Friday, October 24, 2014



Multicultural nursing in Britain



A carer admitted hitting a vulnerable teenager with learning difficulties on the head after he was caught on a secret camera the boy's parents had put up in his room.

Zak Rowlands, 19, is the size of a 12-year-old and suffers from autism and severe learning difficulties. He was born with a chromosome disorder.

His parents decided to install a secret camera in the care home in Lancashire where he was living after they noticed their son was flinching every time he was approached. 

Stanley Nkenko, 35, admitted assaulting the teenager after he was caught on camera hitting him in his room at Oxen Barn specialist care home in Leyland in Lancashire.

Father Paul Rowlands installed the secret camera.  They decided to install the camera secretly in his room at the care home.

When Zak's father Tom Rowlands viewed the footage it showed Nkenko slapping him twice across the back of his head as he put him to bed on May 21.

The care home has branded Nkenko's behaviour as 'unacceptable' and said he had now been dismissed. The Lancashire care home said it 'fully supported' the prosecution.

In a statement it said: 'We are deeply sorry for the impact this has had on the family and are in regular contact with them to ensure all lessons are learned from this event and that their son, who continues to be resident in our home, is receiving the highest quality of care possible.”

At a hearing at Preston Crown Court Nkenko, who lives with his wife and two-month-old son in Bolton, Greater Manchester pleaded guilty to a charge of ill treatment or neglect of someone who lacked mental capacity.

The case was adjourned until November 8 and Nkenko was warned he is likely to be jailed.

SOURCE






"Recognizing" Palestine

When Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced his decision to recognize the non-existent state of “Palestine” earlier this month, he inadvertently gave the game away.

Lofven said, “A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful coexistence. Sweden will therefore recognize the State of Palestine.”

The Palestinians refuse to recognize or peacefully coexist with the State of Israel.

Like his coalition partner Hamas terror master Khaled Mashaal, and despite his sweet talk to Western audiences, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas  has pledged, repeatedly, over decades that he will never, ever recognize Israel. During his speech to the UN General Assembly last month he reverted to PLO language from the 1970s, referring to Israel repeatedly as “the occupying Power,” and “the racist occupying State.”

So when Lofven recognized “Palestine,” he joined the Palestinian campaign to destroy Israel. He used the language of the “two-state solution,” to reject the Jewish state.

Former British foreign minister and Labor MP Jack Straw went a step further this week as he addressed his Parliament before its lopsided 274-12 vote to recognize “Palestine.”

The vote, he explained, was not about advancing peace. It was a straightforward bid to harm Israel.  In his words, “The only thing that the Israeli government…understands is pressure.”

Lofven, Straw and their colleagues throughout Europe aren’t stupid. They know what they’re doing.  They know that Gaza, which Israel vacated nine years ago, is a terror state run by the genocidal jihadists of Hamas.

They know that if Israel succumbs to their political and economic warfare and cedes its capital city and historic heartland to its enemies, it will be unable to defend its remaining territory.

And they know that like Gaza, those areas will quickly be taken over by Hamas, which will use them to launch a war of annihilation against Israel in conjunction with its jihadist brethren in surrounding states.

In other words, they know that in recognizing “Palestine” they are not helping the cause of peace. They are advancing Israel’s ruin.

If they were even remotely interested in freedom and peace, the Europeans would be doing the opposite. They would be working to strengthen and expand Israel, the only stable zone of freedom and peace in the region.

They would abandon the phony two-state solution, which as Straw and Lofven revealed is merely doublespeak for seeking Israel’s destruction and its replacement with a terror state.

With strategic blindness and moral depravity now serving as the twin guideposts for European policy towards Israel, Israel and its supporters must tell the truth about the push to recognize “Palestine.”

It isn’t about peace or justice. It’s about hating Israel and assisting those who most actively seek its obliteration.

SOURCE





UK: Unemployed foreigners will be barred from claiming welfare payments

Unemployed foreigners will be barred from claiming benefits in Britain under the government's flagship Universal Credit scheme, the Work and Pensions Secretary has said.

Iain Duncan Smith said that a future Conservative government will end the "something for nothing" culture by withdrawing benefits paid to jobseekers from the European Economic Area.

Under the present system, foreigners can claim job seeker's allowance worth up to £72.50 a week after they have been in Britain for three months.

However Mr Duncan Smith plans to use Universal Credit, which will be fully rolled out by 2018, to end the "pull factor" which attracts benefit tourists to Britain.

He said: "The structure of Universal Credit is such that a person will not be claiming universal credit if they haven't established a residency here. It's different from Jobseeker's allowance. We actually lose a chunk of people that may well come. You start to lose the pull factor for being unemployed in the UK."

Sources close to Mr Duncan Smith said he is prepared to work with the European Commission to implement the proposals.

Mr Duncan Smith was speaking yesterday as the Department for Work and Pensoins announced that Universal Credit will boost the economy by £7 billion a year and help 300,000 households find work.

The Department for Work and Pensions is also preparing trials under which people could have their benefits cut unless they take up offers to work longer hours.

Universal Credit combines jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, income support, child tax credit, working tax credit and housing benefit. A total of 14,170 people are claiming the credit, with most benefit claimants likely to have transferred to the scheme by the end of 2018.

A survey by the DWP found that jobseekers are spending twice as much time looking for work under the government's flagship benefits scheme as they do under the existing "perverse" regime, a new study has found.

An analysis of 1,000 of the first universal credit claimants found that claimants spend 29 hours a week looking for work rather than 16 hours under the job seeker's allowance scheme.

The survey found that claimants are working more and 65 per cent believe that the new scheme provides a "better financial incentive" to work and is "easier to understand".

The DWP analysis also provides a stark analysis of the current benefits system, under which couples working 20 hours a week are significantly worse off than if they work 10 hours a week because of the withdrawal of benefits.

SOURCE





I hate this insidious trend for belittling men, says MELISSA KITE

Watching a recent episode of the female detective drama Scott And Bailey, I suddenly felt deeply uncomfortable.

The heroines of the ITV show — two gutsy, senior, women police officers —were discussing how to solve a crime, while their bumbling male counterparts sat around, gawping helplessly.

Whenever the men managed to get a word in edgeways, it was to suggest a course of action that was utterly stupid and they were put in their place by their female superiors.

No doubt this demonstration of ‘girl power’ is intended to make the show appeal to me as a woman, but instead, it made me feel rather queasy. There was something dishonourable about the portrayal of men as completely useless for the purposes of entertainment.

Yet the more I flicked through the channels, the more I realised that, increasingly, almost everything on TV — from comedies to reality shows, murder mysteries and even adverts — now features women as the heroines, equipped with a fine brain, while men are depicted as thoughtless buffoons, aggressors, or ineffective idiots.

Take a recent KFC advert. A dad and his two offspring are sitting at a table in one of the chain’s restaurants, waiting for Mum to bring their order over. Both children remain engrossed in their phones, as Dad unsuccessfully attempts to get their attention by suggesting activities for the afternoon.

When Mum returns and makes the same suggestions, naturally both kids answer immediately, leaving Dad looking like a twit. It gets a cheap laugh and might be easy to shrug off, were it not for the fact that any advertiser who tried to achieve sales by belittling women wouldn’t be tolerated.

It’s the same story in TV comedy. In the really big hit shows, there seems to be a pretty set formula, whereby the male characters are idiotic, if endearing, fools, saved from themselves by the women.

In Friends, for example, the male characters, Ross, Chandler and Joey, are, respectively, two well-meaning but ineffectual geeks and an unthinking lothario, while the female characters, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe, are far more well-rounded and worldly.

From Everybody Loves Raymond to Two And A Half Men, the most influential U.S. shows feature flaky men who won’t be serious, or take responsibility for anything.

The formula persists in popular British TV. In Gavin And Stacey, buffoonish Smithy, played by writer James Corden, veers between sentimental fool and drunken idiot and is, apparently, incapable of growing up. He’s constantly wrong-footed by his on-off love interest, the formidable Nessa (co-writer Ruth Jones).

In family comedy Outnumbered, Pete is the blundering dad who is constantly befuddled by his children. His wife, Sue, is exhausted and long-suffering, but far sharper, shrewder and more capable.

The trend begins early. In the wildly popular children’s cartoon show Peppa Pig, the family’s father, Daddy Pig, is a hapless bumbler, while it’s clear Mummy Pig is the boss of the household.

