Tuesday, September 27, 2016

BBC faces 'race quota' backlash for fixing the number of non-white presenters on news programmes

It's always the Left who are the big racists these days

BBC bosses want more journalists from ethnic minorities to present the news in a bid for bigger viewing figures.

A leaked email from the editor of Look North Yorkshire to staff reveals a new target for the number of BAME (black, Asian, ethnic minority) has been imposed.

Senior managers want news programmes to better reflect the region's population.

A BBC source told The Sun that the move was 'quite shocking'.

The insider said: 'The focus should be on getting the best rather than those who tick the right boxes.

'The suggestion that viewers only watch people who look like them is also quite insulting.'

The email, sent by editor Tim Smith, reads: 'As you know, one of Look North's objectives is to reach people from BAME (black, Asian, ethnic minority) communities who don't watch Look North as much.

'Viewing figures suggest that 52 per cent of white adults in Yorkshire watch us once a week, but only 33 per cent of BAME adults do.

'We now have a target of 15 per cent of people on Look North (reporters, presenters, contributors) being from a BAME background — which reflects the population of our region and the wider BBC's objective too.'

A BBC spokesman explained: 'Everyone pays for the BBC so it's important we reflect all audiences.

'Currently BAME audiences are under represented amongst Look North viewers, so it's sensible to look into what we can do to address this.'


‘Whining, leftie, PC crap’: Emma Watson’s UN speech ridiculed by UK columnist

The look of an obsessed person

EMMA Watson’s recent speech at the UN summit in New York has gained attention for all the wrong reasons after it was ridiculed by a UK columnist as “whining, leftie, PC crap”.

In a blistering piece published in Friday’s edition of The Sun newspaper, journalist Rod Liddle mocked the 26-year-old Harry Potter star’s involvement in the summit, where she addressed on-campus sexual violence and gender inequality.

“Hermione Granger has been addressing the United Nations General Assembly. Nope, not kidding,” Liddle’s column began. “Anyway, instead of telling them all the rules of Quidditch or how to turn someone into a frog, she bored them all rigid with whining, leftie, PC crap. Just like all actresses do if people are stupid enough to give them the chance.”

Liddle went on to question both the knowledge and increasing involvement of female actresses in such causes.

“Why do we indulge these luvvie slebs, most of whom know nowt?” he wrote.

“I don’t object to them having views and expressing them. I just don’t understand why we take them seriously. I suppose they got Emma in because Angelina Jolie is a bit tied up with other stuff at the moment.”

Over the weekend, Liddle’s comments about the star gained traction on social media and left fans gobsmacked.

In her address at the UN General Assembly last week, Watson presented the HeForShe campaign’s report on gender equality in worldwide universities.

She urged universities and colleges to “make it clear that the safety of women, minorities and anyone who may be vulnerable, is a right, not a privilege.”

In recent years, the actress has become known for speaking out on humanitarian causes and equal rights issues. She was appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014 and is an advocate for UN Women’s HeForShe campaign, which focuses on gender equality.


Trashing the white trash: Hillary and the new bigotry

Clinton's attack on 'deplorables' reveals an ugly prejudice

After assuming Hillary Clinton would coast to victory, Democrats are shocked to find that she is in a virtual tie with Donald Trump in the polls. Trump in fact leads in a number of key swing states, like Florida and Ohio. The New York Times roamed New York’s Upper West Side, a liberal bastion, and discovered Democrats freaking out. ‘It’s like someone dropped ice water on the head of America’, said one Clinton supporter. ‘Everyone sobered up. This could happen.’ The reporter found more than one liberal making preparations to emigrate if Trump wins.

There is an insular quality to the Democrats’ current fears, along the lines of ‘how could Clinton be tied with Trump, when I don’t know anyone who supports him?’. For the most part, they’ve blamed Trump’s rise on the media, saying the fourth estate is not calling out his lies. This is ridiculous, since about 99 per cent of pundits are against Trump, and even ‘straight reporting’ news journalists are saying they have a moral duty to oppose the Republican candidate, apparently because he is such a threat to the country.

To the extent that Democrats have looked inward, many will admit that Clinton is not running a great campaign. They acknowledge that her use of a private email server remains a problem. They concede the campaign’s response to Clinton’s collapse at the 9/11 memorial event was a mistake: first deny, then downplay, then send her out on the street to say she ‘feels great’ and hug a child – only to later reveal that she has had pneumonia for days.

But most Democrats aren’t that self-critical. In particular they won’t admit their candidate for president is an elitist with a low opinion of millions of Americans, and that her dismissiveness of working-class people is driving lots of them into the arms of Trump.

Hillary’s recent description of Trump supporters as a ‘basket of deplorables’ is a prime example. In case you missed it, a little over a week ago, Clinton said the following to attendees at a fundraising event: ‘Just to be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the “basket of deplorables”. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it.’ She went on to describe this group as ‘irredeemable’.

In case you’re wondering, Hillary’s basket is a pretty big one: according to current polling, that basket would contain about 44million Americans. In one sweeping statement, she managed to accuse millions of not just being wrong, but hateful. Clinton would later say she regretted citing as many as ‘half’, but otherwise defended her comments.

But what’s really striking is the reaction to Clinton’s remarks, especially from Democrats. When in 2012 Mitt Romney dismissed the ‘47 per cent’ who benefitted from government programmes, he was roundly denounced. Speaking to a private fundraising meeting, Romney was revealed as an out-of-touch millionaire who couldn’t care less about nearly half the population. Even his supporters cringed.

