Tuesday, December 06, 2016



Britain BANS heroic bishops: Persecuted Christian leaders from war zones refused entry

THREE archbishops from war-torn Iraq and Syria have been refused permission to enter the UK despite being invited to London to meet Prince Charles.

The Christians, including the Archbishop of Mosul, were told there was “no room at the inn” by the Home Office when they applied for visas to attend the consecration of the UK’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral.

Last night the decision was described as “unbelievable” by critics who pointed out that extreme Islamic leaders had been allowed visas.

But the welcome did not extend to Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, the Archbishop of Mosul, nor to Timothius Mousa Shamani, the Archbishop of St Matthew’s, which covers the Nineveh valley in northern Iraq, who were refused UK visas to attend the event on November 24.

The UK also refused to grant a visa to Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, the Archbishop of Homs and Hama in Syria.

In his case the British embassy told him that it would not waiver from its policy of not granting visas to anyone in Syria.

The men were also told they were denied entry because they did not have enough money to support themselves and they might not leave the UK.

Last night the leader of the UK’s Syriac Orthodox Christians Archbishop Athanasius Toma Dawod condemned the decision. He said: “These are men who have pressing pastoral responsibilities as Christian areas held by IS are liberated. We cannot understand why Britain is treating Christians in this way

Dr Martin Parsons, head of research at the Barnabas Fund, an aid agency which has helped more than 8,000 Christians escape persecution at the hands of IS, said: “It’s unbelievable that these persecuted Christians who come from the cradle of Christianity are being told there is no room at the inn, when the UK is offering a welcome to Islamists who persecute Christians.”

The Home Office recently issued guidance stating that there should be a presumption that senior members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood should be granted asylum in the UK – despite the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has repeatedly incited violence against Egyptian Christians.

Dr Parsons also claims that visas were granted in July to two Pakistani Islamic leaders who have called for the killing of Christians accused of blasphemy.

He said: “There is a serious systemic problem when Islamist leaders who advocate persecution of Christians are given the green light telling them that their applications for UK visas will be looked on favourably, while visas for short pastoral visits to the UK are denied to Christian leaders whose churches are facing genocide.

“That is an urgent issue that Home Office ministers need to grasp and correct.”

Last night a Home Office spokesman said: “All visa applications are considered on their individual merits and applicants must provide evidence to show they meet the requirements of the immigration rules.”

Last night International Development Minister Rory Stewart was in Iraq where he announced a raft of aid projects, including help for the 80,000 Iraqis displaced from Mosul.

SOURCE






Rep. McCaul: PC Should Not Stop Us From Saying Radical Islam

In a conversation about homeland security under a Trump administration, House Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said that political correctness should not prevent the United States from naming the enemy that has killed and injured Americans here and abroad: "radical Islamist extremism."

Yet Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson said American Muslims are strongly opposed to such language, and this makes it hard to make inroads in Muslim communities.

"I think it's important to define the threat for what it is," McCaul said at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. "My dad fought the Nazis."

"We didn't dance around fascism," said McCaul, who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "We called communism what it was and defeated that."

"I think we're facing radical Islamist extremism today," McCaul said. "And it's important that we identify that and not be so politically correct that we can't identify the threat for what it is...."

McCaul was responding to a question from panel moderator and reporter Kimberly Dozier about Trump's campaign promise to prevent Muslims in countries infiltrated by terrorists from entering the United States - a promise Dozier described as a "ban on Muslims."

McCaul said a ban based on race or religion would be unconstitutional but that "extreme vetting" was called for in cases involving Muslims coming to the United States from terror-torn countries.

But Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson - who may be replaced by McCaul, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal [1] - said that radical Islamist extremism is a label that not only does not influence decisions on fighting our enemies but also is opposed by American Muslims, who would "kick him out the door" if he used the term to describe the terrorists.

"Here in the homeland, in very practical terms, if I walk into a community engagement with a group of American Muslims to encourage them to work with us on our homeland security and I refer to ISIL as Islamic violent extremism, I will get nowhere," Johnson said. "They will kick me out the door."

Johnson said that American Muslims object to radical Islamic extremism because it disparages their religion and that the debate over what to call groups like ISIL and Al Qaeda is "political."

"In my judgment, this debate about labels is a political debate ... referring to it in these terms does not help us in our efforts to counter violent extremism in this country," Johnson said.

SOURCE





I choose not to be offended, and you should, too

By Jeff Jacoby

One of the rules I try to live by is not to take offense when no offense is intended. A corollary to that rule is to presume, whenever possible, that no offense was intended. This is not, I admit, a discipline I’ve mastered perfectly. But make a daily point of affirming that you harbor no ill will, and you won’t smolder with unresolved umbrage. At a time when Americans by the millions keep themselves in a state of high dudgeon, choosing not to be offended can be wonderfully refreshing.

Not taking offense isn’t the same as not having pet peeves. (I’ve got a bunch of those.) Nor does it mean never condemning shameful or destructive behavior. (Where would newspaper columnists be if we never uttered any criticism?) It does mean recognizing that being offended is always a choice, and that other people’s words can bend you out of shape only if you let them.

This isn’t a column about politics, but during the recent “Hamilton” kerfuffle, Vice President-elect Mike Pence provided a pitch-perfect demonstration of how not to take offense. He didn’t bristle or fume when he was booed by audience members and pointedly addressed by the cast during the curtain call. “I wasn’t offended,” he said afterward. He praised the “great, great show” and the “incredibly talented” cast, and made clear that actor Brandon Dixon’s impassioned statement from the stage didn’t trouble him.

“I nudged my kids,” Pence told Fox News, “and reminded them, ‘That’s what freedom sounds like.’ ”

Unfortunately, picking at scabs has become a national pastime. Americans have lost their ability to shrug off other people’s obnoxious comments or insensitive gestures or politically incorrect views. Instead of rolling their eyes and letting it pass, they proclaim: “I’m offended.” They demand apologies. They insist on “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.” They howl about “microaggressions” and whinge about “mansplaining” and compile lists of banned words. When they get offended, they expect heads to roll or companies to be blackballed. They even take offense on behalf of people who don’t take offense.

Remember Frank Costanza? He was the character on “Seinfeld” who invented Festivus, a family holiday commemorated with a dinner, an aluminum pole, feats of strength, and — the high point — an Airing of Grievances. “I got a lot of problems with you people!” bellows Costanza to those at his Festivus table. “And now you’re gonna hear about it!”

It was funny as a sitcom shtick. As a national pastime, perpetual outrage is exhausting and debilitating. America could do with a little less Frank Costanza and a little more Mike Pence.

Waxing wroth when we’re offended may feel temporarily satisfying, but the weight of all those chips on our shoulders does long-term damage. “In my work treating alcoholics,” writes psychiatrist Abraham Twerski, a founder of the renowned Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, there is “great emphasis on divesting oneself of resentments,” since “resentments are probably the single greatest factor responsible for relapse.” Twerski quotes one recovering alcoholic’s insight: “Carrying resentments is like letting someone who you don’t like live inside your head rent-free.” No lasting benefit comes from it, but a lot of misery does.

In a society that thrives on taking offense — just turn on talk radio, or read an online comments section, or follow Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren on Twitter — it can’t be overemphasized that nursing a grievance is always optional. You may not be able to control other people’s opinions, obnoxious jokes, or political loyalties. But you alone determine how you react to them.

Everyone has heard the biblical injunction to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Less well known is the first half of the verse: “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge.” That’s excellent counsel, for believers and nonbelievers alike.

SOURCE




Australian storage king hits out at gender cop

SELF-STORAGE mogul Sam Kennard has lashed out at the government’s gender equality watchdog after his business was “named and shamed” for not filling a complicated annual questionnaire.

In its latest annual report, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has published the names of businesses which fell foul of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

Under the law, companies with more than 100 employees are required to lodge a report with the WGEA every year detailing “gender equality indicators” such as male-to-female ratios and salaries. The WGEA itself, which costs taxpayers $5 million a year to run, employs five male and 25 female staff.

Among the 74 businesses deemed “non-compliant” by the WGEA this year include household names like Kennards Self Storage, Bing Lee, Vittoria Coffee, Palace Cinemas and Sportsmans Warehouse. Also named were the likes of Williams-Sonoma, EB Games, and a number of plumbing, cleaning, freight and transport companies.

“Non-compliant organisations may not be eligible to tender for contracts under Commonwealth and some state procurement frameworks, and may not be eligible for some Commonwealth grants or other financial assistance,” the report warns.

Mr Kennard, who contested Joe Hockey’s North Sydney seat in the December 2015 by-election for the Liberal Democrats, said the WGEA was an organisation “dripping with hypocrisy” that “should be abolished”.

“My company does not discriminate for race, age, sex or religion,” he said.

“If someone has a good attitude, not afraid of work and willing to learn they’re a starter in our view. This is not a particularly profound or enlightened perspective — it is just common sense. It is good for business.

“I can confirm that we do discriminate against time-wasting bureaucracies. The WGEA is a prime example of unnecessary government intrusion into the activities of businesses. My business has much more productive endeavours to pursue than filling out paperwork for government agencies like the WGEA.”