What all of these shows have in common is that they exaggerate the uselessness of men.

But it’s the insidiousness of this socially-acceptable sexism that’s most concerning. For it’s not overt hatred of men, rather the casual denigration of them, so often done for comic effect.

It seems belittling men barely registers any more, yet making fun of women — especially joking about violence towards women — is something we’d never stand for.

Consequently, comedienne Jo Brand is able to make jokes about men that would never be deemed acceptable the other way around. For example: ‘What’s the way to a man’s heart? Straight through the chest with a kitchen knife.’

And don’t laugh, but there is also an alarming trend for men to be portrayed as sex objects. Gone are the days when a half-naked woman could come on stage in a skimpy, lamé two-piece, smiling inanely, as a magician’s assistant.

But the amount of male flesh on display in shows like Strictly Come Dancing is staggering. Yes, the women wear skimpy costumes, too, but when the camera lingers over the naked torsos of dancers like Pasha Kovalev, the whoops from the audience are reminiscent of the Roman amphitheatre.

When Gavin Henson danced the Paso Doble topless in series eight, head judge Len Goodman congratulated him on ‘working your assets’, while Alesha Dixon declared: ‘Your body looks amazing, which helps.’ They would never get away with it if they leered over a woman’s physique so blatantly.

Is it all harmless fun? I don’t think so. In Spreading Misandry: The Teaching Of Contempt For Men In Popular Culture, Katherine Young and co-author Paul Nathanson warn that this patronising of men is now so pervasive in movies, TV, comic strips and even greetings cards, that it could have ‘disastrous consequences’ for society, and eventually provoke a serious backlash against women.

Since the mid-1990s, they argue, men have been increasingly portrayed as evil or inadequate. They have gone so far as to say there is now a culture of ‘misandry’ — literally ‘hatred of men’.

‘Our hypothesis is that, like misogyny once upon a time, misandry has become so deeply embedded in our culture that few people, including men, even recognise it,’ they write.

Feminists have rightly fought for an end to men putting women down, but we will surely never improve relations between the sexes by ushering in a new era of sexism that consists of women constantly traducing men.

Once you are aware of it, you start noticing how this culture of misandry seems to permeate everything. As I had lunch with a friend recently, she snatched up her ringing phone and began barking a tirade of abuse into it.‘What do you mean, you can’t find their football kit? I don’t have time for this! Show some initiative. I can’t nursemaid you. Don’t call me again.’

I assumed she was having bother on the nanny front, but no — it was her husband, a man who works tirelessly, in a highly-pressurised career, to support her and their children. He was off work that day and had offered to stay at home with the kids so she could go to lunch with me.

I wish I could say her diatribe was an isolated incident. I notice more and more that my girlfriends speak to their husbands and boyfriends in a derogatory manner, as if they are somehow inferior. Needless to say, they then complain that they are not ‘manly’ enough in their attitude, or in the bedroom.

I have to confess that I’m not altogether innocent. My boyfriend, Will, and I were in Pizza Express the other day, when I snapped at him to hurry up because he couldn’t decide what to order. He walked out, which was hugely embarrassing for me.

But I wouldn’t have put up with him talking to me in this obnoxious way, so why should he? I count myself fortunate to have a boyfriend who is an unreconstructed, traditional — even macho — male.

What’s particularly worrying is that a lot of my friends do not hesitate in putting their husbands down in front of the children. Surely, in doing so, they teach their daughters to denigrate and disrespect men and make their sons feel emasculated and demoralised.

Is it any wonder girls are now outperforming boys at GCSE and A-level? Girls are already ahead in most subjects by the age of five and the gap widens as they get older, the latest research shows.

Last year, there were 40,000 more female applicants for university places than male, while women outnumber men by three to two in many universities. There are also more young women entering the top professions such as medicine.

Research also suggests a quarter of UK women are now the family breadwinner — five times more than at the start of the Seventies. Female earnings have soared 44 per cent since then, compared with 6 per cent for men.

Psychologist Mark Sherman, author of Boys And Young Men: Attention Must Be Paid, says relegating men to supporting roles, such as stay-at-home dad or house-husband, is damaging.

‘Weren’t under-education, under-employment and relegation to the home among the major motivators for the modern women’s movement? Are we parents of sons simply supposed to sit back and say to our boys, “College isn’t essential, but if you do go, maybe you’ll meet a future doctor or lawyer; in fact, maybe you could be her secretary. And, listen, there’s nothing wrong with being a house-husband!”

‘Did women working far below their true abilities turn out to be a good thing? Obviously not. Then why should we expect it to be a good thing for men?’

Ultimately, if the background noise of our lives is banter about male inadequacy, while leering at their biceps, it is in no one’s interests — least of all women’s.

One of the unintended consequences of belittling men is that we women end up with the sort of men we really don’t like, if truth be told. For, when we are not lampooning men for being idiots, we seem to be attacking them for not being manly enough.

We only have ourselves to blame. If we want our men to be in any way exciting, gallant, high-earning, swashbuckling, or, indeed, protective, we have to allow them to keep their dignity and self-respect.

Running a man down never turned him into Clint Eastwood.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Thursday, October 23, 2014


UK: Rochdale taxi firm offers white drivers on request

Minicab customers in the town caught up in Britain’s biggest grooming scandal are being offered white drivers on request, it has emerged.

Residents in Heywood in the Greater Manchester borough of Rochdale have been offered the service after two local drivers of Pakistani origin were jailed for their part in the rape and trafficking of young white girls.

Stephen Campbell, the manager of Car 2000, which took over Eagle Taxis, a firm that employed drivers at the heart of the scandal, said that a consequence of the affair was that many white customers ask for white drivers – or “local” drivers, as they usually describe them.

“We have had quite a lot of customers requesting what they call a ‘local’ driver. A bit insane if you consider that most of the [Asian] lads were born in Rochdale,” he told The Guardian.

“But it’s a business and we have got a duty to do what the customer asks us to. I don’t think we can discriminate against the customer in the same way. It is a business at the end of the day. We have a large bank loan to pay back,” he said.

If he could, Campbell said, he would persuade people to take any driver. “The Asian drivers are harder working, they do what they are asked and they don’t complain about it. They have a much better work ethic. If the public could actually see these [Asian] people close up and see what they are about, I don’t think they would be asking for white drivers.”

The news emerged as MPs in areas where Asian grooming gangs have operated have expressed concern about racial tensions, which have yet to subside some six years after the scandals first emerged.

Heywood was at the centre of the Rochdale scandal after a sex trafficking gang of men of mainly Pakistani origin were found to have preyed on at least 47 girls, all of whom were white. Two drivers from the now defunct local firm of Eagle Taxis were among nine Asian men jailed for their involvement.

Ukip ran a byelection campaign in Heywood and Middleton earlier this month focusing on the issues of child grooming and immigration and came within 617 votes of overturning a near 16,000 Labour majority.

Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale, said: “This is extremely worrying and a stark reminder of the impact that grooming scandals have had on northern towns. This will not be a problem exclusive to our borough, I’m sure.”

The “white drivers on request” policy does not breach the minicab firm’s license and it can continue with the policy, a spokesman for the council said. Mark Widdup, the director of economy and environment at Rochdale borough council, said: “This is first the council has heard of this company’s policy. However, this appears to be a decision made by the company and there is currently nothing in the conditions of their license which state that they cannot operate such a policy, just as some firms choose to offer customers only female drivers.”

Campbell, 34, said his father James bought into the Heywood firm in 2011. A few months later, they realised that Car 2000 was at the centre of a major scandal as it emerged that drivers from Eagle Taxis were embroiled in grooming allegations. Mohammed Amin, 45, of Falinge, a driver for 14 years who was known as “Car Zero”, was convicted of sexual assault and received a five-year jail term.

Abdul Aziz, 41, a married father-of-three from Rochdale who was also a driver, was convicted of trafficking for sexual exploitation, received a nine-year sentence. They were two of nine men initially convicted in a complex trial.

SOURCE





Politically Correct Insanity

It is my contention that political correctness has so deeply infiltrated American society that it has affected our approach to defending ourselves against Islamic terrorism, deadly epidemics and even presidential assassins.

In the past, AIDS, which, in spite of the massive publicity campaign waged by the homosexual community, was never a great threat to heterosexuals – unless, of course, they were the really cheap and stupid drug addicts who shared hypodermic needles – nobody in public life ever had the guts to suggest that those with the disease be quarantined.