Fast-forward to today. Hillary’s supporters laughed at her line, and later wondered why it was newsworthy. The media declared it a minor faux pas at worst, certainly not as devastating to her campaign as Romney’s remarks were to his. Along came liberal pundits to declare that Hillary bravely defied ‘political correctness’ to speak the truth about Trump’s bigots. If anything, she didn’t go far enough. In the Washington Post, Stacey Patton wrote: ‘The only thing Clinton should have apologised for was her lowball estimate.’ Jamelle Bouie had a similar take: ‘We’re going to need a bigger basket.’ This reaction showed that Clinton’s comments were not just an individual politician’s one-off gaffe, but a strongly held view shared by many liberals.

Consider the optics of the event where Clinton made her remarks. It was an ‘LGBT for Hillary’ fundraiser, headlined by Barbra Streisand, with attendees paying up to $50,000 for the pleasure. Here is Clinton – a woman who left the White House in 2001 $500,000 in debt but has managed with her husband to amass a $200million fortune, without starting her own business or working in the private sector – addressing other wealthy types. If this doesn’t scream ‘elite’ – in both economic and cultural terms – nothing does.

These are insiders speaking to one another. The telling word in Hillary’s remarks is ‘Right?’. She is not seeking to convince her audience; she knows they all agree. They are patting themselves on the back for being ‘aware’ and supposedly tolerant. Rich and powerful people making it clear that they are not like the hicks out there in middle America. We’re better than them.

Hillary is also using an insider’s language: see her litany of ‘phobias’. These are terms she and her influential supporters wield all the time as weapons, words that enable them to occupy the moral high ground. From their dominant perch in the culture, they are the ones who get to accuse others of suffering from ‘phobias’. They also get to define what constitutes a ‘phobia’. Want tighter controls on immigration? You’re a xenophobe. Want to see greater security against terrorist attacks? Islamophobe. Disagree with Black Lives Matter? Racist.

What do you call sweeping generalisations about groups of people, and unfairly assigning malign, hateful motives to them, as Hillary does to Trump supporters? Well, you could say that is the definition of bigotry. Clinton and company believe that, as long as it is in the name of fighting racism, sexism, etc, then it is okay to denigrate huge swathes of people. Trashing the white trash is today’s socially acceptable form of elitist bigotry.

What does this mean for the election? For many Americans, this presidential election has become a referendum on the political establishment. In this race, Clinton is seen as the representative of this establishment, the defender of the status quo. She has to overcome not just her personal weaknesses as a candidate – which includes being viewed as untrustworthy by nearly two-thirds of the electorate, just as bad as Trump – but also her tag as the establishment leader. Her ‘deplorables’ comments only consolidate her in that role. And her comments also play right into Trump’s hands. Trump has sought to portray himself as the outsider versus the insider; as the representative of the masses versus the elite. Of course, Trump is neither truly an outsider nor a man of the people, but he is certainly having an easy time being able to position Clinton as elitist.

In dismissing so many as ‘deplorable’, in such an open way (she knew the remarks were being recorded), Hillary shows that the Democrats are willing to write off white working-class votes. Over decades, white workers have left the Democratic Party in droves, switching to the Republicans (or not voting). But in 2008 and 2012, Obama still sought to appeal to this group, even though his strategy was mainly predicated on big turnouts among African-Americans, Latinos and higher-income populations. Now Clinton is not even pretending to care; in her own words, they are ‘irredeemable’. As Bill Scher writes in Politico, Clinton is ‘making clear that… her path to victory doesn’t run through the white working-class vote’. In electoral terms, this is a risky strategy. ‘Clinton’s insult runs the risk of supercharging Trump’s base, paving the way for an upset’, says Scher.

When Clinton and others hurl words like ‘racist’ or ‘bigot’, it is an attempt to shame others into silence. Maybe they won’t change people’s minds – certainly throwing out these accusations is a form of denunciation, not an opening to debate – but they hope to drive opposing views out of the public realm, as people fear the consequences of publicly disagreeing. This seemed to be an effective strategy in the case of sex-same marriage, where opponents were effectively labelled as bigots.

When it comes to Trump, it appears that the Clinton approach is to hope to make people embarrassed to appear to side with him, to fear being branded ‘deplorable’. In that regard, it is interesting to see how many have proudly embraced the ‘deplorable’ label. Go online and you can buy a range of merchandise: ‘T-shirts, key chains, car decals, buttons, pendants, coffee mugs and even a deplorable pocket watch.’ Outside a Trump rally, a supporter holds up a sign saying ‘Deplorable Lives Matter’. This may not be an effective retort to Clinton, nor does it transcend the terms of the debate. But it is encouraging that people are not defensive and are responding in a feisty way.

To be fair to Clinton, she doesn’t consider every Trump supporter to be deplorable. She said the other half are ‘people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change’. They are not irredeemable, apparently: ‘Those are people we have to understand and empathise with as well.’ Yet, while sounding more sympathetic, this description is just as limiting as her ‘deplorables’ line – if not a basket of deplorables, then a sack of pitiful, desperate losers.

So, what are Trump’s supporters – deplorable or desperate? Maybe they are simply people who are fed up with Clinton, the Democratic Party and the American political establishment generally, who all, in their own way, treat them as inferiors.


Muslimas arrested on suspicion of planning ISIS terror attack in France

Every day across Europe and the US and the West — jihad war escalates.  “Two women detained on suspicion of planning terror attack in France,” Fox News, September 25, 2016:

Two young women suspected of planning an attack in France were detained by police in the southern French city of Nice, a person familiar with the investigation said Sunday, the latest sign that Islamic State is shifting its focus from the battlefield in Syria to orchestrating terror plots in Europe.

