mad to see students at universities, places where people go to have their minds opened, to learn to think and reason, insisting on statues of historical figures being removed lest the students’ sensitivities be offended.

Historical figures have to be viewed through the lens of the norms of civilization of their time, not with eyes that no longer see or understand the complexities of the age in which they lived and achieved pre-eminence. Oliver Cromwell was responsible for beheading King Charles I, but Cromwell’s statue still stands, albeit in a ditch. It is historical fact and if we allow others to select what parts of history accords with their current philosophy, we will never learn from history.

In a world whose principles and priorities are being thrown into such turbulence, it is even more important for children to have the opportunity to have their minds opened to the events of the past.

Political correctness, improperly applied, is the greatest threat to our civilization.

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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Thursday, February 22, 2018



ABC Pays the Price After Joy Behar Attacks Christianity on ’The View’

“The View” co-host Joy Behar’s comparison of Christianity to a mental illness on last Tuesday’s program has prompted over 25,000 calls to flood into the ABC network in protest.

The Media Research Center watchdog group reported that this tally had come in as of Monday morning.

The segment where Behar made the comparison centered around a back-and-forth regarding Vice President Mike Pence’s faith, based on some recent comments made by former White House staff Omarosa Manigault.

“He’s extreme,” Manigault told Vanity Fair. “I’m Christian. I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things. And I’m like, ‘Jesus ain’t say that.’”

First, co-host Sunny Hostin observed, “I think what’s interesting is she says that Jesus tells Mike Pence things to say.”

“When you have a Mike Pence that now puts this religious veneer on things and who calls people values voters, I think we’re in a dangerous situation,” she added. “Look I’m Catholic. I’m a faithful person, but I don’t know that I want my vice president, um — speaking in tongues and having Jesus speak to him.”

Behar chimed in, joking, “Like I said before, it’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you.”

“Exactly. That’s different,” Hostin replied.

“That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct. Hearing voices,” said Behar.

The Bible, in fact, records in the Gospel of John that Jesus said regarding born-again believers, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

He further described Himself as a good shepherd, “And when (a good shepherd) brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Pence responded to Behar’s put down of his faith in an interview that aired on Fox & Friends on Monday.

Host Ainsley Earhardt asked the vice president, “Is it hypocrisy that Liberals, Democrats, mainstream media, they preach tolerance, but yet when someone wants to be a Christian and says that God speaks to them, they have a problem with that?”

Pence responded that he is used to criticism, “But when I heard that ABC had a program that likened my Christianity to mental illness, I just couldn’t be silent.”

He continued, “Look, my Christian faith is probably the most important thing in my life. I do try and start every day reading the Bible. My wife and I try and have a prayer together before I leave the house every morning. But I do think I’m a very typical American.”

 “I think (Behar’s comment) is evidence of how out of touch some in the mainstream media are with the faith and values of the American people,” Pence stated.

SOURCE






Clarence Thomas Decries Victimhood Culture in Rare Public Remarks

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas decried the contemporary culture of victimhood during public remarks, telling an audience at the Library of Congress that constant aggrievement would exhaust the country.

Ever a touchstone for controversy on racial issues, Thomas related a story from a recent trip to Kansas, where a black college student told him she was primarily interested in school work, and less interested in the political tumult gripping college campuses.

“At some point we’re going to be fatigued with everybody being a victim,” the justice said Thursday at the library event.

Thomas has struck similar chords throughout his public life. He appeared on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program in November 2017, and suggested contemporary activists could learn from the example of his grandparents, who exhibited quiet fortitude during the heady days of white supremacy.

He made his remark last week in the context of a broader discussion about his childhood. Thomas was born in Georgia’s coastal lowlands among impoverished Gullah speakers, and spent his childhood working his grandfather’s farm. He likened his upbringing to Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel “The Help” as most of the women in his life, including his mother, were domestics in white households.

Given the few options open to blacks in the Jim Crow South, Thomas’ family felt they had no choice but to do the best with what they had. The justice detects the hand of providence in those select opportunities open to him, like parochial education and Savannah’s Carnegie Library, which served the black population.

“You always have to play the hand you’re dealt,” he said. “If you’re dealt a bad hand, you still have to play it.”

As detailed in his 2008 memoir, Thomas inherited these sensibilities from his grandfather. The future Supreme Court justice was sent to live with his grandparents after a fire ravaged his mother’s home during his childhood.

By Thomas’ telling, his grandfather was the defining figure of his life. When he joined the Supreme Court in 1991, his wife commissioned a bust featuring his grandfather’s favorite quote.

“His favorite quote was, ‘Old Man Can’t is dead. I helped bury him,’” Thomas said.

SOURCE





The Anti-Religious Agenda Behind Gun Control

Leftists continue their hostile denial that Christian morals have anything to do with solving "gun violence."

After every mass shooting, America succumbs to recycling the same old tropes, a process that inevitably devolves into social media attacks, public shouting matches, vitriol and polarization. The subject, regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, always ends up revolving around guns because even those who believe there are evil outside forces at work when mass shooters commit their carnage are faced with dispelling the shortsighted and erroneous notion propagated by the Left — namely, that the culprit is guns.

To be fair, Democrats occasionally concede that cultural depravity is partially to blame. Even Barack Obama admitted that the lack of fatherhood and family structure affects cultural norms. For example, in June 2010, he declared, “I can’t legislate fatherhood — I can’t force anybody to love a child. But what we can do is send a clear message to our fathers that there is no excuse for failing to meet their obligations.” And in May 2013, during his commencement address at Morehouse College, he observed, “Everything else is unfulfilled if we fail at family, if we fail at that responsibility.”

But that’s about as far as most Democrats are willing to go. And most are certainly not willing to even touch on any spiritual angle, though in some ways, the opposite is true — naysayers have increasingly berated conservatives for invoking God. To put it another way, while leftists will admit that fatherhood is important, they don’t want to acknowledge that every human needs a father figure in the form of Christ. What used to be a bipartisan call for “thoughts and prayers” upon news of a shooting is now extreme anger and agitation toward people who yearn for providential peace and healing.

Just consider the invective Keith Olbermann spewed at Paul Ryan after the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas: “Speaker Ryan, bluntly: shove your prayers up your a— AND DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE BESIDES PLATITUDES AND POWER GRABS.” Or the mockery from Neil deGrasse Tyson after last week’s shooting: “Evidence collected over many years, obtained from many locations, indicates that the power of Prayer is insufficient to stop bullets from killing school children.”

The Left’s plea for gun control stems largely from its refusal to acknowledge the connection between cultural depravity and America’s throwing away Christianity. The reason organizations like the Freedom From Religious Foundation are so successful is because too many Americans share the view that God is either nonexistent or is ill-suited to fulfill our idea of what faith demands.

Pornography has been mainstream for decades now, and the consequence is that women are utterly objectified, not respected, and the hostility it creates toward them is burgeoning. But that doesn’t mean the industry is going anywhere — the demand for it is too strong. Moreover, much as guns are blamed for mass shootings, “toxic masculinity” is blamed for the objectification of women.