Today, because those spreading Ebola are West Africans, nobody has the gumption to suggest curtailing flights from that part of the world to America, lest we be accused of being a nation of racists. At the same time, if the epidemic was centered in Scandinavia and we stopped all incoming flights from Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen, I very much doubt if we would be condemned for practicing blondophobia.

The other major export from that particularly noxious part of the world is Islamic terrorism. Again, we are so frightened of appearances when it comes to Arabs and Muslims that we refuse to engage in racial profiling (which is otherwise known as being rational in a world in which 90% of the violence is committed by young males named Mohammad who look a great deal like Osama bin Laden) or to even risk referring to “Islamic terrorism” as such, preferring to pass it off as “workplace violence.”

That brings us to Omar Gonzalez, who hopped the Pennsylvania Avenue fence and made it all the way into the White House while carrying a knife before being brought down and disarmed. Although as my friend Ron Kessler has made clear in his books about the Secret Service, there has been a recent history of dangerous cost-cutting by a number of Service chiefs, I have my own theory as to the reason security broke down so dramatically in this case. I believe the agents spotted a Hispanic racing across the White House lawn, and instead of expecting commendations for shooting him, they envisioned being brought up before a congressional committee of political opportunists and facing trumped-up charges for over-reacting to a potential threat.

Speaking of Ron Kessler, in his latest book, “The First Family Detail,” he reports that even though they both insist they’re conservative cost-cutters and always having the American taxpayer foremost in mind, whenever Ted Cruz or Rand Paul shows up for an interview at Fox, they are invariably accompanied by an entourage of five or six aides, although the customary number of toadies, even when it comes to liberal lawmakers, is no more than two.

That is why I have come to believe that no matter how much Republicans may talk about cutting the size and cost of the federal government, they’re really only talking about when the Democrats are in charge. Besides, it goes entirely against human nature – and, all evidence to the contrary, politicians are human beings – for any politician to ever crave less power or fewer fawning acolytes on the payroll than his or her predecessor.

To absolutely nobody’s surprise, the Government Accountability Institute recently disclosed that over the past two years Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of the daily intelligence briefings. But that didn’t stop him from blaming Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for his being left in the dark about the imminent threat from ISIL.

Not that long ago, Obama had labeled the cutthroats a bunch of nobodies who thought that if they donned the uniforms of the L.A. Lakers, it would turn them into the Lakers when, as Obama cockily assured us, they were no more than a junior varsity squad. As it turned out, they proved that they could teach Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers a little something about playing offense. Of course it always helps when the other team – in this case the very Iraqi military that we had spent years and a bloody fortune training and arming – ran off the court while ripping off their uniforms.

The fact that Obama paid absolutely no attention to the facts supplied on a daily basis by U.S. Intelligence was typical of His Arrogance, and it certainly didn’t prevent him from casting Mr. Clapper in the role of every lazy student’s favorite scapegoat, the dog with an insatiable appetite for homework.

SOURCE






As His Wife Delivers Their Baby, LGBT Group Smears This Pro-Marriage Professor as International Criminal

Having a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest moments of your life. But for Bobby Lopez, an unusual figure in the marriage debate, it was a day overshadowed by fear.

His wife was in labor with their second child when Lopez received hateful phone calls and emails from LGBT rights activists.

Why?  Because two days prior, the Human Rights Campaign—a political action group whose mission is to “achieve equality” for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans—put out its latest blast email in a campaign called “The Export of Hate.”

Its main “exporter” that day: Robert “Bobby” Oscar Lopez.

Lopez, openly bisexual but married, works as an English professor at California State University-Northridge. He incurred HRC’s wrath because of his outspoken view that children do better when raised by a mother and father than they do when raised by parents of the same sex.

Lopez, 43, was raised in a household by two mothers. He drew public attention in 2012 after penning an account of that experience in an article for Public Discourse titled “Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View.”

Overall, “children of same-sex couples have a tough road ahead of them,” Lopez argued, writing:

"When your home life is so drastically different from everyone around you, in a fundamental way striking at basic physical relations, you grow up weird. I have no mental health disorders or biological conditions. I just grew up in a house so unusual that I was destined to exist as a social outcast."

Ever since Lopez went public with his story, left-leaning gay rights groups such as HRC and GLAAD, an organization that calls itself “the voice for LGBT equality,” have targeted Lopez as an “extremist.”

They have provoked those on their mailing lists to write and call his family and university, attempted to blacklist him with the media and academia, and put in public records requests to acquire his contact information.

“It was an onslaught from that point forward,” Lopez recalls in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Already effectively shunned by many student groups, other organizations and media outlets in the U.S., Lopez still speaks regularly wherever he can, including foreign venues, about three core beliefs:

All children have the right to be born free, not bought or sold.

All children have the right to a mom and a dad.

All children have the right to connect with their origins.

Having grown up in a same-sex household, Lopez says he is particularly qualified to speak on these subjects.  “This debate is ultimately about me and people like me,” he says. “If anyone has a right to weigh in on this with full academic freedom and freedom of speech, it’s me.”

And being bisexual, Lopez considers himself a member of the LGBT community.  In explaining his sexuality, which he admits is unconventional, Lopez told The Daily Signal:

"I am bisexual. I have never been ex-gay and have never tried to hide that I’m gay. I just happen to be in a relationship with a woman and I’m raising my child with her."

Lopez is fluent in seven languages, boosting his ability to promote his message internationally. He says he never intended to go international, but had no choice when HRC, GLAAD and other groups blacklisted him.

Now, HRC has responded by labeling him an “Exporter of Hate.” The attack began in September, when the organization published a hit list of “American extremists who are working tirelessly to undercut LGBT people around the world at every turn.”

Featuring FBI-style sketches of faces and videos of advocates of marriage as the union of a man and a woman—including Scott Lively, Sharon Slater and Peter LaBarbera—the campaign likens Lopez and others to international criminals.

In the campaign, Lopez says, HRC falsely claims he spoke for the National Organization for Marriage and was part of the World Congress of Families, two groups that oppose the redefinition of marriage.  “These are blatant lies,” he says.

On Oct. 6, days before his wife went into labor, HRC blasted out an email specifically targeting the professor, calling him a “rising star on the international anti-LGBT scene.” Sent to the group’s 1.5 million claimed members and supporters, the email urged them to “expose” Lopez as an “exporter of hate.”

In some versions of the email, which recipients in turn forwarded to others, the subject line read: “‘Same-sex parenting flagrantly violates children’s rights…it is abuse. Face it.’- Robert Oscar Lopez, Associate Professor, Cal State-Northridge.”

HRC’s email blast happened to coincide with the birth of Lopez’s second child.  “I actually received the worst hate mail and voice messages just when the delivery was happening,” Lopez says in a phone interview.

One YouTube user published contact information in a comment section. Four weeks later, HRC had not removed it.

Officials at California State University-Northridge received emails demanding that they take action against the professor. Some of his students told him the day of HRC’s blast email that they felt “tricked” because Lopez didn’t disclose he was “anti-gay.”

“I have people calling me s—bag at my job, on my work line,” Lopez says.  At work, he fears for his job. At home, he fears for his life.

“It’s endangering me and my family,” Lopez says of the HRC campaign. “I don’t have a lot of money, I’m not rich, and I don’t have a big organization with tons of money that can help me and support me.” He adds:

"Being completely isolated like this, and then having to worry every time I leave my home—and my wife is there with the newborn—and not knowing whether I’m going to get killed, it’s really hard."

HRC did not respond to The Daily Signal’s multiple requests for comment about the campaign, and to explain why—four weeks later—the organization has not removed Lopez’s contact information from the comment section accompanying its video.

SOURCE






Canada raises alert after 'terror' attack

CANADA has raised its national "terrorism" alert after a soldier who was run over by a suspected jihadist died in hospital.

THE alert level was raised from low to medium after authorities said a man they believed to be "radicalised" struck two officers with his car on Monday, but authorities said the heightened alert wasn't "the result of a specific threat".

"This level means that intelligence has indicated that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism," said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the Public Safety Ministry.

The assailant in the attack was identified as 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau, who was briefly detained at a Canadian airport last July when he sought to fly to Turkey, federal police said.

Police didn't have enough evidence to charge him with seeking to join a terrorist group abroad and released him.

Couture-Rouleau was fatally shot by police after he struck two soldiers with his car in a Quebec parking lot - a scenario that had been depicted only last month in IS propaganda.

