Thursday, December 14, 2017



What the War Over Jerusalem is Really About

It's not about a "piece of land here or there", as the PA's top Sharia judge clarifies, it's a religious war.

Hamas has announced that President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has opened the "gates of hell." Its Muslim Brotherhood parent has declared America an "enemy state."

The Arab League boss warned that the Jerusalem move "will fuel extremism and result in violence." The Jordanian Foreign Minister claimed that it would "trigger anger" and "fuel tension."

"Moderate" Muslim leaders excel at threatening violence on behalf of the "extremists". The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) warned that recognizing Jerusalem will trigger an Islamic summit and be considered a "blatant attack on the Arab and Islamic nations."

PLO leaders and minions meanwhile made it quite clear that now the dead peace process is truly dead.

A day later, the peace process is still as alive and as dead as it ever was.

Since the chance of a peace process is about the same as being hit by lightning while scoring a Royal Flush, that "chance" doesn't amount to anything. The peace process has been deader than Dracula for ages. And even a PLO terrorist should know that you can't threaten to kill a dead hostage.

The only kiss of death here came from Arafat. Peace wasn't killed though. It was never alive. Because a permanent peace is Islamically impossible.

"The world will pay the price," warned Mahmoud Habash, the Palestinian Authority's Supreme Sharia judge. Habash isn't just the bigwig of Islamic law, he's also the Islamic adviser to the leader of the Palestinian Authority. And Abbas, the terror organization's leader, was there when Habash made his remarks.

Previously Habash had declared that the Kotel, the Western Wall of the fallen Temple, the holiest site in Judaism, "can never be for non-Muslims. It cannot be under the sovereignty of non-Muslims."

While the official warnings from the Palestinian Authority, the Arab League and assorted other Islamic organizations have claimed that recognizing Jerusalem threatens the non-existent peace process, Habash had in the past had made it quite clear that the issue wasn't land, it was Jihad.

"The struggle over this land is not merely a struggle over a piece of land here or there. Not at all. The struggle has the symbolism of holiness, or blessing. It is a struggle between those whom Allah has chosen for Ribat and those who are trying to mutilate the land of Ribat," Habash had declared.

Ribat means that Israel is a frontier outpost between the territories of Islam and the free world. The Muslim terrorists who call themselves "Palestinians" have, according to the Abbas adviser, been chosen for "Ribat" to stand guard on the Islamic frontier and expand the territories of Islam.

The sense of Ribat is that the Jihadists may not yet be able to win a definitive victory, but must maintain their vigilance for the ultimate goal, which a Hadith defines as performing Ribat "against my enemy and your enemy until he abandons his religion for your religion."

That is what's at stake here.

It's not about a "piece of land here or there", as the PA's top Sharia judge clarifies, it's a religious war. And Israel is not just a religious war between Muslims and Jews, but a shifting frontier in the larger war between Islam and the rest of the world. It's another territory to be conquered on the way to Europe. And Europe is another territory to be conquered on the way to America.

There can be no peace in a religious war. Nor is there anything to negotiate.........

President Trump made the right decision by refusing to let our foreign policy be held hostage. We don't win by giving in to terrorists.

We win by resisting them. Or else we'll have to live our lives as hostages of Islamic terror.

Jerusalem is a metaphor. Every free country has its own Jerusalem. In America, it's the First Amendment. Our Jerusalem is not just a piece of land, it's a value. And the Islamic Jihad seeks to intimidate us into giving it up until, as the Hadith states, we abandon our religion for Islam.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem will do much more for America than it will for Israel.

The Israelis already know where their capital is. We need to remember where we left our freedom. Islamic terrorists win when they terrorize us into being too afraid to do the right thing.

President Trump sent a message to the terrorists that America will not be terrorized.

Previous administrations allowed the terrorists to decide where we put our embassy. But Trump has made it clear that we won't let Islamic terrorists decide where we put our embassies, what cartoons we will draw or how we live our lives. That is what real freedom means.

SOURCE





Obama-Appointed Judge: Salvation Army—Not Catholic Church—Can Advertise on D.C.’s Metro

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, issued an opinion on Saturday permitting the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to ban an advertisement by the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., while allowing one by the Salvation Army, which, like the archdiocese, is also a Christian organization.

The ad that the Catholic archdiocese proposed running on the back of Metro buses featured only four words: "Find the Perfect Gift." But it also included silhouetted images of three shepherds, two sheep, and a number of stars-including one particularly bright star. The Catholic ad also featured a web address (FindThePerfectGift.org) and a hashtag (#perfectgift).

This is the ad from the Archdiocese of Washington that Metro refused to run on buses:

The Salvation Army ad, which WMATA did allow to run on Metro buses, was wordier.

It included an image of a red Salvation Army donation bucket on one side and the face of a man on the other. Between these two images were the following words: "Give Hope/Change Lives/He could have been sleeping on a street this winter./Thanks to you, he's safe and warm. Your donations MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN./GIVE TO THE SALVATION ARMY and give your neighbors food, shelter, and a second chance."

Below that message it made a plea, and, like the Catholic ad included a web address and a hashtag. It said: "DONATE NOW. SALVATIONARMYNCA.ORG/#REDKETTLEREASON."

The web address included in the Salvation Army advertisement that the Washington Metro accepted was for the National Capital Area Command of Salvation Army. At that website, the Salvation Army has posted its mission statement.

That statement-on the website advertised on Metro buses-says: "The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination."

WMATA, which accepted and ran on its buses the Salvation Army ad, refused to run the "Find the Perfect Gift" ad from the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. WMATA said it would not run the Catholic ad because the ad was prohibited by the agency's "Guideline 12."

Guideline 12, which WMATA adopted in November 2015, states: "Advertisements that promote or oppose any religion, religious practice or belief are prohibited."

The Archdiocese of Washington sued WMATA last month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It argued that its rights to freedom speech, the free exercise of religion, due process and equal protection were being violated. The archdiocese asked for immediate injunctive relief so that its ad could run during the current Advent season leading up to Christmas.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, whom Obama nominated to the court in 2011, ruled that there was no reason to believe WMATA had violated any of the rights of the Catholic Church-even the right to equal protection of the law, given that Metro ran the Salvation Army's ad but not the Catholic ad.

The judge argued that the Salvation Army's ad did not "promote or advance religion" while the Catholic ad did.

"While the Salvation Army is a Christian organization, and its  charitable efforts, like those of the Archdiocese and other religious organizations, may be motivated in some measure by religious beliefs, the ads it chose to display on the buses do not promote or advance religion.

"Therefore," the judge concluded, "WMATA's policy is not likely to be found to violate the First Amendment or the Equal Protection Clause on the grounds that it has been inconsistenly applied."

In a footnote to her opinion, Judge Jackson argued that even though there were few words on the Catholic ad, the images of shepherds and a star "telegraphs a religious message"-thus, in her view, making it unacceptable, as per Metro's policy, for posting on a Metro bus in Washington, D.C.

"But," Judge Jackson wrote, "plaintiff also acknowledged that the images of the shepherd and the star of Bethlehem are part of the iconography traditionally used to depict the night Christ was born, and that the ad, notwithstanding its simplicity, telegraphs a religious message even before one takes the website into consideration."

SOURCE     





Moral Values and Customs vs. Laws

By Walter E. Williams

I'm approaching my 82nd birthday, and my daughter will occasionally suggest that modernity is perplexing to me because I'm from prehistoric times. As such, it points to one of the unavoidable problems of youth — namely, the temptation to think that today's behavioral standards have always been. Let's look at a few of the differences between yesteryear and today.

One of those differences is the treatment of women. There are awesome physical strength differences between men and women. To create and maintain civil relationships between the sexes is to drum into boys, starting from very young ages, that they are not to use violence against a woman for any reason. Special respect is given women. Yesteryear even the lowest of lowdown men would not curse or use foul language to or in the presence of women. To see a man sitting on a crowded bus or trolley car while a woman is standing used to be unthinkable. It was deemed common decency for a man to give up his seat for a woman or elderly person.

Today young people use foul language in front of — and often to — adults and teachers. It's not just foul language. Many youngsters feel that it's acceptable to assault teachers. Just recently, 45 Pennsylvania teachers resigned because of student violence. Back in what my daughter calls prehistoric times, the use of foul language to an adult or teacher would have meant a smack across the face. Of course, today a parent taking such corrective action risks being reported to a local child protective service and even being arrested. The modern parental or teacher response to misbehavior is to call for "time out." In other words, what we've taught miscreants of all ages is that they can impose physical pain on others and not suffer physical pain themselves. That's an open invitation to bad behavior.

It has always been considered a good idea to refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage or at least adulthood. During the sexual revolution of the 1960s, lessons of abstinence were ridiculed, considered passe and replaced with lessons about condoms, birth control pills and abortion. Out-of-wedlock childbirths are no longer seen as shameful and a disgrace. As a result, the rate of illegitimate births among whites is over 30 percent, and among blacks, it's over 70 percent.

For over a half-century, the nation's liberals — along with the education establishment, pseudo-intellectuals and the courts — have waged war on traditions, customs and moral values. Many in today's generation have been counseled to believe that there are no moral absolutes. Instead, what's moral or immoral, right or wrong, is a matter of convenience, personal opinion or what is or is not criminal.

Society's first line of defense is not the law but customs, traditions and moral values. Customs, traditions and moral values are those important thou-shalt-nots, such as thou shalt not murder, shalt not steal, shalt not lie and shalt not cheat. They also include respect for parents, teachers and others in authority, plus those courtesies one might read in Emily Post's rules of etiquette. These behavioral norms — mostly transmitted by example, word of mouth and religious teachings — represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages through experience, trial and error, and looking at what works and what doesn't.

The importance of customs, traditions and moral values as a means of regulating behavior is that people behave themselves even if nobody's watching. There are not enough cops. Laws can never replace these restraints on personal conduct in producing a civilized society. At best, the police and the criminal justice system are the last desperate lines of defense for a civilized society. Unfortunately, customs, traditions and moral values have been discarded without an appreciation for the role they played in creating a civilized society, and now we're paying the price — and that includes the recent revelations regarding the treatment of women.

