Monday, June 27, 2016

Gun regulation:  Is Australia a model that the USA should adopt?

In the wake of the recent shootings at Orlando and elsewhere, many Leftist commentators have pointed to the strict gun controls introduced by Australia in 1996 and have noted that Australia has had NO mass shootings since the laws were enacted.  They assert that this is powerful evidence for the enactment of such laws in America. But is it true?  Did Australia's strict laws reduce gun deaths?

Before I answer that, I think I might point out that there are important demographic differences between the U.S. and Australian populations.  In particular, the minorities are different.  Australia has negligible Africans but large numbers of Han Chinese.  And those two groups differ greatly in propensity to crime generally and homicide in particular.  The Chinese are as pacific as Africans are violent.  I don't think I have ever heard of a Han Chinese breaking into someone's house, whereas that happens daily in the USA.  So Australians have a much smaller need for guns as self-defense.  I love the Han.

But one part of the Leftist claim is true.  There have indeed been no mass shootings since 1996 in Australia. But such shootings were rare anyway and gun crimes were already on the way down in Australia so how do we allow for that?  Below is an article from a major medical journal that has done all the statistics. Its conclusions have been widely reported but almost always misreported.  So I produce the actual journal abstract below.

As you can see, they found that the decline in gun deaths had speeded up but not to a statistically significant degree.  More interestingly, the rate for all crimes had declined even more than the decline in gun deaths.  So all we can say is that Australia has been getting steadily safer for a long time now.  There is no evidence that guns have anything to do with it.  The journal article:

Association Between Gun Law Reforms and Intentional Firearm Deaths in Australia, 1979-2013

Simon Chapman et al.



Rapid-fire weapons are often used by perpetrators in mass shooting incidents. In 1996 Australia introduced major gun law reforms that included a ban on semiautomatic rifles and pump-action shotguns and rifles and also initiated a program for buyback of firearms.


To determine whether enactment of the 1996 gun laws and buyback program were followed by changes in the incidence of mass firearm homicides and total firearm deaths.


Observational study using Australian government statistics on deaths caused by firearms (1979-2013) and news reports of mass shootings in Australia (1979–May 2016). Changes in intentional firearm death rates were analyzed with negative binomial regression, and data on firearm-related mass killings were compared.


Implementation of major national gun law reforms.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Changes in mass fatal shooting incidents (defined as ≥5 victims, not including the perpetrator) and in trends of rates of total firearm deaths, firearm homicides and suicides, and total homicides and suicides per 100 000 population.


From 1979-1996 (before gun law reforms), 13 fatal mass shootings occurred in Australia, whereas from 1997 through May 2016 (after gun law reforms), no fatal mass shootings occurred. There was also significant change in the preexisting downward trends for rates of total firearm deaths prior to vs after gun law reform. From 1979-1996, the mean rate of total firearm deaths was 3.6 (95% CI, 3.3-3.9) per 100 000 population (average decline of 3% per year; annual trend, 0.970; 95% CI, 0.963-0.976), whereas from 1997-2013 (after gun law reforms), the mean rate of total firearm deaths was 1.2 (95% CI, 1.0-1.4) per 100 000 population (average decline of 4.9% per year; annual trend, 0.951; 95% CI, 0.940-0.962), with a ratio of trends in annual death rates of 0.981 (95% CI, 0.968-0.993). There was a statistically significant acceleration in the preexisting downward trend for firearm suicide (ratio of trends, 0.981; 95% CI, 0.970-0.993), but this was not statistically significant for firearm homicide (ratio of trends, 0.975; 95% CI, 0.949-1.001). From 1979-1996, the mean annual rate of total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths was 10.6 (95% CI, 10.0-11.2) per 100 000 population (average increase of 2.1% per year; annual trend, 1.021; 95% CI, 1.016-1.026), whereas from 1997-2013, the mean annual rate was 11.8 (95% CI, 11.3-12.3) per 100 000 (average decline of 1.4% per year; annual trend, 0.986; 95% CI, 0.980-0.993), with a ratio of trends of 0.966 (95% CI, 0.958-0.973). There was no evidence of substitution of other lethal methods for suicides or homicides.

Conclusions and Relevance

Following enactment of gun law reforms in Australia in 1996, there were no mass firearm killings through May 2016. There was a more rapid decline in firearm deaths between 1997 and 2013 compared with before 1997 but also a decline in total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths of a greater magnitude. Because of this, it is not possible to determine whether the change in firearm deaths can be attributed to the gun law reforms.

JAMA. Published online June 22, 2016. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8752

Multicultural illegal immigrant, 28, who carried out a 10-day campaign of sex attacks on lone women on their doorsteps is jailed for eight years

A serial sex attacker has been jailed for eight years after assaulting a string of women over a 10-day spree in South London just months after he arrived in the UK.

Algerian Mehdi Midani, 28, followed eight 'vulnerable' women as they walked home at night.

The former mechanic conducted a campaign of 'terror' across the Brixton Hill and Clapham areas of the capital, even attacking four women in the space of just four hours.

He was handed a sentence of 10 years with eight to be served in jail, two on licence following his release.

Passing sentence Judge Nicholas Madge said: 'You moved from one offence in an evening to two in an evening to four in an evening.  'You waited, watched and followed women.'

Judge Madge said one victim turned to see Midani 'grinning' at her while another caught him 'ducking behind a car' as he followed her.

'All these offences were committed against lone women during a 10-day period. 'On each day that you assaulted women you travelled from North London to Brixton or Clapham and then returned to North London after carrying out the assault.'

He added: 'The experience of this court is that sexual attacks on women by strangers in the street are rare. In that sense, London is a relatively safe city.

'However, courts will do all they can to keep it that way and to protect women by imposing long sentences upon anyone who attacks women, especially at night.' 

Midani was convicted of six counts of sexual assault and one count of common assault in April and pleaded guilty to a further count of sexual assault at Inner London Crown Court.

The court heard that he entered Britain via Ireland after leaving his native Algeria and that his immigration sentence is currently 'unknown' - but it is believed he may have entered illegally and the Home Office will seek his deportation once he has been sentenced.   


The Left's Assault on Our Values

I want to tell you about the left’s ongoing assault on the First Amendment.

California has mandated that all insurance policies must cover elective, surgical abortions as “basic health care.” At least three churches filed a federal lawsuit against the mandate, which flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

The churches also asked the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate whether the California mandate violated federal legislation, known as the Weldon Amendment, intended to protect rights of conscience.

The Obama administration ruled [Tuesday] that church health insurance policies are not protected by the Weldon Amendment and, thus, churches can be forced to pay for elective abortions.

It is hard to imagine a more outrageous and blatantly anti-First Amendment order than this. If the government can force churches to pay for abortions, it’s not far from ordering pastors to perform same-sex marriages.

Meanwhile, another First Amendment controversy has been brewing, this one related to free speech. A number of left-wing state attorneys general are attempting to prosecute global warming skeptics for fraud. They are using the brute force of big government to shut down the debate.

Thankfully, this overreach is getting serious pushback. Last week, more than a dozen conservative state attorneys general publicly warned that if climate change skeptics could be prosecuted for fraud, so could global warming alarmists like Al Gore, whose wild predictions have never panned out.

Not long ago, the left was panicking about the coming ice age, not to mention global famine caused by overpopulation and “peak oil.” I’d say the right has a far stronger case to make when it comes to prosecuting environmentalist fraud.

The Importance Of Judges

As utterly ridiculous as these examples are, they are yet more evidence of the left’s growing intolerance for religious liberty and free speech. And as I noted in both examples, these issues are being fought over in the courts. They will be decided by judges.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of this upcoming election when it comes to control of the courts. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has left the Supreme Court evenly divided between four reliably liberal justices and four generally right of center justices.

The decision upholding an individual’s Second Amendment right to own a firearm was a 5-to-4 decision. The Hobby Lobby decision, upholding religious liberty, was a 5-to-4 decision. Both could be overturned depending on Scalia’s replacement.

That’s how important this election is. Religious liberty and the Second Amendment are at stake — and your vote will determine the outcome.

That’s right. The men and women we elect to the White House and the Senate determine the judges who sit on our federal courts.


Horror and Hush-Up in Twin Falls, Idaho

Michelle Malkin

Something wicked happened in Idaho's rural Magic Valley. The evil has been compounded by politicians, media and special interest groups doing their damnedest to suppress the story and quell a righteous citizen rebellion.