At a press conference, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said the deliberate attack was "clearly linked to terrorist ideology".

"I am horrified by what took place here," he said. "This is a terrible act of violence against our country, against our military, against our values."

The attack took place as Canadian warplanes headed to bomb Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Defense Minister Rob Nicholson said the soldier's death "in a senseless act such as this only strengthens our resolve" to take on militant groups such as IS.

Couture-Rouleau smashed his car into the two soldiers in a supermarket parking lot before fleeing with police in pursuit.

He called 911 to tell emergency workers about the attack as it was happening.

Police said he then crashed his car into a roadside ditch and rolled it over. When he extricated himself from the wreckage brandishing a knife, officers shot him.

The slain soldier had been admitted in critical condition to a hospital in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, 40km southeast of Montreal.  At 53 years old, he had served most of his adult life in the military.

Officials said the injuries to the other soldier were not life-threatening.

The motive behind the attack is still being investigated.

Quebec police said Couture-Rouleau may have stalked his victims, waiting for them in his car in the parking lot for more than two hours.

They said the "terrorist thesis (was) being considered by investigators", but didn't specify any links between the suspected attacker and any outlawed groups.

Federal police, meanwhile, said the suspect "was known" to the state's anti-terrorism task force.  Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson said he had been identified as someone who "might commit a criminal act for terrorist purposes".  RCMP spokeswoman Martine Fontaine said his family had become concerned by recent changes in his behaviour, and reached out to authorities for help.

She said police were in touch with Couture-Rouleau's imam and other community members to try to reach out to the man.  "We worked with him, with the imam in the mosque he was attending and with police officers that are part of our community service to try and exert a positive influence over him," Fontaine told reporters.

"Many interventions with Mr Martin Rouleau were carried out to try and avoid, in vain unfortunately, the tragic events in Saint-Jean."

The Canada case carries an echo of the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in London in May 2013.  Rigby was run over by two Muslim converts before being stabbed and hacked to death.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Multiculturalist hides kittens in oven while raiding Birmingham home



A burglar who hid three kittens in an oven while he ransacked a pregnant friend's home has been jailed.

Omar Hussain, 20, smashed a window to break into Marian Ahmed's house while she was at a doctor's appointment.

He stashed her three cats in the unlit oven and then looted the property during the raid in Handsworth, Birmingham.

The warehouse worker even tried to cover his tracks by visiting later in the day on November 19 last year, when he pretended to show support for his distraught friend.

He was arrested when his fingerprints were discovered at the scene, but he lied to police and claimed they were left when he returned to the house to comfort Miss Ahmed.

But Hussain, of Alum Rock, Birmingham, was jailed for two-and-a-half years after being found guilty of burglary at Birmingham Crown Court.

Mr Recorder Kelly said: "This is a gross breach of trust and friendship. You became friends with Miss Ahmed and were a regular visitor to her home.

"This was a terrible thing to do to someone who showed you nothing but friendship and hospitality.

"It looks at the moment as if you are embarking on a life where you are in and out of courts and prison.

"I urge you to reflect on what you are going to do with your life while you are in prison."

Hussain hid the kittens - which were not hurt during the raid - in the oven after smashing a window at Miss Ahmed's home before returning later.

The court heard he deliberately played the role of the concerned friend in order to offer an explanation to why his fingerprints were in her house.

Prosecutor Kate Plummer said: "There was an untidy search and high value items were taken. Her three kittens were put in the oven. He knew the victim, it was pre-planned.

"He knew she would be out at the time and even went back afterwards to help and give himself a defence in court."

Trevor Meegan, defending, said: "He is Somalian and been here for 10 years and has had jobs as a warehouse worker.

"He lives with his parents and has taken a college course at Birmingham College. "He doesn't accept his guilt, but accepts the conviction against him."

SOURCE







Government to Ordained Ministers: Celebrate Same-Sex Wedding or Go to Jail

For years, those in favor of same-sex marriage have argued that all Americans should be free to live as they choose. And yet in countless cases, the government has coerced those who simply wish to be free to live in accordance with their belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

Ministers face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.

Just this weekend, a case has arisen in Idaho, where city officials have told ordained ministers they have to celebrate same-sex weddings or face fines and jail time.

The Idaho case involves Donald and Evelyn Knapp, both ordained ministers, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel. Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.

The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation.

On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined. The Knapps now face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.

A week of honoring their faith and declining to perform the ceremony could cost the couple three and a half years in jail and $7,000 in fines.

Government Coercion

The Knapps have been married to each other for 47 years and are both ordained ministers of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. They are “evangelical Christians who hold to historic Christian beliefs” that “God created two distinct genders in His image” and “that God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman.”

But as a result of the courts redefining marriage and a city ordinance that creates special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Knapps are facing government coercion.

Governmental recognition of same-sex relationships as marriages need not and should not require any third party to recognize a same-sex relationship as a marriage. Government should respect the rights of all citizens. Indeed, a form of government respectful of free association, free contracts, free speech and free exercise of religion should protect citizens’ rights to live according to their beliefs about marriage.

The Knapps have been celebrating weddings in their chapel since 1989. Government should not now force them to shut down or violate their beliefs.

After all, protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience does not infringe on anyone’s sexual freedoms. No one has a right to have the government force a particular minister to marry them. Some citizens may conclude that they cannot in good conscience participate in same-sex ceremonies, from priests and pastors to bakers and florists. They should not be forced to choose between strongly held religious beliefs and their livelihood.

What Can Be Done

At the federal level, Congress has an opportunity to protect religious liberty and the rights of conscience.

Government should not now force ordained ministers to shut down or violate their beliefs.

Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. The government should be prohibited from discriminating against such groups or individuals in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation or contracting.

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act—sponsored by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, in the House (H.R. 3133) with more than 100 co-sponsors of both parties, and sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in the Senate (S. 1808) with 17 co-sponsors—would prevent the federal government from taking such adverse actions.

States need similar policy protections, including broad protections provided by state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) and specific protections for beliefs and actions about marriage.

Indeed, Idaho has a RFRA, called the Free Exercise of Religion Protected Act (FERPA). State RFRAs prevent the imposition of substantial burdens on sincere religious beliefs unless the government proves that such a burden advances a compelling government interest that has been pursued through the least restrictive means possible.

Protecting Religious Liberty

It is unclear how the city could claim that forcing the Knapps to perform a same-sex wedding is a compelling government interest being pursued in the least restrictive way. There are numerous other venues where a same-sex couple could get married. Indeed, there is a county clerks office directly across the street from the chapel.

States must protect the rights of Americans and the associations they form—both nonprofit and for-profit—to speak and act in the public square in accordance with their beliefs. It is particularly egregious that the city would coerce ordained ministers to celebrate a religious ceremony in their chapel. The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion arguing that this action “violates [the Knapps’s] First and 14th Amendment rights to freedom of speech, the free exercise of religion, substantive due process, and equal protection.”

Citizens must work to prevent or repeal laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We must also insist on laws that protect religious freedom and the rights of conscience.

Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience is the embodiment of a principled pluralism that fosters a more diverse civil sphere. Indeed, tolerance is essential to promoting peaceful coexistence even amid disagreement.

SOURCE






Paris Opera cast refuse to perform for veiled woman

A woman wearing an full-face Islamic veil was told to leave a Paris opera house after members of the cast refused to perform if she remained in the audience, officials said.

The woman, described as “a tourist from a Gulf state”, was sitting on the front row during a performance of La Traviata at the Opéra Bastille, the deputy director, Jean-Philippe Thiellay, said.

France banned the wearing of the full-face veil, or niqab, in public in 2011. The ban was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights earlier this year.

Mr Thiellay said performers told him during the second act that they would only continue if the woman left. During the interval, an attendant told her that she could stay if she removed her veil.

"He told her that in France there is a ban of this nature, asked her to either uncover her face or leave the room,” Mr Thiellay said. “The man asked the woman to get up, they left."

He added: "It's never nice to ask someone to leave. But there was a misunderstanding of the law and the lady either had to respect it or leave."

After news of the incident, which happened earlier this month, emerged on Monday, the government said it would review its guidelines to help theatres, museums and other public institutions enforce the ban.

Women wearing a face veil in public may be fined up to €150 (£120) and compelled to attend citizenship classes. Anyone forcing others to cover their faces may be fined up to €30,000 (£23,750), or double that amount if the woman is under 18.

