Thursday, September 18, 2014


Angela Merkel: Fighting anti-Semitism is German duty

Fighting anti-Semitism is every German's duty, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told a rally in Berlin.

The protest against anti-Semitism comes 75 years since the start of World War Two, in which six million Jews were killed by Nazi Germany.

With attacks on Jews increasing, the message to Germany and the world is "tolerance" , Mrs Merkel said.

The surge in anti-Semitism follows the summer's conflict in Gaza.

On stage, Chancellor Merkel began her speech saying the 100,000 Jews living in Germany were a "national treasure".

"Jewish friends, neighbours and colleagues, consider yourselves at home here," she told the crowd, put at up to 5,000 people.

However, because of the sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks, she said there was "not a single Jewish institution" in the country that does not require police protection in the current climate, and it was "every German's duty" to take a stand.

"The legitimate criticism of the political actions of a government - be it ours or of the state of Israel - is fine. But if it is only used as a cloak for one's hatred against other people, hatred for Jewish people, then it is a misuse of our basic rights of freedom of opinion and assembly."

SOURCE






Outraged Swiss village of 1,000 residents forced to raise taxes after African refugee mother-of-seven moves there and costs them £40,000 a month in benefits

A village of just 1,000 residents in Switzerland has been forced to raise taxes because an African refugee and her seven children cost the local authority £40,000 in benefits every month.

Hagenbuch, in the Swiss canton of Zurich, is understood to be spending close to a third of its total annual budget on the family after they arrived from Eritrea in East Africa three years ago.

The massive benefits bill covers day-to-day living expenses such as groceries and cleaning costs, as well as paying for four of the woman's children to be housed in an orphanage and even bills for general entertainment - such as guided tours of local attractions and entry fees for the zoo.

The Eritrean woman and her family arrived in Hagenbuch three years ago in possession of a visa allowing her to stay in Switzerland for five years, with the option to extend her stay beyond that date.

It is not known if the family had lived elsewhere in Switzerland before moving to the quiet village.

Solely to cover the cost of the family's massive benefits bill, the local authority is now planning to raise taxes in the village by a shocking five per cent .

'I don't know where to turn. I think we have no other choice but to raise taxes,' Mayor Therese Schlaepfer told daily Swiss newspaper Blick.

She added that local residents were justifiably outraged by the spiraling costs of caring for the family, who require a team of social workers to spend six hours a day, six days a week on them alone.

When the woman and her family arrived in Hagenbuch three years ago, the municipal government immediately agreed to cover the full cost of their rent and £1,700 a month in living expenses.

A short time later the woman sought further financial help, claiming she had become overwhelmed by family commitments and was now struggling to look after all seven of her children.

This resulted in four of them being sent to an orphanage - with the local authority paying out £6,000 for each child every month - a total cost of £24,000.

HOW ONE FAMILY OF EIGHT COSTS A SWISS VILLAGE £40,000 A MONTH

£24,000 - Cost of looking after four children at the local orphanage

£13,000 - Social worker expenses

£1,700 - General living expenses allowance

£1,300 - Housing costs and entertainment bills

On top of this there are also the costs of helping the woman pay her cooking and cleaning bills - plus rolling entertainment expenses, such as paying the entry fee for all eight family members at the zoo.

As well as straight handouts, the family also reportedly cost the local authority thousands more every month by tying up social workers and carers for six hours a day, six days a week.

On average these social workers cost the council about £90 every hour they work, rising to £95 an hour in the evening or at weekends.

SOURCE






Multiculturalism Is a Failure

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that in Germany, multiculturalism has "utterly failed." Both Australia's ex-prime minister John Howard and Spain's ex-prime minister Jose Maria Aznar reached the same conclusion about multiculturalism in their countries. British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that multiculturalism is fostering extremist ideology and directly contributing to homegrown Islamic terrorism. UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said the United Kingdom's push for multiculturalism has not united Britons but pushed them apart.

It has allowed for Islam to emerge despite Britain's Judeo-Christian culture. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the roots of violent Islamism are not "superficial but deep" and can be found "in the extremist minority that now, in every European city, preach hatred of the West and our way of life."

The bottom line is that much of the Muslim world is at war with Western civilization. There's no question that the West has the military might to thwart radical Islam's agenda. The question up for grabs is whether we have the intelligence to recognize the attack and the will to defend ourselves from annihilation.

Multiculturalism is Islamists' foot in the door. At the heart of multiculturalism is an attack on Western and Christian values. Much of that attack has its roots on college campuses among the intellectual elite who see their mission as indoctrinating our youth. In past columns, I've documented professorial hate-America teaching, such as a UCLA economics professor's telling his class, "The United States of America, backed by facts, is the greediest and most selfish country in the world." A history professor told her class: "Capitalism isn't a lie on purpose. It's just a lie."

She also said: "(Capitalists) are swine. ... They're bastard people." Students sit through lectures listening to professorial rants about topics such as globalism and Western exploitation of the Middle East and Third World peoples.

Some public school boards have banned songs and music containing references to Santa Claus, Jesus or other religious Christmas symbols. The New York City school system permits displays of Jewish menorahs and the Muslim star and crescent, but not the Christian Nativity scene. One school district banned a teacher from using excerpts from historical documents in his classroom because they contained references to God and Christianity. The historical documents in question were the Declaration of Independence and "The Rights of the Colonists," by Samuel Adams.

The U.S. is a nation of many races, ethnicities, religions and cultures. Since our inception, people from all over the world have immigrated here to become Americans. They have learned English and American history and celebrated American traditions and values. They have become Americans while also respecting and adapting some of the traditions of the countries they left behind. By contrast, many of today's immigrants demand that classes be taught -- and official documents be printed -- in their native language. Other immigrants demand the use of Shariah, practices that permit honor killing and female genital mutilation.

Multiculturalists argue that different cultural values are morally equivalent. That's nonsense. Western culture and values are superior. For those who'd accuse me of Eurocentrism, I'd ask: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan; is it morally equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits placed on women, such as prohibitions on driving, employment and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves face the punishment of having their hand severed. In some countries, homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. Are these cultural values morally equivalent, superior or inferior to Western values?

Multiculturalism has not yet done the damage in the U.S. that it has in western European countries -- such as England, France and Germany -- but it's on its way. By the way, one need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. Mainly, you just have to accept the supremacy of the individual above all else.

SOURCE






The Anus Monologues

Ann Coulter

Unable to comment on the "Duck Dynasty" controversy last week due to my hectic Kwanzaa schedule, I am able to sweep in at the end and comment on the commentary.

Anyone who utters the mind-numbingly obvious point that A&E's suspension of "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson doesn't involve the First Amendment because a TV network is not the government, should be prohibited from ever talking in public again. You can bore your few remaining friends with laborious statements of the obvious, but stop wasting everyone else's time.

We know A&E is not the government. It may shock your tiny little pea brains, but free speech existed even before we had a Constitution. Free speech is generally considered a desirable goal even apart from its inclusion in the nation's founding document.

Suppose TV networks were capitulating to angry Muslims by suspending people for saying they opposed Sharia law? Would that prompt any of you pusillanimous hacks to finally take a position on the state of free speech in America?

Or would you demand that we stop the presses so you could roll out your little cliche about a television network not being the government? That fact has very little relevance to someone whose life has just been ruined. Hey! Don't worry about it -- at least it wasn't the government!

Instead of the government censoring speech, what we have is shock troops of liberal agitators demanding people's heads for the slightest divergence from Officially Approved Liberal Opinion.

Evidently, the word of God is on the banned list. As Robertson himself has said, all he did "was quote from the Scriptures, but they just didn't know it."

His offending remarks delivered to GQ magazine were:

"Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong. Sin becomes fine ... Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

There's absolutely no question but that Robertson accurately summarized biblical strictures. But liberals can't grasp that God is not our imaginary friend, who says whatever we want Him to say, when we want Him to say it. (I promise you, except for venereal disease and eternal damnation, life would be a lot more fun if we were making it up as we went along.)

So they blamed Robertson for Holy Scripture. True, God created the universe and every living thing, but liberals think they can improve on His work.

Since Robertson's interview appeared, I haven't heard as much sophistical nonsense about the New Testament not condemning fornication since I was a teenager in the backseat of a car.

The book of Romans, called "the Cathedral of the Christian faith," provides the clearest explanation of the doctrines of sin. Here are a few catchy verses:

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven ... so that people are without excuse.

"Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error ...

"Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."

Also, keep these citations in your back pocket for the next time some sweaty teenage boy tries to convince you Jesus didn't condemn fornication: 1 Corinthians 7:2; Galatians 5:19-20; Jude 1:7; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 6:13, 18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; and Matthew 5:32.

The lake of fire and burning sulfur (Revelation 21:8) may not sound like a day at the beach, but judging by their hysterical attack on Robertson, our new earthly gods are a lot less forgiving than the real God.

GLAAD instantly condemned Robertson's totally accurate rendition of Holy Scripture as "vile." With refreshing originality, CNN's Piers Morgan called Robertson a "vile bigot."

And it's not just "vile" to cite Holy Scripture. Evidently, it's also vile not to appreciate the joys of anal sex.

What seemed to set liberals off as much as Robertson's Biblical summaries was his statement that he doesn't find anal sex appealing. He said:

"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."

So now, not only do we all have to support gay marriage, gay wedding cakes and gay soldiers -- but we also have to agree that anal sex sounds peachy! It's like being denounced for saying you prefer vanilla ice cream to chocolate.

To paraphrase an old Jewish line: This is not good for the gays.

Gays have gone from being the bullied to the bullies -- a modern American phenomenon detailed in my book "Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America."

Yes, we know you used to be unfairly victimized. But being beaten up for being gay is simply not the same as having to endure hearing someone opine that anal sex isn't his cup of tea.

A&E didn't dare cross the gays, never anticipating that the Robertson family wouldn't back down -- and the rest of the country wouldn't, either. Even non-Christians can have only contempt for the network's utter cravenness in suspending Robertson for stating basic Christian doctrine.

The first time someone stands up to a bully and the sky doesn't fall, the tyranny is over. The gay mafia was out of control, drunk with power. This time, they got their wings clipped.

Christians, 1; Angry gays: minus 1,000. Cliche-spouting hack TV pundits: I recommend capital punishment.

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, September 17, 2014



BOOK REVIEW of If It Ain’t Broke: the Case Against Constitutional Reform of the United Kingdom


Relevant to the forthcoming referendum on independence for Scotland

The title says it all.  Constitutional policy has not been debated properly in Britain. As a result of the failure to think things out systematically in advance, change has been piecemeal and unplanned.

Lacking a comprehensive strategy to defend the constitution, Downing Street seems to be grasping at straws at the last moment and the wholly avoidable possibility of Scotland voting to leave the United Kingdom might become a reality.

This book is a belated attempt to urge those who love the UK to get their act together and come up with a strategy to save the  constitution from multiple threats. Check it out.  The Introduction and a substantial part of the first Chapter can be read free on Amazon







It’s the ineffable smugness that gets us

We’re all aware of the manner in which the supermarkets have been one of the evil bugbears of our times. The manner in which the upper middle class commentariat has been outraged, outraged we tell you, at the manner in which anyone has the effrontery to offer the working classes cheap and convenient food. doesn’t everyone realise that they should be buying at the butcher and greengrocer so as to subsidise the desires of the upper middle class commentariat?

Which brings us to this lovely piece claiming that the age of the supermarket is now over and ain’t that a good thing?

 "In my street, the light thunk of plastic boxes as they’re unloaded from the supermarket delivery vans is now as familiar, if not quite so uplifting, as the sound of my beloved’s key in the door. Those who use the internet for grocery shopping do it for reasons of convenience, certainly. But we also know we spend less online, buying only what we need, choosing necessities with a ruthlessness that often abandoned us in-store. What we used to spend on impulse buys – or some of it – then goes on a decent wedge of Lincolnshire Poacher, a couple of fillets of haddock or some good beef, sold to us by smiling, helpful, talkative people whose names we may know, and whose businesses matter both to them and us.

The people who run our supermarkets, obsessed as they are with “price matching” and “meal deals”, seem not to have noticed this. Or perhaps they have merely accepted there is no real way to respond to it. Small, local supermarkets are good and useful should you run out of stock cubes or Persil of a Tuesday evening. But even their expansion is finite. For the rest, there is no short-term solution. We have become suspicious: of their mawkish advertising, of their treatment of farmers, of their desperate bids to package up things that really don’t need packaging up at all (I mean this literally and metaphorically, versions of “restaurant-style” dishes being every bit as phoney and wasteful as apples wrapped in too much plastic). Modern life, we feel, is isolating enough without self-service check-outs. They want to own us, but we aren’t having it. Suddenly, the over-lit aisles of Tesco have never looked more bleak. Or more empty."

The problem with this is as follows. I’ve always said that supermarkets were horrible things and look, now people agree with me! That means I was right! But, no, sadly, it doesn’t. It means that you might (assuming we accept the idea that the supermarkets are falling out of favour) be right now but it means that you were wrong before. Not in your personal taste of course: but in your projection of your personal taste to others.

And the point of emphasising this is that this is why we have markets. So that the consumer can decide for themselves how, in this instance, they wish to purchase their comestibles. If technology has changed so that internet delivery is now better all well and good. If it’s simply consumer taste that has, equally well and good. The entire point of having competitors in a market is so that the consumer can, with each and every groat and pfennig they spend, intimate which of the possible offerings they prefer. On the grounds of price, taste, convenience, technology or any other differentiator.

If the supermarkets do go down (something we rather suspect won’t actually happen) then it will not prove that those who campaigned against them in the past were right. It will prove that they were wrong: and further that their attempts to impose their views on others will always be wrong. For the very fact that supermarkets succeeded as a technology for however long it was or will be shows that they were wrong: and that they fail (as any and every technology eventually does) at some point will again show that that market process is the method of dealing with such matters. For, as is now being said, when the technology or consumer desires change then the market reacts and replaces the less favoured with the more. What else could you possibly want from a system of socio-economic organisation?

SOURCE






Actually, Senators, You're the Ones Who Threaten the Country

Americans' right to free speech should not be proportionate to their political power.

We are, as it always seems, "at a pivotal moment in American history." At least that's what Sens. Tom Udall and Bernie Sanders maintained in a melodramatic Politico op-ed last week as they explained their efforts to repeal the First Amendment.

Let me retort in their language:

It's true that building the United States has been long, arduous and rife with setbacks. But throughout the years, the American people have repelled efforts to weaken or dismantle the First Amendment. We have weathered the Sedition Act of 1918, a law that led to the imprisonment of innocent Americans who opposed the war or the draft. Since then, we have withstood numerous efforts to hamper, chill, and undermine basic free expression in the name of "patriotism." We have, however, allowed elected officials to treat citizens as if they were children by arbitrarily imposing strict limits on their free speech in the name of "fairness."

But nowadays, after five members of the Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment and treated all political speech equally, liberal activists and Democrats in the Senate would have us return to a time when government dispensed speech to favored institutions—as if it were the government's to give.

In 2010, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 opinion striking down major parts of a 2002 campaign-finance reform law in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This case and subsequent rulings, including McCutcheon v. FEC, have led to more political activism and more grass-roots engagement than ever before. In the 2012 presidential election, we quickly saw the results. More Americans voted than in any election; more minorities voted; more Americans engaged in more debate and had more information in their hands than ever before. More than 60 percent of all those super PAC funds came from just 159 donors, each of whom gave more than $1 million. And still, every vote held the same sway. You may be convinced by someone, but no one can buy your vote. I wish the same could be said for your senators.

Even less worrisome is the propaganda surrounding scary-sounding "dark money"—dollars spent by groups that do not have to disclose their funding sources. The 2012 elections saw almost $300 million spent on engagement in our democratic institutions, and the 2014 midterm elections could see as much as $1 billion invested in political debate. That means more democratization of media and more challenges to a media infrastructure that once managed what news we were allowed to consume. Still, no one can buy your vote.

No single issue is more important to the needs of average Americans than upholding the Constitution over the vagaries of contemporary political life. The people elected to office should be responsive to the needs of their constituents. They should also be prepared to be challenged. But mostly, they should uphold their oath to protect the Constitution rather than find ways to undermine it.

When the Supreme Court finds, for purposes of the First Amendment, that corporations are people, that writing checks from the company's bank account is constitutionally protected speech, and that attempts to impose coercive restrictions on political debate are unconstitutional, we realize that we live in a republic that isn't always fair but is, for the most part, always free.

Americans' right to free speech should not be proportionate to their political power. This is why it's vital to stop senators from imposing capricious limits on Americans.