Both America’s long relationship with guns and “toxic masculinity” are scapegoats the Left uses because it objects to moral changes. On the issue of gun control, for all the talk of how conservatives don’t offer ideas to curb violence, the truth is that we do; they’re just meaningful and religious-oriented ones leftists reject.

The Second Amendment, like other rights codified in our Constitution, is inalienable. And that’s another problem leftists have with it. They hate the idea of a “God-given right.” They believe the government is god and, therefore, should have the authority to dictate our rights. To do otherwise exhibits certitude toward a higher authority.

If America wants to see an end to mass shootings, it’s literally impossible to do so without a return to the moral standard set forth through Christianity. Most leftists believe in a lot of coincidences — the big bang, for example — and their argument against guns implies that the lack of mass shootings before God was stripped from schools is also coincidental. In reality, it’s the unavoidable outcome of engendering a godless society. Our national discussion must take on and rebut the secular approach to stop the bloodshed. Otherwise, our rights will continue to be undermined with absolutely nothing to show for it.

SOURCE





Christian Schools Australia defends right to hire and fire teachers over beliefs

Schools must retain the ability to hire and fire teachers and other staff based on their beliefs and adherence to religious codes, Christian Schools Australia has said.

It also called for “the right to select students”, including to eject them from a school community, in a joint submission with Adventist Schools Australia to the Ruddock religious freedom review.

During the marriage law postal survey campaign the Catholic church threatened to sack gay teachers, nurses and other staff if they engaged in civil same-sex weddings in breach of church doctrine.

Submissions from LGBTI organisations and Amnesty International called for a repeal or narrowing of religious exemptions to discrimination law, which the Rationalist Society called an example of “religious privilege”.

Christian Schools Australia warned that “removing the ability of Christian schools to employ staff who share the school’s values and beliefs would undermine the essential nature of the school”.

“If freedom of religion is to remain a legitimate hallmark of Australian education then the rights of school communities to operate in accordance with religious beliefs must be upheld.

“This must include the right to choose all staff based on their belief in, and adherence to, the beliefs, tenets and doctrines of the religion concerned.”

CSA proposed giving schools a power to choose staff by defining it as a legal form of “differentiation”, rather than merely an exemption to discrimination law.

It warned that existing exemptions were “narrow in scope” and did not necessarily allow religious organisations to deny their services or facilities based on belief nor to “separate from families” when their values did not accord with the school’s.

CSA took aim at Queensland’s anti-discrimination laws, which require that a religious objection must be an “inherent requirement” of the religion, and staff can only be discriminated against if they “openly act” in contravention of religious beliefs.

It warned that meant schools could not take any action against staff who “may have a fundamentally antithetical faith position” to the school.

Staff leading a “double life” undermines their duty of fidelity and good faith to the school and was a form of “duplicity and deceit” that was “not in anybody’s interests”, it said.

The CSA called for the creation of a new religious freedom commissioner in the Australian Human Rights Commission and for protections that mirror the amendments in the conservative Paterson same-sex marriage bill, including to guarantee free speech about what a marriage is and to secure religious organisations’ charitable status.

The National Council of Churches in Australia, in a submission written by its president, the Melbourne Anglican bishop Philip Huggins, said the right to freedom of religion was “in reasonable shape” in Australia.

But the submission said religious people had been subjected to more “verbal and physical abuse”, including Christians who supported the “no” case in the postal survey – which it compared to the abuse of Muslims after the 11 September terrorist attacks.

The NCCA recommended that the government consult about the benefits of a human rights bill and suggested a review of school curricula to counter “a growing level of religious ignorance in the Australian population”.

The LGBTI rights group Just Equal called for the abolition of all laws that allow discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.

“This includes those provisions that allow discrimination and vilification by religious individuals and faith-based organisations such as schools, hospitals, welfare agencies and aged care facilities,” it said.

The Rationalist Society, which advocates for secularism, accused religious groups of seeking an “unfettered right to manifest [their] beliefs, even if this involves breaching the fundamental rights of others”.

A permanent, belief-based exemption to discrimination law “promotes and entrenches traditional prejudice and harm against women and LGBTI communities”, it said.

Amnesty International suggested a prohibition on religious vilification and the removal of an exemption that allows civil marriage celebrants who profess a religious faith to refuse to solemnise a marriage on religious grounds.

Amnesty International recommended that religious organisations, including educational institutions, in receipt of public funding be prohibited from “discriminating in the provision of those services in ways that would otherwise be unlawful”.

In January the deputy Labor leader, Tanya Plibersek, said Labor had “no plans … at the moment” to change discrimination law exemptions but downplayed the likelihood religious schools would sack staff over sexuality.

In November a Baptist school in Rockingham, Western Australia, sacked a relief teacher who revealed his sexuality in a Facebook post.

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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Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Gun Confiscation in Australia:  A model for the USA?  

The writer below is correct in saying that differences between Australia and the USA mean that what works in Australia would not work in the USA.  He ignores the elephant in the room, however.  America has many blacks who frequently mount assaults of various kinds on whites.  So whites need guns to defend themselves.  Australia has for a long time had almost no Africans so has had much less personally endangering crime.

The situation has however just changed.  Australia has recently taken in a population of Africans as "refugees".  And in one Australian city -- Melbourne -- they have become numerous enough to form gangs of criminal black youth.  These gangs frequently break into people's homes even while the family is home and even use crowbars to defeat security doors.  That is immensely disturbing to the people victimized and leaves them feeling helpless and very insecure.

The response so far is to demand that the police stop the raids but the police clearly have got not a clue what to do about it.  Talk has been the only response so far.  Once the impotence of the police has been widely accepted, Australians too will be demanding guns to protect themelves


In the wake of last October's mass murder by a sociopath in Las Vegas, comes tragic news of another mass murder on a school campus in Florida.

The contrast between the response of two presidents is revealing, one focusing on culture and the other focussing on guns. Despite all the Democrat rhetoric about “gun control," as is the case with their faux rhetoric about immigration, when Barack Obama took office in 2009, Democrats had full legislative control of the 111th Congress. In the Senate there were 57 Democrats and two Independents who caucused with Democrats. In the House there were 257 Democrats and 178 Republicans.

Democrats could have enacted every gun control measure they wanted between 2009 and 2011 – but didn't. Why?

Regarding the most recent tragedy, predictably Democrats and their MSM propagandists have re-warmed their latest batch of lies about the murder of children in order to peddle their political agenda.

The BIG lie this week, in order to bolster the Left's calls for “gun control," is that there have already been “18 school shootings" this year. Even The Washington Post has called foul on that claim, noting it's “a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong." Indeed, it is wrong, but most of the Demo/MSM colluders don't allow facts to impede their political agendas.

However, this is an indisputable fact. There are three things the Leftmedia's saturation coverage always communicates to future mass murder assailants: 1. We will make sure you are famous by devoting all our air time, 24/7, to you! 2. As targets go, a school is best because that will get you the most attention, and nobody will shoot back! 3. Use an AR-15 – they are the most popular gun for the job and we can call it an “assault weapon"!

There are many media myths about gun control being propagated by the Left this week, and by extension, all their lemmings who regurgitate those “facts."