On June 7, a brief news item appeared on local Twin Falls, Idaho-based KMVT about a "reported sexual assault that possibly occurred near the Fawnbrook Apartments" five days earlier. Unconfirmed accounts of the alleged crime on conservative-leaning websites, plus reports from area members of anti-jihad activist Brigitte Gabriel's Act for America group and longtime watchdog Ann Corcoran's Refugee Resettlement Watch blog, culminated in coverage on the powerhouse Drudge Report.

The social media groundswell, untethered from the constraints of political correctness, forced government authorities to respond.

Police and the local prosecutor's office grudgingly confirmed that an investigation had begun into the incident. The victim: A mentally disabled 5-year-old girl. The alleged perpetrators: Three boys, ages 7, 10 and 14, from Sudanese and Iraqi immigrant families (predominantly Muslim) who have been in the country for less than two years -- all but confirming that they are refugees.

What happened? The case is under seal because it involves minors, but prosecutor Grant Loebs said there is videotape of the alleged sexual assault (a fact which local activists first divulged). Two of the boys are in custody. It's not clear what happened to the third.

Here's the sickening thing: The people who should have been asking tough questions -- like, you know, mainstream journalists -- have spent more time attacking local whistleblowers and bloggers than they have spent demanding answers and holding public officials accountable.

Why? Consider the backdrop. Residents in Twin Falls have been worried about the impact of an increasing influx of refugees, many from jihad-coddling countries, over the past several years. Their concerns about crime, welfare, health care, and schools echo those of communities across the country who are bearing the coercive brunt of Beltway bleeding hearts' refugee resettlement policies enacted in a shroud of secrecy.

Members of the Twin Falls City Council smugly likened refugee resettlement critics to "white supremacists." Regional newspapers including the Idaho Statesman and the Spokane Spokesman-Review rushed to discredit the on-scene reporting of internet writers such as Leo Hohmann, who had interviewed a witness to the crime for World Net Daily.

"Jolene Payne, an 89-year-old retired nurse who lives at the complex" told Hohmann that she spotted one of the boys "taking pictures with a camera" outside the apartment complex's laundry room. She went inside and found the 5-year-old naked with two of the younger boys naked standing over her. "The worst thing was the way they peed all over her clothes," she recounted.

Pro-mass immigration advocates may not like the sources of some of the original reporting that forced the case into the sunlight, but the watchdogs got more right than wrong. These critics now have Twin Falls' political leaders sputtering to cover their backsides and police brass defending themselves against explosive charges that they dragged their feet.

Instead, the "professional journalists" dwelt on a few early factual errors about whether the boys were from Syria and whether a knife was used -- and filled their dismissive articles with "can't we all just get along" propaganda from refugee resettlement advocates and contractors with vested financial interests in the game.

The callousness of local officials and indifference of local and national media reminds me very much of an international incident that went viral on YouTube earlier this year in the eastern German town of Bad Schlema -- located in a region overrun by Muslim refugees.

A concerned grandfather whose granddaughter under the age of 10 was sexually harassed by Muslim migrants protested to mayor Jens Muller. In response to his plea for help, Muller told the elderly man to direct his family to "not walk in areas" where refugees would be.

"Just don't provoke them and don't walk in those areas."

The grandfather lamented at the public meeting: "You're not allowed to walk in your own city anymore."

To which the jaded mayor replied: "This is the way it is."

Thank goodness there are Americans still fighting against the collective shrug of sovereignty surrender. Louder, please.


Third acquittal in the Freddie Gray case

Officer Caesar Goodson, who was driving the police van inside which suffered his fatal neck injury last April, has been found not guilty of second-degree “depraved heart” murder by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams.

Goodson, 46, has also been found not guilty on charges of manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

Goodson waived his right to a trial by jury. His bench trial began June 9 and final arguments were heard Monday.

Gray, a 25-year-old black man from the Sandtown area of Baltimore, died of his injury on April 19, 2015. A week earlier, Baltimore City police officers put him in the back of Goodson’s van, handcuffed and shackled, but unrestrained by a seat belt.

His death set off more than a week of protests followed by looting, rioting and arson that prompted a citywide curfew.

After the verdict was read, protesters began chanting “Murderer!” over and over again outside the courthouse.

Inside court, with high security present, “People were quiet … There were a few people shaking their heads, some people who were emotionless,” WJZ’s Mike Hellgren reports.

The judge said that the evidence for conviction simply was not there, and that there was no way that Goodson would have known that Freddie Gray was injured until the van’s final stop at the Western district police station, which is where a medic was called.

The prosecution’s theory of the case did not fit the facts that they presented, which clearly troubled Judge Williams.

Williams also chided the state for using the term “rough ride,” calling it a highly-charged term that they failed to define.



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, June 26, 2016

This is the most tumultuous event of modern times, a people's revolt against the elite that's been brewing for years

There are times, not very often, when you can feel history being made. An archduke falls, a wall comes down, a plane hits a building, and in that moment you can feel the ground shifting beneath your feet.

When those initial results came in from Sunderland and Newcastle in the early hours of yesterday morning, I could barely believe it. Even now, to write the words 'Britain has voted to leave the EU' feels extraordinary, like a leap into some alternative reality.

For once, all the cliches are justified. This was not merely an electoral earthquake. It was a popular revolt by vast swathes of England and Wales against the political, financial and cultural elite, whose complacent assumptions have been simply blown away.

Indeed, for once it really is impossible to exaggerate the significance of the moment. What happened was undoubtedly the most dramatic, the most shocking and even the most revolutionary event in our modern history. We will live with the consequences for the rest of our lives.

Every rule of politics has been broken.

Barely a year after winning a stunning majority, the Prime Minister has gone, a broken man. The Tory Party, plunged into a three-month leadership battle, has been divided almost beyond repair, while Labour's leaders have been exposed as almost comically unpopular and out of touch.

Scotland has probably never been closer to secession from the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland, which will now have our only land border with the EU, has been thrown into tumult. And to cap it all, the pound — ironically, the supreme symbol of the independence for which millions of people voted on Thursday — has plunged on the exchange markets.

Perhaps never in living memory has our national story become so unpredictable. Never has our country been more divided, and never has the future been more uncertain.

I cannot think of a modern political moment to match it. The fall of David Lloyd George after leading Britain through World War I until his Liberal-Tory coalition broke up in 1922, the Labour post-war landslide of 1945, the advent of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, all supposedly seismic events, feel trivial, even irrelevant, by comparison.

What makes all this so dramatic, though, is that it represents something new — a revolution by millions of people, many of them traditional working-class voters, against the massed ranks of the political and financial Establishment.

If nothing else, the result should banish for good the stereotype of British voters as deferential, forelock-tugging yokels, dutifully falling into line behind the country squire.

The Prime Minister, the Chancellor, the Governor of the Bank of England, the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Italy, the IMF, the World Bank and the head of the TUC all lined up to lecture the British electorate. But what is now clear is that every time they hectored and cajoled, every time they piled on the doom-laden prophecies, millions of ordinary voters bristled with resentment.

The curious thing is that despite the shock and disbelief among the Establishment yesterday, you can't deny it has been coming. After all, for years, resentment has been building and Ukip has been piling up votes in by-elections and European elections.

Indeed, what happened in Scotland in last year's General Election, when the Scottish Nationalists triumphantly stormed areas that had voted Labour for generations, now looks like a warning of the tempest that broke across England two days ago — a gigantic revolt against a political elite who, for far too long, had taken working-class voters for granted.

As it happens, I thought Britain would vote to remain in the EU. I thought that when it came to the crunch, voters would revert to the status quo, as they so often do.

Perhaps, instead of poring over the polls, I should have re-read some of my own articles for the Mail. For years I have warned that the gulf between the Establishment and the people was widening into an unbridgeable chasm. Too many politicians have lost the ability to speak in ways that people understand. Indeed, nothing says more about the failure of the Westminster elite than the fact that so many working-class Labour voters, especially in the old industrial heartlands of the North and Midlands, defied their party's warnings and voted Leave.

In this context, David Cameron and George Osborne were the worst possible salesmen for the Remain campaign.

Born and educated amid immense privilege, the very picture of public-school entitlement, they have never been able to reach voters outside their natural Tory heartlands. Yet although future historians will devote millions of words to the events of the past few weeks, the campaign itself was probably irrelevant to the outcome.

Even before Mr Cameron fired the starting gun — a moment that will go down as the greatest own goal in political history — I suspect the public had made up their minds. The roots of this revolt, I think, go back at least 50 years, since even before Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973.

