Friday, July 21, 2017


Three cheers for Thom Yorke

Rejecting BDS is the most rock’n’roll thing he’s ever done

The fate of the Palestinian people rests on Thom Yorke’s slender shoulders. Or at least that’s the impression you might have got from the weeks of opprobrium heaped on the Radiohead frontman for refusing to bow to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) crew and cancel the band’s upcoming show in Tel Aviv. The backlash, unleashed by pro-BDS artists, myriad luvvies and pro-Palestine protesters, has been positively unhinged.

‘Their ill-advised concert in Tel Aviv suggests to me that they only want to hear one side – the one that supports apartheid’, wrote film director Ken Loach in the Independent. ‘Every international artist who plays in Israel serves as a propaganda tool for the Israeli government’, read an open letter signed by Desmond Tutu, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and others. ‘Music helps drown out the cries of the oppressed’, wrote former Faithless guitarist Dave Randall, in support of the letter.

They’ve rounded on Radiohead with the passion of a spurned lover. While other acts continue to play in Israel with less controversy – Justin Bieber played there in May – Radiohead, it seems, are supposed to know better. ‘They are perceived to be a progressive political band’, said Loach. ‘If they go to Tel Aviv, they may never live it down.’ Others have pointed to Radiohead’s support for Amnesty International and Tibetan freedom as proof of their rank hypocrisy.

For all the turbo-charged rhetoric, Yorke’s reasons are eminently reasonable. In a statement on Twitter, in response to Loach, he said: ‘We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America. We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America. Music, art and academia is about crossing borders, not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression.’

Yorke has come out swinging. He stuck a middle finger up to protesters at a recent gig in Glasgow. And in an interview with Rolling Stone, he didn’t mince words when talking about the effect the controversy has had on Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, who is married to an Arab Jew and has friends ‘on both sides’ of the conflict. ‘Imagine how offensive that is for Jonny… Just to assume that we know nothing about this. Just to throw the word “apartheid” around and think that’s enough. It’s fucking weird. It’s such an extraordinary waste of energy.’

And he’s right. The cultural boycott of Israel, which began in 2005, operates under a bizarre and bigoted logic. For no other nation is its people, all bearing diverse views, so casually conflated with their government; a gig in Tel Aviv might as well be a private performance at Bibi’s birthday party. The historically illiterate, borderline depraved claim that Israel is an ‘apartheid state’ is only a desperate attempt to repackage what looks a lot like collective punishment, of a people who just so happen to be predominantly Jewish.

That musicians, whose post-Trump maxim is ‘build bridges not walls’, have enthusiastically gone along with this cultural blockade is hypocritical and disturbing. Free expression is the lifeblood of culture, and cross-border exchange essential to global pop. And this BDS lark cuts both ways. Not only do Western artists refuse to perform in Israel, but, in recent years, Israeli artists have had Western performances picketed and shut down because they took small amounts of government money, the equivalent of an Arts Council grant.

The intolerance shown not only to Israeli artists but also to artists who dare to defy the boycott is remarkable. The tirades against Yorke openly hint at repercussions. ‘They will lose the respect of thousands of music fans across the region and around the world’, said Randall. Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd frontman and BDSer who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany, said a few years back that anti-Israel bands daren’t speak out for fear of being ‘destroyed’. Yet a ‘Boycott Radiohead’ campaign can hardly be far away.

The rage against Radiohead tells us a lot about the BDS movement. But it also tells us a lot about the musicians who have gone along with it. The pious fury with which they have denounced a band that just wants to perform for its Israeli fans speaks to a prejudice born of blinding self-obsession. The idea that a prohibition of Pink Floyd will bring down the Israeli state, or that Radiohead playing Tel Aviv will ‘whitewash’ Netanyahu, is hubris in the extreme. And their fanaticism has taken some of them down some dark political alleyways.

Good for Thom Yorke – giving the finger to the BDSers is the most rock’n'roll thing he’s done.

SOURCE





From Cactus Theater to the Met, US Government Pours Hundreds of Millions Into Well-Heeled Arts

U.S. taxpayers have paid $90,000 for a theater “performance” in which people commune with a tall cactus for an hour in the middle of an Arizona desert, “to discover what it can teach them.”

On a posher scale, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York netted $1.2 million in taxpayer-funded grants from the U.S. government since 2009, nearly half of it last year.

These are just two perhaps unexpected findings in a new report from Open the Books that reveals hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money granted to thousands of nonprofits and other organizations by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities.

The report says the government foundation distributed $441 million to 3,163 entities in fiscal year 2016, which ended Sept. 30.

Of these, 71 are “asset-rich” nonprofits, the report says, meaning their assets exceed $1 billion. Even so, they received $20.5 million in grants.

The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, the subject of the report, is the umbrella organization for three agencies—the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Open the Books says its mission is to “capture and post online all disclosed spending at every level of government.” The goal: to show Americans where their taxes are going and let them decide if it adds up to government waste.

Nearly half of the $441 million awarded by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities—about $210 million—went to recipients in nine states and the District of Columbia. Most are blue states: California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Ballets, operas, orchestras, and symphonies received $5.4 million, despite having $5 billion in assets, the report says. Among them: the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the New York City Ballet.

New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art received $1.2 million in grants from the government foundation between fiscal years 2009 and 2016, including $551,028 in 2016 alone. 

The Met is a public charity with assets of $3.73 billion, according to its 2014 tax forms. The museum’s annual celebrity-studded Met Gala recently raised $300 million, the report says.

The government foundation’s grants also go to a huge cast of art exhibitions and performances, including a series of shows featuring the saguaro cactus hosted by the Borderlands Theater in Tucson, Arizona.

The theater’s “site-responsive performances” celebrate the treelike cactus, which can grow to 70 feet tall. The idea is that guests pay to spend one hour in the Sonoran Desert with the cactus, then share their experience on social media.

The government contributed $10,000 in tax money to the theater in fiscal 2016 and a total of $90,000 over the past eight years.

Search for “saguaro cactus” on Twitter and it doesn’t appear folks need much government encouragement to share about it:

Besides the Met, rich and famous institutions receiving federal funds since 2009, Open the Books says, include the Boston Museum of Fine Arts ($2.5 million); Chicago’s Adler Planetarium ($1.7 million); the Art Institute of Chicago ($1.4 million); and Hollywood icon Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute in Park City, Utah ($3.3 million).

The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities’ $143 million in contributions in fiscal 2016 to charitable organizations included universities with billion-dollar endowment funds such as Harvard, Yale, Northwestern, Notre Dame, and the University of Michigan.

A total of 432 federal employees working for the government foundation earned $41.8 million a year in salaries and bonuses, the report notes. The average salary was $96,500 for fiscal 2016, with benefits increasing the average cost to $126,415 per employee.

SOURCE





Liberal Values Are Causing Welfare Costs to Balloon
   
Recently, Gallup published the results of its annual Values and Beliefs poll.

The headline of the report speaks for itself: “Americans Hold Record Liberal Views on Most Moral Issues.”

Gallup has been doing this poll since 2001, and the change in public opinion on the moral issues surveyed has been in one direction — more liberal.

Of 19 issues surveyed in this latest poll, responses on 10 are the most liberal since the survey started.

Sixty-three percent say gay/lesbian relations are morally acceptable — up 23 points from the first year the question was asked. Sixty-two percent say having a baby outside of marriage is OK — up 17 points. Unmarried sex, 69 percent — up 16 points. Divorce, 73 percent — up 14 points.

More interesting, and of greater consequence, is what people actually do, rather than what they think. And, not surprisingly, the behavior we observe in our society at large reflects these trends in values.

Hence, the institution of traditional marriage is crumbling, Americans are having fewer children, and, compared with years gone by, the likelihood that children are born out of the framework of marriage has dramatically increased.

Undoubtedly, the liberals in academia, in the media, in politics, see this as good news. After all, doesn’t removing the “thou shalt not’s” that limit life’s options liberate us?

Isn’t the idea of freedom supposed to be, according to them, that you have a green light to do whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting someone else?

But here’s the rub. How do you measure if you are hurting someone else? No one lives in a vacuum. We all live in a country, in communities. We are social beings as well as individuals, no matter what your political philosophy happens to be. Everyone’s behavior has consequences for others.

For instance, more and more research shows the correlation between the breakdown of the traditional family and poverty.

In 2009, Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution published his “success sequence.” According to Haskins, someone who completes high school, works full time, and doesn’t have children until after marriage has only a 2 percent chance of being poor.

A new study from the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies focuses on Millennials — those born between 1980-1984. And this study reaches conclusions similar to those of Haskins.

According to this study, only 3 percent of Millennials who have a high school diploma, who are working full time, and who are married before having children are poor. On the other hand, 53 percent of Millennials who have not done these three things are poor.

Behavior increasing the likelihood of poverty does have consequences on others. American taxpayers spend almost a trillion dollars a year to help those in poverty, a portion of whom would not be in this situation if they lived their lives differently.

But the same liberals who scream when Republicans look for ways to streamline spending on antipoverty programs like Medicaid scream just as loudly at any attempt to expose young people to biblical values that teach traditional marriage and chastity outside of marriage.

The percent of American adults that are married dropped from 72 percent in 1960 to 52 percent in 2008. The percentage of our babies born to unmarried women increased from 5 percent in 1960 to 41 percent by 2008.

This occurred against a backdrop of court orders removing all vestiges of religion from our public spaces, beginning with banning school prayer in 1962, and then the legalization of abortion in 1973. In 2015, the Supreme Court redefined marriage.

Losing all recognition that personal and social responsibility matters, that the biblical tradition that existed in the cradle of our national founding is still relevant, is bankrupting us morally and fiscally.

We are long overdue for a new, grand awakening.