It is true that 16 states and the District of Columbia, along with more than 500 cities and towns, have passed resolutions calling on Congress to reinstitute restriction on free speech. Polls consistently show that the majority of Americans support the abolishment of super PACs. So it's important to remember that one of the many reasons the Founding Fathers offered us the Constitution was to offer a bulwark against "democracy." Senators may have an unhealthy obsession with the democratic process, and Supreme Court justices are on the bench for life for that very reason.

On Monday, Democrats offered an amendment to repeal the First Amendment in an attempt to protect their own political power. Whiny senators—most of them patrons to corporate power and special interests—engaged in one of the most cynical abuses of their power in recent memory. Those who treat Americans as if they were hapless proles unable to withstand the power of a television commercial are the ones who fear speech. That's not what the American republic is all about.

Editor's note: The proposed amendment went down to a well-deserved defeat in the Senate yesterday.

SOURCE





Well, yes, this is rather the point about fees for filing tribunal claims

How lovely to see public policy working well for once:

The number of aggrieved workers bringing sex discrimination claims to employment tribunals has tumbled by 90 per cent in a year since claimants were made to pay a fee.

It appears that the prospect of forking out in advance – and losing the money if their case fails – is deterring many of those who may be tempted to use a tribunal to make their employer pay compensation.

But Labour business spokesman Chuka Umunna has promised to abolish the fees, claiming they are unfair.
Chuka, as ever, is missing the point here. The aim and purpose of the fee is to reduce the number of claims. The fee has been instituted, the number of claims has dropped: public policy is actually working. Would that everything done by government worked so well.

The point is not though to make sure that those cruelly done down by t’evil capitalist plutocrats have no recourse: discrimination law still exists and still operates in the normal manner. Those with a good case will happily pay the small fee, those with a frivolous one won’t. The impact of this modest fee therefore tells us something most interesting: the number of former claims that were indeed frivolous, or at least highly unlikely to succeed. But if trying it on costs nothing then why not do so?

There’s an interesting parallel here with another thing that the British courts get right. In, say, a patent case, the loser pays everyone’s court costs and legal fees. In a similar US case the each side pays its own costs, whatever the outcome of the case (except in truly, truly, egregious cases). It costs perhaps $500 to file a suit alleging patent infringement and up to $2 million just to prepare the defence for a trial. The incentives there are obviously for many trivial suits to be filed in the hopes of getting a bit of cash as a settlement to bugger off and stop bothering everyone.

It’s worth noting that the US courts are full of patent troll cases: the UK courts have nary a one.

You know, the first thing everyone should know about economics? Incentives matter.

When proven cases of real sex discrimination bring (righteous) damages of tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds the idea of a small fee as a gatekeeper to deter frivolous cases seems both sensible and not a barrier to those real cases moving into the justice system.

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, September 16, 2014



The changing face of Britain: A child in Birmingham is now more likely to be a Muslim than Christian

There are more Muslim children than Christian growing up in Birmingham, figures show.

The latest statistics, extracted from the 2011 Census, give an insight into the fast pace of demographic change across Britain.

They pinpoint several parts of the country where traditional religious beliefs are being eclipsed for the first time.

In England’s second city of Birmingham, of 278,623 youngsters, 97,099 were registered as Muslim compared with 93,828 as Christian. The rest were of other faiths such as Hindu or Jewish, or none.

A similar trend has emerged in the cities of Bradford and Leicester, the towns of Luton, in Bedfordshire, and Slough in Berkshire, as well as the London boroughs Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets, where nearly two-thirds of children are Islamic.

Last night experts said more must be done to ensure that society does not become polarised along religious lines.

Professor Ted Cantle, of the ICoCo Foundation, which promotes community cohesion, said: ‘What we are seeing are several trends running together. There is a long-term decline in support for the established religions, notably Christianity; continuing immigration from the Asian sub-continent; and higher fertility among the Muslim population, which has a considerably lower age profile.

‘There is also deepening segregation exacerbated by the loss of white population from cities and more intensive concentration of black and minority ethnic groups as a result of replacement.

‘This is the real problem, as residential segregation is generally compounded by school and social segregation.

‘Nothing surprises me about the pace of demographic change. What does surprise me is that the Government has no policy to combat segregation because it inevitably reduces understanding and tolerance on both sides of the divide.’

The figures show that Christianity is still the dominant religion in every local authority area in England and Wales, even in the most culturally diverse towns and cities.

Of the 45.5million participants, 27.9million subscribed to Christianity, compared with 1.8million Muslims, the second largest grouping.

However, among dependent children – defined as those aged up to 15, or between 16 and 18 and in education and still living at home – the gap is narrower.

Of 12.1million youngsters, 6.1million were Christian and 1million were Muslim. And in some places, the balance has now tipped towards Islam.

In Bradford, 52,135 children are Muslims (45 per cent) next to 47,144 Christians; in Leicester the figures are 22,693 and 18,190 respectively.

The widest gap is in Tower Hamlets where 62 per cent of children are Islamic, outnumbering Christians by 34,597 to 8,995.

Sughra Ahmed, president of the Islamic Society of Britain, said: ‘Britain’s Muslims make up just 5 per cent of the population but have a younger demographic profile than other faiths, as these figures show. It matters to us all that this next generation of young British Muslims develops a clear and confident sense of their British identity alongside their Muslim faith. It’s important that schools teach all of our children the values of respect and tolerance.

‘Britain is doing better at this than many of our neighbours. A major new study this week showed that most people think the children of immigrants are integrating well.

‘This is one of the most tolerant countries in the world. It will continue to be so, provided we all understand how that depends on respect for the beliefs of others too.’

SOURCE





The REAL secrets of being a Bullingdon Club boy... and they're far more colourful than a silly new film suggests, says club member HARRY MOUNT

The late Kingsley Amis liked to sit through telly programmes saying: ‘He wouldn’t speak like that. She wouldn’t wear that. They wouldn’t do that.’

That was pretty much my reaction to The Riot Club, a new film due out this week about the behaviour of Oxford’s Bullingdon Club.

I feel somewhat ashamed of having joined the club when I was at Oxford in the early Nineties — and I can fully understand why people find the institution so ludicrous. The Bullingdon is ripe for satirical attack. But this clumsy, lazily-plotted film completely misses the target.

First — the facts. Or, should I say, the lack of them.

Members of the Bullingdon, however silly they might be, wouldn’t go around declaring to each other which schools are acceptably grand. Nor would they carry club-branded hip flasks or boast that they were at the top university in the world — or shoot clay pigeons within several yards of passing tourists.

No one — Bullingdon member or otherwise — would ever be so crass as to declare, as one Riot Club member says, ‘I’m sick to f****** death of poor people.’

And Bullingdon members would never have battered a pub landlord unconscious — the central incident in the film.

The club dinner at which this happens is clearly based on a Bullingdon evening in 2005. In a spine-shudderingly embarrassing evening, Bullingdon members got into a mass brawl and damaged a 15th-century pub in rural Oxfordshire.

Horrifying, yes — but the point was that they were beating each other up, not the landlord. In fact, he said they kept on breaking off from the fight to apologise to him.

Now I’m not trying to defend such odious behaviour. I’m just saying the details in the film are not only wrong — they’re also much less interesting than the truth. It’s extremely odd to keep on apologising in the middle of a fight, and it’s oddness that makes for wit and humour.

Class in real-life modern Britain works in a much more subtle — and more enthralling — way than in this bash-the-toffs drama. Watch The Riot Club and you’ll start to think Oxford is divided into thuggish lords in top hats and shy, Northern mill girls who don’t know what cutlery to use at dinner.

The truth is that Oxford’s undergraduate body is almost entirely made up of the middle-class group that lies in between these two crashing stereotypes.

At least the film is well-acted, though. Max Irons, the son of actor Jeremy, is particularly good as the reluctant Bullingdon member who steers clear of the pub fight. But compare Max Irons’s role with his father’s in the TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited — and there is a yawning gulf in the screenwriters’ understanding of how the rich behave at Oxford, and how the Establishment works.

The Riot Club suggests that the chairman of the Tory Party, a former club member, goes about securing powerful political positions for the current batch. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Members — such as David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson — didn’t find their way to power because of the club.

If anything, they made their way to the top despite the deep embarrassment caused by those infamous club photographs showing them in their swanky tailcoats and studied poses.