In this respect, the fact that immigration dominated the campaign was enormously revealing — not merely because it is the most toxic and emotive issue of our age, but because concerns about it had been building for so long.

If I had to pick a moment when the great rebellion really began, I would be tempted to pinpoint April 1968, when thousands of dockers and market porters marched on Westminster in support of Enoch Powell, who had been kicked off the Tory frontbench after his controversial anti-immigration 'Rivers of Blood' speech.

At the time, the rebellion of these traditional working-class Labour voters sent tremors through British politics. Yes, there was a racist element — but there was more to it than just racism, or even opposition to immigration per se.

As the Left-wing political commentator Peter Jenkins remarked at the time, Powell attracted so much support among ordinary working-class Britons not because they were all monsters of prejudice, but because he tapped their sense that 'the politicians are conspiring against the people, that the country is led by men who have no idea about what interests or frightens the ordinary people in the back streets of Wolverhampton'.

What Powell's appeal reflected, in other words, was exactly the same disquiet that has driven so many people towards Ukip during the past decade: a deep sense of anxiety at the decline of working-class communities, the eclipse of British industry, the pace of cultural change and the rise of globalisation, all of which have left so many ordinary people bewildered and bereft.

Indeed, in recent years that sense of disconnection between the leaders and the led, between the affluent London elite and the working-class voters of provincial England, has become greater than ever.

The financial crash in 2008, bankers' bonuses, the MPs' expenses scandal, even the revelations of the Panama Papers (which revealed that Mr Cameron's father had set up his investment fund in a tax haven) — all these things heightened the popular sense of a nest-feathering elite that had become fatally out of touch.

And for the result, just look at what happened in Powell's old stamping ground, Wolverhampton, on Thursday. A traditional Labour city, it voted overwhelmingly, by 62.6 per cent to 37.4 per cent, to leave the EU.

It was the same story in the rest of our old industrial heartlands — in Stoke and in Sunderland, in Hartlepool and in Hull, where the Labour message fell on deaf ears and the Leave camp piled up massive majorities.

Some liberal commentators, fulminating with rage against what they see as the 'ugly' side of British life, would have you believe this is all a question of racism. White working-class voters, they say, are bigots, raging against the modern world.

You don't need me to tell you what snobbish, condescending rubbish this is, not least because, during the campaign, it proved so disastrously self-destructive.

The truth is that as the BBC's head of political research, David Cowling, argued last week in a leaked memo, the 'metropolitan political class' have lived for far too long in a 'London bubble'.

'There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values, yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that,' he wrote. 'Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist.'

There is, however, another dimension to all this, to which many of those inside the metropolitan bubble have been similarly blind. The fact is that Britain — well, England and Wales at least — has always been a deeply Eurosceptic place. Indeed, perhaps the really remarkable thing was not that we decided to come out of the EU, but that we ever joined in the first place.

What took us into the Common Market, as it then was, was not Euro-enthusiasm, but anxiety about our own weakness during a period of unprecedented introspection and self-doubt.

It is no accident that Britain first applied to join in the early Sixties, when our Empire was breaking up, we were floundering to find a new role in the world and the headlines were full of doom and gloom about our relative economic decline.

Remember, too, that when the British people voted to remain in the EEC in 1975, they did so against a backdrop of extraordinary industrial unrest and political impotence, with inflation surging towards a post-war record of 26 per cent.

Even at the time, few people were very enthusiastic.

In 1962, during our first attempt to join, Labour's leader Hugh Gaitskell claimed that European membership would mean 'the end of a thousand years of history'. In that respect, he was a lot closer to the views of traditional Labour supporters than many of his successors.

If the economic circumstances had been different — if Britain had been a more confident, successful country in the Sixties and Seventies — then I suspect the 1975 referendum outcome, too, would have been very different. Perhaps, like Norway and Switzerland, we would never have joined at all.

And by the end of the Thatcher years, as Britain began to recover its self-belief, so popular Euroscepticism began to reassert itself. In a sense, public opinion returned to its natural position.

As the Cambridge professor Robert Tombs writes in his definitive history of England, the English have always seen themselves, rightly or wrongly, as an exceptional nation, set apart from the Continental neighbours by geography, culture and constitutional tradition.

When Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church in the 16th century, he famously proclaimed that 'England is an Empire', by which he meant that it was different from the rest of Europe, special and self-contained. And whether you believe in it or not, the idea of our own uniqueness has always played a central part in our national story.

Over the next few centuries, the vision of Britain as a cradle of liberty, a unique bastion of Protestant freedom against Catholic Europe, became entrenched in our national imagination.

Even during World War II, that vision endured: it is hard to imagine any other nation's monarch writing, as George VI did after the fall of France in 1940: 'Personally, I feel happier now that we have no allies to be polite to and to pamper.'

All stirring stuff, of course. I can imagine the leaders of the Leave campaign nodding enthusiastically at the thought of such sentiments.

Yet nations cannot live by myths alone. And even the most enthusiastic Brexiteers would surely have to admit that Britain now faces perhaps the most febrile and uncertain period in our modern history.

The challenges are immense. In the next few years, David Cameron's successor as Prime Minister will need to take Britain out of the EU, negotiate new trade deals with our international partners and introduce a new system to control immigration.

On top of that, the new PM will need to move mountains to mollify Scotland and Northern Ireland — both of which voted to Remain — and somehow keep the United Kingdom intact.

And all this against a background of unprecedented political chaos and national division, with fully 48 per cent of the electorate, including the vast majority of youngsters, having voted to Remain.

The stakes could hardly be higher. Never before in our peacetime history have we so desperately needed calm, mature, effective and decisive leadership, embodied by a Prime Minister who understands the mood of the country and can bring the British people together.

That much is clear. What is less clear, as the dust settles after the most extraordinary rebellion in our political history, is whether we will get it.


Take a bow, Britain! The quiet people of our country rise up against an arrogant, out-of-touch political class and a contemptuous Brussels elite

What an awesome tribute to the British people. Day after day, month after month, voters were bombarded with hysterical threats and terrifying scares — everything the Government machine, the mainstream party leaders and the global political and financial elites could throw at them.

They endured insults and abuse. Those who believed Britain could prosper as an independent nation, both in Europe and the world beyond, were attacked as 'Little Englanders'.

Those who were concerned about the effects of uncontrolled immigration on jobs, wages, housing, public services and the welfare of their children were smeared as 'racists'.

Most insidious of all, it was even suggested that Leavers were somehow implicated in the tragic death of MP Jo Cox.

But outside the echo-chamber that is the metropolitan liberal class, the real people of Britain saw things differently.

They held their nerve, saw through the lies and trusted their instincts.

In a magnificent affirmation of national self-belief and character, their resounding message to the elite was:

* We are fed up with being disdained and ignored over the issues about which we feel strongly.

* We deserve better than to be treated as a mere offshore province of an unelected, anti-democratic, corrupt pan- European bureaucracy.

* We have less to be ashamed of than any other nation on Earth. We gave the world Parliamentary democracy, the industrial revolution, Magna Carta, human rights and free trade.

* So we will not go on bowing to unaccountable judges and commissioners, while being denied any more power than countries such as Latvia and Lithuania.

* We want to make our own laws, control our own borders, choose our own trading partners — and, crucially, we want to reclaim the right to elect our rulers and dismiss them if they betray our trust.

Indeed, one of the most moving aspects of this victory for Britain is that it showed no class divide in the Brexit camp. Voters in the rich Tory shires and the Labour heartlands of the North, the haves and the have-nots, were united in rejecting the threats and blandishments of their party leaders and proclaiming their faith in our country.

The lesson of this vote is that we yearn for more honesty in our politics. And we are fed up with career politicians who have no experience of the real world.

Which brings us to the tragedy of David Cameron. Hugely able, highly articulate and the possessor of great leadership qualities, he was a masterly chairman of the 2010-2015 Coalition, which set Britain on the road to recovery after the great banking crisis.

Yet he was fatally flawed. Lacking any detectable convictions, he made terrible misjudgments about people and some of the great issues of our time. You have to pinch yourself to remember that he made his early reputation as a Eurosceptic, in accord with his party's grass roots.

But when push came to shove, this one-time sceptic preferred to throw in his lot with the Merkels, Junckers and Hollandes of the summit-going euro-elite, turning his back on the British people.

And what a disastrous campaign he then conducted. Instead of trying to persuade voters of his positive view of the EU, he threw everything into Project Fear, prophesying Armageddon if we withdrew.