SOURCE





UK: Urgent call for new divorce laws as judges demand overhaul of ‘corrosive’ system

Senior judicial figures have called for an end to “unjust” and “outdated” divorce laws as The Times begins a campaign to modernise family legislation.

Lord Mackay of Clashfern, the lord chancellor to two prime ministers, and Baroness Butler-Sloss, the former lord justice of appeal and president of the High Court family division, join other legal grandees to condemn the “antediluvian, damaging” 50-year-old laws governing marital break-ups. They are backing this newspaper’s demand for sweeping reform, including:

 *  The abolition of the need during divorce proceedings to allege fault or blame, which has caused people to remain locked for years in loveless marriages.

 *  The end of the so-called meal ticket for life maintenance awards.

 *  Statutory backing for prenuptial contracts.

The call comes two weeks after a report by the Nuffield Foundation, which condemned divorce laws in England and Wales for forcing couples to make false and exaggerated allegations of adultery or bad behaviour, causing bitterness and harming the mental health of children.

Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, the barrister for several senior royals, and Baroness Deech, the former chairwoman of the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority, are also among those backing divorce reform as part of The Times’s Family Matters campaign, which joins forces with the former High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge to push for new laws to modernise and protect marriage.

Sir Paul, chairman of the Marriage Foundation, an organisation that has pushed for more support for couples experiencing marital difficulty, in an attempt to stem the tide of family breakdowns, said that the institution needed to be for “everyone from all walks of life, not just the better off”.

He added: “We must urgently do something about the laws on marriage and divorce. These are antediluvian and no longer fit for purpose. Our chief concern is to address the impact of the breakdown of relationships, particularly where there are children. These breakdowns have devastating consequences for both adults and children that can last for decades.”

Although laws should ease the pain of the separation process, they do the opposite, according to Sir Paul. “They fuel acrimony, hostility and pain — and make good long-term relationships between two parents caring for children impossible.”

Lord Mackay, who as lord chancellor under Margaret Thatcher attempted the last reform of divorce laws, said that he still supported change and removal of the need to allege blame. He is among many to have been concerned by the recent case of Tini Owens, who has been refused a divorce from her millionaire husband despite the couple living apart for almost three years.

“Marriage is a two-sided arrangement and involves children as well,” Lord Mackay said. “Unless both parties are willing to continue, it is difficult to have anything that can properly be called marriage.” The need to allege fault had a “corrosive effect on relationships”, he said. “It does not help to heal in any way… and of course [it] is very damaging to the children.”

Lord Mackay’s reforms reached the statute book as the Family Law Act 1996 despite a storm whipped up by Tory MPs and in the tabloid press. “There was concern that it undermined marriage,” he said. “But people did not understand how it worked. All it was doing was removing the unnecessarily provocative material from the separation.”

The act was approved by parliament 20 years ago and had the backing of Cardinal Hume, then the most senior Roman Catholic in Britain, as well as the Church of England. It was never implemented and was removed from the statute book by David Cameron’s coalition government. “Every year that passes is doing unnecessary damage to the possibility of satisfactory arrangements on breakdown,” Lord Mackay said.

Baroness Hale of Richmond, president of the Supreme Court, and Sir James Munby, president of the High Court family division, are known to favour reform. Sixty per cent of divorces in England and Wales are based on allegations of fault — ten times the number in Scotland or France, the Nuffield report says. Elsewhere fault has largely been abolished.

Lady Butler-Sloss, who sits as a crossbench peer, said: “The law on divorce is unsuitable, hypocritical, out of date, unfair, unkind . . . and very damaging to the children.” Allegations of fault “immediately raise the temperature, needlessly”.

Lady Shackleton said: “The pendulum has swung far too far in the direction of vesting control in the judges rather than parliament. Reform is urgently overdue.”

Sir Alan Ward, a former Court of Appeal judge and family specialist, said: “The disconnect between the letter of the law and the practice is now risible. The law was last reformed 50 years ago. The changes since then have transformed all social values, from behaviour towards women to the religious imperative requiring the upholding of the sanctity of marriage as a vital foundation of public morality.”

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017






Turkish President calls Israel a terrorist state

According to the Hurriyet Daily News website, Erdogan, speaking at a meeting of his AKP Party in the central Anatolian province of Sivas, charged Israel with using “disproportionate” force against Palestinians protesting Trump’s declaration and declared Israel an “oppressive, occupation state.”

Netanyahu, who has made it a general practice of refraining from responding to Erdogan’s anti-Israel rhetoric, shot back this time at a press conference in Paris alongside French President Emmanuel Macron.

Asked about Erdogan’s verbal attack, Netanyahu replied, “I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from the leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people. That is not the man who is going to lecture us.”

His comments hit a nerve, as Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin issued a statement condemning Netanyahu’s remarks and said: “It is not possible to take seriously the allegations and accusations made by a mentality, which massacred thousands of Palestinians, turned the lands of the Palestinians into an open-air prison, in order to suppress its guilt.”

SOURCE





Stop harassment but don’t slide into secular sharia

 The new workplace morality is welcome; just keep the thought police at bay

We now know what it must have felt like to be a Regency dandy who lived long enough to experience Victorian prudery. For we are living through a revolution in manners not unlike the one that occurred in the second and third quarters of the 19th century. In the space of a generation, libertines became pariahs.

It is a feature of such revolutions that no one can say exactly when they begin. Historians of Victorian values seek their origins in the upsurge of evangelical religious feeling on both sides of the Atlantic often called “the Great Awakening”. In the same way, there is clearly some connection between the feminist movement and the spasm of revulsion against sexual harassment in the workplace that is currently — and belatedly — sweeping the English-speaking world.

And yet it was not a professional feminist who exposed the allegations of rape and sexual assault against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, but the male broadcaster Ronan Farrow. And he cannot have foreseen, when he published his devastating j’accuse in The New Yorker last month, that it would unleash a cascade of accusations fatal to the reputations of such erstwhile darlings of New Yorker readers as the comedian-turned-senator Al Franken, the actor Kevin Spacey, the comedian Louis CK, the political journalist Mark Halperin and the interviewer Charlie Rose.

The New York Times — which along with The Washington Post has been working the phones to keep the cascade going — is keeping score. To date, it reckons, 34 “high-profile men have resigned, been fired or experienced other fallout after accusations that have ranged from inappropriate text messages to rape”. Embarrassingly, it emerged last week that one of them was that newspaper’s very own Glenn Thrush.

It would be interesting to know what proportion of these people waxed indignant last year about Donald Trump’s confession — in a conversation recorded on a “hot mic” during an Access Hollywood appearance in 2005 — to being a serial sexual harasser. Rather a high one, I would guess. Here was Mark Halperin’s response on Twitter: “When people say some new Trump tape could have material that is WORSE than the @accesshollywood video, what exactly could be WORSE?!?”

Al Franken also commented. “I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms,” he said in an interview on NBC. “I belong to a health club in Minneapolis . . . Our locker-room banter is stuff like, ‘Is Trump crazy?’”

Louis CK preferred to equate Trump with Hitler, the least of whose crimes was inappropriate behaviour towards women. On Stephen Colbert’s show in April, CK called Trump a “gross, crook, dirty, rotten, lying sack of shit”. Well, who’s gross now?

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Sexual harassment was supposed to be the kind of thing only Republicans did — inveterate sexists such as Trump or alleged molesters of underage schoolgirls such as Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama. How very awkward that the majority of names in the New York Times list of top harassers are men of the left, not the right.

Awkward, but not surprising. For the Weinstein case has proved to be a moment of truth for a liberal elite that for decades has been guilty of the most egregious hypocrisy. The same Weinstein who stands accused of rape today went on the Women’s March in January. For years, he and his ilk have been signalling their feminist virtue by day and practising the degradation of women by night. Sadly, they have too often been enabled in their two-faced conduct by feminists who could not quite resist the allure of their power.

“Even if the allegations [made by Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones] are true,” wrote Gloria Steinem in The New York Times in March 1998, “the president [Bill Clinton] is not guilty of sexual harassment.” No, Clinton had just made “dumb passes” at those women. As for Monica Lewinsky, her “will” had not been “violated” — “quite the contrary”.

Worse, Steinem & co have spent their lives deriding the values of men such as Vice-President Mike Pence, who in 2002 told an interviewer “that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either”. “Is that sexist?” asked a female columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Absolutely, according to a lecturer on gender and psychology at University of California, Los Angeles, though she preferred to call it “gender discrimination”.

We find ourselves in a bewildering dual world. The world of education is patrolled by the gender-studies thought police — witness the departmental interrogation of a teaching assistant at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University, Lindsay Shepherd, who had the temerity to show students a TV clip featuring the Toronto University psychology professor Jordan Peterson. This, she was told, was a violation of WLU’s “gendered and sexual violence policy” because Peterson is known for “critiquing feminism, critiquing trans rights”. In this world, a mere accusation of sexism can end a career.

Meanwhile, in the entertainment world, Hollywood continues to churn out movies in which alpha-male heroes enjoy casual sexual encounters with pouting, scantily clad twentysomethings. Or are we to believe that in the new James Bond film, Bond 25, a transgender 007 will issue a heartfelt apology for her character’s 64-year career of sexism and sexual harassment? The fact that Bond films are still being made illustrates the extent of the cognitive dissonance at the heart of western civilisation today.

In many ways, Bond came to personify the sexual revolution of the 1960s. At least some of the acts of which eminent men today stand accused read like crude imitations of his seduction techniques. In that sense, the sexual revolution is finally devouring its own children, who made the mistake of believing that Pussy Galore was forever.

I’m against sexual harassment. I condemn anyone who abuses their power in the workplace for gratification. So I am on the side of this revolution in manners. My concern is only that such revolutions have a tendency to overshoot. I wonder: do we risk sliding into a kind of secular sharia, in which all men are presumed to be sexual predators and only severe punishments can prevent routine rape? Will one-to-one work meetings between a male and a female co-worker soon be a thing of the past? What next? A more general segregation of the sexes? How the Islamists must be enjoying all this.

If the feminist revolution in manners has a sacred text, it is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, with its dystopian vision of an America in which women have no rights, but only reproductive obligations. Few fans of the book appear aware that this vision is much dearer to the hearts of Islamists than to those of evangelical Christians. As a corrective, I recommend Michel Houellebecq’s Submission, in which the liberal elite of France embraces sharia in — yes, that’s right — a spasm of revulsion at its own decadence.

