Friday, August 26, 2016

A new/old "privilege": Thin privilege

Kelsey Miller, who writes below, is fat (see above) and she envies the better treatment that thin women get.  And the everlasting Leftist grumble about "inequality" provides her with a peg to hang her envy on.  What she says below is that liking for thin bodies is unjust in that it offends against the equality doctrine and that we as individuals might not be able to change social values but we can be equally nice to fatties and slenders.  And it would be REALLY good if slender people could be made to feel guilty about being slender.  Let fatties rule!

Like all fat grumblers, she makes no enquiry about WHY slim is seen as better.  It's just something "society" does for inscrutable reasons.  As with Leftists generally, the fact that their dreams of a different world never come about, seems to escape her attention.  The world SHOULD be different and that is that!

But let us take a quick glance at why her dream will never come about.  Let us ask why this world is as it is.

It's old hat to go back to the cavemen but they probably do have a role here.  Slim people can run, jump and climb faster so are the ones most likely to catch a tasty animal for dinner.  And evolution is a slow burn so much of our behaviour and values reflect our caveman past.  It seems highly probable that natural selection has built into our genes a preference for slimness.  Fat-lovers are fighting a million years of human evolution.

Aha!  Someone will say:  How come fat women are ADMIRED in the poorer parts of the Arab world and China?  Where did their genes  go?

Human being are very flexible.  Witness the fact that fat ladies do normally acquire a husband.  The husband will mostly be short or a smoking, drinking, gambling type but he is male and does help to bring forth children.  In other words, there are circumstances in which the genetic influence can be overridden. In the absence of better alternatives the fatty may take on a man who is rejected by women with better alterantives. 

I once ran a large boarding house in a poor area and it was amusing to see the couples walking down the street in that area.  It was common to see  short, spherical women trotting alongside a short, thin and very scrubby man puffing on a fag (cigarette). Both had wisely compromised and gotten what they could:  A useless man and a lady prepared to tolerate a lot. At least they were not alone.

And such flexibility is observable in poor countries too.  In poor countries, the problem is food.  It seems strange to most of us in the modern world but, until quite recently, there were a lot of people everywhere who had to struggle to put bread on the table for their families.  And in some countries only a tiny elite escaped that position.   In those circumstances, food abundance was greatly admired.  Someone who had plenty of food was envied.

And what is sure evidence that the pesron is one of those who are blessed with lots of food?  Fat!  Fat was the mark of a prosperous and successful family.  So a fat lady was socially desirable.  She could open the door to FOOD!  A poor society is the fat woman's nirvana.

And I have seen it in operation.  I was walking along a street in Australia with a number of benches beside it.  And on one bench I came across a very amusing sight. There was a rather good looking man of Arab appearance who was clearly expressing great admiration and affection to the Caucasian woman he was sitting beside.  And the woman was very FAT!  And the look of utter confusion on her face was a treat.  Here was this handsome man being very nice to HER!  Why?  Why was she being treated as a great beauty?  She basically did not know what to do.  I walked on so saw no more of them so I will never know if she figured out that she really WAS beautiful to Arab eyes.

But in our bountiful societies none of that applies.  Other values, including caveman values, come into play.  And caveman values are only part of it.  Another really important value is YOUTH.  And those of us with creaky bones will emphatically assure you that youth is better.  But what is associated with youth?  Slimness.  In our teens, the great majority of us are slim.  But that does not usually last.  Even those of us who started out skinny do expand over time.  So admiration for slimness is largely an admiration for a youthful appearance and no amount of Leftist equality-mongering will change that

Fatties go to the back of the bus!  Actually, they are there already. It is easy to say that fat is a choice.  We can always diet to lose it.  But, as Kelsey Miller knows, that is easier said than done.  Separating a fatty from their food is almost impossible long term. 

So what can a fatty do?  One thing guaranteed to do no good at all is to write angry articles condemning “thin privilege”. So the really vital thing to do is to accept how the cookie crumbles.  Accept how the world about us works and adapt yourself to it as best you can. So for fat ladies, I would suggest that they re-evaluate that pesky short guy who seems to be the only one interested in you.  He may be the best you can get -- and half a loaf is better than  none.  Perhaps you can concentrate on his pretty eyes, or how well he plays the spoons, or something

If we claim to care about equality, then we must acknowledge this inequality, too: thin privilege.

What’s your gut reaction to that term? Defensiveness, anger, hope, curiosity? Before stepping further into this subject, I think it’s important to recognize where we’re all coming from.

When I hear the term “thin privilege,” my first response is anxiety. I feel anger and interest and hope as well, but first and foremost, I feel nervous when the subject comes up, because I am not a thin person.

Illogical as it may sound, naming another group’s privilege feels almost like picking on them. The thing to remember is that privilege isn’t about us as individuals. It’s about the system we all live inside. It’s no one’s fault, yet it is everyone’s responsibility.

“Acknowledging that you have privilege is not saying that your life hasn’t been difficult,” says Melissa Fabello, renowned body-acceptance activist, academic, and managing editor of Everyday Feminism. “It's simply acknowledging which obstacles you have not faced.”

As a thin person working in the realm of body activism, Fabello frequently affirms the obstacles she herself hasn’t faced.

For example, “when I walk onto a plane, I don’t have any thoughts about whether or not I'm going to be able to sit in the seat,” she says. Going to the doctor, she doesn’t deal with automatic assumptions about her health.

“It's always, ‘Okay, let's treat whatever issue you came in here for.’”

Fabello offers these examples with no caveat or defense. That’s a rare attitude when it comes to any topic about our bodies — particularly women’s bodies.

Because, for one thing, thin privilege doesn’t protect her from other harmful experiences and damaging beliefs. We live in a world that scrutinizes and judges women’s bodies, period. Furthermore, “our current cultural beauty ideal for women is this weird skinny-but-curvy thing,” she says.

The beauty standard has evolved in the past few decades (“in the latter half of the 20th century [it] was very stick-thin,” Fabello notes), but it hasn’t become any more flexible or generous. It used to require visible hip bones, and now it demands curves — but only in the “right places.” By its very nature, a beauty standard is exclusionary, and women of all sizes are vulnerable to it.

“That’s an issue of women's bodies being seen as public property. That’s an issue of women's bodies being seen through the lens of the male gaze,” says Fabello.

“It is not about size discrimination, which is a separate issue.”

In fact, this new twist in the beauty standard may be feeding the ever-growing elephant in this room: skinny shaming. While it is an entirely different topic, we cannot have a conversation about thin privilege or size bias without contending with skinny shaming. And that’s a problem.

While things like privilege and bias are systemic, shaming happens on an interpersonal level. It may be within your family, your peer group, or even your broader community. It’s simply a different form of harm.

“Oppression isn't one, two, five, or one hundred people saying something bad about your body or making you feel bad about your body.

That’s not oppression,” says Fabello, “Oppression is something that is woven into society so that it is inescapable.” That doesn’t make body shaming of any kind invalid or harmless — and no one is arguing that.

Yet, many thin people still present skinny shaming as a counterpoint in an argument that isn’t happening.

“I would say nine out of 10 times, thin people only complain about or bring up the concept of skinny shaming as a way to derail a conversation about fat shaming,” says Fabello.

They’ll offer evidence as if to say that their experience is exactly the same as a fat person’s. “You know, ‘Well, I'm so thin that when I go to the doctor they tell me I just have to gain weight.’

Or, ‘I can't shop in the average clothing store either. I have to buy kid's clothes, because they don’t make clothes in my size.’ They come up with these counter-examples, which then makes it a difficult conversation.”

Of course, anecdotes like this just don’t add up against the basic, big-picture facts: The world does not hold thinness and fatness as equal. “We are all socialized not to want a fat body,” says Fabello.

But stating the obvious is a fruitless tactic when faced with someone like this. If you can’t acknowledge these basic truths, “you’re not actually trying to learn or understand. You’re just on the defensive.”

We are all prone to that defensiveness. It’s a knee-jerk response when someone checks our privilege for us (see: #AllLivesMatter).

This is why the system hurts us all so deeply: It perverts our empathy into something fearful and selfish and utterly nonsensical.

When thin people argue like this, Fabello points out, they’re saying, “‘Well, what about me? I'm also shamed for my body, so therefore thin privilege can’t exist and fat oppression can’t exist because I have this experience.’”

That is why body positivity isn’t just about accepting your own body. It’s about actively acknowledging others’ — particularly those who don’t benefit from your own privilege.

Absolutely, it begins with self-acceptance. “We all need body acceptance,” Fabello reaffirms. “Everybody wants to have their own pain acknowledged and everybody should have their own pain acknowledged in whatever appropriate way there is.”

For her, that means being mindful of the room she’s in. “If people are hurt, then I think people need to have that conversation to heal.

But I think that it should be had within one privileged group and also with context.” Imagine an able-bodied person walking into a room full of quadriplegics, complaining about her broken arm.

Even better, imagine a straight, cis, white woman walking into a room full of queer, trans quadriplegics of color — and complaining about her broken arm.

When in doubt, remember to look for and note all the privileges we cannot see — or which we’ve been conditioned not to see.

It’s not an overt maliciousness, this blind spot in our vision. Shaming is overt. Privilege, like prejudice, is something so old and so ordinary; it’s the mottled lens through which we see everything.

It’s our idea of average. “And whenever we have an idea of an ‘average person,’ it's always someone who is the most privileged.”

The world is built around this idea of a person, and everyone else is an exception to be accommodated. Some accommodations are more easily made than others; the left-handed kid needs a lefty desk, so the teacher runs around looking for one, apologizing to the student because, of course, that’s only fair.

When it comes to something like size, it’s different. “You go to a restaurant and the table is nailed down to the ground,” says Fabello.

“There's this assumption that the blank-slate person who things are created for is a certain size.” It’s a bias you might not notice unless you’re pressed right up against it.

When you’re sitting comfortably, it takes effort to notice — and even more effort to question.

But really, it’s not that hard. The problem is that we take the word “privilege” so personally, when it’s not so much about you as it is us.

Actively acknowledging your own privilege isn’t saying, “I’m the bad guy.” It’s saying the system is bad. It does not invalidate your own pain, but validates the pain of others — which is just as real, though not as recognized.