In what was a preposterous and mendacious Remain campaign, he threw integrity and truth to the wind, devaluing the currency of political discourse — and ensuring that if he lost, he would have to resign, followed by the architect of Project Fear, George Osborne.

Weary of Westminster lies, the British people were simply not naïve enough to believe him.

Why on Earth did he rush into this referendum, instead of leaving it till 2017? If only he had waited, he could have led a great, reforming Tory government following his fine victory last year.

And what of Jeremy Corbyn?

If only the Labour leader had stayed true to his beliefs and fought to pull out, he could have reconnected with the Labour heartlands, positioning himself as a potential Prime Minister.

As it was, he surrendered to his MPs and spin-doctors, forsaking his principles to back Remain (albeit half-heartedly), and today he looks as pathetically out of touch and unelectable as ever.

Then there are the winners — among them Michael Gove, who brought high intelligence and discipline to the Leave campaign, Iain Duncan Smith, whose convictions never wavered, Labour's Gisela Stuart, the feisty Priti Patel, Nigel Farage (without whom neither the referendum nor Brexit would have happened) and the extraordinarily eloquent Tory MEP, Daniel Hannan.

What all of these courageous men and women have in common is that they put their country and passionately held beliefs above any selfish consideration of personal advantage.

This paper would add Boris Johnson to the list, if it weren't for a queasy suspicion that he knew he had everything to win, and nothing to lose, by backing Brexit.

But he has been a huge asset to the out campaign, conducting himself in a manner that could almost be described as statesmanlike. It will be surprising if he doesn't emerge among the favourites to succeed Mr Cameron.

And what happened to Armageddon, so terrifyingly prophesied by the Prime Minister and Chancellor?

Yes, there were wild fluctuations in the markets yesterday morning — as there were bound to be after such a momentous decision. But these sprang from the speculations of greedy gamblers, who had hoped to make a killing from the referendum result.

They tell us little about the City's confidence in Britain's economic future outside the EU. Indeed, when the FTSE share index closed yesterday, it was up on the week!

Meanwhile, our partners (who offered us nothing but scorn in their arrogant presumption that we'd vote to Remain) know how heavily they depend on British markets, and how strongly it is in their own interests to reach an amicable deal that will profit us all.

This paper hopes and believes that we have opened a new phase in our dealings with the Continent, based on firm friendship and that ingredient which has been missing for so long, mutual respect.

Indeed, this is not a day for triumphalism or recriminations. After a campaign that often descended into bitterness and rancour, it's a day to start building bridges — both within our political parties and between Britain and the rest of Europe.

Clearly, the priority must be to thrash out a new relationship, of common advantage to all. To that end, the Mail suggests the UK should form a negotiating body, drawn from all parties and including the best brains in the City, big business, science and education.

There is no need for a precipitate rush to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will set a two-year clock ticking to withdrawal.

But nor should it be delayed for too long (and hellfire to any MP or peer who seeks to overturn the will of the people).

As for those of our readers who decided to vote Remain, judging that the dangers of Brexit were too great, this paper has enormous respect for their conscientious concern for our country. But we firmly trust and believe that their fears will prove unfounded.

This is a magnificent day for Great Britain. We should celebrate our new freedom — and pay tribute to the countless ordinary Britons who showed so much more wisdom than the self-serving political and financial elites that for too long have ignored their anxieties and aspirations


Brexit: New Labour (Blair) should have listened to 'racist' immigration concerns years ago.  As years passed and migration soared, those who spoke up were dismissed

James Bloodworth is an unusual Leftist in that he tries to  deal with reality rather than peddle myths. And I think he gets it mostly right below

In the coming days the blame for Britain's vote to leave the European Union will be distributed liberally among today's crop of politicians. David Cameron and George Osborne will, finally, be seen for the mediocre politicians that they are. Cameron has already announced without fanfare that he will step down as PM and a new Tory leader will be in place by October. With Osborne as equally tainted by Brexit, the smart money is on Boris Johnson to be the next Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will rightly be slaughtered by his MPs for being practically invisible for most of the referendum campaign. Even Alan Johnson, the best leader of the opposition Britain never had in the eyes of many, has singularly failed to ignite the passions of Labour's former heartlands in the north of England.

But taking a longer view, New Labour probably carries more of the blame than Labour's current leadership for Britain crashing out of the EU. Had the former demanded transitional controls on Eastern European migration way back in 2004, there's every chance that we would be waking up today to a resounding victory for Remain. It was, as the former home secretary Jack Straw recently admitted, a 'spectacular mistake' to throw open the doors in 2004, a 'well-intentioned policy we messed up'.

Labour expected only around 13,000 migrants a year to arrive in Britain; instead the figure was in the hundreds of thousands, hitting a record level of 333,000 just four weeks ago. In many ways the influx of migrants from the former eastern bloc countries had a tremendously positive effect. Migrants have done the jobs that Brits have been unwilling to do and they have contributed far more to the exchequer's coffers than they've taken out in return. Ultimately, they have been quietly paying for the pensions of those who've just voted to kick them out.

For all the economic benefits, immigration on this scale was incredibly unpopular, even among recent immigrants

But for all the economic benefits, immigration on this scale was incredibly unpopular, even among recent immigrants. Poll after poll told us as much. According to a recent British Social Attitudes Survey, 60% of those who came to Britain in the 1960s and 1970s said they wanted to see a cut in immigration. Meanwhile 39% of non-UK born white respondents earning £75,000 per annum reported preferences for 'a lot less' migration.

The former Tory leader Michael Howard ran his party's 2005 election campaign on a platform of reduced migration, so large and unexpected was the initial influx from eastern Europe. The party took out a full-page advert in the Sunday Telegraph calling for 'an annual limit on immigration and a quota for asylum seekers'. But it was too soon. There was certainly resentment back then.

Together with the Conservative election campaign, the far-right started to reappear in down-at-heel northern towns after almost 20 years in the doldrums. But Labour politicians promised to listen to voters' concerns about migration and it got them through. Shortly before the 2005 election The Sunday Times revealed that home secretary Charles Clarke planned to 'steal part of the Tories' immigration policy by announcing a new Australian-style points system for economic migrants'. And so for a time the public believed it and gave them the benefit of the doubt.

But the promises to 'listen', to 'get serious' and to 'respect people's concerns' sounded increasingly hollow as the years passed and European migration to Britain continued to soar to record levels. Those who banged the drum the loudest on immigration were often racists, thus it was assumed by well-meaning progressives than anyone who emitted even the mildest squeak of disquiet about immigration were, if not racist themselves, then happy to play the sordid politics of the 'dog whistle'.

Anyone who wishes to lazily ascribe racism to more than half the electorate is making the very mistake which got us into this sorry mess.

Nuance fell right out of the debate. Immigration was either a boon to the British economy or it was irreversibly changing the nature of the country at a speed which most people were decidedly uncomfortable with. Anyone who pointed out that it might be both was drowned out by the cries of 'racist' from one quarter and a pack of lies about migrants 'milking the benefit system' on the other.

When people were listened to on immigration, their fears were quietly put down to false consciousness. Their grumbles were, it was said in polite circles, code for something else: concerns about jobs, wages or the size of the mortgage. Jeremy Corbyn perhaps epitomised this sense of detachment from reality better than anyone. Even following the referendum result he has persisted in saying that the Leave victory was down to jobs, housing and the same old material things that cod-Marxists like Corbyn believe can explain everything.

There is of course some truth to materialist explanations, but they don't give the whole picture. Hostility to immigration – and by extension hostility to Europe – is driven by cultural concerns as much as by economic worries. That's certainly what the University of Oxford's Migration Observatory has been saying in recent years. It has pointed out on a number of occasions that cultural concerns better explain negative attitudes towards migration than a person's economic position. In essence it is about whether England feels like England. And that is no more the England of Enoch Powell or the English Defence League than it is the England of George Orwell, who wrote of 'something distinctive and recognisable in English civilisation. It is a culture as individual as that of Spain'.

In urging voters to 'take back control', the Leave campaign tapped into this in a way that the Remain camp, with their statisticians and endless parade of captains of industry, was unable to. Yes, racism played a part; but anyone who wishes to lazily ascribe racism to more than half the electorate is making the very mistake which got us into this sorry mess.

The tragedy of course is that Brexit is unlikely to reduce immigration, nor improve the economic prospects of resentful working class voters trapped in economic turpitude in the grimmest corners of England's north. At a time when placing any political bet is a high risk endeavour, you can bet the house on the fact that it won't be the Nigel Farages and Boris Johnsons of the world who will feel the pinch as the British economy takes a hammering.