SOURCE






Now "Stop Funding Hate" wants to ruin Christmas

Naomi Firsht

These snobby censors want to punish both tabloids and their readers

Who doesn’t love the run-up to Christmas? The lights go up, carollers start bringing festive cheer to the streets, and shoppers are tempted by all manner of Christmas offers. Well, it turns out not everyone loves Christmas. In a kind of reverse version of the 12 days of Christmas, the Scrooges of the anti-press freedom campaign "Stop Funding Hate" are seeing how much they can take away from people this festive season.

They started with wrapping paper. Stationery chain Paperchase offered all Daily Mail readers two free rolls. But after numerous complaints on social media and pressure from Stop Funding Hate for working with the supposedly hatemongering Mail, Paperchase quickly issued a grovelling apology for its actions. ‘We’ve listened to you about this weekend’s newspaper promotion’, it said. ‘We now know we were wrong to do this.’

Next, Stop Funding Hate moved on to food, attacking Pizza Hut for a promotion in the Sun offering readers a free pizza. Once again, the company caved in; Pizza Hut apologised for ‘any offence caused as a result of this partnership’.

Stop Funding Hate’s Twitterfeed has daily updates naming and shaming companies that advertise with newspapers that SFH accuses of spreading hate, namely the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. One supporter tweeted a picture of Tesco’s promotional offer with the Mail, offering 20 per cent off on gift cards. Tesco, Aldi and Argos are just some of the major retailers in the campaign’s sights. So, with any luck, by the time Christmas comes around, it will not only have stopped tabloid readers from enjoying free wrapping paper and free pizza, but cheaper Christmas gifts, too.

Stop Funding Hate appeared on the scene last Christmas with its cringeworthy John Lewis-style Christmas advert, calling on big brands to boycott the Mail and Co. It repeated the exercise this year, with a new ad upping the cringe factor with a sad-looking dog.

In response to criticism of its censorious ways, it always claims it is a campaign for consumer choice. ‘If you are affected by media hate, or concerned about media hate’, reads its website, ‘then you have the right to use your voice as a consumer to ask the companies you shop with not to advertise in newspapers that publish hateful, inflammatory and divisive stories’.

But Stop Funding Hate founder Richard Wilson let slip the campaign’s real goal on Newsnight: ‘I think the endpoint for us is a media that does the job that we all want it to do, that upholds the public interest, that treats people fairly.’ He was immediately taken to task for this by The Sunday Times’ Sarah Baxter, who called him out for arrogantly appointing himself arbiter of what Britain’s media should be like.

Wilson and his supporters can dress up their censorious campaign however they like, but they are fooling no one. By targeting companies who advertise with certain newspapers, they are attempting to damage the finances of those papers, which could ultimately lead to their demise. This is a censorious attempt to shut down newspapers they disagree with – and an explicit attack on press freedom.

Influential supporters of the campaign have similarly appointed themselves judge and jury of what the British people should be allowed to read. Owen Jones called Paperchase’s apology ‘a victory for basic decency’, before going on to explain why the Mail is so evil: ‘When Theresa May announced her fateful snap election, the Daily Mail celebrated an opportunity to “Crush the saboteurs”, demonstrating its utter intolerance of political dissent.’ How ironic for Jones to criticise the Mail’s supposed ‘intolerance of political dissent’, given his intolerance of the tabloid press.

The Daily Mail remains the widest-read newspaper in Britain, with 31.1million monthly readers across print and online. The Sun comes in second with 28.8million. Stop Funding Hate wants to censor what they consider to be offensive messages in the tabloids, and yet they have no qualms about the offensive message they are putting out to millions of tabloid readers. By labelling tabloids poisonous peddlers of hate, these campaigners are painting tabloid readers as brainwashed bigots who unquestioningly devour everything they read.

As Christmas draws ever nearer, Stop Funding Hate might win a few more victories. And each time, no doubt, it will claim it supports press freedom and is merely acting in support of consumer choice. Let’s cut the bullshit, shall we? If you don’t like a newspaper, don’t buy it – that’s consumer choice. Trying to cut off a newspaper’s funding? That’s called censorship. Don’t let them trample press freedom, nor ruin your festive cheer.

SOURCE





Detentions spike, border arrests fall in Trump’s first year

President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown has produced a spike in detentions by deportation officers across the country during his first months in office. At the same time, arrests along the Mexican border have fallen sharply, apparently as fewer people have tried to sneak into the U.S.

Figures released by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday show Trump is delivering on his pledge to more strictly control immigration and suggest that would-be immigrants are getting the message to not even think about crossing the border illegally.

Even as border crossings decline, however, Trump continues to push for his promised wall along the border — a wall that critics say is unnecessary and a waste of cash.

The new numbers, which offer the most complete snapshot yet of immigration enforcement under Trump, show that Border Patrol arrests plunged to a 45-year low in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, with far fewer people being apprehended between official border crossings.

In all, the Border Patrol made 310,531 arrests in fiscal 2016, down 25 percent from a year earlier and the lowest level since 1971.

Officials have credited that drop to Trump’s harsh anti-immigration rhetoric and policies, including widely publicized arrests of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

US Border Arrests Lowest Since 1971

“There’s a new recognition by would-be immigrants that the U.S. is not hanging up a welcome sign,” said Michelle Mittelstadt, of the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute think tank. She pointed to Trump’s rhetoric, as well as his policies. “I think there’s a sense that the U.S. is less hospitable.”

But Mittelstadt also stressed that the numbers are part of a larger trend that began well before Trump’s inauguration: Mexico’s improving economy and more opportunities at home have stemmed the tide of people flowing across the border for work.

“You’ve really had a realignment in migration from Mexico,” she said, noting that the numbers of Mexicans apprehended in 2017 fell by 34 percent from the previous year.

The decline in border crossings continues a trend that began during the Obama administration, and marks a dramatic drop from 2000, when more than 1.6 million people were apprehended crossing the southwest border alone.

Overall, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said, deportations over the last year dropped about 6 percent from the previous year — a number tied to the sharp decline in border crossings as well as a backlog in the immigration courts that process deportations.

But that number masks a striking uptick in arrests away from the border. Those arrests have sparked fear and anger in immigrant communities, where many worry the government is now targeting them.

ICE said the number of “interior removals” — people who are apprehended away from the border — jumped 25 percent this year to 81,603. And the increase is 37 percent after Trump’s inauguration compared to the same period the year before.

“The president made it clear in his executive orders: There’s no population off the table,” Thomas Homan, ICE’s acting director, told reporters in Washington on Tuesday. “If you’re in this country illegally, we’re looking for you and we’re going to look to apprehend you.”

In February, former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who now serves as Trump’s chief of staff, scrapped the Obama administration’s policy of limiting deportations to people who pose a public safety threat, convicted criminals and those who have crossed the border recently, effectively making anyone in the country illegally vulnerable to apprehension.

Trump campaigned as an immigration hard-liner, accusing Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals to the U.S. and promising to build “a great wall on our southern border.” As president, he has signed a series of travel bans aimed at curtailing who can enter the country, pushed to overhaul the legal immigration system and tried to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to share information about illegal immigrants with federal authorities. He has also pushed for funding for his border wall.

The new numbers, which include the last months of the Obama administration, provide new ammunition to Trump critics who question the need to spend billions of dollars on a border wall if crossings are already dropping. But officials insisted the wall was still needed.

“Yeah, the traffic is down. That’s a good thing,” said Ronald Vitiello, the acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. But, “to take the 1,000 arrests a day to say that we’re finished, it’s not stating what the facts are. We’re still arresting nearly 1,000 people a day coming across the border,” he said.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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




Tuesday, December 12, 2017



Germany condemns antisemitism while welcoming millions of antisemites

German authorities have strongly condemned the wave of anti-Israeli protests that have gripped Berlin for three consecutive days in response to Donald Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying anti-Semitism has no place in the country.

Some 2,500 people waved Palestinian flags and carried placards denouncing the US and Israel. Anti-Semitic calls were heard in Arabic and German as Israel’s Star of David flag was set alight. Burning a flag on its own does not constitute a criminal offense, unless it is attached to an embassy or public institution, police said. Officers detained eleven people from the vocal crowd before releasing them after writing up criminal complaints.

Sunday’s rally was Berlin’s third show of anger against Trump’s move since Friday. Two flags had been burned at the start of the weekend in an anti-Israel rally in front of the American Embassy on Pariser Platz, which drew around 1,500 people. The enraged crowd chanted “Death to the Jews!” and “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is coming again!” According to legend, Khaybar was a Jewish-populated oasis in Saudi Arabia, which was attacked and conquered by Prophet Muhammed and his army.

The crowd also shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is great), and “in spirit and in blood we will redeem you.” In addition, several people dressed in Palestinian colors also waved Hamas flags, classified by the European Union and the United States as a terrorist group. Police said they arrested ten people Friday, citing 12 criminal charges.

SOURCE




  

Support Grows for Air Force Colonel Suspended Over Religious Beliefs on Marriage

When Heather Wilson was picked to be secretary of the Air Force, she told the Senate: “Air Force policy must continue to ensure that all airmen are able to choose to practice their particular religion.” Now, she has a chance to prove it.

On Wednesday, the Family Research Council’s Lt. General Jerry Boykin and Travis Weber gave Wilson 77,024 reasons to reconsider the action taken against Col. Leland Bohannon.

A distinguished combat pilot, Bohannon has served his country for more than 20 years. In May, the reputation he’d built in the Air Force came crashing down when his superiors decided that the colonel’s decision not to sign a “certificate of appreciation” for a same-sex spouse was enough to suspend him from duty.

Never mind that Bohannon had requested a religious accommodation. Or that he’d consulted the command chaplain and a staff judge advocate. Leaders seemed determined to make an example of the dad of five, grounding him and snuffing out any chance of promotion. Eight senators were outraged, demanding that Air Force leaders intervene. Then, more than 77,000 of you piled on, urging justice for Bohannon and others like him.

Wednesday, Boykin and Weber delivered those petitions on behalf of the Family Research Council and our friends at the American Family Association—along with a letter signed by 31 religious advocacy groups.