In voicing that injustice, you are not giving up your seat at the table, but demanding a table at which all of us can sit with comfort and be heard.


Obama’s LGBT Agenda Suffers Loss in Case of Transgender Funeral Director

When families lose loved ones, they often seek out funeral homes for solace and comfort and, for people of faith, spiritual consolation as well.  At such a delicate time, the last thing grieving families expect is a debate over whether male funeral home employees should be allowed to dress like women at their loved one’s funeral.

But that is exactly the conflict President Barack Obama’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission set in motion when it sued Thomas Rost.

As a matter of faith, Rost, the owner of three funeral homes in Michigan, required his male and female employees to dress in keeping with the solemnity and sensitivity of funerals and burials.

Thankfully, a federal district court has vindicated Rost’s religious liberty in a well-reasoned decision under the nation’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The conflict started when one of Rost’s male funeral directors stated in writing that he needed to be treated like a woman by others and informed Rost that from now on he would wear skirts while representing the funeral home, which included attendance at funerals.

Rost respectfully dismissed the funeral director, not because of who the employee was or anything he did outside work, but because Rost’s religious beliefs did not allow him to actively affirm a false sexual identity, or to have his business be the cause of distress and offense to mourners at their most vulnerable moments.

Rost, however, did not count on the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender agenda pushed by LGBT advocates and the Obama administration.

After the employee complained to the EEOC, the Obama administration sued Rost’s family funeral business, demanding that his employees be allowed to dress like the opposite sex whenever and wherever they wanted to, including at memorial services, or face damage awards and penalties.

Judge Sean F. Cox noted in his opinion that unless Rost violated his faith, the funeral home owner “would feel significant pressure to sell [the] business and give up [his] life’s calling of ministering to grieving people as a funeral home director and owner.”

No one should be put to such a choice.

Funeral homes seem like odd places for the Obama administration to take a stand against religious liberty. But similarly bad optics did not stop the administration from fighting the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order of nuns, all the way to the Supreme Court over Obamacare’s mandate that the order’s health plans cover abortion-inducing drugs.

It seems that when it comes to issues of sexual morality and identity—be it same-sex marriage, contraceptives, abortion, and now gender identity—the administration’s rule is that sexual autonomy must always win over religious liberty, even at church funerals and gravesites.

As my colleague Ryan T. Anderson and I have explained, the Obama administration has systematically misinterpreted bans on “sex discrimination” (both old and new) to mean “gender identity.”

From requiring male access to women’s and girls’ showers, dorms, and bathrooms in schools and universities, to regulating pronoun use in employment, to mandating sex reassignment surgeries under Obamacare, the administration has imposed a new gender ideology across the land with no basis in law and without the backing of the American people.

Obama’s policies insert the federal government into matters that are properly the domain of state and local authorities. They impose one-size-fits-all policies on the nation, they endanger privacy and safety, and they ignore the equality of all.

Parents, teachers, principals, hospitals, professionals, businesses and other employers, and local officials have been working out nuanced solutions that are respectful to all affected parties in this sensitive area. They should be allowed to continue to reach reasonable solutions without threats of lawsuits and funding cuts by the federal government.

The Obama administration should not force Americans to conform or be taken to court, fined, or stripped of funding.

Twenty-four states wisely have sued the administration over its threats, and a court in Texas has just ordered a halt to the administration’s ideologically driven attempt to rewrite the law unilaterally to include gender identity without congressional approval. The administration almost certainly will appeal and there is no guarantee as to the outcome, especially given a liberal-dominated judiciary.

This is why Congress can and should pass legislation to undo the confusion and harm unleashed by an overreaching executive branch and activist courts (stacked with liberal Obama appointees). That would be a major step toward restoring respect for the rule of law, federalism, and state, local, and private decision-making.

The Civil Rights Uniformity Act, recently introduced by Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, would do precisely that by assuring three simple things:

The word “sex” in antidiscrimination laws is not interpreted to mean “gender identity” or its equivalents.
The words “man” and “woman” in antidiscrimination laws refer to a person’s sex.

Gender identity and transgender status won’t be elevated to a special, protected class under civil rights laws without express congressional approval.

If passed, such a law would undo the Obama administration’s high-handedness and prevent future abuses of power by subsequent presidents and the courts.

Thomas Rost’s faith led him to dedicate his life to comforting and serving those who grieve. Because the Obama administration is likely to contest his victory on appeal, Rost and his life’s calling once again will be put in jeopardy by a steamrolling gender ideology that did not start, and will not stop, with funeral homes.

A law such as the Civil Rights Uniformity Act is needed now more than ever.


Boycotters Say New Target Transgender Policy Still Allows Predators ‘Easier Access to Their Victims’

Target plans to spend $20 million adding single-stall, lockable bathrooms to all store locations after a controversy over a new policy that allows transgender people to use the restroom and fitting room that correspond with the gender they self-identify with.

“Across the board, our goal is to make sure that everyone feels welcome at Target,” Katie Boylan, Target’s vice president of communications, told The Daily Signal.

In April, Target announced the new transgender policy. Boylan said Target has openly listened to guest feedback since then.

“The feedback has been mixed,” Boylan said. Some guests have been very supportive of the bathroom policy, while others “less so,” she said.

In response to the bathroom policy, over 1.4 million people signed a pledge to boycott Target.

“We committed in the spring to making sure that every store across the country has a single-stall, lockable restroom for those who would like to use it,” Boylan said. The remodels in Target’s 1,800 store locations across the country have been under way since then, she said, and will cost $20 million.

The American Family Association, a nonprofit that supports Christian values, started the pledge in April to boycott Target.

“Target’s announcement that it is installing unisex bathrooms does nothing to address the objections of more than 1.4 million customers who are boycotting the retail giant,” Ed Vitagliano, executive vice president of the American Family Association, said in a statement to The Daily Signal. He added:

While AFA did suggest single-occupancy, unisex bathrooms as a way to help the retailer’s transgender customers, our major concern was that Target’s policy would grant voyeurs and sexual predators easier access to their victims by allowing men in women’s restrooms and changing areas, which puts women and girls in danger.

“Target must maintain the gender-specific bathrooms as well—if the company is interested in guaranteeing the safety and privacy of women and girls who patronize the retailer’s stores.” —@AmericanFamAssc

In July, a man who identifies as a woman videotaped an 18-year-old girl in an Idaho Target dressing room. Authorities arrested and charged the man, age 43, who told police that he previously made other videos of women undressing, Time reported.

“Unisex bathrooms are fine, but Target must maintain the gender-specific bathrooms as well—if the company is interested in guaranteeing the safety and privacy of women and girls who patronize the retailer’s stores,” Vitagliano said.

The $20 million investment does not change Target’s fitting room policy and accommodations.

“This partial backtracking proves what everyone already knew, that Target lost customers in droves after it announced that men would be allowed full access to women’s intimate facilities at its stores,” Roger Severino, director of the Devos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

In the immediate two weeks following Target’s announcement of the policy, Target’s stock declined by 4.2 percent.

Target announced its second quarter earnings on Wednesday. Sales decreased by 7.2 percent from last year.

“We have no evidence that says the bathroom policy has had a material impact on our business at this time,” Boylan said.

The policy has had no impact on business in both the last financial quarter and this quarter, Boylan added.

“For too long big businesses like Target have put the interests of loud gender identity activists over the legitimate safety and privacy concerns of its everyday customers,” Heritage’s Severino said. “Target is of course free to do what it wants, but so are its customers, and it is an open question as to whether they will return given that men are still allowed into women’s spaces at Target even under the new policies.”


Federal judge temporarily blocks Obama’s transgender rules

A federal judge has blocked the Obama administration from enforcing new guidelines that were intended to expand restroom access for transgender students across the country.

Judge Reed O’Connor of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas said in a 38-page ruling Sunday that the government had not complied with federal law when it issued “directives which contradict the existing legislative and regulatory text.”

O’Connor, whom President George W. Bush nominated to the federal bench, said the order should apply nationwide but analysts said its impact might be limited.

O’Connor said not granting an injunction would put states “in the position of either maintaining their current policies in the face of the federal government’s view that they are violating the law, or changing them to comply with the guidelines and cede their authority over this issue.”

The judge’s order, in a case brought by officials from more than a dozen states, is a victory for social conservatives in the continuing legal battles over the restroom guidelines, which the federal government issued this year.

The fight over the rights of transgender people, and especially their right to use public bathrooms consistent with their gender identities, has emerged as an emotional cause among social conservatives.

The Obama administration’s assertion that the rights of transgender people in public schools and workplaces are protected under existing laws against sex discrimination has been condemned by social conservatives, who said the administration was illegally intruding into local affairs and promoting a policy that would jeopardize the privacy and safety of schoolchildren.

The ruling could deter the administration from bringing new legal action against school districts that do not allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.

“We are pleased that the court ruled against the Obama administration’s latest illegal federal overreach,” Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas said in a statement on Monday. “This president is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people and is threatening to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform.”

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department, Dena W. Iverson, said the department was disappointed with the decision and was reviewing its options.

In a statement, several civil rights organizations that had submitted a brief opposing the injunction called the ruling unfortunate and premature.

“A ruling by a single judge in one circuit cannot and does not undo the years of clear legal precedent nationwide establishing that transgender students have the right to go to school without being singled out for discrimination,” the groups — Lambda Legal; the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Texas; the National Center for Lesbian Rights; the Transgender Law Center; and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders — said in their statement.

The ultimate impact of the Texas decision is unclear and likely to be limited, legal analysts said. More senior courts in other regions have agreed with the administration that transgender students and workers are protected by existing laws against sex discrimination, and their decisions will not be altered by the Texas ruling.

Also, the decision will not necessarily affect the outcome of other current cases.

In the most prominent one, a federal court in North Carolina is weighing almost identical issues in suits brought by civil rights groups and the Department of Justice that seek to block a state law requiring people in government buildings, including public schools, to use bathrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.

Adding another major note of uncertainty, the US Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that required a school district in Virginia to allow a transgender boy to use the boys’ bathrooms. The Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction until it decides, probably this fall, whether to hear the case.