Mr Kennard said his company was challenged enough to “make our business better, to give customers a better experience and to operate efficiently without distractions like this”. “The WGEA impost is 100 per cent pure overhead,” he said.

“While politicians and economists lament the declining productivity in our economy, it is exactly this red-tape and the imposts of these bureaucracies that tax the efforts of enterprise. If the government was serious about tackling productivity it would get out of our way — it would abolish the WGEA and the abundance of other regulations they lay on.

“I am personally driven to the see the best outcomes for my business and believe strongly that good performance should be encouraged and rewarded irrespective of sex. We are conscious of HR shortcomings, appreciate the challenges and work to overcome them.”

Mr Kennard added that it was “pleasing that there are plenty of non-taxpayer funded advocates for the success of women, which further emphasises that this is an area the government does not need to participate in”.

Meanwhile, Mia Johannsen, head of people and culture at Palace Cinemas, said the company was deemed non-compliant because it wasn’t willing to share “private individual salary information” with the WGEA.

“Initially we did send through some information regarding gender split and the different roles, but we didn’t want to comment with anything confidential such as the private salaries of our employees,” she said.

“We employ more females than males, 53 per cent to 47 per cent, so obviously we are completely for gender equality. We have many women in senior management, including myself.”

Ms Johannsen said Palace Cinemas “regret being labelled as non-compliant”. “It would be a lot easier if the process was simpler,” she said.

“The process to be able to lodge all of this information was very long and extensive and it took days for my predecessor to even locate that information, so I think that was the issue [in previous years].”

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 05, 2016



Australia: Weasel words from the Salvation Army

A little while ago, the Victorian branch of the Salvation Army gave unconditional approval to the "Safe Schools" program -- a program that promotes homosexuality and undermines the traditional family.  The Marxist authors of the program smuggled in the propaganda by using the language of "safety" and the Sallies have followed suit.

This sparked outrage from many quarters, including, one gathers, Army members.  Not so long ago the Sallies opposed homosexuality on scriptural grounds but they now have bowed down before the the false god of secularism. The false god who led the children of Israel astray after the Exodus was often Baal of Peor, a god of sexual license.  Not much has changed it seems. Despite their expansive lip-service to Christianity, Bible teachings no longer matter to the Sallies, it seems.  The gods of Canaan are OK for them now.

But in response to the flak that they have received from Godly and family-oriented people the national organization has now done a very half-hearted backdown. In the statement below, the only words of the backtrack are: "The Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form".  They don't say why and the ordinary reader would never guess why. For them to say more would expose the hypocrisy of their claim to be Christian.  Clearly, they no longer support the Biblical view of homosexuality.  In Christ's words, they are "whited sepulchres" (Matthew 23:27)



The Salvation Army is a Christian movement dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus. We purposefully work to reveal this love to everyone by building loving communities combined with the provision of spiritual, emotional and material support. Our compassionate participation has evolved over 136 years of service in all spheres of the Australian community, especially to people who are vulnerable, suffering and underprivileged and we are humbled that our efforts are so widely welcomed, encouraged and supported.

This non-discriminatory commitment to love and serve others is highlighted in our international mission statement which says we are: ‘to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination’. We believe that God loves everyone. We call on all Salvationists and community members to show this same love to others.

We have zero tolerance for bullying and as such, there is no situation where it is acceptable. Every person regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or religion has the right to feel safe so they can achieve their full God-given potential. We emphasize that the alarming high rate of bullying and suicide among LGBTIQ school students evokes deep concern within The Salvation Army.

There are many accounts of marginalised students benefiting from aspects of the Safe Schools programs which have resulted in a safer, more caring culture forming in those schools. In this regard, we recognise the program’s intent to address bullying. Whilst acknowledging such positive outcomes, The Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form. We believe there needs to be consideration and refinement to the scope and form of implementation.

We believe the availability of support services for every vulnerable student including those identifying as LGBTIQ is vital. We also believe the provision of a government approved anti-bullying program needs to consider all high risk student groups. To this end, The Salvation Army is open to working with State and Federal Governments and other agencies to develop a program that more comprehensively addresses the issues associated with bullying within schools.

We call on all Salvationists and the community at large to treat each other with respect and grace. Jesus said that after loving God, the second most important commandment is to love our neighbour as we love ourself. Everyone has the right to always feel safe and to be treated with respect and grace.

SOURCE






Diversity Dogma Dovetails with Waste, Corruption, Nepotism

The U.S. economy may be sluggish, but as we noted, bureaucracy is booming. University of California bosses cry out for more taxpayer cash even as they bulk up on “diversity” bureaucrats. Universities nationwide are now cranking out administrators to fill these useless posts, but diversity bloat is hardly confined to education.

For example, new Sacramento city manager Howard Chan will try to “increase diversity” at city hall, and fill the recently created position of “diversity manager.” That pledge came in response to an “audit” showing that city management does not reflect the ethnic proportions of the population at large. If representation is not proportionate, according to diversity dogma, discrimination is always a problem and the only remedy is hiring on the basis of race, ethnicity and gender. Such “reverse discrimination” is actually illegal under Proposition 209, which Californians passed on November 5, 1996, but city officials elevate political correctness over the rule of law.

The new mayor of Sacramento is former state Senate boss Darrell Steinberg, on whose watch three Senators were busted on corruption charges. The Senate has been a hive of nepotism. Sergeant-at-arms Gerardo Lopez was involved in a gun battle that left one person dead, but he duly remained on the state payroll. Lopez’s wife worked for Steinberg in his policy unit, and Lopez’s mother was a big wheel in the Senate’s human resources department. What a cozy world.

Steinberg authored 2004’s Proposition 63, which hiked taxes to fund mental health services. The measure raised $8 billion by 2013, but according to news reports, mental health services had declined. The state auditor could not account for how the money was spent, and even the Sacramento Bee wondered if the money had been “shoved down a rat hole.”

Four years ago in 2012, voters faced four ballot measures on taxes and spending. The Senate Governance and Finance Committee held hearings on the measures, and the California Channel gave voters statewide a chance to gain insights from the testimony. Unfortunately, Senate boss Darrell Steinberg blocked citizens’ access by pulling the plug on the live broadcast. He then offered a lame apology in which he proclaimed, “I pride myself on being open and transparent.”

For Steinberg and his Sacramento cronies, “diversity” means the proportionality dogma, which is not state law. Since hiring by racial, ethnic and gender preferences is in fact illegal, the “diversity manager” position is pure waste. On the other hand, taxpayers can find true diversity in the mixture of waste, secrecy, corruption and nepotism now so common in government at all levels.

SOURCE






ESPN lurches Left and loses subscribers

Over the last two months, ESPN has lost an astounding 1.176 million subscribers. October and November have set records in losses for the sports network, which now has a total number of cable and satellite subscribers at 88.4 million — down from well over a 100 million just a few years ago. ESPN, the largest provider of sports coverage in the nation, will see at least a $100 million loss in revenue this year thanks to this hemorrhaging of subscribers.

There are several contributing factors, such as changing demographics and competition from other sports networks like Fox’s FS1. However, the largest contributing factor may be that the Entertainment Sports and Programming Network has changed into a leftist propaganda rag, unabashedly mixing sports broadcasting and commentary with the promotion of leftist social activism and politics. It’s the old leftist ploy of co-opting everything as a means of promoting and instilling their politically correct worldview into the populace, with the expressed purpose of excluding other perspectives. It’s Orwellian.

But American sports fans don’t want to be lectured to on how “brave” Bruce Jenner was for declaring himself a woman, or listen to the glorification of Colin Kaepernick for disrespecting the national anthem. The history of sports in America is one of entertaining competition, not of “social justice” causes. There is no question that sports have had significant impact upon American culture, but conflating “social justice” with sports entertainment only turns people off. ESPN is learning the hard way that sports and politics just don’t mix.

SOURCE





Bring back Christmas! Britain's equality chief says bosses should use 'common sense' and not dilute their festive cheer to avoid offending other faiths

Overzealous bosses should let staff celebrate Christmas and not fear offending other faiths, an equality chief has said.

David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said employers needed to take a 'common sense' approach when dealing with the Christian holiday.

He said company directors had misunderstood current laws promoting freedom of religion and had dampened down festive celebrations so not to cause offence.  

There was no need for example to call the Christmas period 'the winter holidays', he said.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, he said: 'Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right and it shouldn't be suppressed through fear of offending.

'Lots of employers have now become really worried about doing anything discriminatory regarding their Muslim or Jewish staff.'

He added there were a lot of 'myths' surrounding what employers had to offer staff who did not celebrate Christmas.

The government's integration tsar, Dame Louise Casey, has also defended the right of Christians and non-Christians to mark the annual holiday.

She referred to a case of a 'well meaning white manager' who would call a Christmas tree a 'festive tree' because she feared causing offence.

There were controversy when the Church of England was banned from screening a promotion featuring the Lord's Prayer in cinemas during pre-film adverts. 

Mr Isaac said concerns that employers had to give staff time off to pray were wrong.