The simple fact is that the desire of clever, well-educated, ambitious men to join a supposedly exclusive club sometimes overlaps with the desire to be voted into Parliament.

Or foreign parliaments, in fact. It’s striking that Radek Sikorski, the Polish Foreign Minister, was in the Bullingdon with Cameron and Johnson. He wasn’t a rich undergraduate, but he shared that desire for election to a supposed elite. Of course, it’s utterly understandable that the media spotlight zeroes in on those awkward photographs of the Bullingdon Club.

But the Bullingdon didn’t loom very large in members’ lives. In fact, it meets only twice a year: once for the annual dinner, when those silly photographs are taken; and once for an annual point-to-point horse race meeting in the Oxfordshire countryside.

The Bullingdon’s origins are sporting. It began life as a hunting and cricket club in 1780 — the club badge still shows a cricket bat, stumps and a man on a horse. In 1796, the Bullingdon cricket team even played against the MCC.

It was at the annual Bullingdon horse race in the 1920s that the late Lord Longford, a member, is said to have converted from Conservative to Labour. He fell off his horse, bumped his head, remounted and started riding in the opposite direction around the course. And so began his lifelong devotion to Labour politics.

Still, the influence of the Bullingdon on modern British politics would be a tiny footnote in history but for those fatally ridiculous photographs. Mere snapshots in young lives have been blown up to mammoth, career-defining proportions.

The Bullingdon can behave appallingly — not least in 1894, when members smashed all 468 windows in Christ Church college’s Peckwater Quad, and in 1927, when they did it all over again. As a punishment, the club was banned from meeting within 15 miles of Oxford.

When the future Edward VIII, an undergraduate at Magdalen College just before the First World War, wanted to join, his mother, Queen Mary, was horrified. She let him do so only if he promised not to take part in a ‘Bullingdon blind’ — a drunken club dinner.

In his typical authority-defying way, the Prince of Wales attended a ‘blind’ anyway, prompting a furious Queen Mary to send a telegram asking him to leave the club. An impossible request, I fear — even from a queen. As far as I understand the unwritten rules of the club, once a member, always a member. The only way out of the dark blue tailcoat is in a wooden box.

The club assumed a darker air under the ruthlessly satirical eye of Evelyn Waugh. In two short passages in his novels, he was immediately wittier, and more amusingly barbed, about the Bullingdon, than this overlong new film.

In Decline And Fall, written in 1928, it is lampooned as the brutally destructive Bollinger Club — named after the champagne house.

At one Bollinger dinner, he writes, ‘a fox had been brought in in a cage and stoned to death with champagne bottles’.

Bullingdon members included ‘epileptic royalty from their villas of exile; uncouth peers from crumbling country seats; smooth young men of uncertain tastes from embassies and legations; illiterate lairds from wet granite hovels in the Highlands; ambitious young barristers and Conservative candidates’.

At another dinner, the club ‘broke up Mr Austen’s grand piano, and stamped Lord Rending’s cigars into his carpet, and smashed his china, and tore up Mr Partridge’s sheets, and threw his Matisse into the lavatory’.

Labour politician Tom Driberg said this description was a ‘mild account of the night of any Bullingdon Club dinner in Christ Church. Such a profusion of glass I never saw until the height of the Blitz. On such nights, any undergraduate who was believed to have “artistic” talents was an automatic target’.

In Brideshead Revisited, Waugh again attacked the Bullingdon — by name — for attempting to dunk one of those artistic undergraduates, the camp Anthony Blanche, ‘in Mercury’ — the fountain in Christ Church’s biggest quad. The members, Waugh writes, were dressed ‘like a lot of most disorderly footmen’.

But if the club’s appearances in modern literature are prominent, its influence on the Establishment is massively exaggerated.

Bullingdon membership — in a small minority — is a subconscious sign of future political ambition; and not a cause of later political success.

What is true is that modern politics is largely run not by Bullingdon members, but by a marginally broader group of public schoolboys and Oxbridge graduates.

And that’s not just the case with the Conservative Party. Nick Clegg went to Westminster School, Robinson College, Cambridge, and Minnesota University; Ed Miliband to Corpus Christi, Oxford, and the London School of Economics.

It says something for the elite nature of modern politics that even the maverick man of the people, Nigel Farage, went to private Dulwich College and worked in the City.

These are the real, tragic facts of exclusive modern politics — rather than this woefully weak make-believe vision of a university club.

SOURCE






New proposals for tougher planning laws set to give councils more muscle to fight gypsy encampments

Travellers setting up camp illegally may soon no longer be protected by soft planning laws.  Councils could gain more power to enforce rules and evict those who ignore them. For years, communities across the country have been frustrated over unauthorised traveller sites.

The most notorious was Dale Farm which led to a ten-year fight to remove travellers living illegally on the six-acre site in Essex.

Currently, a council wanting to close a site has to find an alternative location. This can be a struggle and was one of the reasons why the Dale Farm controversy went on for so long.

Yesterday Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said the rule is a ‘perverse incentive’ for authorities not to take action. Mr Lewis said: ‘We will not sit back and allow people who bypass the law to then benefit from the protection it can offer.

‘We have already strengthened the powers that councils have to enforce planning rules and take action against breaches which fuel community tensions.  ‘This will not only tackle the abuse of the system but prevent long drawn-out cases like Dale Farm.’

However, the definition of travellers could change so local authorities have to cater only for those leading a ‘genuine travelling lifestyle’.

This would mean any application for a permanent site by those who no longer have a nomadic life would be treated the same as a bid from the settled population.  Councils would also be free of the need to cater for any travellers who turn up and want to stay.

Instead, they would only have to provide sites for the number they could reasonably expect.

Ministers also want to strengthen protection for sensitive areas and the green belt. Plans include ensuring policies apply to traveller sites in the same way as other housing.

The proposals follow a fourfold rise in the number of illegal caravans sites from 2000 to 2009

SOURCE





Arrogant British social worker was ecstatic about breaking up a family

Obviously unfit for the work but she is still doing it



A social worker gloated about having three children taken into care on her publicly accessible Facebook page.

Siobhan Condon, 41, bragged about the power she felt at breaking up the family and revelled in the judge giving the parents a ‘massive rollicking’.

She even referred to the solicitor in the case complimenting her ‘fine nails and shoes’ before saying she was about to ‘do the mammoth grim task’ of removing the youngsters from their home and signing off with three kisses.

The children, all aged under ten at the time, were put into foster care following the court hearing last year.

Their mother reported Miss Condon’s comments to Essex County Council after spotting them on the social worker’s Facebook page, which was open to the public and gave enough information to identify the family.

Family proceedings are normally held behind closed doors and shrouded in secrecy.

The Health and Care Professional Council found Miss Condon guilty of misconduct and the local authority decided not to renew her contract.

However, she has not been struck off. Instead, she must be closely monitored by a line manager for a year.

Tory MP Simon Burns yesterday questioned the leniency of the punishment, saying: ‘There are some very difficult cases … where there are no winners and it seems incredible that someone in a position of trust and responsibility should post information on Facebook … to gloat is totally inappropriate.

‘I find it quite staggering and do question whether simply monitoring someone who does this is right.’

The case of ‘Family A’ was heard at Chelmsford Crown Court on May 9 last year. Miss Condon, who has a young daughter, posted comments the night before, speculating about whether the judge ‘might question my zero tolerance to domestic violence’.

The next day, after the case ended, the senior social worker who qualified in 1999, wrote: ‘Just experienced His Honour Judge [sic] give parents a massive rollicking. It was an amazing and extraordinary moment in my career and he complimented my court evidence.’

She added: ‘Me and [unnamed person] are reflecting on how the solicitor commented on [how] fine nails and shoes appear to be a requirement of our team lol. Anyway of [sic] now to do the mammoth grim task fingers crossed xxx.’

Miss Condon later wrote: ‘Its [sic] powerful to know that … children’s lives have been massively changed for the better.’

The council’s conduct committee heard the children’s mother, ‘Mrs A’, made a complaint on May 17.

A senior manager used Google to look for evidence and found the comments, despite not being a Facebook friend of Miss Condon’s. He reported that Mr and Mrs A were ‘upset and angry’.

Miss Condon claimed she thought a privacy setting on her account meant her entries could only be read by her friends. But the committee noted that even if this were true, around 70 of them were not involved in social care and the family were identifiable.