The two young women—17 and 19 years old—had been in contact with Rachid Kassim, a French recruiter for Islamic State, on the Telegram Messenger messaging app, the person said. Mr. Kassim, who is believed to be in Islamic State territory, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Mr. Kassim called on the women to attack specific sites in France to avenge the death of Abu Mohammed al Adnani, a founding member and chief spokesman for Islamic State, who was killed on a battlefield in northern Syria last month, the person added, without providing further details.

Even as Islamic State loses territory in Syria and Iraq, the mushrooming of small-scale terror attacks in Europe has allowed the militant group to keep people here on edge, without having to train and equip teams to pull off highly sophisticated operations.

Over the past year, a spate of terror attacks has left more than 200 people dead in France.



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

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

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


Monday, September 26, 2016

The Dalai gets it

Refugees fleeing brutal conflict in the Middle East should aspire to return home, the Dalai Lama has said.

In an interview with Piers Morgan, the Tibetan Buddhist leader, one of the world's highest-profile political exiles, said those who have left to escape fighting and disorder in countries like Syria and Libya should focus on bringing peace to their homelands.

The plight of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East and North Africa has become a major issue in Europe and the rest of the developed world over the past few years.

Piers ended the interview by asking the Dalai Lama for a selfie, pictured, who happily obliged and even tickled his chin

The 81-year-old religious leader has been forced to live outside his own homeland since fleeing in 1959, 10 years after it was occupied by China.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, he said: 'The main effort should go to help (their) own country bring peace, in Syria, Libya or even Afghanistan. Generally the people always feel, 'oh, one day we return'.'

Host Piers asked him whether all refugees should 'aspire to go back to their homeland', to which he replied: 'Yes. (They) should rebuild their own country.'

The Dalai Lama said that despite the current bloodshed the world is a 'better place' than in the past.

He also questioned the faith of Islamist terrorists, saying: 'Genuine Muslim practitioners will not create bloodshed.

'I think they (terrorists) have too much emotion, they should cool down.'

The spiritual leader also took time to discuss some lighter issues and even performed an impression of Donald Trump, making light-hearted fun of the US Predisential candidate for his hair and 'very small mouth'.

He added he was 'sad' that the actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were divorcing, saying separations often badly affected children

The Hollywood couple, known collectively as Brangelina, married in 2014 after 10 years together and have six children - Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, and twins Knox and Vivienne.

The Dalai Lama told GMB: 'Sometimes in divorce people ... the children they come closer to their father or mother. Sometimes it's difficult.'

Piers said he was 'fine' with the Dalai Lama having 12million Twitter followers compared to his five million, but asked the Buddhist how he felt about Kim Kardashian having four times as many with 48million followers.

But the Dalai Lama brushed it off and said he had 'no problem with it'.

He added: 'If she has more followers...good. I think that such famous people have no ability to compete with my wisdom.'

The pair ended the interview by taking a selfie together, with Piers quipping that the Dalai Lama 'could smile' for the camera.


Did the Famous Sailor Sexually Assault the Famous Nurse?

The most famous American photo of World War II is undoubtedly that of the four Marines planting the American flag on Iwo Jima. The second most famous is probably the legendary photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s picture of an American sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square in New York City, when people were celebrating Japan’s surrender.

The kiss was not, of course, merely a peck on the cheek. If it were, no photo would have been taken. And if one were, no one would have remembered it. The sailor clearly grabbed the nurse. She is leaning backward, bent at the waist; he is holding her up with both hands around her waist.

The photo has been back in the news because the woman, identified as Greta Zimmer Friedman, died on Sept. 8, at age 92. She was 21 when the picture was taken.

The sailor, later identified as George Mendonsa, mistook Friedman’s dental assistant uniform for that of a nurse. He later explained that he hugged and kissed her because of his overwhelming gratitude for the work nurses had performed while he was in combat in the Navy, because of his elation over the war ending and because he had had a few drinks. As he put it, when he and Friedman were reunited in 2012 at the spot of their kiss, it was “the excitement of the war bein' over, plus I had a few drinks, so when I saw the nurse I grabbed her, and I kissed her.”

Any American who looks at that photo today realizes just how different a time we live in.

If a man were to do that to a woman today, he would likely be charged with sexual assault, found guilty, be ordered to pay a serious sum of money to the woman, be sent to prison, be civilly sued and be labeled a sex offender — effectively ruining much of his life.

She, on the other hand, would be regarded as victim of sexual assault and labelled a survivor, and would seek psychological counseling.

Living in pre-feminist darkness, Friedman did not see it this way. As her son told the New York Daily News, “My mom always had an appreciation for a feminist viewpoint, and understood the premise that you don’t have a right to be intimate with a stranger on the street. …(But) she didn’t assign any bad motives to George in that circumstance, that situation, that time.”

One reason might be that she was a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Europe, and, unlike feminists in America, she knew real evil.

Given the context, the act was essentially innocent. Reinforcing its innocence are the facts that the kiss was very brief and Mendonsa’s wife can be seen smiling in the background.

But in the feminist age of enlightenment in which we live, when it comes to any act of physical intimacy by a man with a woman, there is no such thing as “context.” Unless there is a verbal “yes” accompanying every act by the man, the presumption is that the intimacy was a sexual assault, a form of rape.

Thus, in today’s America, George Mendonsa is deemed to have committed an act of sexual assault. Context has no say.

