Friday, July 28, 2017



This new Trump speech sent the media into their worst meltdown ever

A loving and inspirational speech was picked at by the media over a few small details without any mention of its overall character or its enthusiastic reception.  It was alleged that he broke precedent by mentioning current politics and that he used a couple of marginally unpleasant words.  But Trump makes his own rules and always has. It is his strength that he breaks out in new directions and shakes up convention.

It was a great speech and one that the scouts will remember -- regardless of Leftist nitpicking.  I reproduce the first part of the transcript below so you can judge the matter for yourself. Don't trust my take on it or anybody else's.  It speaks for itself.  But I think you will see what I mean

It was a very thoughtful and effective touch that Trump pointed out how many of his cabinet were former scouts.  And he even brought them with him to introduce to the crowd.  That must have been immensely encouraging to the young scouts present.  The American dream is to succeed and excel and Trump showed that dream to be a reality.  No wonder the Left hated it. They described it as a Hitler Youth rally, which did, I suppose, at least recognize the enthusiasm of the audience



President Trump Monday addressed the Boy Scouts’ National Jamboree in Glen Jean, WV. Trump addressed tens of thousands of Scouts, speaking about character, loyalty and the obstacles he faces from the Fake News media.

And it sent the Fake News media into their worst meltdown ever, with liberals incoherently screeching their pre-programmed cries of “white supremacy,” “hate rally” and “Nazi Youth.”

Yes, the media are so afflicted by Trump Derangement Syndrome they now think the Boy Scouts are a paramilitary organization planning to kill them.

While the lying media get fitted for a straitjacket, check out this amazing speech.



THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much. (Applause.) I am thrilled to be here. Thrilled. (Applause.) And if you think that was an easy trip, you’re wrong, but I am thrilled — 19th Boy Scout Jamboree — wow — and to address such a tremendous group. Boy, you have a lot of people here. The press will say it’s about 200 people. (Laughter.) It looks like about 45,000 people. You set a record today. (Applause.) You set a record. That’s a great honor, believe me.

Tonight, we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. — you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that. (Applause.) We’re going to put that aside. And instead we’re going to talk about success, about how all of you amazing young Scouts can achieve your dreams. What to think of — what I’ve been thinking about — you want to achieve your dreams. I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts? Right? (Applause.)

There are many great honors that come with the job of being President of the United States, but looking out at this incredible gathering of mostly young patriots — mostly young — I’m especially proud to speak to you as the honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!

THE PRESIDENT: You are the young people of character and integrity who will serve as leaders in our communities, and uphold the sacred values of our nation.

I want to thank Boy Scouts President Randall Stephenson, Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh, Jamboree Chairman Ralph de la Vega, and the thousands of volunteers who have made this a life-changing experience for all of you, and when they asked me to be here I said absolutely, yes. (Applause.)

Finally, and we can’t forget these people, I especially want to salute the moms and the dads and troop leaders who are here tonight. (Applause.) Thank you for making scouting possible. Thank you, mom and dad — troop leaders.

When you volunteer for the Boy Scouts, you are not only shaping young lives, you are shaping the future of America. (Applause.) The United States has no better citizens than its Boy Scouts. (Applause.) No better. The values, traditions, and skills you learn here will serve you throughout your lives, and just as importantly they will serve your families, your cities, and in the future and in the present, will serve your country. (Applause.) The Scouts believe in putting America first. (Applause.)

You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp. And it’s not a good place. In fact today I said we ought to change it from the word swamp to the word cesspool or, perhaps, to the word sewer. But it’s not good. Not good. (Applause.) And I see what’s going on, and believe me I’d much rather be with you. That I can tell you. (Applause.)

I’ll tell you the reason that I love this and the reason that I really wanted to be here is because as President, I rely on former Boy Scouts every single day, and so do the American people. It’s amazing how many Boy Scouts we have at the highest level of our great government. Many of my top advisors in the White House were Scouts. Ten members of my cabinet were Scouts. Can you believe that? Ten. (Applause.)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is not only a Boy Scout, he’s your former national president. (Applause.)

The Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence — good guy — was a Scout, and it meant so much to him. (Applause.) Some of you here tonight might even have camped out in this yard when Mike was the governor of Indiana, but the scouting was very, very important. And by the way, where are our Indiana Scouts tonight? (Applause.) I wonder if the television cameras will follow you. They don’t like doing that when they see these massive crowds. They don’t like doing that. Hi, folks. (Applause.) A lot of love in this big, beautiful place. A lot of love, and a lot of love for our country. There’s a lot of love for our country.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is here tonight. Come here, Ryan. (Applause.) Ryan is an Eagle Scout from Big Sky Country in Montana. (Applause.) Pretty good. And by the way, he is doing a fantastic job. He makes sure that we leave our national parks and federal lands better than we found them, in the best Scouting tradition. So thank you very much, Ryan. (Applause.)

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, of Texas, an Eagle Scout from the Great State. (Applause.) The first time he came to the national jamboree was in 1964. He was very young then. And Rick told me just a little while ago, it totally changed his life. So, Rick, thank you very much for being here. And we’re doing a lot with energy. (Applause.)

And very soon, Rick, we will be an energy exporter. Isn’t that nice — an energy exporter? (Applause.) In other words we’ll be selling our energy instead of buying it from everybody all over the globe. So that’s good. (Applause.) We will be energy dominant. And I’ll tell you what, the folks in West Virginia who were so nice to me, boy, have we kept our promise. We are going on and on. So we love West Virginia. We want to thank you.

Where’s West Virginia by the way? (Applause.) Thank you.

Secretary Tom Price is also here. Today Dr. Price still lives the Scout Oath, helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy as our Secretary of Health and Human Services. And he’s doing a great job. And hopefully, he’s going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us, folks. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!

THE PRESIDENT: By the way, you going to get the votes?

He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better — otherwise, I’ll say, Tom, you’re fired. I’ll get somebody. (Applause.)

He better get Senator Capito to vote for it. You got to get the other senators to vote for it. It’s time. After seven years of saying repeal and replace Obamacare, we have a chance to now do it. They better do it. Hopefully they’ll do it.

As we can see just by looking at our government, in America, Scouts lead the way. And another thing I’ve noticed — and I’ve noticed it all my life — there is a tremendous spirit with being a Scout, more so than almost anything I can think of. So whatever is going on, keep doing it. It’s incredible to watch. Believe me. (Applause.)

Each of these leaders will tell you that their road to American success — and you have to understand, their American success, and they are a great, great story was paved with the patriotic American values as traditions they learned in the Boy Scouts. And some day, many years from now, when you look back on all of the adventures in your lives, you will be able to say the same: I got my start as a Scout just like these incredibly great people that are doing such a good job for our country. So that’s going to happen. (Applause.)

Boy Scout values are American values, and great Boy Scouts become great, great Americans. As the Scout Law says: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal” — we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.

AUDIENCE: “helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: That was very impressive. (Laughter.) You’ve heard that before.

But here you learn the rewards of hard work and perseverance. Never ever give up, never quit. Persevere. Never, ever quit.

You learn the satisfaction of building a roaring campfire, reaching a mountain summit, or earning a merit badge after mastering a certain skill. There’s no better feeling than an achievement that you’ve earned with your own sweat, tears, resolve, hard work. There’s nothing like it. Do you agree with that?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

THE PRESIDENT: I’m waving to people back there so small I can’t even see them. Man, this is a lot of people. Turn those cameras back there, please. That is so incredible.

By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero? (Applause.)

The fake media will say: President Trump — and you know what this is — President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.

That’s some — that is some crowd. (Applause.)

Fake media. Fake news. Thank you. And I’m honored by that, by the way, all of you people they can’t even see you. So thank you. I hope you can hear.

More HERE






A feminist who turned out to be a good woman after all

Will my baby granddaughter pay the price of my fight for equality? Sixties feminist JEANNETTE KUPFERMAN sees the emotional emptiness facing women today and despairs

The moment I held Amber Ann in my arms — just minutes after her birth — an unexpected cocktail of emotions nearly floored me; what can best be described as a mixture of unbridled joy mingled with apprehension.

My first grandchild was so perfectly formed, her eyes blinking in the bright hospital lights, her little fingers intertwined with mine. Of course, every baby is an individual miracle — but Amber was something of an actual miracle too, as my daughter-in-law Ewa, who suffered from endometriosis, had never believed she could conceive. Then, suddenly, she’d fallen pregnant, announcing it on my 75th birthday in a West End restaurant. I almost fell off my chair with excitement.