Last week the committee concluded her conduct fell ‘seriously below’ expected standards as the postings were ‘disrespectful and demonstrated poor judgment’.

Miss Condon, who now works for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham according to a friend, declined to comment. Essex council has apologised to Mr and Mrs A for her conduct.

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, September 15, 2014



We're forgetting the warning of the Holocaust, British government minister warns

Britain has neglected the lessons of the Holocaust and a resurgent “virus” of violent anti-semitism is putting the lives of Jews and others at risk in Britain, Michael Gove, the Chief Whip, warned.

Those who thought the Holocaust would “discredit anti-Semitism forever” were wrong, with synagogues facing attacks and Jewish shops and theatres once again being subject to boycotts across Europe, Mr Gove warned.

Pro-Palestine protesters who liken the Israeli government to the Nazis are part of a “deliberate” campaign of “relativisation, trivialisation and perversion” of the Holocaust that is fuelling anti-Semitism, Mr Gove warned.

The post-war drive to purge the “poison” of anti-Semitism from society to ensure the Holocaust could never be repeated has given way to an upturn in anti-Semitics attacks – including the murder of four visitors to a Jewish museum in Brussels by a suspected jihadists.

Britain must question how “secure” it is for Jews, Mr Gove said, in the wake of a boycott of a Jewish film festival in London due to its Israel sponsorship, and the withdrawal from sale of Kosher food following attacks on supermarkets.

“We need to remind people that what began with a campaign against Jewish goods in the past ended with a campaign against Jewish lives. We need to spell out that this sort of prejudice starts with the Jews but never ends with the Jews. We need to stand united against hate,” Mr Gove told the annual dinner of the Holocaust Education Trust.

“Today, across Europe, there has been a revival of antisemitism which the enormity of the Holocaust should have rendered forever unthinkable,” he said.

“In France, in July of this year more than 100 Jewish citizens had to be rescued from one synagogue and another was firebombed. The leader of an antisemitic party - the Front National - is France’s most popular politician. Heroes of popular culture - like the comedian Dieudonne Mbala Mbala - try to make hatred of Jews a badge of radical chic.

“The virus is spreading across other European nations. In Germany Molotov cocktails were lobbed at one synagogue. In Belgium a cafe displays a sign saying ‘dogs are allowed but Jews are not’, while a doctor refuses to treat Jewish patients. We must all remember where this leads.”

“In 1945, our forebears thought that some good might be rescued from the Nazi's terrible legacy: surely the Holocaust would discredit anti-Semitism for ever. We now know better. Mankind has not developed new sensitivities. Instead, we live in a world full of horrors, where man is still a wolf to man.”

SOURCE






The dilemma of the Jewish leftist

During his yearlong captivity at the hands of the barbarians from Islamic State, Steven Sotloff’s colleagues in Israeli media organs purged all of his articles from their websites to erase his connections to Israel and hide the fact that he was an Israeli citizen.

So, too, every effort was made to hide the fact that he was Jewish.

The reason was clear. Given the genocidal Jew-hatred endemic in jihadist doctrine, it was obvious that if Sotloff’s Judaism was exposed, he would have been singled out for torture and execution.

Much has been written since Islamic State released the video of its British executioner chopping off James Foley’s head last month. We have been told by leaders and commentators alike that with this singular crime, Islamic State awakened the sleeping lion of the West. That act of barbarism, we have been assured, will now force the US to lead a global coalition against this Islamic army of butchers.

Clearly Islamic State is not convinced. With the release of the Sotloff beheading video this week, it appears that Islamic State thinks its cinematographers will move the West in another direction – apathy.

Foley’s execution video ended with the preview of coming attractions for the Sotloff execution video.

And the Sotloff execution video ended with the preview of a British hostage’s execution video.

By releasing the films gradually, Islamic State is apparently trying to routinize beheadings. Its leaders are probably betting that by the seventh or eighth beheading video, we will greet the violence with a shrug of our shoulders.

In this, Islamic State is channeling Iran, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban.

No, it isn’t that all these terror-supporting regimes and terror groups have engaged in beheading. It is simply that when they began engaging in terrorism, their actions shocked the civilized world until their actions didn’t shock the civilized world anymore.

Once the shock wore off, these terror states and enterprises began enjoying the stature of legitimate parties to a political dispute. As Islamic State sees it, it is only a matter of time before it too is accepted as a legitimate force in world affairs.

To understand why its gamble may well pay off, it is worth considering a seemingly unrelated matter.

At the beginning of the week, the ultra-Orthodox Lev Tahor group was expelled from a Mayan village in Guatemala. Earlier this year Lev Tahor members had fled to Guatemala from Canada.

They left Canada to evade a child abuse probe.

The group set up shop in Canada after fleeing Israel, due to similar charges.

Lev Tahor is a fanatical cult that numbers a few hundred members. Its women and girls are clad in all-black robes and covered from head to toe. The only thing they are allowed to expose is their faces.

According to Canadian child services authorities, Lev Tahor married off girls as young as 12. Its members routinely engage in polygamy. Child abuse, including forced medication with unprescribed psychiatric drugs and starvation, is allegedly rampant.

Moreover, according to Canadian officials, the cult denies its children access to education.

Lev Tahor’s alleged behavioral norms are an affront to the rule of law and human rights. Although the cult was apparently expelled from the village in Guatemala due to anti-Semitism, its members fled both the Canadian and the Israeli authorities to evade prosecution.

And yet for all of its alleged moral depravity and criminal behavior, that fact is that Lev Tahor’s treatment of its girls is certainly no worse, and in many respects better, than the treatment that Islamic societies mete out on their girls and women. And the sad truth is that for hundreds of thousands of Muslim women and girls in the West, their residency in human rights-protecting societies has failed to protect them.

Consider female genital mutilation, which Lev Tahor is not accused of engaging in.

In late July, Islamic State forces in Mosul, Iraq, decreed that all girls and women between the ages of 12 and 42 must have their genitals mutilated.

The order was an act of pure evil. Yet it was not particularly controversial within the Islamist context Islamic State operates.

As Soeren Kern wrote for the Gatestone Institute last July, throughout the world, some 140 million women and girls, the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslims, have been subjected to the barbaric practice. Three million girls under the age of 15 are forced to undergo clitoridectomies each year.

In Europe, at least 180,000 Muslim females have undergone this defilement. According to British authorities, in England alone, at least 20,000 girls are at risk of “being cut” each year.

Yet, despite the cruelty and degradation inherent to female genital mutilation, and despite the fact that under British law, anyone found guilty of carrying out this practice is supposed to face criminal charges and up to 14 years in prison, so far no one has been convicted and only a five or six offenders have even been charged for the crime.

There are two principal causes for British authorities’ failure to protect Muslim girls residing in England. First, neither the children themselves, who live in a permanent state of terror and abuse, nor their communities, which turn a blind eye, and so condone the practice, are willing to come forward and finger those responsible for this endemic abuse and violence.

And second, non-Islamic British authorities, including welfare workers and teachers, who are in a position to protect the children, are unwilling to stick their necks out. This unwillingness has two causes.

First, they fear for their lives. The murder of Theo van Gogh and the repeated attempts by Muslim fanatics to execute the Danish cartoonists who drew the caricatures of Muhammad are central components of the cost-benefit analysis most Westerners carry out when considering whether or not to get involved with human rights abuses carried out by Muslims.

Second, they fear excommunication from and defamation at the hands of the Left. Over the past 15 years, the international Left has consistently expanded its political alliance with Islamists in the West.

Among other things, this alliance has required the Left to turn a blind eye to barbaric Islamic practices like female genital mutilation and rape and to defame those who dare to openly oppose these reactionary, obscene behaviors as Islamophobic racists.

And so we have a situation where, both at home and abroad, the West has become habituated to Islamic barbarism and passive in the face of its expanding threat to their lives and their way of life both abroad and at home. Observing this behavior, clearly Islamic State’s terror masters are betting that once habituated to the beheading of Westerners, the West will yawn and go to sleep as Islamic State expands its conquests to additional countries.

It isn’t that the Westerners, led by the leftist elite, lack the ability to feel or express moral outrage. It is just that they refuse to direct it against Islamic jihadists.

And this brings us back to their political alliance with the Islamists.

The only meaningful commonality between Islamist and leftist dogma is hatred for Jews with power, first and foremost for Israel. And the singular creation of this alliance is the sides’ joint determination that it isn’t racist to hate the Jewish state, or Jews who refuse to condemn it.