If the Supreme Court does take the case and reaches a majority decision one way or another, then existing rulings by district and appeals courts could be superseded. If the Supreme Court takes the Virginia case but then is divided, 4 to 4, on the issues, the Fourth Circuit’s existing decision in favor of transgender rights would take effect, although it would not be a nationally binding precedent.

The Texas lawsuit, filed by Paxton on behalf of officials in 13 states, argued that the Obama administration had overstepped its authority in a series of pronouncements in recent years, holding that discrimination against transgender people is a violation of existing laws against sex discrimination, including Title IX in federal education laws and Title VII in federal civil rights laws governing the workplace.

In May, in the latest such statement, the federal departments of Justice and Education issued a joint letter to public schools stating that transgender people should be free to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities and that schools which refuse could lose federal funds.

The letter was quickly condemned by social conservatives, leading numerous state governments and school districts around the country to file lawsuits seeking to prevent the administration from taking action.

The Obama administration, seeking to deflect the Texas lawsuit and another brought by 10 other states, argued that the directive was not a regulation or mandate but rather an explanation of how the administration interpreted existing sex-discrimination protections. But it carried a threat that the administration might sue noncompliant school districts and seek to cut off vital federal education aid.



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

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

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


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Muslim values at work in Australia

On January 16, 2015, a visibly shaken Leila Alavi hung up the phone after taking a call from her estranged husband.

Prosecutors say the 26-year-old turned to a colleague and told him: "He said he is going to kill me and all of us. Probably he is watching too many movies."

By morning, she was dead.

In the carpark below the western Sydney hairdressing salon where she worked, Mokhtar Hosseiniamraei stabbed his wife 56 times with a pair of scissors he had stolen from a nearby supermarket.

"That moment. Like a bomb. It exploded. I didn't realise what I was doing for a moment," he would later tell a forensic psychiatrist.

But in the hours after the stabbing on January 17, 2015, when police asked him through an interpreter why he had killed Ms Alavi, Hosseiniamraei was frank: "Because we were married, and ... she broke the contract. I could not tolerate it.

"And I could not forget it."

Documents tendered in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday tell of the devastating loss suffered by Ms Alavi's loved ones, and the broken logic with which her killer tried to explain what he had done.

"Where did you hit her with scissors on her body?" police asked Hosseiniamraei.

"In her heart and in her neck. Because she did not obey the rule of marriage," the killer replied.

"When we marry we have a commitment, moral commitment towards one another. In this country this means nothing."

He has since pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Alavi.

Hosseiniamraei, a refugee who fled Iran because of religious persecution, met his bride in Turkey and travelled with her to Australia in 2010.

By late 2014 the relationship had broken down and Hosseiniamraei was abusing drugs daily.

A psychiatrist who interviewed the 34-year-old noted he had been using heroin and ice almost every day around that time, and was smoking up to 28 joints of cannabis a week.

Ms Alavi sought a restraining order on October 2014, but documents before the court indicate the couple continued to see one another regularly.

Even after their separation, Ms Alavi continued to visit Hosseiniamraei to cook and clean for him, according to the offender's sister.

Now the dead woman's relatives have questioned why more was not done to keep her safe.

In a victim impact statement tendered in court on Thursday, Ms Alavi's sister Marjan Lotfi wrote that the grief of losing her was "almost unbearable".

"I don't want other women to suffer the same tragedy. I don't want other family members to go through what I and my family have gone through," she wrote.

"I keep thinking: why didn't someone help her? Why didn't she receive the protection she needed?"

Another sister, Mitra Alavi, said she and Leila had left Iran to escape violence. She said she had worried for years about her little sister's relationship with Hosseiniamraei.

"I saw that she was abused both physically and psychologically by him. I believe this man was cruel and dangerous," she wrote.


What Conservatives Did to Pull Off Religious Liberty Win in California

California conservatives won a surprise victory this week, changing a state assembly bill that would have curtailed the freedom of private religious colleges.

“We literally were able to see tens of thousands of people mobilize to make calls and to write their legislators, and to participate in the political process,” William Jessup University President John Jackson told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

“We were hearing from legislators who said that they had gotten hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of phone calls on just this one piece of legislation,” he added. “And I think that’s a tremendous, tremendous encouragement to me for the health of our state.”

It’s a victory that they hope will prove a bellwether for institutional liberty fights to come.

Facing a maelstrom of grassroots controversy, state Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat, said Wednesday that he would remove the portions of his bill, SB 1146, that would have harmed the right of religious colleges to operate according to their principles.

Under the previous wording, SB 1146 would have ultimately blocked low-income students from receiving Cal Grants, California’s system of need-based education aid, if they attended colleges with policies such as bathroom use based on biological sex that violated the state’s LGBT policies. It also would have enabled students who feel discriminated against in light of these policies to bring a lawsuit against their college.

“Without a doubt, the unmodified version [of the bill] would have jeopardized Christian institutions and egregiously penalized all students of faith, especially Latino and African-American individuals,” Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said in a statement.

Conservatives who opposed the measure say they are relieved by this change, but some stressed that the current version of the bill, while less concerning, may still negatively impact religious colleges. Jackson mentioned a new amendment that would make religious colleges release data on expelled students—ostensibly to ensure they were not expelled for discriminatory reasons.

“What we’ve indicated to the senator [Lara] is that we’ll have to review the bill and compare it to [Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] regulations,” Jackson said.

But religious liberty activists say they are pleased to have an effective blueprint for success as that battle progresses, a blueprint that involves building national coalitions focused on preserving the rights of religious Americans.

In addition to grassroots mobilization, conservative nonprofits also played a pivotal role in the controversy.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty publicized the fact that three of four students affected by the loss of Cal Grants would be low-income minority students, circulating a petition that quickly garnered 100,000 signatures.

With an open statement, Andrew Walker’s, the director of policy studies at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, commission publicly opposed the bill with the support of a diverse group of advocates and thinkers both on the ideological left and on the right. Notable signatories included law professors, administrators at religious colleges, Hispanic and Islamic leaders, seminary presidents, Christian denominational authorities, intellectuals at think tanks (including three from The Heritage Foundation), and conservative magazines.

The statement was publicly released on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Lara announced that he was changing the provisions.

“I just think that this was a multifaceted effort that really showed what effective communication and strategy can result in,” Walker told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “You get your national coalitions working with your people on the ground, coupled with strong messaging—and religious liberty, we found out, is not dead in California.”

Continued defeats on issues of individual conscience, Walker said, showed that advocates of religious freedom still have a long way to go. But as lawmakers nationwide begin to bicker over the limits of freedom of conscience for religious institutions, the changes to SB 1146 represent a heartening opening salvo.

“There’s one discussion about private citizens engaged in commercial acts, like the bakers and the florists and the photographers, but what we see here is that the ability to protect religious institutions and their religious integrity remains very intact and very strong,” he said. “We’re going to have to turn especially and fight on all fronts, and that includes institutionally. We had a large institutional win in California.”

Jackson and Walker also stressed that conservatives must remain vigilant to oppose similar encroachments in the future.

“The sponsor of this bill has said that he intends to study this issue at further depth, and possibly reintroduce legislation like this next year,” Walker said. “We’re not naïve to the fact that this is an ongoing battle.”


Political Correctness Has Skewed Our Understanding Of Racism

By Hsin-Yi Lo, Melbourne-based writer and freelance journalist

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has caused a storm when she posted an edited photo of Usain Bolt carrying her on his back with the tweet saying, "this is how I'm running errands from now on." But critics have taken the post amiss and blitzed the comedienne on social media demanding her to take off the post. Political correctness is once again the culprit that's killed our joy to make witty jokes, and the parameters of what actually constitutes racism.

PC started in the 1970s which was the era that spawned a generation of activists crusading against institutionalised thoughts that discriminate ethnic minorities, and people from different sexual orientations, religion and physical abilities. Credit should be given to the movement since it has corrected derogatory words like the N-word, and replacing it with 'Afro-American'. PC has also encouraged us to use gender indeterminate descriptions for jobs i.e. chairperson and businessperson so we don't subconsciously think that only males dominate particular roles.

As we live in a more pluralistic world, we should try to eliminate prejudice for the sake of social harmony. But PC has inadvertently bred a "I'm so easily offended" culture where we blow things out of proportion. This year Red Cross' pool safety poster for children came under fire because there were more 'coloured children' portrayed as the naughty kids. If we must be PC about this, could this poster be racist when there are 'white children' also illustrated as disobedient and there is a 'coloured' safety instructor?

Like DeGeneres' post, humour, wit or good intentions are mistaken for spite and racism. In Australia we're encouraged to be more culturally aware in our day-to-day interactions. This also extends to avoiding the greeting 'Merry Christmas' because it could potentially offend non-Christians and give out the idea that only Christmas is celebrated across the country. Instead, we should use religiously-neutral salutes like 'Seasons Greetings'.

I don't have a religion myself, but I don't mind when friends and associates say Merry Christmas to me because I know they wish me well. I also remember when I was studying in the UK, one of my flatmates kindly put a small Christmas tree in the kitchen so those who were alone wouldn't feel desolate and bleak.

In the immortal words of George W Bush: "The notion of political correctness has ignited controversy across the land. And although the movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism and sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudice with new ones. It declares certain topics off-limits, certain expression off-limits, even certain gestures off-limits".

PC has barred us from openly discussing race, religion, sexuality, etc. If freedom of expression is limited, we lose opportunities to explore more about ourselves, society and the world. Examples include criticism over Hollywood's decision to cast Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko in 'Ghost in the Shell'. According to political correctness, Major Motoko is exclusively Asian even though the character sports a set of blue eyes. I'm also denied the freedom to have open discussions about mixed marriages.

We're also obsessed with finding the perfect description to identify non-white Australians. The word 'ethnic' is considered racist because it implies non-white Australians are 'backwards' and separate from the 'default' Australian race – the white Australians. There are multiple interpretations of the word ethnic, but essentially it describes groups of people who share a common religion, race, cultural heritage and language. To replace it, we used NESB (non-English speaking background) to define non-white Australians.

Unfortunately, NESB didn't fit the shoe because the term hints that second generation migrant Australians could be included. And now, we've got CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse background) – a seemingly immaculate description for non-whites. But with PC's high alert on race and ethnicity – it's hard to address the implications this phrase brings.