On the Sarasota, Florida, waterfront there is a 28-foot statue of Mendonsa kissing Friedman. It clearly offends at least one Sarasota Herald-Tribune columnist. A few days after Friedman’s death, Chris Anderson acknowledged that the statue “represents euphoria, innocence, romance, nostalgia and a level of unity and pride this country arguably has not seen since V-J Day.” But as a someone who surely attended college and probably graduate school, he sees the darker side, saying, “Is it possible that thousands upon thousands of people over the last seven years have come to the Sarasota waterfront to unwittingly pose in front of a giant depiction of a sexual assault?”

Likewise, the writer of the New York Times obituary of Friedman felt compelled to note that “In recent years, some have noted its darker undertones.” Among the examples cited was Time Magazine, which in 2014 had written, “many people view the photo as little more than the documentation of a very public sexual assault, and not something to be celebrated.”

There is no question that there needed to be greater sensitivity to men’s physical interactions with women, and that too many men did in fact get away with rape.

But America is not a better place — nor, for that matter, are American women happier — because we now consider George Mendonsa a sexual criminal and Greta Friedman a survivor of sexual assault.

For most Americans, America was — with all the flaws that did indeed have to be dealt with — a happier and more innocent place then. That’s why there is a statue of that kiss at the Sarasota waterfront. And that’s why “thousands upon thousands” of couples pose for pictures in front of it.

They are celebrating life, America, and men and women. At college, American kids are taught to fear all three.


Voters do NOT regret voting to quit the EU and their top priority is saving BILLIONS on membership fees after Brexit, top pollster finds

Britain does not regret voting for Brexit and voters have clear red lines in how the country should quit the EU, a top pollster has found.

Professor John Curtice, who works on major exit polls at general elections, said there was no 'buyer's remorse' among the public after the shock result in June.

The figures will come as a blow to Remain campaigners attempting to stir support for a second referendum on Britain's future in Europe months after Brexit was backed 52 per cent to 48 per cent on June 23.

More than twice as many people oppose a second poll than support another referendum.

At a briefing in Westminster today, Mr Curtice said: 'Very few minds have been changed - there are very few signs of regret.'

The top priority for voters - supported by 81 per cent of them - is ending Britain's financial contributions to the EU that every year run to billions of pounds.

A close second is ending free movement of people, backed by 79 per cent, which means ending Britain's membership of the single market as it leaves the wider EU.

The pollster told The Mirror: 'Most people do not feel European in this country. And so there is an argument about the legitimacy of this £350million that we don't 'control', that the EU decides how is spent.

'(People think) - ''Why does the EU have the right to spend 'our' money?''.'

Also at the event, Professor Matthew Goodwin added that the vote had also defined the core liberal v conservative battle – or 'identity politics' - currently dividing Britain and fomenting the rise of Ukip and other anti-establishment political groups.

Theresa May has repeatedly insisted 'Brexit means Brexit' since becoming Prime Minister 

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron used his party conference this week to launch a campaign for a second referendum on the Brexit deal.

He said Prime Minister Theresa May would be 'pragmatic' when it became apparent no deal would be popular, in the best interests of Britain and endorsed by hard-line Eurosceptics.

Labour leadership contender Owen Smith has also spent the summer campaign urging a second referendum to try and dilute the Brexit vote. 


The great Brexit hate crime myth: How claims of an epidemic of race crimes since the referendum are simply false

A fully-loaded gravy train clattered into the Grange City Hotel in central London on Thursday morning, when around 50 smartly dressed men and women shuffled across deep-pile carpets into its air-conditioned conference centre.

The group — or rather their employers — had each paid between £359 and £575 to attend the day-long event.

Some of these people were civil servants, others charity workers and academics. A handful worked in the private sector, though rather more appear to be employed by the taxpayer, via local councils, British police forces, and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The event bringing this eclectic and well bankrolled crowd together was the sixth annual Tackling Hate Crime Conference — an expensive and painstakingly organised shindig staged each autumn by the £6.5 billion FTSE 100 corporation Capita.

Its purpose, according to promotional literature, was to provide a forum to discuss how best to ‘respond to the surging growth of hate crime’ in the UK, which (the same literature breathlessly insisted) has ‘risen 57 per cent since the EU referendum vote’. With this in mind, speaker after speaker waxed lyrical about how violent and intolerant the nation has become in 2016, or called for Draconian measures to combat the ‘rising tide’ of bigotry on our streets.

Modern Britain, delegates were repeatedly told, is a country riven by homophobia and racism, where to be foreign, disabled or belong to a religious or sexual minority is to fall blamelessly into the firing line of virulent abuse.

‘There is more hate crime in London than in the whole of the United States,’ claimed a ‘keynote’ speaker called Mark Hamilton, who is Assistant Chief Constable of Northern Ireland.

Another speaker, from Southwark Council, talked vividly about the extraordinary bigotry she encounters on a daily basis, making the shocking claim that the ‘youngest perpetrator of hate crime’ she’d come across lately was ‘a four-year-old child who harassed a lesbian couple’.

All very sobering. Or so you might think. But behind the lurid rhetoric, not everything was quite as it seems. Take, for example, the conference organiser’s headline claim: that hate crime has ‘risen 57 per cent since the EU referendum vote’.

This eye-catching figure has certainly done the rounds in recent months, regularly bandied about by liberal commentators, the BBC and Left-wing newspapers.

Yet dig into its provenance and things soon start to smell distinctly whiffy. For the ‘57 per cent’ number was actually plucked from a single press release issued by the National Police Chief’s Council on June 27, four days after the EU ballot took place.

The document in question specifically stated that police forces had recorded ‘no major spikes in tensions’ since Britain went to the polls.

However, its footnote added that 85 people had logged hate crime ‘incidents’ on True Vision, a website that records unverified allegations of such behaviour, during the four days in question, up from 54 during the corresponding period a month earlier.