Most prevalent myths in social media forums are calls echoing the MSM's solution: Enact the Australian gun confiscation model. By way of addressing this claim, allow me to repost here a debate with my friend Neville, who is a deeply entrenched liberal from the UK now living in the US, and who has taken it upon himself to reform our nation. Here is an abridged summary of that debate…

Neville:

The time is now to talk about Gun Control! The maiming and death of these children is so pointless, unnecessary and PREVENTABLE. Get rid of the guns. No mass shootings in Australia for over 20 years and counting after a government gun ban.

MA:

The tragic murders in Florida were, indeed, senseless — as are the emotive “solutions" that, predictably, follow such tragic events. I share your grief for these victims and their families, but not your prescription to resolve the culture of violence.

As for your solution … as I am sure you are aware, the culture in Australia has not been conducive to violence in decades. In fact, at one time the culture in America was not conducive to violence either. Not long ago, there were plenty of guns on high school campuses, but no mass shootings.

Yes, Neville, there have been no mass shootings in Australia since the gun ban was enacted, but there were few before then.

In fact, there are few murders in Australia, period. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1996, before enactment of the gun ban, Australia had had 311 murders, 98 by assailants with guns (including the 35 people killed in one mass shooting that prompted the confiscation). In the latest year of record, there were 227 people murdered, 32 by assailants using guns.

I should note here that the population of Australia is only 7% that of the United States, but when adjusting for population size, the number of murders in Australia are still only 20% of the US annual total, of which about 70% were assailant using firearms. But note that, after Australia confiscated all guns, assailants are still using guns to murder people… I guess only law-abiding citizens turned in their guns.

Of course, crime in the U.S. has actually declined more than in Australia over the last two decades. Concurrently, gun ownership in America has increased significantly while homicides by assailants with guns have also declined.

Apparently, more guns, less crime.

So what accounts for the difference in murder rates?

Australia is not plagued with urban poverty plantations created by five decades of failed Democrat social policies, and the resulting epidemic of violent crime. For the record, the top urban crime centers have the most restrictive firearm regulations in the nation. Using Demo-logic, shouldn't these “gun-free zones" be the safest places in America?

As for the “gun problem," if you are NOT a gang-banger or associated with drug trafficking (and Neville, I think you are clear on both counts), the probability of your being murdered in the U.S. falls in line with the probability of your being murdered in your beloved native UK homeland — where most types of guns have been banned for years.

Notably, however, American children are at much greater risk of being killed by a drunk driver than an assailant with a gun. Thus, while I know you favor the finer labels of liquid libation and use it responsibly, by your logic, the government should confiscate it because there are far more deaths associated with alcohol use than firearms — in fact, in many cases assailants using a firearm are alcohol impaired…

As for your sentiments about guns, I would be pleased to provide you with some “Gun-Free Household" stickers so you can broadcast the fact that your home is the best neighborhood option for uncontested intrusion!

SOURCE





Court: Accept Your Child's New Gender or Lose Custody
   
This week, a shocking story hit the national news about an Ohio teenager who was removed from her parents’ home by authorities. Why? Because they didn’t support their daughter’s decision to identify as a boy and declined to authorize hormone therapy to facilitate her gender “transition.” Yesterday, the story broke that Juvenile Court Judge Sylvia Hendon has permanently removed the child from her parents’ custody (despite the fact that the child is already 17 and would be able to make medical decisions for herself in less than a year).

What’s especially alarming is that a lawyer representing the child — as well as Donald Clancy of the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office — cited the parents’ religious beliefs as an argument for robbing them of their rights! The mom and dad are being criticized for seeking out a Christian therapist for their daughter and for daring to send her to Catholic school. Even so, the parents were clear that their stance on the gender transition wasn’t motivated on faith alone. After all, they pointed out, they’d had lengthy consultations with medical professions and did hours of research on their own. Only then did they come to the conclusion that “this is not in their child’s best interest.” (The American College of Pediatricians — not to be confused with the more “politically correct” American Academy of Pediatrics — agrees.)

For years, LGBT activists have scoffed at warnings from FRC and others that the radical LGBT movement poses a threat to personal and religious freedom. In the past, the Left directed most of its attacks on religious expression in the public square, doing everything it could to restrict faith to the four walls of your house or church. Now, even that tolerance is tumbling down.

I wrote this week about the shocking attack by two Michigan state legislators against a church in metropolitan Detroit that offered an “Unashamed Identity Workshop” for teen girls struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s becoming ever clearer that if we don’t fight to defend our liberties everywhere, they will not be safe from attack anywhere — not even in your church or your home.

SOURCE






Germany’s far-right AfD is the second biggest party in the country after poll shows its popularity surging

A far-right party has become the second biggest in Germany after Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, a recent poll has found.

Alternative for Germany (AfD) surpassed Merkel's coalition partners, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), for the first time in a national poll, an Insa survey for the daily Bild showed.

Some 16 per cent of Germans said they would vote AfD, while the SPD fell one percentage point to just 15.5 per cent.

Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc gained 2.5 percentage points to reach 32 per cent, the weekly poll showed on Monday.

Nearly five months after the national election, Germany is still without a federal government as the SPD consults its members before embarking on a re-run of their 'grand coalition' with Merkel.

The election saw the AfD win seats in parliament for the first time - a political earthquake that followed Merkel's 2015 decision to leave open German borders to more than 1 million migrants.

Leaders of the party have repeatedly made headlines with insulting remarks about Germany's immigrant community.

Just last week, Andre Poggenburg, the head of AfD in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, referred to Turkish people as 'camel drivers'.

Poggenburg made the derogatory comments during a party rally in Nentmannsdorf near Pirna, eastern Germany, where he also called immigrants with dual passports as 'homeless mob that we no longer want to have here'.

The increased support for CDU/CSU bloc comes as Merkel has put forward close ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to take over as secretary general of the party.

The decision to entrust Kramp-Karrenbauer, also known by her acronym AKK, with bolstering the CDU after it lost ground in an election last year, is significant as some party members are starting to look ahead to a post-Merkel era.

Merkel, who was CDU secretary general before becoming chancellor, said Kramp-Karrenbauer, premier of the western state of Saarland, would bring 'a lot of weight' to the role in what she called 'difficult times, uncertain times'.

The chancellor has been under pressure from within the CDU to bring fresh faces into senior positions and to begin planning for her own succession. By promoting Kramp-Karrenbauer she achieves both, and moves an ally into a key role.

'We have known each other a long time and can rely on each other, even if we have our own views,' Merkel, 63, told a news conference with Kramp-Karrenbauer, 55.

Asked if she saw Kramp-Karrenbauer as a possible successor, Merkel replied: 'It is your privilege that you are always three laps ahead of others ... We have our hands full managing the business of the day.'

Though Merkel has said she is available as chancellor for four years, the succession debate has been supercharged by the inclusion of a clause in a coalition deal with the SPD that envisages a review of the next government's progress after two years to assess whether any changes to its mission are needed.