Much as I’d always longed for grandchildren, when I turned 70 I’d almost given up.

Both my son, Elias, a historian, now 52, and daughter, Mina, an editor and photographer, 50, married late in life, and I knew the chances were diminishing. Yet here was Amber Ann, my son’s first child, snuggling into my arms.

But as she did so, the emotions were more complex and bittersweet than the straightforward joy I’d anticipated. Of course, for now we can hold her safe, nurture her talents and encourage her development — but what will her future hold?

Just that morning another headline had caught my eye about schoolgirls feeling pressured to sleep with boys before they are ready. Not to mention the endless stories about the increasing numbers of teenagers experiencing depression, self-harming, eating disorders, atrocious bullying, sexting and gender uncertainty.

It makes me wonder what happened to the Brave New World we’d envisaged for our daughters and granddaughters. A world of unlimited possibilities, choices and equality for girls to become or do anything?

A world I — like many women — fought for in the Sixties.

Has feminism made life worse, not better, for today’s generation of girls?

Certainly, women have never existed in such a bleak emotional landscape.

The porn culture has virtually taken over every area of life, perhaps born from those Sixties cries for sexual liberation that you should have as much sex as you like, with whoever you like.

Today, even the most intimate acts are lived out onscreen. The ITV2 reality horror show Love Island, mercifully now finished, is just the culmination of years of the drip-drip effect of pornography; it’s bubble-wrapped candy floss with poison at its heart. Those involved might as well have been robots as there was precious little ‘love’ on show.

Meanwhile, traditional roles have become ever more ideologically despised — so much so that last week the very act of being a housewife or mother was banned from advertisements for perpetuating ‘outdated’ gender stereotypes.

For all the efforts of feminism, and the enlargement of women’s opportunities, it seems it’s also made that world more painful, complicated and unrewarding.

Burn your bras and wear miniskirts, we cried. Be free!

But aren’t young girls today just as imprisoned by the drive to bear their flesh as the cliched Victorian wife in crinolines? It’s almost as compulsory for a young woman to take a pouting semi-naked selfie today as it was for a teenager in the Fifties to wear bobby socks.

It’s somehow ironic that the one section of society which still dresses modestly — women in ethnic and religious minorities — say they do so to protect their sacred space as females.

Meanwhile, the majority of other young women brutally expose their bodies, catering to every tawdry male fantasy, as a sign of their ‘freedom’.

Who could have predicted such an obsession with thinness or worship of celebrities for the near-Frankensteinian outrages they inflict on their bodies?

The growing sexualisation of children continues with unsuitable tiny ‘bra’ bikinis and make-up and sex education at an unnecessarily early age. TV and the internet expose children to everything from crude language to sexual practices.

The things I worried about as a mother — failing exams, unwanted pregnancy, drinking too much — seem tame. How I fear for Amber Ann, in this age of endless choice and freedom.

The well-meaning battles we embarked on in idealistic youth have somehow robbed young women of the soul of femininity. We’ve lost something precious, distinctive and unique.

My own life — one where loss, hardship and struggle has always played a part — has taught me that simple pleasures matter just as much. And that’s the message I want to now share with my granddaughter’s generation. We’re in danger of losing the essence of womanhood in this brutal landscape.

A war baby, I was born while my mother, Eva, was an evacuee, and only returned to a grim post-war East London after my father, Nat, who eventually became a clothes manufacturer, was demobbed.

Though we had little money, I went to an exceptional primary school where a few inspirational teachers made all the difference, encouraging me to believe it was only education that would make for a better future.

Later, I walked miles alone every day to my grammar school, and had a freedom few young girls today have as they are pressured into extra-curricular activities or hooked on phones: freedom to think, imagine — just be.

Those school years weren’t only about doing well in exams. It was about enabling yourself to reach your full potential regardless of the job you would end up doing.

When boyfriends came along (aged about 14), via the youth club and jiving competitions, there was no compulsion to have sex. We wouldn’t have dreamed of anything more than kissing in the cinema, and sending passionate love letters.

Virginity was still expected until an engagement was announced or some commitment made, and I had the sort of father who would stand waiting for me on the pavement after a date. A boy had to make some effort at courtship even to get that first kiss.

Contrast this with the recent scenes in EastEnders where a teenager agonises over whether to strip off in reply to her new boyfriend’s ‘sexting’ and is given conflicting advice by friends, as if it would be the most normal thing for a young girl to do.

Would I want my granddaughter to think this was normal — even desirable? I feel so sad for young girls who will never receive a beautiful love letter or go on a romantic date with no strings attached.

I didn’t receive any sex education at school, apart from basic biology. I had the rather awkward talk from my mother, but we picked up most of it from our friends and forbidden books.

What we did know was that — whatever the urge — you did not go ‘all the way’ as a pre-Pill unwanted pregnancy was not only a disaster for the girl, but a tragedy for everyone involved.

This attitude appears inhuman now, but I’m not sure it hasn’t gone too far the other way, making for uncaring short-lived relationships with teen girls often the victims.

I suppose the main difference is we had boundaries. We knew what was expected of us, even if we kicked against it. I meet so many young women who don’t and they grow up feeling confused and unhappy. We argued with our parents — often bitterly — but we still listened to them. We threatened to leave home, but mainly didn’t, even if, like myself, you were a rebel.

I annoyed my father with my black eyeliner, long fringe and tendency to associate with ‘unsuitable’ poets and jazz musicians. But throughout, I wanted to please my parents.

There was no ‘diet industry’. Three square meals were put on the table daily, including thick soups, meat, potatoes and two veg, puddings with custard — and jam sandwiches to keep you going in-between.

We ate every bit and, amazingly, kept our tiny waists and figures without gyms or starvation, probably because we walked miles every day, danced a lot and junk food was unknown.

In my childhood, chubby babies were admired and even plump teens were reassured it was ‘only puppy-fat’ (which it usually was).

Back in the era before liposuction, women weren’t made to feel insecure about their figures. Obesity was unknown. How ironic that in our era of juice diets, toxins, and superfoods, women are fatter and unhappier with their bodies than ever.

After studying social anthropology at the London School of Economics, I became a dancer and a model for a while, escaped to New York and briefly worked as a research librarian.Then I made my parents very happy by marrying my late husband, Jacques, a painter, finally returning to London and having two children by the age of 24.

Inspired by my own teacher, the great anthropologist Mary Douglas, with whom I studied at University College London, I could already see that the women banging the drum for equality were going too far.

The spiritual joys and physical pleasures of womanhood had become ‘mechanised’ as I put it then; things that needed rectifying with political schemes to make us more like men, or medical treatment to quell our hormones and control our childbirth pangs.

Even birth has become too dominated by ‘choice’, overly technologised in the extreme.

Once a midwife came to your home to help you through birth. Now, the quest for equality — and medicalisation and male involvement in this once female domain — means many women have lost confidence in their capable bodies.

Although it’s seen as a great advance to involve fathers more in pregnancy and labour, and to have surgical teams on standby to assist in any birth, in some ways this has eroded women’s belief that she can do it alone.

Can it then be any coincidence that a growing number of women are terrified by what was once the natural way of things, and are having induced and difficult labours?

What was once a woman’s space has vanished. I felt so strongly about this that I trained as a National Childbirth Trust teacher and breastfeeding counsellor, teaching at Hammersmith hospital for a time, to try to help women rediscover the joys of this most natural, female act. It was an uphill battle.

I have learned, over the years, that the ‘stereotypical’ roles of femininity can give a sense of identity and security unmatched by anything in the corporate or professional world.

Having babies and showing domestic prowess doesn’t mean you have to be limited or stifled. On the contrary. And not having children — either through choice or circumstance — is no barrier to these nurturing, feminine roles.

After having my children, I got two further degrees, taught briefly and then built up a career as a writer and broadcaster.

Simultaneously, I tried to run a traditional household, cooking, entertaining and finger-painting with my toddlers. I often worked through the night and sometimes succumbed to the strain.

But I was there for my children. The overarching lesson of my life is that the people in it matter, and my ability to be there for them — as a woman, wife and mother, in all the many and varied expressions of both those roles — is vital.