What exactly did this mean? The police press release made things clear. ‘This should not be read as a national increase in hate crime of 57 per cent but an increase in reporting through one mechanism’ over a single 96-hour period.

Fast forward three months, however, and the number was being used very differently.

As we have seen above, organisers of the Tackling Hate Crime Conference were using it to allege that hate crime had risen by 57 per cent across Britain during the entire period since the Brexit vote.

This is demonstrably untrue. Or, to put things another way, Capita was shamelessly promoting its £600-a-head event by falsely representing unverified raw data that had been collected over the internet during a single four-day period in June.

When the Mail put this to Capita, the firm instantly deleted the 57 per cent claim from its promotional literature, describing its inclusion as ‘an inadvertent error’.

All of which may sound a bit rum. Yet spend an extended period of time exploring ‘hate crime’ and the growing and lucrative industry that increasingly surrounds it, and you’ll find such cavalier behaviour par for the course.

For the more you investigate, the more it turns out to be a deeply cynical industry where dishonesty and hysteria reign, truth has been replaced with Left-wing dogma, and verifiable facts no longer count for very much at all.

On paper, Britain is a remarkably tolerant country. London has just elected a Muslim mayor by a whacking majority. Gay marriage is not just legal but supported by a comfortable majority of adults. Children from ethnic minorities consistently outperform white working-class counterparts at school and in university.

Surveys by the respected and politically neutral think-tank Pew Research, along with the prestigious British Social Attitudes Survey, show racial prejudice in long-term and perhaps terminal decline.

Yet despite such trends, we are routinely described as being in the grip of a hate crime ‘epidemic’ where a few high-profile incidents — such as the appalling recent murder of a Polish immigrant on the streets of Harlow (which may or may not eventually prove to be race-related) — are said to represent the tip of a sinister iceberg, and where the number of hate offences seems to grow year by year.

So how can we explain the disconnect? Let’s start with another pressing fact: that hate crime also happens to be one of the great political buzz-phrases of the moment. To this end, virtually the first thing new Home Secretary Amber Rudd did after taking office was to launch a ‘hate crime action plan’.

The Home Affairs Select Committee is holding an inquiry into ‘hate crime and its violent consequences’.

Next month, the Government will promote ‘hate crime awareness week’. It’s spending £2.4 million on a fund for churches and mosques to protect themselves against hate crimes, while the Met is creating a £1.7 million ‘crime hub’ to target online ‘trolls’.

Elsewhere, universities such as Leicester and Sussex employ academics in ‘centres’ for ‘hate crime studies’. The taxpayer hands over six-figure grants to charities which seek to ‘combat’ or ‘monitor’ hate crime.

Police forces employ staff to log it. Councils such as Kensington and Chelsea now have a ‘community support officer for hate crime’.

The Crown Prosecution Service has a ‘hate crime co-ordinator’ in all 13 regions, plus ‘area-based Equality, Diversity and Community Engagement Managers’ who ‘contribute to the delivery of the Hate Crime Assurance Scheme’.

These people, whose leading lights spent Thursday at Capita’s conference, often owe their jobs, status and mortgages to the fashionable perception that hate crime is somehow spiralling out of control.

That, in turn, has led to two distinct trends. The first is a relentless pressure to widen the number of people able to describe themselves as ‘victims’ of such crimes.

When Tony Blair first introduced hate laws, in 1998, they applied only to incidents of racial intolerance. However in 2003, the net was widened to include religious discrimination. Over subsequent years, first homophobic and then ‘transphobic’ abuse was added to the list, along with disability hate crime and, more recently ‘crimes against older people’.

All current categories (with the exception of elder abuse) can result in ‘sentence uplift’ — in other words, a likely increase in jail time — if a case goes to court and results in a conviction. Some 15,442 such prosecutions took place last year with 12,845 convictions, of which around a third saw a ‘sentence uplift’.

Last week, a new category of potential victim emerged: it was reported that several police forces may soon treat ‘misogyny’ as a hate crime, following the alleged success of a pilot scheme in Nottingham where it was decided that wolf-whistling could in certain circumstances constitute ‘threatening behaviour’.

Women may not be the only new demographic singled out for protection, either. Consider, if you will, the annual report of Stop Hate UK, an influential charity which gets around £240,000 a year from grants, largely from the public sector.

It suggests that ‘goths’ or people who choose to wear black clothes, are potential hate crime victims. To this end, it contains a ‘case study’ of abuse supposedly suffered by a ‘goth woman [who] has five facial piercings’.

In such a febrile environment, where almost anyone seems to be a potential victim, should we really be surprised if reported ‘hate’ incidents are on the rise?

Of course it should be stressed that genuine hate crime is not to be tolerated. In Friday’s Mail, for example, the Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth described being sent 25,000 abusive messages by members of her party’s Corbyn-supporting far Left, one of which referred to her as a ‘yid c***’.

The problem, however, comes when the definition of what constitutes a hate crime becomes risibly vague. After all, the subjective way in which the police (who increasingly resemble glorified social workers) now categorise such offences is hardly forensic.

Under their official guidance, hate crime is now deemed to be ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice.’

Proof of such intent is not necessarily required, the guidance adds: ‘Evidence of … hostility is not required … [The] perception of the victim, or any other person, is the defining factor.’

In essence, this means that anyone, anywhere, can force officers to treat something as a hate crime. All it takes is a vague ‘perception’. Such rules are perverse and open to abuse. They mean that, in theory, a straight white male punched in a pub fight can falsely claim his assailant thought he was gay, and therefore motivated by homophobia.

Such an incident will duly be investigated as a hate crime, with the police and CPS under pressure to prosecute.