Kramp-Karrenbauer is expected to be voted into her new role at a Feb. 26 party congress. Her promotion is a setback to Jens Spahn, a 37-year-old arch-conservative long seen as a rising star in the CDU with an eye on the succession.

Outgoing secretary general Peter Tauber is giving up the role after a period of illness.

'Sometimes dubbed 'mini Merkel' by German media, Kramp-Karrenbauer is highly regarded in her party for winning an election in her region last year that buoyed the CDU's national standing ahead of the Sept. 24 federal vote.

By taking on the secretary general role, she will build up her network in the CDU, something she has had only limited ability to do as premier of Saarland, a state of just 1 million people that borders France. Merkel will remain CDU chairwoman.

She said she had decided to step down as Saarland premier and take up her new job in 'one of the most difficult political phases in the history of the German federal republic so far.'

Kramp-Karrenbauer commands respect in the party for her serious, factual approach to policymaking.

She impressed Merkel last month when, after a car crash, she continued work on coalition negotiations from her hospital bed. 

 SOURCE






Former Australian PM calls to limit migrants to 110,000 a year to help them integrate, make housing more affordable and increase wage growth

Australia should drastically reduce immigration levels until migrants are better integrated into society and to prevent further pressure on wages and housing prices, former prime minister Tony Abbott says.

Mr Abbott wants to see a cut in immigration numbers from 190,000 to 110,000 people a year, urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to take the issue to the electorate at the next election.

In a speech to the Sydney Institute on Tuesday evening, Mr Abbott is expected to tell his audience cutting the number of migrants will help wages growth and make house prices more affordable, News Corp Australia reports.

'My main concern tonight is another topic, no less taboo, lest anyone be upset or comfort be given to the racists supposedly in our midst, namely the rate of immigration,' he will say.

'It's a basic law of economics that increasing the supply of labour depresses wages; and that increasing demand for housing boosts price.

'At least until infrastructure housing stock and integration has better caught up, we simply have to move the overall numbers substantially down. In order to win the next election, the government needs policy positions which are principled, practical and popular.'

Asked whether Australia needs to change its immigration policy, Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann said the intake is lower now than its peak under the previous Labor government.

'The most important thing with our immigration intake is that we attract the right people to make Australia their home,' he told reporters in Canberra.

'In the end attracting appropriately skilled migrants with the right attitude also helps ensure our economic growth into the future.'

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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Tuesday, February 20, 2018



Beyond the bottom line: the B-Corp boom

This is just virtue signalling.  They give no evidence that it does anybody any good

Like most entrepreneurs, Dean and Audrey Jones have a strong focus on financials.

Their dress rental business, GlamCorner, was one of the first movers in the sector in Australia and last year turnover was over $10 million with a target this financial year of over $20 million.

But the Jones' say it's not just about the money and their goal is profit with purpose.

To that end GlamCorner has just achieved its B-Corp certification, one of a growing cohort of businesses in Australia looking beyond the bottom line.

"We are building a company we want to be very proud of 10 years from now," says Mr Jones. "To be a great business you have to have a healthy bottom line but you could do more for the community, your employees and the environment around you."

Growing popularity

There are now 227 Australian & New Zealand B-Corps, employing more than 4000 people and turning over $1 billion in revenue.

Charlie Syme, marketing and community manager for B Lab Australia & New Zealand, the not-for-profit organisation which authorises B-Corp certification, says the popularity of B-Corp certification is increasing in Australia.

There were 12 businesses certified as B-Corps in the first cohort of Australian businesses to undertake the certification in 2013 and the number has continued to climb with around 100 certified last year.

"B-Corp is a certification for profit businesses and these are businesses which have voluntarily met the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability," Mr Syme says. "The philosophy is to pursue stakeholder value not just shareholder value. It looks at impact on employees, the physical environment and the community. It's a really holistic assessment of a business."

B-Corp businesses pay an annual certification fee based on revenue, starting at $500 for businesses with under $200,000 in turnover to $50,000 for businesses with more than $1 billion in turnover.

Rigorous application process

Mr Jones says GlamCorner paid an annual fee of around $1000 for the certification but the main cost to the business was the rigorous application certification process which took several months.

"It's actually a really big milestone for us," he says. "Companies are in a really unique position about educating employees and customers about how we can reduce our footprint.

As companies get bigger and the world gets smaller, companies of the future need to get better and more efficient about how they utilise resources of any kind because economic resources of any kind are scarce. It's a liability and it's a debt and it's a debt that has to be repaid at some stage."

Mr Jones says the reaction from GlamCorner customers has been positive.

"I think you are going to see more of the B-Corp certification coming up," he says. "Our vision is to become every Australian woman's online wardrobe and impact will continue to be an increasingly important part of our messaging and our thesis. We appeal to Australian women who are tired of the old way of consuming fashion."

Providing recognition

Indigenous-owned furniture business Winya has also recently achieved its B-Corp certification.

Winya was started just over two years ago supplying major corporates and government around Australia with office furniture.

The business turned over $5 million last year and its clients include Lend Lease, the Australian Tax Office and the Department of Immigration.

Winya has eight staff, the majority of which are Indigenous and through its work has placed six Indigenous trainees in the factories in Australia which manufacture its products.

Winya director, Greg Welsh, says B-Corp certification is helping spread the word about the work Winya is doing.

"We are a for-profit business but we are majority Indigenous owned and we are doing a lot of work in remote communities and in the prison system," he says. "It's not visible unless we go and boast about it. Being a B-corp will help our marketing and is a way to get us recognised for the work we are doing."

 SOURCE






Jorge Ramos: Why Does the GOP Want to 'Make America White Again'?

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, known for his advocacy of illegal aliens, is accusing Republicans of wanting to "change the essence of America" and seriously wondered whether the GOP wants to "make America white again."

In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, Ramos also said that chain migration leads to a "tolerant, diverse, multiracial and multicultural country." He said that the Republicans are not proposing immigration reform, but rather "immigration revenge."

RAMOS: “The fact is, Republicans with these negotiations, they want to change the essence, I think, of the United States. I mean, do they really want to make America white again? Is that the deal? What I have seen from the Democratic side, and from talking with the DREAMers, is that they’re willing to negotiate DACA for a few miles of wall, maybe 300, 350 miles of wall. That’s as much as they can go. But to tell them that from now on, everything is going to change, that change migration has to be stopped, that in other words that family unification is no longer going to be the immigration principle that’s going to guide us into this tolerant, diverse, multiracial and multicultural country. I don’t see it. The way I see it, DACA for just a few miles of wall. But nothing else.”

What good would 350 miles of wall do? Nothing -- which is exactly what Ramos wants. The more Spanish-only speakers in the U.S., the better it is for Ramos and Univision. It's not complicated at all.

Ramos also totally misrepresents the GOP position on chain migration:

COOPER: Jorge, you hear the President. How much does a DACA deal fall on the shoulders of the Democrats right now?”