In this state of affairs, the only outlet that leftists have for their moral outrage is Israel. Because while they fear being called racist, they know that being anti-Semitic will not expose them to charges of racism.

And they know Jews won’t assault them for attacking Israel and its supporters. So they project all the crimes perpetrated by Islamic fanatics on Israel.

For instance, this week Megan Marzec, the president of Ohio University’s Student Senate, posted a video of herself dousing herself in a bucket of “blood.”

Marzec explained, “This bucket of blood symbolizes the thousands of displaced and murdered Palestinians – atrocities which OU is directly complacent in [sic] through cultural and economic ties with the Israeli state.”

In other words, she accused Israel of the crimes Hamas seeks to inflict on Israel, and of the crimes that Islamist forces, such as al-Qaida, Islamic State and Boko Haram, are currently carrying out in their areas of operations.

The growing prevalence of anti-Semitism in leftist circles has placed Jewish leftists in a vulnerable position.

Their ideological movement is denying Jews the right to self-defense and self-determination and siding with Islamists who seek to annihilate them. For a growing number of leftist Jews, their new status as members of a hated group has made them feel it necessary to publicly side with Israel’s enemies against it.

Consider the recent New York Times op-ed by Antony Lerman which ran under the title “The End of Liberal Zionism.”

Lerman insisted that there is no way to square Zionism with liberal values.

According to this disaffected Jewish leftist, “The only Zionism of any consequence today is xenophobic and exclusionary, a Jewish ethno-nationalism inspired by religious messianism. It is carrying out an open-ended project of national self-realization to be achieved through colonization and purification of the tribe.”

But of course, outside the fringes of Israeli society, no such movement exists.

Rather, Lerman is describing Islamic supremacism and, like his fellow leftists, projecting its pathologies on Israel, which Islamic supremacists seek to destroy.

Lerman quoted an article published a few weeks before his in The New York Review of Books by Jonathan Freedland titled “Liberal Zionism After Gaza.”

Freedland argued that as the two-state solution becomes more and more remote, liberal Zionists “will have to decide which of their political identities matters more, whether they are first a liberal or first a Zionist.”

But this is of course absurd. The only way a person can uphold liberal values is by being a Zionist. Israel is the only country in the region that is a human rights-respecting liberal democracy that is governed by the rule of law.

What is becoming more and more difficult is being a Zionist while being a leftist. As the Left becomes more and more tied to Islamic fanatics, anti-Semitism is going to become more and more of a staple of leftist dogma. And that anti-Semitism will express itself first and foremost as a virulent rejection of Israel and of Jews who refuse to disavow and condemn the Jewish state.

Sotloff reportedly maintained faith with his Judaism in secret while in captivity. He refused food on Yom Kippur and secretly prayed toward Jerusalem.

In so doing, he showed that the evil that controlled him physically, could not penetrate his soul. For this he died a Jewish hero.

Leftist Jews must take a lesson from Sotloff, who was reportedly a product of a Jewish-leftist worldview.

They should understand that the decision they are being required to make is not a choice between liberalism and Zionism, but between liberalism and a reactionary dogma that sits comfortably with genocidal Jew-haters and misogynist oppressors.

It shouldn’t be a particularly difficult choice.

SOURCE





The war on fat - a big, fat waste of time

Until recently, the advice that we should avoid fat - particularly saturated fat - was regarded as simple common sense. Heart attacks were caused by fatty deposits in our arteries, right? It was obvious that these must have in turn been caused by the heavy, saturated fat in our diets. Obesity is excess storage of fat, so it must obviously be caused by eating fat. So all the fatty treats we once loved were replaced by boring, low-fat alternatives. Bacon and eggs were replaced by Shredded Wheat and All Bran; fatty steaks were replaced by dull, dry low-fat chicken breasts. Butter was replaced by odd-tasting, low-fat vegetable-oil spread. The pleasure of full-fat milk was skimmed away, to be replaced by a thin, insipid white liquid. But if the joy of eating was diminished, at least we could rest assured that we would all be slimmer and healthier in the long run.

But in recent years, the advice to eat a low-fat diet has increasingly been called into question. Despite cutting down on fatty foods, the populations of many Western countries have become fatter. If heart-disease mortality has maintained a steady decline, cases of type-2 diabetes have shot up in recent years. Maybe these changes were in spite of the advice to avoid fat. Maybe they were caused by that advice.

The most notable figure in providing the intellectual ammunition to challenge existing health advice has been the US science writer, Gary Taubes. His 2007 book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, became a bestseller, despite containing long discussions on some fairly complex issues to do with biochemistry, nutrition and medicine. The book’s success triggered a heated debate about what really makes us fat and causes chronic disease.

Into this controversy comes The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz, which examines both the history and the merits of the advice to avoid fat – saturated fat, in particular. Teicholz, a food journalist, was originally intending to write a book on a much narrower subject: trans fats. As Teicholz says, in the early twentieth century, it became possible to mass-produce vegetable oils. These are generally made up of polyunsaturated fats (1). These vegetable oils were cheaper than animal fats, like lard, which had been used before, but they had serious disadvantages in terms of texture and shelf life. Polyunsaturated fats are liquid rather than solid and much more reactive than saturated fats and so spoil more quickly. In order to tackle that problem, a process called hydrogenation was used to make these vegetable oils more saturated, causing them to solidify. By adding different amounts of hydrogen, different qualities could be created in the resulting oil, which is then described as ‘partially hydrogenated’.

The trouble is that these partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fats - chains with chemical bonds that are the ‘wrong’ way round. These trans fats have been linked to a variety of health problems and are now largely being phased out. But how they got into our food is an interesting story in itself. As Teicholz tells me over Skype from New York, it soon became clear that there was a bigger story, way beyond trans fats, to be told. ‘I spent over a year investigating that book, talking to dozens and dozens of insiders in the food industry. I became extremely well-networked among oil chemists just trying to understand the trans fats story and understanding that industry, which is extremely closed. It’s a tiny club of all-male oil chemists… It was really interesting how hoodwinked these scientists were in the Fifties that they thought that these just-invented foods could restore people to their previous state of health. And there are lots of interesting angles to that whole story. The embrace of polyunsaturated vegetable oils to begin with, how trans fats were ramped up to become the backbone of the food industry, and how the food industry had to back out of trans fats in the last eight years and went back to using those oils.’ Teicholz argues that the fashion for polyunsaturated fats has been misplaced. Indeed, when heated up for frying, polyunsaturated fats could be downright dangerous.

The most talked-about aspect of Teicholz’s book is her discussion of the evidence against saturated fat. In the Fifties, a well-known American researcher, Ancel Keys, came to the conclusion that cholesterol was responsible for heart disease and, in turn, that the consumption of saturated fat, mostly from animals, was to blame for boosting cholesterol levels. Yet the evidence for these claims was shaky from the word go. So how did Keys manage to make his views the official ones?

Teicholz tells me that the answer lies in Keys’ unshakable moral certainty, which found fertile ground in a medical and scientific establishment spooked by the rapid rise of heart disease: ‘Before Keys got on the nutrition committee of the American Heart Association, it was very hesitant about jumping to any kind of conclusions while at the same time acknowledging the enormous pressure to do so, given that the entire nation was focused on heart disease. It was a terrifying epidemic. President Eisenhower was out of the Oval Office for 10 days [following a heart attack in 1955]. This was an all-consuming panic for all the people that ran the country. All the people in science, it was their colleagues who over the previous 30 years had started dropping like flies. There was tremendous public pressure to find some kind of solution. It was into that vulnerable setting that Ancel Keys stepped. It was just this perfect storm of his oversized, highly aggressive personality meeting this vulnerable time in America.’

Teicholz never met Keys, but she has met one of his leading supporters and apostles, Jeremiah Stamler: ‘You could see why people would just fold in their presence. It’s like being in the presence of a gale-force wind, the power that comes at you. In Jerry Stamler’s case, he’s also profane and there’s this supreme self-confidence that he brings…There was a very aggressive tenor to the whole nutrition conversation back then. It was almost like internet manners, pre-internet!’

Once the politically astute Keys had packed the nutrition committee of the AHA and got its backing for the advice to avoid saturated fat, the war on meat and dairy could begin. But a major turning point came in 1977 when the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition, led by Democratic senator George McGovern, held hearings on the issue. The result was a set of guidelines, Dietary Goals for the United States, which promoted the consumption of ‘complex’ carbohydrates, and reductions in the consumption of fat in general and saturated fat in particular.