If they fail, the ‘victim’ can potentially claim to have suffered so-called ‘secondary victimisation’ in which the ‘hate’ he or she experienced is compounded by the police’s lack of sensitivity.

Such factors may very well have motivated the ludicrous recent prosecution of Kevin O’Sullivan, a TV journalist who was involved in an altercation on a train back from a funeral a couple of years ago.

Around 24 hours after the event, the other party — a straight white man who’d initially declined to press charges — informed the police that he now wanted them to prosecute O’Sullivan for a homophobic hate crime.

The man claimed that during their argument he tried to make a telephone call, only to be interrupted by O’Sullivan shouting ‘Are you phoning your gay lover?’

CCTV of the entire incident told a very different story, however. It showed that the man did not make, or attempt to make, a single phone call during the confrontation. Unsurprisingly, when the case came to trial, O’Sullivan was acquitted.

Though awarded costs, he expects them to cover only a fraction of his £15,000 legal bill. Recounting the episode in a recent edition of the Spectator, he said the affair gave him ‘a ringside seat at the edge of insanity’.

The second great modern trend has been for the police, assorted quangocrats and other publicly funded organisations to go to extreme lengths to ensure the number of reported hate crimes is as high as possible.

Consider, in this context, the aforementioned police website True Vision. It allows anyone, anywhere in Britain, to report an incident, even if they were not the victim, have no idea of the victim’s identity, can provide no supporting evidence, and would prefer to remain anonymous.

Their claims then get logged as official statistics and, as we have seen above, used by ‘experts’ to draw sweeping conclusions (invariably negative) about the state of the nation.

Seldom has such a system been more open to abuse than in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, when Left-wing media outlets predicted a ‘surge of xenophobia’ and disheartened Remain voters attempted to prove them right. On Twitter, the hashtag #postbrexit racism went viral.

On Facebook, a forum called ‘worrying signs’ was established for ‘anyone dealing with post-Brexit fallout’ to post reports of hate crime. From here, users were directed to True Vision.

Unsurprisingly, many allegedly racist incidents they carried turned out to be anything but. On the Monday after the referendum, a mobile phone snap of a smashed window at Donde Tapas, a Spanish restaurant in South London, was posted on Facebook. Its caption read ‘Spanish and Turkish restaurants in Lewisham had their windows smashed over the weekend. Very widespread reports coming in now.’

The post soon received 1,833 shares. One commenter noted: ‘The ghost of Sir Oswald Mosley now stalks the streets of England.’

The same picture and caption soon appeared on Twitter, where Dawn Butler, a Labour MP, dubbed it ‘awful,’ and another online commenter called it ‘Kristallnacht all over again.’

The Institute Of Race Relations subsequently asked the poster: ‘Is there any chance we could use your pic for a round-up of post-Brexit racial violence?’

But soon: a reality check. On a South London internet forum where the picture was also posted, one contributor pointed out: ‘I’m no expert, but that looks like a robbery attempt.’

The Met soon admitted it was almost certainly just that, and was ‘not considered to have a hate-crime motivation’.

A second widely reported hate incident that started life on Facebook around the same time proved similarly flaky.

It began with a post on a Remain-supporting forum reading: ‘My friend works at a well-known restaurant in Mayfair, 15 people just came in to celebrate the Leave vote. The customers dismissed him and asked for a English waiter, because he was Italian!!!’

This anecdote was promptly included as case-study in an official study of post-Brexit violence by the Institute of Race Relations, before being widely cited in the Left-wing Press. Yet neither the restaurant, the supposed victim, nor any fragments of proper evidence have ever been identified.

The fact is that we may never know. Yet if the state-sponsored and increasingly powerful hate crime industry gets its way, we could all be potential suspects.

For, to quote the old saying, the Left has a supply-and-demand problem with bigotry: there isn’t enough to go around to support the apocalyptic world view they hold so dear.



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

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

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


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Why we should lock more people up, and it’s not what you think

The Australian writer below says "We put people in the clink more and more" and "crime is falling".  He attempts no inferences from that.  Could one be the the consequence of the other?  He is similarly insouciant in attributing the good results in Norway  to Norwegian lenience.  That there might be even better results from a less lenient system seems not to have occurred to him.  He can't get beyond his Leftist assumptions

I’VE always thought jail is mostly a bad idea: It takes young people and puts them in constant contact with society’s very worst. They eventually emerge with no skills but a tight-knit network of former criminals.

Under my theory, jail is mostly unhelpful for the people that are in there — we only send people to jail because it is hopefully scary enough to deter people from committing crime.

Australia has a jail addiction though. We put people in the clink more and more.

There are lots of explanations why this might be, including the fact we use private prisons even more than America. (And America is reconsidering whether private prisons are a good idea.)

In 2014, The Catholic Prison Ministry said: “Handing the administration of punishment over to corporations will lead to conflict between the social interests of citizens as stakeholders and financial interests of corporations to maximise profits for shareholders.”

And I thought they were probably right, because crime is falling:

It’s not just murders. Break-ins, robbery and motor vehicle theft all went down in the last five years. Sexual assault and theft rose.

(Taking the really long view, violent crime is at record lows: “Violent deaths of all kinds have declined, from around 500 per 100,000 people per year in pre-state societies to around 50 in the Middle Ages, to around six to eight today worldwide, and fewer than one in most of Europe.” Steven Pinker told the Scientific American in 2011.)

You can see why I was cold on prison. And experts agreed. “Putting more people in prison diverts resources from vital social infrastructure and cost effective initiatives which have been shown to successfully address the underlying causes of crime,” these experts said.