Most women who have breached the ban have simply been warned and few have been prosecuted.

Last year, a veiled woman stopped by police for an identity check was arrested after her husband allegedly attacked an officer. The incident sparked clashes between youths and police in two Paris suburbs.

SOURCE






Australia:  Private views create no public harm

THE Barry Spurr affair is terrifying in the shoddy treatment of Spurr; in what it says about our universities; and in the lack of outrage that either has evoked.

What is certain is that there was a gross invasion of Spurr’s privacy. To that must be added the likelihood that his emails were obtained illegally and used when it was known, or should have been known, that that is how they had been obtained.

Moreover, that use was by a publication, New Matilda, that had only recently committed the same offence; and whose journalists hypocritically denounced the wrongdoing at the News of the World and, since then, have attacked the government’s metadata proposals, with all their checks and balances, as an assault on privacy.

Of course, one expects nothing better from Wendy Bacon, who demands a moral right to invade the private emails of others without providing public access to her own. But it is disappointing that Bill Shorten, who repeatedly invoked the presumption of innocence to shield Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper, failed to show the same concern for Spurr.

And it is a scandal that the University of Sydney has suspended Spurr despite there being no claim, much less evidence, that his teaching, supervision and research have been anything but exemplary.

To make matters worse, the university has set aside Spurr’s explanation that the emails were parodies without according Spurr the prior opportunity to have that explanation tested. Whatever one may think of his emails, that explanation is scarcely implausible: parodies, satires and burlesques, often in poor taste, have peppered the correspondence of literary figures since time immemorial.

Indeed, some of the English language’s earliest comedies were private communications making fun of religious services in terms then considered blasphemous. And one does not need to dig deep in our language’s treasure chest to savour such politically incorrect gems as Paul Dehm’s parody of Robert Herrick (‘‘Whereas in jeans my Julia crams/her vasty hips and … diaphragms’’); Cyril Connolly dispatching James Bond in drag to seduce General Apraxin (‘‘one of those’’, warns M, listing the general’s hobbies as nerve gas, germ warfare and sodomy); or Alan Bennett’s brilliant spoof of James Buchan (in which Hannay decries the possibility of ‘‘a div­orced woman on the throne of the house of Windsor’’ as a ‘‘feather in the cap of that bunch of rootless intellectuals, Jews and pederasts who call themselves the Labour Party’’).

It scarcely takes much imagination to think a professor of poet­ics might similarly revel in using off-colour, if not frankly offensive, language in intimate communic­ation. But assume Spurr’s claim is a sham; that far from being banter between old friends, the emails reflected his innermost views. So long as those views do not intrude on the way he exercises his academic responsibilities, they are no more relevant to his role than the fact that TS Elliot (on whom Spurr is a world authority) was an anti-Semite.

To believe otherwise is to discard the distinction between vice and crime that is at the heart of a free society. Aquinas, although no liberal, put it well when he argued that rather than forcing men to be virtuous, laws exist to enforce the rules of justice; they should therefore not condemn mere vice but conduct ‘‘without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained’’.

Locke then made that distinction central to the philosophy of liberty, when he noted that ‘‘many things are sins which no man ever said were to be punished’’, for while objectionable, they were neither ‘‘prejudicial to other men’s rights, nor break the public peace’’. And Adam Smith, in terms familiar to JS Mill, emphasised that it was therefore crucial to ‘‘carefully distinguish what is only blamable from what force may be employed to punish or prevent’’.

In other words, Spurr is entitled to his private vices, even if repre­hensible, so long as they do not inflict public harms. Instead, the real question is how Australia’s oldest university could believe otherwise.

At the most immediate level, the answer lies in what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a great scholar and long-time Democratic senator for New York, diagnosed as the ‘‘authoritarian Left’’ spreading throughout academe. Ignorant, intolerant and incapable of contesting ideas, its only weapon is the ad hominem attack.

Sydney’s conduct, coming after the ANU’s witch-hunt against fossil fuels, is a disturbing sign of how far the spread Moynihan feared has gone. The university’s support of Jake Lynch’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, whose anti-Zionism verges on anti-Semitism, only leavens with hypocrisy its disregard for justice.

But there are also deeper forces at work. Historically, intellectual elites had every interest in freedom of expression: no matter how strongly they favoured regulating other markets, they gained from freedom in their own. Now, reduced to mere wards of the state, they clamour for restrictions on competition that enforce conformity, protect mediocrity and entrench their claim on the public purse. And they find in the similarly placed ABC, as well as in publications such as New Matilda, plenty of fellow travellers to speak on their behalf.

Set against that milieu, Spurr stood no chance. By collaborating in the Abbott government’s review of the national curriculum he signed his own death warrant. From that moment on, it was only a matter of time before he paid the price.

None of that is to give Spurr the seal of approval. He may, for all I know, hold beliefs I find abhorrent. But universities need scholars, not saints; and if integrity, in Rawls’s words, means ‘‘defending the principles of morality even when to one’s disadvantage’’, his treatment is not merely a shame: it is a disgrace.

Reversing it should be an oblig­ation, as well as a priority.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014



Catholic bishops scrap plans to 'welcome' gay members after landmark summit on family issues ends in deep divisions

Catholic bishops meeting to discuss 'family issues' at a two week summit have scrapped plans to welcome gay members of the Church.

Showing deep divisions at the end of the Vatican synod, which was sought by Pope Francis in part to chart a more merciful approach to homosexuals, the bishops failed to approve even a watered-down section on ministering to gay Catholics.

Midway through the summit, a draft document was released proposing remarkably progressive plans for the Catholic Church, saying unmarried couples living together can be 'positive', and gay relationships and divorcees must be welcomed.

But by the time the synod ended, the welcoming tone of acceptance had been stripped away and replaced by a paragraph describing homosexuality as a 'problem' Catholic families have to confront.

Rather than considering gays as individuals who had gifts to offer the church, the revised paragraph referred to homosexuality as one of the problems Catholic families have to confront.

It said 'people with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy,' but repeated church teaching that marriage is only between man and woman. The paragraph failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

Two other paragraphs concerning the other hot-button issue at the synod of bishops — whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion — also failed to pass.

The outcome showed a deeply divided church on some of the most pressing issues facing Catholic families.

It appeared that the 118-62 vote on the gay section might have been a protest vote by progressive bishops who refused to back the watered-down wording. The original draft had said gays had gifts to offer the church and that their partnerships, while morally problematic, provided gay couples with 'precious' support.

New Ways Ministry, a Catholic gay rights group, said it was 'very disappointing' that the final report had backtracked from the welcoming words contained in the draft.

Nevertheless, it said the synod's process 'and openness to discussion provides hope for further development down the road, particularly at next year's synod, where the makeup of the participants will be larger and more diverse, including many more pastorally-oriented bishops.'

The draft had been written by a Francis appointee, Monsignor Bruno Forte, a theologian known for pushing the pastoral envelope on ministering to people in 'irregular' unions. The draft was supposed to have been a synopsis of the bishops' interventions, but many conservatives complained that it reflected a minority and overly progressive view.

Francis insisted in the name of transparency that the full document — including the paragraphs that failed to pass — be published along with the voting tally. The document will serve as the basis for future debate leading up to another meeting of bishops next October that will produce a final report to be sent to Francis.

'Personally I would have been very worried and saddened if there hadn't been these ... animated discussions ... or if everyone had been in agreement or silent in a false and acquiescent peace,' Francis told the synod hall after the vote.

Conservatives had harshly criticized the draft and proposed extensive revisions to restate church doctrine, which holds that gay sex is 'intrinsically disordered,' but that gays themselves are to be respected, and that marriage is only between a man and woman.

'We could see that there were different viewpoints,' said Cardinal Oswald Gracis of India, when asked about the most contentious sections of the report on homosexuals and divorced and remarried Catholics.

German Cardinal Walter Kasper, the leader of the progressive camp, said he was 'realistic' about the outcome.

In an unexpected gesture after the voting, Francis approached a group of journalists waiting outside the synod hall to thank them for their work covering the synod.

'Thanks to you and your colleagues for the work you have done,' he said. 'Grazie tante.' Conservative bishops had harshly criticized journalists for reporting on the dramatic shift in tone in the draft, even though the media reports merely reflected the document's content.

Francis' gesture, and his words inside the synod hall chastising bishops who were overly wed to doctrine and were guided by 'hostile rigidity,' as well as those bishops who showed a 'destructive goody-goodiness,' indicated that he was well aware of the divisions the debate had sparked. His speech received a four-minute standing ovation, participants said.