“In his Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty issued earlier this year,” the organizations write, “President Trump stated that ‘it shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom,’ and that people should be ‘free to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government.’ Yet despite his impressive decades-long career with the Air Force, Col. Bohannon’s life and service are about to be derailed by the violation of this fundamental principle.”

Not only is there no right to a certificate of spousal appreciation, an accommodation should easily have been granted here … If the Air Force policy reflected the view of [Department of Justice] on this issue, those in Col. Bohannon’s situation would have no need to be concerned for their religious liberty in the first place, and we urge the Air Force to bring its policies into line with the understanding of the DOJ in this area … In addition to correcting Air Force policy to ensure this does not happen again, we respectfully request that you reverse the complaint against Col. Bohannon and remove any unfavorable materials related to this complaint from his record.

As far as Boykin is concerned, “We not only delivered petitions, we delivered a message: We will not back down from defending the religious liberty of those in the military. The action taken against Colonel Bohannon is unacceptable, and Air Force policy must be corrected to ensure this does not happen again.”

Thanks to tens of thousands of you, Secretary Wilson may be motivated to do just that.

SOURCE






Female Entrepreneur Says Google’s ‘Women in Tech’ Program Ostracized Her for Being Conservative

A female tech entrepreneur alleges she faced character assassination and career sabotage by two “women in tech” groups over her conservative beliefs, including Google’s Women Techmakers.

Senior software engineer and co-founder of Polyglot Programming Marlene Jaeckel says that Martin Omander, Google Developer Group program manager for North America, formally banned her from the Google Developer Group and Google Women Techmakers after complaints from a feminist activist who objected to her moderate conservative positions.

According to Jaeckel , Omander “declined to provide me with any details of the complaints against me or the rules that I’d allegedly violated.”

In a Medium post published earlier this week, Jaeckel explained that the two Atlanta-based feminists who reported her to Google, local Women Who Code director Alicia Carr and Atlanta Google Women Techmakers organizer Maggie Kane, had become hostile to her after a series of disagreements over politics, and repeatedly sought to damage her career.

The publicly-stated objectives of both Women Who Code and Google Women Techmakers are, ostensibly, non-partisan. Women Who Code says their goal is to “inspire women to excel in technology careers,” while Google Women Techmakers says they merely wish for “visibility, community, and resources for women in technology.”

None of these organizations openly say that Republican or conservative women are excluded from their goals. Yet Jaeckel , a senior software engineer and co-founder of a tech company, says that is the reason why Carr and Kane sought to both exclude her from the groups and sabotage her career in tech.

According to Jaeckel ‘s account, which can be read in full at Medium, she had a falling-out with Carr over a number of issues, including her opposition to gender-segregated classes. Jaeckel says she was also banned from two other coding workshops in Atlanta because the founders “strongly objected” to her conservative political views.

    Unfortunately, during the Women Who Code hackathon, it became clear to me that this event focused on marketing strategies, creativity, and the discussion of gender politics, and not on the development of technical skills. At the group presentations and award ceremony, I observed that my group of mentees were being discouraged from discussing any of the technical details of the fully-functional application they had developed in less than two days, and I expressed my frustration about it on Twitter, stating that “when you’re a mentor and your mentees don’t get the recognition they deserve, you go to bat.”

    In August 2016, Alicia reached out me via email and private Slack messages. She proposed forming a class for female coders who were interested in learning iOS development and asked me to tutor these students. I told her that I’d be glad to teach if the class also included males. She refused, stating that “I need everybody and anybody to help my Women and I’m sorry there is a gender issues [sic] but right now it [sic] about my ladies.” We were unable to reach an agreement, so I declined.

    In September 2016, I again crossed paths with Alicia at a monthly meeting of the Atlanta iOS Developers group. She was extremely irate over my Twitter comment and my refusal to teach women-only classes. She became loud and disruptive during the meeting and the event’s organizer had to intervene repeatedly.

    Despite her hostility, I still wanted to participate in Alicia’s ConnectTech panel discussion. I spent weeks preparing to represent iOS developers and the “Apple way” of doing things. Alicia was, however, completely unprepared to moderate and many of the attendees were visibly disappointed. Shortly after the session, Alicia posted disparaging remarks about me on Twitter, implying that she had to “carry the iOS side” and that I failed to contribute anything to the panel discussion.

    Following this incident, I had limited interaction with other women in technology groups in Atlanta until January 2017, when I decided to volunteer as a mentor for a RailsGirls and RailsBridge workshop. Within hours of signing up, both organizations banned me from their groups and events. They even enlisted the help of two young white male developers to replace me as a mentor. Although the organizers of both groups declined to provide me with a formal explanation and refused to explain why or how I had allegedly violated their codes of conduct, I later learned that they strongly objected to my conservative political views. In addition, they were also friends of Alicia.

Jaeckel later volunteered to assist the Atlanta chapter of Google Women Techmakers, which was then being organized by Maggie Kane, and says she worked to secure a venue and speakers for their event. However, after viewpoint diversity advocate James Damore was fired from Google, Jaeckel says her public support for him drew a backlash.

    In mid-September 2017, Maggie contacted me and told me that Alicia, acting on behalf of Women Who Code, had sent her an email to lodge a written complaint against me and Polyglot Programming. She stated that Women Who Code refused to work with the Atlanta GDG, or attend or sponsor any of the group’s events because of my involvement. Then she added that Alicia had accused me of harassing and doxxing Women Who Code members by contacting their employers to get them fired.

    I was absolutely dumbfounded by these ludicrous allegations. It made no sense — I’ve had almost no interaction with Women Who Code’s members beyond my exchanges with Alicia Carr. It’s simply not in my nature to harass anyone and I’ve always been strongly opposed to retaliatory actions like doxxing and no-platforming.

    Maggie informed me that she had forwarded Alicia’s statements to Google and that she had also filed a written complaint with Google because I had “violated the codes of conduct”. She even felt that it might be best if I stopped attending any GDG and Google Women Techmakers events, because members might be “triggered” by my presence.

When Jaeckel later sought to attend an event organized by Google Women Techmakers, a group of which she was still a member, she was asked to leave by Kane, who said she held views that were “very harmful to gender equality.” Jaeckel also claims that Kane falsely accused her of “stalking” her, after which Jaeckel and her company were banned from a number of influential tech groups in Atlanta.

    Two days later, I got an email from TechSquare Labs. Daniel had discussed the incident with Allen Nance, Paul Judge, and Rodney Sampson, the owners of the facility, and he informed me that they had collectively decided to ban me and my company from using their venue or attending any of their events because they were concerned about the “safety” of their members. I later learned from a fellow developer that Maggie had, in fact, told various people that I’d been stalking her. She also recruited a young white male developer, David Hope, to replace my partner Lance as GDG organizer and invited David to act as her co-organizer for Google Women Techmakers.

    The following week, Martin Omander, GDG program manager for North America, formally banned me from the Google Developer Group and Google Women Techmakers and, again, declined to provide me with any details of the complaints against me or the rules that I’d allegedly violated.

At this point, says Jaeckel , she realized that the “women in tech” activists had become “determined to ostracize me from the tech industry and ruin the business that I’ve painstakingly built .”

Her story, in particular the intervention from Google’s Martin Omander, bears many similarities to that of James Damore, who was fired from Google after expressing a moderate critique of the company’s diversity agenda and for calling for more political tolerance. Like Damore, Jaeckel says she is now facing censure from Google and Google-backed activists over her moderate conservative politics.

Jaeckel  has now taken to the legal system to fight back:

    I decided that it was time to fight back. I retained renowned civil rights lawyer and GOP official Harmeet Dhillon, who sent a cease and desist letter to Women Who Code, Alicia Carr, Maggie Kane, and Google. In the letter, we demanded a full retraction of the defamatory statements about me. I also requested to have my GDG and Google Women Techmakers memberships reinstated, because I’d been unfairly banned based on false allegations and not on any actual code of conduct violations.

In a comment to Breitbart News, Maggie Kane denied the allegations made against her in Jaeckel ‘s story, calling them “untrue on many counts and defamatory towards me.”

Kane also claims she received an email from someone who “read Marlene’s article and accused me of being a criminal, which is also defamatory and untrue.”

“I hope Marlene’s legal counsel directs her to retract these defamatory statements and personal attacks towards me as they are causing unnecessary harm to our free and volunteer-run tech community groups here in Atlanta.”

Alicia Carr, Martin Omander, and Google did not return requests for comment.

SOURCE





PC Grinches at Huffington Post Are Hating on ‘Rudolph’

On Saturday night, CBS will rebroadcast the annual Christmas special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

The seasonal favorite, narrated by Burl Ives, was first telecast in 1964, and has entertained three generations of Americans in the half-century since.

It’s must-see TV for anyone who has ever sung along with Ives’ Sam the Snowman character crooning “Holly, Jolly Christmas.” But in an era of political correctness that has left hardly any corner of pop culture unscathed, not everyone is experiencing the Christmas cheer.

Ever the PC Grinch, the Huffington Post published a withering critique of “Rudolph” that was subsequently picked up and repeated by Yahoo “News.”

HuffPo begins by renaming the stop-motion animation classic “Rudolph the Marginalized Reindeer,” because the title character is teased and bullied by his peers because of his peculiar proboscis.

“Viewers are noticing the tale may not be so jolly after all and [are] sharing their observations online,” it says, reposting a series of tweets critical of the beloved—by most of us, anyway—special.

One Twitter user calls it “a parable of racism and homophobia w/Santa as a bigoted, exploitative pr—.” Another opines that “Santa’s operation is an HR nightmare and in serious need of diversity and inclusion training.”

“Rudolph’s father [Donner] verbally abuses him” and forces the young reindeer to conceal his unique attribute so he can fit in with the other young reindeer, while Santa blames Donner, and Rudolph’s school P.E. coach, Comet, is portrayed as a discriminatory “bully” because he won’t “let Rudolph join in any reindeer games.”

Rudolph has a girlfriend, Clarice, which is probably where the charge of “homophobia” comes in, inasmuch as Rudolph isn’t gay.