I remember I had a debate with a member of the PC brigade who didn't accept that 'CALD' also suggests that Irish-Australians or even Anglo-Australians could be included. And if non-whites have exclusive membership to the CALD club, then we've contradicted ourselves because we're maintaining that there is a divide between whites and non-whites. Since the word ethnic and CALD serves the same purpose, 'ethnic' should be a foul word. As humans we tend to categorise people, who are dissimilar to us, according to their different traits. Through this, this is how we can openly learn about others who are different from us.

Unfortunately, black slavery is part of our world history and it's understandable we're more vigilant when it comes to race relations between black and white people. But now we don't have a proper sense of what bigotry really means, and we've become so preoccupied with taking the self-righteous moral high ground we're carelessly labelling people someone as racist without understanding the full consequences.


Australia: A racist who was distraught to be called a racist

She seemed to think that it was reasonable to fight racial discrimination by discriminating racially

Cindy Prior, 49, has bittersweet memories of her childhood in a loving family with nine brothers and sisters.

Her parents were Aboriginal, members of the Noongar tribe. They enrolled her in a primary school in Bunbury, Western Australia, and at a high school in the mining town of Kalgoorlie.

In her affidavit in a Racial Discrimination Act section 18C case she brought against Queensland University of Technology students, from whom she is seeking $250,000 in damages, Prior describes formative experiences and events in her life, including racism, before her employment as an administrative officer in QUT’s indigenous-only Oodgeroo Unit in Brisbane.

Her school years, she recalls, were a “challenging time for me and other Aboriginal students due to the perception and racist attitudes of non-indigenous students and some teachers towards us”. “When I started school I made friends with both white and Aboriginal students. Racism in the playground and in the class was a daily occurrence, but surrounded by my big cousins and sister, we stuck up for each other and supported each other. I was above average in all of my classes but as I looked around there were no Aboriginal students in any of my (high school) classes and I deliberately began to fail so that I could be in the same classes as them. I was a quiet, well-liked ­student and had made friends with both white and Aboriginal ­people.”

Prior, who left at the end of Year 10, describes an “extremely disadvantaged” upbringing of her parents. She says her parents were restricted from going to school (except for mission schools) ­because of segregation policies.

Prior worked in a Kalgoorlie shop. Married at 23, she had three children. She says she became sole carer of her now adult children ­following the 2014 death in a car accident of their father, whom she had divorced. She wanted to do an arts degree majoring in human rights, ethics and Australian studies until illness scotched those plans.

At the heart of her affidavit is the reason for it being sworn in the first place: “the 28 May 2013 incident”, the catalyst for her action against the students in an ongoing case that The Weekend Australian has been reporting since it burst into public consciousness in February this year. It is this vexing case that has begun a public debate about 18C’s impact on free speech, posing a challenge for Malcolm Turnbull as he comes under growing pressure to make good on promises he had quietly made to fellow parliamentarians to reform 18C if he replaced Tony Abbott as prime minister. The QUT case is being cited by ­reform-minded federal Liberal politicians, including Abbott, James Paterson, Tim Wilson and Cory Bernardi, along with independent conservatives such as Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm.

The case confounds some of the arguments of supporters of 18C because, on what is known from public filings and other material, it is still going three years later while causing significant financial, reputational and emotional cost to those caught in it and to taxpayers. The unanswered question is to what extent Prior’s family circumstances have contributed to her ­reliance on 18C against the students, reinforcing concerns of some that the legislative provision can be used to address past hurts and unrelated grievances.

Attorney-General ­George Brandis, a Queensland senator, has been conspicuous by his ­silence on the case and its implications for free speech as a result of 18C, which makes it unlawful for anyone to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” another person or group on the grounds of “race, colour or ethnicity”.

In the beginning, according to Prior, colleague Naomi Franks, a learning support officer in the uni, appeared “hesitant and uncertain” on May 28, 2013. She was worried as she told Prior: “There are some people in the computer lab and I don’t think they’re indigenous. Love, you do it.”

Prior, who oversaw reception for the indigenous-only “safe space”, replied: “I’ll deal with it.’’ She says she saw “three young white men I did not recognise at all”, and to one of them, Alex Wood, a fee-paying student who had unknowingly entered the unit to try to access a computer, she asked: “Hi, are you indigenous?’’

Wood: “No, we’re not.’’

Prior: “Ah, this is the Oodgeroo Unit, it’s an indigenous space for indigenous students at QUT. There are other computer labs in the university you can use.’’

Prior says the students said nothing. They packed their gear. Prior had made it plain that they needed to go, however, she insists: “I didn’t ask them to leave because I didn’t want to embarrass them in a black space. They simply left and I thought that that was that.’’

She says she continued working. A few hours later an indigenous student went to her with concerns that comments had been posted to a Facebook site, called QUT Stalker Space, about the eviction of Wood and his two friends from the Oodgeroo Unit. She says there were tears in the unit as the comments were read by the indigenous staff and students.

Wood, in what he saw as a legitimate, uncontroversial exercise of free speech, had written: “Just got kicked out of the unsigned ­indigenous computer room. QUT (is) stopping segregation with segregation.”

Jackson Powell wrote sarcastically: “I wonder where the white supremacist computer lab is.”

One post that was obviously ­offensive — “ITT niggers” — came from a Facebook profile bearing the name of student Calum Thwaites, who had not been near the Oodgeroo Unit. He immediately reported to Facebook and QUT that the Facebook profile had never belonged to him; he would never write such words; and that someone had set him up as part of a student prank.

In her affidavit of 285 pages, including exhibits, earlier this year, Prior recalls: “I was terribly upset and angry. I dread the word ‘nigger’. It is the ultimate racist taunt.”

She and colleagues had printed and screenshot the thread, which was circulated to university management, including the unit’s ­director, Lee Hong, and Mary Kelly, the director of equity. One of Prior’s contacts in the Faculty of Law Project offered her a “safe space” and observed in an email: “I guess it just reinforces what we all know to be true for this place.”

Prior went home and downloaded the posts. She became more upset as she read some students expressing their opinions that an indigenous-only unit was unhelpful because it perpetuated inequality, and resulted in “chronic self-consciousness and feelings of inferiority for Aboriginal people”. She says she became anxious at work the next day. “I had barely slept.” The reference to “white ­supremacists” in the sarcastic post of Powell left her, she says, with a “visceral reaction”, and a “primal fear of images of white hoods and burning crosses”. She says she feared being physically assaulted “if word got out that I was the person” who had turned away Wood. She raised with five managers her security needs as “interim measures for our safety and students” including the activation of swipe-card access. She says she felt “at risk of imminent but unpredictable physical or verbal assault”.

Prior says she was “furious, distraught, upset and emotionally drained” after she had read that QUT academic Sharon Hayes had speculated in an online post that Prior could have breached regulations by questioning Wood and the other two students about whether they were indigenous. Prior went to a doctor and was medically certified as unfit for work. Her initial doctor wrote: “Cynthia feels unsafe and frightened to return to work.”

Ten days after the students walked into the Oodgeroo Unit, a second doctor issued a workers’ compensation certificate declaring her unfit for work due to “nightmares, fear and sweating”. Four days later, Prior, who has not returned to the unit in the three years since the incident, told QUT she would be taking the matter to the Human Rights Commission. She felt “disheartened and powerless” because the university and its vice-chancellor, Peter Coaldrake, had made public statements about the incident and directed new strategies, which did not go far enough in her view. She felt “the critical issue of how to get me back to work and feeling safe once again” was being avoided.

Prior says she was too stressed to meet Kelly at QUT so they met elsewhere, where the director of equity told her and a witness friend “there were only two or three comments that were clear-cut racist”; “you might wanna check out what racial vilification is before you jump in”; and “with the small amount of contact I’ve had with these students it is very clear that they were not racist”. Prior says she felt “physically sick and abandoned”; she “could not understand how or why the students had not already been suspended or disciplined”; and “felt I had been warned off” from taking it further.

On August 1, 2013, Prior described her anxiety and workplace fears to another doctor, who wrote she was “reporting extremely ­severe levels of depression and anxiety, and severe levels of stress”. A subsequent medical tribunal assessment concluded Prior was “not feeling good about her identity, her people, or her culture”, as she accepted the incident had ended her career.

After going in 2014 to the HRC with her formal complaint against seven students under the Racial Discrimination Act’s section 18C, Prior and her Brisbane solicitor, Susan Moriarty, prepared for confidential settlement talks, and commission-sponsored conciliation. The Weekend Australian has established that a number of students in the original legal action, helped by their parents in some cases, paid thousands of dollars to be released from the complaint.

The students strenuously denied being racists or expressing racist views, but before their ­careers had started they feared their reputations and job prospects would be destroyed by anything linking them to the mere ­accusation of racism. The three students left in the case — Wood, Powell and Thwaites, who also deny racism — were not told by the commission until shortly ­before a compulsory conciliation conference in August 2015 that they were accused of racial hatred and faced public naming and shaming. The three students had minimal funds and could not ­afford legal representation. Their lives have been disrupted by the threat of being effectively convicted of racism with all of its attendant ugliness.

The commission ruled last year there was no prospect of a resolution, resulting in the case being advanced to the Federal Circuit Court where the students are being represented pro bono by Tony Morris QC and Michael Henry, both of whom have taken a robust approach to Prior, QUT and the commission over their conduct, evidence and actions. This has led to HRC president Gillian Triggs appointing an external lawyer at taxpayers’ expense, Angus Stewart SC, to run an inquiry into allegations that the commission itself had breached the students’ human rights, with Triggs and her staff acting “disgracefully” — claims they deny.

For Prior, who faces potentially massive orders for legal costs as Federal Circuit Court judge ­Michael Jarrett prepares to rule on whether her action under section 18C should be dismissed, and her lawyers, the case is black and white. But whatever the hurt and offence she insists she felt in late May 2013 over some Facebook posts, public responses to the subsequent 18C legal action and its demand for $250,000 in damages from the students have been significantly more frank and unsympathetic. Many people believe the students were the victims of ­racism because of their eviction.