SOURCE





Leftist lies about Christians from Australia's ABC

On Monday, the ABC ran a long program about historic sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Philadelphia — way off in the United States — as if we really needed to know this here and now.

But the ABC’s most ridiculous attack on Christianity came on Tuesday, with a campaign to persuade us that “the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians” who occasionally go to church.

ABC presenter Julia Baird and ABC journalist Hayley Gleeson published an essay on the ABC’s site which gave just one source for this astonishing claim: “As theology professor Steven Tracy wrote in 2008: ‘It is widely accepted by abuse experts (and validated by numerous studies) that evangelical men who sporadically attend church are more likely than men of any other religious group (and more likely than secular men) to assault their wives’.”

ABC Radio National presenter Fran Kelly accepted this without a flicker of doubt in interviewing Baird, asking: “Is it a matter of belief system?”

And they agreed the problem was “patriarchal” churches — male-led — which encouraged men to bully their wives by preaching the Biblical passage: “Wives, submit to your own husbands.”

Baird, who has since repeated her attack on the ABC’s 7.30, suggests this could be a scandal to rival priests abusing children.

“Is it true,” she asked, “that there are striking similarities to the Church’s failure to protect children from abuse, and that this next generation’s reckoning will be about the failure in their ranks to protect women from domestic violence?”

But anyone remotely familiar with Christianity and Australia should have instantly realised there’s no way “the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians”.

First, our worst rates of domestic violence notoriously occur in Aboriginal families, where women are at least 31 times more likely to be hospitalised by violent partners.

Second, it is not the Bible but the Koran that licenses domestic violence. Christ stopped the stoning of a woman accused of adultery, but Mohammed said men could hit disobedient wives: “Admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them.”

And, third, Baird, herself, concedes deep in her online article that her American source says “regular church attenders are less likely to commit acts of intimate partner violence”. That suggests Christianity actually protects women, exactly the opposite of what the ABC implied.

But check further and it becomes clear Baird missed clear evidence that contradicts her anti-Church theory. Her single source for her big claim is Steven Tracy, a theology professor at a Phoenix seminary, who did indeed in one essay claim “conservative Protestant men who are irregular church attendees are the most likely to batter their wives”.

Tracy cites a paper by Professor Christopher G. Ellison which actually finds that other groups experience greater incidences of domestic violence, demonstrating that there are, in fact, competing views on this issue. The paper claims: “African-Americans, in particular, have higher levels of domestic violence”.

What’s more, Ellison says that men who often go to a Christian church “are 72 per cent less likely to abuse their female partners than men from comparable backgrounds who do not attend services”.

The conclusion is clear: “Our findings … suggest that religious involvement, specifically church attendance, protects against domestic violence.” Christianity literally saves.

Tracy also quotes in his footnotes a New Zealand study by Emeritus Professor David Fergusson which confirms that Christianity is a civilising influence, counter to what the ABC implied.

As Tracy writes: “... 11.2 per cent of husbands who never attended church assaulted their wives. But only 2.2 per cent of husbands who attended church at least monthly assaulted their wives, while 6.2 per cent of husbands who attended church sporadically assaulted their wives.”

This is not what Baird reported and what the ABC yesterday claimed. Why didn’t the ABC report the truth: that Christianity actually saves women from abuse? Why did it instead falsely claim — and instantly believe — the falsehood that evangelical Christians are the worst abusers? The ABC is not merely at war with Christianity. This proves something worse: it is attacking the faith that most makes people civil.

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

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Thursday, July 20, 2017



Is Islamic feminism possible?

The woman below, SARAH KHAN, is a lapsed Muslim from Canada and a radical  feminist.  I regard radical feminists as mentally ill so advise taking her words below with a grain of salt.  But she does have an interesting point. I have been told before that Arabic writing is highly ambiguous and difficult to translate so the idea that a valid feminist translation of the Koran is possible and that it could vary greatly from orthodox translations seems entirely possible.

When I finally read the Qur’an for myself for the first time, I was surprised to learn that what I had been told wasn’t at all how I interpreted what I read. Sure there were problematic parts—mainly the fact that daughters were to receive a lesser inheritance than sons—but it wasn’t as suffocating as I had been raised to believe.

I decided to try it out, but by my early twenties, I decided that it was disrespectful of me to only be Muslim when convenient. One of the main tenets of religion is dedication to it and paying lip service seemed so offensive to me. So I lapsed. But, I continued my research.

A few months ago, on a whim, I decided to read the Qur’an again, but this time the version I read was translated by a woman. Laleh Bakhtiar is a Muslim translator, author and clinical psychologist, and her translation, The Sublime Quran, had been sitting on my shelf for years. Bakhtiar’s translation is notable not only because she’s a woman but also because she does a straight word-for-word translation without any footnotes and without any commentary.

She explains in her preface that the Qur’an is not a historic text; therefore, it needn’t any commentary (read: bias). It should be presented to the individual as is. She says that the Quran is meant to be long-lasting and transcend time, so it should be presented word for word and left to the readers’ interpretation. For years I’ve believed that all holy books ought to be left to individual interpretation, but most translations take liberties with the language and allow the translator’s bias to seep through.

In the translation of the Qur’an I read as a teenager, there were references to a man having permission to beat his wife with a strap no thicker than a thumb. This always troubled me and I was at a loss at how a religion that encouraged divorce if it were necessary (regardless of which gender initiated it) could encourage spousal violence as well. In Bakhtiar’s translation, there is not a single mention of anything relating to a man being allowed to beat his wife.

Most versions translate section 4:34 of the chapter titled “The Women” as some variation of the following:

“… and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them …”

The same section in Bakhtiar’s translation reads,

“And those (f) whose resistance you fear, then admonish them (f) and abandon them (f) in their sleeping places and go away from them (f). Then if they (f) obey you, then look not for any way against them (f).”

The “f” in parentheses appear periodically throughout the translation to differentiate between the masculine and feminine “they” and the italicized words are those that are not present in Arabic, but are needed in English for the sentence to be complete and comprehensible. It’s wildly telling to note that the famed passage that all anti-Islamists pull out to prove the religion is a misogynistic one actually means something completely different when translated verbatim from the Arabic. It supports the theory that many practicing Muslims have, which is that Islam itself is one of the furthest things from being misogynistic; Islamic culture, on the other hand, is rife with misogyny and excuses it by claiming to be God’s word.

Most holy books also are happy to report that God made man first and woman was birthed from man via God. Turns out, at least in the Qur’an, this isn’t stated anywhere. Sure Adam is mentioned by name and the first human is referred to as a “he,” but the only part that specifically talks about the creation of man says, “… your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its spouse and from them both disseminated many men and women.” There’s no specification of who came first nor any indication that woman was made from man. It’s almost as if men were so jealous of cisgender women’s ability to give birth that they decided that they’d make it so that it was Adam who “birthed” the sex that would go on to birth the rest of humankind.

While there are still problematic parts in the Qur’an—as there are in any holy book—the idea that the holy book or the religion itself is to be blamed is rife with ignorance. Putting blame on an inanimate object for encouraging people to be assholes to each other is a childish cop-out; it’s the people who interpreted these words to mean awful things and lived their lives oppressing an entire gender and justifying it by saying that they’re just following orders.

Being a feminist and a Muslim is something that is totally possible—you just have to use common sense and empathy.

SOURCE





Border Patrol union boss: Drop in apprehensions 'nothing short of miraculous'

The large drop in apprehensions of people illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is "nothing short of miraculous," National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said on Monday.

"If you look at the rhetoric that President Trump has given, it has caused a number of illegal border crossings to go down," Judd told C-SPAN. "We have never seen such a drop that we currently have."

Border apprehensions — long seen as the best measure of illegal border crossing attempts — have fallen more than 50 percent this year, compared to 2016.

The Department of Homeland Security has consistently reported plummeting figures of southwest border apprehensions since Trump assumed office in January.
Reported apprehensions remained on a downward trend until June, when border officials registered a slight uptick from May, contrary to seasonal trends that usually show a descent in June.

Yearly overall numbers were so low already that even with the slight rise, there were 53 percent fewer border apprehensions in June 2017 than in the same period last year.

Judd, whose nonpartisan organization endorsed Trump for president in 2016, also said on Monday that he supports the $1.6 billion in funding the administration requested for a wall along the southern border.

He said Trump's signature campaign issue is necessary in many parts of the border, but not all.

Trump had earlier said the wall would have to be uninterrupted and cover all 2,000 miles of border with Mexico, but in an apparent reversal, said last week that only 700 to 900 miles of border wall are needed.

SOURCE





Refugees Are Engaged in the 'Rape Jihad' of Europe 

It’s no secret that Europe has been struggling with the self-inflicted wound of an open-borders policy on mass migration. Conservatives have long warned of the dangers these mass migrant populations pose to the West, specifically the threats of radical Islamic terrorism, which sadly has been borne out. However, another problem that tends to receive less press is the growing crime these European nations are witnessing. Specifically, sexual assault.

In an interesting and eye-opening article from The National Interest, Cheryl Bernard, who has a long history of working with refugees, highlights a specific group of refugees who have proven to be the greatest problem group: Young Afghan men. This group has been responsible for the majority of crimes committed by refugees. The natural question to ask is, why Afghans, when many of the other refugee groups also come from Muslim-majority nations? An Afghan friend of Bernard suggested the following reason:

On the basis of his hundreds of interactions with these young men in his professional capacity over the past several years, he believes to have discovered that they are motivated by a deep and abiding contempt for Western civilization. To them, Europeans are the enemy, and their women are legitimate spoils, as are all the other things one can take from them: housing, money, passports. Their laws don’t matter, their culture is uninteresting and, ultimately, their civilization is going to fall anyway to the horde of which one is the spearhead. No need to assimilate, or work hard, or try to build a decent life here for yourself — these Europeans are too soft to seriously punish you for a transgression, and their days are numbered.