And if that’s not bad enough, “Clarice’s dad is a bigot” because he’s not as willing to overlook Rudolph’s nonconforming nose as she is. “No doe of mine is going to be seen with a red-nosed reindeer,” he harrumphs.

Meanwhile, Hermey, one of Santa’s elves, is excoriated by the tyrannical elfin boss of Santa’s workshop because he aspires to be a dentist (not that there’s anything wrong with that), rather than make toys.

As fellow “misfits,” Hermey and Rudolph become fast friends, because, as one of the Twitter posts reprinted by HuffPo notes, “It’s good we don’t fit in. It means we’re not a–h—s.”

Even the fable’s happy ending, where Rudolph’s unusual attribute saves the day, is cast by HuffPo in the worst possible—dare we say, Marxist—light. “In the end, Rudolph and friends learn the bitter truth,” it says. “Deviation from the norm will be punished unless it’s exploitable.”

HuffPo might have unwittingly given Dr. Seuss’ heirs the sequel to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” but it somehow missed one decidedly un-PC thread in the storyline: It failed to criticize Mrs. Claus, who early on in the film prods Santa to eat to fatten him up before Christmas Eve.

Doesn’t that qualify as “body-shaming”?

More tellingly, HuffPo’s narrative conveniently fails to acknowledge that, in the end, Donner apologizes to Rudolph for being so hard on him and that the nonconforming “misfit toys” finally find loving homes.

In any case, these PC critics of “Rudolph” need to take a deep breath and get a grip, and if they must, just change the channel. (They got a Christmas fable surely more to their liking Tuesday night, when the cast of NBC’s “Will & Grace” imagined traveling back in time—to 1912—for an episode, “A Gay Olde Christmas,” replete with loads of double-entendre gay sex jokes.)

One can easily imagine that that other perennial Yuletide favorite, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (which debuted in 1965, a year after “Rudolph”), will be the next target in HuffPo’s and the PC left’s cross-hairs. They’ll likely start by faulting the climactic scene, in which Linus recites “what Christmas is all about,” as too sectarian and exclusionary.

These are the same leftists, by the way, who deny there’s a “war on Christmas.”

“Ho-ho-ho,” indeed.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 11, 2017


The End of Identity Liberalism

By MARK LILLA

The article below first appeared in the NYT just over a year ago (Nov. 18), when it generated a furore among Leftists.  Why?  It is a very level-headed article and in fact hits on the very issues  which led to the triumph of Trump on Nov. 8.  He is essentially an old-fashioned Leftist who thinks that the Democratic party needs to stick to traditional Leftist themes if it wants to win power and do good.

It is what he criticizes that led to fury, however. He points out quite logically that the current Democrat obsession with identity politics cannot win a majority.  Focusing on homosexuals, feminists, blacks etc. simply leaves out the great majority of people who are not part of those minorities.  Mainstream people will tend to feel left out and will look to someone who includes them.

The Left talk about inclusion but their version of inclusion tends to exclude the majority.  Leftist "inclusion" consists of forcing minorities down the throats of the majority, with no concern about how the majority might feel about that.

As Lilla said, the majority did feel left out and looked for someone who spoke for them: Donald Trump.

So why did that very reasonable and much needed message arouse so much rejection among American Leftists ("liberals" if you like)?  I think a major reason is in the tone of the article.  There is no rage and hate in it.  It is just calm and considered.  It could mostly have been written by a conservative.

The Left feed on rage and hate and Lilla gave them not a skerrick of that.  In those circumstances what he was arguing hardly mattered.  He was not one of "us" to Leftist readers.  Every word of his was therefore suspect



It is a truism that America has become a more diverse country. It is also a beautiful thing to watch. Visitors from other countries, particularly those having trouble incorporating different ethnic groups and faiths, are amazed that we manage to pull it off. Not perfectly, of course, but certainly better than any European or Asian nation today. It’s an extraordinary success story.

But how should this diversity shape our politics? The standard liberal answer for nearly a generation now has been that we should become aware of and “celebrate” our differences. Which is a splendid principle of moral pedagogy — but disastrous as a foundation for democratic politics in our ideological age. In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.

One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals.

The moral energy surrounding identity has, of course, had many good effects. Affirmative action has reshaped and improved corporate life. Black Lives Matter has delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience. Hollywood’s efforts to normalize homosexuality in our popular culture helped to normalize it in American families and public life.

But the fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life. At a very young age our children are being encouraged to talk about their individual identities, even before they have them. By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good. In large part this is because of high school history curriculums, which anachronistically project the identity politics of today back onto the past, creating a distorted picture of the major forces and individuals that shaped our country. (The achievements of women’s rights movements, for instance, were real and important, but you cannot understand them if you do not first understand the founding fathers’ achievement in establishing a system of government based on the guarantee of rights.)

When young people arrive at college they are encouraged to keep this focus on themselves by student groups, faculty members and also administrators whose full-time job is to deal with — and heighten the significance of — “diversity issues.” Fox News and other conservative media outlets make great sport of mocking the “campus craziness” that surrounds such issues, and more often than not they are right to. Which only plays into the hands of populist demagogues who want to delegitimize learning in the eyes of those who have never set foot on a campus. How to explain to the average voter the supposed moral urgency of giving college students the right to choose the designated gender pronouns to be used when addressing them? How not to laugh along with those voters at the story of a University of Michigan prankster who wrote in “His Majesty”?

This campus-diversity consciousness has over the years filtered into the liberal media, and not subtly. Affirmative action for women and minorities at America’s newspapers and broadcasters has been an extraordinary social achievement — and has even changed, quite literally, the face of right-wing media, as journalists like Megyn Kelly and Laura Ingraham have gained prominence. But it also appears to have encouraged the assumption, especially among younger journalists and editors, that simply by focusing on identity they have done their jobs.

Recently I performed a little experiment during a sabbatical in France: For a full year I read only European publications, not American ones. My thought was to try seeing the world as European readers did. But it was far more instructive to return home and realize how the lens of identity has transformed American reporting in recent years. How often, for example, the laziest story in American journalism — about the “first X to do Y” — is told and retold. Fascination with the identity drama has even affected foreign reporting, which is in distressingly short supply. However interesting it may be to read, say, about the fate of transgender people in Egypt, it contributes nothing to educating Americans about the powerful political and religious currents that will determine Egypt’s future, and indirectly, our own. No major news outlet in Europe would think of adopting such a focus.

But it is at the level of electoral politics that identity liberalism has failed most spectacularly, as we have just seen. National politics in healthy periods is not about “difference,” it is about commonality. And it will be dominated by whoever best captures Americans’ imaginations about our shared destiny. Ronald Reagan did that very skillfully, whatever one may think of his vision. So did Bill Clinton, who took a page from Reagan’s playbook. He seized the Democratic Party away from its identity-conscious wing, concentrated his energies on domestic programs that would benefit everyone (like national health insurance) and defined America’s role in the post-1989 world. By remaining in office for two terms, he was then able to accomplish much for different groups in the Democratic coalition. Identity politics, by contrast, is largely expressive, not persuasive. Which is why it never wins elections — but can lose them.

The media’s newfound, almost anthropological, interest in the angry white male reveals as much about the state of our liberalism as it does about this much maligned, and previously ignored, figure. A convenient liberal interpretation of the recent presidential election would have it that Mr. Trump won in large part because he managed to transform economic disadvantage into racial rage — the “whitelash” thesis. This is convenient because it sanctions a conviction of moral superiority and allows liberals to ignore what those voters said were their overriding concerns. It also encourages the fantasy that the Republican right is doomed to demographic extinction in the long run — which means liberals have only to wait for the country to fall into their laps. The surprisingly high percentage of the Latino vote that went to Mr. Trump should remind us that the longer ethnic groups are here in this country, the more politically diverse they become.

Finally, the whitelash thesis is convenient because it absolves liberals of not recognizing how their own obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored. Such people are not actually reacting against the reality of our diverse America (they tend, after all, to live in homogeneous areas of the country). But they are reacting against the omnipresent rhetoric of identity, which is what they mean by “political correctness.” Liberals should bear in mind that the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan, which still exists. Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.

We need a post-identity liberalism, and it should draw from the past successes of pre-identity liberalism. Such a liberalism would concentrate on widening its base by appealing to Americans as Americans and emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority of them. It would speak to the nation as a nation of citizens who are in this together and must help one another. As for narrower issues that are highly charged symbolically and can drive potential allies away, especially those touching on sexuality and religion, such a liberalism would work quietly, sensitively and with a proper sense of scale. (To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, America is sick and tired of hearing about liberals’ damn bathrooms.)

Teachers committed to such a liberalism would refocus attention on their main political responsibility in a democracy: to form committed citizens aware of their system of government and the major forces and events in our history. A post-identity liberalism would also emphasize that democracy is not only about rights; it also confers duties on its citizens, such as the duties to keep informed and vote. A post-identity liberal press would begin educating itself about parts of the country that have been ignored, and about what matters there, especially religion. And it would take seriously its responsibility to educate Americans about the major forces shaping world politics, especially their historical dimension.

Some years ago I was invited to a union convention in Florida to speak on a panel about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous Four Freedoms speech of 1941. The hall was full of representatives from local chapters — men, women, blacks, whites, Latinos. We began by singing the national anthem, and then sat down to listen to a recording of Roosevelt’s speech. As I looked out into the crowd, and saw the array of different faces, I was struck by how focused they were on what they shared. And listening to Roosevelt’s stirring voice as he invoked the freedom of speech, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want and the freedom from fear — freedoms that Roosevelt demanded for “everyone in the world” — I was reminded of what the real foundations of modern American liberalism are.

SOURCE





Wisconsin AG recommends contempt charges against 'John Doe' prosecutor and his henchmen

About time

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker enraged Democrats and unions when he rammed a bill through the Republican legislature in 2011 that limited the power of public unions.  In response, Democrats gathered enough signatures on petitions to initiate a recall election.