The words “free speech” are not a feature of Prior’s affidavit, but in the last paragraph she says: “I am deeply disappointed that my private case has now become public, and I have been publicly vilified by people I don’t even know or who know me, or who don’t know the full story which led to the ending of my career at QUT. Whilst I desperately wanted to return to work it became clear each day that passed that this might never happen. I used to check my email every day to hear from somebody until in the end I just gave up.”



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

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

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


Monday, August 22, 2016

Don’t Tread on Me

News item: "The EEOC is investigating whether the Revolutionary War-era Gadsden Flag ["Don't Tread on Me"] could be considered a racist symbol in the workplace."

Back in the 1960s, American Marxists gave up trying to instigate an uprising of American workers against their employers and turned their efforts, instead, toward exploiting existing divisions within society, as between blacks and whites, and toward creating new ones, as between men and women. Thus began the cultural revolution. It continues apace, as the news item above attests.

Political correctness is an essential element of the left's strategy for carrying out their cultural revolution. Americans should understand how it works.

In the name of justice and equality, ostensibly, the left has assembled various and sundry "oppressed" groups into a coalition of the aggrieved. Each group is equipped with a script that explains and justifies its grievance against American culture.

For example:

Most of the dysfunction within black communities is a consequence of white racism.

Except for their anatomical differences, men and women are identical. Any difference between how they function in the world is a consequence of conditioning by patriarchal society.

Homosexuality is an un-chosen condition, and it is a normal and physchologically healthy alternative to heterosexuality. Any unhappiness that homosexuals experience regarding their sexuality derives from heterosexuals' failure to accept them.

International borders are just lines on a map. They should not be allowed to prevent human beings from coming to the United States to seek a better life.

Muslims from the Middle East and Africa are peace-loving individuals who, except for some of their religious practices, are indistinguishable from American Methodists and Baptists.

It is possible for a male validly to consider himself female, and for a female validly to consider herself male. 

Police throughout America are wantonly murdering young black men.

Honest people can disagree about some of these propositions. In a free country, they should be able to voice their disagreement without fear of recrimination, and to act accordingly. A Christian baker should be free to decide for himself whether to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. But the advocates of tolerance on the left tolerate no disagreement.

The scripts are composed not necessarily to identify the truth, but to serve the interests of their respective groups, as understood by the authors of the scripts. Each group retains editorial control over its own script. Debates might arise occasionally within a group as to the contents of their script, but no one outside the group is permitted to question the content of a script.

The scripts operate very much as the Party line from Moscow once operated for American Communists, and the similarity is far from coincidental. The difference, though, is that these scripts are intended to be the final word on each group not only for the party faithful, but for the rest of America, as well. Anyone who dares to contradict a script is vilified as a hater and is ostracized by the media-Hollywood-academic complex, who function as a kind of ideological Mafia. 

How does all this serve the neo-Marxist cultural revolution? Americans are being forced to adjust their culture to comport with each group's script. White employers are forced to hire black workers, even at the expense of the employers' liberties (hence the existence of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Christian bakers are forced to bake wedding cakes for homosexual couples wishing to "marry." The Little Sisters of the Poor are forced to subsidize contraception and abortion services for their lay women employees, even at the expense of their Catholic beliefs. Americans must welcome large numbers of Muslim refugees, even if it means living under the constant threat of terrorist assassination within our borders. Schoolgirls must welcome sexually confused boys into their bath and locker rooms, despite thousands of years of cultural practice to the contrary.

And if a black worker feels harassed by the display of the Gadsden Flag in his place of work, because the flag was once displayed by some white supremacists who attacked police in Las Vegas, then the EEOC must consider outlawing the Gadsden Flag in the workplace, free speech be damned.

The cultural revolutionaries' agenda is not limited to exploiting the grievances of their various client groups. They maintain a politically correct script on many other matters, notable among them guns, sex, and the environment.

Private ownership of guns is bad.

Any connection between sex and moral values is arbitrary.

Pollution must be eradicated, resources must be conserved, and land and wildlife must be preserved, even at the cost of our rights and our industrial economy.

Next to her Constitution, America's most distinctive cultural artifact is her industrial economy. The extinguishing of that economy in the name of saving the environment numbers among the most devastating changes so far inflicted by the cultural revolution.

And speaking of flags, if you thought that removing the Confederate Battle flag from the state capitols of Alabama and South Carolina would end the cultural cleansing, think again. The removal of this symbol of a distinct American culture from those public places was just the beginning. You can bet that, if the left succeed in outlawing "hate speech," then any display of the Confederate flag will be outlawed, as well. (The EEOC has already outlawed it in the workplace.)

Indeed, it is now open season on the many other symbols of the Confederacy that dot our landscape, including the magnificent monument at Stone Mountain, Georgia. (The Taliban aren't the only ones who would demolish monuments.) The same goes for our many cultural artifacts that have a connection to slavery. Yale University has just renamed a dining hall that formerly carried the name of slave owner and Yale alumnus, John C. Calhoun. All the monuments to and places named for slave owners Washington and Jefferson are obvious targets, and the latter is already in the left's crosshairs.

But Washington, Jefferson, and the Confederacy won't be the end of it, not by a long shot. There is much of Christianity that remains to be got rid of, even after a half century of attacks. The EEOC recently tried, for example, to ban the crucifix from the workplace. (One of the most harmful constitutional developments in American history has been the transforming of private property that is used for commercial purposes into pseudo-public property that is thereby rendered subject to all manner of government regulation.)

According to a recent video about PC censorship at Brown University, an orientation pamphlet for new students refered to the displaying of the oil portraits of Brown's past presidents in a lecture hall as a "micro-aggression," because, until very recently, the portraits depicted only white males. Eliminate the white male influence, and there won't be much left of our history or our culture. The left intend to wipe the slate clean, then they'll be free to build their workers' paradise.

The neo-Marxists are nothing if not sanctimonious about the positions staked out in their scripts. But given the tenuous connection of those scripts to the truth, and given the left's determination to force their orthodoxy upon others, and given their fascistic silencing of any voices who would oppose them, especially on college campuses, the left's pretensions to moral superiority are as specious as their scripts. Sure, they are against racism, except when it is practiced by their allies. Sure, they are against hate, except when it is directed against their opponents.

Those who should be defending American culture, on the other hand, genuinely value racial equality, abhor racism, and would hate to be identified as racist. They are willing to surrender a great deal-far too much-to see the "oppressed" treated fairly. So their virtues become weapons that the left uses against them. The whole edifice of political correctness would come tumbling down, and the neo-Marxist cultural revolution would fizzle out, if only Americans would cease to take seriously the left's bluster and lies.

Donald Trump, for all his faults, has performed heroically in challenging the orthodoxy of political correctness. We need many more to do the same. But we also need many more to explain to the American people the terribly damaging scam that is being perpetrated upon them under the banner of political correctness.

In the long run, the banning of the Gadsden flag from the workplace would mean no more to the left than the overrunning of a small village in eastern France meant to the Nazis in 1940. The Nazis meant to have all of France, and the left mean to obliterate every vestige of individualism, liberty, and capitalism from the American landscape. Any attempt to appease them just emboldens them. At some point, we must stand and fight.


Administration to Issue Regulation Making All Federal Bathrooms Available to Transgenders

The Obama Administration will be publishing a new regulation in the Federal Register on Thursday that “makes it clear that an individual can use whichever restroom matches their gender identity,” Ashley Nash-Hahn, a spokeswoman for the General Services Administration (GSA), told

The Federal Management Regulation bulletin “clarifies that existing civil rights law and regulation explicitly applies to all federal locations under the jurisdiction, custody, or control of General Services Administration,” Nash-Hahn confirmed.

“The bulletin applies to the approximately 9,200 Federal locations under GSA's purview,” she said, noting that this new regulation will affect all federal facilities across the country.

“These spaces include various federal buildings in Washington, D.C, such as the GSA Central Office, courthouses throughout the country, and Social Security offices nationwide,” Nash-Hahn said.

She added that the regulation comes after federal agencies “interpreted prohibitions against sex discrimination under various federal civil rights laws and regulations,” including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Education (ED) and Department of Justice (DOJ).

The temporary bulletin written by GSA Administrator Denise Turner-Roth notes that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued guidance specifically for transgender persons who have not undergone any medical procedures to alter the gender they had at birth.

The guidance states in part: “OPM recognizes that a person does not need to undergo any medical procedure to be considered a transgender man or a transgender woman.”

“The self-identification of gender identity by any individual is sufficient to establish which restroom or other single-sex facilities should be used,” the temporary bulletin states.

“Federal agencies may not restrict only transgender individuals to only use single-occupancy restrooms, such as family or accessible facilities open to all genders,” it continues.

“However, Federal agencies may make individual-user options available to all individuals who voluntarily seek additional privacy.”


The Future of Women in Marine officer training

To pretty much no one’s surprise, female Marines went 0-29 over the course of a nearly three year experiment to evaluate female participation in the Marine Corps' Infantry Officer Course, a prerequisite to serving as a Marine infantry officer. Although most of the attention will be focused on the first number — the goose egg — the second number also prompts some questions. The Marine Corps' stated goal at the beginning of the process was for 100 female volunteers to attempt the course. Despite significantly broadening the eligible pool of applicants midway through the experiment, less than one-third of the desired number chose to participate.

The majority of the females failed to successfully navigate the Endurance Course, a screening event conducted during the first week of the program that also claims a fair number of male aspirants. The final female candidate was one of the first to pass the Endurance Course, but was eventually dropped for failing to complete two conditioning hikes. Both events and associated standards are based on situations Marine infantry officers have encountered and can expect to encounter on the world’s most unforgiving testing ground — the battlefield — and both highlight the significant physiological (i.e., “proven science”) differences between men and women.

Having done their best to run an objective assessment, most observers expect the Marine Corps to be told that its standards are too high and that gender equity is much more important to national security than victory in combat or even preserving lives. Just kidding. Gender equity proponents will use Newspeak that suggests the standards won’t be lowered at all, just “adjusted” to more accurately reflect increased capabilities legions of females will bring to the infantry … but if our inherently unjust patriarchal society gets taken down a notch or two, that’s OK too.