By 1980, this report had been worked up into government-backed guidelines – around the same time that obesity appears to have taken off in the US. The McGovern Report inspired all the familiar diet advice around the world that we’ve had ever since, and led to major changes in what food manufacturers offered. Out went fat, though unsaturated fat and hydrogenated oils were deemed less bad than saturated fat, so vegetable oils and margarines became more popular. In came more carbohydrate and more sugar, to give those cardboard-like low-fat ‘treats’ some modicum of flavour.

Yet two recent reviews of the evidence around saturated fat - one led by Ronald Krauss, the other by Rajiv Chowdhury - suggest that saturated fat is not the villain it has been painted as. (The latter paper, in particular, sparked outrage.) As for fat in general, Teicholz tells me: ‘There was no effort until very late in the game to provide evidence for the low-fat diet. It was just assumed that that was reasonable because of the caloric benefit you would see from restricting fat.’ Yet a diet low in saturated fat is still the standard prescription. For example, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) (the UK equivalent of the AHA) still suggests consuming unsaturated fat rather than saturated fat - though at least the BHF is now suggesting that more research should be done.

This mad, mad story of the battle over fat is not actually that new, though Teicholz adds new details to it. But there is much more to Teicholz’s book than that. Three things stand out.

First, there is her discussion of the Mediterranean Diet. Although mentioned in a cookbook by Keys in the early Seventies, the idea was first actively researched by two researchers in the Eighties - one Greek, one Italian. But it was when the idea got the backing of Harvard University medical researchers that it really took off. Now, it seems like a no-brainer that the kind of food served on a balmy Italian or Greek terrace, with lashings of olive oil, plenty of fresh vegetables and a substantial side order of wine, is the healthiest way to eat. At the very least, it was a relief: olive oil was the healthy fat that you were allowed to enjoy. But in truth, the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ doesn’t bear much relation to what many Mediterraneans actually eat. Diets vary substantially across the Mediterranean countries - and even within those countries. In reality, the Mediterranean Diet is a construct, a rose-tinted version of reality tailored to the anti-meat prejudices of American researchers.

The second thing that sets The Big Fat Surprise apart is its tale of how the other major backer of the Mediterranean Diet was the olive-oil industry. Conferences, funded by the industry and organised by an American organisation called the Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, would be staged in Mediterranean countries, with idyllic climates and lots of lovely, olive-oil-heavy food. Swooning researchers were literally wined and dined into going along with promoting the benefits of olive oil. But it is questionable just how traditional the consumption of olive oil really is. It certainly only became a major part of British and American diets over the past 20 years or so. Even in Greece, it seems olive oil had functions that were more ceremonial than dietary until perhaps 200 years ago. One French historian, quoted by Teicholz, says: ‘Less than 100 years ago, ordinary people in many parts of Greece ate far less oil than today.’ In any event, the notion that this is a battle between the longstanding food culture of peasant societies and an unnatural diet forced on us by big bad corporations in the West is far too black and white.

Which leads us to an important third point made by Teicholz: that the blame for our current dietary problems cannot solely, or even mainly, be placed at the door of big food corporations. Teicholz writes about how she discovered that ‘the mistakes of nutrition science could not be primarily pinned on the nefarious interests of Big Food. The source of our misguided dietary advice was in some ways more disturbing, since it seems to have been driven by experts at some of our most trusted institutions working towards what they believed to be the public good.’ Once public-health bureaucracies enshrined the dogma that fat is bad for us, ‘the normally self-correcting mechanism of science, which involves constantly challenging one’s own beliefs, was disabled’.

The war on dietary fat is a terrifying example of what happens when politics and bureaucracy mixes with science: provisional conclusions become laws of nature; resources are piled into the official position, creating material as well as intellectual reasons to continue to support it; and any criticism is suppressed or dismissed. As the war on sugar gets into full swing, a reading of The Big Fat Surprise might provide some much-needed humility.

SOURCE





Marriage of two straight men for radio competition angers gay rights group

The marriage of two heterosexual New Zealand men as part of a radio show promotion to win tickets to next year’s Rugby World Cup in London has been criticised by gay rights and conservative groups.

Travis McIntosh, a 23-year-old engineering student from Otago university, and Matt McCormick, a 24-year-old teacher at Musselburgh school in Dunedin, were married at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.

About 60 family members travelled to Auckland to watch the two best mates marry to win a trip of a lifetime. The marriage was live-streamed by the Edge radio station.

“It’s official folks, Travis and Matt have just said ‘I do’! Congrats to the happy couple!” the station tweeted.

Neill Ballantyne, the co-ordinator of Otago University Students Association Queer Support, said the wedding was an insult because marriage equality was a hard-fought battle for gay people. Same-sex marriage became legal in New Zealand in 2013.

McIntosh said the wedding was not mocking the institution of marriage. “We are not here to insult anyone,” he told the NZ Herald. “We are here to do our own thing and travel our own path.

“It’s just seeing how far two good mates would go to win a trip to the Rugby World Cup.”

Family First, a lobby group opposed to same-sex marriage, said the outrage expressed by gay rights groups was ironic.  Its national director, Bob McCoskrie, said the change in law was “an arrogant act of cultural vandalism”.  “This competition makes a mockery of marriage, but so did the redefining of marriage,” he said.

The men met at Pirates rugby club in Dunedin as six-year-olds and have been friends ever since.

McIntosh told the Otago Daily Times he thought the marriage would last about two years.

SOURCE

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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, 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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Sunday, September 14, 2014


Another charming multiculturalist

Many Muslims seem to be deeply inadequate people

Smiling widely, seven-year-old Mary Ann Shipstone sits happily among a carpet of bluebells.

Yesterday afternoon, the little girl died in hospital after being gunned down by her ‘jealous’ estranged father.

She was shot in the head by Egyptian Yasser Alromisse, 46, after his English convert wife rejected Islam and him.

Neighbours in the quiet village of Northiam, near Rye, East Sussex, described Mary as a 'lovely little girl'

He fired the fatal shot while his daughter played outside her house in the quiet village of Northiam, East Sussex, on Thursday afternoon. She had returned from school and was excited about celebrating her eighth birthday next week.

Her mother, Lyndsey Shipstone, 42, screamed: ‘He’s got a gun’ before her estranged Muslim husband shot Mary Ann and then killed himself.

She raced outside, gathered her daughter in her arms and laid her on a sofa inside.

Neighbour Helen Barber, 38, said: ‘I ran out up to the house and went in. Mary Ann was on the sofa. There was blood everywhere.

Villagers spoke of their shock at the horror in what is a leafy, quiet village near the border with Kent

‘I couldn’t feel a pulse. I’ve done first aid before and she was showing no signs of life. Lyndsey was hysterical.’

Her husband, Stuart Barber, 46, added: ‘The car stopped. There were two shots. No one went to the car. Within minutes armed police turned up and surrounded the car.’

Miss Shipstone has an older son, Stephen, 21, who has autism and was with a carer when his sister was killed.

He arrived home 15 minutes after the shooting and was taken away from the scene by Mr Barber.

The estranged couple were involved in a bitter custody battle and Alromisse had spent a week trying to locate the home the family had moved to.

It is thought he also staked out their £300,000 house in his Toyota Rav 4 car.

Yesterday, Miss Shipstone posted the picture online of her daughter.Last night she was being consoled by her parents and siblings.

In a statement the family said they were trying ‘to come to terms with what has happened,’ adding: ‘We are today grieving the death of our beautiful and loving Mary.’

Miss Shipstone’s Facebook post came as it emerged the family had been hiding from Alromisse for several years.

The couple married in Liverpool in 2005 after Miss Shipstone converted to Islam, friends said.

But she later rejected the faith and left him, prompting a bitter custody dispute over the children.

Further legal action had apparently been planned in the past few weeks. While together, their daughter had been known by the traditional Islamic name Maryam. After her mother moved she started calling her ‘Mary Ann’.

Miss Shipstone had also started a relationship with a new man, who Mary is seen clinging to in another photograph uploaded on to a social media site.

Miss Shipstone married Alromisse after they met in Skelmersdale, her home town in Lancashire.  Having been a practising Catholic, she converted to Islam and quickly became devout.  ‘She started wearing long robes and only eating halal food,’ a family friend said. ‘Her son Stephen began using the name Adam.’