RAMOS: “Well, it’s not going to be easy for Democrats to accept everything that President Trump and the Republicans want. They’re not proposing immigration reform. They’re proposing immigration revenge. Because they not only want to help the DACA students, but also they want a wall, they want more border security, they want to end the so-called chain migration, which is really family reunification, and then, the visa lottery. I don’t see a deal possible that way. For the DREAMers, what they’re asking them is the impossible because Republicans are saying, ‘You know, we want to legalize you. However, we want to deport your father, your mother, your siblings.’ That’s simply an impossible choice for them.”

Under a couple of GOP plans that are being proposed this week, the parents and siblings of DACA recipients would be allowed to stay, although they'd be ineligible for citizenship. Ramos is either an ignoramus or he knows full well what is being proposed and chose to make the GOP plans sound worse than they are.

This marks Ramos as little more than a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party and not much of a "journalist" -- which, these days, isn't saying much at all.

SOURCE






Men, Misandry, and Suicide Rates

Feminism kills young men

While having a drink with a friend in a neighborhood bar a couple years ago, a distraught-looking woman approached us and started chatting. We engaged in typical barroom banter until she introduced herself as the mother of a guy I had met in the same bar almost two years before: Mitch, who introduced himself to me then because he recognized me from my column in a local newspaper.

Our conversation lasted only a few minutes, but I remembered the encounter because Mitch seemed to be troubled.

While talking about her son, Mitch’s mother told me that he described having meeting me then with the words, “I talked with the guy from the newspaper.” She also described Mitch’s suicide note to her, and at this she shed some tears. Mitch’s problem, as I learned sometime later, was an addiction to heroin that he could not shake.

By the end of the night I had promised her that I would check out a Suicide Prevention event she was organizing. After that I thought about the suicides that had affected my life in some way:

A school chum of my brother’s shot himself while a student at a Washington, D.C. college in the 1970s. This A student, who used to decorate his bicycle with Barry Goldwater for President bumper stickers, had been on the Dean’s List.

A “full of life” female friend of mine who died of a prescription drug and alcohol overdose in the bathtub of her home.

My uncle who hung himself in a motel after years of drifting from job to job along with fighting bouts of depression and alcoholism. I was 14 when my mother announced his death. He was a tall good looking man who resembled the actor Tyrone Power.

Sometime later I happened upon an article in Psychology Today by Dr. Miles Groth, who posited that suicide among young males is four times more common than among young females. Not only that, but suicide is now occurring at younger ages, in the early teens. With males, Dr. Groth said that one problem may be the relationship between fathers and sons, such as young males not having had a father in boyhood. He cites other issues as well, such as body image and relationships with women. “Young males are very impulsive, more than females, and they act without thinking,” he said.

Dr. Groth elaborated on this theme in a 2014 interview, in which he said that men and boys have come to hate themselves:

This is a result of the image portrayed of them and of the roles they are compelled to play, but also given what they hear about themselves and, especially as young boys, come to believe about themselves. As a result of self-hate, the suicide rate of boys and men has increased at an alarming rate over the last twenty years. It is 4-6 times higher in teenage males than in female peers.

The life expectancy of males is about seven years less than for females, compared to a two-year difference a century ago. College courses that are pro-male are now necessary to offset the misandric curriculum.

“Misandry” means contempt for men, but you don’t hear that word very much these days because it has been trumped by the word “misogyny,” thanks to the antics of third-wave feminism.

The month of September may be National Suicide Month, but every month needs to be a suicide month of sorts. The transitory nature of many of life’s problems which lead some to take their own lives -- a broken love affair, a job loss, drug addiction (“There’s no hope for me”), the loss of financial security, or a startling medical diagnosis -- can, over time, turn into quite manageable situations.

Robert Gebbia writes that studies show men are less likely than women to say they would tell anyone they were considering suicide. Here we have a reworking of that old stereotype: men hold things inside, and are less likely to reveal their feelings. Isolation makes young men feel inadequate and angry. This can sometimes lead to thoughts of self-directed violence.

An essential side note to this topic is the current role of men and boys in American society. According to Dr. Groth, the rise of certain strands of feminism have devalued the essential role of men -- even though a certain devaluation of men and boys has always been present in our culture. He cites that Father’s Day did not appear until 1966, while Mother’s Day was instituted in 1905. Why did it take so long for America to recognize fathers?

Today on college campuses, it’s hardly permissible even to talk about men’s issues. Men are seen as the primary advocates of sexism, as perpetrators of rape, so-called “male privilege,” and the “patriarchy.” Dr. Groth cites a university lecture about boys and men in contemporary society that was held at the University of Ottawa which drew a number of hecklers. The hecklers seemed to believe that “men’s issues” were not something to take seriously.

SOURCE






25 Disturbing Facts About Refugee Resettlements from Somalia

How terror arrives on American shores

Of the 11 countries included in President Trump's refugee ban, one stands out -- Somalia.

That ban expired two weeks ago and the U.S. has begun accepting refugees again from Somalia and 10 other high-risk nations.

Although Trump promises "extreme vetting," many Muslim refugees come as children and become radicalized years later.

Somali crime rivals Somali terrorism as a major problem, and the two clearly blur into one another. The problem is leaking from Minnesota into South Dakota -- as Lutheran Social Services has resettled more than 4,500 Somalis in Sioux Falls. Many of the Somalis have migrated from Sioux Falls to the city of Aberdeen in search of work at Demkota Ranch Co.'s beef-packing plant.

South Dakota State Senator and GOP congressional candidate Neal Tapio is leading perhaps the nation's most aggressive effort to expose the danger and fraud of refugee resettlements. Tapio has introduced several bills that seek to rein in high-risk resettlements in his state.

"While many people see compassion to serve the less fortunate, the truth is the Somali community has not been able to assimilate and has proven to be a major terror threat in the United States," Tapio said.

Consider the following 25 incidents that should raise red flags about refugee resettlement from this perpetually war-torn country:

[1] The Somali man who knifed two men in November at the Mall of America was not involved in an attempt to steal clothing – a false narrative put out by Bloomington police – but was actually carrying out jihad. He admitted it in a detailed statement to the court. Mahad Abdiraham said he went to the mall that day to "answer the call for jihad.”

[2] A Somali refugee who had just arrived in Aberdeen for a meatpacking job was convicted last year of trying to sexually assault a wheelchair-bound woman at a group home. Liban Mohamed, 39, found the vulnerable woman sitting outside the home and he was caught reaching up between her legs.

[3] Also in Aberdeen, Abdirhman Noor, 24, shot at two men outside the Foxridge Apartments, wounding one critically. Noor, who came to the U.S. as a child refugee, was charged with attempted murder and released on $50,000 bail. He never showed up for his March 2017 court hearing and remains at large.

[4] A 73-year-old Meals on Wheels volunteer was dropping off meals at a homeless shelter in Shelburne, Vermont, when she was attacked by 32-year-old Somali migrant Abukar Ibrahim with a machete in early January 2018. She sustained multiple injuries including a severe leg wound.