As retired Marine General John Kelly observed, “If we don’t change standards, it will be very, very difficult to have … any real numbers [of women] come into the infantry.” That will be particularly true if females aren’t interested in serving as infantry officers, which is one of the obvious takeaways from the experiment. While the timing is uncertain, it’s not hard to predict the eventual outcome (especially if Hillary Clinton is in the Oval Office come January): bureaucrats who have no concept of what it takes to fight, survive and win on the battlefield — and most of whom have no interest in serving themselves — will impose more “reasonable” standards on the Marine Corps. The real question will be whether these bureaucrats really support a woman’s right to choose, or if they will also force the Marine Corps to involuntarily assign women to a role many may not find particularly appealing.


Texas Judge Victorious Over Atheist Group in Prayer Dispute

Chaplains opening court hearings with prayer doesn't violate the Constitution, a Texas attorney general opinion finds.

Judge Wayne Mack, a justice of the peace in Montgomery County, Texas, recalls several people  telling him they were initially worried about coming before his court, but after the chaplain’s prayer opened the proceedings, they felt better.

“It was clear it would be a solemn event and they knew I would be fair,” Mack told The Daily Signal in a phone interview a day after the Texas attorney general’s opinion held that opening court with a chaplain’s prayer and the voluntary chaplain program Mack established were constitutional.

Mack started a voluntary chaplaincy program that has more than 60 clergymen participating, including Christians, Jews, Hindus, and people of other faiths. It openly invites, “all religious leaders of any faith in to participate.”

As a justice of the peace, Mack also serves as the coroner for the Montgomery County. It was in this duty that he first implemented the voluntary chaplain program, after finding himself not always able to console people when he had to be first on the scene for deaths.

In a six-page opinion issued Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton noted the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway, which determined that initiating local government meetings with prayer did not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. The Establishment Clause of the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof … ”

Paxton compared Mack’s courtroom with the Town of Greece, New York, writing, “In both instances, religious leaders of any faith are invited to deliver a prayer at the beginning of proceedings.”

“A court would likely conclude that a justice of the peace’s practice of opening daily court proceedings with a prayer by a volunteer chaplain as you describe is sufficiently similar to the facts in Galloway such that the practice does not violate the Establishment Clause,” the opinion reads.

He added, “A court would likely conclude that the volunteer chaplain program you describe, which allows religious leaders to provide counseling to individuals in distress upon request, does not violate the Establishment Clause.”

The Paxton opinion cited lower court rulings on chaplain programs.

“Courts in other jurisdictions have likewise upheld the hiring of chaplains by a county hospital, prisons, and military establishments in order to provide counseling and guidance to individuals who request it,” the opinion said.

It added, “In each of these cases, the chaplains were paid by public funds, creating more significant Establishment Clause concerns than exist here, where the chaplains serve on a voluntary basis without cost to the taxpayer and only upon request of those who wish to receive the chaplain’s assistance.”

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation isn’t happy with the opinion, but asserts that the matter is likely over because two individuals who regularly appear before the court felt “fearful” about how Mack would judge their case and are not willing to file a suit.

“We are confident that if we could bring this [case] before a federal judge, we could prove this far exceeds precedent, but we can’t do that without a plaintiff willing to challenge Judge Mack,” said Sam Grover, staff attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.

There was never an intent to offend anyone, and whether someone participated in the courtroom prayer would have no affect on the ruling, Mack said.

“I would never use the bench as a pulpit,” he said. “Both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Texas Supreme Court open with prayers.”

The Texas attorney general’s opinion marks a decisive victory for Mack, after getting a mixed victory before the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, based on the Freedom From Religion Foundation complaint from 2014. The judicial commission dismissed the complaint, but “strongly cautioned” against the chaplain program and prayer.

But the commission ruling that offered neither discipline nor a mandate to stop, led Mack and First Liberty Institute, a religious freedom advocacy group that represents the judge, to seek more clarity. In February, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked Paxton to issue a clarifying opinion on the constitutionality of the case.

“The attorney general’s opinion is clear and sound constitutionally,” Mack said. “It emboldens believers of any faith to stand up for the First Amendment because it’s the First Amendment for a reason. The tyranny of political correctness is causing people to step away from their values. They should stand up and be counted.”

The attorney general opinion offers a clear victory, said Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty Institute.

“This is a total victory for Judge Mack and for the citizens of Texas,” Shackelford said in a statement. “If the Supreme Courts of the United States and Texas can open with prayer, clearly, the law allows for Judge Mack’s court to open with an invocation by a volunteer chaplain. We are grateful Attorney General Paxton has brought clarity to this important issue, reaffirming the constitutionality of prayer in the public arena.”

However, Grover of the Freedom From Religion Foundation contends that Paxton did not address the group’s main points from a letter sent in April.

“None of the points we raised were addressed. The opinion barely scratches the surface,” Grover said. “This far exceeds the ceremonial acknowledgment of a deity to open of the the Supreme Court or the Texas Supreme Court.”

Grover said merely allowing multiple faiths to participate in the chaplain program doesn’t mean it’s not exclusionary to nonbelievers.

“It makes the violation less severe, but a prayer in any setting, any prayer of any religion leaves out a large segment of nonreligious people,” Grover said.



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

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

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


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Multicultural driver in Britain

Footage has been released that shows the terrifying moment a driver, who was banned for killing a friend, lead police on a high-speed chase through a city’s suburbs.

Zahoor Hussain, 29, from Almondsbury, Bristol, was jailed for 32 months and stripped of his licence in 2012 after a horror smash which killed 17-year-old friend Zoe Smith.

Police spotted him behind the wheel of a Mercedes last month and Hussain led them on a six-mile pursuit, reaching 80mph through 20mph zones.

Bristol Crown Court heard it was only through luck that no-one was killed or seriously injured in the 15-minute chase through the busy streets of Bristol.

Dashcam footage from one of the police cars shows Hussain swerving and hurtling past other vehicles at breakneck speed.

At one point he goes through a no entry sign and speeds the wrong way down a residential road.

He also shoots across junctions and careers around sharp corners in an attempt to evade cops before crashing into a bus and van.

Two officers leapt from their cars and dragged him out as smoke poured from the engine of the Mercedes C430.

Hussain admitted dangerous driving, failing to stop for police and driving while disqualified and without insurance.

He was jailed for 18 months at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday following the incident on the evening of July 22.

Recorder Andrew Maitland heard it was Hussain’s fifth conviction for driving while disqualified since 2004. He told him: 'You have displayed you are a menace to the public when you are behind the steering wheel. 'Anybody who has watched how you drove would be aghast. 'It is a miracle that, on the way, other persons nor vehicles were damaged.  'It was inevitable there would be a crash at the end, given the manner of your appalling dangerous driving.'

Hussain was disqualified from driving for four years and nine months and told to pass an extended driving test. He was told to pay a £140 victim surcharge.

Hussain was jailed for causing the death of his friend, Miss Smith, when he crashed his father’s Mini Cooper while speeding at 50mph in a 20mph zone in September 2010.  Her family branded the sentence 'a joke'.


A veiled truth revealed about America

A cautious Boston view of Trump

FIFTEEN YEARS ago, my son, David — adopted from South Korea — got off a school bus and appeared at our front door with a black eye. A bully named Scott had told him to “go back to China where you belong.” A fight ensued.

Some 20 years ago, at a college reunion, a classmate, later to be honored as alumni of the year, sat at a bar and told a joke about blacks. The rest of us abandoned him mid-sentence.

Fifty years ago, one high school classmate labeled me a “kike.” Another called me “Shylock.”

And in town, a barber — the barber — refused to give a black classmate a haircut.

None of this can be blamed on Donald Trump.

Donald Trump didn’t bring bigotry to America. It has always been there. He has merely brought it into the light. We may have disdain for him because of his words and his positions, but we cannot hold him responsible for the sentiments held by millions of Americans who feel disenfranchised and threatened by profound demographic shifts in American society. Trump is just another in a long line of American demagogues — figures like Father Charles Coughlin, Joe McCarthy, and George Wallace.

His adherents are not all poor, uneducated white
men, as we so desperately want to believe. They cannot be so easily dismissed as “losers,” a breed apart from
the rest of us. Some wear pinstripes. Some work in banks. Some teach in universities. Many are faithful churchgoers. They are our neighbors. Many are decent people in other ways.

It is a fool’s errand to rant against them, or to pretend that we are shocked and surprised that such a figure as Trump could command the loyalties of so many. Of course he can. Men such as Trump always could. The real question is whether we pretend that he is an anomaly, someone that we should merely wait out, or whether we see him as an opportunity to confront all those American demons whose existence we largely deny, choosing instead to celebrate our mythical exceptionalism.

Trump boasts that he is the Master of the Deal. Actually, he is the court jester — clownish, foppish, pathetically delusional. But he is right about one thing. We must deal with him, not simply content ourselves with his defeat. He should be seen as the catalyst for a long-overdue public debate about who we are as a nation, what our identity is to be, and what it is we value about our culture and society. We must move beyond easy platitudes and kumbayas, recognize the legitimacy of others’ discomfort, and not be so fast to brand them racists and bigots. We must hope for more than a racial armistice or a tolerance of differences.

Here, political correctness has done us no service. Suppression of speech and the policing of expression can only drive the offenders underground in the short term. Over time, it makes them more brazen, energized by denial, coercion, and resentment. The true liberal — the likes of John Stuart Mill and Bertrand Russell — understood that robust and unfettered speech was the ultimate change agent, that to overcome societal resistance and apprehension we must confront them, openly, unabashedly, and without constraints. At its truest, democracy is a contact sport.

And for that, we may, in hindsight, owe Donald Trump a debt of gratitude. He has taken a wrecking ball to political correctness, to the facade of a post-racial society, to the complacency of so many. And he has inadvertently opened the door for a more open and honest discussion of pluralism in America.


Dangerous to criticize feminism

Feminism is taking the shape of a new religion

Tory MP Philip Davies is being threatened with suspension from his own party. No, he didn’t fake his expenses or get caught in flagrante, wearing nothing but a replica Chelsea top. All Davies did was criticise feminism.