Over the past week, the bishops split themselves up into working groups to draft amendments to the text. They were nearly unanimous in insisting that church doctrine on family life be more fully asserted and that faithful Catholic families should be held up as models and encouraged rather than focus on family problems and 'irregular' unions.

The bishops signaled a similar tone in a separate message directed at Christian families released Saturday. There was no mention whatsoever of families with gay children, much less gay parents, and it spoke of the 'complex and problematic' issues that arise when marriages fail and new relationships begin.

'Christ wanted his church to be a house with the door always open to welcome everyone, without excluding anyone,' the message read. (Oddly, the English translation was less welcoming than the official Italian, ending the sentence after 'everyone.')

Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of South Africa, who helped draft the revised final report, told Vatican Radio the final document showed a 'common vision' that was lacking in the draft.

He said the key areas for concern were 'presenting homosexual unions as if they were a very positive thing' and the suggestion that divorced and remarried Catholics should be able to receive Communion without an annulment.

He complained that the draft was presented as the opinion of the whole synod, when it was 'one or two people.'  'And that made people very angry,' he said.

SOURCE






When nanny staters say ‘choice’, what they really mean is ‘less choice’

Nannies, nudgers and various other adherents to what the UK Labour Party calls ‘the politics of behaviour’ have done a lot of bad stuff in recent years. Their smoking ban hollowed out pub life. Their fearmongering about fatness did more than any fashion mag to convince young people that chubbiness is sinful and skinniness is next to Godliness. Their jihad against junk food in schools deprived today’s kids of some of childhood’s great pleasures: having a Mars bar in your blazer pocket and taking bites out of it in between scoring goals in the playground or sharing a fizzy strawberry lace as you natter about last night’s TV.

But even worse than all that has been the way this fun-allergic lobby has warped the meaning of the word choice. Almost singlehandedly they have transformed the c-word. They have turned ‘choice’ from something individuals do for themselves, using our free will and moral autonomy to decide on a course of action that we think is best suited to our lives, into something that is done for us, by others, and which we have to be guided towards. They talk about the ‘right choice’, the ‘informed choice’, the ‘healthy choice’, and about their determination to shove us donut-scoffing plebs towards that ‘choice’. They have turned choice utterly on its head: when they say ‘choice’, what they really mean is ‘less choice’.

Consider Lord Darzi’s proposals, published this week, for how to make London a healthier city. He wants mayor Boris Johnson to ban smoking in Trafalgar Square and other squares and parks; to ban the siting of junk-food shops near schools; and to give Oyster Card users a discount if they get off their lazy butts once in a while and walk part of the way to work. It is standard, soul-destroying lifestyle-policing fare. But what was most striking was Darzi’s insistence that through restricting certain forms of behaviour - smoking in public, buying chips near a school - he is boosting people’s ability to make a choice. He says he wants us all to make what he calls ‘the healthiest choice’, but that choice isn’t ‘always easy [or] obvious’, so we have to be assisted in the making of it. Labour’s Tessa Jowell also used the c-word in a super-weird way in her backing for Lord Darzi. ‘We need to make the healthier choice the easier choice for Londoners’, she said.

So let’s get this straight: restricting someone’s ability to choose whether he lights up a fag in Trafalgar Square is actually about improving his ability to make a choice? That public officials can propose the restriction of certain behaviours in one breath and then blather on about choice in the very next sums up how emptied of meaning the word choice has become. If they were serious about choice, they would say: ‘Smoke in Trafalgar Square, or don’t smoke in Trafalgar Square, it’s your choice.’ That would genuinely entail giving the citizen a choice – not a massive, meaningful, democracy-shaking choice, no, but a choice nonetheless: to smoke or not to smoke. By contrast, saying ‘We think you should be prevented through by-law from smoking in Trafalgar Sqaure or buying chicken wings within a hundred-metre radius of a school’ is an explicit negation of choice; it’s a pummelling of the autonomy involved in making a choice. It removes choice, it doesn’t enhance it.

This is doublespeak par excellence. Increasingly, when the politicians of behaviour say ‘helping citizens make a choice’, what they really mean is ‘limiting citizens’ ability to make a choice’. So the ever-growing nudge industry talks about overhauling society’s ‘choice architecture’ in order to make it easier for people to make the ‘right health choices’, by which it means putting pressure on us to do what it thinks is right. Smoking-ban supporters and those who want a price hike in booze talk about helping citizens make ‘informed choices’, by which they mean using law or financial pressure to force us to make the choice they think is best for us. They have made the choice – you shall not smoke here, or drink too much, or eat certain foods around schoolkids – and all that remains is for them to nudge or nag or legislate the rest of us towards that choice they have made about our lives. This is prescription, not choice.

We need to reclaim the word choice. Choice is a good thing, a wonderful thing. No, not because individuals will always make good choices; some of them will make very bad choices, including the choice to get blotto every day of the week or to smoke 100 cigarettes a day, which are hardly good things to do.

But it is better for a citizen to make a bad choice using his own free will than it is for someone else to make a ‘good choice’ on his behalf and then elbow and berate him towards that ‘choice’. This is a point John Stuart Mill makes in On Liberty. He said that even though individuals ‘may not do the particular thing so well as the officers of government… it is nevertheless desirable that it should be done by them, rather than by the government, as a means to their own mental education – a mode of strengthening their active faculties, exercising their judgement, and giving them a familiar knowledge of the subjects with which they are thus left to deal’.

In short, the act of making a choice is good even if the choice one makes is bad, because it is through making a choice, through exercising our moral autonomy, that we learn, grow and become independent, fully human in fact. As Mill put it, ‘The human faculties of perception, judgement, discriminative feeling, mental activity, and even moral preference, are exercised only in making a choice’. If choices are made for us – by Lord Darzi or some other member of the informed-choice brigade – then we never get to exercise our moral muscles, far less determine our destinies. The idea that there is one choice – The Right Choice – is a contradiction in terms, and an Orwellian one at that, because choice is a conscious act carried out by an individual deciding what he should do, not a predetermined script foisted on society by those in the know. Choosing is good, even if the choice is bad, because choosing one’s path in life and learning from one’s mistakes is what being human is all about. The choice-warping politics of behaviour doesn’t only dull our fun – it diminishes our humanity.

SOURCE






GamerGate: Part I: Sex, Lies, and Gender Games

A controversy over videogames has become a battle in a larger culture war

A controversy over videogames may seem an unlikely candidate for a big story, especially with everything else in the news. Yet an epic Internet drama known as "GamerGate," now in its second month, continues to get media attention and fuel animated debate. (In its latest flare-up, Intel found itself in the crossfire last week when it pulled its ads from Gamasutra, a gaming webzine at the center of the quarrel.) While this saga has everything from sex to alleged corruption, GamerGate has also become a battle in a larger culture war. To the liberal and progressive commentariat, it's part of a reactionary white male backlash against the rise of diversity—in this case, "sexist thugs" out to silence and destroy women who seek equality in the gaming subculture. To conservatives and right-leaning libertarians, it's a welcome pushback against left-wing cultural diktat, particularly in the area of gender politics. Meanwhile, gamergaters themselves—who seem to lean left-libertarian—say that what they want is ethics and transparency in the gaming media.

As often happens, reality is more complex than any of these narratives. While the gamers' revolt has very legitimate issues, is also true that it has been linked to some very ugly misogynist harassment of feminists. It also seems clear that the overwhelming majority of GamerGate supporters reject such tactics—and that harassment related to this conflict has been a two-way street. For a supposed misogynist "hate mob," GamerGate includes a lot of vocal women—and they have their own complaints of gender-based abuse, such as being called gender traitors or even "male sockpuppets." Finally, the feminism GamerGate rebels against is not simply about equality or  diversity; it is an authoritarian, far-left brand of gender politics that views everything through the lens of patriarchal oppression and tolerates no dissent.

A disclaimer is in order: I am not a gamer, unless you count playing Space Invaders and Millipede at the student center arcade in college and a mild Tetris addiction after I got my first home computer. While I have no experience with role-playing videogames, I have some knowledge of them thanks to several (mainly female) friends who play and one who writes videogame-based fan fiction.