I learned that life turns on a sixpence, and sadly you can lose ones you love. I was widowed young, aged 44, when Jacques died of cancer at 61. As a mother, I did overload my daughter with activities at times, encouraging her to aim high, perhaps placing a bit too much emphasis on work. But that was all part of the ‘Superwoman’ having-it-all ethic, which we now know isn’t true.

I’ve long been happy and secure enough in myself that I will don a pinny, scrub a floor and make jam, not seeing it as a threat to the other professional and public roles I have.

Indeed, I find it relaxing, almost spiritual in a way, to express myself as a woman in these traditional ways.

We’ve forgotten that even everyday tasks can nourish the soul — and you can find contentment in the boring certainties.

I hope my little Amber Ann discovers this, too. Whatever she becomes, she can create a good home-cooked meal, sit quietly in the garden with a book, or enjoy a day at the seaside with her own children.

I hope she has the faculty to be excited by some wonderful music, or transported by a ballet or painting.

I want her to feel euphoria because of the rare richness and uniqueness of life, and because of pride in her own innate womanhood — not be sozzled with booze or worse, ending up destroying body and soul in some demeaning, meaningless sexual encounter.

A rich and rewarding life isn’t one necessarily filled with endless choices. I hope she will have the luxury of more time than most girls today, to have a stillness and peace that will encourage creativity and daydreaming.

I want her not to be imprisoned by all those supposedly ‘equal’ choices out there, but to be loyal to her true self.

As a loving grandmother, my wish for her is not only to be kind, resilient and resourceful, but above all, confident as a woman in every single sense of the word.

SOURCE





Tories promote the right to choose your own sex

Strange British Conservatives

Adults will be able to change their gender legally without a doctor's diagnosis under government plans that will transform British society.

Men will be able to identify themselves as women - and women as men - and have their birth certificates altered to record their new gender.

Ministers plan to tear up the existing rules that mean people have to live for two years as their desired gender before they can officially change sex.

A consultation on the Gender Recognition Bill, to be published in the autumn, will also include proposals to scrap the requirement that people get a formal medical diagnosis of "gender dysphoria" before applying to switch gender.

SOURCE





Atheist's Speech At Christian Church Cancelled Because He Has Condemned Islamic Violence

A progressive radio station in Berkeley, California has cancelled a scheduled appearance by Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and atheist, because he has previously criticized fundamentalist Islam as oppressive to women and generally violent.

The appearance by Dawkins had been scheduled for Aug. 9 at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley.

The radio station, KPFA, had invited Dawkins to the United Church of Christ-affiliated church to discuss his new latest book, "Science in the Soul: Collected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist."

KPFA had described the 76-year-old British scientist's new book as "excellent," according to Berkeleyside, a local news website.

However, on Thursday, the listener-funded progressive radio station - 94.1 on your FM dial - rescinded its speaking invitation to Dawkins because of some tweets and statements the atheist scientist has issued which have been critical of Muslims he describes as militant and radical.

"We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science when we didn't know he had offended and hurt - in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people," KPFA told ticket buyers in the email.

"KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech," the email also said. "While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier."

University of Chicago evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne published the email and said KPFA sent it without ever informing Dawkins that was no longer invited to speak.

Coyne called the cancellation "a terrible blow for free speech."

"I'm sure that some of the Perpetually Offended, with perhaps Muslims among them, complained to the radio station, and KPFA caved," Coyne charged.

When Dawkins found out his speech had been canceled, the militant atheist fired back with a statement of his own.

"The idea that I have engaged in abusive speech against Islam is preposterous, which even the most rudimentary fact-checking by KPFA would have made clear," Dawkins said in a statement released on Friday by the Center for Inquiry.

"I have indeed strongly condemned the misogyny, homophobia, and violence of Islamism, of which Muslims - particularly Muslim women - are the prime victims. I make no apologies for denouncing those oppressive cruelties, and I will continue to do so," Dawkins also said.

The Center for Inquiry is an organization that promotes secular education organization. Dawkins is on its board of directors.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Thursday, July 27, 2017



Western Values Are Superior

By Walter E. Williams

Here's part of President Donald Trump's speech in Poland: "The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?"

After this speech, which was warmly received by Poles, the president encountered predictable criticism. Most of the criticism reflected gross ignorance and dishonesty.

One example of that ignorance was penned in the Atlantic magazine by Peter Beinart, a contributing editor and associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York. Beinart said, "Donald Trump referred 10 times to 'the West' and five times to 'our civilization.' His white nationalist supporters will understand exactly what he means." He added, "The West is a racial and religious term. To be considered Western, a country must be largely Christian (preferably Protestant or Catholic) and largely white."

Intellectual elites argue that different cultures and their values are morally equivalent. That's ludicrous. Western culture and values are superior to all others. I have a few questions for those who'd claim that such a statement is untrue or smacks of racism and Eurocentrism. Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan; is it morally equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limitations placed on women, such as prohibitions on driving, employment and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning. Thieves face the punishment of having their hands severed. Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in some countries. Are these cultural values morally equivalent, superior or inferior to Western values?

During his speech, Trump asked several vital questions. "Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?" There's no question that the West has the military might to protect itself. The question is whether we have the intelligence to recognize the attack and the will to defend ourselves from annihilation.

Much of the Muslim world is at war with Western civilization. Islamists' use multiculturalism as a foot in the door to attack Western and Christian values from the inside. Much of that attack has its roots on college campuses among the intellectual elite who indoctrinate our youth. Multiculturalism has not yet done the damage in the U.S. that it has in Western European countries - such as England, France and Germany - but it's on its way.

My colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell reveals some of the problem. He says, "Those in the Islamic world have for centuries been taught to regard themselves as far superior to the 'infidels' of the West, while everything they see with their own eyes now tells them otherwise." Sowell adds, "Nowhere have whole peoples seen their situation reversed more visibly or more painfully than the peoples of the Islamic world." Few people, such as Persians and Arabs, once at the top of civilization, accept their reversals of fortune gracefully. Moreover, they don't blame themselves and their culture. They blame the West.

By the way, one need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. One just has to accept the sanctity of the individual above all else.

SOURCE






State Department Lawyers Removing References to ISIS `Genocide' Against Christians, Other Religious Minorities

Obama holdovers

The State Department's top lawyers are systematically removing the word "genocide" to describe the Islamic State's mass slaughter of Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria from speeches before they are delivered and other official documents, according to human rights activists and attorneys familiar with the policies.

Additionally, Democratic senators are delaying confirmation of Mark Green, Trump's pick to head the U.S. Agency for International Development who has broad bipartisan support.

These efforts guarantee that Obama-era policies that worked to exclude Iraq's Christian and other minority religious populations from key U.S. aid programs remain in place, the activists said.

Richard Visek, who was appointed by President Obama as head the State Department's Office of Legal Adviser in October 2016, is behind the decision to remove the word "genocide" from official documents, according to Nina Shea, an international human rights lawyer who directs the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom.

"I don't think for a minute it's a bureaucratic decision-it's ideological," said Shea, who also spent 12 years as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, or CIRF, from 1999 to 2012.

A State Department spokesman on Monday said he would look into the matter and respond.

The latest moves from the State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser appear aimed at rolling back then-Secretary of State John Kerry's March 2016 genocide determination. Kerry's much-anticipated genocide designation came after months of equivocation and detailed documentation by interested parties that the Islamic State is responsible for genocide against Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims.

It was one of the few times in history that the United States designated ongoing mass murders against ethnic or religious minorities as meeting the legal definition of genocide laid out in a 1948 treaty. That agreement requires signatories, including the United States, to take steps to "prevent and punish" genocide.

A bipartisan group of Capitol Hill lawmakers and activists, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R., Ala.) were hoping the designation would help direct millions of dollars in U.S. relief funds to Christian, Yazidi, and other persecuted religious minority communities.

ISIS murders and kidnappings have decimated the Christian population in Iraq, which numbered between 800,000 and 1.4 million in 2002, reducing it to fewer than 250,000 now. Without action, activists and charities say, Christians could disappear completely from Iraq in the near future.

After meeting with Pope Francis in May, President Trump vowed to do everything in his power to defend and protect the "historic Christian communities of the Middle East."

Activists and Catholic leaders are now calling on Trump to turn the rhetoric into action on the ground and help get U.S. aid to these persecuted communities trying to rebuild their homes and their lives in Iraq.