Davies chose to vent his anti-feminist spleen at a meeting organised by Justice for Men and Boys, a typically sad group of men’s rights activists. ‘In this day and age’, Davies said, ‘the feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it. They fight for their version of equality on all the things that suit women – but are very quick to point out that women need special protections and treatment on other things.’ This prompted a deluge of annoyed tweets from feminists featuring cake-eating selfies. But others were not satisfied with just giving Davies a dressing down on social media – they decided Davies should lose his job.

An open letter from Angela Rayner, the shadow secretary of state for education, denounced Davies and called on new prime minister Theresa May to suspend his party membership, pending an investigation into his comments. Rayner warned: ‘There is no place for these views in modern Britain.’

Many have praised Rayner for calling out Davies’ putative sexism, most notably Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Tweeting his support for Rayner’s call for a party suspension, Corbyn said Davies’ comments ‘show utter contempt for women’.

Yet is Davies really deserving of this scorn? For a start, as most women will no doubt be aware, men’s rights activists meetings are pretty lame affairs. The comments made at such gatherings are scarcely interesting enough to be considered threatening. But Rayner seems to think differently. ‘[Davies] endorses and legitimises the inflammatory and toxic rhetoric of groups who are misogynistic to their core’, she writes. Davies’ speech, she is saying, actually poses a threat to women’s safety and wellbeing.

This isn’t the first time criticism of feminism has been treated like a criminal offence. For example, an EU statute ‘for the promotion of tolerance’ lists ‘anti-feminism’ as a viewpoint that ought to be eliminated. In a wonderful display of Orwellian doublespeak, the statute claims to ‘promote tolerance within society’ by ‘condemn[ing] all manifestations of intolerance based on bias, bigotry and prejudice’. In other words, we must promote tolerance by not tolerating intolerance. And we must tolerate feminism, not as a political ideology, but as a protected human right, as a personal belief.

Feminism has become untouchable. Criticise feminism on the internet and you’re branded a troll; speak out against the latest feminist campaign and you’re labelled a misogynist; disagree with the idea that we live in a rape culture and you’re called a rape apologist. The treatment of feminism’s critics as heretics, to be sacked, silenced and excluded until they repent, shows how contemporary feminism is taking the shape of a new religion. We are treating feminism as if it is infallible.

This is a big problem, not only because so much of contemporary feminism deserves criticism, but also because it threatens freedom of speech. The freedom to criticise all ideas and scrutinise all beliefs in the public realm ought to be the foundation of any civilised, democratic society. No political ideology should be elevated above public discussion and debate, and presented as sacrosanct.

Philip Davies should not be suspended. And Kevin Roberts, the Saatchi and Saatchi boss who said that there was no gender inequality in the workplace, shouldn’t have been effectively sacked. But, more importantly, no woman should accept the idea that we should censor in the name of protecting women. From the most abhorrent women-hating rants to the mildest of criticisms, there should be nothing that we cannot say about feminism.

The funny thing about Davies’ outburst is that he has a point. Not about feminists plotting to thwart sad men’s rights activists, but about contemporary feminism being contradictory. Feminists do fight for their version of equality in certain areas, but they are also quick to point out that women need special protections and treatment in other areas. This does women no favours. Fighting for women’s equality by arguing for special treatment because we’re vulnerable puts us in a position of weakness. By censoring debate about feminism, we paint women as too vulnerable to handle criticism.

All free-thinking women must stand up for freedom of speech. We must defend the right of men who rant about misandry and other mad theories to say their piece, not because we agree, but because to censor speech is to admit that we are not able to win the argument. The danger to freedom doesn’t lie in isolated gatherings of small-minded men; rather, it lies in the paternalism of those who think we need to protect women by censoring opinion.



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

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

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


Friday, August 19, 2016

Why women are the worst misogynists: My high-flying mum who never helped me was a classic example, says VIVIENNE PARRY

I agree with the observations below.  In my experience it takes a woman to tear another woman to shreds verbally.  I remember once being appalled at an article about Margaret Thatcher.  It started with her shoes, ended with her hair and criticized everything in between.  I remarked what a savage article it was to my then wife. "Probably written by another woman", she commented.  It was.

Back in the late Sixties and early Seventies my mother was a very successful businesswoman. She took over my grandfather's ailing TV retail firm and built it up so well she won a Businesswoman of the Year award.

So, you might imagine, in an era when feminism was all the rage, when sisters were apparently helping each other, that my mother would be all too keen to help other women succeed - as she had.

Ha! Hardly. My mother would rather have walked on hot coals than mentored another woman - even me, her daughter.

When I became the first person in my immediate family to go to university, far from encouraging me to break any glass ceiling, she was faintly appalled.

'Whatever for?' was her initial reaction. After all, I had been sent to a school that trained its 'gals' to be the wives of diplomats and doctors. Mother didn't expect me to go off and study zoology, never mind specialise in immunology and genetics.

So horrified was she at my subsequent success that even when I became a presenter on BBC science programme Tomorrow's World in 1994 she never once complimented me on it.

So why was my mother so against helping anyone of her own gender climb to the same heights as she did? Why was she so loath to laud female achievement - even when the female forging ahead was her own daughter?

The answer's rather simple: I fear my mother was a misogynist.

It may seem like a contradiction in terms - isn't misogyny, or the hatred of women, expressed only by men? Not so. As I, and many of you know, women can be more misogynistic than men.

Perhaps my mother - and I'm trying to be kind here - just wanted me to avoid the difficult life of a female pioneer. But in truth, I think she was one of those women who believed the most awful thing another woman could do was 'get above herself'.

Women should know their place - at home, with her husband and children. But obviously she herself was somehow excused those duties.

Worryingly, I believe that things have become even worse than in my mother's day, when women hating other women was restricted to muttering behind the lace curtains or the squashing of ambition in uppity daughters. Modern-day misogyny is far more violent and hateful - and it's women who are the worst offenders.

For example, why do you think there are still so few women in high-ranking positions in top companies? Because the ladder of progress is all too often kicked from under us by other women who are keen to preserve their positions, rather than letting a rival female in.

The only time I have been fired was by a woman, on a matter of principle (mine not hers). She was that most heinous of women bosses - the sort who act like a sweet ten-year-old in the presence of male bosses, but behave like a tyrant with male underlings and, when faced with women, turn into a psychotic she-devil.

This particular boss had clawed her way up to be the lone woman on the board. And believe me, that was the way she intended it to stay. She wanted to be the sole female in the room, the only recipient of the men's attention.

Wrong as her behaviour was, I can sort of understand the logic behind it. When there are so few women at higher levels, many of them think they must behave like a tigress, using every weapon at their disposal to protect their position against other 'sisters'.

'Leaning in', as Facebook boss Sheryl Sandberg exhorted women to do, clearly hasn't taken off yet.  Indeed, rather than behaving like women should - encouraging, nurturing, promoting other females - many display the cut-throat characteristics for which men are so often attacked.

In this, as in so many things, my mother was ahead of the curve. When the daughter of a friend asked her for advice on how to succeed as a businesswoman, the reply was brisk and unhelpful: 'Learn how to drink a man under the table'.  In other words, be more manly than the men. And she could indeed outdrink any man.

It is true that women misogynists have been seen throughout history. Queen Victoria famously denied equal voting rights saying: 'Let women be what God intended, a helpmeet for men but with totally different duties and vocations'. It's not clear how she thought being Queen Empress fitted into this world view.

And the Suffragettes did not get much support from women. Admittedly, many were turned off by their acts of militancy, such as smashing windows and setting fires. But even the less vociferous supporters of suffragism - the type who held peaceful 300,000-strong rallies - were viewed with suspicion by women in the general population.

It must have grated that the very people they were trying to liberate castigated the Suffragettes as bitter spinsters, sneering at them for being 'unnatural'.  Sound familiar? This is just the kind of abuse thrown at women today, by other women.

Much of this female-on-female misogyny now occurs online, which is, in some ways, merely a technological manifestation of an ancient phenomenon.

And the more attractive the woman, the more indirect aggression she draws from her female peers. No doubt it dates from the days when we had to attract a man to the door of our cave.

It's typically directed at good-looking women as they are seen as a threat, which is possibly why classical scholar, the wonderful Professor Mary Beard - a woman beautiful with wisdom not Botox - attracted more male than female online trolls.

When I was a Tomorrow's World regular, men were invariably complimentary about my appearance. It was women who made the comments, including my favourite: 'You're so much more attractive off screen.' A masterclass in a passive-aggressive misogynistic barb, if there ever was one.

My mother, of course, found fault with every dress I wore onscreen: 'Did it have to be green? You looked like a leek' - although her insults did at least reveal that she'd been secretly watching.

Naturally, the more a woman thinks she'll get away with making misogynistic remarks, the more she'll do it. And so the internet is perfect, the female poison-pen writer's dream medium.  There's no comeback, no direct confrontation, often near-total anonymity, as well as maximum devastating impact.

Professor Tracy Vaillancourt of McMaster University in Canada is well known for her work in the area of indirect aggression. She carried out fascinating research where conversations were recorded between pairs of women who had been shown photos of the same woman dressed in different clothing.

The female in the photo, when dressed plainly, was seen as a potential friend. But the more provocative her outfit, the greater the bitchiness she attracted.

But what's worrying is that today's misogyny by women goes further than mere bitchiness.  Take the insults hurled at Leslie Jones, the black star of the female-led Ghostbusters movie remake. Much was vilely racist, but there were many horrible things said about her appearance - shockingly, much of it from women.

Indeed, women comprise a truly disturbing percentage of all misogynistic tweets, according to think tank Demos. Their research earlier this year revealed that half of all tweets using the words 'slut' and 'whore' came from female users, with some 20 per cent of these using the words in a highly aggressive or threatening way.

Remember the case of Caroline Criado-Perez, who campaigned to get an image of novelist Jane Austen on British banknotes?  When she succeeded, she didn't get acclaim. She received 50 death or rape threats an hour for days from internet trolls. And you'd think all those must have been men, but many, including the most extreme, were women.

There are shining examples of women who don't succumb to misogyny, though.

Take Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies. Appalled at the lack of senior female medical researchers, she successfully took on the entire male medical establishment and told them none could apply for any of the £1billion research funds she controlled as head of the National Institute for Health Research, unless they signed up to a scheme to improving female representation in academia.