And it’s not just the sex crimes, my friend notes. Those may agitate public sentiment the most, but the deliberate, insidious abuse of the welfare system is just as consequential. Afghan refugees, he says, have a particular proclivity to play the system: to lie about their age, to lie about their circumstances, to pretend to be younger, to be handicapped, to belong to an ethnic minority when even the tired eye of an Austrian judge can distinguish the delicate features of a Hazara from those of a Pashtun.

Essentially, these young Afghan men have launched what Andrew McCarthy of National Review termed in 2015 a “Rape Jihad.” With their wanton and brazen criminal acts they are systematically and actively attacking Western culture and values. This is their jihad. They have no desire to integrate and assimilate into European culture. Rather they are wolves eagerly preying on sheep, and Europe’s justice system lacks the deterrence of real teeth.

And it is the citizens of Europe who are forced to pay for the “compassion” of their leftist leaders.

SOURCE






A debate we’re not allowed to have in Australia

IT’S the debate we were never allowed to have.

Until relatively recently, Australia’s population grew at a stately pace. There was an influx of European immigration in the mid-1940s, and pause from the mid-1970s, but in the 100 years after Federation in 1901, net overseas migration averaged 70,000 people a year.

Then in the early 2000s, Prime Minister John Howard opened the floodgates. Over the last 12 years, Australia’s annual net overseas migration has tripled from its long-term average to 210,000 people per year.

Our cities are bursting at the seams, roads and services are congested, and house prices are skyrocketing — particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, which attract the lion’s share of new Australians.

Over the last 12 years, Sydney has added 20 per cent to its population, or 800,000 people. Melbourne has added one million people over the same period, or 27 per cent.

According to state government projections, Sydney will add another 1.7 million people over the next 20 years, which works out to 87,000 people a year, or 1650 people per week. Melbourne is forecast to add 97,000 people per year, or around 1870 people per week, for the next 35 years.

“It’s clearly unsustainable,” said Leith van Onselen, chief economist with MacroBusiness. “The problem isn’t that immigration is good or bad, it’s just that the level is far too high for Australia to digest.”

According to Mr van Onselen, dubbed the “Unconventional Economist”, Howard “effectively ran a bait-and-switch policy”.

“He scapegoated the very tiny number of people coming by boat, and at the same time opened the floodgates on people coming by plane,” he said.

“Howard never articulated why he was doing that, he just did it, and unfortunately the following governments, Rudd, Gillard, Abbott and now Turnbull, just followed.”

Mr van Onselen, who is one of the few public commentators calling for a national debate about Australia’s annual migration intake, says there is now “tri-partisan support” between the Liberals, Labor and even the Greens to not discuss the issue.

Behind the scenes, the “growth lobby” of retailers, the banking sector, the property industry and “erroneously named think tanks” all push the “growth-ist agenda”. “Unfortunately there’s not really anybody on the other side,” he said.

Late last year, high-profile entrepreneur Dick Smith came out in support of Pauline Hanson, warning that Australia would be “destroyed” if One Nation’s immigration policies weren’t taken seriously.

Mr Smith had previously spoken out about the need for a “small Australia”, with a population of 26 million rather than 50 million. At current migration levels, Australia’s population will hit 40 million by the year 2060, compared with 33 million if the intake returned to its historical average of 70,000.

“Unfortunately you can’t have a sensible debate,” said Mr van Onselen. “The main problem is the perception of racism. The easiest way to shut down debate is to call someone racist. Our politicians and media won’t mention it because they’re afraid they’ll get associated with Pauline.

“It’s nothing to do with race — it’s an economic and living standards debate. It’s purely a numbers game, that’s all that matters. A body is a body. If you’ve got an extra car on the road, an extra person on the train, it doesn’t matter where they’re from.”

The common public argument used to promote mass immigration, particularly by the likes of the United Nations, is the need to replace an “ageing” population. The behind-the-scenes rationale is to artificially boost economic growth numbers.

Both justifications fail to stand up to scrutiny. According to the Productivity Commission, which has debunked the ageing population myth numerous times over the past 15 years, “changes in migration levels ... make little difference to the age structure of the population in the future, with any effect being temporary”.

“The reason is very simple — immigrants grow old,” said Mr van Onselen. “You can bring in a whole bunch of young people now, it will lower the age temporarily, but in 30 years time those young people are old and you have to repeat the same trick all over again. Really it’s just a Ponzi scheme.”

Which ties into the second justification. Japan, with its sluggish headline economic growth and simultaneously ageing and shrinking population, is commonly cited as an example of why mass immigration for population replacement is necessary.

At the same time, Australia’s record run of economic growth, coinciding with record immigration levels, is held up as a positive example. “All other things being equal, if you increase the population by 1.5 per cent a year, you’re going to get 1.5 per cent economic growth,” said Mr van Onselen.

“More inputs in people means more outputs in economic activity. But the problem is, although it makes the overall growth figures look good, it doesn’t actually help you on a per capita basis, which is what drives living standards.”

In fact, despite Australia’s population surging 21.5 per cent since 2003, compared with the OECD average of 8.5 per cent, Australia’s GDP per capita change has just barely outpaced the OECD — 16 per cent versus 15 per cent, despite going through the biggest mining boom in our history.

“We’re effectively spinning our tyres importing all these people, wearing out our infrastructure, making housing more expensive and degrading the environment for absolutely zero gain, in the material sense,” he said.

“The immigration program used to be a supplement to the economy, now it’s seen as a driver. Governments are using it as a lever to stop Australia going into recession. The tail is wagging the dog.”

Japan, meanwhile, has grown its GDP per capita by 11 per cent since 2003. “Japan’s unemployment rate is nearly half of ours,” said Mr van Onselen. “It’s hardly a terrible situation they’re in. They’ve got good growth at a per capita level and basically anyone who wants a job can get a job.”

According to the UN’s Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “replacement migration” is the “solution to declining and ageing populations”.

“Population decline is inevitable in the absence of replacement migration,” the UN said in a recent press release. “Fertility may rebound in the coming decades, but few believe that it will recover sufficiently in most countries to reach replacement level in the foreseeable future.”

Mr van Onselen described it as “ridiculous”. “The UN pushes a sort of open borders, globalist agenda,” he said. “It is a myth. We just need a national debate. There’s no strategy, it’s all just ad hoc. How big do we want Australia to become? How are we going to accommodate people? Is this what people want?”

Writing in The Australian, economist Judith Sloan pointed out that in 2011, Malcolm Turnbull made the “astonishing claim” that “anyone who thinks that it’s smart to cut immigration is sentencing Australia to poverty”.

“It is important that we have a measured and informed debate about our immigration policies, in terms of both numbers and the integrity of the visa categories,” she wrote.

“Are people really happy that Australia’s population will exceed 40 million in 2060? Are we really testing for skill when we set the visa categories? Has the migration program simply become a way of allowing universities to charge very high fees to international students on the understanding that the graduates can attain permanent residence?

“These are the questions we should not be afraid to pose and politicians should not be afraid to answer.”

Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim told news.com.au: “The Greens believe in a broad and non-discriminatory immigration policy. In particular, we believe that Australia’s humanitarian intake should be increased to 50,000 people per year.

“Australians are a friendly and welcoming people and we have long and proud history of multiculturalism, which has added so much to the fabric of our country.

“There will always be debates about immigration, and it is disappointing to see so many commentators and politicians resorting to xenophobia and racism.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann did not respond to requests for comment.

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

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017






What a total and utter f*ckwit! Proof conclusive that Islam rots the brain.  See below

The claim below is both deeply offensive and utterly wrong.  Australia doesn't gas Muslims.  It gives most of them welfare payments.  Only a brain-dead person could compare the two

A leader of a hardline Islamist group has compared the treatment of Muslims to the massacre of millions of Jewish people during the Holocaust.

Muslims have become an 'existential threat' in the world today, Hizb ut-Tahrir media representative Hamzah Qureshi was recently recorded telling fellow group members.

The growing fear of Islam is comparable to Germany's declaration that the Jewish people 'needed to go entirely' almost 70 years ago, Mr Qureshi argued.

'In Europe during the 19th and 20th century the ‘Jewish question’ interrogated the status of Jews and soon morphed from an allegedly neutral inquiry into a question of serious threat,' he began.

'Numerous answers were proposed – resettlement, integration, assimilation, deportation and so on as Jews were labelled an obstacle to the German nation and the insidious enemy within.'

As fears grew, the Holocaust was offered as a 'final solution' to the 'Jewish question,' he said.

'Today though brothers and sisters there is a "Muslim question",' he said. 

'The same answers that were given for the Jewish question are now being suggested for the Muslim version – integration, assimilation, deportation and so on. Muslims have become that existential threat, that enemy within and that persistent danger,' Mr Qureshi said.

'Muslims are told that in order to be accepted they must conform to a certain set of values different to their own.'

'All this begs the confronting question. What will be the final solution to this ‘Muslim Question?’

Mr Qureshi's comments come after fellow Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar was captured on camera saying Muslims who leave the religion should be put to death. 'The ruling for apostates as such in Islam is clear, that apostates attract capital punishment and we don't shy away from that,' Badar said in Sydney in May. An apostate is someone who decides to leave Islam.

His extraordinary admission was exclusively captured on camera by Daily Mail Australia and the matter has now been referred to the Australian Federal Police by Justice Minister Michael Keenan.

Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia removed references to that apostasy policy from its website as Alison Bevege, a freelance journalist, sued the group for making her to sit in a women's-only section at a separate talk in October 2014.