I do have personal experience with the gamers' mortal enemies, the so-called "social justice warriors," to know they can be a highly toxic Internet presence. Those who voice their loathing of "the SJWs" are not simply talking about people sympathetic to socially progressive causes but about cultist zealots who enforce the party line with the fervor of Mao's Red Guards, though luckily without the real-life power. In social-media discussions of art and entertainment, the "warriors" can be found sniffing out and attacking such ideological deviations as liking a heterosexual love interest for a character perceived as gay, liking or disliking a character on the wrong side of race-and-gender identity politics, or (I kid you not) using the "ableist" nickname "derpy" for a klutzy pony on the TV cartoon My Little Pony.  Let them gain enough influence in an online community, and they will poison it for anyone who wants to talk to other fans of their favorite shows, movies, or books—or games—without relentless hectoring about "privilege" and "oppression."

Back to "GamerGate" and its tangled web. (A fairly detailed, straightforward, and balanced chronicle of the events can be read on the Know Your Meme website.) The drama began in mid-August, when Eron Gjoni, a programmer and ex-boyfriend of videogame developer Zoe Quinn, made a massive blogpost accusing her of infidelities and deceptions, with screenshots of their online chats as corroboration.

Quinn, a vocal "social justice" Internet activist, had numerous enemies—many of them on the notoriously anarchic, anonymous 4Chan message board. They were quick to seize on the disclosures, portraying this as an ethics issue because some of Quinn's liaisons had possible implications of favoritism. One of her partners was later a judge in an independent videogame festival that had just bestowed an award on Quinn's game, Depression Quest; another was a videogame journalist who had given her a couple of positive mentions. Threads discussing this dust-up, some of them quite nasty, proliferated in a variety of forums.

With the focus on Quinn's sexual conduct and allegations of using sex for professional gain, the "Quinnspiracy"—as it was initially known—was inevitably seen as a sexist attempt to take down a female developer. In late August, the controversy got a boost when actor Adam Baldwin, whose politics lean right, took interest in it and tweeted links to some YouTube videos critical of Quinn—also coining the #GamerGate hashtag. Around the same time, feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, whose Tropes vs. Women video series critiquing sexist clichés in videogames had made her the gaming community's bête noire, reported that she had left her home as a precaution after a Twitter user sent her a string of rape and death threats which included her address.

For some, the attacks on Quinn and on Sarkeesian became a perfect storm of gaming-culture misogyny. On August 28, Gamasutra ran a blistering attack on "game culture" by feminist cultural critic Leigh Alexander, declaring that "gamers are over" and ridiculing them as socially inept, badly dressed young males addicted to mindless gadget-buying and "getting mad on the Internet." This was followed by a spate of online articles—both on sites devoted to gaming or "geek culture" and in general-interest publications such as Vice and The Daily Beast—attacking gamer culture or announcing its demise. The gamers struck back in the social media, finding supporters in gadfly tech blogger Milo Yiannopoulous of Breitbart London and dissident feminist/critic of feminism Christina Hoff Sommers.

More HERE





British Muslim Touts Benefits of Islamic State Rule: Tax Breaks, Slavegirls

“Now that we have the caliphate, we can have slavegirls,” said British Islamic activist Mizanur Rahman, touting some of the benefits of the Islamic State (IS) in a series of videos obtained by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Rahman, who also goes by the alias Abu Baraa, noted that enslaved women are permitted under Islamic sharia law as he addressed the question: “Can a father change the nappy of his baby daughter?”

“It’s allowed, but it’s not the normal suitable role of the father. It should be done by the mother. That is obviously part of the modesty and shyness,” he explained, adding: “If there are other women – of course it is better for them (to do it). A sister, a mother, a mother-in-law, a grandmother, an auntie – whatever, if there is somebody else it is better for them, Allah willing. Or a slavegirl.”

“Nowadays we can start to return to some of the many other rulings of Islam, which have been absent for many years," he continued. “Now that we have the caliphate, we can have slavegirls in the caliphate.”

He also pointed out what he considers one of the economic perks of living under the IS. “Do you know how much jizya (tax imposed on non-Muslims) they are charging in the Islamic State now? It is the equivalent of about 400 pounds a year.

“Living in the U.K. is expensive because of the taxes, because of the interest, because of the taxes, because of the interest, because of all the capitalist system. All that is removed and all you pay is this small amount," he said.

“Not only that, but it’s only the able-bodied man who pays the jizya,” he continued. “The disabled or elderly get a pension. They don’t pay the jizya. The women and children don’t pay any jizya ever. A woman never pays jizya. She is allowed to work, but she never pays jizya, nor does she pay any income tax. My brother, what is better for them?”

Rahman has his own website where he expounds on the teachings of Islam, including a statement that “Islam is the most ardent defender of the rights of all people of every colour, race, religion, gender and age.” He is also currently active on Twitter and Facebook.

Rahman claims that America cannot survive IS' retaliation.

"The question is not how the Islamic State is going to survive against the American airstrikes," Rahman said August 7. "How is America going to survive against the Islamic State's defense and retaliation?" he asked. "That's the real question. I don't believe they're going to survive. I think it's already over for America. They don't want to admit it, but it's over."

Rahman, a 31-year-old British citizen of Pakistani descent, was convicted in 2007 for encouraging the murder of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but was released in 2010.

He was arrested again last month with eight other British Muslims on suspicion of encouraging terrorism. "He denies wrongdoing and has not been charged,” Reuters reported.

In response to the MEMRI video, Rahman tweeted out to his over 10,000 followers: “MemriTV gets excited by the Hukm (legal regulation) of changing nappies in Islam.”

Rahman also pointed out that Christians and other non-believers “need to be humiliated” by his fellow Muslims. “Their houses will never be equal to the houses of the Muslims.” he said, adding,“They will never be allowed to ride a horse while the Muslims don’t have horses.”

“Non-Muslim men cannot ride a horse like a man in the Islamic State. They have to ride like a woman, with two legs on one side, because they need to be humiliated, and they should not be similar to the Muslims.”

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Monday, October 20, 2014


Pope prepares to purge conservative cardinal in push to reform Vatican

Pope Francis is about to demote an arch-conservative cardinal who has been bitterly opposed to his reformist agenda and his call for greater acceptance of gays and divorcees in the Catholic Church.

The sidelining of American cardinal Raymond Burke comes against a backdrop of acute differences of opinion among nearly 200 bishops and cardinals who for the last two weeks have been discussing issues relating to the family at a synod, or assembly, at the Vatican.

The move suggests that the Pope, who has upset many within the Catholic Church with his call for a more flexible and "merciful" approach towards gay people and divorcees, is determined to purge the Vatican of some of his more trenchant critics.

Cardinal Burke, who has strongly criticised Pope Francis's more open attitude towards homosexuals, is currently head of the Vatican's highest court of canon law.

But he said he is preparing to be given a new, much lower profile role as the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of Malta, a Catholic charity based in Rome that traces its origins back to the Crusades.

"I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it," the cardinal, whose official title is Prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, said.  He said he had not yet received formal notice from the Pope of the demotion.

He and other conservatives were highly critical of an interim document released on Monday, halfway through the synod, which suggested that the Church should be "welcoming to homosexual persons" and open to lifting the ban on remarried divorcees from receiving Communion.

He has accused Pope Francis of harming the Church by allowing such free-ranging debate on key issues facing ordinary Catholics.

Cardinal Burke maintains the hardline, traditional Catholic approach that homosexuals are "intrinsically disordered" and that the act of gay sex is a sin. He has gone further, saying that homosexual acts are "wrong and evil".

The bishops, archbishops and cardinals involved in the synod were to vote on Saturday evening on whether to accept a final document from the two-week meeting, in which language about acceptance of homosexuality and remarried divorcees is expected to be watered down on the urging of conservatives, particularly bishops from Africa and the US.

It will then be up to Pope Francis to decide whether, and when, to make the document public.

The synod has revealed acute dissent within the uppermost ranks of the Catholic hierarchy between progressives and traditionalists.

The bishops scrapped their landmark welcome to gays, showing deep divisions at the end of the two-week meeting.  They failed to approve even a watered-down section on ministering to gays that stripped away the welcoming tone contained in a draft document earlier in the week.

Two other paragraphs concerning the other controversial issue at the synod - whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive communion - also failed to pass.

There will be more debate on both issues at a second synod to be held next October.

This month's synod has revealed acute dissent within the uppermost ranks of the Catholic hierarchy between progressives and traditionalists.