New guidance, to be issued next week, will make clear bosses only have to give religious requests proper consideration and do not necessarily have to agree. 

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, December 04, 2016



A church that is embarrassed to be a church

They are Australia's successors for the Methodists, who were notably confident in their faith. So it is sad to see how far they have fallen. They even deny Christ.  The Bible has some advice for them: 

Mark 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." 2 Timothy 1:8 "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God". Matthew 10:33 "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."



Australia's Uniting Church will avoid using religious symbols and the word 'Christ' as part of it's new advertising campaign to distance itself from child sex scandals.

The survivors of child abuse have hit back at the Uniting Church accusing the change as an attempt to 'disown' the past in a bid to avoid addressing the situation.

But the Uniting Church defended the change claiming it was the right move to no longer use 'overt' faith-based language after the royal commission into child sexual abuse ruined the image of religious institutions, The Daily Telegraph reported.

'You are right to highlight that sometimes we do not mention Christ's name in our advertising,' executive director of Uniting, Peter Worland, said.

'Since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, faith-based organisations like ours are perceived pejoratively. So, sometimes we are overt with our religious language, sometimes we are not.'

However Mr Worland said if you look closely you can still see religious symbols.

‘Sometimes we are overt with our religious language, sometimes we are not…The symbol of the cross at its heart (the ‘t’), with a person either side of it (each ‘i’) to represent this connection and inclusivity.’

SOURCE




Don't brand Brexit supporters racist! Equalities watchdog insists people who voted Leave in the referendum wanted the 'best for the UK'

Brexit voters should not be branded racist because they believed leaving the EU was the best thing for the country, the equalities watchdog has insisted.

The message came as the Equality and Human Rights Commission urged politicians on both sides of the bitter row to tone down their rhetoric.

It warned that the hostility involved was polarising the UK and fuelling a rise in hate attacks

Nigel Farage has spoken of his fears for his safety in the wake of the referendum amid a welter of death threats. the outgoing Ukip leader was threatened with a glass at a bar last week and now does not go out without security guards.

Meanwhile, Remain campaigner Gina Miller - who is spearheading a legal challenge against Theresa May triggering Article 50 without a parliamentary vote - has revealed she has spent more than £60,000 on her personal security. 

In a letter sent to the big political parties, the watchdog said: 'We are concerned that attacks on supporters of both sides of the Brexit debate have polarised many parts of the country.

'There are those who used, and continue to use, public concern about immigration policy and the economy to legitimise hate.

'The vast majority of people who voted to leave the European Union did so because they believe it is best for Britain and not because they are intolerant of others.'

The letter calls on the Government to do more to combat hate peddled by a 'small minority' as it also suggests there should be a review of the effectiveness of sentencing for hate crimes in England and Wales, including the ability to increase sentencing for crimes motivated by hate.

It states that 'politicians of all sides should be aware of the effect on national mood of their words and policies' even when those policies are not acted upon - like the Government's now-ditched proposal for companies to list foreign workers.

'Your offices bring with them a responsibility to ensure that policy debate is conducted in a way that brings the country together and moves it forward,' the letter states.

'Robust discussion is a central pillar of our democracy and nothing should be done to undermine freedom of expression.

'The right to free and fair elections supported by accurate information and respectful debate is also essential to our democratic process.

'Our elected representatives and the media should reflect and foster the best values in our society and engage people on contentious issues in a responsible and considered way.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the EHRC, David Isaac has also expressed concerns about the way in which businesses approach religious belief in the work place.

He said: 'There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to dealing with religion at work. I want to put the record straight.

'It is about taking a common sense approach. You can send Christmas cards and have a Christmas party and you might also decide to provide facilities for special religious diets, but that is your choice.'

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green, who backed Remain, said he was 'uncomfortable' with the abuse surrounding the Brexit debate.

He told ITV's Peston on Sunday: 'One of the things that's wrong with this country is the political discourse we have. It's become abusive, it's become personal and it's not good for democracy so I suggest everyone on all sides of the Brexit argument or of any other argument, let's be civilised, let's agree that you can hold positions on either side of an argument and still respect each other. '

He added: 'I feel uncomfortable about the level of abuse, personal abuse that has spread to some extent from social media where it's always been present, into mainstream political discussion. It's not good for the health of our politics.'

SOURCE






Fury as watchdog says it's OK to send gay people death threats – but only if you're Muslim

A Dutch anti-discrimination hotline has said it is OK for Muslims to threaten gay people

In a shocking move, the taxpayer-funded hotline said it would not pursue a criminal complaint over horrific messages from radical Islamists because the Koran says gay people can be killed.

The disgraceful stance came to light when a member of the public complained about death threats posted to an online forum which called for homosexuals to be “burned, decapitated and slaughtered”.

Dutch MPs today reacted with horror to the revelations, demanding an immediate inquiry into the remarks and calling for the hotline to be stripped of public funding.

According to Dutch media advisors from the anti-discrimination bureau MiND said that, while homophobic abuse was usually a crime, it was justifiable if you were Muslim due to laws on freedom of religious expression.

They argued that the Koran says it is acceptable to kill people for being homosexual, and so death threats towards gay people from Muslims could not be discriminatory.

In a jaw-dropping email explaining why they could not take up the complaint, they wrote: “The remarks must be seen in the context of religious beliefs in Islam, which juridically takes away the insulting character."

The revelations will further fuel the debate about free speech in the country

They concluded that the remarks were made in "the context of a public debate about how to interpret the Quran" and added that "some Muslims understand from the Quran that gays should be killed”.

And they went on: “In the context of religious expression that exists in the Netherlands there is a large degree of freedom of expression. In addition, the expressions are used in the context of the public debate (how to interpret the Koran), which also removes the offending character."

The death threats had been made in the comments section for an article about a Dutch-Moroccan gay society, which had been posted to an online platform for Holland’s large Moroccan community.

The revelation that they were so easily brushed aside by the anti-discrimination hotline will fuel an intense debate in the Netherlands over freedom of expression.

Far-right politician Geert Wilders, whose party is expected to win next spring’s general election, is currently on trial for inciting racial hatred after telling a rally there were “too many Moroccans” in the Netherlands.

And two right-wing MPs, Joram van Klaveren and Louis Bontes, have now announced their intention to bring up the incident in the Dutch parliament by asking questions of the Justice Minister.

Mr Van Klaveren will ask: “Do you share our disgust at the fact that this explicitly states that inciting violence is not a problem if it comes from the Islamic belief?"

A spokesman for the MiND hotline admitted that after “further research” of the issue it had concluded that the complaint had been “unjustly assessed”.

He added that when the complaint involved calling for violence against a particular group, the beliefs of the person making the threats should not matter.

SOURCE




Australia: African migrants at heart of daycare scandals

Another triumph of multiculturalism

Family daycare operators and teachers from non-English-speaking backgrounds are being targeted by state authorities in a bid to crack down on abuse and bending of rules that have cost taxpayers more than $1 billion in two years and put children at risk.

Senior departmental staff and Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones have confirmed a trend in rorting and noncompliance among ethnic communities, which has resulted in scarce investigative resources being focused on new services and migrant groups. Analysis of state government enforcement action in the past six months reveals family day care services slapped with conditions, suspended or cancelled were almost exclusively run by migrants from Africa, most from Somalia or Sudan.

Sudanese migrant Aluel Mawiir provided false and misleading information and failed to meet service conditions for her Victorian business, Dombai Family Daycare.

In one West Australian case, Sudanese woman Anyieth Makuei had her approval to run her Zebra Family Day cancelled on May 19 because she provided fake documents to the regulator regarding the first aid and asthma training of her staff. Weeks later Ms Makuei lost her ability to be a supervisor in the same industry because, according to the state, she “persuaded family daycare educators to produce false documents and provide false information at the interview” with the state government.

In Victoria, Milky Way Family Day Care, which lists its directors as Ethiopian-born Jale Tujuba and Adnan Yusuf, was put on notice by the Victorian government for providing false and misleading information, not meeting service conditions and failing to run required educational programs.

Family daycare providers fall under the National Quality Framework, introduced by the previous Labor federal government in 2012, and attract federal government child care subsidies.

Queensland’s Acacia Ridge service Maka Family Day Care Scheme has been suspended until Christmas Eve because “there was an immediate risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of children being educated and cared for”.

Family daycare services have grown 61 per cent in the past two years, compared with just 7 per cent for ­centre-based childcare operators.

The hike in activity, which has been higher than 300 per cent in some regions, has placed pressure on state governments, which are responsible for making sure the businesses meet stringent rules and regulations under the quality framework.

Ms Jones said Queensland was now rejecting 60 per cent of new applications. “Queensland has put in place the toughest regulation process in the country for family daycare approved providers,” she told The Australian.

“In addition (to approval rejections) there are strict conditions on approvals and ongoing monitoring and compliance checks.”

Of the 15 most recent compliance crackdowns across the nation, all but one of the services are owned and operated by African directors, with six from Sudan and another six from Somalia.

The Australian revealed the case of Sudanese migrant Ruben Majok Aleer Aguer who received $1.6 million in federal funds over just 16 months to run a network of family daycare educators which authorities could not confirm were officially employed by him.