During the group meeting, Ms Bevege held up a printed copy of Hizb ut-Tahrir's draft constitution of the khilafah state published on the UK site, which was on the group's Australian website until 2015.

This outlines their vision for a global Islamic caliphate, which has Muslims and non-Muslims living under sharia law.

Article 7c of the document said: 'Those who are guilty of apostasy (murtadd) from Islam are to be executed according to the rule of apostasy, provided they have by themselves renounced Islam.'

Badar initially responded by saying the policy wasn't on its website before explaining how the group's apostasy policy was compatible with Islam. 'The whole thing covers different aspects of Islamic sharia law,' he said.

'The role of apostasy in Islam is very clear. Again, this is one of the things the West doesn’t like and seeks to change the role of apostasy.'

A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Michael Keenan condemned language that incites or advocates violence.

'Language that incites or advocates violence is not freedom of speech,' the spokeswoman said. 'This matter has been referred to the AFP.'

Badar's remarks came after he delivered the keynote lecture for the forum, which was called 'Sharia and the modern age'.

He said Islam was incompatible with a secular separation of religion and state, democracy, individual rights and even the process of science, which he called 'scientism'.

He compared calls to fit Islam within a secular society to domesticating a wild animal, putting Hizb ut-Tahrir at odds with secular Muslims who reject sharia law.

'The West seeks to domesticate Islam, to control, to bring within, the way you domesticate animals,' he said.

Badar described calls to reform Islam from secular Muslims as 'pernicious', 'insidious' and 'dangerous' and called for radical change. 'Always when you hear these sorts of calls, alarm bells should ring,' he said.

'The Islam people are calling for fits very well within modernity. They’re giving in to the pressure to conform.'

About 100 people were at the publicly-advertised lecture with men making up about two-thirds of the audience.

Women were segregated from the men on the left-hand side of the room, apart from Ms Bevege who stood at the back.

Following the lecture, a group of men followed Daily Mail Australia to a parked car.

One older man bizarrely demanded to know if men and women had equality in Australia.

An ex-Muslim from Bangladesh, Shakil Ahmed, attended the talk and later described his disgust with Hizb ut-Tahrir and Islamists, which orchestrated marches in his home country in 2013.

Islamists staged marches in the capital Dhaka after the murder of gay rights activists and atheist bloggers.

'Their primary demand was the death of apostates and blasphemers,' Mr Ahmed, 20,  told Daily Mail Australia.

He said it was depressing to hear Hizb ut-Tahrir voice their support for the killing of ex-Muslims in Australia. 

'What I felt instinctively is that the reason I left my country was so that I could escape from the exact same people that I found in that room,' he said.

As an ex-Muslim atheist in Bangladesh, he was discreet about his beliefs. 'Apart from a close circle of family and friends, we don't integrate with others as we don't know how they would react to our views,' he said.

Another Bangladeshi student Shubhajit Bhowmik also attended the lecture.

The Hindu blogger was on the same death list as atheist blogger Avajit Roy when he got hacked to death in 2015 in Dhaka for promoting secularism.

Farabi Shafiur Rahman, an extremist blogger and member of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Bangladesh was arrested in connection with Roy's murder.

'Once you escape from death, then you will hardly find things that will scare you,' Mr Bhowmik told Daily Mail Australia about seeing Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia leaders in the flesh. 

Another Islamist group of religious madrassah teachers, Hefazat e Islam, circulated hit lists of Bangladesh and emerged after Hizb ut-Tahrir was banned in 2009.

Like Hizb ut-Tahrir, they have campaigned in Bangladesh to dismantle parliamentary democracy, scrap aspects of the constitution that contradict sharia law and wind back women's rights.

The latest revelation about Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia comes as Islamists in Pakistan take to social media to demand the killing of atheist blogger Ayaz Nizami.

He and two others were charged with blasphemy this week by a court in Islamabad and face the death penalty.

Hizb ut-Tahrir operates in 40 nations, including Australia and the United Kingdom, but is banned in Bangladesh along with other Muslim and Muslim-majority nations including Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

SOURCE






Surprise! Leftist Protesters Mostly Live With Their Parents

There is an old saying that conservatives don’t have huge street protests because they all have jobs to go to.

Well, some new and unsurprising figures from Germany seem to confirm that old saw.

A whopping 92% of leftist protesters arrested for suspicion of politically motivated offenses were men who still lived with their parents.

    The figures, which were published in daily newspaper Bild revealed that 873 suspects were investigated by authorities between 2003 and 2013.

    Of these 84 per cent were men, and 72 per cent were aged between 18 and 29.

    The figures, which were published in daily newspaper Bild revealed that 873 suspects were investigated by authorities between 2003 and 2013.

    More than half of the arrests were made in the Berlin districts of Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Mitte, mostly during demonstrations.

    A third of them were unemployed, and 92 per cent still live with their parents.

No wonder these men had the time and the energy to violently protest for more handouts.  It’s not like they had jobs or had to worry about paying rent.

SOURCE





Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;' Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

Dr. McHugh, the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles, made his remarks in a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, where he explained that transgender surgery is not the solution for people who suffer a “disorder of ‘assumption’” – the notion that their maleness or femaleness is different than what nature assigned to them biologically.

He also reported on a new study showing that the suicide rate among transgendered people who had reassignment surgery is 20 times higher than the suicide rate among non-transgender people. Dr. McHugh further noted studies from Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic of children who had expressed transgender feelings but for whom, over time, 70%-80% “spontaneously lost those feelings.”

While the Obama administration, Hollywood, and major media such as Time magazine promote transgenderism as normal, said Dr. McHugh, these “policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”

“This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.”

The transgendered person’s disorder, said Dr. McHugh, is in the person’s “assumption” that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature. It is a disorder similar to a “dangerously thin” person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are “overweight,” said McHugh.

This assumption, that one’s gender is only in the mind regardless of anatomical reality, has led some transgendered people to push for social acceptance and affirmation of their own subjective “personal truth,” said Dr. McHugh. As a result, some states – California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – have passed laws barring psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor,” he said.

The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know, said McHugh, that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings “spontaneously lose those feelings” over time. Also, for those who had sexual reassignment surgery, most said they were “satisfied” with the operation “but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery.”

“And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs,” said Dr. McHugh.

The former Johns Hopkins chief of psychiatry also warned against enabling or encouraging certain subgroups of the transgendered, such as young people “susceptible to suggestion from ‘everything is normal’ sex education,” and the schools’ “diversity counselors” who, like “cult leaders,” may “encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery.”

Dr. McHugh also reported that there are “misguided doctors” who, working with very young children who seem to imitate the opposite sex, will administer “puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous – even though the drugs stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility.”

Such action comes “close to child abuse,” said Dr. McHugh, given that close to 80% of those kids will “abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated ….”

“’Sex change’ is biologically impossible,” said McHugh. “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”

SOURCE





Amazing police over-reaction in Boston leds to needless death

Boston is heavily "Progressive"

HINGHAM — As police cars rolled into his pristine suburban neighborhood last Saturday night, past the sprawling Colonials and manicured lawns, and as dozens of officers from across the region surrounded his home, Russell Reeves begged them again and again to back off.

In a bedroom upstairs his son Austin, 26, was distraught over a breakup. He had told his family he needed time alone. With him was his dog and his 9 mm handgun. If you pressure him, if he feels cornered, Reeves said he told the police, this will end with Austin killing himself.

The police listened and nodded and took notes in their notebooks, according to Reeves. And yet, more officers kept coming. Some wore camouflage and carried rifles. They set up bright lights to shine onto the house and drove a military-style vehicle into the backyard. Eventually, they broke seven upstairs windows so a mounted camera could look inside for Austin.

“Please,” the frightened father says he asked them, “why can’t you just let him go to sleep?”

The standoff in the quiet cul-de-sac went on for hours. By early Sunday morning, it was over, the rows of police vehicles departing all at once like a flock of birds startled into flight.

Left behind, with the muddy tire ruts and broken glass, were countless questions — some of them unanswered, and some unanswerable. Reeling as the sun rose higher in the summer sky, Austin’s parents tried to understand how a simple police check on their son’s well-being had become an all-night siege.

One question, they knew, would haunt them forever: If their pleas had been heard, if police had tempered their response, would Austin still be alive?

‘Don’t back me into a corner’

Austin Reeves gave no sign earlier that evening of any troubles weighing on him.

He worked at a party, as he often did, parking cars to make some extra money. The event, in Hull, was a 75th birthday celebration held outdoors under a tent, and Austin helped to make sure it went smoothly, said the man he worked for. He greeted guests warmly as they arrived, and made sure they had drinks. He even stepped out briefly on the dance floor with one older lady guest who asked him to, after getting a nod of approval from his boss.

“He was totally himself,” said Jon Mongeau, a designer who ran the event, and a friend of the Reeves family, whom Austin had worked for off and on since he was a teenager. “He was charming and funny and outgoing. He could talk to anyone, and everyone always enjoyed him.”

Before he left the party, around 9 p.m., Austin kissed the hostess goodbye and wished her a happy birthday, Mongeau said. He had made plans to go out for drinks with a friend working the event with him, and he headed home to change his clothes.

But sometime before he got there, Austin spoke by phone with his former girlfriend. He became alarmingly upset, according to his parents, and mentioned a gun. Concerned about his state of mind, the woman called police at 9:19 p.m., asking them to check on his welfare.

Minutes later, a Hingham police officer called Russell Reeves at home to ask if Austin had a gun with him. Reeves checked his own guns and found them locked up as always. Before he had a chance to look for the handgun his son owned, Austin walked into the house.

The young man became visibly upset when his father told him the police had called. “You’re not in trouble,” his father recalls saying. “Please sit down and we’ll talk about it.” Austin refused. As he headed upstairs, he angrily issued a warning.