These advocates want the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the United Nations to allow church groups and other religious-affiliated relief organizations to receive government aid, a practice prohibited during the Obama administration.

In early May, Congress allocated more than $1.3 billion in funds for refugee assistance and included specific language to try to ensure that at least some of the money is used to assist persecuted religious minorities, including Christians, Yazidis, and Shia Muslims-all groups the State Department deemed victims of genocide in 2016.

Nevertheless, only $10 million is specifically earmarked for Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities. The Trump administration has until the end of September, when the stop-gap funding bill runs out, to ensure it distributes the funds in the most effective way.

"There is congressional legislation . that calls for the U.S. government to stop excluding the genocide-targeted minorities in Iraq," Shea said. "This has been a pervasive problem that this aid has not been getting to them."

"Iraq is home to one of the four largest remaining Christian communities in the Middle East that are about to become extinct," she said. "Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama made catastrophic mistakes that left these communities on the brink of extinction, but it's going to be on President Trump's watch as to whether they survive or become extinct-it's going to be his policies that make or break the situation."

Instead of going through Iraqi government agencies or other internationally recognized groups, activists say the best way to get the aid to Christians and other persecuted minorities is through local Iraqi Catholic dioceses and parishes and other religious organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus, which have spent years on the ground working with these communities.

The money would be specifically designated for relief efforts for these persecuted communities and could not be used for other purposes, such as church-building or more general church operations.

Groups say the special allocation is needed because Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities often do not go to Muslim-dominated refugee camps out of fear they will be targeted, killed, or kidnapped.

After the Iraqi army retook Mosul from the Islamic State with the help of U.S. forces, much international attention has focused on helping rebuild the Sunni community so that ISIS cannot regain its influence there through sleeper cells or other supportive Islamic terrorist groups.

Shea said Christians will also play a key role in stabilizing the area in and around Mosul if they have enough aid to rebuild their homes in the area and other parts of Northern Iraq.

They could also combat Iran's colonization of northern Iraq, where pro-Iranian militias are buying up Christian land in the area to try to broaden their influence.

"Christians and Yazidis need to be able to go back to their towns just to hold them-it's a big national security priority for the U.S.," she said.

In late June, Rubio, along with GOP Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, James Lankford of Oklahoma, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to ensure that the 2017 omnibus appropriations are distributed to "vulnerable and persecuted religious minorities, including victims of genocide designated" by former Secretary of State Kerry.

"It would be a deathblow to pluralism and the prospect of religious freedom and diversity in any future Iraq," the senators wrote, if these victims of genocide don't receive the humanitarian aid Congress tried to direct to them.

In responding to the senators' letter on July 10, the State Department avoided the question of whether it would allow Catholic or other charitable organizations to receive the appropriations in order to help the Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities.

Instead, Charles Faulkner of State's Bureau of Legislative Affairs cited a list of U.S. efforts to help the "plight of religious minorities in Iraq" and said the department "shares your grave concern about the situation facing Iraq's religious and ethnic minorities."

The letter also restates the State Department's policy and that of the United Nation's of distributing U.S. relief based on means-tested need, instead of the genocide designation providing some priority for targeted communities on the verge of extinction.

"The U.S. government has also provided more than $1.3 billion in humanitarian assistance since 2014 for vulnerable Iraqis in Iraq and in the region," the letter stated. "This assistance is distributed according to individual need, and many members of minority groups have benefited from it because of their unique vulnerabilities."

Faulkner said the State Department "makes efforts" to ensure that the needs of "minority community members" are "taken into consideration," when there are concerns that these communities don't have access to assistance.

In addition to U.N. stabilization projects in Iraq, he said State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor is managing 22 grants and "interagency agreements" in Iraq, and "since 2004 has been the lead U.S. government entity programming directly to support inclusion of religious and ethnic minorities and other marginalized populations in Iraq."

SOURCE






The Left's backward-looking racial narrative.

Conflating past and present is politically expedient for liberals, but it doesn't help black Americans

President Barack Obama traveled to Alabama on March 7, 2015, to deliver a speech marking the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," when 600 peaceful protesters seeking the right to vote were beaten and tear-gassed by mounted police as they tried to march across Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge. It was one of the more symbolic moments of a deeply symbolic presidency - an opportunity to remind the country of how much racial progress had been made over the past half century. But Obama was interested in more than just commemorating a turning point in the civil-rights struggles of the mid 20th century. And so a speech rightly honoring "the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod" and "keep marching towards justice" was laced with Democratic talking points and comparisons between the problems that blacks faced during legal discrimination and the problems they faced five decades later.

To that end, Obama's remarks invoked "unfair sentencing" and "overcrowded prisons" in the criminal-justice system while making no mention of black-white disparities in crime rates. He also suggested that voter-identification laws threaten the black franchise and suppress turnout. Yet in 2012, blacks voted at higher rates than whites, including in states with the most stringent voter-identification mandates. And in 2014, voter turnout among all groups was slightly higher in Texas, which has a strict voter-identification law, than it was in New York, which does not.

    Parallels between America under Jim Crow and America under a twice-elected black president and two black attorneys general may be tortured, but Obama also knew that such rhetoric plays well politically for the Left and distracts from liberalism's poor track record in helping the black underclass. The goal is to keep black voters angry, paranoid, and content to put the onus on others to address racial disparities and negative black outcomes. The identity politics practiced by liberals today treats blacks not as individuals with agency but rather as a group of victims who are both blameless and helpless. "Liberalism in the twenty-first century is, for the most part, a moral manipulation that exaggerates inequity and unfairness in American life in order to justify overreaching public policies and programs," explained the author Shelby Steele. This liberalism is

invested in an overstatement of America's present sinfulness based on the nation's past sins. It conflates the past into the present so that the present is indistinguishable from the ugly past. And so modern liberalism is grounded in a paradox: it tries to be progressive and forward looking by fixing its gaze backward. It insists that America's shameful past is the best explanation of its current social problems.


    This liberal conflation of the past and present is without a doubt politically expedient - note how Democrats regularly dismiss any Republican criticism of liberal social policies as being motivated by racial hostility towards blacks - but it's hard to see how diverting attention from far more credible explanations of racial gaps today helps blacks advance. "Despite frequent assertions to the contrary, many of the seemingly intractable problems encountered by a significant number of black Americans do not result from racial discrimination," wrote economist Walter Williams in Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination? "That is not to say discrimination does not exist. Nor is it to say discrimination has no adverse effects.

For policy purposes, however, the issue is not whether or not racial discrimination exists but the extent to which it explains what we see today." The political Left wins votes by telling black people that racism, in one form or another, explains racial disparities that only government programs can address. And groups like the NAACP raise money and stay relevant by pushing the same narrative - a narrative that also maintains broad and largely unquestioned support in the mainstream media.

    A few days after Obama's Selma address, National Public Radio aired an interview with the city's mayor, George Evans. The interviewer wanted to know how "what happened in Selma 50 years ago fits into the current conversations about race relations in this country." But Evans, the city's second black mayor, didn't see a clear connection between the problems that blacks faced five decades ago and current obstacles.

    "I'm not sure how it fits," Evans responded. "We have a lot more crime going on in 2015 all over the country than we had in 1965. Segregation existed, but we didn't have the crime. So now, even though we've gained so much through voting rights and Bloody Sunday, we've stepped backwards when it comes to crime and drugs in the jail system - things like that."

    Apparently, that wasn't the answer the interviewer was looking for, and so she pressed the mayor. "What's life like for the average black citizen in Selma," where 80 percent of residents are black, she asked. "I mean, your city does have challenges. You've got chronic unemployment rates. What are the biggest problems from your vantage point?" Still, the mayor refused to do what Obama had done in his speech and make facile historical parallels.

    "Well, from the standpoint of jobs, we have a lot of jobs," said Evans. "It's just that there are a lot of people who do not have the skill level to man these jobs. And that's the biggest problem we have. There are industries and businesses here that are searching for people to come to work. But many times they're not able to get the jobs because they're not going back to pick up that trade or that technical skill that's needed in order to take that job"

    The mayor may not have been telling NPR what it wanted to hear, but his views were perfectly sensible. After having declined significantly in the 1950s, violent crime began surging in the late 1960s. Although it has fallen since the early 1990s, the violent-crime rate in 2014 was higher than it was in 1965 and has since returned to 1990s levels in major cities. Evans's observation that a high unemployment rate can result from factors other than a shortage of jobs also jibes with the social-science research.