Nor, during at least 17 inspections, did any of the ACT department staff confirm a single child was ever in care.

Sharing of regulatory responsibility between Canberra and the states means the federal government only investigates fraud offences when it ­suspects money has gone missing. The largest proven case of family daycare fraud ended last week when Albury-based 29-year-old Melissa Jade Higgins was found guilty of stealing more than $3m from the federal government.

Victoria has moved to take the heat out of the market by increasing inspections and investigations.

The family daycare sector in Victoria represents 10 per cent of the total childcare pool but ­accounts for almost 80 per cent of enforcement actions taken by the state. Services have grown by 341 and 339 per cent respectively in Melbourne’s highly multicultural western and northern suburbs.

SOURCE


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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 02, 2016



Women's health at risk from political correctness

Professor Ripoff below is a feminist twit.  Because there are large areas of overlap between men and women, she says that proves men and women are the same.  That is totally illogical.  Just one defective gene can in some cases lie behind serious disabilities -- e.g. PKU.  But if one gene can have a big effect what must be possible from the many genetic differences between men and women?  Men are even missing half a chromosome compared to women!

So Prof. Ripoff certainly helps perpetuate the view that women are illogical



The male and female brain are different in many ways. But in the world of research, scientists are being warned to ignore this fact over fears they will be labelled sexist. 

As a result, women's health is being put at risk, with the majority of drugs only being tested on male brains, it has been claimed.

The way that male and female brains react to drugs can differ.

One area in which medication is understood to differ between genders is for the drugs that are used to treat stroke patients.

Under the current method, scientists are assuming that results can be generalised for both sexes, which could place women’s health at risk.

It is thought that scientists focused on male brains as hormone levels fluctuate during a woman’s menstrual cycle, making them more difficult to study.

The article stated that the evidence of differing reactions within the brains of men and women ‘matters fundamentally, powerfully, and pervasively’.

Professor Larry Cahill, a neurobiologist from University of California Irvine, said: ‘The assumption has been that, once you get outside of reproductive functions, what you find in males and females is fundamentally the same and therefore there is no reason to study both sexes — and beyond that it is not good to study females as they have pesky circulating hormones.

‘The last 15 to 20 years has overwhelmingly proven that assumption is false, false, false.’

Others have called into question the need to test both genders, suggesting that there are no significant differences.

Professor Gina Rippon, of Aston University, described some of the research as ‘neurosexism’.

Speaking in August, Professor Rippon said: ‘The latest evidence shows that we are all part of a spectrum, so dividing us into binary categories gives misleading results'.

She told The Times: ‘A key issue in this area is the large areas of overlap between the scores of males and the scores of females in almost any comparison you might compare to make, to the extent that you might be forgiven for thinking that, actually, the sexes are more similar than they are different.’

Professor Cahill claims that he has been warned against studying the difference between sexes as it could harm his career.

‘Some people start to get itchy though when you talk about sex differences in the brain. That in turn stems from a deeply ingrained, powerful and false assumption,’ he said.

‘The heart of the resistance is the view that if neuroscience shows males and females are not the same in brain function, we are showing they are not equal. That is false.’

The Times reported that another paper published in the journal highlighted a stroke treatment called Lazaroids that was rejected at the final stages of testing as its effectiveness seemed to decline.

The authors suggested that the drug may have continued to work, but only for men, and when it was given to women in the latter testing stages, the findings appeared worse as a result.

SOURCE





Breitbart declares war on Kellogg

BREITBART has called for a boycott of Kellogg’s products following the food manufacturer’s decision to pull advertising from the conservative news website.

Kellogg announced this week it was discontinuing advertising on the site because it was not “aligned with our values as a company”.

Breitbart was formerly run by Steve Bannon, one of President-elect Donald Trump’s top aides, and has been accused of being racist and sexist — claims the site vehemently denies.

“We regularly work with our media buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that aren’t aligned with our values as a company,” Kellogg spokeswoman Kris Charles said Tuesday.

“This involves reviewing websites where ads could potentially be placed using filtering technology to assess site content. As you can imagine, there is a very large volume of websites, so occasionally something is inadvertently missed.

“We recently reviewed the list of sites where our ads can be placed and decided to discontinue advertising on Breitbart.com. We are working to remove ads from that site.”

It came as Amnesty International warned multinational companies including Kellogg’s and Nestle were selling products containing palm oil from Indonesian plantations which used child labour and exposed workers to toxic chemicals.

In response, Breitbart has launched a #DumpKelloggs petition, urging its “45 million monthly conservative readers” to “ban bigotry from the breakfast table” and stop buying products including Coco Pops, Rice Bubbles and Special K.

“Kellogg’s has shown its contempt for Breitbart’s 45 million readers and for the main street American values that they hold dear,” Breitbart president and chief executive Larry Solov said in a statement.

“Pulling its advertising from Breitbart News is a decidedly cynical and un-American act. The only sensible response is to join together and boycott Kellogg’s products in protest.”

The media company said the move — which came on the heels of pharmaceutical maker Novo Nordisk, online glasses retailer Warby Parker, the San Diego Zoo pulling advertising — would have “virtually no revenue impact”.

“It does, however, represent an escalation in the war by leftist companies like Target and Allstate against conservative customers whose values propelled Donald Trump into the White House,” Breitbart said.

“Kellogg’s offered no examples of how Breitbart’s 45 million monthly readers fail to align with the breakfast maker’s values. Indeed, the move appears to be one more example of an out-of-touch corporation embracing false left-wing narratives used to cynically smear the hardworking Americans that populate this nation’s heartland.”

Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alexander Marlow described the website as “the largest platform for pro-family content anywhere on the internet”.

“We are fearless advocates for traditional American values, perhaps most important among them is freedom of speech, or our motto ‘more voices, not less’,” he said.

“For Kellogg’s, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice. They insult our incredibly diverse staff and spit in the face of our 45 million highly engaged, highly perceptive, highly loyal readers, many of whom are Kellogg’s customers.

“Boycotting Breitbart News for presenting mainstream American ideas is an act of discrimination and intense prejudice. If you serve Kellogg’s products to your family, you are serving up bigotry at your breakfast table.”

More than 50,000 people had signed the petition within hours. It comes after comments by PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, a Hillary Clinton supporter, sparked calls for a boycott of Pepsi products. Prior to that, the CEO of food delivery service GrubHub caused outrage by suggesting employees who supported Mr Trump should resign.

SOURCE






That wonderful multiculturalism again



The disturbing injuries suffered by a woman after an African man broke into her home and sexually assaulted her as she slept next to her partner and baby can now be revealed.

The 21-year-old victim was asleep in her bed at home when Lang Kouth, 21, broke in and started aggressively kissing her on the lips, neck, face, and touching her genital area – all while the couple's 17-month-old baby slept at the foot of the bed.

The young mother was left badly battered and bruised from the sexual assault which happened at her Cranbourne North home in Victoria, July 24.

In a photo, she reveals the extent of the injuries – including a large brown bruise stamped on the left side of her neck.

'She was bruised black, bruised black all down her jawline, all down her neck. He had bitten her like she was a piece of meat,' a family member told Yahoo.

She and her partner were left so disgusted and traumatised by the attack, neither of them have spoken about it since – refusing to make victim impact statements in court.

'She's got to live with that for the rest of her life. She sleeps in the lounge room because she doesn't want to go to the other end of the house,' the family member said.

Lang Kouth broke into the woman's home, in Cranbourne North, Victoria, on July 24 with the intention of stealing a car.

But instead he went into the young couple's bedroom, removed his shoes and climbed into bed before assaulting the woman.

Still half asleep, the she pushed him away from her, believing he was her husband at the time.

But when she felt the man's hair and realised it was a stranger, she began screaming and woke her partner, who was still asleep beside her.

When he awoke to the stranger in his bed, he chased the man out of the house.

Kouth was 20-years-old and intoxicated at the time of the disturbing home invasion, the court heard.

Kouth was sentenced to four years and four months jail in Melbourne court on Tuesday for the aggravated burglary and sexual assault.

Judge Tinney said the young mother's experience of waking up in her own bed with a stranger on top of her was 'the stuff of nightmares' – especially because the young baby was in the room at the time.

Although Judge Tinney worried an adult prison might further 'corrupt' Kouth, he said he needed to send a loud and clear message that the court would not tolerate this type of behaviour.

Kouth will serve at least two years and three months of his four years and four month sentence before being eligible for parole. 

SOURCE






Nigel Farage fears for his LIFE after threats over links to Trump – but it WON’T stop him backing Marine Le Pen in France’s elections

Nigel Farage has revealed his fears for his life after his high-profile backing for Donald Trump in the US presidential race.

The MEP, who is due to stand aside as Ukip leader tomorrow, said he has received a wave of death threats and no longer goes out in public without security guards.

But he has risked further fury by hinting he could endorse Front National leader Marine Le Pen in the looming French elections.

The Brexit campaigner has long been a controversial figure, and has repeatedly voiced concerns about his own safety in the past.