“Don’t back me into a corner,” his father remembers Austin saying. “Because I’ll make it go away in four seconds.”

To Russell Reeves, the meaning was clear — Austin would hurt himself if he wasn’t left in peace. Stunned and afraid, Reeves dialed the Hingham police just after 10 p.m. to ask for help.

In the hall upstairs, Austin’s mother spoke to him through his locked bedroom door. “Whatever’s happening,” Kate Harrison says she called to her son, “I love you, and we can work it out.”

Austin told her he needed to be alone.

By the time she got downstairs, two police officers were outside the house.

A turning point

Harrison felt certain the police would help her son. The great-granddaughter of a small-town police chief in New York, she said she has always felt safe around police. As upsetting as it was to know her son was hurting, there seemed no reason not to think that things would be OK. Austin had no history of mental illness. She thought of him as her cowboy — a young man of very few words, but in his low-key way, endlessly, wickedly funny.

His parents knew his former girlfriend and were fond of her. They knew he had cared about her deeply. When he’d moved out of her house and back home in June, after the breakup, he had wept inconsolably, his mother said. But he never seemed to sink into depression. He was himself, sociable and driven, out the door by 7 each morning to his job with a landscaping and gardening crew.

He had grown up here, in this house in Hingham, a rough-and-tumble, redheaded boy in a cowboy hat. He’d spent time away from home, too, to attend a military prep school in Virginia, and then a year of engineering school in Florida. He had played lacrosse and hockey; MVP awards were stacked in a drawer in his bedroom. He had once wanted to be a Marine, until his mother talked him out of it. He tried a job as a day trader, but found it wasn’t for him. He had learned to fly a plane and dreamed of being a pilot.

A Latin phrase — carpe diem, seize the day — was tattooed in artful letters on his chest. His dog, Faith, a pit bull mix his sister had rescued as a puppy, followed him everywhere he went.

Faith was upstairs with him now, his parents told police, at his side as he holed up in his bedroom.

His mother’s confidence in the police held steady as they interviewed her and her husband, and even as the officers removed them from their home to a neighbor’s nearby yard. Austin’s parents say the police contacted their son’s ex-girlfriend around 11 p.m., and she told them she had spoken with Austin again.

Police told Austin’s father that his son had made a threat in that conversation, according to Reeves: that anyone who comes upstairs to get him would get hurt. That threat seemed enough to change the way police viewed the situation and its potential dangers, and it may have been the turning point in their response. After that, Reeves said, officers mentioned a SWAT team.

“You can’t do that,” he says he told them. “Where is the imminent threat?”

As more officers began arriving, police told Reeves and Harrison they had to leave the street. His mother felt discomfort to her core: Austin was here, and he needed her. The parents asked to stay, but police said no; this was protocol they had to follow. They led the couple — Harrison still in her bathrobe — on a roundabout exit route through surrounding yards. At one point, Reeves says, he started to run back, but an officer physically restrained him.

As they reached the corner, Harrison turned to look back at her home. Distant enough now to see the entire scene, she realized for the first time the full scale of what was happening: the street thick with police vehicles, teeming with armed officers in SWAT gear.

She fell to her knees on her neighbor’s lawn in horror. “Oh my God, oh my God,” she cried. “What are you doing? Is this really necessary?”

A regional response

Austin’s parents said they chose to speak publicly about that night in hopes of changing how police respond to similar distress calls. Hingham Police Chief Glenn Olsson declined to comment on what happened at the Reeves home, citing an ongoing investigation to confirm the cause of death, routine in such cases, by the office of the Plymouth district attorney.

It is impossible to know, without a full accounting by police, exactly what steps they took that night to try and help Austin. What is certain is that Hingham police called for backup from a regional SWAT team, and other related specialty forces, operated by the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council, or Metro LEC, a consortium of 48 law enforcement agencies around Boston that provide mutual support.

Once the regional response was under way, dozens of officers rushed to the Reeves home. The couple reported seeing vehicles from Braintree, Bridgewater, Attleboro, and Randolph, among others.

The regional SWAT team boasts trained negotiators and military-style equipment including a bulletproof BearCat armored truck. The SWAT team responded to 23 calls regionwide in 2016, according to Metro LEC’s annual report, including nine assists with barricaded suspects — three of whom had known mental health concerns. Like other SWAT forces, its use has been scrutinized by critics who say police have become overly reliant on heavy-handed military tactics.

Canton Police Chief Ken Berkowitz, president of the regional law enforcement council, declined to comment on the events in Hingham. But he said the goal of such operations is always to get the barricaded person out alive, a complex task that relies on a team of 10 highly trained crisis negotiators to try and establish dialogue, “to help the person understand that they aren’t out of options.” A separate investigative team supports negotiations by compiling information on the subject that might help build trust and establish a rapport. A mental health clinician serves as a consultant but does not respond with the crisis team on calls.

Other types of personnel do rush to the scene, including paramedics, K9 officers with dogs, and the Metro SWAT team with its heavy gear. Their rifles, helmets, vests, and armored trucks help protect the police and the public in the event that a subject with a gun starts shooting, Berkowitz said, and they also make officers less likely to use force.

“The reason police shoot someone is that they fear getting shot,” Berkowitz said. “If they’re wearing armor, or they’re in an armored truck, they feel more secure, and they’re less likely to shoot.”

Police are often criticized for rushing into crisis situations, forcing confrontations instead of taking time. The responders in Hingham spent 10 hours on the scene. “You rush in and more people get hurt,” Berkowitz said. “Everything shows that the longer it goes on, the more chance there is of resolving it.”

But if contact cannot be established, and a weapon is readily at hand, a suicidal impulse sometimes takes over, he said. It can happen before the extra forces even get there.

Russell Reeves, long an outspoken critic of Hingham town government, believes it was the actions of police, their intimidating show of force, that triggered that self-destructive impulse.

“It was totally preventable,” he said, weeping as he stood outside his house looking up at Austin’s window on Tuesday. “He wasn’t a criminal. He didn’t have a hostage. This was a kid distressed about a girlfriend, and they turned it into a life-and-death situation.”

He wonders, with all of the police around the house, why no one heard the shot that would have told them it was over — and would have gotten paramedics upstairs to try to save his son.

‘The incident . . . has been resolved’

Escorted by police through their neighborhood near midnight, Austin’s parents were corralled in a repurposed ambulance, parked out of sight of their home, where they were held for hours as the standoff continued. At 1:55 a.m., his mother sent Austin a text: “You are not going to jail. We just need to make sure you’re OK.”

Four minutes later, police left a similar message on the family’s home answering machine, suggesting that they too had failed to reach him on his cellphone: “This is John again. It’s important you pick up the phone. You’re not in trouble, we’ve just got to work through a couple of things.”

At some point, his parents tried to rest, awkwardly reclining on the benches in the van. Kate Harrison was cold and too upset to sleep; she huddled under a blanket and waited for morning.

Around 6:30 a.m., police drove the couple to Dunkin’ Donuts and bought Reeves a cup of coffee. At the same time, some nine hours after the episode began, a reverse 911 call from Hingham police reached neighbors’ homes, warning of a situation involving “a distressed person” and asking them to stay indoors.

Police drove Austin’s parents back to the neighborhood soon after, where Harrison spotted Austin’s dog, Faith, on the sidewalk. Her heart leapt with hope: Maybe her son and his dog had fled the house. She and Reeves tried to imagine where Austin had run to, and how soon he might be in touch.

Then the van door opened. The Hingham police chief stepped in. They had found Austin; he had shot himself, he told them. As Austin’s mother screamed, the chief offered to call friends or clergy. The couple asked instead to have their son’s dog, his loyal friend, with them.

No, the chief said, according to the couple — we can’t bring a dog in here; it’s against protocol.

At 7:19 a.m., police released a final reverse 911 message to neighbors. “Thank you for your cooperation,” a woman’s voice said. “The incident on Edgar Walker Court has been resolved.”

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

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017



Leftmedia Blasts AG Sessions for Speech to 'Hate Group'

Religious liberty requires a robust defense of the freedom of conscience. And freedom of conscience is expressed in an individual’s right to either accept or reject various beliefs, ideas or behaviors as their own conscience dictates. In other words, an essential and foundational component of freedom of conscience is the right to be discriminating. For a society to espouse a commitment to protect individual freedom, that society must allow for individuals to choose to discriminate against ideals and behaviors they find objectionable, so long as they don’t prevent another individual from also engaging their liberty of conscience.

This week the mainstream media ran stories criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions for delivering a speech to a “hate group.” NBC News’ headline read, “Jeff Sessions Tells ‘Hate Group’ DOJ Will Issue Religious Freedom Guidance,” and ABC News’ even more biased headline read, “Jeff Sessions addresses ‘anti-LGBT hate group,’ but DOJ won’t release his remarks.” So what was this dastardly “hate group” Sessions addressed? It was the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a civil liberties organization dedicated to defending Americans’ right to religious freedom. Hardly a “hate group.”

How did the Leftmedia come to libeling a long-respected civil liberty organization? The answer: the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). That once-respected organization has taken a hard-left turn in recent years and has essentially designated every politically conservative organization a “hate group.” The SPLC has become so politically biased that to reference it as a credible and authoritative source is akin to referencing Joseph Goebbels as an authority on the accuracy of Allied news stories.

As for the claim by ABC News that the DOJ refused to release Sessions’ remarks, the full transcript of his speech was published by The Federalist. And it’s a good speech, well worth the read. Once again, this serves as yet another example of gross bias in the Leftmedia, as well as its sad state of journalistic integrity.

SOURCE





Feminism faltering in Ireland

A referendum to rid the constitution of a clause saying that a woman’s place is in the home could fail, according to a new Sunday Times poll.