Beyond Britain's shores, the rise of the far-right now looms ominously over the European continent like a fearsome rain cloud. Fascism is the small man writ large, and the small man (and woman) is in the ascendancy. France's National Front leader Marine Le Pen has said that the French must also have the right to choose. Meanwhile Dutch anti-Islam politician Gert Wilders and Italy's far-right Northern League have said much the same thing.

We are witnessing nothing less than the creeping break-up of Europe. It will go out with a whimper rather than a bang, and it was set in motion a decade ago by Labour politicians who saw the English working class as a superfluous force who had nowhere else electorally to go. They pushed and pushed and pushed them and today, finally, the great unwanted have pushed back. The salt of the earth were treated as the scum of the earth and, unsurprisingly, they wouldn't stand for it. The dark consequences will be felt for generations to come.


We're out of touch with ordinary, 'ghastly' Britons, says ex-BBC chief: Leaked email says it 'ignores and despises' millions because they do not embrace liberal views

The BBC 'ignores and despises' millions of Britons because they do not embrace the liberal views of a metropolitan elite, a leaked memo has revealed.

The Corporation was said to be 'completely bewildered' about how to respond to the concerns of 'ghastly' ordinary people.

There would be no end to the issues facing the broadcaster until the 'London bubble' had burst, said a report by David Cowling, former head of the BBC's political research unit.

Sensitive subjects that worried households were barely acknowledged by the political class, his analysis claimed.

Although he did not name specific issues, Mr Cowling would almost certainly have in mind mass immigration – routinely among the biggest fears of voters – and the way foreign arrivals have changed communities in the UK.

For decades, politicians and the BBC have been accused of censoring debate, branding as 'racist' those who voiced concerns about the perceived erosion of our national identity or the pressure on jobs, housing, schools and healthcare. Fury at being overlooked for so long has led to vast numbers of Britons – many casting a ballot for the first time – to vote to quit the EU in a howl of frustration at the political elite.

Mr Cowling, a former special adviser to a Labour Cabinet minister in the 1970s, made the withering assessment in an internal memo that was leaked on the internet.

His words are damning because the BBC's political research unit provides extensive background briefings for journalists and programme-makers.

But his findings appear to have been dismissed amid fears at the Corporation that it may be perceived as a Right-wing political agenda.

Mr Cowling, who is now a visiting senior research fellow at King's College London, wrote: 'It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation.

David Cowling, former head of the BBC's political research unit
'There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist.

'Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond ('who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?' doesn't really hack it).

'The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.'

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, a leading Vote Leave supporter, said: 'This analysis is right and refreshing. The political parties and the BBC do not appreciate the legitimate concerns of a large proportion of the population.

'The size of the leave vote will be a demonstration of the size of people's frustrations. A huge swathe of the population feel that their views are irrelevant to the metropolitan elite and the European elite. 'The Establishment is out of touch with a huge proportion of our population.'

Mr Cowling, a specialist on political opinion polling, is a former editor of the BBC's political research unit, which runs a small team of researchers. He now works for the corporation as a freelancer on an 'ad hoc' basis.

He has helped in the commissioning of polls by the BBC in all forms of elections, including at local, parliamentary and European level. Between 1977 and 1979 he was a special adviser to Environment Secretary Peter Shore in James Callaghan's Labour Government.

His words echo those of the BBC's former director-general Mark Thompson who in 2011 admitted there had been 'some years' when the broadcaster was 'very reticent about talking about immigration'.

Mr Thompson said such 'taboo' subjects were avoided by the BBC. He added: 'There was an anxiety about whether or not you might be playing into a political agenda if you did items on immigration.'

A BBC spokesman said: 'This was an internal memo intended to help programme-makers create thought-provoking and broad-ranging impartial coverage. 'It would wrong to read any more into this analysis than that.'



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, June 24, 2016

Are spuds bad for you?

Medical researchers would love to point the skinger of forn at the humble spud.  It would be another arrow in the heart of those despised McDonald's "fries".  And the latest study by Borgi et al. did indeed find a slight bad effect from eating them -- but only among women. 

Lea Borgi.  Isn't she gorgeous? But don't fancy her too much.  She is engaged to another woman

I was going to have a shot at the Borgi study but a Kiwi researcher has beaten me too it.  David R Thomas, another old timer from a social science background like me, has pointed out that men and women tend to have different diets and the fact that men were immune from the menaces of the good ol' spud should suggest that it was something other than spuds in the female diet that had the bad effect.  And he offers a specific suggestion about what the pattern difference might be.  And he has a point.

But I have another shot to fire into the unfortunate Dr Borgi.  She did an heroic job of adjusting for all sorts of possible confounding factors but she left out the politically incorrect one, one that sabotages a lot of medical research.  She failed to look at differences according to social class.  And, horrific though it might be for me to mention it, social class does influence diet. 

And that matters on this occasion because the 3 samples analysed were of medical personnel.  And the females would have been mostly nurses and the males would include a lot of doctors.  And, agonising though it must be to hear this, doctors tend to be of higher status than nurses.  I'll now take 5 minutes to wash my mouth out.

So the male sample would be of a higher class overall and would eat differently.  Upper class people are more careful about their health generally and their diet in particular.  So all the unfortunate Dr Borgi has shown is something that we knew already:  Upper class people are healthier than lower class people.

David Thomas actually said the same but in a more polite way.  He spoke of two dietary patterns which for brevity we might call the careful pattern and the careless pattern. He said the male doctors probably followed the careful pattern.  What he didn't mention is that the careful pattern is more upper class while the careless pattern is mostly working class.

Sad when political correctness completely undermines the conclusions of very laborious medical research.  NB:  For those who did not get it. "skinger of forn" is a Spoonerism -- JR

Multicultural fraudsters in Britain

Two women who posed as sisters after buying false identities to then claim hundreds of thousands of pounds each in benefits have been jailed.

The pair, known by the assumed names of Antoinette and Louise Kaidi, pleaded guilty six days into their trial in March after the jury were 'laughing' at their defence, the court today heard.

Antoinette, of Enfield, London, qualified as a nurse after using her identity to fund her training, while Louise, of East Ham, enrolled in a nursing course at London South Bank University.

They were arrested last year and convicted of a total of 23 counts, dated between 2003 and 2015, including fraud, conspiracy to assist in unlawful immigration and dishonesty in making a false statement or representation with a view to obtaining benefit.

Sentencing them each to 33 months in prison, His Honour Judge John Tanzer told them their crimes were of a serious nature.

He said: 'These are not victimless offences. They are offences the community feels very strongly about.'

He said the convictions were part of a wider probe into other people, adding: 'I was told all of this is part of a very large investigation involving some £4million.'

The Kaidis were convicted of taking thousands of pounds from the NHS in training and bursary costs, as well as from the Department of Work and Pensions in false tax credit and income support payments after assuming so-called 'ghost identities'.

Louise claimed in the region of £270,000 while Antoinette obtained £290,000, which included her earnings while working as a nurse.

Both women claimed to be from Togo but it is believed Antoinette is of mixed Nigerian-Ghanaian heritage, while Louise is Ugandan, although prosecutor Caoimhe Daly admitted the true identities of the women are still unknown.

Judge Tanzer said the women admitted their crimes in the face of a jury who did not appear to believe their stories.

Addressing the women he said: 'Antoinette you were giving evidence with a jury laughing at the attempts by you to say that you were not aware of your real identity.'

Both Antoinette, a mother-of-two, and Louise, a single mother-of-three, cried as they sat in the dock at Croydon Crown Court.


More evidence that some people are born bad

The brains of teenage delinquents are different to those of their better behaved peers, according to new research.

The study suggests that conduct disorder, a problem recognised by psychiatrists, is more than just a description of natural teenage unruliness.

Scientists compared the thickness of different brain regions in groups of young people, some of whom had been diagnosed with conduct disorder.

They found evidence of altered brain structure associated with the condition, which is characterised by persistent behavioural problems including aggression, violence, lying, stealing, and weapon use.

Dr Graeme Fairchild, from the University of Southampton's Department of Psychology, said: 'The differences that we see between healthy teenagers and those with both forms of conduct disorders show that most of the brain is involved, but particularly the frontal and temporal regions of the brain.

'This provides extremely compelling evidence that conduct disorder is a real psychiatric disorder and not, as some experts maintain, just an exaggerated form of teenage rebellion.