One of the main reasons he decided to quit as Ukip leader in July was the rising number of threats he was receiving after the historic referendum result. He said his political career had come at a 'significant cost' to his wife Kirsten and children.

However, since then he has taken a high-profile role in the US presidential battle - appearing at rallies for Mr Trump and predicting that he would pull off a Brexit-style political shock.

After the billionaire Republican emerged victorious, Mr Farage became the first British politician to meet him, spending an hour at Trump Tower in New York.

By contrast Theresa May had to make do with a ten minute phone call, coming after a host of other leaders.

Mr Trump then ratcheted up the pressure on the Prime Minister by calling for Mr Farage to be made Britain's ambassador to the US.

The prospect has been dismissed by Downing Street, with Chancellor Philip Hammond telling the MEP not to 'hold his breath' for a call from the government.

Speaking to the Daily Express, Mr Farage said: 'Certainly I would not go out in London of an evening on my own without security – couldn't even think about it. 'I can't even walk down the street without it. I have to go to private places, private venues.'

Mr Farage suggested his support for Trump had 'changed everything' and upped the level of animosity towards him

He also hinted that he could support Marine Le Pen's bid in the looming battle to become French president. He said the Front National leader was 'very determined' and 'brilliant on TV', but there was 'lots of baggage' with her party.

Asked whether he could back her in the latter stages of the presidential race, Mr Farage said: 'It depends what the circumstances are, you'll have to ask me in April. I have never said a bad word about her but I have never said a good word about her party and that's where I am with this - it's slightly awkward.'

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, December 01, 2016



Australia: When does physical discipline of a child become unlawful abuse?

This highlights something I have long said.  Some, perhaps most, children are tractable enough to diverted from undesirable behaviour without spanking.  But others are so unruly that no control of their behaviour can be achieved without corporal punishment.  All men are not equal nor are all kids equal, difficult to understand though that seems to be for Leftists.

In the case below, a man used very violent behaviour in an attempt to control extremely violent behaviour by two out of five kids in his household.  What else was he to do?  Shut the kids out on the street?  He was in fact being responsible in trying to teach them restraint.

The judge apparently saw that, pointing out that the behaviour was illegal but  taking a very mild view of the matter.  He ruled that the father could have access to his own untroubled son but cut off access to the violent children, who are now in state care anyway. Rather a Solomon-like verdict, I think



The question arose in the case of a father who had beaten his two eldest children with a cricket bat, but who argued he should still be allowed to see his six-year-old son.

The boy lives with his mother, who opposed her estranged husband having any contact with their boy.

Both she and the father had previously smacked the boy, the Family Court in Newcastle heard. But the mother claimed he was at risk of physical abuse if left with the father, because of the way the man punished his older sons from a previous relationship.

Under the NSW Crimes Act, the defence of lawful correction permits a parent, or someone acting with their authority, to punish a child with physical force. But the force must be reasonable in light of the child's age, health and maturity, as well as their alleged misbehaviour. Force applied to any part of the child's head or neck, or elsewhere on their body in a way likely to cause harm "for more than a short period", is not considered reasonable.

The court heard that from around the time they were aged aged six or seven, the father hit his two eldest sons with a cricket bat and once left them with bruises and welts after beating them with a broken broom handle. In what judge Stewart Austin called a description of "cruel brutality", a sibling recalled hearing the boys beg for mercy and scream with pain, saw the bat used with such force it broke and saw welts on the boys' bottoms.

The boys are now in their early teens and in state care. The three other children in the household had not been abused by the father.

In determining the case, Justice Austin said it was necessary "to differentiate between physical 'discipline' and physical 'abuse'".

"Despite modern society's changing opinion about the morality of corporal punishment of children, the law of NSW still envisages the legitimate administration of physical discipline by an adult to a child, subject to certain constraints," he said. "It is only when the discipline transcends those constraints that it becomes abusive and ceases to be lawful correction."

Justice Austin described the two older boys as "very troubled children", throwing objects, damaging property and "using weapons like knives, broken glass, hammers and loaded spear guns to threaten people".

But the fact that their behaviour "presented an extraordinarily difficult parenting challenge was not an excuse for the severity of their treatment", he said. Their punishment amounted to abuse and "criminal assaults".

However, the judge granted the father unsupervised visits with his six-year-old son, ruling it was in the child's best interests.

The father was not "so unfit as a parent that he is utterly incapable of safely caring for the child for short stints", Justice Austin said. He noted that the father had undergone parenting courses and the little boy was unlikely to be as challenging as his older stepbrothers.

SOURCE






Final Statement of Geert Wilders at his Trial

Mr. President, Members of the Court,

When I decided to address you here today, by making a final statement in this trial against freedom of speech, many people reacted by telling me it is useless. That you, the court, have already written the sentencing verdict a while ago. That everything indicates that you have already convicted me. And perhaps that is true. Nevertheless, here I am. Because I never give up. And I have a message for you and the Netherlands.

For centuries, the Netherlands are a symbol of freedom.

When one says Netherlands, one says freedom. And that is also true, perhaps especially, for those who have a different opinion than the establishment, the opposition. And our most important freedom is freedom of speech.

We, Dutch, say whatever is close to our hearts. And that is precisely what makes our country great. Freedom of speech is our pride.

And that, precisely that, is at stake here, today.

I refuse to believe that we are simply giving this freedom up. Because we are Dutch. That is why we never mince our words. And I, too, will never do that. And I am proud of that. No-one will be able to silence me.

Moreover, members of the court, for me personally, freedom of speech is the only freedom I still have. Every day, I am reminded of that. This morning, for example. I woke up in a safe-house. I got into an armored car and was driven in a convoy to this high security courtroom at Schiphol. The bodyguards, the blue flashing lights, the sirens. Every day again. It is hell. But I am also intensely grateful for it.

Because they protect me, they literally keep me alive, they guarantee the last bit of freedom left to me: my freedom of speech. The freedom to go somewhere and speak about my ideals, my ideas to make the Netherlands -- our country -- stronger and safer. After twelve years without freedom, after having lived for safety reasons, together with my wife, in barracks, prisons and safe-houses, I know what lack of freedom means.

I sincerely hope that this will never happen to you, members of the court. That, unlike me, you will never have to be protected because Islamic terror organizations, such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS, and who knows how many individual Muslims, want to murder you. That you will no longer be allowed to empty your own mailbox, need to carry a bulletproof vest at meetings, and that there are police officers guarding the door whenever you use the bathroom. I hope you will be spared this.

However, if you would have experienced it -- no matter how much you disagree with my views -- you might perhaps understand that I cannot remain silent. That I should not remain silent. That I must speak. Not just for myself, but for the Netherlands, our country. That I need to use the only freedom that I still have to protect our country. Against Islam and against terrorism. Against immigration from Islamic countries. Against the huge problem with Moroccans in the Netherlands. I cannot remain silent about it; I have to speak out. That is my duty, I have to address it, I must warn for it, I have to propose solutions for it.

I had to give up my freedom to do this and I will continue. Always. People who want to stop me will have to murder me first.

And so, I stand here before you. Alone. But I am not alone. My voice is the voice of many. In 2012, nearly 1 million Dutch have voted for me. And there will be many more on March 15th.

According to the latest poll, soon, we are going to have two million voters. Members of the court, you know these people. You meet them every day. As many as one in five Dutch citizens would vote the Party for Freedom, today. Perhaps your own driver, your gardener, your doctor or your domestic aid, the girlfriend of a registrar, your physiotherapist, the nurse at the nursing home of your parents, or the baker in your neighborhood. They are ordinary people, ordinary Dutch. The people I am so proud of.

They have elected me to speak on their behalf. I am their spokesman. I am their representative. I say what they think. I speak on their behalf. And I do so determinedly and passionately. Every day again, including here, today.

So, do not forget that, when you judge me, you are not just passing judgment on a single man, but on millions of men and women in the Netherlands. You are judging millions of people. People who agree with me. People who will not understand a conviction. People who want their country back, who are sick and tired of not being listened to, who cherish freedom of expression.

Members of the court, you are passing judgment on the future of the Netherlands. And I tell you: if you convict me, you will convict half of the Netherlands. And many Dutch will lose their last bit of trust in the rule of law.

Of course, I should not have been subjected to this absurd trial. Because this is a political trial. It is a political trial because political issues have to be debated in Parliament and not here. It is a political trial because other politicians -- from mostly government parties -- who spoke about Moroccans have not been prosecuted. It is a political trial because the court is being abused to settle a political score with an opposition leader whom one cannot defeat in Parliament.

This trial here, Mr. President, it stinks. It would be appropriate in Turkey or Iran, where they also drag the opposition to court. It is a charade, an embarrassment for the Netherlands, a mockery of our rule of law.

And it is also an unfair trial because, earlier, one of you -- Mrs. van Rens -- commented negatively on the policy of my party and the successful challenge in the previous Wilders trial. Now, she is going to judge me.

What have I actually done to deserve this travesty? I have spoken about fewer Moroccans at a market, and I have asked questions of PVV members during a campaign event. And I did so, members of the court, because we have a huge problem with Moroccans in this country. And almost no-one dares to speak about it or take tough measures. My party alone has been speaking about this problem for years.