Just 41% of respondents in the Behaviour & Attitudes survey said they would vote in favour of removing article 41.2.1 from Bunreacht na hEireann, while 39% said they would vote against repealing it. One in five said they did not know how they would vote. More men (42%) would support its removal than women (40%).

Josepha Madigan, a Fine Gael TD who has called for a referendum to remove the clause, said the poll finding was surprising, and it showed an information campaign would be necessary before any poll is held.

“There must be a misconception about what it would actually mean,” said Madigan, a family-law solicitor. “It might be that home-makers, who are mostly women, would be afraid of being forced out to the labour force if they voted for it. Nobody is saying that. If you take it out of the constitution, you do not have to go out to work.”

Article 41.2.1 says: “The state recognises that, by her life within the home, woman gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.” It says the state shall “endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home”.

Older voters are more resistant to dropping the constitutional clause, with 46% of those aged over 54 saying they would vote no, compared with 33% of those aged under 35.

Better-off ABC1 voters (42%) were more enthusiastic about abolition than farmers (35%), while voters in Connacht and Ulster were the least enthusiastic, with 44% saying they would vote no.

In Dublin, 54% of voters gave it the thumbs-up. Green Party supporters (62%) registered the highest approval and people who voted for independents the lowest at 35%, just ahead of Fianna Fail at 36%.

Support on the “yes” side is generally much higher before referendums are called. This is regarded as desirable, because support for “yes” often ebbs away during referendum campaigns, when other issues, such as satisfaction with the government, begin to feature in the debate.

In February 2013, 88% of members of the Constitutional Convention voted in favour of amending the article, and recommended the government call a referendum on it.

Only 12% of the convention’s delegates favoured its abolition, however. In a separate vote, 98% preferred altering the article to make it gender-balanced and to acknowledge the importance of other carers in the home.

“I don’t think people would have a difficulty with that, because there are increasingly more men in the home than there used to be,” said Madigan, who chairs the Dail’s budgetary oversight committee.

SOURCE




Do some rights matter more than others?

Court’s announcement that they will take up Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Right Commission indicates that religious liberties will be one of these contentious decisions; while decades of precedent seemed clear, recent decisions have made this issue murky, and now the Supreme Court will provide clarity.

The facts of the case are quite simple; Jack Phillips, a Colorado cake artist, declined to design and create a custom cake honoring a same sex marriage because doing so conflicted with his religious beliefs. For this reason, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled Phillips in violation of discrimination based on sexual orientation under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA).

The American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) has already jumped on this case. LA Times reporter David Savage explains, the ACLU urged the Supreme Court to turn down the appeal in this case because it could open a “gaping hole” in civil rights enforcement if business owners can simply cite their religious beliefs as a reason to deny service to certain customers.

However, Phillips lawyers defend that his denial of services is not an act against the same sex couple, but rather a defense of his religious liberties and ideology.

Phillips lawyers defend in their request for appeal that Phillip will not produce any cakes violating this religious ideology, “This includes cakes with offensive written messages and cakes celebrating events or ideas that violate his beliefs, including cakes celebrating Halloween (a decision that costs him significant revenue), anti-American or anti-family themes, atheism, racism, or indecency. He also will not create cakes with hateful, vulgar, or profane messages, or sell any products containing alcohol.”

This is where the Supreme Court must be careful in their ruling.

The Free Exercise Clause which Phillips is using to defend his ability to deny the gay couple services, has already been ruled on before, but these ruling provide less clarity rather than more.

In the 1990 Supreme Court case Employment Division v. Smith, the courts ruled that a law may burden the practice of religion as long as it did not serve to punish individuals who practice that religion. In the case, an individual working for rehabilitation organization was fired for ingesting peyote, a drug used for sacramental purposes by the Native American Church.

This ruling was a stark change from the 1963 case Sherbert v. Verner, where the court ruled a woman could not be denied unemployment benefits after being fired for refusing to work on the sabbath; as well as the 1981 case Thomas v. Review Bd. Of Indiana Employment Serv. Div. where the Supreme Court ruled a man could also not be denied benefits after leaving his job for religious interests.

Congress desperately tried to change the precedent of Smith in favor of Sherbert in 1993 with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but the Supreme Court ruled against Congress’s authority to do so.

Consistently, the Supreme Court and the federal government have lacked a clear position on religious liberties in the workplace. While they have fiercely defended workers ability to leave positions that do not comply with their religious observance, they have also ruled that the government has some grounds to limit free exercise of religion as long as it does not serve to punish the religion.

But if Phillips does not discriminate against same sex couples at any time besides when it conflicts with his religion, is reprimanding him for his actions not a punishment for his beliefs?

In a similar case to the one the Supreme Court will see in October, a florist refused to create a floral arrangement for a same sex marriage in Washington State. As Kerri Kupec, a lawyer in the case from the Arizona-based group Alliance Defending Freedom explains, “All Americans should be free to peacefully live and operate consistent with their convictions without threat of government punishment… Under this kind of rationale that’s happening in Washington state, a gay singer could be forced by the government to perform at a religious conference that is promoting marriage as a man-woman union.”

The implications here are the same. Nobody would think to force a priest to perform a wedding ceremony outside of a church, so why must a private citizen be forced to work in a way that conflicts with their religious beliefs? Does the First Amendment not apply to all Americans practicing faith not only to clergy?

As Phillips lawyers make clear in their appeal request, “It is undisputed that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission does not apply CADA to ban an African-American cake artist from refusing to create a cake promoting white-supremacism for the Aryan Nation, an Islamic cake artist from refusing to create a cake denigrating the Quran for the Westboro Baptist Church… Neither should CADA ban Jack Phillips’ polite declining to create a cake celebrating same-sex marriage on religious grounds when he is happy to create other items for gay and lesbian clients.”

This will be new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s first opportunity to rule on the issue of religious liberties, and hopefully, will create a clear precedent that government cannot violate individuals First Amendment rights. While the ACLU and the left paint this as an opportunity for discrimination, the Court must realize this is a much more critical moment for government intervention into American lives.

SOURCE






Rainbow Mafia Politicizes Gender-Reveal Parties

Is it a boy or a girl? It used to be such an innocent question. Now, mothers aren’t just politically incorrect for throwing a gender-reveal baby shower; they’re also considered by the Left to be a danger to their children. Even more troubling, the American medical community is starting to comply with the homosexual agenda.

Like everything else in the twisted ideology of progressivism, words no longer mean what they mean. Gender has been co-opted so that it no longer has anything to do with one’s anatomy. Instead, gender is a malleable political term describing how one feels about oneself, and it’s used to advance a political and cultural agenda.

On the surface it seems innocent. It always does. The notion that we shouldn’t force our children to think of themselves as boys or girls may seem harmless at first, but there’s a broader objective: to completely alter the social structure of our civilization and to undermine our values.

As a society, we used to believe that failing to properly raise children as boys or girls was emotionally and psychologically damaging. Now the Left is successfully turning that thinking on its head.

In an article for Cosmopolitan magazine, Diane Stopyra opines, “My discomfort with the gender-reveal party goes beyond my standard objection to fanfare surrounding gestational markers — which is primarily that, because we don’t celebrate non-pregnancy-related milestones with the same enthusiasm, we’re reinforcing the archaic notion that a woman’s value rests squarely in her ability to grow tiny humans. The issue with gender-reveal parties in particular is: Aren’t they potentially damaging to said tiny humans?”

Nicole Russell responds in the Washington Examiner, “A social construct has attempted to hijack gender into becoming the political statement they want rather than the basic anatomy that it is. The author cites a professor who says these parties just give in to gender stereotypes — boys want to be sheriffs and girls wear pink — which is just a shame. Yet for all their politically correct fanfare, both the author and the professor cited are forgetting: Stereotypes surrounding gender arose for a reason. Boys and girls often gravitate towards certain toys and behaviors because of their gender. That’s been going on for centuries.”

Russell is right. Gender-reveal parties don’t force boys to become firefighters or push girls to become teachers (or, God forbid, mothers). Boys naturally gravitate toward professions that are suited to their gender, but leftists want us to believe that a male construction worker is somehow the victim of child abuse because his parents allowed his gender to go unchecked.

Not that long ago, most Americans would think it laughable to suggest that a baby shower, er, gender-reveal party, is sinister and damaging to the fabric of our society. But this view is becoming more commonplace as the Left continues its total war on our culture.

If we accept this view, then women who value their ability to have children, let alone celebrate it, are not merely victims of an archaic societal structure but are responsible for inflicting psychological harm on their children. Progressives want mothers to look with disdain at their natural ability to give birth and to reject any parental influence as a threat to their child’s development.

And this movement goes far beyond politics. It’s also aided and abetted by the medical community. According to an official American Medical Association statement, “Acknowledging that individuals’ gender and sexual identities do not always fit neatly into binary paradigms, delegates to the 2017 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago took several actions that support broadening how gender identity is defined within medicine and how transgender patients are treated by society.”

Basically, the AMA is sanctioning transgenderism, even though there is plenty of evidence showing that transgender youth and adults experience emotional and psychological problems. Data reveals, for example, that adults who consider themselves transgender have much higher suicide rates.

That’s right. Billy may not have to suffer through the “oppression” of getting a toy dump truck for his birthday, but down the road he’s likely to face a wide range of complex and problematic thoughts and emotions. But not to worry; at least Billy’s parents can sleep at night knowing they saved him from a life beset by the dangerous idea that he’s a boy.

Years ago Hillary Clinton wrote, “It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us,” and progressives ever since have tried to diminish the roles that parents play in the lives of their children. Indeed, 20 years later it’s even more clear that the progressive plan was to subvert the way we think about children and parenting. Sure, everyone within a village has a role. That’s nothing new.