[5] Tnuza Jamal Hassan, a 19-year-old woman from either Somalia or Ethiopia (Minneapolis police wouldn't release her status), was arraigned last month on charges of first-degree arson after she allegedly set fires on the campus of St. Catherine University. Hassan told police she "wanted the school to burn to the ground" and that her intent was to "hurt people,” according to charges filed in Ramsey County District Court. Hassan told police she had written a letter to her roommates containing “radical ideas about supporting Muslims and bringing back the caliphate.” The prosecution further alleges "[s]he told the police and fire investigators ‘You guys are lucky I don’t know how to build a bomb because I would have done that,’” the Star-Tribune reported.

[6] Morgan Evenson, 24, was attacked just before Christmas while walking home from work in Minneapolis. She was stabbed 14 times by a man described as Somali. That man remains at large and the Minneapolis police falsely described the attack as a failed robbery. Evenson said he never reached for her purse.

[7] On July 15, 2017, a Somali refugee serving as a Minneapolis police officer, Mohamed Noor, shot and killed an unarmed woman, Justine Damond, who had called 9-1-1 to report a rape taking place outside her apartment. No charges have been filed against Noor, who had three previous complaints about his treatment of women while on patrol.

[8] Dahir Ahmed Adan stabbed 10 shoppers at the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on Sept. 17, 2016. The refugee asked shoppers if they were Muslim. If they said “no,” he attacked them with his knife, until he was shot dead by an off-duty cop.

[9] In December 2016, Somali refugee Mohamed Ayanle, 22, was charged with first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct after he allegedly raped a woman while riding a bus through Polk County, Minnesota. Ayanle reportedly forced her to have sex with him at knifepoint in the back of the bus. Ayanle had just arrived in Minnesota from Somalia three months prior to his arrest.

[10] Davee Devose, a promising 21-year-old black student at St. Cloud Technical and Community College, was stabbed to death at a house party in June 2015 by then-16-year-old Muhiyadin Mohamed Hassan, a Somali refugee who violated his juvenile probation and has since been moved to the adult system.

[11] In 2008, the government revealed thousands of Somali families had fraudulently entered the U.S. as "refugees" by lying on their applications that they were to Somalis already living in the U.S. The Wall Street Journal originally reported on how this fraud was uncovered by DNA tests, which led to a four-year closure of the so-called P-3 family reunification program for refugees coming from East Africa. The program was eventually restarted and none of the thousands of Somalis proven to have entered the U.S. by these fraudulent means were ever deported.

[12] On the day after Memorial Day, May 31, 2016, in Lawrenceville, Georgia, a Somali refugee woman, Aisha Ibrahim, 31, appeared out of the woods wearing a burqa and beat an American woman with her own American flagpole.

[13] A federal appeals court in December 2016 upheld the conviction of Mohamed Mohamud, the Somali refugee sentenced to 30 years in prison for plotting to bomb downtown Portland, Oregon, during the annual Christmas-tree lighting.

[14] In 2013, Somali refugee Omar Mohamed Kalmio in North Dakota was sentenced to life in prison for the 2011 murder of a Native American family he had become involved with.

[15] In November 2016, Abdul R. Ali Artan, an 18-year-old Somali refugee and student at Ohio State University, wounded 11 people at OSU in a car and knife attack. Minutes before his attack, Artan posted on Facebook his hatred for the United States.

[16] In April 2011, Somali refugee Said Biyad was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his four children in Louisville, Kentucky. He avoided the death penalty by taking a plea agreement.

[17] In July of last year, Somalia native Abdinzak Ahmed Farah, 29, was arrested and charged with threatening his fellow Minnesotans with a knife. According to an eyewitness, Farah was eating raw beef with the knife and holding it out to patrons, asking them to play games. In a July 25 article, the Faribault Daily News reports a complaint filed in Rice County Court alleges Farah was pointing a knife and threatening to kill anyone who called police. Witnesses said Farah was twice told to leave, but began chasing several people and threw the knife at them.

[18] At least 40 Somali refugees have left the country to join overseas terrorist organizations such as al-Shabaab in Somalia and ISIS in Syria, the FBI has confirmed. Dozens of others have been charged and/or convicted of providing material support to terrorists.

[19] One of the top terror recruiters for ISIS in the U.S. was Mohamed Hassan, a Somali refugee with roots in Minnesota. He turned himself in to authorities in Somalia in late 2015, after leading dozens of Somali-Americans to join ISIS. He also played a role in the terror attack on Garland, Texas, in which two Muslims planned to kill participants in a "Draw Muhammad" contest and behead activist Pamela Geller.

[20] Dozens of large-scale khat busts have taken place in recent years, such as this seizure of 69 pounds of khat at the Philadelphia airport bound for Minneapolis, and this one sending nearly 20 pounds to Minneapolis. Khat is a stimulant chewed by Somali men.

[21] In June 2016, residents of the Linden Hills community in Minneapolis were terrorized by a Somali mob for three straight days. They raided the waterfront community and pretending to shoot women on the beach, ran their cars over lawns while screaming "jihad," threatened to rape one woman and beat one resident's dog. Police were called repeatedly but never could make it to the scene before the Somalis disappeared.

[22] Minneapolis Police Department has for years tolerated an active Sharia cop, who married a Somali woman and patrols the Cedar Riverside area making sure Somalis are complying with Islamic dress codes and other Sharia rules.

[23] Liban Haji Mohamed, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Somalia who came to the U.S. as a child refugee, was named to the FBI's list of Most Wanted Terrorists in January 2015. Mohamed, who worked as a cab driver in northern Virginia, was charged with providing material support and resources to al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab.

[24] In May 2015, a UK media outlet broke the story that one of the Islamic State's major recruiters turned out to be a female journalism student in Seattle who liked football, cheeseburgers, and convincing women in Syria and the EU to wage jihad. The student, a Somali named Rawdah Abdisalaam, was discovered to be working as a senior recruiter while living the good life in Seattle.

[25] In January 2014, Somali refugee Ahmed Nasir Taalil, living in San Diego, was sentenced to six years for his part in a conspiracy to funnel money to al-Shabaab. Among Nasir-Nasir's co-conspirators were cab driver Basaaly Saeed Moalin, who was sentenced to 18 years, Mohamed Mohamud – a Somali imam at a local mosque – sentenced to 13 years, and Issa Doreh, who was sentenced to 10 years for working at a money-transmitting business that helped move the illegal funds.

Refugee proponents, many of them working for resettlement agencies that receive government tax dollars for every refugee they bring into the U.S., continue to allege that Somalis are an asset to the communities in which they live. But those communities deserve security too. Now that the refugee ban has expired, it is time that the clear issues of lack of assimilation and terror risks posed by many Somali refugees are taken seriously.

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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Monday, February 19, 2018




A Cure for Mass Shootings Doesn't Exist

There need to be a lot more articles like the one below.  Politicians on all sides are always offering solutions to social problems.  But what if all the offered solutions do more harm than good?  They often do in fact.  It would take a brave politician to say of some problem:  "We cannot solve that" but  we need bravery like that

Every time there is a mass shooting, a chorus goes up: "We must do something to keep this from happening again. We can't tolerate it any longer."

Revulsion understandably creates a demand for remedies. But every time, we do nothing, to the fury of those who denounce the inaction as shameful.