But actions like these are few and far between, and it's hard not to conclude that the sisterhood doesn't exist - or at least, only functions when women aren't in competition with each other, whether for promotions, partners or compliments.

Because, as any one who has been on the receiving end of a misogynistic remark could tell you, the sharp tongue of a woman always cuts so much deeper than that of a man.


Some feminist racism

The writer below seems oblivious that she is engaging in racial stereotyping.  "White" is a racial term.  But feminist racism is OK, I guess. 

It began with a daily prayer: "God, give me the confidence of a mediocre white dude".

When writer Sarah Hagi tweeted this as an antidote to impostor syndrome, women nodded in recognition and snapped up t-shirts, bags and mugs the words were quickly printed on.

And it wasn't just for laughs; it's a genuinely motivating thought for women who regularly criticise themselves for not being better, or not being perfect.

A friend of mine called me from New York recently, for example, and said she was worried about re-entering the work force after having children and doing TV appearances again, about losing her confidence and making mistakes.

She has a PhD from Oxford, and a professorship at an American university. All I had to do was remind her of how happily her male peers accept invitations to speak everywhere, anywhere, to speak on anything at any time — and when I started mentioning some by name, I could almost hear her spine stiffen.

When I told her to carry herself with the confidence of a mediocre white man, she laughed — and has reminded me of it often since.

I have had this conversation with female friends many times, and sometimes with myself. Self-doubt is a potent force in the female brain, like a rent-protected occupant that won't leave even as we grow older, even as we pile up achievements alongside.


The problem with Black Lives Matter

Radicals once challenged racial thinking — now they embrace it

White self-loathing and black self-pity: these seem to be the only two options in radical politics these days. On one side stand white liberals, white radical students, white writers, beating themselves up over their skin colour and the ‘privilege’ it apparently grants them. ‘Our whiteness is… the colour of shame’, as the playwright Eve Ensler says. And on the other side stand black activists, black Oxford students, black writers, presenting themselves as the damaged goods of history, beat up by past events, traumatised by white privilege, and in urgent need of recognition of their pain. What both sides share in common is a depressing, fatalistic attachment to racial thinking, to the racial imagination, and a commitment to the therapeutic project of expelling inner demons (whites) or demanding validation of one’s suffering (blacks). Radicals once rejected the category of race; now they embrace it, and expand it.

The new racialism, this danse macabre between white self-loathing and black self-pity, is best embodied in Black Lives Matter. Starting life in the US as a protest movement against police shootings of black citizens, BLM has now come to Britain, where its backward views have become clearer. It announced its arrival by blocking the motorway to Heathrow. It is not remotely a grassroots campaign — its protests attract tiny numbers of people — but rather is an offshoot of the middle-class politics of the Safe Space and offence-taking that has taken hold on campuses in recent years. Its key UK spokespeople are a postgraduate geography student and a ‘black, British, queer, non-binary Muslim’ who goes by the pronoun ‘they’. These people are about as representative of the black British experience as Princess Anne is of the white British experience. Their claim to speak on behalf of all British black people by virtue of the fact that they have the same colour skin speaks volumes about the innate racialism of the politics of identity and its active suppression of difficult, divisive questions of class and experience.

The most notable thing about BLM, especially in its UK form, is how it detracts from the radical anti-racist politics of old in two profound ways: first, through promoting a view of black people as vulnerable and requiring, in essence, social therapy; and secondly, by creating, and even celebrating, racial division rather than seeking to overcome it. BLM UK, taking its cue from the raised-hands politics of victimhood pursued by BLM US, exaggerates the plight of blacks in Britain. It describes their lives as being in ‘crisis’, which the average black person is unlikely to recognise. And it promotes itself as a kind of therapeutic balm to the black masses’ alleged mental turmoil. ‘A lot of people have lost their voice, they feel powerless’, said one of BLM UK’s founders. ‘We want to give them their voice back.’ Another founder says BLM showed him ‘that my life mattered’. Where earlier anti-racist movements emphasised the capacity of black people — to run their own lives, to do politics, to live as autonomously as whites — middle-class BLM leaders talk up their powerlessness, their feeling of vulnerability, and their psychological need for a movement that can speak for them and prove to them that they’re valuable. This is therapy, not politics; and it’s highly elitist.

And where earlier radicals sought to overcome the ideology of race, BLM and its supporters — including its white supporters — wallow in racial thinking. BLM views everything through a racialised prism and openly encourages people to stay within their racial categories. BLM UK says it welcomes ‘white allies’ but warns them to ‘acknowledge your privilege’. ‘Don’t dilute’, it says. In the US, BLM has segregated some of its marches, making white people march in the background and forbidding them from speaking to the media. And at some press conferences it has segregated black and white journalists. As one report says, BLM has taken to ‘splitting up white and black members of the press’, and giving priority to black reporters. A whole new lexicography has been developed to promote this supposedly radical new segregation. ‘Check your privilege’, ‘Stay in your lane’, ‘Don’t “whitesplain” racism to me’: these are the fashionable terms of the politics of identity, which essentially say that solidarity across races is impossible because whites haven’t experienced what blacks have.

Far from challenging racial thinking, BLM UK demands we approach the world with a highly racialised mindset, that we think of people as black or white and engage with them accordingly. It explicitly eschews Martin Luther King’s dream of people being judged by their character rather than their colour because, as one of its public supporters has written previously, blacks and whites come at the world from ‘completely different planes’, meaning there is a ‘gulf of emotional disconnect’. Of course, BLM did not create this new racialism, this ‘stay in your lane’ radical politics that says we can never really understand, far less fight alongside, people of different colours. Rather, it merely embodies the now mainstream and destructive politics of identity, which has so thoroughly elevated group loyalty over universalism, and narrow individual experience over the humanist ideal of working out what we share in common and how we might achieve it, that it has made solidarity all but impossible. BLM presents itself as an edgy, independent movement, but in truth it is best understood as the militant wing of the elitist politics of identity now promoted everywhere from the academy to the political realm.

But it would be wrong to see BLM as the latest manifestation of the post-King black nationalism of groups like the Black Panthers. This has been the response of many on the right to the BLM phenomenon: to brand them ‘black supremacists’ and talk about them as a dangerous new Panther phenomenon. But those old black nationalists emphasised the power of blacks, as symbolised by their desire for guns, whereas BLM emphasises their existential vulnerability, as symbolised in their raised-hand gesture and their slogan ‘Don’t shoot’. Where black nationalists rejected white society, largely out of frustration at the failure of civil-rights legislation to improve ordinary black people’s lives, BLM is strangely reliant on white society, particularly on the white cultural elite: it needs this constituency’s white self-loathing to validate its claims that blacks are damaged by white privilege, white history and by what one BLM UK supporter calls a ‘politics of race that operates on its inherent invisibility’. Where black nationalists demanded respect for their rights, BLM calls for official recognition of their pain, making them ironically beholden to mainstream (white) society and its therapeutic machinery.

The return of the racial imagination ultimately speaks to the withering of the radical social imagination. As radicals, leftists and liberals have turned away from the politics of real, meaningful social change in favour of the politics of identity, in favour of managing society and its inhabitants rather than transforming society, so group thinking has returned and divisions have intensified. We are no longer individuals with common interests we might fight for together; rather, we’re unbridgeable racial creatures who must always acknowledge the ‘gulfs’ that divide us. If we’re black we must agree that we’ve been damaged by history, and if we’re white we must always check our privilege — that is, self-flagellate for the crimes of history. The rise of BLM really speaks to how the politics of identity violently forces us all back into the racial boxes that men and women struggled so hard to escape; how it has replaced the old racist idea that biology determines our fate with the new, nasty idea that it is history that shapes our characters and outlooks. The old racists made mankind prisoners of biology; the new racialists make us slaves to history.

Worse, this new politics rehabilitates paternalistic views of black people. Just look at how many white thinkers and writers self-consciously refuse to criticise or even question BLM, because this would apparently be ‘whitesplaining’. They think they’re being progressive, but really they’re infantilising black activists by refusing to subject their ideas and behaviour to the critical scrutiny that white radicals could expect.


Three Blacks Who Murdered White woman Because "they hated white people" sentenced

Remember Melinda McCormick, the white citizen of Pensacola who was brutally murdered by three blacks in 2013 because they "hate white people?"  Of course you don't.  But we do.

Despite the fact McCormick was targeted by the three blacks for death because those comprising the latter hate the former (for her membership in the white race), no hate crime charges were pursued.

Worse, the defense tried to claim one of the participants in the anti-white murder of McCormick by three blacks had an IQ in the 50s, meaning she wasn't fit for trial (it's been noted a Border collie, the smartest dog breed, has an IQ of 49)

A woman who pleaded no contest to participating in the fatal beating and burning of a West Pensacola woman was sentenced to 30 years in state prison Friday.

In March 2013, Kiesha Pugh and two accomplices entered the Mobile Highway apartment of 33-year-old Melinda McCormick, beat her with blunt instruments, stole some of her belongings, and set McCormick's apartment on fire.

Pugh pleaded to charges of second-degree murder and arson and was sentenced by Circuit Judge Thomas Dannheisser. One of Pugh's co-defendants, Anthony Pressley, pleaded no contest to murder and was sentenced to 60 years in prison. A jury convicted the third co-defendant, Gregory Williams, of murder and arson, and he was sentenced to life in prison.

All three defendants possess some degree of mental disability, and mental health professionals worked with the trio to make them competent for court. At Pugh's sentencing Friday, her attorney asked that she receive a lessened sentence because Pugh's IQ is in the mid-to-low 50s and a physician said she did not possess the "critical thinking" abilities of a typical adult.

The doctor testified that Pugh's academic level was that of a second grader and that she had the emotional and social maturity of a 10- or 11-year-old child. "She is someone who is easily led and she doesn't consider all possible outcomes," Pugh's attorney Richard Currey told the judge. "She's extremely vulnerable to peer pressure and unable to problem solve her way out of situations."

Pressley, Williams and Pugh reportedly hatched the plan to rob and kill McCormick and went to her home and attacked her with a hammer, pipe and crowbar. Pugh, Pressley's then girlfriend, claimed she participated in the murder because she was scared to refuse.



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

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

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