Just look at these past weeks: Moroccan fortune-seekers stealing and robbing in Groningen, abusing our asylum system, and Moroccan youths terrorizing entire neighborhoods in Maassluis, Ede and Almere. I can give tens of thousands of other examples -- almost everyone in the Netherlands knows them or has personally experienced nuisance from criminal Moroccans. If you do not know them, you are living in an ivory tower.

I tell you: If we can no longer honestly address problems in the Netherlands, if we are no longer allowed to use the word "alien," if we, Dutch, are suddenly racists because we want Black Pete to remain black, if we only go unpunished if we want more Moroccans or else are dragged before a criminal court, if we sell out our hard-won freedom of expression, if we use the courts to silence an opposition politician, who threatens to become Prime Minister, then this beautiful country will be doomed. That is unacceptable, because we are Dutch and this is our country.

And again, what on earth have I done wrong? How can the fact be justified that I have to stand here as a suspect, as if I robbed a bank or committed murder?

I only spoke about Moroccans at a market and asked a question at an election-night meeting. And anyone who has the slightest understanding of politics, knows that the election-night meetings of every party consist of political speeches full of slogans, one-liners and making maximum use of the rules of rhetoric. That is our job. That is the way it works in politics.

More HERE






The Muslim Non-Shooter at Ohio State

"What you need to know about the shooting at Ohio State," blared a headline at USA Today.

Well, first of all, what you need to know is that it wasn't a shooting at all. It was evidently an 18-year-old Somali refugee — a legal permanent resident of the United States and a student at Ohio State University — who drove a car into a crowd before jumping out to cut and stab people with a butcher knife. (Ohio State is a gun free zone, after all...) A campus security guard opened fire, killing the would-be murderer. (College cupcakes protest cops until they need one.) Several people were hospitalized with injuries, some critical, from either the car or the knife.

Media reports about such attacks are notoriously inaccurate, as various outlets scramble to be the first out with a "news alert." And the template for such incidents is to blame a "gunman." But somehow we don't expect to now see reports of the "carman" or the "knifeman."

NBC notes, "The motive was unknown, but officials said the attack was clearly deliberate and may have been planned in advance." No doubt. After all, it was modeled after attacks in Minnesota and California, as well as another that was slightly more famous — the one in Nice, France. In that attack, as in the aforementioned and countless other attacks, the Islamic State-inspired radical perpetrator yelled "Allahu Akbar!" as he took the lives of innocent victims. In Nice, 85 people were mowed down by a terrorist with a 15-ton truck. In September, The Washington Post reported on the model, as well: "The attacks carried out by Palestinians against Israelis often appear to be spontaneous and opportunistic. Many are undertaken by young, unmarried Palestinians. The most common weapon used is a kitchen knife. The second most common is the family car." Check, and check. The Islamic State has called for such attacks.

Meanwhile, the attacker's Facebook page featured a few clues: "America, stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak... By Allah, we will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims. You will not celebrate or enjoy any holiday." Furthermore, "I am sick and tired of seeing my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters being killed and tortured EVERYWHERE. Seeing my fellow Muslims being tortured, raped and killed in Burma led to a boiling point."

Well, it's not Ohio State students torturing and killing Muslims (and Christians and Jews and others). It's Islamic State radicals.

So you might say that, while the motive is unknown in terms of the official investigation, it is not a reach to speculate that radical Islam is, as usual, the culprit. Yet Obama has imported 43,000 Somalian refugees, 99% of whom are Muslim.

SOURCE






Can Democrats Quit Identity Politics?

For the Democrats, no activity is immune from reflexive accusations of sexism and racism, not even soul-searching.

The initial postelection debate on the left has brought some tentative breaks with the party’s oppressive and self-limiting identity politics. And they have been met, predictably, with a furious counterattack wielding all of the usual rhetorical weapons of identity politics — lest fresh air penetrate the intellectual and political hothouse where transgender bathroom issues loom incredibly large and it is forbidden to say “all lives matter.”

Rep. Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, is mounting a challenge against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and argues that Democrats are hurt by a paint-by-numbers view of politics. “We try to slice the electorate up,” Ryan said on “Meet the Press” over the weekend. “And we try to say, ‘You’re black, you’re brown, you’re gay, you’re straight, you’re a woman, you’re a man.’”

Ryan might have pointed to a critique of his own leadership bid by a writer at the website ThinkProgress, who opined that his run against Pelosi “is how sexism works.” How so? Ryan is a male; Pelosi is a woman. Q.E.D.

Outside of its political effects, this style of argument is childish and intellectually deadening, yet is too ingrained and widespread on the left to be extricated easily.

A recent essay in The New York Times elegantly diagnosed the problem and inadvertently illustrated it. Mark Lilla, a professor at Columbia and highly respected intellectual historian, wrote that “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.”

His piece itself occasioned a moral panic, focused overwhelmingly on how Lilla is, in fact, himself a white male. His op-ed was denounced from the left as “the whitest thing I’ve ever read,” and part of an “unconscionable” assault on “the very people who just put the most energy into defeating Trumpism, coming from those who will be made least vulnerable by Trump’s ascension.”

Most reprehensibly and sophomorically, a Columbia colleague, Katherine Franke, accused Lilla of promoting a “liberalism of white supremacy” (and, for good measure, of “mansplaining”). One wonders if Franke has any conception of words and arguments as a means to persuade rather than to excoriate and shut down debate, or any inkling of her own self-satisfied intolerance.

Bernie Sanders has entered this debate over identity politics, and, incredibly enough, as a voice of reason. He is cautiously on the side of less emphasis on race and gender. “It’s not good enough,” Sanders said the other day, “for someone to say: ‘I’m a woman! Vote for me!’” (Whom possibly could he have been thinking of?) The Vermont socialist argues, not surprisingly, that his style of populist economics is the real key to appealing to working-class voters.

The Sanders approach will have a lot of allure for Democrats, since it promises renewed political success on the basis of Hillary Clinton’s policy agenda, only more so. There’s nothing more comforting to any political party than the idea that the true religion is also a reliable vote-getter.

What Democrats won’t want to grapple with is that their problem with Middle America goes deeper than an insufficiently socialistic economic agenda, and deeper than their hard-to-control instinct to call people who disagree with them names. To have broader appeal, Democrats will actually have to meet working-class voters partway on a few cultural issues, whether it is abortion or guns or immigration, even if their concessions are symbolical or rhetorical.

This is what Bill Clinton did in the 1990s when he made inroads into what would come to be known as Red America. This will be a truly painful step, and surely anyone advocating it will be accused of every -ism and -phobia in the book.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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





Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Mother is branded 'sexist and disgusting' after asking for advice on how to discourage her son from learning ballet

The subtext here is that male ballet dancers are frequently homosexual -- and a mother is entitled to discourage her son from such an unhealthy and unhappy lifestyle.  Just for starters, there is a very high incidence of spousal abuse among homosexual couples

It may have once been traditional for boys to play football and girls to do ballet but nowadays many children feel free to take up activities regardless of gender. 

However, one pushy parent took to Mumsnet to ask for advice on how to discourage her son from taking ballet lessons.

The woman said her son is an aspiring model and explained that she doesn't think the extra-curricular activity 'is going to fit in'.

In her post, Mumsnet user Ironriver said: 'How do I put my son off wanting to do ballet? I'm showing him how cool football, rugby and karate are but he's having none of it.  'He does modelling and I don't think ballet is going to fit in. Lots of the boys do football and other sports so I would like him to do that. Any ideas?'

Many commenters were outraged at the mother's behaviour and suggested she should let her son pursue his own interests.

Concerned commenter OohhThatsMe said: 'Your poor child, having such a sexist mother.'

Shocked reader coolaschmoola added: 'Stop being so bloody sexist and let him do the thing he is interested in and actually wants to do.

'It's 2016! Boys don't just play football. Just like not all girls do ballet.'

Other commenters were surprised that the woman had already decided her should would become a model.

Dodobookends said: 'He's nine and you have already chosen his career for him? Absurd.'

Some even suggested that taking up ballet would be beneficial to any future modelling aspirations. 

OlennasWimple said: 'Ballet would give him excellent posture, teach him to move well and have a better idea how to use his body effectively. 'And less chance he'll break his nose or get a cauliflower ear.'

OohhThatsMe added: 'Actually ballet would REALLY help a modelling career. In what way would football do that?

'Look at the girls doing modelling - most will have studied ballet.'

SOURCE






Israeli Bill to Hush Mosque Call to Prayer Stokes Controversy Among Muslims--Others Too

Proposed legislation in Israel’s parliament to prohibit the use of loudspeakers to transmit the five-times daily Muslim call to prayer is causing dismay among adherents of more than one religious group.

A preliminary vote on the so-called muezzin bill (a muezzin is the mosque official who recites the call to prayer) is scheduled for early next week.