Moreover, sometimes the problem isn't a lack of jobs or even job skills so much as a lack of interest in filling jobs that are available. The 2015 Baltimore riots that followed the death of a black suspect in police custody were linked by some observers to high unemployment rates in the ghetto. But a black construction worker at a job site that had been looted told a reporter that in his experience the neighborhood youths who were "protesting" seemed to have little interest in finding legitimate employment. "I see about 30 people walking by here every day, and only about two of them will bother to ask whether we're hiring," he said. "You have some brilliant kids, extraordinary talent, but they don't see opportunity."

SOURCE





Having kids is much more fun than parents make out

A MEMO to fellow parents of young children: I'm starting to worry that we're doing a truly terrible PR job.

Our performance hasn't yet reached catastrophic birth-rate-dropping-off-a-cliff levels but if we were actually being employed to market parenthood to the masses? The termination of our collective contract would be imminent.

Last week I was having lunch with a group of friends, most of whom have kids, when one of our number announced that his partner is pregnant. "Wonderful news!" We all chorused, ordering another round of flat whites to celebrate. Before proceeding to warn our mate of the abject horror that lies before him.

Say goodbye to long luxurious brunches and weekends with nothing in particular planned. Prepare to sacrifice half your income on nappies, childcare fees, and overpriced prams. Forget about listening to music you like, The Wiggles and the `womb noises' setting on the baby sleep app are the new soundtrack of your life.

Welcome to tantrums, latching issues, constant whining and a complete lack of privacy. Sex will become a distant memory because on the rare occasion that one of you is in the mood, the other will be too tired. And speaking of tired . have we mentioned yet that you will NEVER SLEEP AGAIN? EVER.

It was a sick, indulgent pleasure to scare him in this way. We relished the opportunity to complain about how tough parenting can be to an uninitiated newbie. Rolling our eyes at one another in solidarity, smug in the knowledge that our unsuspecting childless mate couldn't possibly get it. Well, not yet, anyway.

A few days later I caught up with a colleague from a previous job. We'd worked together before I became a mum. She hugged me tight when I arrived, looked meaningfully into my eyes and said, "You look really, really well".

It was as if I'd recently recovered from a prolonged illness. There was pity and concern in her expression. It took me a moment to realise she was referring to my not-so-recently-acquired status as a parent.

"How is it going?" she asked, after a suitable period of small talk. "It must be incredibly hard. You know, I've always wanted a family but sometimes I'm honestly not sure if I could do it. Or if I even want to do it anymore."

For as long as the world can remember, bitching about parenting - particularly motherhood - has been off limits. Children were to be cherished, pregnant women protected, and the miracle of life was not a burden but a blessing, and all that.

You weren't supposed to confess that raising a family is actually incredibly hard work. You weren't supposed to complain.

So the mothers of times gone by pushed through, stoic in their silence. When women began entering the workforce in large numbers - and realised that paid work was comparatively easier than child rearing - things began to change.

We started becoming more honest about parenting. The internet created new communities where parents could gather together, joke, bitch and laugh at how tough looking after little people can be. Honesty gave way to camaraderie.

It became socially acceptable to admit that entertaining a child all day can be deathly dull. Complaining about lack of sleep and fantasies of running away to the nearest cocktail bar and never looking back became a method of parental bonding. So we did more of it, and more of it and more and more and more until . many of us simply forgot to talk about the good stuff at all.

I don't write this to be preachy. Becoming a mum is unquestionably the most difficult thing I have ever done.

Less than 14 days into my son's time on this planet, I may or may not have sobbed to my husband that I'd ruined my life. Those first few months made it abundantly clear to me why sleep deprivation is a torture device. There are days when the grind of toddler-wrangling utterly grind me down.

I am most definitely guilty of scaring non-parents about what's to come.

And yes, I've enjoyed doing it.

But becoming a parent has also been the single best thing that has ever happened to me. My kid brings joy and delight to the everyday. I am rediscovering the world through his eyes, finding the exceptional in the ordinary and marvelling at it all.

My husband and I laugh more than we ever did before our kid was born. And speaking of my husband, I've fallen in love with him all over again, watching him become a dad.

So, fellow parents of small people, next time you're having a whine, or a bitch, or a vent to someone without kids: Try to remember the good stuff. Don't pull back on your complaining because gosh dammit, toilet training is the very definition of hell on earth. But just try to throw in some of the good stuff as well.

The parents of the future will thank you for it when it's their turn.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017


German free market forces warn against EU militancy on Brexit

At last someone in Europe realizes that the EU bureaucrats are skating on thin ice in their hardball negotiations with Britain. In the event of Britain leaving with no agreement in place, the EU would have a lot to lose. With no agreement, the EU would be obliged to put tariffs on incoming British goods.  Britain would then retaliate and it would be a trade war. And Britain always wins its wars with Europe.  Britain could even put a complete embargo on imports from the continent. And Britain buys far more from Europe than it sells so Europe would be the biggest loser.

German car manufacturers and French farmers in particular would be badly hit.  French agriculture is in a perennial state of crisis so losing the British market would have French farmers marching on Paris -- with predictable results.  Paris always caves in to their farmers.

And in Germany, VW has recently taken some huge knocks due to their own arrogance.  Losing the British market could push them over.  Germany exports 800,000 cars to Britain annually so the whole German motor industry would be in trouble.

Britain, by contrast is itself a big motor vehicle manufacturer -- courtesy of Honda, Toyota and Nissan -- so Brits would have no shortage of excellent cars to buy.  And farm products are in permanent glut worldwide so the range of fresh foods in British supermarkets would be undiminished.

So the EU honchos are very foolish with their present aggressive stance.  Frau Dr. Merkel and M. Macron might soon have to rein them in.  A simple declaration from both of them saying that they would not put trade restrictions on Britain and it would be game over -- with a huge but well-deserved loss of face for the EU bureaucrats.



Germany’s Free Democrats have demanded a special “Brexit cabinet” in Berlin to safeguard the vital interests of the country, citing growing alarm among industrial and manufacturing companies over the disastrous implications of a failed deal with the UK.

The fast-rising party says it will push for an amicable compromise in Brexit talks if it joins the ruling coalition this autumn - as now looks increasingly likely - warning that it would be a fatal error for Europe to humiliate Britain.

“We are hearing an uttering of concerns from German companies and trade unions about what could happen if there is a crash-Brexit and no deal in place. Criticism is growing,” said Michael Theurer, MEP, the party’s economics chief.

SOURCE






Why we should oppose the ASA’s gender jihad

The moral crusade against ‘gender stereotypes’ is profoundly illiberal

The most shocking thing about the Advertising Standards Authority’s announcement that it will censor ‘gender-stereotypical’ images in ads is that there has been so little shock in response to it. Censorship once stirred up passion and opposition. People bristled at being told what they could see or hear. Not this time. The ASA, which regulates the content of ads in UK newspapers, on TV and radio and online, bullishly declared yesterday that it will take a ‘tougher line’ on ‘ads that feature stereotypical gender roles’ and ensure they are expunged from public life. And there was barely a flicker of fuss. It is terrifying how normalised censorship has become.

What the ASA is proposing should alarm everyone who believes in the free exchange of ideas and information. It is effectively instituting a vast, sinister programme of social engineering via the control of the images we see. In a report published yesterday, it boasted about its longstanding clampdown on ads that contain sexualised imagery — Mary Whitehouse lives! — and said it will now go further down the road of policing gender imagery.

It will wage a gender jihad against any ad that shows ‘stereotypical gender roles’ that might ‘cause harm’ and ‘reinforce assumptions that adversely limit how people see themselves and how others see them’. For example, if an ad shows a woman having ‘sole responsibility’ for cleaning up a family’s mess or a man ‘trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks’, it will be declared verboten and wiped out. In order to shape society’s ‘assumptions’ — that is, how the masses think about gender —  the ASA has taken it upon itself to exterminate certain images. It will seek to reshape the throng’s mind through dictating what pictures and ideas we can see in ads. As I say, social engineering.