But some new research from Norway is making me weigh up my view. It finds prison is good, and it does so in a very clever way.

There is an obvious problem researching whether prison works. Ex-prisoners tend to commit a lot of crime. Did prison made them like that? Or were they always like that?

The clever thing this research does is comparing groups of prisoners who are otherwise the same, except for the judge they get. Some got a judge who puts away prisoners more than half the time, some got a judge that gives two out of three offenders community service or similar.

This means we can look at how much crime the two groups commit later, and the only likely difference between them is the influence of a prison environment.

This research finds jail is great. The prisoners who go to jail end up getting 10 fewer criminal charges. (The result is not due to simply being unable to commit crime in jail — the reduction starts from when the person is released, over an equivalent period of time.)

The ones that went to jail also have much better employment outcomes — they are more likely to find work.

There is an important point to make. Jail seems to really work for some kinds of people. It strongly improves the chances for people who were not employed. Jail didn’t prove to be either positive or negative for people who previously had jobs. The reason is probably that jail adds a lot of structure and training to their lives.

“Imprisonment causes a 34 percentage point increase in participation in job training programs for the previously non-employed, and within five years, their employment rate increases by 40 percentage points,” according to academics Manudeep Bhuller, Gordon B. Dahl, Katrine V. Loken and Magne Mogstad in their paper,Incarceration, Recidivism and Employment.

It’s worth pointing out this research happened in Norway, where jail can be pretty different (even “luxurious,”) and most prison sentences are under a year.

“In Scandinavian countries like Norway, the prison system focuses on rehabilitation, preparing inmates for life on the outside. This is done in part by investing in education and training programs, but also through extensive use of “open prisons” in which prisoners are housed in low-security surroundings and allowed frequent visits to families while electronically monitored. In comparison, in many other countries, rehabilitation has taken a back seat in favour of prison policies emphasising punishment and incapacitation.”

It seems like jail can be pretty useful for some people — so long as you design it to be useful. Unfortunately, Australia’s prisons are more like America’s than Norway’s.

We could make our prisons like Norway’s. But first we need to decide if we can stomach being “nice” to prisoners in order to actually stop them from committing more crime later. I’d support that. But I suspect for a lot of people, that’s not going to be acceptable — for them, punishment is what matters most.


Boy, four, is snatched off the streets by a multiculturalist as he walked home from school

Police described the suspect as a black man, who was wearing a black baseball cap with blue writing on the side. He was also wearing a long thick gold chain and a blue t-shirt

Police have launched a manhunt after a four-year-old boy was the victim of an attempted kidnapping as he made his way home from school with his mother.

The boy was snatched by a stranger near St Agnes Catholic Primary School in Bow, east London at 3.10pm on Monday.

According to social media reports he was saved by his older brother, who chased the man. 

The suspect dropped the boy and fled after bring confronted on Monday afternoon.

The suspect and the boy are not thought to be known to one other.

Police described the suspect as a black man who was wearing a black baseball cap with blue writing on the side. He was also wearing a long thick gold chain and a blue t-shirt.

Extra police patrols have now been deployed around the area and parents are being warned to be vigilant. 

Letters sent to parents and later shared across social media claimed the child's older brother chased the man and rescued the child.

Officers have now confirmed they are hunting the kidnapper and are warning parents to be vigilant.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'Police are investigating a report that a four-year-old boy in school uniform was the victim of an attempted kidnap near to St Agnes Primary School at 3.10pm on Monday.

'The boy was allegedly picked up by the suspect at the end of a school day. The suspect tried to make off with the boy before being confronted, dropping the child and leaving the scene.

'Safer neighbourhood officers have increased patrols in the area. There was an alleged attempted abduction of a child outside St Agnes Primary School on Monday.

'Police are investigating the incident. Neighbourhood police will now be present outside the school at the beginning and end of the school day.

'Tower Hamlets Council and Police are reminding parents, staff and children to remain vigilant and to report anything they believe to be suspicious to the police by calling 101.'


British anti-terror police cut back on stopping and searching passengers at airports and ports amid fears of racial profiling - despite severe terror threat

The number of passengers being stopped and searched at UK ports and airports has fallen despite heightened fears over terror attacks.

Just over 23,000 people were stopped by counter-terrorism officers while leaving or entering the country in the 12 months until June this year.

That is 23 per cent down on the previous year, despite the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe warning it is now a matter of 'when, not if' an attack takes place in the UK.

It comes after a row over stop and search powers at airports, in which critics claimed 'racial profiling' was being used to discriminate against ethnic minorities.

British officials are not allowed to racially profile passengers, although some, including human rights group Liberty have claimed authorities are stopping people 'based on stereotype rather than genuine suspicion'.

The Home Office has insisted the reduced number of people stopped is not due to racial profiling or fears among anti-terror police of being accused of racism.

They say the drop in numbers is due to other techniques being used rather than randomly stopping passengers, The Times reported this morning.

Earlier this year, security expert Philip Baum praised Israel's El Al airline, which trains its workers in psychological observations techniques, which are then used as part of the security process.

Mr Baum said: 'All the money is being thrown at the screening and check process, but I believe it's vital we implement proper profiling and use behavioural analysis for security.'

He added: 'For me profiling is not about racial profiling, and should not be seen as politically incorrect.'

Terrorists set off bombs in Istanbul Airport earlier this summer, leaving 45 people dead, including 19 foreigners.


I won't let Labour's racist bullies defeat me: Jewish MP reveals the terrifying anti-Semitism that's now the norm in her Party's hard left

'One of the things that makes me most angry about this whole thing is that I've ended up as 'the Jewish MP'. And worse, a victim and a target. I should be the MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, a hard-working, lifelong member of the Labour Party.'