Walker won that election handily in 2012.  But that was only the beginning of the story.  A Milwaukee Democratic prosecutor decided to build a case against conservative activists for illegally communicating and coordinating their political efforts.  The result was something straight out of a dystopian nightmare, as The Federalist describes:

In the predawn hours of October 3, 2013, armed deputies raided the homes of R.J. Johnson, Deborah Jordahl, and several others in a paramilitary style blitz across Wisconsin. The detainees weren't terrorists bent on mass murder or the overthrow of the government. The agents weren't looking for contraband narcotics or illegal firearms. In fact, no one was quite sure what they wanted, but agents got it all; computers, phones, business records, files, and communications dating back years. Deputies told the raided subjects to keep quiet or there would be consequences, as a pedophile might tell his prey.

The targets represent only a fraction of political activists sucked into Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm's "John Doe" – a grand-jury-type mechanism Wisconsin prosecutors prefer for its secrecy. Chisholm accuses them of "illegal talking" by coordinating messaging, which is supposedly forbidden under Wisconsin's prolix campaign finance code. The investigation, which Chisholm has expanded 18 times, has engulfed advocates, large and small, for years on end. His favorite tactic is bulk intimidation. Alongside raids and gag orders, he employs kitchen-sink subpoenas, many of which are eventually quashed at great legal expense. When he fails to get sufficient obeisance, he serves arrest warrants and sends people to jail on nonexistent charges. One judge reviewing a John Doe prosecutor's actions stated, "The conduct described is nothing that we as Wisconsinites should be proud of, bottom line . . . . Mr. Landgraf was behaving badly, probably for political reasons."

America had never seen anything like it.  Dozens of ordinary people, some of them unpaid volunteers, were swept up in a terrifying political dragnet.  But the "evidence" in the cases being investigated was so badly mishandled that key details were leaked about the prosecutor's methods.  The resulting outcry eventually led to the shutdown of the investigation by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, who found no evidence of illegal activity on the part of the prosecutor.  But one justice, writing for the majority, said, "It is utterly clear that the prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing."

Chisolm's wife Colleen was a teacher union shop steward whose job was directly affected by Walker's curb on union power.  Both were Democratic activists.

Now, after an exhaustive investigation, the attorney general of Wisconsin, Brad Schimel, has issued a report that recommends contempt charges against the prosecutor and that professional sanctions be imposed on one of his investigators.

Milwaukee Sentinel:

In a 91-page report made public Wednesday, the Republican attorney general sharply criticized the probe's leaders for engaging in an overly broad investigation and failing to secure the vast amounts of evidence seized. He contended contempt proceedings should be initiated against special prosecutor Francis Schmitz and the team he led for how they handled seized material after courts told them they could not review it further or had to get rid of it.

Schimel also wants to seek professional sanctions against Shane Falk, who served as an attorney for the now-defunct Government Accountability Board, as part of his investigation into the leak of secret John Doe material to the Guardian U.S.

"The systemic and pervasive mishandling of John Doe evidence likely resulted in circumstances allowing the Guardian leak in the first place, and now prevents prosecutors from proving criminal liability beyond a reasonable doubt," the report says

Jefferson Circuit Court Judge William Hue made Schimel's report public Wednesday. Hue, who is overseeing the wrap-up of the Doe investigation, wrote in a brief order that he would consider Schimel's request for contempt proceedings.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and Schmitz ran the investigation into whether the Republican governor's campaign illegally worked with conservative groups in recall elections. Chisholm is a Democrat and Schmitz has identified himself as a Republican.

The state Supreme Court shut down the investigation in 2015, finding nothing illegal had occurred.

What is truly frightening about this story is that the Democratic prosecutor apparently acted within the law when his goons rousted ordinary people from their homes at gunpoint.  As The Federalist's Paul Jossey points out:

"Chisholm's John Doe represents the worst kind of legal thuggery, rife with personal enmity, conflicts of interests [sic], and professional skullduggery. Unfortunately victims are left with little practical recourse. The laws, judicial doctrines, and disciplinary structures that shield Chisholm and his cohorts should be reformed to prevent this type of abuse from ever happening again."

Prosecutors have been given enormous leeway to enforce the law.  But they are expected to behave within the bounds of propriety, non-partisanship, and common decency.  Chisholm not only crossed the line; he obliterated it.  The least that can be done to punish him is to try him for contempt.

SOURCE






Sweden's comversion to the religion of peace

The President of the United States made an announcement some people don’t like, so protesters in the UK and Sweden are threatening to kill Jews. Not Americans – Jews. Not Israelis – Jews

Twenty-one masked men have been seen throwing molotov cocktails at a synagogue in central Gothenburg.

'We are in place with a number of units,' said Peter Nordengard, police chief of the West Western region, told the Expressen newspaper.

Dvir Maoz, the World Bnei Akiva youth movement's emissary in Gothenburg, said the attack happened a little after 10 p.m. while youths from the local Jewish community were attending a party inside the synagogue complex.

He described looking out from inside the synagogue lobby area and from the corner of his eye seeing 'a ball of fire' approaching the building.

'The guards saw it in the security cameras and called police right away. The children were stressed, it was the first time they had ever experienced a terrorist attack near them.' 

Allan Stutzinsky, chairman of the Jewish Assembly in Gothenburg, witnessed the attack and he said: 'There were tens of masked people throwing burning objects into the courtyard.'

The attacked happened after several hundred people marched through the centre of Malmo on Friday night to protest against President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

According to local media some chanted: 'We have announced the intifada from Malmo. We want our freedom back, and we will shoot the Jews.'

SOURCE






The myth of Britain’s far right

Britain First is as insignificant as its racist and fascist predecessors

So, with a few retweeted anti-Muslim propaganda videos, US president Donald Trump did it again. He gave a bunch of irritants the oxygen of publicity. He gave them a platform. He gave them legitimacy. No, not the plums of Britain First, whose deputy leader, Jayda Fransen, originally posted the videos Trump retweeted, but those ever ready to tell us about the rise of fascism, those ready to warn us of the ‘the reach of far-right groups in the UK and Europe’, those ready to warn us that the spirit of Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts is among us once more.

What’s odd about the dark mutterings of fascism’s rebirth is that in Britain there is simply not much to be reborn. The far right has remained, throughout its meagre British existence, a threat largely in imagination only, its overseas version treated with ‘derision and contempt’ according to Foreign Office minutes in the 1920s, and as no more than a public-order problem in the 1930s (they tended to provoke the left). Even when ex-Labour MP Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists was literally on the march in the 1930s, the far right’s lack of traction was palpable. Such was its failure, that by the end of the 1930s, even Mosley himself was moved to complain that he was tired of ‘pouring money down the drain of British fascism’.

It is not an overstatement to say that the far right has never been able gain much of a foothold in British political culture. So while world war, fear of revolution and economic crisis in the interwar years were providing the social and political tumult in which fascism proper flourished in Europe, Britain’s political institutions, comprising in the main a mass Conservative Party, a highly reformist, social-democratic Labour Party, and a trade-union movement largely free of syndicalist elements, proved adept at preserving capitalism, rather than threatening its overthrow. This meant that, with no clear threat of revolution, no spectre of communism, there was little to frighten the ruling classes into the arms of fascism.

There was certainly anti-Semitism in British society, especially among its upper echelons, not to mention a fear of the Reds. But as opposed to the open class-based conflicts on the continent, the predominance of a reformist Labour Party – ready, if push came to shove, to ally itself with the Liberals and Conservatives ‘in the national interest’, as happened with the national government of 1931 – left the negligible British fascist movement stuck on the outside of political culture looking in.

Again and again Britain’s far right has found history repeating itself, always in farce. In the late 1960s and 1970s, the National Front, which was itself an amalgamation of various residual fascist and racist grouplets hanging around in the aftermath of the Second World War, found itself persistently marginal, standing in elections… and losing its deposits in elections. Not because of the innate virtue of British politics, but because the ground on which it wanted to make its appeal – race and immigration – had been already largely cultivated by the British party-political mainstream.

A Tory government introduced immigration controls in the early 1960s, and while Labour was initially pro-immigration, it too was soon making anti-immigration arguments. As Labour MP Roy Hattersley put it in 1965, ‘I believe unrestricted immigration can only produce additional problems, additional suffering and additional hardship unless some kind of limitation is imposed and continued’.

Moreover, it has never helped Britain’s tiny band of fascists and far-righters that British postwar nationalism has been dominated, ironically enough, by the so-called fight against fascism. Defeating the Nazis, indeed defeating the evil of fascism, has persisted as just about the only source of national pride for much of the past three-quarters of a century – ‘Why we have to cut off the head of fascism again and again’, ran a broadsheet headline earlier this year.

So important has the Second World War been to a sense of being British, on both left and right, that in a 2005 YouGov poll, ‘defiance of the Nazis’ was voted second only to ‘free speech’ as a defining characteristic of Britishness. Given the peculiarly anti-fascist flavour to a British nationalism long shorn of any attachment to Empire, it’s hardly a surprise that Britain’s far right, mired in a Nazi-invoking past, has consistently found itself unpalatable to the British public.

The National Front’s successor and Britain First’s seedling party, the British National Party, did have a moment in the sun, or more accurately, a moment on BBC’s Question Time, in the mid-to-late 2000s. But even at its height in the 2009 European Parliament elections, when it amassed 943,598 votes (6.2 per cent of votes cast), there was no real sense that those voting for Nick Griffin and his henchmen really supported them because they supported his (admittedly watered-down) views on bloodlines.


Rather, the BNP’s attraction was negative – it was not one of the three main parties; it was not part of the political establishment; it was not toeing the line of acceptable political discourse. Unsurprisingly, given its lack of real support, no sooner had it briefly flourished, then, almost overnight, it collapsed. By early 2012, the BNP had been obliterated as even a minor electoral irritation, and its side-parted caricature of a leader was on the verge of bankruptcy. Griffin was last heard talking earlier this year, with no little irony, of emigrating.

By comparison, Britain First, which was spawned by some disaffected BNP members in 2011 and named after an Oswald Mosley rallying cry, makes the BNP look like an electoral behemoth. Fransen, Trump’s newfound Twitter friend, stood in the 2014 Rochester and Strood by-election, and won a mighty 56 votes. Britain First leader Paul Golding tried his luck in the London mayoral election and picked up just 1.2 per cent of the vote. Its current membership is estimated to stand at around a thousand, and its public meetings, such as they are, would struggle to fill a curry house. Yes, it has 27,000 Twitter followers, but then @GrumpyCat, ‘The World’s Grumpiest Cat’, has over one million, and no one anticipates a downcast feline takeover anytime soon.