'More research is now needed to investigate how to use these results to help these young people clinically and to examine the factors leading to this abnormal pattern of brain development, such as exposure to early adversity.'

The scientists used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to see whether various brain regions were similar or different in terms of thickness.

Teenagers with childhood-onset conduct disorder had brain regions that were strikingly similar compared with those of their peers.

The brain regions of adolescent-onset conduct disorder teenagers, in contrast, displayed fewer similarities to those of 'normal' individuals.

In both cases, the findings are thought to reflect brain development disruption linked to conduct disorder diagnosed at different stages of life.

The researchers first studied 58 male adolescents and young adults with conduct disorder and 25 'typical' individuals aged between 16 and 21.

Their findings were then replicated in 37 individuals with conduct disorder and 32 who did not have the condition, all male and aged between 13 and 18.

Dr Luca Passamonti, a neuroscientist at Cambridge University, said: 'There's evidence already of differences in the brains of individuals with serious behavioural problems, but this is often simplistic and only focused on regions such as the amygdala which we know is important for emotional behaviour.

'But conduct disorder is a complex behavioural disorder so likewise we would expect the changes to be more complex in nature and to potentially involve other brain regions.'

Co-author Professor Ian Goodyer, also from Cambridge University, added: 'Now that we have a way of imaging the whole brain and providing a "map" of conduct disorder, we may in future be able to see whether the changes we have observed in this study are reversible if early interventions or psychological therapies are provided.'

The results are published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.


Even Sweden is now toughening up on immigrants

Sweden, once one of the most welcoming countries for refugees, on Tuesday introduced tough new restrictions on asylum seekers, including rules that would limit the number of people granted permanent residency and make it more difficult for parents to reunite with their children.

The government said the legislation, proposed by the Social Democrat minority government and enacted by a vote of 240-45, was necessary to prevent the country from becoming overstretched by the surge of migration to Europe that began last year.

The country, which has a population of 9.5 million, took in 160,000 asylum-seekers last year.

The government said that under the new rules, individuals who want to bring over family members, but do not apply to do so within three months of arriving in Sweden, would have to prove they can financially support them; current regulations require sponsors to demonstrate only that they can support themselves. Permanent residency for asylum-seekers under the age of 25 would be restricted to those who have completed high school and can support themselves.

People who are formally granted refugee status would be able to bring over family members from abroad, but the legislation would circumscribe the family members who are eligible.

As elsewhere in Europe, the far right in Sweden has been railing against immigration, a stance that is increasingly resonating with voters. The Sweden Democrats, a far-right anti-immigrant party, won almost 13 percent of the vote in a 2014 general election, and recent polls show it gaining in strength.

Morgan Johansson, Sweden’s justice and migration minister, said in a heated parliamentary debate on the issue Monday that the country’s “system would completely collapse” if 200,000 asylum seekers came to Sweden this year, according to Radio Sweden.

Wealthy countries across Northern Europe are increasingly pushing back against calls to accept more refugees amid fears that it could undermine stretched welfare systems, national integration, and quality of life.

The issue has become particularly acute ahead of Britain’s vote this week on whether to leave the European Union, with those in favor of an exit from the bloc arguing that membership has left the country unable to control its borders and defend itself against an immigrant influx.

The proposed legislation in Sweden quickly came under criticism from human rights groups, which accused the country of passing rules harmful to children.

“Long a leader in promoting the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, Sweden is now joining the race to the bottom,” said Rebecca Riddell, Europe and Central Asia fellow at Human Rights Watch. “Sweden should not sacrifice the well-being of vulnerable children in an effort to make the country less attractive for asylum seekers.”

The United Nations said Monday that more people are on the run than ever before in recorded history, buffeted by war and conflict from Africa to the Middle East.

Sweden introduced new identity checks for travelers arriving from Denmark, prompting the Danes, who were concerned about the potential for a bottleneck of migrants seeking to travel through their country, to impose new controls on migrants traveling via its border with Germany.

Denmark also passed a law requiring newly arrived asylum seekers to hand over valuables, including jewelry and gold, to help pay for their stay in the country.

The UN refugee agency has warned that restrictions on residency permits in Sweden could undermine unaccompanied migrant children in the country and that separating families for extended periods could also have a “detrimental effect.”

Resentment toward migrants in Sweden was heightened last summer when a woman and her son were stabbed to death at an Ikea in Vasteras. An Eritrean who had been denied asylum was charged with the crime



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, June 23, 2016

The class rift behind the EU debate

The referendum has exposed the elite's contempt for the plebs

If you are opposed to the European Union, then you are racist and xenophobic. That’s the unsubtle, finger-pointing message that has been jabbed out by the Remain camp over the past few weeks. There’s a concerted effort to portray Brexit supporters as narrow-minded, parochial, unenlightened and rather uncouth. Who’d want to be associated with such an oafish constituency, with these people who refuse to accept having porous borders? ‘Please don’t leave us on this tiny Island with just the Tories’, said one Remain placard – a mealy-mouthed way of saying that Britain is full of awful people.

This is the conceit of much of the Remain camp: that supporting the EU is a marker for tolerance, open-mindedness, decency and niceness. The divisions over the EU are often posed as a generational war, between cosmopolitan twentysomethings and older white proles, or a cultural war, between fresh-faced hipster creatives and the unattractive plebs. Are you on the side of open-minded ‘us’ or are you bunking up with backward ‘them’ – that has been the conformist cry of leading Remain backers. This is why even left-wingers who instinctively understand that the EU is an elitist, anti-democratic institution don’t have the guts to come out for Brexit. Because to do so would mean associating yourself with modern-day untouchables: the riff-raff, the unsophisticated, the possibly racist.

Sadly, this means that the historically important issues thrown up by this referendum – relating to self-determination, democracy and popular sovereignty – have no real purchase or hearing among the left. Even reminding left-wing Remainers of the late Tony Benn’s stinging critiques of the EU, or the fact that many trade unions were traditionally against it, cuts no ice with them. When the EU has been turned into a moral signifier, all that matters to these leftists is that they’re seen to be on the respectable side against the mob. The left’s cowardice on this matter is shocking. Even as the EU debate is turned into a kind of class war – pitting a decent establishment against an uncouth public – they still refuse to have a serious discussion about what’s going on.

For two decades now, the great and the good have warned us that much of the masses are racist and xenophobic. Hardly anyone questions whether racism really is a powerful social force today. Or how true it is that the white working classes have higher levels of racism than others. It should be clear to any observer of British society that hardened racist attitudes have waned. The British National Party has been all but wiped out. Street-based far-right protest groups, like the English Defence League and Britain First, can barely muster a couple of hundred people for their rallies. Violent or verbal attacks against foreigners are much rarer than they were 30 or 40 years ago. There’s very little evidence that old-fashioned racism is a serious issue in working-class communities.

But there doesn’t have to be evidence. When it comes to framing the white working class as racist, hard facts seem not to matter. Labelling older British whites in particular as prejudiced throwbacks, as Labour MPs routinely do, has become a coded expression of class hatred. No one is willing any more to say that they hate the working class for being poor and unsophisticated or for lacking social status; no, instead nod-and-wink terms like ‘xenophobe’, ‘Little Englander’, ‘tabloid reader’ and ‘UKIP supporter’ are used to communicate a view of these people as troubling and strange. Today’s constant talk about racist attitudes is not about confronting a real problem in society; it’s about demonising, and distancing oneself from, the poorer sections of society.

In the same way that crime panics were used to legitimise the marginalisation of black people in the 1970s, so overblown concerns about xenophobia are now used to legitimise contempt for the white working class. This trend has been a key ideological feature of the British political and media class for a couple of decades now, but the EU referendum has bought it to the surface with force.

During the referendum debate, Remain campaigners have continually pointed to people’s doubts or concerns over immigration as evidence that they are a reactionary blob. But the current discussion of immigration is partly a product of the left’s and others’ refusal to have an upfront, honest discussion about what the EU means and why some people might oppose it. This is an issue of sovereignty, including borders, and it’s about what citizenship really means and who has it: all entirely legitimate things to discuss. But in presenting any suggestion that we should be in control of our borders as another expression of fear of foreigners, many Remainers are seeking to delegitimise, and stigmatise, one side of the debate.