It is not clear how the legislation, if adopted, would impact numerous areas of Israel and the West Bank that are under complex jurisdictional ruling and home to a mixture of religions.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere throughout the country, the three monotheistic faiths contribute to the cacophony of sounds at various times and on different days of the week.

The daily Muslim calls to prayer begin at about 4 a.m. and can be heard to differing degrees, depending on where you are. Where mosques are in close proximity to one another, there is a lot of overlap and duplication.

In Jerusalem, the Jewish “shabbat alarm,” which is essentially an air-raid siren, sounds every Friday at sundown to tell residents the sabbath has begun. Church bells ring on Sunday and important holidays.

Yaakov Litzman, Israel’s ultra-Orthodox deputy health minister, initially blocked the bill over concerns that it could be extended to include the shabbat alarm. Last week, Litzman withdrew his opposition after a loophole was added for the alarm, Ha’aretz reported.

In Bethlehem, which is heavily dependent on Christian pilgrims for tourism at several points during the year, the town’s main tourist center is home to a mosque with a loudspeaker set at a very high volume. The mosque towers over Manger Square, and faces the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

The town’s Christmas tree stands right in front of the church and numerous Christmas holiday traditions take place in or near the square.

Local business owners, many of whom are Arab Christians, don’t seem to mind the blend of sounds, though.

“I’m not against it, for sure,” said Sami Khouri, general manager of the Visit Palestine visitor center and gift shop-cafe a few hundred feet from Manger Square. “Turning down the volume is somewhat okay, but preventing them from doing it isn’t right.”

Khouri, who also runs a tourism company and lives in Jerusalem, says it’s just part of life in the region.

“Even where I live in Jerusalem, there are two mosques [making the call to prayer] nearby, five times a day. I just think this is co-existence,” he said. “The mosque has been there for who knows how long – and we also ring the church bells. For tourists, it’s part of the flavor. For me it’s part of the sounds of Jerusalem, the ambience.”

However, Khouri and others do suggest that if multiple mosques are situated in a given area they could possibly coordinate their broadcasts. The caveat is popular sentiment, but is not part of the bill before the Israeli parliament.

Some areas in the West Bank technically under full Palestinian Authority control have protested by staging multifaith demonstrations, with hundreds of Muslims, Christians, and Jewish Samaritans singing the call to prayer together.

Nablus is the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank and home to hundreds of mosques, which together produce a wall of uncoordinated sound.

The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is almost evenly divided on the issue, according to a poll on one of the community’s websites, Kikar HaShabat (Sabbath Corner). The poll found that 42 percent of respondents were against the bill.

There are also individuals working together behind the scenes, with unlikely, discreet alliances between some Arab and ultra-Orthodox lawmakers, according to a report in Al-Monitor.

Disputes over mosque calls to prayer are not uncommon, both in Western and Muslim countries. In 2004, some of the 23,000 residents of the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck, Michigan were at odds over mosque loudspeakers, with some telling local media they were simply “too loud.”

In Dubai in 2011, the volume of a mosque was checked twice for decibel level after residents complained about crying children being woken up at 4 a.m.

An online Indonesian housing forum for expats recommends visiting a potential new home “to make sure you can handle the disruption to the peace and quiet of your home during the call to prayer.”

SOURCE






The left is creating a new kind of apartheid

The student union at King’s College London will field a team in University Challenge that contains at least 50 per cent “self-defining women, trans or non-binary students”. The only bad thing Ken Livingstone could bring himself to say about the brutal dictator Fidel Castro was that “initially he wasn’t very good on lesbian and gay rights”. The first page of Hillary Clinton’s campaign website (still up) has links to “African Americans for Hillary, Latinos for Hillary, Asian Americans and Pacific islanders for Hillary, Women for Hillary, Millennials for Hillary”, but none to “men for Hillary”, let alone “white people for Hillary”.

Since when did the left insist on judging people by — to paraphrase Martin Luther King — the colour of their skin rather than the content of their character? The left once admirably championed the right of black people, women and gays to be treated the same as white, straight men. With only slightly less justification, it then moved on to pushing affirmative action to redress past prejudice. Now it has gone further, insisting everybody is defined by his or her identity and certain victim identities must be favoured.

Given the history of such stereotyping, it is baffling that politicians on the left cannot see where this leads. The prime exponents of identity politics in the past were the advocates of apartheid, of antisemitism, and of treating women as the legal chattels of men. “We are sleepwalking our way to segregation,” Trevor Phillips says.

Identity politics is thus very old-fashioned. Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism, says equality feminism — fair treatment, respect and dignity — is being eclipsed in universities by a Victorian “fainting couch feminism”, which views women as “fragile flowers who require safe spaces, trigger warnings and special protection from micro-invalidations”. Sure enough, when she said this at Oberlin College, Ohio, 35 students and a “therapy dog” sought refuge in a safe room.

It is just bad biology to focus on race, sex or sexual orientation as if they mattered most about people. We’ve known for decades — and Marxist biologists such as Dick Lewontin used to insist on this point — that the genetic differences between two human beings of the same race are maybe ten times as great as the average genetic difference between two races. Race really is skin deep. Sex goes deeper, for sure, because of developmental pathways, but still the individual differences between men and men, or women and women, or gays and gays, are far more salient than any similarities.

The Republican sweep in the American election cannot be blamed solely on the culture wars, but they surely played a part. Take the “bathroom wars” that broke out during the early stages of the campaign. North Carolina’s legislature heavy-handedly required citizens to use toilets that corresponded to their birth gender. The Obama administration heavy-handedly reacted by insisting that every school district in the country should do no such thing or lose its federal funding. This was a gift to conservatives: “Should a grown man pretending to be a woman be allowed to use . . . the same restroom used by your daughter? Your wife?,” asked Senator Ted Cruz.

White men played the identity card at the American ballot box
There is little doubt that to some extent white men played the identity card at the ballot box in reaction to the identity politics of the left. In a much-discussed essay for The New York Times after the election, Mark Lilla of Columbia University mused that Hillary Clinton’s tendency to “slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, LGBT and women voters at every stop” was a mistake: “If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them.”

He argues that “the fixation on diversity in our schools and the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life . . . By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good.” As many students woke up to discover on November 9, identity politics is “expressive, not persuasive”.

Last week, in an unbearably symbolic move, Hampshire College in Massachusetts removed the American flag — a symbol of unity if ever there was one — from campus in order to make students feel safer. The university president said the removal would “enable us to instead focus our efforts on racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviours”. There are such attitudes in America, for sure, but I am willing to bet they are not at their worst at Hampshire College, Massachusetts.

The one group that is increasingly excluded from campuses, with never a peep of complaint from activists, is conservatives. Data from the Higher Education Research Institute show the ratio of left-wing professors to right-wing professors went from 2:1 in 1995 to 6:1 today. The “1” is usually in something such as engineering and keeps his or her head down. Fashionable joke: what’s the opposite of diversity? University.

This is not a smug, anti-American argument. British universities are hurtling down the same divisive path. Feminists including Germaine Greer, Julie Bindel and Kate Smurthwaite have been “no-platformed” at British universities, along with speakers for Ukip and Israel, but not Islamic State. Universities are becoming like Victorian aunts, brooking no criticism of religion, treating women as delicate flowers and turning up their noses at Jews.

The government is conducting an “independent” review into Britain’s sharia courts, which effectively allow women to be treated differently if they are Muslim. The review is chaired by a Muslim and advised by two imams. And far too many government forms still insist on knowing whether the applicant is (I have taken the list from the Office for National Statistics guidance): “Gypsy or Irish Traveller, White and Black Caribbean, White and Black African, White and Asian, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, African, Caribbean, Arab, or any other ethnic group”. So bleeding what?

The left has vacated the moral high ground on which it won so many fine battles to treat human beings equally. The right must occupy that ground and stand for universal human values and equal treatment for all.

SOURCE





Fake news and post‑truth: the handmaidens of Western relativism

It isn’t Macedonian teens who killed truth and objectivity

Internet-savvy 16-year-old boys in Macedonia are undermining Western journalism and democracy. Have you ever encountered a faker news story than that? This is the great irony of the fake-news panic that has swept the Western media in recent days, with observers now claiming that the promotion of made-up news on Facebook may have swung the election for Donald Trump and done GBH to the Western ideals of objectivity and reason: it is underpinned by illusions of its own; by a refusal to grapple with hard truths about the West’s own jettisoning of those values; and by an urge to invent bogeymen that is every bit as dislocated from reality as are those myth-peddling kids in the East.

Still reeling from the failure of their idol Hillary Clinton to get to the White House, mainstream observers and politicians this week came up with another thing to blame: BS news. They claim the spread of stories like ‘The pope loves Trump’ and ‘Hillary is a paedophile’, many of which originate on phoney-news websites in Eastern Europe and get loads of likes among Westerners on Facebook, is a threat to truth and to the very practice of democracy. Angela Merkel bemoaned the ‘fake sites, bots, trolls’ which ‘manipulate’ public opinion and make politics and democracy harder. President Obama slammed this ‘active misinformation’, arguing that ‘if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made’, then we ‘lose so much of what we’ve gained in terms of democratic freedoms’.