The couple had a daughter named Yasmin Miriam in September 2001, but she died eight months later.

Mary was born in 2006 but according to former neighbours, social services had to intervene, with orders barring Alromisse from being alone with either child.

'He used to hit Stephen,’ the family friend said. ‘Stephen used to say “He’s a bad man”.’ In a tweet posted on December 24, 2009, Miss Shipstone wrote: ‘We loved the snow. Our garden was amazing, covered in thick white snow. We can leave the house without worrying about my husband bothering us.’

Alromisse became a Community Safety Officer for Uttlesford District Council in Essex.

His job involved helping with projects to try to reduce crime. Police were last night at an address in Broomfield Avenue, Worthing, West Sussex, where Alromisse was thought to be renting a flat.

Detective Chief Inspector Jason Taylor of Sussex Police said: ‘We are trying to establish Mr Alromisse’s movements over the last few days and are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen or heard from him.’

SOURCE





Boyfriend was locked up in high-security Belmarsh jail when woman lied that he raped her after split - but SHE walks free

A man spent 12 days locked up in a high security prison after his ex-girlfriend lied to police and falsely accused him of raping her.

April Bailey, 34, of Woolwich, south east London, gave officers a detailed account of the fictional 'assault' by Andrew Frith, 36, and attended a rape suite where she agreed to DNA swabs being taken.

Mr Frith spent 12 days in Belmarsh Prison, home to some of Britain's most dangerous criminals, before being allowed out on bail, and it was five months before Bailey eventually confessed to police that he hadn't raped her after all.

Yesterday Bailey walked free from court, despite admitting perverting the course of justice by accusing an innocent man and despite the judge telling her: 'What you did was an appalling thing.'

Prosecutor Ben Temple told Isleworth Crown Court that Bailey had had a 12-year 'on and off' relationship with Mr Frith before they broke up in January last year.

He said that that same month, Bailey went to police and complained that she had been raped by him.

'She said he tried to kiss her and she declined and he later threw her to the floor and punched her in the back, likening herself to a punchbag,' added Mr Temple.

'They went to sleep, she alleged, but as she woke he forced himself on her and made her have sex with him.'

Bailey claimed: 'I was crying and telling him: "No, I don't want to have sex with you".'

The court heard she was taken to a specialist suite for victims of sex crime, where bruising was noted, intimate swabs taken, and she gave a video-taped interview.

Mr Frith was arrested on January 27 and immediately told the officers: 'I think I know who this girl is. Was it April? That girl is crazy.'

The next day he was remanded in custody,and remained locked up for 12 days until he was granted conditional bail.

On February 6 Bailey again spoke to police and persisted with the fictitious rape-claim, despite details of her account proving false.

'She admitted to the officer that she lied about the manner in which she left the house and where she had gone,' explained the prosecutor.

'She apologised for that lie, but stressed the rest of her account was true and accurate.

'They built a case against Mr Frith, a prosecution case took shape, there were consultations with the Crown Prosecution Service, and a trial date set.'

However five months later, Bailey went to police saying Mr Frith had not in fact raped her and admitting she had lied.

Mr Temple said: 'She said the bruising and injuries were nothing more than the result of heavy drinking and being restrained by Mr Frith.'

Bailey's lawyer, Frances Ridout, told the court: 'Mr Frith "tried it on", to use her words, and she was resisting and after numerous attempts she gave in and that's when consensual sex happened.

'Her friend convinced her it was rape and was wrong. She's a vulnerable young woman and her friend saw her emotional, upset and with bruises.'
She had sufficient time to say 'No, what I've done is wrong.'

She added: 'This was not a pre-planned or malicious allegation, but things getting out of control.'

Judge Douglas Moore said: 'She had sufficient time to say: "No, what I've done is wrong."

'She has made an allegation against an innocent man, fine-tuned the case and he spent 12 days detained and five months charged.'

'This must have made this man's life absolute hell.  This is a bad offence and what must not be forgotten is the victim and his suffering.'

He added: 'What you did was an appalling thing and someone suffered very badly.'

Bailey was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, given an 18-month supervision order, given a six-month 8pm-8am curfew.

The court heard that Mr Frith has since forgiven Bailey for what she did.

SOURCE





Ending Zionism is a feminist issue

A little bit of insanity from last July.  She doesn't mention what might happen if Muslims renounced violence.  I guess she knows they won't.  The author is Nada Elia, global and gender studies professor at Seattle's Antioch University

As Israel’s assault on the besieged Palestinian population in Gaza approaches its third week, we continue to hear about the “disproportionate number” of women and children victims. This expression begs the question: what is a proportionate number of women and children killed in a genocide?

As Jadaliyya’s Maya Mikdashi asks in her op-ed titled “Can Palestinian men be victims?”, if a significant majority of the killed were adult men, would Israel’s crimes be lesser?

A different analysis of gendered violence is necessary: one that recognizes that no “proportions” are acceptable because all deaths should be mourned, while providing the tools for a differential understanding of the manifestations of violence.

Rape calls

The feminist network INCITE! Women and Trans People of Color Against Violence has always understood that state violence is both racialized and gendered.

Zionism is a prime example of that; it is a racist ideology grounded in the privileging of one ethno-religious group over all others.

When a state views a population — its dispossessed, disenfranchised and occupied indigenous population — as a ”demographic threat,” that view is fundamentally both racist and gendered.

Racist population control relies specifically on violence against women. So it is not surprising that Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli military intelligence officer turned academic, would matter-of-factly suggest this week that “raping the wives and mothers of Palestinian combatants” would deter attacks by Hamas militants.

Similarly, Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked did not attempt to present the murder of Palestinian children and their mothers as unfortunate, disproportionate “collateral damage” — she openly called for it by asserting that Palestinian women must be killed too, because they give birth to “little snakes.”

This comment reflects an Israeli infrastructure designed to sustain high rates of miscarriages by blocking basic resources such as water and medical supplies, forcing women in labor to wait at military checkpoints on their way to a hospital, and generally creating inhumane and unlivable conditions for Palestinians.

This latest murderous attack on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has not only taken the lives of hundreds of Palestinians, but it has also increased miscarriages, pre-term labor and stillbirths.

Ethiopian-Israeli women, most of them Jewish, have also been subject to mandatory contraceptive injections without their consent.

Ending Zionism is a feminist and a reproductive justice issue.

SOURCE






Paramedics Examine Child Who Waited in Car Less Than 5 Minutes

Playing out an elaborate charade of concern for a child who was obviously in no danger, police arrested a mom who let her son wait in the car while she ran into a Chicagoland Whole Foods for less than five minutes.

Then, for reasons known only to those who write and follow protocols that bear as much relationship to reality as your average Adam Sandler movie, paramedics came and examined the boy, who was just dandy (impossible!).

Of course, if we all expired after five minutes in a non-moving vehicle, we'd be dead in our first traffic jam, wouldn't we? If waiting in a car is so debilitating, what about those of us who pull up to a friend's house and have to wait while said "friend" finishes "just one" email. Ten, fifteen minutes later, we're still alive.

Fuming, but alive. Nonetheless, according to the Southtown Star:

    "A Chicago woman is facing a charge of endangering her child’s life after leaving him inside her car while she shopped at Whole Foods.

    Police said witnesses saw 35-year-old Ilona Lukaszczyk leave her young son in his car seat while she went inside the store at 15260 S. LaGrange Road, in Orland Park, on Aug. 20.

    The temperature was 75 degrees and sunny and the windows of the car were rolled up, save the driver’s side window which was down about 3 inches, according to police.

    The witnesses stayed with the car until police arrived in time to greet Lukaszczyk when she emerged from the store less than five minutes after going inside."

The hussy had some lame excuse: her son was sick and she was late to his doctor's appointment. Better she had unbuckled his seat and dragged the sick child through a busy parking lot, exposed everyone at Whole Foods to his virus, then dragged him back through that SUV-choked lot and re-buckled the now screaming, sweaty tyke. Because you're only a good parent if you seriously inconvenience yourself for no other reason than to prove you care.

That seems to be the only way to satisfy the authorities.

And so another mom must try to convince a prosecutor that there is a difference between letting a kid wait in the car for five minutes and leaving the kid to bake in the car for five hours—a difference our law enforcers steadfastly refuse to acknowledge. Their inability to distinguish between daily life and looming danger makes no one safer.

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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