There is a simple explanation, though, for the inaction. It's not that the National Rifle Association is all-powerful, that too many Americans are blind to reason, or that most are complacent about wanton slaughter. It's that there are no plausible options that offer more than the faintest prospect of preventing a massacre in the next year or the next decade.

Our constitutional framework was not designed to facilitate drastic government action. It was designed to prevent it in the absence of a clear and durable public consensus. In this instance, there is none.

Mass shootings are a horrific problem that is peculiarly resistant to solutions. To a great extent, public policy is impotent. Until the advocates of new restrictions can make the case that they would make a difference, little is likely to happen.

What answers do they offer? One is reinstituting the federal ban on "assault weapons" and high-capacity magazines that was in effect from 1994 to 2004. Another is expanding the federal background check system to cover private sales. Another is to make it easier to flag people with mental health problems and bar sales to them.

These are not necessarily wrong, but they are unpromising. Though an AR-15 may be particularly useful for mass shootings, there are many substitutes that fire just as rapidly and use equally destructive ammunition. A ban on high-capacity magazines would be a puny impediment to someone like the killer in Parkland, Florida.

Mass shooters, Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck told me, "always use multiple guns and/or multiple magazines, enabling them to easily fire many rounds quickly even if they had only smaller-capacity magazines. And they do not need guns that fire fast, because they do not fire fast during their crimes." The Parkland shooter had multiple magazines.

A 2013 study of the 1994 law for the National Institute of Justice said, "We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence." It also said, "Should it be renewed, the ban's effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement."

Even if the law had any positive effect then, it would be far less likely to help today, because there are far more of these guns now. In 1994, Americans owned about 1.5 million "assault weapons." The number is now around 8 million.

Restoring the 1994 law would not eliminate them. It would only block new sales—and foster new models engineered to get around the new rules. People would be able to keep and buy the "assault weapons" already out there.

Background checks for private sales would make it harder for felons to acquire guns. But mass shooters have typically gotten their arms legally from licensed dealers as the alleged killer in Parkland did.

Yes, it might make a difference if the United States emulated Australia by outlawing certain guns and requiring owners to surrender them. Constitutional issues aside, that sort of law couldn't be passed here—or enforced. It belongs in the realm of fantasy.

Broadening the exclusion for mental health problems would mean penalizing millions of people who pose no danger. It would also deter troubled gun owners from seeking treatment.

"To say no one with mental illness should have a gun—how do you accomplish that?" Ronald Honberg, senior policy adviser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, asked The New York Times. "Does that mean anybody that goes to a therapist for depression or anxiety should be reported and put in a database and prohibited from purchasing a firearm? That would impact a fair number of police officers."

None of this is to argue against any changes whatsoever. Some reforms could modestly reducing gun crime without putting much of a burden on law-abiding gun owners. Universal background checks, banning bump stocks, and improving databases to prevent the omission of people who are barred from purchasing guns could help diminish gun violence.

Outrage is an appropriate response to the carnage in Parkland, but it's not an answer. Those demanding dramatic action accuse those who disagree of enabling murder. But it's no sin to reject false remedies.

SOURCE






The British Labour Party in the era of Jeremy Corbyn

No longer a party of the workers.  Comments below by a "moderate" Labour party member

Corbyn circumvented Labour's institutions and drew his authority from the plebiscite of the membership. A You Gov analysis described the new membership as "not remotely representative of the rest of the country". For many this difference was a virtue to be celebrated. Labour was now a party of social liberalism dominated by the public sector and higher educated middle class. The trade unions, once a bulwark against the hard left, gave their money and support. A generation of graduates indebted by tuition fees and raised on identity liberalism provided energy and enthusiasm.

In 2017 Corbyn led the party into the election under the certainty of a heavy defeat. The 1980s had taught that hard left sectarian politics could not build a broad based coalition to win an election. National political culture punished political moves to the extremes. In the event the lessons of the 1980s proved correct. Labour was defeated by a Conservative Party running the worst campaign in its history. But against the low expectations the defeat was victorious. Corbyn won over young people, added ten points to Labour’s vote share and achieved 41 per cent of the total vote.

And so Jeremy Corbyn marks a revival of the Labour Party under the new class and sociological conditions of post-industrial Britain. After a long period of torpor Labour has energy and a sort of anti-leadership, if no strategy. It believes it can win. The sectarians of the hard left, a very small minority, have been buoyed up for their march through the institutions of the party. Corbyn’s summer Tour of Britain attracted large enthusiastic crowds. Like the music industry, politics has lost its old system for distributing product and reward. Corbyn is out on the road and his young supporters have gone online.

Moderates

It’s time for those of us who identified themselves as moderates to reject the label. It was conferred by the media. To have one’s identity defined by others is a symptom of powerlessness. It persuades us that somehow we are in the right place politically in the country, in tune with the majority, when in reality we are in a state of acute political crisis.

Many of those who originally opposed Corbyn did so because they argued he was unelectable. Moral or ideological objections were trumped by tribal loyalty to Labour. During the election, local campaigns were fought on the basis that a vote for the local Labour candidate would not mean a vote for Corbyn. With a 41 per cent vote share this option is now closed. A future election campaign means a vote for the Labour candidate will be a vote for Prime Minister Corbyn and Chancellor McDonnell, including their record on defence and security, their historical allegiances and their foreign alliances.

The election of Corbyn as leader tipped the PLP [Parliamentary Labour Party]  upside down. Once the pre-eminent institution of the labour movement it had taken for granted an authority conferred on it by the electorate.  The role of the membership was to follow instructions and service it. The tables are now turned. The PLP failed to recognise the nature of the threat from the hard left. To use a military metaphor, it became the victim of an encirclement by the combined populist forces of leadership and membership. It might imagine itself autonomous. Its political resources might appear intact, but in reality it has been kettled and its authority within the party broken.

The PLP [Parliamentary Labour Party] does not have the trust of a majority of the membership. It has had no collective sense of how to resolve its predicament. It has had no language, no conceptual framework and no distinctive corporate identity with which to challenge the sectarian forces that want to destroy it. It has never had to fight for its authority and hasn’t yet learned how to. And so its tactics – the mass resignations from the front bench, the second leadership contest - backfired.

The task of its sectarian enemies who do not believe in representative democracy is to destroy its institutional power. Within the PLP there has been a resurgence of machine politics from the right to defend its positions, but it has been more of a fighting retreat. Its goal of restoring the status quo was never a viable option. Having failed in the last two years to build a collective sense of political strategic purpose, individual MPs are left to battle for their own survival.

Where is Labour going?

Labour’s 2015 manifesto was full of technically competent and costed policies that had been tested for their popularity. But what it did not include was a compelling story about the country and the British people. Where was the hope? We had only a bleak story to tell. And what did Labour stand for? People no longer knew.

Labour’s manifesto in 2017 was a bolder more hopeful version. But it wasn’t "genius" as some have claimed. It suffered from the same limitations. It took little account of the participatory politics championed by Corbyns supporters. It opposed the dominance of the market but instead of devolving and spreading power through society, it gave more power to the central state. It settled for the same kind of command and control, tax and spend politics that had characterised Labour in the last century. In place of reform and innovation it promised very large sums of money and in spite of its accompanying costings the sums didn’t add up. Fortunately no-one seemed that interested in checking, least of all the Tories, a neglect unlikely to be repeated. 