So why the constant trumping up of the threat of the far right despite its chronic insignificance? A decade ago, the fear of the BNP, this ‘evil, vile, fascist organisation’, as the Lib Dems’ former leader, Nick Clegg, called it, grew as the political elite’s estrangement from the public deepened. At the same time, bashing the phantasm of the BNP gave the political class some semblance of moral purpose, and a sense that its members were engaging with the public.

Today, the myth of the far right, indeed, the fear of the far right, continues to play on the political class’s fear of and estrangement from the public – fear and estrangement that has deepened in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. But it also allows the political elite to manage the explosive form that estrangement has now taken – to manage, that is, the very real threat to the status quo posed by the millions of people who forcefully rejected it last June. Because by saying, as one columnist does, that although ‘Britain First is tiny… some of [its] views are more mainstream than we feel comfortable acknowledging’, commentators both acknowledge that hitherto establishment views are no longer carrying the day, while reducing those anti-establishment views to something almost comically neo-fascist.

By equating Britain First with an anti-establishment mainstream, it acknowledges the threat, while simultaneously disavowing it, morally undermining it, delegitimising it. It allows supporters of the status quo to believe the threat it is facing is old and discredited, rather than new and as yet uncredited. It says ‘we, the good, the right, the pro-EU, are still battling fascism after all. We’re still fighting the good fight, still waging the war of the righteous.’ The rise-of-the-far-right narrative is, at the same time, a way of downplaying the rise of a new constellation of forces opposed to the status quo.

Facing down the far right, it seems, remains what it has long been: an elite displacement exercise.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017



Your genes determine your sexual orientation, study suggests

There are many instances in families, even among twins, where only one child is homosexual so any genetic influence must be weak

A NEW study comparing the DNA of homosexual and heterosexual men could prove that sexual orientation is rooted in a person’s biology.

IT HAS long been debated whether sexual orientation is a result of a person’s biology or is determined by environmental factors and outside influences.

A new study in the US could bring experts a step closer to proving that homosexuality is rooted in a person’s DNA. Research undertaken by North Shore University in Illinois claims to have discovered genetic markers that indicate whether or not a person is gay.

Scientists compared the whole genomes of around 1000 homosexual men and 1200 heterosexual men and found there were two specific DNA regions that differed between the groups.

One of the regions dealt with a gene that plays an important role in brain development and hormone production, which could also be linked to a person’s sexual orientation. The other gene is linked to thyroid function, which is an area previously been linked with sexual orientation, according to the authors of the study.

While some genetic differences were found in these areas, the researchers have cautioned that the results are “best described as speculative”, but still leave researchers a step closer to understanding how sexual preferences develop.

“Because sexuality is an essential part of human life — for individuals and society — it is important to understand the development and expression of human sexual orientation,” lead author Dr Alan Sanders told The Telegraph.

“The goal of this study was to search for genetic underpinnings of male sexual orientation, and thus ultimately increase our knowledge of biological mechanisms underlying sexual orientation.” He added: “What we have accomplished is a first step for genome wide study on the trait, and we hope that subsequent larger studies will further illuminate its genetic contributions.”

The purpose of genome-wide studies such as this one is to find variations in DNA that are linked to a specific trait, in this case homosexuality. But other studies usually use a much larger subject group, often including more than 100,000 people, with a smaller group possibly indicating a less reliable overview of the population as a whole.

Dr Nina McCarthy of the University of Western Australia told Cosmosthat “findings from small studies are less likely to be robust and less likely to be generalisable compared to large studies”.

“As this study was carried out in European men, we do not know whether the findings will apply to homosexuality in women, or even to homosexuality in non-European men. It’s really important to appreciate that association does not imply causation,” she said.

“All that is required to see a genetic association in this study is for slightly more homosexual men to carry the genetic variant than heterosexual men, and many times this will simply be due to chance.”

SOURCE






Rogue Leftists in the Wisconsin judiciary

Despite concluding a crime was committed during the use of state resources to target Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Justice Department recommends no criminal charges

On Wednesday, a Wisconsin judge unsealed an 88-page report on the state Department of Justice’s (WIDoJ) investigation into a leak of sealed evidence from the politically motivated “John Doe” investigation of Gov. Scott Walker, his supporters, and various conservative groups related to his recall election campaign.

Despite concluding a crime was committed during the John Doe proceedings, WIDoJ recommends no criminal charges. Instead, the report recommends that former Government Accountability Board (GAB) lawyer Shane Falk be referred to the state judiciary’s Office of Lawyer Regulation for discipline and that contempt proceedings be initiated against John Doe special prosecutor Francis Schmitz and former GAB employees for violating court orders during the John Doe proceedings.

Moreover, the WIDoJ investigation uncovered another previously secret investigation into the personal and political activities of Republicans and conservatives at the state and federal level, evidence from which was filed away as “opposition research.”

John Doe Means Secret Criminal Investigations

Wisconsin law provides for secret, so-called John Doe criminal investigations, overseen by a John Doe judge with the assistance of a district attorney. Ironically, this story begins with the “John Doe I” investigation Walker requested as Milwaukee County executive in 2010, based on a report of stolen public funds.

John Doe I resulted in six convictions. But within a month of Walker’s recall election victory over union-fueled opposition in June 2012, the district attorney received approval from the judge to expand the scope of the investigation into a probe of Walker’s campaign-finance practices.

The district attorney’s office then began consulting with GAB, then the agency charged with regulating campaign fundraising and spending. A GAB staff attorney wrongly advised the district attorney that the state’s campaign finance laws had been violated, based on the theory that conservative groups illegally coordinated their activities during the recall election.

This bad advice led to opening “John Doe II” proceedings. The abuses of the John Doe II investigation are well-documented, not least by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in its opinion shutting down the probe:

"The breadth of the documents gathered pursuant to subpoenas and seized pursuant to search warrants is amazing. Millions of documents, both in digital and paper copy, were subpoenaed and/or seized. Deputies seized business papers, computer equipment, phones, and other devices, while their targets were restrained under police supervision and denied the ability to contact their attorneys. The special prosecutor obtained virtually every document possessed by the Unnamed Movants relating to every aspect of their lives, both personal and professional, over a five-year span (from 2009 to 2013). Such documents were subpoenaed and/or seized without regard to content or relevance to the alleged violations ***. As part of this dragnet, the special prosecutor also had seized wholly irrelevant information, such as retirement income statements, personal financial account information, personal letters, and family photos."

Indeed, two “search warrants were executed at approximately 6:00 a.m. on October 3, 2013, in pre-dawn, armed, paramilitary-style raids in which bright floodlights were used to illuminate the targets’ homes.” The mishandling of this vast pool of personal and financial data ultimately became the focus of the WIDoJ investigation.

DA Continues Probe Despite Judge Order

For example, the John Doe II investigation should have effectively ended on January 10, 2014, when a judge quashed the subpoenas and warrants upon the motion of some John Doe targets, ruling they had not violated campaign finance laws. On January 27, 2014, the judge stayed the order pending appeal, but specifically ordered that the investigation team should not examine property and evidence seized.

The WIDoJ investigation found that Falk nevertheless ordered the compilation of records of donations to and from the Wisconsin Club For Growth, and compiling records from a database containing emails seized pursuant to search warrants. The special prosecutor learned of Falk’s activity and failed to order him to stop.

Moreover, a GAB specialist continued to access the database after a second order was entered in February 2014 broadly barring the review of any material obtained by any legal process. The special prosecutor did not halt this activity for days.

Next, when the Wisconsin Supreme Court formally ended the John Doe II investigation on July 16, 2015, “because the special prosecutor’s legal theory [was] unsupported in either reason or law,” it also “ordered that the special prosecutor and the district attorneys involved in this investigation must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation.”

An Attempt to Skew the U.S. Supreme Court

That did not happen, despite a detailed follow-up order specifying how it was to be accomplished. Instead, the prosecution team petitioned for review by the U.S. Supreme Court, which set the petition for consideration on September 26, 2016. Just 11 days before that conference, The Guardian published a leaked trove of documents from the John Doe II proceedings, including court filings, draft filings, and selected evidence prepared and kept by only some members of the prosecution team.

Analyzing the nature of the illegally leaked documents—as opposed to those kept secret—the WIDoJ report concludes that “the nature of the leaked court filings indicated an intent by someone – likely a lawyer – to respond directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision.” Indeed, the report argues that “[o]nly someone with an intimate knowledge of the case and familiarity with the leaked documents would know which documents to leak that would correspond directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s opinion.” WIDoJ believes “the leaked court filings show a specific intent to try to influence the United States Supreme Court as it was considering the pending petition for writ of certiorari in September 2016.”

The investigation also led WIDoJ to find that while all of the core prosecution team attorneys had access to the court filings, only former GAB members had access to certain leaked emails (some of which were involved in the prior violations of court orders). The report concludes:

"[B]ased on the evidence collected, [WIDoJ] assesses with reasonable certainty that the hard drive of Shane Falk is the only place where all of the leaked documents *** were located. Yet despite executing a search warrant at the offices of the former GAB and conducting numerous witness interviews, no one could account for Falk’s missing hard drive, which remains missing and unaccounted for to this day."

You’re shocked that this key piece of evidence has gone missing, aren’t you? But it gets worse.

Sucking Up Personal Conversations for Oppo Research

Additional documents related to the John Doe II proceedings continued to be “found” periodically throughout the WIDoJ investigation. On May 23, 2017, one day prior to the scheduled interview of a former GAB attorney (and roughly six months after all evidence was supposed to be returned), WIDoJ learned of a large file cabinet containing John Doe documents in the basement of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission (one of two successor agencies to GAB after the Wisconsin legislature enacted a law disbanding GAB).

This last batch of documents included not only documents related to John Does I and II, but also evidence related to a previously unknown GAB investigation into members of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, which the WIDoJ dubs “John Doe III.”

Based on the commingled nature of the evidence discovered, WIDoJ believes that John Doe III, which apparently began as an investigation into whether state employees were campaigning on state time, became intertwined with John Does I and II and was based on the same unsupported legal theory as those investigations.