But the values of the village are often very different from those we want for our children. Indeed, some villagers are seeking to undermine nearly everything about child-rearing that we know to be best.

So go ahead and throw a gender-reveal party while you still can. But don’t let the neighbors find out. If word gets out that you’re celebrating motherhood and the gender of your child, the village idiots won’t be pleased. And don’t think for a second that they’re not watching.

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

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Monday, July 17, 2017






Census 2016: Australia the world's least racist country?

A small note on the Chinese in Australia.  Salty Bernard below says we have 510,000 Chinese-born residents. That is both true and misleading.  The China-born persons of Han Chinese origin are probably only half of the total Han Chinese immigrants.  Many of the people from Vietnam and Malaysia particularly are Han Chinese by ancestry and know it.  Additionally many have been in Australia for a long time now and have children and grandchildren born here.  So the number of Australian born Han could well be greater than the number born overseas. 

I repeatedly in my daily life come across people of unmistakeably Han ancestry who speak Australian English as well as I do: They have obviously grown up here.  So I estimate that there are around 2 million Australians of Han ancestry, which makes the total population around 5% Han.  We are lucky to have so many bright, hard working and peaceful people among us.

So the Han give demographers a few problems.  The "Overseas" Chinese who have come to Australia from Southest Asia identify strongly as Han so for most purposes should be lumped in with the China-born Han. 

But an upcoming process will create even greater definitional difficulties.  Young Han women in Australia are generally short in stature and seem to be universally determined to marry a tall man.  And if a tall Han man cannot be found a tall Caucasian man will do.  In my observation, that is actually universal.  Young Han women ALWAYS have a tall man with them if they have anyone at all. They know how to get what they want.  Looking at it from the other way, around 50% of tall Caucasian men will have a little Asian lady on their arms if any. That will undoubtedly produce a large crop of Eurasian children in the not too distant future.  How will the demographers classify them?

The phenomenon I have just described also does pretty well as an indication that neither Han nor Caucasian Australians are racist.  In the Bogardus scale of social distance, marriage is the highest level of non-racism -- JR



Australian migrants have to really want to come to this country. We are not like Europe or Africa or the Americas where migrants can trek from one country to another across a land border. And Australia isn’t conveniently positioned between continents teeming with humanity. We’re a bit out of the way … in fact we’re a long way out of the way. Which means that if migrants do decide to make the journey to Australia, then getting back to see family and friends is difficult. I think our isolation, the tyranny of distance, delivers an urgency to the Aussie migrant’s yearning for success.

Come to Australia, mate, work hard, pay your taxes, make a civic contribution, perhaps raise a family and share in the resources of our bountiful continent. Large-scale migration shapes the culture of the host population. Migrants lift the bar; they have something to prove; they measure their success by the success of their children (and often set up by the exceptionally hard work of the migrating parents). Without migration Australia would have remained a white Anglo enclave, a colonial outpost of Britain. Migrant effort, energy, enterprise and muscle have shaped this nation and changed the way we eat (pasta), style our homes (back veranda is now alfresco) and greet each other (cheek kissing) along the way.

All of which leads me to conclude that Australia is the greatest migrant nation on earth. And here is why I believe we can make that claim. According to the latest census figures 28 per cent of the Australian population was born overseas, up two percentage points in the past five years. This proportion in the US, Britain and Spain is barely 13 per cent. Only New Zealand (25 per cent) and Canada (20 per cent) come close to the Australian figures.

If we include residents with at least one parent born overseas then this proportion rises to 49 per cent. Or at least this was the proportion last August; by now we probably have topped the 50 per cent mark. There are more than 6.1 million migrants living in Australia — up 870,000 from the 2011 census — which represents an increase of 174,000 per year.

In Greater Melbourne, Perth and Sydney migrants comprise between 36 per cent and 39 per cent of the population (and even higher proportions in tighter definitions of these cities). This proportion in Greater New York is 37 per cent, in Paris it is 25 per cent, in Berlin it is 13 per cent, in Tokyo it is 2 per cent and in Shanghai it is less than 1 per cent. The Germans get all angsty when Berlin pushes much beyond the 13 per cent mark; Greater Sydney is sitting at 39 per cent and rising. And if we again include local residents with at least one parent born overseas, then 65 per cent of Sydney’s population is a migrant or closely connected to the migrant experience.

I do not see how anyone can credibly make the case that Australians are fundamentally racist — racist incidents perhaps, but not fundamentally racist — when close to 40 per cent of the population in our biggest city consists of migrants. If Australians had a fundamental problem with migrants then the issue would have been brought to a head long before Sydney got to be a more cosmopolitan city than New York.

There is no rioting in our streets. Generally we all get along. There are, of course, serious issues that we are dealing with in regard to refugees. However, I cannot cite another nation with metrics even approaching Australia’s generosity in accepting migrants.

Australia’s largest migrant groups are the British (1.088 million) and New Zealanders (518,000). The Brits arrived en masse after World War II as “ten-pound Poms”, while enterprising New Zealanders have always sought to test their mettle in the bigger market of Australia. However, through the 2020s it is likely that there will be a switch in our largest migrant populations. The Brits are dying off and the recovery of the New Zealand economy has stemmed the flow of Kiwis.

The rising migrant forces in Australia are unmistakably Asian. The latest census counted 510,000 Chinese-born residents, increasing at a rate of 38,000 a year, which means they probably already have surpassed the Kiwis as Australia’s second largest migrant group. Then come the Indians with 455,000, increasing at a rate of 32,000 a year. Then there are the Filipinos with 232,000 and the Vietnamese with 219,000.

The Chinese are our leading source of new migrants; they probably have replaced the Kiwis as our leading source of visitors; they form the largest body of overseas students; and China is our leading export market and source of imports. I think it’s time we made Mandarin a compulsory second language in the school curriculum. Indeed I think it is in the national interest for Australians to understand some Mandarin (and at times in business not to let on that we understand some Mandarin).

There are migrant hotspots in every major city, especially among non-English-speaking settlers. The Chinese make up 9 per cent of the population in Hobart’s Sandy Bay. In Darwin’s Coconut Grove Filipino migrants comprise 10 per cent of the population. In Brisbane the Chinese comprise 23 per cent of the population in Macgregor, Indians cluster in Runcorn (9 per cent) and the Vietnamese congregate in Inala, where they comprise 20 per cent of the population. In Adelaide, for some reason English migrants love McLaren Vale where they account for 15 per cent of the population.

Generally British and New Zealand migrants integrate seamlessly into the Australian social fabric. Contrary to popular opinion New Zealanders do not dominate the Sydney suburb of Bondi, where they form just 3.4 per cent of the population. In fact the newest Kiwi enclave is a long way from hip Bondi; it’s Marsden in suburban Brisbane, where they form 13 per cent of the population. The Brits do congregate, but mostly as retirees in lifestyle locations such as Melbourne’s Mount Martha where they also comprise 13 per cent of the population.

The migrant component to the Australian population swishes and swirls to every nook and cranny on the continent. I say this imbues Australians with a global perspective not found elsewhere. We have developed an absorbent culture that soaks up and showcases migrant influences. Perhaps because we are so removed we see overseas and cosmopolitan influences as a mark of sophistication. Quinoa salad, anyone? ....

Which brings me to a final observation about Australia’s migrants. They make the journey to Australia to secure a better life for themselves and their families.

And in so doing I think they make choices based on work availability and perceived quality of life. Sydney may offer the next generation of migrants work opportunities in financial services, but it is the first generation that wants to buy a home, perhaps as a symbol of their success in the new world. And when you think about it, this aspiration to work and to own a home aligns nicely with fundamental Australian values.

SOURCE





An Unhinged Linda Sarsour Lashes Out at the “Zionist Media”

Those of us following the news were unfortunately subjected to an unhealthy dose of Linda Sarsour this week. The self-promoting, egomaniacal, anti-Semite managed to deliberately stir a hornet’s nest with use of inflammatory rhetoric at a Muslim conference. In an address before the Islamic Society of North America, she called for a “Jihad” in the name of “Allah” against the Trump administration and encouraged her Muslim Brotherhood audience members (ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land-Hamas terror financing case) “not to assimilate and…not to please any other people and authority.”

Sasour, the crafty manipulator, then used the subsequent firestorm to insert herself into the news and the Washington Post provided her with a platform to spew her venomous propaganda. She penned an article where she claimed to have been “taken out of context,” feigned victimhood (victimizers are good at doing that) and termed those who criticized her, “Islamophobes.”

In Linda Sarsour’s world, those critical of her rancid views and actions – her support for BDS, her embrace of a convicted murderer, her tribalism and outright anti-Semitism and her desire to remove the vaginas of women with whom she finds disagreement – are branded “Islamophobes.” Sarsour then went on to give herself a gold star for being “their worst nightmare.” By “their” she meant “Islamophobes,” and by Islamophobes, she means everyone who disagrees with her, including those in the center-left camp (yes, they still exist).

The late Christopher Hitchens perceptively noted that the term “Islamophobic” is one that “was created by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons.” Sarsour’s banal employment of this dangerous and disingenuous term proves Hitchens’ point beyond any shadow of a doubt.

But Sarsour is a fraud. She claims to be a civil rights activist but is an anti-Semite. She preaches non-violence but encourages violence against Israelis. She claims to represent the feminist movement but advocates for Sharia which oppresses women, and bizarrely touts Saudi Arabia – a nation that forbids women drivers and punishes rape victims – as a nation that protects women’s rights. She claims to be an advocate for the LGBTQIA (she’s always careful to insert the “QIA” part) community but has yet to condemn the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Iran, Saudi Arabia or any Muslim country for their abysmal treatment of their respective LGBT communities.

Yet amazingly, Sarsour manages to find the time to relentlessly criticize Israel, the Mideast’s only democracy, and a nation that empowers women and provides statutory protections for its LGBT citizenry.