The irony, of course, is that being pro-EU hardly makes one an open-minded cosmopolitan. Indeed, far from the EU promoting free movement, the EU actively discourages it. Yes, it’s in favour of white Italian or Spanish students enjoying freedom of movement, but not Africans or Arabs who want to work in Europe. The EU upholds Little Europeanism, encouraging us to view the non-white world beyond Europe with fear and loathing.

Regardless of the outcome of the EU referendum, the debates have helpfully exposed the ideological character of the anti-xenophobia posturing of many of today’s liberals. And too much of the left is shamefully going along with this, warning of the dangers of a ‘nationalist upsurge’ if Brexit wins. The EU referendum is expressing, or at least reflecting, unspoken class tensions in 21st-century British society. It’s become about whether you support the ever-expanding establishment and their desire to hide from accountability, or popular sovereignty and the right even of the little people to determine the fate of the nation. I know which side I’m on.


Family Of Kate Steinle Sues San Francisco Sheriff

In a move that should escalate the debate over sanctuary cities, the family of Kate Steinle has filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco Sheriff who released the criminal alien who killed the 32-year-old Steinle last year.

The suit includes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Following Steinle’s murder, there was a public and media uproar that sparked calls for federal legislation to prevent the release of repeat offenders who also had been subjected to repeat deportations. Public concerns and legislative efforts went nowhere, avoiding the illegality of sanctuary city policy that prevents local law enforcement from cooperating with federal authorities.

As reiterated by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Steinle’s accused murderer, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, is an illegal alien with seven convictions and five deportations on his record.

“Lopez-Sanchez was previously in federal custody and would have been deported for the sixth time before he was transported to San Francisco to address a 20 year-old drug charge. When the charge was thrown out by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department refused to honor a detainer request to transfer Lopez-Sanchez to ICE. Instead, the Sheriff’s Department, pursuant to its sanctuary policy, released Lopez-Sanchez back into the community. Just a few months later, Lopez-Sanchez fatally shot Steinle at a popular tourist site in San Francisco.”

FAIR states the essence of the lawsuit: “The Steinle family’s wrongful death claim alleges then-San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s sanctuary policy, which prohibited law enforcement from cooperating with ICE’s request to transfer custody of Lopez-Sanchez, is to blame for the killing of Steinle.” (See the Complaint)

In another recap, FAIR reports “that San Francisco, a self-proclaimed ‘sanctuary city,’ has multiple policies in place to protect criminal aliens from detection and removal from the United States.  These policies restrict law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials and complying with detainer requests, often called ICE holds, to facilitate the transfer of criminal aliens to federal custody.”

The Steinle family lawsuit charges negligence as well as wrongful death.

“The complaint alleges Sheriff Mirkarimi acted negligently and violated federal laws requiring local officials to be able to openly communicate with ICE regarding the immigration status of an individual. The Steinle family also blamed ICE for its failure to detain and deport Lopez-Sanchez upon his release from custody. BLM is also named as a defendant because the gun that Lopez-Sanchez used to kill Steinle belonged to a BLM agent who had reported it stolen.”

Is it too much to ask that the presidential candidates debate sanctuary city policy? For millions of voters, the answer is a resounding no. The Steinle family lawsuit should advance the debate.


'Noisy' Union Jack lowered by council after just ONE resident complained about it flapping in the wind

Locals have reacted angrily after a council was forced to remove a large Union Flag after it was deemed too noisy.

The brand new flag was raised by Totnes Town Council at civic hall to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland.

Locals say it also helped to ignite patriotic pride ahead of the Euro 2016 and the Queen's birthday celebrations.

But one killjoy resident in the town complained that the flag was making too much noise flapping in the wind - and it has come down.

Councillor Marion Adams told a meeting: 'There was a complaint that the flag was making too much noise.

'There are a lot of people who are very unhappy that it was taken down.

'Apparently the person said they could not look out their window at it any more.'

Cllr Adams said the decision to remove the flag had sparked a flood of angry emails and complaints.

Another Councillor, Pip Paine, said: 'The taking down of the flag has caused a kerfuffle. This is a serious issue.'

And one local resident said: 'Everyone I have spoken to is very angry about this. 'There are a lot of things happening this month with the Queen's birthday and the Euro's yet we, as a town, can't display a Union Jack at the civic centre for such a stupid reason as this.

'I have never heard anything so ridiculous. Too noisy? It is only a flag - how noisy can it be?'

At the meeting, it was pointed out that the flag was only flown on special occasions and suggestions were made that if a flag was to fly over the council-run hall on a permanent basis it should be the town's own colours.

The councillor who took it down, Ben Piper, said: 'It has never been customary to fly the Union Flag over the Civic Hall constantly. 'Somebody did have a moan about the flag and it was drawn to our attention that it was still up.'

The row also comes while tensions are high between patriotic Brits wanting to leave the European Union and those wanting to stay - a week ahead of the referendum on June 23.

It has also sparked members of Totnes Town Council to debate which flags should be allowed in the Devon town - and residents will be able to have a say.


A father was furious after a stranger branded him a 'racist b******' because he had decked out his car in England flags

Football fan Jonny Cooke, 35, had decorated his silver vehicle with a number of St George flags in support of England during Euro 2016.

But he was gobsmacked when he returned to his car in an Asda car park in Brackenhall, West Yorkshire, to find an abusive note on the windscreen.  The note, which was placed under one of his wipers, read: 'Pathetic racist b******* with your England flags'.

Mr Cook, from Rastrick, West Yorkshire, defended his right to put flags on his car and said online: 'Whoever stuck this on my windscreen at Asda you are a disgrace. How is supporting my country and having children who like flags being racist?'

The father of two had been shopping at the supermarket on Saturday with his fiancée Jessica, 32, seven-year-old son Ben and 14-month-old daughter Laila.

He spotted the note after he returned to his car and described the stranger's actions as 'unnecessarily spreading hatred'.

The mental health support worker added: 'I was coming back to my car when I spotted a note left under my windscreen wipers. 'At first I thought someone might have scraped my car, but when I read it I was shocked.

'My son Ben was asking "What does it say, Daddy?" so I just had to tell him it was someone being silly.'

Mr Cook attached the flags to his passenger seat windows in support of England during the Euro Championships, following the requests of his children.

He reacted by sharing the vitriolic note on Facebook to shame the mystery shopper. Mr Cooke wrote: 'Whoever stuck this on my windscreen at the Asda YOU are a Disgrace!! How is supporting my country & having children who like flags being racist?'

He added: 'I was just really shocked and upset. Part of me thought it was a joke from someone I know so I put it online to see if anyone knew anything.'

But fellow social media users were equally shocked by the post, with some suggesting he take the incident up with Asda and the police.

Mr Cooke added: 'I think emotions are high with the football and the EU referendum but it's a very hurtful thing to call someone racist. 'It's just unnecessary hatred.'



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, June 22, 2016

Former NYC FBI Chief: 'Get This Wet Blanket of Political Correctness off Back of Law Enforcement'

Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom, who headed the FBI’s New York City office, said on The Kelly File on Thursday that FBI agents are “petrified” of being fired apparently because of White House orders that say the bureau cannot investigate “anything to do with Muslims” in the traditional way the bureau would pursue criminals or potential criminals and terrorists.

Kallstrom also stressed that we need to “get this wet blanket of political correctness off the backs of law enforcement, off the backs of the FBI,” to better protect U.S. citizens.

When asked about apparent problems with the FBI,  Kallstrom said, “The rules of engagement, what the Bureau is being told what they can and what they can’t do. They can’t go sniffing around -- anything to do with Muslims.”

“They can’t go to mosques, they can’t do things that they normally do,” he said. “I’m not talking things that are off the charts, I’m talking about the things that would normally be done.”

“But the orders have come down from the White House,” said Kallstrom. “The same people that took all the [radical Islam] language out of the training documents and can’t be used in any memoranda. Those are the same people.”

Host Megan Kelly responded, “So they’re worried about getting fired?”

“The agents are petrified, sure,” said Kallstrom. “Just like the people are. The people didn’t call in San Bernardino. They didn’t want to be looked upon, right?”

“When the attorney general of the United States,” he continued, “when she comes out and says, look, we’re going to prosecute people for saying certain things -- which is illegal…she had to walk it back but still. That’s let everyone who knows what’s going on say ha, ha, ha, I better be super careful here.”

“So instead of leaning forward, instead of getting into the investigation and everything, just like those witnesses that said they thought the FBI thought they were being cranky or they were anti-Muslim,” Kallstrom said.