The WIDoJ report’s description of some of the John Doe III evidence is chilling:

"[T]hree hard drives in particular contained nearly 500,000 unique emails (from Yahoo and Gmail accounts, for example) and other documents (email attachments, for example) totaling millions of pages. The hard drives included transcripts of Google Chat logs between several individuals, most of which were purely personal (and sometimes very private) conversations. GAB placed a large portion of these emails into several folders entitled, ‘Opposition Research’ or ‘Senate Opposition Research.’ [WIDoJ] has been unable to determine who labeled these emails as ‘Opposition Research,’ what the purpose of this label was, or how these emails were to be used in the future. However, [WIDoJ] is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponizing of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive why GAB needed any information from GoDaddy.com related to former Republican Senate Leadership Association Chairman Ed Gillespie or why staff attorneys wanted information held by Google for Leonard Leo, Executive Director of the Federalist Society."

Rogue Investigators Seize Info Of High-Level Republicans

The report identifies at least 35 people for whom John Doe III investigators obtained complete personal email accounts, chat and messenger logs, contact lists, and technical information. For example, the report notes: “investigators obtained, categorized, and maintained over 150 personal emails between [state] Senator Leah Vukmir and her daughter, including emails containing private medical information and other highly personal information. [WIDoJ] was unable to determine why investigators ever obtained, let alone saved and labeled, over 150 very private and very personal emails between a Senator and her child, or why investigators placed those emails in a folder named ‘Opposition Research.’“

Furthermore, as the references to Ed Gillespie and Leonard Leo make clear, those who merely communicated with the 35 targets also had their messages swept into the GAB dragnet. That list included Walker, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, former U.S. Sen. Terrence Wall, former RNC chairman and President Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, two other state senators, the state treasurer, Walker campaign chairman Joe Fadness, and various legislative staff members.

The systematic mishandling of the evidence prevents prosecutors from affixing individual criminal guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Although the WIDoJ report concludes that the leak of the sealed evidence was a crime, committed for the purpose of attempting to influence the U.S. Supreme Court, it ultimately could not recommend criminal charges be brought against anyone involved with the John Doe investigations scandal because of how scandalous the misconduct was.

In particular, the prosecution team, especially GAB, was ridiculously careless with the vast quantities of evidence they collected (when it wasn’t being filed away as opposition research). There was no designated custodian for the evidence. There was no central log of the evidence collected. The evidence was not stored in a central location.

Indeed, documents and hard drives were left unsecured on staffers’ desks. The digital evidence was spread among hard drives, network drives, Gmails, cloud-based databases, the Dropbox file-sharing service, and flash drives. Accordingly, the systematic mishandling of the evidence prevents prosecutors from affixing individual criminal guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

One reason for this dysfunction was investigators’ paranoia that if they used state computer systems, Walker might discover what they were doing. Thanks to the WIDoJ report, the public now knows what they were doing. Perhaps the Wisconsin judicial system can provide some measure of discipline for those involved in this abusive, partisan persecution.

SOURCE






SCOTUS Justice Kennedy Insists Tolerance Be a ‘Two-Way Street’ in Religious Freedom Case

John Stonestreet

I was honored yesterday to rally in support of Jack Phillips on the steps outside the Supreme Court. Now I’d like to tell you what went on inside.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Eric Metaxas and I have given you the details before, of Colorado master cake designer Jack Phillips who declined to design a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

As David Brooks wrote in Monday’s New York Times, “Phillips is not trying to restrict gay marriage or gay rights; he’s simply asking not to be forced to take part.”

Neither the couple or the state of Colorado saw it that way. Phillips was found to have violated the state’s anti-discrimination law, and forced to choose between his convictions and losing forty percent of his business. Phillips appealed to the Supreme Court.

While Phillips’s actions were grounded in his religious beliefs, the legal argument was primarily about whether Colorado had violated his right to free speech.  Unlike those commentators who disparaged the idea that creating custom cakes constitutes a form of speech, yesterday the Court took the question seriously.

Phillips’ lawyer, Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom, argued that “the first amendment protects bakers such as Mr. Phillips against being forced to express any belief, and that as a custom-cake maker, he sketches, sculpts and hand-paints—in other words, he’s an artist.”

Waggoner had barely gotten started when the questions began.

Responding to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she reiterated that neither she nor her client were challenging his obligation to sell his ordinary wares to everyone. In fact, he offered to sell the couple any already-made cake in his store.

Custom cakes, Waggoner told the Court, were a different matter. The use of writing and symbols convey a message in a way that a cake off the shelf does not.

Inevitably the comparison to race came up. The best answer was given by U. S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco. Francisco, in response to several justices, argued that discrimination on the basis of race, such as refusing to serve an interracial couple, was different than refusing to participate in a ceremony.

He also argued that upholding Phillips’ free speech rights would not damage civil rights protection because it would only apply to “a small group of individuals” in “narrow circumstances.” However, Justice Breyer disagreed.

But the roughest treatment was reserved for Colorado’s Solicitor General Fred Yarger because of Colorado’s treatment of Phillips throughout the whole ordeal. Justice Kennedy—likely the swing vote in this case—told him that tolerance must go both ways, adding that, “It seems to me the state has been neither tolerant nor respectful” of Jack Phillips views.

He cited a comment by a member of the Civil Rights Commission, who called Phillips’ religious beliefs “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric.” He then asked Yarger to disavow the comment. After Yarger lamely replied that he wouldn’t counsel a client to say such a thing, Kennedy pressed him, and Yarger disavowed.

It’s never a good thing when a judge asks you to disavow your client’s statement.

So where are we? Justice Kennedy definitely seems troubled by the way Phillips was treated, and it’s encouraging that he insisted tolerance is a “two-way street.”

Heartening as well was Justice Breyer’s asking Yarger if some kind of compromise might be possible. Whatever else Breyer is thinking, he seems to be concerned that Colorado didn’t make sufficient allowance for people with dissenting views.

I can’t tell you whether Phillips will prevail, but there’s reason to be encouraged. It’s also possible that Kennedy could side with Phillips, but in a narrow opinion that would open the floodgate for future cases. Even then, that’s better, far better than a Phillips loss.

So let’s continue to pray earnestly that Phillips, and freedom, prevails.

SOURCE






Australian Leftist leader panicked by rejection of homosexual marriage in heavily Muslim electorates

Pandering to Muslim beliefs about homosexuality might give Christians protection as a side-effect

Bill Shorten has reached out to religious leaders and No voters to reassure them that Labor, in ­“opposition or government”, wants to ensure religious liberties remain protected.

The Opposition Leader made the move within hours of Malcolm Turnbull taking the same-sex marriage legislation to Government House to be written into law. While still celebrating the passage of the same-sex marriage laws, Mr Shorten immediately addressed concerns by Christian and Islamic leaders, specifically in nine Labor-held electorates in western Sydney that voted No, about “their freedom to practise their religion”.

On Thursday, Mr Shorten told parliament in his final speech on the same-sex marriage bill: “I say to those who voted No, I recognise that now is the time for healing, to put this debate behind us. And when this law is passed, we should declare that we are no longer a nation of people who voted No or people who voted Yes — we are simply Australians, one and all.”

In the wake of the 60 per cent Yes vote in the postal survey — now revealed to have cost $80 million, $42m less than expected — Mr Shorten has repeatedly expressed “respect” for No voters and declared that as someone who was “raised a person of faith”, he wants to ensure ­religious protections.

In a letter to 12 religious ­leaders including Christian archbishops and bishops as well as muftis and imams in southwest and western Sydney, Mr Shorten said Labor understood their concerns, believed the ­legislation protected religious freedoms but offered to make ­himself available “to work through any concerns you may have in relation to religious freedoms around Australia”.

“I can assure you that Labor understands your concerns, and takes them most seriously,” Mr Shorten said in a letter written yesterday and obtained by The Weekend Australian. “In the event that Labor forms the next government, I can guarantee that I will continue to be available to work through any concerns that you may have in relation to religious freedoms in Australia. In government and in opposition, I intend to continue to work collaboratively with religious leaders around Australia to ensure religious liberties remain protected.”

Mr Shorten offered to meet the religious leaders “as early as next week” to discuss their concerns. He also urged them to work with the Coalition’s religious freedoms inquiry headed by former federal attorney-general Philip Ruddock, which is due to report next year.

Mr Shorten offered to consider more protections for religious freedom. “Given the importance of the issue of religious freedom, and the need to give any changes proper consideration, we believe this is an appropriate mechanism for determining whether changes might be required to enhance protections for people of faith and religious institutions,” he wrote.

“Should the expert panel into religious freedoms find gaps in the legal framework for protecting ­religious freedoms more broadly, Labor will carefully consider those when they are delivered next year.”

Labor was attacked during the debate on religious freedom this week for not allowing a true free vote on amendments and denying its MPs the chance to support religious protections. Labor MPs have denied there was a direction denying them a chance to vote on amendments and said they wanted to use the ­religious freedom inquiry to ­rectify any shortcomings.

Mr Shorten has campaigned strongly for same-sex marriage and all Labor MPs voted for it but there was a political backlash when the postal vote showed that nine Labor-held electorates in Sydney with large migrant communities and committed religious groups voted No against same-sex marriage.

The Labor electorates of Barton, Blaxland, Chifley, Fowler, Greenway, McMahon, Parramatta, Watson and Werriwa in NSW as well as Calwell and Bruce in Victoria voted No.

Three Liberal Sydney seats — Bennelong, Mitchell and Banks — and three rural Queensland electorates — Groom and Maranoa held by the Nationals and independent Bob Katter’s Kennedy — also had a majority No vote.

NSW Liberals believe the No vote in the western Sydney electorates, some in areas once held by the Liberal Party under John Howard, gave the Coalition an opportunity to regain ground in western Sydney at the next election by campaigning as a defender of religious rights after Labor’s blanket refusal to vote for any amendments this week.

Mr Shorten’s letter seeks to reassure leaders including Bishop Antoine Taraby, the Maronite Bishop of Australia; Bishop Robert Rabbat, of the Melkite Catholic Church; Sheikh Yahya Safi, imam of the Lakemba mosque; and Sheikh Malek Zeidan, the Australian representative of the mufti of Lebanon.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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