Sarsour may also be a fraud for other reasons. According to a report by the Algemeiner, in February and March, Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi, founder of the non-profit Islamic education organization Celebrate Mercy, partnered in an online campaign to raise money for vandalized or neglected Jewish cemeteries. How benevolent of Sarsour to collect money for dead Jews but at the same time, advocate violence against living ones.

The duo raised a total of raised $162,468, $50,000 of which was channeled to three cemeteries. $100,000 was pledged to a Jewish cemetery in Lakewood, Colorado that had fallen into severe disrepair but the money has yet to be delivered and the cemetery’s caretaker told the Algemeiner that his repeated calls to El-Messidi have gone unanswered. He does not believe that the promised funds will be forthcoming. That begs the question, where has the remaining $112,468 gone?

In response to the exposĂ©, an unhinged Sarsour lashed out against the Algemeiner calling it “a right wing Zionist media outlet.” She also threatened legal action stating that those who inflicted “trauma” on her with these “propaganda campaigns” will “pay with their pockets.” Sarsour also tried to deflect responsibility and diminish her role by noting that “the money is being administered by [El-Messidi’s] Celebrate Mercy NOT me.” Finally Sarsour claimed that El-Messidi was “awaiting a proposal from the cemetery for potential costs so they can be allocated...” But that response doesn't explain why the caretaker's repeated phone calls to El-Messidi went unanswered. If El-Messidi was indeed awaiting some form of proposal, one would think he would have communicated this requirement to the designated donee.

This isn’t the first time that Sarsour has run afoul of an online crowd-funding campaign. In June, she commenced an online funding campaign for “sister Rahma,” a Somali Muslim woman who sustained injuries during a confused melee in Columbus Ohio. The rabblerousing Sarsour implied that the attack was inspired by racial and ethnic bias and made sure to identify the alleged attacker as white.

Sarsour’s account varied significantly from other witnesses at the scene who said that Rahma was part of a group of individuals who attacked a woman who was trying to intervene on behalf of an abused child. Columbus police said they could not make an arrest “due to the lack of physical evidence and conflicting stories.”

Yet Sarsour and her long-time partner in crime, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, (CAIR was also named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case) saw an opportunity to create some fake news. They had no problem with creating hoaxes and further fanning the flames of racial discord in an effort to maintain relevancy. It’s good for business.

Linda Sarsour has thrust herself into the spotlight through clever self-promotion and manipulation. But make no mistake; Sarsour is as rancid as she is dangerous. She is the David Duke of the left. But despite her odious views, the American Civil Liberties Union and other left-wing groups of similar ilk absurdly continue to stand by her. Anti-Semitism emanating from the hard-right is rightfully condemned but for some inexplicable reason, anti-Semitism emanating from the hard-left is given a free pass or largely ignored.

In February, American Conservative Union executive director Dan Schneider unequivocally condemned the so-called Alt-Right and its leaders in harsh and unambiguous terms. He accurately characterized its leaders as racist, sexist and anti-Semitic. The time has come for those on the center-left to emulate their colleagues on the center-right. They must discard their craven attitudes and issue a full-throated repudiation of Linda Sarsour and the evil that she embodies.    

SOURCE





Is Silicon Valley really rife with sexism?

Silicon Valley has long been synonymous with innovative technology. The Hollywood image is of a place where geeky coders become glamorous millionaires. However, in recent years, a different image of Silicon Valley has emerged — one of a toxic environment for women.

Cases like that of Susan Fowler, whose complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination at Uber prompted an internal investigation, have received a huge of amount of press coverage. In another case, AJ Vandermeyden, a female engineer at Tesla, was fired after she filed a lawsuit against the company for ‘pervasive harassment’. She reported catcalls on the factory floor and claims less or equally qualified male colleagues were promoted over her. These cases, and others, have triggered allegations from numerous other women over the past couple of months.

The New York Times says more than 24 women have told it they are victims of sexual harassment, citing examples of women being touched by advisers and investors and receiving messages of sexual advances. Last month, Binary Capital co-founder and managing partner Justin Caldbeck announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence, after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him. And Dave McClure, CEO and co-founder of 500 Startups, who faced similar accusations, penned an apologetic blog post titled: ‘I’m a creep, I’m sorry.’ A few days later he resigned from his post.

Many of the accusations make for uncomfortable reading. Some women claim to have been subjected to unwanted kissing and groping, while others talk about a constant stream of inappropriate and sexist comments. The allegations have also prompted a wider discussion on the situation for women working in tech; about the low numbers of women, especially at management levels, and the possibility of an unconscious bias against women.

In its report, the New York Times said ‘the new accounts underscore how sexual harassment in the tech-startup ecosystem goes beyond one firm and is pervasive and ingrained’. An article in the Guardian was headlined, ‘Sexual harassment in Silicon Valley: have we reached a tipping point?’. But we should be wary of accepting at face value claims that sexism and sexual harassment are endemic in the tech industry.

First, while many allegations have been made, they have not been proved. The cases that have been highlighted name a handful of tech or investor companies in Silicon Valley. There are thousands of companies there and new start-ups are constantly launching. And not all of the allegations that have gone to trial have held up. Ellen Pao took her former employer, venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, to court for allegations of gender discrimination in 2015. She lost. Bizarrely, this lost case has still been lauded for opening the ‘floodgates’ to allegations of gender bias in Silicon Valley. FEM, UCLA’s feminist magazine, published an article titled, ‘Why the Ellen Pao verdict was actually a win for women in tech’.

The Pao case also inspired the widely cited ‘Elephant in the Valley’ survey, which claimed 60 per cent of women in Silicon Valley had experienced sexual harassment, and 88 per cent had experienced unconscious bias. But this survey isn’t all it seems. ‘Unconscious bias’ is, in part, defined as ‘eye contact with male colleagues and not me’. Only 210 women took part in the survey — and it appears far from impartial. The survey was carried out by seven women working in the industry with the stated aim of proving the existence of sexism. ‘What we realised is that while many women shared similar workplace stories [to that of Ellen Pao]’, the women wrote, ‘most men were simply shocked and unaware of the issues facing women in the workplace. In an effort to correct the massive information disparity, we decided to get the data and the stories.’ The women invited to take part in the survey were business contacts of the women who launched the survey.

Other studies claiming gender bias in Silicon Valley have also been criticised. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, disputed claims from a former Facebook engineer that computer code written by female Facebook engineers is rejected 35 per cent more than code written by men. Sandberg said the study used ‘incomplete data’ and ‘the main reason code was sent back had to do with [the] level, not gender [of the engineer]’.

Silicon Valley has also been attacked for its ‘lack of diversity’ — that is, not employing enough women. Certainly the figures show there are far fewer women than men employed by tech startups and venture capitalists. Facebook reports that 17 per cent of its technical staff are women. But this doesn’t necessarily translate into some kind of anti-women agenda in the industry. Research psychologist Denise Cummins has said that the STEM gender gap is overblown. In an article published on PBS, Cummins points out that there is gender equity in almost all STEM subjects in terms of women studying for degrees and in employment. ‘Women are as likely as men to be biological scientists, medical scientists and chemists’, she says. Computer science is just one of two exceptions.

If some women are experiencing sexist treatment or harassment in Silicon Valley, then of course that is an issue that must be addressed. But we should be careful before suggesting this amounts to an industry-wide problem when there isn’t evidence to back it up.

The solutions being proposed to counter the supposed Silicon Valley sexism are also a worry. Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder, suggested venture capitalists (VCs) sign a ‘decency pledge’. In a blog post on LinkedIn he wrote that VCs should see their relationship with entrepreneurs as taking the same ‘moral position’ as ‘a college professor to a student’ – a statement which manages to be both creepy and infantilising to women.

Other women who have alleged sexual harassment have demanded more regulation of workplace relationships. This is a common theme with today’s feminists, who claim men and women cannot be trusted to interact without strict rules in place (an interesting parallel can be seen in the sex-consent classes on university campuses). Yet it is hard to see how regulation that will effectively give women a special status will help gender equality in the workplace.

We live in a climate where, when incidents of inequality arise, especially concerning women, we have a propensity to jump to conclusions that don’t quite add up. Tarring an entire industry with the same brush based on the actions of a few creeps is not helpful. It blurs the reality of the situation, and does nothing to help stamp out inequality where it does exist.

SOURCE





Obama Transgender Military Regs Put on Hold

“All Soldiers should be respectful of the privacy and modesty concerns of others. However, transgender Soldiers are not required or expected to modify or adjust their behavior based on the fact that they do not ‘match’ other Soldiers.” —2017 Army Training Manual on rules regarding personnel awaiting “gender reassignment” surgery.

Yes, this is in the latest U.S. Army regulation. Call it the “PFC Bradley (Chelsea) Manning Traitor Pardon” Rule. Not only did Barack Obama pardon Manning for sharing military secrets with WikiLeaks, doing more damage to our national security than any spy on record, but your tax dollars paid for his “gender reassignment” — while he was in prison awaiting Obama’s midnight pardon. Thanks Obama.

Fortunately, Defense Secretary James Mattis has pushed the reset button on implementing these new guidelines on transgender enlistment — at least for six months in order to allow for greater analysis of the potential impact on the readiness of the military. Mattis said, “Since becoming the secretary of defense, I have emphasized that the Department of Defense must measure each policy decision against one critical standard: Will the decision affect the readiness and lethality of the force?” He continued, “Put another way, how will the decision affect the ability of America’s military to defend the nation? It is against this standard that I provide the following guidance on the way forward in accessing transgender individuals into the military services.”

We think the answer to that is clear. Will Mattis and the military be able to withstand the upcoming withering barrage from the Rainbow Mafia?

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

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