He later remarked,  It is a wet blanket. I mean, believe me, I know the agents in the FBI and I know the support people, and I know the analysts. No one wants this [terrorism] thing to happen, believe me. But they’ve got families they’ve got things that they have to be careful, so they are overly cautious.”


British justice at work: A serial sex offender who attacked his victim in her own bed is jailed for LESS time than a farmer sentenced in the same court who claimed his eggs were 'free range'

A victims' support group has blasted the justice system after a farmer selling barn eggs as 'free-range' was jailed for longer than a serial sex offender in the same court.

Widower Anthony Clarkson, 59, was hauled before Preston Crown Court this week after being convicted of fraudulently marketing the barn eggs as free-range.

On Monday he was jailed for two-and-a-half years after evidence from the egg standard inspectors from the Animal Plant Health Authority (APHA).

In the same court on Wednesday, serial sex offender Kerdine Ahmedi, 46, was jailed for two months less than the farmer despite admitting sexually assaulting a terrified woman.

In a victim personal statement, the unnamed woman - who sobbed in the public gallery during the sentencing hearing - said the attack had destroyed her life.

The court heard Ahmedi has a previous conviction for indecent exposure and breached his sexual offences prevention order on five separate occasions since it was made in 2011.

The disparity in the sentences has been criticised by solicitor Rachel Horman, a board director at Safenet, which runs women's refuges. She said: 'It seems that financial crimes or fraud are treated more seriously than violent crimes against women. 'This kind of situation sends out the wrong message to perpetrators and victims of violence. Sadly this happens quite a lot.

'I have seen domestic violence cases where in order to get that kind of sentence, the perpetrator could have attempted murder.

'I deal with serious cases of violence against women where the defendant doesn't get a penalty anywhere near this.

'It's not just an overhaul of sentencing guidelines that is needed - often there are powers there to impose a heavier sentence which people do not use. It's a change in attitude.'

Clarkson was prosecuted after claiming free range eggs had been produced at his farm in Whittingham, near Preston, when they were in fact barn eggs he bought in from another of his firms.

He operated a farm producing 'free-range eggs' and had an interest in another farm producing cheaper 'barn eggs'. He stamped both type of eggs with code indicating they were free range.

He was convicted of fraud by dishonestly making a false representation after a probe was launched by egg inspectors in 2014.

At his sentence hearing, his defence barrister Michael Maher said he appreciated it was a food fraud but remarked: 'It's not horse meat masquerading as fillet steak.'

A spokesman for Animal Plant Health Authority (APHA) defended the sentence saying it sends out a 'tough warning to food fraudsters.'

Sex offender Ahmedi forced himself on a woman who he knew the woman was drunk and feeling unwell, Preston Crown Court heard.

The woman's boyfriend had passed out at the kitchen table after drinking vodka which he feared may have been spiked.

She woke to feel a man behind her but when she realised it was not her boyfriend she tried to get away, as Ahmedi made sexual comments.

As she tried to get out of bed, Ahmedi put his arm around her waist and attacked her. Unable to wake her boyfriend, the woman went to a friend's house and told her she had been assaulted.  She reported the attack the following day and Ahmedi, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

The Recorder of Preston, Judge Mark Brown, said when sentencing: 'She made it clear at the very start that she wasn't interested and wanted you to stop immediately.  'However you continued. That must have been a very frightening and distressing experience for her. Your victim is present in court. She is obviously extremely distressed by what occurred to her.'


Proof perfect that supermarket food waste is not a problem

Tim Worstall

One of the more difficult things, as Douglas Adams pointed out, is to keep a sense of proportion about the world. It is easy, of course it is, to point to something or other and shout "That's a massive problem!" It's rather more difficult to look at something and ponder on whether it's actually an important problem. It is once we do the latter that we can actually work out whether this is something that we should devote efforts to sorting out or not.

And so it is with food waste from supermarkets. We're told that this is one of those massive problems. There are even those who insist that supermarkets themselves are the problem as a result of this waste. Consideration is necessary here:

Tesco has revealed that the amount of food waste generated by the supermarket giant increased to 59,400 tonnes last year – the equivalent of nearly 119 million meals.

119 million meals! That's a massive problem!

Well, no, not really. It's two meals a year, a little under that in fact, for each inhabitant of these isles. Interesting, certainly, but not exactly massive. And then there's this:

The amount wasted was the equivalent of one in every 100 food products sold by Tesco during the last financial year.

Or as we might put it, 1% of throughput. At which point it's worth going and looking at parts of the world that do not have the supermarket logistics chain. And that is the correct way to think of supermarkets. Not as simply shops that we go to, they're just the retail outlets of the logistics and production chain that stretches right back to the planting of the fields.

The FAO and others have pointed out that in countries reliant upon more traditional practices some 50% of food gets wasted between farm and fork. It is this which explains the reason why the world grows enough calories for all yet not all can eat enough calories. The supermarkets reduce that waste considerably at that cost of the trivial losses at the supermarkets themselves. No, it's not quite true that the net gain from having supermarkets is 49% of the harvested crop but it's getting on for that number.

Sure, distributing that 1% to the needy is a worthwhile thing to do, why not? But we do need to understand that it's not an important point. What is important is bringing that industrial logistics chain to those places which do not have it in order to save that 50% of the harvest.

Supermarkets, properly considered, are the cure for food shortages and waste, not the cause of them.


LGBT Activists Enraged Over Beach Patrol Bathroom Email

Consider the plight of Captain Butch Arbin, a 40-year veteran of the beach patrol in Ocean City, Maryland.  He’s facing the wrath of City Hall and militant LGBT activists over his handling of a bathroom controversy involving male and female lifeguards.

Female lifeguards had complained that male lifeguards were using their dressing rooms. The male lifeguards are not transgender. They are presumed to be men who identify as men, which in PC parlance is called “cisgender.”

Some of the guys were apparently using the ladies room out of convenience — seeing how there are more male lifeguards than female.

So Arbin fired off an email to set things straight by referencing a recent dustup over President Obama’s decree that men who identify as women should be able to use the porta-potty of their choosing.

“WE are NOT Target,” he wrote to the lifeguards. “USE the locker room that corresponds to your DNA … If You’re NOT SURE go to Target.”

Now, that right there is funny, folks. Target is the national retailer that set off a firestorm when it announced customers could pretty much use whatever bathroom suited them.

It’s just too bad that the LGBT activists in Maryland don’t share our sense of humor.

Someone leaked the captain’s email to the news media and — well, let’s just say the veteran lifeguard landed in some mighty hot water.

“It’s nothing short of making fun of transgender people, and it’s absolutely unacceptable for a city employee or a public employee to make fun of transgender people at all,” Equality Maryland Executive Director Patrick Paschall told The Washington Post.

Paschall accused the beach patrol captain of demeaning transgender people and suggested the email might result in physical harm to the LGBTQ community.

“No one should be surprised when the increased drumbeat of harassment increases to discrimination and even violence against LGBTQ people,” he said.

Oh, please.

Arbin said the email had nothing to do with transgender people. “I used humor to make the point,” he said. “I was ONLY looking out for the women of the patrol and was not attempting to put down any group or individual, only maintain a nice facility for the women who choose to use a gender specific facility.”

He told the Baltimore Sun that the guys were leaving the toilet seats up — and that was an issue for the ladies.

“I don’t care about being politically correct,” he told the newspaper. “That’s one of the problems in the country right now.”

So the LGBT activists and left-wingers are trying to politically water board this poor guy simply because he was looking out for the female lifeguards.

Facing a tsunami of illegitimate outrage, Arbin issued a public “heartfelt” apology.

Still, City Hall threw him under the cabana.  Ocean City spokesperson Jessica Waters called his actions “completely inappropriate.”  “He just stepped way out of line,” she told the Post. “It’s not a reflection of Ocean City in any way, and we welcome all types of people.”

That’s a lovely sentiment, dear. But does that mean it’s city policy to let men who identify as men leave the seat up in the ladies room?

Ocean City Today, the official newspaper in those parts, issuing a brilliant defense of Arbin.

They suggested that he should tell his critics to pound sand — writing in a stinging editorial about having to “take special care that we don’t put a toe over the line of hurting anyone’s feelings.

"Butch Arbin ought to tell those who would see him disciplined for a recent email to take Ocean City’s 10 miles of sand and pound it.”

They sound like my kind of people.

“One thing wrong with society in these turbulent times isn’t Arbin or anyone like him, but is the increasingly delicate dance of public discourse at a time when those who seek tolerance are themselves intolerant,” the newspaper wrote in a staff editorial.



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