"You have some people, like Burke, who are very upset by what has been discussed at the synod," Father Tom Reese, a Jesuit priest and veteran Vatican analyst, told The Telegraph on Saturday.

"There is a large body of bishops who think the language being expressed is too accommodating and fear that it will result in ordinary people thinking that it doesn't matter whether you are divorced or shacked up with someone or whatever. They certainly don't want that to be the message."

While Cardinal Burke and others are appalled by Francis's agenda, saying that it attacks the sanctity of marriage and the Church's teaching on homosexuality, other bishops are in favour of aligning the Church more with the challenges faced by modern Catholics.

Asked during a Vatican press conference for clarification on whether the Church welcomed gays or still regarded them as sinners, an Indian cardinal said the Church should embrace homosexuals with compassion and understanding.  "Yes, I would certainly say they are part of the Church," said Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Mumbai.  "I have met gays in Mumbai and I have told them they are very welcome, that we wish to care for them."

SOURCE






Madman Kerry says Extremism Not Linked to Islam; Responsible Factors Include Deprivation, Climate Change

Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday night rejected any link between Islam and extremism practiced by the likes of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh), pointing instead to factors such as poverty among youthful Mideast populations, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – and climate change.

Addressing a reception at the State Department in honor of the recent Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, Kerry told an audience of Muslim community representatives, diplomats and others that the world was facing “a very complex time, and there are many currents that are loose out there that have brought us to this moment.”

“The extremism that we see, the radical exploitation of religion which is translated into violence, has no basis in any of the real religions,” he said. “There’s nothing Islamic about what ISIL/Daesh stands for, or is doing to people.”

The situation was “complicated, and for other reasons,” Kerry said. “We’re living at a point in time where there are just more young people demanding what they see the rest of the world having than at any time in modern history.”

He said with large youthful populations in some countries in the Middle East, South-Central Asia and the Horn of Africa, “you are going to have a governance problem unless your governance is really addressing the demands and needs of that part of the population.”

Kerry said extremist violence was just a symptom of underlying causes that needed to be addressed. He spoke in that context of a need for a partnership – to pursue peace, shared prosperity and the ability to get an education and a job, as well as “sustainability of the planet itself.”

“And that brings us to something like climate change, which is profoundly having an impact in various parts of the world, where droughts are occurring not at a 100-year level but at a 500-year level in places that they haven’t occurred, floods of massive proportions, diminishment of water for crops and agriculture at a time where we need to be talking about sustainable food.”

“In many places we see the desert increasingly creeping into East Africa,” he said. “We’re seeing herders and farmers pushed into deadly conflict as a result. We’re seeing the Himalayan glaciers receding, which will affect the water that is critical to rice and to other agriculture on both sides of the Himalayas. These are our challenges.”  [Higher levels of CO2 are in fact REDUCING the desertificaton of Sub-Saharan Africa]


SOURCE






UK: Leftist indifference to the disabled

Their one-size-fits-all ideology is all that matters to them

Yet another instance of Ed Miliband’s legendary political acumen was his attempt at last week’s PMQs to rebrand the Tories as “the nasty party”. This was on the basis of leaked comments by Lord Freud on the unfortunate effect of the minimum wage on the disabled. A transcript of what the junior welfare minister actually said at a private Tory meeting showed it to be the very opposite of what Miliband tried to convey.

In fact, he was addressing precisely a point I made here in June 1999, after being approached by a local councillor who had worked with the disabled for years. He alerted me to the social disaster that the Labour government’s new minimum wage was about to create.

It was going to prevent thousands of people with learning or physical disabilities from doing modest jobs – such as clearing litter, assembling wooden toys or stacking supermarket shelves. This work took them out into the community with a sense that they were doing something useful, but it didn’t necessarily justify their being paid the new minimum wage. So what many charity workers and social services managers proposed was that the handicapped should continue doing such therapeutic work, but for wages below the new minimum, with the difference made up by a modest change to the benefit rules.

The then government’s insistence on everyone getting the full minimum wage made nonsense of its claim that it would help the disabled, but it remained impervious to objections. I quoted the fine Orwellian twist of a reply to a Labour MP from the trade minister Ian McCartney, loftily explaining that the minimum wage “supports a culture of social inclusion”. In other words, as I wrote, to promote the “inclusion” of the handicapped, they must be socially excluded.

Sure enough, this was just what happened. In 2000 The Guardian was quoting Mencap in reporting that large numbers of handicapped people had been laid off, and were now forced to while away their time in day centres or languish unhappily at home.

This was precisely the anomaly Lord Freud was again trying to address, in those remarks for which David Cameron ordered him to apologise, on the grounds that they were “foolish and offensive”.

SOURCE






Tackled by the Language Police

Wretched excess by government can be beneficial if it startles people into wholesome disgust and deepened distrust, and prompts judicial rebukes that enlarge freedom. So let’s hope the Federal Communications Commission embraces the formal petition inciting it to deny licenses to broadcasters who use the word “Redskins” when reporting on the Washington Redskins.

Using the FCC to break another private institution to the state’s saddle for the satisfaction of a clamorous faction illustrates how the government’s many tentacles give it many means of intimidating people who offend it. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, empowered to ban trademarks that “may” disparage persons, has already limited trademark protection of the Redskins' name.

The FCC petition argues that broadcasting during prime time of the word “Redskins” has “an adverse impact on impressionable young Indian as well as non-Indian children.” (Today’s sensitivity arbiters say the word “Indian” does, too, but never mind.) Furthermore, uttering “Redskins” is “akin to broadcasting obscenity” and pornography, is “hate speech” and an “ethnic slur” that “keep[s] alive the spirit of inhumanity, subjugation and genocide” and “may” cause violence against Native Americans. Besides, it is a “nuisance,” defined as something “annoying.”

Is the FCC empowered to protect an entitlement to a life without annoyances? What if the FCC is annoying? This is complicated.

Professor Eugene Volokh, who specializes in First Amendment law at UCLA’s School of Law and supervises an invaluable website, The Volokh Conspiracy, thinks the petition refutes itself. It argues that “Redskins” is offensive because of the ideas and attitudes the word conveys. But when the Supreme Court upheld restrictions on the broadcasting of certain vulgarities (George Carlin’s “seven dirty words”), it stressed that the mere fact that speech is offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. And although the court focused on the content of the words, it did not focus on the political content or on the speaker’s opinion. “Indeed,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “if it is the speaker’s opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according [an utterance] constitutional protection,” because “the government must remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas.”

Volokh adds: “The premise of the criticism of ‘Redskins’ is precisely that it embodies a racist, demeaning message about American Indians (whether or not this is intended by those who use it), and that it offends because of this racist meaning. It thus is the speaker’s imputed opinion and supposed ‘political content’ of the word that gives offense.”

Some say “Redskins” is merely an offensive epithet with a negligible ideological message. Volokh replies that the epithet is offensive to those who are offended “because of its allegedly racist ideology, and the call to suppress it stems precisely from the perception that it conveys this racist ideology.” Anyway, the anti-“Redskins” petition is less legal reasoning than a form of bureaucratic bullying known as regulation by “raised eyebrow.” The petition’s author notes that the FCC sometimes indicates disapproval of this or that, thereby compelling broadcasters, worried about being put out of business, to practice self-censorship. So the petition seems designed to trigger this, thereby succeeding even if it fails – even if the FCC dismisses the petition.

If, however, the FCC under progressives today but conservatives tomorrow, can, in the petition’s words, define and ban particular words as “nuisances” because they “annoy” a “substantial composite” of the population, what other words will appear on an ever-lengthening list?

Today many colleges and universities have “free speech zones” – wee spaces to which the First Amendment is confined. Such institutions are run by educators whose meager educations did not teach them that the Amendment made America a free speech zone. Campuses are habitats for progressives, and the distilled essence of today’s progressivism is the use of power to limit speech. The fact that censorship is progressivism’s default position regarding so many things is evidence of progressives' pessimism about the ability of their agenda to advance under a regime of robust discussion. It also indicates the delight progressives derive from bossing people around and imposing a particular sensibility, in the name of diversity, of course.

The petition, which uses “R*dskins” (this typographical delicacy supposedly will help prevent pogroms against Native Americans), says the phrase “colored people,” too, is “now considered derogatory.” If so, some progressive has the awkward duty of notifying the NAACP that its name is “akin to” a disparagement, an obscenity, pornography, a racial slur and hate speech. The language policeman’s lot is not a happy one.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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