The ASA’s embrace of gender censorship has already led it to make some deeply paternalistic decisions. In March this year it banned an advert for Black Cow, a brand of vodka, because it showed a couple walking through a field, ‘flirtatiously’, and then there was a cut-away to a depression in the grass. And in the ASA’s hysterically prudish words, viewers were ‘likely to understand from the combination of the couple’s body language [and] the depression in the grass… that they had just had sex’. Fetch my smelling salts! When you’re extinguishing an image of a depression in a field of grass then you’ve truly entered the realm of the puritan. You’re seeking to save the nation from any hint — and it really was just a hint — that there is fun in drink and sex.

Last year the ASA banned an ad for the British clothing brand Jack Wills, which featured young adults (18 to 24) partying in their pants. The ASA admitted the underwear in the ad ‘did not accentuate part of the models’ bodies in a sexualised manner’ — imagine having the nun-like job of examining the tumescence of the bulges in ads for pants! — but it said the ad could influence younger teens to think that partying like this is ‘a lifestyle to which they might aspire’. The horror of a 14-year-old thinking he might one day have scantily-clad larks with attractive members of the opposite (or same) sex. This year the ASA banned an ad for Femfresh’s bikini-line shaving products on the basis that it ‘objectified women’. The ad-makers pointed out that the dancing in the ad was choreographed by a woman and the ad was aimed at women. But its plea for clemency from censorship fell on deaf ears: the sex-phobic Stalinists at the ASA forbade the ad.

Somehow, without people even noticing, Britain has developed a severe, Victorian-era system of censorship that controls images of sex, fun and partying in a significant area of public life: advertising. That these bans are justified in the name of clamping down on the ‘objectification’ of women only shows how much modern media feminism has in common with the stiff old Christian censorship of the past. Both fear the ‘harm’ that might be caused to society if people clap eyes on a picture of a woman wearing not very much or a man being flirtatious after a swig of Black Cow vodka.

But, if anything, the ASA’s correction of heretical ad-makers is even worse than the blue-rinse, Bible-influenced censorship that held during much of the 20th century. It’s more thorough, more insidious. Its latest campaign represents an attempt to control not simply sexual images but the entire way in which gender is depicted and discussed. Its war on ‘portrayals which reinforce outdated and stereotypical views on gender roles’ means that virtually anything could be blacklisted. A Persil ad showing a woman picking up the families’ socks; a DIY ad showing the dad doing all the hammering and sawing; an ad showing boys playing football while a girl stares lovingly at one of them from the sidelines… all of these could be judged ‘gender-stereotypical’ and extinguished. This is a profoundly illiberal attempt to dictate how the culture and consumer sector may communicate with the masses, and how the masses should think about gender.

And it’s all done in the name of massaging the masses’ apparently flimsy self-esteem. It’s about making sure we have the right attitudes and the right amount of self-belief. The ASA report says gender stereotypes in ads can ‘contribute to harm for adults and children’. They can ‘limit how people see themselves… and limit the life decisions they take’. This is disturbingly patronising. The notion that a young woman who sees a washing-liquid ad featuring a stressed-out mum will feel morally crushed is more insulting than any ad could ever be. It cuts to the heart of the rot that is censorship. Whether it’s justified as a means of protecting men’s souls from Satan, the public from ‘degenerate’ art or impressionable young men and women from gender stereotypes in ads, censorship is always, but always, fuelled by a sinister indifference to the value of open debate and an authoritarian view of ordinary people as pathetic creatures in need of saving.

SOURCE






Avoiding white bread is just snobbery

I always buy the basic 85c white loaf from my local supermarket

Did you think white bread was toast? If you consider yourself a healthy eater and have been consuming bread at all, it probably has been anything but the soft, white supermarket variety and instead something as far removed from the polythene-packed and bleached sliced loaf as you can find. Our daily bread has become more aspirational in recent years — market analyst Kantar Worldpanel reported that sales of all ready-wrapped loaves were down by 50 million units in the 12 months to May last year.

Even those who refuse to spend $10 or more at an artisan bakery for a slow-proved sourdough loaf fermented with a live starter of wild yeasts have been eschewing the once mighty white. Surveys show white bread sales in Britain have fallen 75 per cent since 1974 while brown and wholemeal have risen by 85 per cent, understandable given how often we have been warned that white bread is the enemy of our waistlines and causes bloating.

Yet in a study published recently in the journal Cell Metabolism, researchers from the Weiz­mann Institute of Science in Israel suggest that white bread may not be as bad for us as we think. For their trial, the researchers examined how quickly blood sugar levels rose when for a week habitual bread eaters ate whole-wheat sourdough, beloved of foodies for purportedly being less of a digestive burden because of the natural culture of beneficial bacteria it contains, or plain white bread.

What the scientists expected to see were uniformly undesirable spikes in blood sugar levels after the more refined and highly processed white bread was eaten. Bizarrely, they witnessed nothing of the sort. While blood sugar levels shot up in some people who ate the white bread, in others it spiked more drastically when they had eaten sourdough. About half of the people had a better blood sugar response to the processed white bread while the other half reacted more favourably to the sourdough.

What’s more, the team found “no significant differences between the two breads” when they examined the effect on gut health and the number of good bacteria in the participant’s microbiome.

Eran Segal, a computational biologist who led the investigation, says: “The initial finding, and this was very much contrary to our expectation, was that there were no clinically significant differences between the effects of these two types of bread on the parameters that we measured. We looked at a number of markers and there was no measurable difference that this type of dietary intervention had.”

Far from being an outright enemy to health, white bread was apparently a better all-round choice for some people.

Slowly, it seems, white bread is rising against the tide and some high-profile advocates are adding to its popularity. In his recent book, The Plant Paradox, renowned American heart surgeon and cardiologist Steven Gundry recommends white bread over seemingly healthier varieties because it contains fewer lectins, so-called anti-nutrients that he says can cause headaches, gastrointestinal symptoms and weight gain.

“If you must eat bread, make it white bread over wholegrain, seedy or wheat germ varieties, which are lectin-loaded,” Gundry has said.

It’s even beloved of the truly body beautiful. Joe Wicks, the hard-bodied trainer whose catchphrase is “lean in 15”, says white bread can be “a great post-workout option as it’s rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream to refuel the body”. Athletes swear by it as an easily digestible energy boost before and after training.

Will Usher, the triathlon coach who got Gordon Ramsay into shape for the 2013 Hawaii Ironman Triathlon, says white bread is fine for people who exercise a lot. “Refined carbs are really useful when consumed to best effect for fuel such as before hard exercise,” he says.

It’s all a far cry from the mes­sages put forward during the past decade by the anti-white-bread movement, sparked not just by fashionable diets such as the Atkins or glossy, gluten-fearing bloggers but also by studies that suggested it was ingrained in the dietary downfall that has resulted in such high levels of obesity. Three years ago researchers in Spain found that young subjects who ate three slices of white bread a day were 40 per cent likelier to be obese or overweight five years later when compared with people who ate it once a week. They found no such link with weight gain in people who ate wholemeal bread.

And in January this year two studies published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that substituting refined grains with whole grains in the diet — which included switching from white to wholemeal bread — could increase calorie burning by speeding up metabolism.

Little wonder we dumped white bread in our droves, despite the British Dietetic Association maintaining that sliced white bread was often fortified with vitamins and minerals and was a particularly good source of calcium: four slices provide one-third of your daily needs. And while bread remains the largest contributor to salt in the British diet, it is not only white bread that is responsible. According to campaigning group Consensus Action on Salt & Health, manufacturers of sliced white bread have reduced salt levels by 17 per cent in recent years, yet some artisan varieties provide as much salt per slice as you would find in a packet of ready-salted chips.

“It’s not white bread in itself that should be demonised,” says Dimple Thakrar, a BDA spokeswoman. “Too high a consumption of any refined and overly processed carbohydrates is not a good thing, but white bread has its virtues and is a perfectly acceptable addition to your meals in moderation. I often eat it myself because it tastes good.”

Scientists are beginning to agree. Although the latest study from Israel was small (it involved 20 people), it is not the first to suggest that white bread has redeeming features.

In 2014 Spanish scientists reporting in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that white bread was better at boosting levels of beneficial gut bacteria than citrus fruits including oranges. According to University of Oviedo biologist Sonia Gonzalez, who led that pilot trial, the presence of resistant starch in white bread was one of the factors that increased levels of the good bacteria lactobacillus in the gut. And in 2010, research at Lund University in Sweden revealed that bread baked with white rye flour, made from the inner, white part of the rye kernel, produced better insulin and blood sugar levels compared with whole-wheat bread containing rye bran.