Liberal columnists, wounded that so much of the public ignored their overtures first on Brexit and then on Trump, claim good, decent, supposedly ‘elitist’ journalism must now assert itself. Our role in ‘seeking the truth’ must be ‘harnessed with steely determination’, says one. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour says the ‘tsunami of fake-news sites’ is an affront to journalism and the thing that journalism helps to facilitate: democracy. We must now fight ‘hard for the truth’ in this world where ‘the Oxford English Dictionary just announced that its word of 2016 [is] “post-truth”’, she says. Numerous hacks have been despatched to Macedonia and Russia to confront the fresh-faced youths who run these fake-news sites for cash. ‘How teens in the Balkans are duping Trump supporters’, says one headline. ‘Russian propaganda effort helped spread “fake news” during election’, says another. The image we’re left with is of dastardly Easterners suckering stupid Westerners and undermining the democratic tradition, and now pain-faced, well-minded columnists must stand up to this foreign threat to reason.

It’s the fakest news story of the week. It might not be as utterly invented as the one about Hillary’s people abusing children in a pizza restaurant in Washington, DC. But it involves a profounder avoidance of truth, a deeper unwillingness to face up to facts. In particular the fact that the rise of fake news, ‘alternative news’ and conspiracy theories speaks not to the wicked interventions of myth-spreaders from without, but to the corrosion of reason within, right here in the West. It speaks to the declining moral and cultural authority of our own political and media class. It is the Western world’s own abandonment of objectivity, and loss of legitimacy in the eyes of its populace, that has nurtured something of a free-for-all on the facts and news front. Those Macedonian kids aren’t denting democracy or damaging objectivity – they’re merely milking a Western crisis of objectivity that began long before they were born.

The first striking thing about the fake-news panic is its naked paternalism. The suggestion is that voters, especially those of a ‘low-information’, redneck variety, were hoodwinked into voting Trump by outlandish stories about how evil Hillary is. Fake news whacks people who ‘could not… recognise [or] fact-check’, says Amanpour. It’s a ‘post-truth era’ where you can ‘play [people] like a fiddle’, says a liberal writer in the US. A Guardian columnist says people ‘easily believe’ lies that play to their prejudices and then ‘pass them on thoughtlessly’. We’re given the impression that masses of people are incapable of deciphering fact from fiction. They cast their votes on the basis of a daft pizza-paedo link they saw on Facebook. With a loud sneer, observers write off the general public’s capacity for reason and willingness to engage seriously with democratic decisions. Ironically, this demeaning of the demos, this calling into question of the very idea that underpins modern politics – that the public is reasoned and must be allowed to steer the fate of their nation – does far greater damage to the value and standing of democracy than any spotty Macedonian with a laptop could ever do.

Then came the paternalistic solutions. We need new ‘gatekeepers’, columnists claim: professionals who have the resources and brains to work out what’s true and what’s a lie and ensure that people see more of the former. Obama and others suggest Facebook must get better at curating news, sorting truth from falsehood on behalf of its suggestible users. The suggestion is that the internet, having thrown open the world of reportage and commentary to everyone, having enabled anyone with a computer or phone to say their piece, has disoriented truth and democracy and now must be tamed, or at least better managed.

This echoes the elite fears that greeted the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. Then, the religious authorities – the gatekeepers of their day – worried that all sorts of heresy might now find its way into the public’s minds and hearts, unfiltered by their wise, godly counsel. Today’s aspiring gatekeepers panic that fake news will get into and warp the minds of the little people in this era when knowledge filtering has been stripped back even further, so that increasingly the citizen stands alone before the claims and counter-claims of those who publish. And apparently this fake news often contains heresies of its own. In his interview with the New Yorker, Obama strikingly bemoaned the ‘fake news’ of climate-change scepticism, where ‘an explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll’. This cuts to the 15th-century-echoing fear that motors the panic over fake news: the belief that it will allow not only outright lies, but new heresies, new blasphemies, different ways of thinking, to make an appeal to people’s beliefs and convictions. The call to filter social media is a paternalistic call to protect the public from bad or mad or dangerous thoughts, in a similar way that early clampdowns on the printing press were designed to keep ‘evil’ from the swarm.

What this censorious, anti-demos view overlooks is the positive side to today’s unprecedented throwing-open of debate and news and politics: the fact that it implicitly calls on the citizen to use his own mental and moral muscles, to confront the numerous different versions of the world offered to him and decide which one sounds most right. Surely the internet’s downside of fake news is more than outweighed by its invitation to us to negotiate the rapids of public debate for ourselves and make up our own minds? ‘Ideally, in a democracy, everybody would agree that climate change is a consequence of man-made behaviour, because that’s what 99 per cent of scientists tell us’, said Obama in his handwringing over fake news. No. The ideal thing in a democracy isn’t that we believe something because scientists, or politicians, or priests, have told us it’s true; it’s that we believe something because we have considered it, thought about it, weighed it up against other things, and then deployed our own judgement. Believing something because others tell you it’s true isn’t democracy – it’s oligarchy.

Even the extent to which fake news is a bad thing – and of course it can be – its rise is not a result of wicked foreign poking into Western politics and debate. Rather, it speaks to the hollowing-out of the whole idea of truth in the West, to the march of the relativistic notion that objectivity is not only difficult but undesirable. The image of the old gatekeepers of knowledge, or just news, being elbowed aside either by new technologies or by interfering Easterners is wrong; it is more accurate to say that these gatekeepers gave up, and abandoned their posts, on the basis that it is arrogant to assume that any one way of seeing or reporting the world is better than another.

For the past two decades, Western news reporting has openly called into question its own definitiveness. It has thrown open news items to ceaseless commenting below the line, on the basis that ‘news coverage is a partnership’, as the BBC’s Richard Sandbrook said in 2005. It celebrated ‘citizen journalism’ as a realer, less top-down form of newsgathering. And it has jettisoned the very thing that distinguished it from other, more opinionated views on world events: its objectivity. From the rise of the ‘journalism of attachment’ in the 1990s, in which journalists eschewed the apparently cold, forensic habit of objectivity and took sides with the most victimised groups in certain conflicts and situations, to the media’s embrace of ‘data journalism’ in the 2000s, where churning through thousands of leaked documents took the place of discovering stories and faithfully reporting them, Western journalism has redefined its mission from one of objectively discovering truth to simply offering its increasingly technical or emotional take on what might, or might not, have happened.

Journalists have explicitly disavowed objectivity, and with it their ‘gatekeeping’ role. It is time to ‘toss out objectivity as a goal’, said Harvard journalism expert Dan Gilmor in 2005. By 2010, even Time magazine, self-styled epitome of the Western journalistic style, was celebrating ‘The End of “Objectivity”’. The ‘new-media openness [has] upended the old media’s poker-faced stoicism – and it’s about time’, it said. The Western media started to replace the ideal of objectivity with values such as fairness, transparency and balance. And as one European observer pointed out, these are very different to objectivity: where objectivity points to ‘the active quest for truth’, these newer, more technical values reduce the news media to just another voice ‘among the many voices in a pluralistic world’. When someone like Amanpour says Western journalism and democracy are in ‘mortal peril’, largely thanks to ‘foreign powers like Russia paying to churn out… false news’, she overlooks journalism’s weakening of its own ideals and authority, including by her and others in the 1990s when they ditched objectivity in preference for taking sides in conflicts like the one in Bosnia. She conspiratorially displaces on to Russia a crisis of objectivity that has its origins in the newsrooms and academies and political chambers of the West.

The abandonment of objectivity in journalism did not happen in a vacuum. It sprung from, and in turn intensified, a rejection of reason in the West, a disavowal of the idea of truth, and its replacement either by the far more technical ambition of being ‘evidence-based’ or by highly emotional responses to world events. Indeed, the greatest irony in the fake-news panic, and in the whole post-Brexit, post-Trump talk of a new ‘post-truth’ era, is that it was the very guardians of Western culture and knowledge, the very establishment now horrified by how the little people think and vote, who made us ‘post-truth’; who oversaw the turn against Enlightenment in the academy, the calling into question of ‘male’ science, the throttling of the idea of any one, clear morality to which people might subscribe, and the rubbishing of the entire project of objectivity, even of ‘news’ as we understood it. When Obama says we live in an era where ‘everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made’, he isn’t wrong. Only that refusal to distinguish, to judge, to elevate truer things over questionable things, is not down to Facebook or Macedonians or allegedly dumb Trump voters – it is an accomplishment of the very post-Enlightenment, self-doubting, technocratic elites Obama is part of.

And what happens when you give up your conviction that truth can be discovered, and instead promote the idea that all ways of looking at the world, and interpreting the world, and feeling the world, have validity? You disorientate public discussion. You slay your own cultural authority. You create a situation where people doubt you, often with good reason, and go looking for other sources of information. You create the space for other claims of truth, some of them good and exciting, some of them mad and fake. Don’t blame Russia, or us, for the crisis of journalism and democracy or for our so-called ‘post-truth’ times. You did this. You, the gatekeepers. We’ll be our own gatekeepers now, thanks.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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