Despite the surge of hope and optimism that has swept over the party, our 2017 manifesto showed an organisation still limited by its institutional conservatism and its failure to reform its centralising, top down approach to politics.

The excitement of Labour’s resurgence hides a more prosaic truth. At its heart the Labour Party remains intellectually threadbare. As a consequence all kinds of pseudo theories and ideas are sucked into its empty centre without being contested. In this ideological battle over the future character of the Labour Party the PLP has nothing much of interest to say. The right that was once New Labour has become irrelevant. The hard left and its Trotskyist allies are fit only to pursue their entryist tactics of taking over CLPs [Constituency Labour Parties] by boring them to procedural death.

The membership want power with purpose. Most are idealists rather than idealogues and many no doubt would have supported New Labour in 1997. The political system is broken and they want change: a more equal society and an end to poverty and homelessness. They want a properly funded NHS, a mental health care system, and respectful treatment of the disabled who cannot work. But as time passes the likelihood of a Labour election victory will start to fade. If the Conservatives succeed in muddling their way through Brexit the threat of a Labour election disaster that didn’t happen in 2017 will return. Labour will need to reassess its current belief that one more heave brandishing its 2017 manifesto will win it power.

SOURCE






Infamous Google memo author shot down by federal labor board Panel: Damore's gender-focused memo was "discriminatory, constituted sexual harassment.


Certain scientific truths are now illegal to be stated in the USA. What about all the scientific papers indicating gender differences?

Former Google engineer James Damore has attempted to take civil and legal action against his former employer after being fired in August, but on Thursday, a federal memo revealed that one of Damore's filings has been unequivocally denied.

The National Labor Relations Board published its memo this week, which was issued in January after Damore filed a charge against his former employer on August 8. In spite of Damore withdrawing his NLRB filing in September, the board proceeded to examine and issue its own ruling: Google "discharged [Damore] only for [his] unprotected conduct while it explicitly affirmed [his] right to engage in protected conduct." The NLRB emphasized that any charge filed by Damore on the matter should be "dismissed."

In explaining the board's reasoning, NLRB member Jayme Sophir points to two specific parts of the controversial memo circulated by Damore in August: Damore's claim that women are "more prone to 'neuroticism,' resulting in women experiencing higher anxiety and exhibiting lower tolerance for stress" and that "men demonstrate greater variance in IQ than women."

Sophir describes how these gender-specific claims resemble other cases decided by the NLRB that revolved around racist, sexist, and homophobic language in the workplace. She says that specific Damore statements were "discriminatory and constituted sexual harassment, notwithstanding [his] effort to cloak [his] comments with 'scientific' references and analysis, and notwithstanding [his] 'not all women' disclaimers. Moreover, those statements were likely to cause serious dissension and disruption in the workplace."
The NLRB memo also includes a quote from Google's letter of termination given to Damore in August, which Sophir says focused specifically on offending, fireable content while also protecting other portions of his speech:

I want to make clear that our decision is based solely on the part of your post that generalizes and advances stereotypes about women versus men. It is not based in any way on the portions of your post that discuss [the Employer’s] programs or trainings, or how [the Employer] can improve its inclusion of differing political views. Those are important points. I also want to be clear that this is not about you expressing yourself on political issues or having political views that are different than others at the company. Having a different political view is absolutely fine. Advancing gender stereotypes is not.

Damore's lawsuit, which was joined by former Google employee David Gudeman when filed in January, is still awaiting trial.

SOURCE






People Will Eat What They Want, Not What Government Prefers

This month, a pair of seemingly unrelated stories—a story about Chile's crackdown on subjectively unhealthy foods and a bill now before the U.S. Congress—make clear that the legions of do-gooders who want to compel you and others to eat just what they think you should eat are—despite their persistence—failing miserably at their jobs.

In Congress, the bill in question seeks to modify and delay the FDA's menu-labeling mandate, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The bill is nothing new. It's been kicking around since at least 2012, shortly after Obamacare became law.

Currently, the menu-labeling portion of that law, set to take effect later this year, would require many chain restaurants, vending-machine owners, grocers, theater owners, and others to post total average calorie information for most menu items.

The bill to amend the Obamacare menu-labeling law, dubbed the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, which passed the House last week, would allow chain restaurants to list calories per serving for menu items intended to be consumed by more than one person, and allow pizza chains and other carry-out restaurants to post calorie information online instead of in stores. It would also delay implementation of Obamacare's menu-labeling provisions for at least two years.

Supporters claim the existing law would help people make better and more-informed choices, and oppose the listing of calories per-serving (rather than total calories), along with the other elements of the bill.

"[W]e see from the research that actually, when consumers are given this information, they actually can make lower-calorie choices, and restaurants can also come out with lower-calorie options," Colin Schwartz, deputy director of legislative affairs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told CNN.

Certainly people can actually "make lower-calorie choices." It's just that, with mandatory menu labeling, research shows they most often don't actually make those lower-calorie choices.

"Overall, when you are looking at average consumer response to labeling, there doesn't appear to be much difference in calories purchased before and after labeling," said Dr. Jason Block, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, coauthor of a recent study on menu labeling, also in remarks to CNN.

But even that's an optimistic take on the impact of mandatory menu labeling.

"Research has shown that posting mandatory calorie counts on restaurant menus doesn't help people make better choices," I wrote last year.

Why don't people just do what the law wants them to do? Well, maybe one reason is that dietary preferences and choices are deeply personal, and laws like this one that seek to change those habits ignore that fact.

A 2016 study sheds more light on that idea. In the study, researcher Olga Kozlova looked at food choices made by people in months when they had comparatively more money available (due to lower heating costs). The study found that when low-income consumers have more disposable income, they tend to buy more of the foods they already purchase, rather than spending the additional money on healthier foods.

"[I]f you were thinking—or hoping—that low-income consumers look on healthy food as a luxury that they could buy if only they could afford it, the evidence in this study doesn't seem to be in your favor," reads a New Food Economy piece on the study.

That has serious implications, writes the New Food Economy's Patrick Clinton, for many people's thinking (though not my own) around policy strategies to deal with the (now mainly debunked) problem of food deserts.

So what can be done if both nudgy policies and better economic situations don't lead individuals to make the choices that food policymakers and activists want them to make? Restrict choice!

Two years ago, as a lengthy New York Times piece last week detailed, Chile did just that, enacting pervasive and intrusive anti-obesity regulations, including bans on marketing foods to children, removing junk food from schools, adopting mandatory packaged-food nutrition warnings, and sugar taxes.

How's that working? As the Times piece notes, "Obesity rates in Chile have yet to fall."

This mimics what's happened in the United States, where despite eight years of sweeping policy changes designed to cut obesity, many enacted with the support of then-First Lady Michelle Obama, obesity rates continued to rise.

Several years ago, I wrote a column here in which I blasted the negative results produced by efforts to socially engineer our food choices. For these failed efforts, it appears there's no end in sight.

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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