Such is the food snobbery surrounding white bread that it remains a guilty secret for many. Yet, hands up, I keep a loaf of it in my freezer for moments when a freshly baked, multigrain loaf just won’t satisfy my carb cravings. And, of course, children love it. Could we really be facing the unthinkable, that on our shopping lists white bread will be replacing loaves made with spelt, sprouted grains and German rye?

Megan Rossi, a research associate in gastrointestinal health at King’s College London who runs a gut health clinic on Harley Street, says white bread has had a bad rap for too long. “It’s not bad for you,” she says. “Broadly speaking, white flour used to make any white bread is less nutritious as it provides 25 per cent less protein and is lower in 15 other key nutrients than wholegrain flour, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy white bread in our diet when we fancy.”

SOURCE





Flood of migration continues all over Western Europe despite rising dangers

The European migration experiment is failing miserably. Self-declared "refugees" and migrants from Africa and the Middle East are importing their violence, chaos and regressive norms of behavior into formerly harmonious countries all over Western Europe. As Seth J. Frantzman wrote in the Jerusalem Post last December, "They hate the very society they have often chosen to migrate to. Their new society tolerated their intolerance and taught them that this new country provided such unfettered freedom that it should be destroyed."

For example, while many French people were busy celebrating Bastille Day – a year after the tragic Islamist massacre in Nice - riots and violence reportedly broke out on the nights of July 13 and 14 in suburbs of Paris heavily populated by migrants. A policeman was badly wounded and 897 cars were burned. Hundreds of individuals were placed in custody.

There was also a riot in the streets of Paris a few days ago by a mob of angry Congolese. They were infuriated by a scheduled concert at Paris's Olympia music hall by a Congolese artist thought to be too close to the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo they detest. The concert was cancelled as a result of the clashes and threats of more violence. The Congolese living in Paris brought their tribal hatreds to the land that gave them the opportunity to leave such hatreds behind. They abused the freedoms they were afforded, turning on those freedoms by violently preventing an artistic performance from taking place.

These are far from isolated incidents of migrant violence in Western Europe this year. Indeed, all is not well for the Western traditions of pluralism and individual liberties in the multicultural sewer Europe is fast becoming. The number of vehicular killings, stabbings, shootings, sexual assaults, riots and car burnings has risen exponentially in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, as the tide of migration has intensified. No-go zones have multiplied. Free speech is becoming a casualty of hecklers' veto and misplaced multicultural sensitivities. Yet Europe continues to admit even more migrants without any adequate vetting.

"When people lose hope, they risk crossing the Sahara and the Mediterranean because it is worse to stay at home, where they run enormous risks," Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, said. "If we don't confront this soon, we will find ourselves with millions of people on our doorstep within five years. Today we are trying to solve a problem of a few thousand people, but we need to have a strategy for millions of people."

A majority of Europeans agree that the waves of immigration into their countries have been getting out of hand. However, for the elitist leaders in Europe, spearheaded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an open borders policy remains the Holy Grail. Opposing continued mass migration into Europe is tantamount to hate speech, they believe. Thus, Chancellor Merkel was overheard last fall on a hot mic asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg what more he planned to do to stop anti-immigrant posts. Facebook is cooperating with actions to remove comments that it claims "promote xenophobia."

In the Netherlands, the police paid visits to people using social media to express their anti-mass migration views. One Dutch man described his encounter with the police. "They asked me to be careful about my Twitter behavior, because if there are riots, then I'm responsible," the Dutch man said. He had tweeted: "The college of Sliedrecht has a proposal to receive 250 refugees in the coming 2 years. What a bad plan! #letusresist." The police told him to watch his tone because his tweets "may seem seditious."

Free speech is the enemy of both elitist governments, which believe they know what is best for their benighted "subjects," and of extremists, who believe only they possess the truth and that the expression of contrary opinions is heresy. Elitist governments use their instruments of power to suppress free speech. The extremists use violence and play the race card against those they consider to be the so-called "oppressors" and their enablers.

Leftists who reject the pluralistic norms of capitalist, democratic Western societies encourage mass migration of unassimilated individuals from conflicting cultures to destabilize and then radically transform such democratic societies. Thus, we see twitter posts such as "We must #EndWhiteness with mass immigration." And rather than express empathy with victims of immigrant violence, leftists have sided with the migrants in opposition to concerns of local citizens about public safety. This happened, for example, in Sweden a couple of years ago after an Algerian and a Syrian living in the same migrant center were jailed for each raping the same Swedish woman on the same night. 

When they are not rioting themselves, such as in Hamburg earlier this month, left wing activists have also stoked immigrant violence for their own ends. The red-green axis of leftists and Islamists is alive and well.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017



Taking Care of a Friend’s Dog For The Weekend? Better Have a License, NYC Says

Even something as simple as having a friend watch your dog for the weekend isn't immune from the scourge of government permission slips in New York City, it seems. The city's Health Department is threatening users of a popular pet-sitting app with fines of $1,000 for taking care of animals without a license.

Thousands of users of Rover, a mobile app that connects pet-owners with individuals willing to feed, walk, and otherwise take care of their animals across New York City are potentially violating a little-known Health Department rule, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

Though no one has been fined so far, two residents have been hit with violations in November and December for caring for pets without a permit, the paper reports.

The Health Department has also sent a letter to Rover warning about the legal violations. A department spokesman says the permits are needed to protect "public health," according to the Daily News.

"The laws are antiquated," Chad Bacon, who uses Rover to make extra cash by dog-sitting, told the paper. "If you're qualified and able to provide a service, I don't think you should be penalized."

That's a sentiment that could be applied to pretty much any profession where licenses are required, but it's particularly true here.

In-home pet-care is without a doubt the most humane, cost-effective, healthiest option for many pet dogs and cats, Michael Moyer, a Pennsylvania-based veterinarian, tells Reason via email.

"Whether it is the pet's own home or pet sitter's home, there are fewer opportunities for problems than a typical commercial boarding kennel," wrote Moyer. "Any reasonable pet owner could likely judge the appropriateness/safety of the pet-sitter's accommodations with a visual assessment at the time of the pet drop off."

UPDATE: The New York City Health Department, in a statement provided to Reason, says it does not intend to enforce these regulations against individual families, but does require permits for commerical boarding operations: "In order to protect animals from neglect, the Health Department requires animal boarding and kennel facilities to obtain permits and comply with regulations. Commercial boarding of animals in homes is illegal. These regulations do not apply to the average New Yorker who may pet sit for friends, family, and neighbors."

Like other battles between politically connected industries and the sharing economy, upstarts that seek to disrupt them—think hotels versus Airbnb, or taxis versus Uber—the ban on dog-sitting without a license seems to be driven by kennels who don't want competition from apps like Rover.

Kennels have enjoyed a long near-monopoly in the pet care market. Until apps like Rover, you didn't have much of a choice except to pay whatever the nearest kennel charged. In New York, especially, they aren't cheap or convienent—as the New York Daily News points out. Many New Yorkers have to drive their dogs to Connecticut to find a kennel.

Rover has completely changed the landscape. The app has 9,000 sitters in New York City alone and reports having 95,000 pet owners in the city registered to use the service.

Thankfully, City Councilman Corey Johnson tells the Daily News that he plans to introduce legislation legalizing pet-sitting. The Health Department's police, he says, are "crazy," "antiquated," and "not practical."

It's a shame the city government hasn't taken that same approach to roomsharing—using Airbnb is technically illegal in New York, even though many people have ignored the ban—but at least Johnson is nudging the city in the direction of more freedom.

The sharing economy is here to stay, regardless of what rules and regulations special interests fearful of new competition press local governments to impose. Policymakers should use a light touch in regulating mutually-beneficial agreements that let people crash on a couch, hop a ride, or leave their pooch in someone else's care.

SOURCE






Henrico McDonald's takes 'appropriate action' after employee refused to serve uniformed police officer

A black employee? According to a Facebook post by Naff’s wife, they were told the employee had been fired.

An on-duty officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says he was denied service at a McDonald’s restaurant in Henrico County because of his profession, prompting the owner to take what was described as “appropriate action” to resolve the situation.

Scott Naff, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, was apparently not given his food after he paid for it because the employee in the drive-thru allegedly refused to serve police. The event was first broadcast online late Thursday through the officer’s wife, whose Facebook post had received more than 2,000 comments and 3,500 shares by Monday.

The officer said Tuesday that he was not able to talk about the incident, but his wife spoke on his behalf.

Cathy Naff, the officer’s wife, said the post was initially meant to be shared among a group of supportive friends, and she had no idea it would garner such attention.

Freda Thornton, the franchise owner, said in a statement Tuesday that her restaurants are dedicated to serving all customers, “including all authority figures who protect our wildlife and natural resources.”

“We regret this situation as it goes against our standards of providing a welcoming experience to everyone, and we have taken the appropriate action to resolve this situation,” Thornton said in the statement.

A spokeswoman declined to specify what actions were taken or provide further comment.

Cathy Naff said in her original Facebook post that her husband was on break about 7 p.m. Thursday when he pulled into the McDonald’s drive-thru at 8210 Brook Road. After ordering his food, Cathy Naff said, the employee told him, “I ain’t serving no police,” and closed the service window.

Her husband was served several minutes later by another employee, Cathy Naff said, but she said she was “shocked” to learn of the encounter. The couple notified the McDonald’s corporate office and the franchise owner of what transpired, she said.

When asked whether McDonald’s actions were satisfactory, Cathy Naff said there is no satisfaction in seeing someone lose a job. She added that the issue could likely be prevented from recurring through adequate customer training practices.

“This situation is about how a law enforcement officer was treated by an employee of a local establishment who should have been trained by their employer and properly supervised on how to treat their customers,” she said. “My husband is one of the great guys and would have never treated this young man disrespectfully.”

SOURCE






The Key Facts About Slavery That the Left Conveniently Ignores

Walter E. Williams
   
Too many people believe that slavery is a "peculiar institution." That's what Kenneth Stampp called slavery in his book, "Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South." But slavery is by no means peculiar, odd or unusual. It was common among ancient peoples such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Greeks, Persians, Armenians and many others. Large numbers of Christians were enslaved during the Ottoman wars in Europe. White slaves were common in Europe from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages. It was only after A.D. 1600 that Europeans joined with Arabs and Africans and started the Atlantic slave trade. As David P. Forsythe wrote in his book, "The Globalist," "The fact remained that at the beginning of the nineteenth century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom."

While slavery constitutes one of the grossest encroachments on human liberty, it is by no means unique or restricted to the Western world or United States, as many liberal academics would have us believe. Much of their indoctrination of our young people, at all levels of education, paints our nation's founders as racist adherents to slavery, but the story is not so simple.

At the time of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, slaves were about 40 percent of the population of the southern colonies. Apportionment in the House of Representatives and the number of electoral votes each state would have in presidential elections would be based upon population. Southern delegates to the convention wanted slaves to be counted as one person. Northern delegates to the convention, and those opposed to slavery, wanted only free persons of each state to be counted for the purposes of apportionment in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. The compromise reached was that each slave would be counted as only three-fifths of a person.

Many criticize this compromise as proof of racism. My question to these grossly uninformed critics is whether they would have found it more preferable for slaves to be counted as whole persons? Slaves counted as whole persons would have given slave-holding southern states much more political power. Or, would the critics of the founders prefer that the northern delegates not compromise and not allow slaves to be counted at all? If they did, it is likely that the Constitution would have not been ratified. Thus, the question that emerges is whether blacks would be better off with northern states having gone their way and southern states having gone theirs, resulting in no U.S. Constitution and no Union? Unlike today's pseudointellectuals, black abolitionist Frederick Douglass understood the compromise, saying that the three-fifths clause was "a downright disability laid upon the slave-holding states" that deprived them of "two-fifths of their natural basis of representation."

Douglass' vision was shared by Patrick Henry and others. Henry said, expressing the reality of the three-fifths compromise, "As much as I deplore slavery, I see that prudence forbids its abolition." With this union, Congress at least had the power to abolish slave trade by 1808. According to delegate James Wilson, many believed the anti-slave-trade clause laid "the foundation for banishing slavery out of this country." Many of the founders abhorred slavery. Their statements can be read on my website, walterewilliams.com.

The most unique aspect of slavery in the Western world was the moral outrage against it, which began to emerge in the 18th century and led to massive elimination efforts. It was Britain's military sea power that put an end to the slave trade. And our country fought a costly war that brought an end to slavery. Unfortunately, these facts about slavery are not in the lessons taught in our schools and colleges. Instead, there is gross misrepresentation and suggestion that slavery was a uniquely American practice.

SOURCE





Well-Known Evangelical Author Evolves – Then Backtracks – on Same-Sex 'Marriage'

By John Stonestreet

Last week, the well-known evangelical author Eugene Peterson appeared to embrace so-called same-sex "marriage," and then, he backtracked. There's a lot to talk about.

Last week Eugene Peterson, the author of "The Message" as well as several other pastoral books, said in an interview with Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service that he didn't consider homosexuality wrong and would, if asked, officiate a same-sex "marriage." "I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian," Peterson said, "and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do."

The reaction was swift and immediate. After all, Peterson is no minor figure. His work has influenced the faith of millions, and predictably, liberal circles hailed him as the most prominent evangelical figure yet to "evolve" on same-sex relationships.

But then on Thursday, Peterson released a statement retracting his earlier comments, saying, "To clarify, I affirm the biblical view of marriage: one man to one woman. I affirm a biblical view of everything."

I'm glad for this retraction, though his statements are still puzzling. Even more, they're revealing.

First, they reveal the crisis of authority among evangelicals. So much of this conversation, and many others within the evangelical church, is driven by celebrities instead of doctrine. That's not helpful at all.

Second, they reveal the need for clarity on another oft-repeated point: that there's a massive shift among Christians on this issue. As my "BreakPoint This Week" co-host Ed Stetzer wrote last year in "Christianity Today," rumors of the evangelical church caving to gay theology are greatly exaggerated. While some high-profile figures have "evolved," most denominations and groups have staked out clear positions on the orthodox, biblical view of sexuality and marriage.

Third, Peterson's original statement appealed, not to biblical teaching or theological argument, but to people and experiences. He echoed others like David Gushee, Senator Rob Portman, and Reverend Stan Mitchell, all of whom say relationships with gay friends or family changed their views.

Now, it would be one thing if people pointed to a new understanding of the Greek or Hebrew language, or the discovery of a some hidden, robust theological tradition. But it's never that sort of thick argument cited by those who evolve—no, it's always based on subjective experience.

As Tim Keller wrote, if you change your mind about homosexuality because you meet a friendly and intelligent gay person, your views probably weren't based on a biblical theology of marriage to begin with. Feelings are no substitute for an informed Christian worldview.

As Samuel James pointed out at First Things, every single one of our Christian convictions—whether on sexuality, being kind to our enemies, abortion, God, hate, lust, or the meaning of life—will eventually collide with real life after the fall. "There is no safe corner of the Christian story that is completely intuitive or unfailingly neighborly," he writes. Every claim of the Gospel can and will place us in conflict with unbelievers, especially in this cultural moment. The attempt to avoid all offense only leaves us in doctrinal no-man's land.

And finally, this isn't, as some have claimed, a side issue or something Christians can just "agree to disagree" on. From God creating us male and female and ordering marriage toward procreation, to Jesus' reaffirmation of natural marriage in Matthew 19, to Paul's clear language in his epistles, to the marriage supper of the Lamb, not to mention the way the Old Testament dealt with sexuality and sexual sin, the Bible consistently and unambiguously teaches one view of human sexuality. Marriage is so thoroughly woven into the story of redemption, any attempt to alter it distorts the Gospel.

Please join me in praying that Peterson would continue to reaffirm the biblical teaching for the right reasons, and let's continue to pray for and call for renewed determination in the Church to stand on the solid rock of God's word.

SOURCE

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UK: Europcar again

This is a notorious firm.  There have been bitter complaints about them in Australia and the USA too.  I always advise people to steer clear of them

One of the world's biggest car hire firms, Europcar, paid staff for cheating customers over "damaged" cars, a whistleblower has claimed.

Europcar agents inspecting hire cars for damage are rewarded with £4 for each car they flag up as damaged, regardless of whether a repair is actually warranted, a manager at the firm told the Daily Telegraph.

The alleged conflict of interest comes amid a large volume of customers reporting they have been charged huge fees for "barely there" or non-existent damages after renting a car.

As this newspaper disclosed last week, Europcar is accused of systematically overbilling well over half a million customers for at least £30m in repairs over many years.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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