She describes herself as 'a Labour, socialist, Jewish, woman' in that order.

'Actually, British first: British, Labour, socialist, Jewish, woman.'

Smeeth, 37, is the MP who walked out of the launch of the Chakrabarti report, an inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, after being harassed by a member of Momentum, the activist group behind Jeremy Corbyn.

Since then she has been called a 'yid c***' (among other racial slurs), a 'CIA/ MI5/Mossad informant', a 'dyke', and a 'f***ing traitor'. In all, she's experienced more than 25,000 incidents of abuse, much of it racial.

As a result, two people are being investigated by counter-terrorism police — one of whom penned a 1,000-word essay on how he would kill her.

'I initially assumed [the author] was from the Far Right,' she says. 'And then someone rang to inform me it was a Corbynista.'

Chakrabarti's report (and the subsequent abuse it generated) is to be debated by Labour's National Executive Committee. It states: 'A political home, like a domestic one, should be a place where you feel comfortable and safe, even and especially when things are more difficult on the outside.'

And yet because of threats from her own party, Smeeth now has 'security' organised by the parliamentary authority and police. She can't give details but says she won't be going to Labour Conference alone on Sunday.

'I am still going — I can't let the intimidators win. Do I think it will be pleasant? No. Do I think there will be a lot of anger? Probably. But I'm sensible about what I'm doing, how I'll be and what I'll do, and I won't be by myself.'

We meet at her office in Stoke-on-Trent, decorated with photographs of former Labour prime ministers and campaign posters.

Smeeth is tall with a big laugh. She might wear a gold Star of David under the neckline of her dress, 'but I don't talk about Israel or Palestine. This [abuse] is not about anything I've said on Middle East politics. I don't participate.'

She describes herself as 'culturally Jewish' . Her husband is Irish Catholic.Her political concerns reflect her immediate constituency, one of the poorest in the country. If anything, the furore over her religion distracts from more pressing issues.

There were rare flashes of anti-Semitism under Ed Miliband, who is Jewish, 'but not like this. I've never seen anti-Semitism in Labour on this scale. There were one or two incidents before, and the reason why they were so shocking is that there were only one or two. Now the sheer volume has made it normal.'

She lists MPs — not necessarily Jewish — who have received abuse generally, from Angela Eagle to Mary Creagh, who had a brick thrown through her Wakefield constituency office last week.

'Neil Coyle had death threats when his wife was eight months pregnant. Ian Murray had threats shouted outside his office when he was in Parliament but his staff were there. Stella Creasy has had tons, as has Jess Phillips.

'There are so many it's becoming normal. And that's difficult. I've just named half a dozen MPs without trying. It's the opposite of what we promised after Jo Cox was murdered.'

Could she imagine this happening to Conservatives?

'The Tories care more about power than ideology,' she says, 'so they would squish it really quickly. They wouldn't let it get in the way of them running the country.'

Smeeth has raised the issue of racism with Jeremy Corbyn 'privately' on 'numerous occasions' from December 2015. 'Each time the same answer: 'I am anti racist, therefore it's not a problem.'

She rolls her eyes. 'It wasn't even acknowledged. Until it was a rolling news story after Ken [Livingstone made comments about Hitler supporting Zionism], he ignored it.'

Her verbal evidence was taken by Chakrabarti 'and I am cited in the report. Not by name, but there are very few female Jewish MPs: Louise Ellman, Luciana Berger and me.' And because of this, she was invited to the inquiry launch.

It took place on June 30, a fortnight after Jo Cox's murder, a week after Brexit and 'the same week we had passed a vote of no confidence in Jeremy and I had resigned'.

'The atmosphere was strange. At least half the room didn't know why they were there, just that it was 'a Jeremy event'.

'Leaflets were distributed attacking the report as 'unfounded' and 'unnecessary'. 'I said to a friend: 'This feels horrible.' It was moody. It shouldn't have been.'

Mark Wadsworth, a Momentum activist, began handing out 'press releases' calling for de-selection of certain MPs (including Smeeth). 'I asked for one. He refused. Someone said: 'It's a Jewish event, she's a Jewish MP, give her a copy.'

'He went: 'What's her name?' I said: 'Darlin', my name's Ruth Smeeth.' ' He wrote it down.

Three journalists offered her their copies, and she took the closest, from Kate McCann of the Daily Telegraph. McCann then tweeted that Labour MPs at a Labour event were getting abuse from Momentum.

'In the Q&A, Jeremy said again that he didn't believe in abuse of any form. And then Shami allowed Wadsworth to speak.

'He said: 'Ruth Smeeth is working hand-in-hand with the Right-wing media to attack Jeremy.'

'So I shouted: 'How dare you?' The audience started shouting at me — at the launch of an inquiry into how we treat Jews in the Labour Party! Jeremy said nothing. So I walked out.

'If one of my councillors was being shouted at I would have stopped it. You get involved, especially if, like Jeremy, you are standing next to a sign which says 'Standing up and not standing by' at an anti-Semitism event.'

While the incident looped on the news, Smeeth waited for a call —'from Corbyn, from his office, from the front bench, from someone, anyone.' There was silence.

So she issued a statement saying Labour was no longer 'a safe space for British Jews'.

Corbyn's office manager called and said Jeremy would be in touch that evening. 'But it never came.'

In fact he wasn't in touch for ten days, and only called 45 minutes before giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee.

When his office did finally arrange a meeting, at 9am one Wednesday in London, Ruth says: 'I was there. Jeremy wasn't.

'His team said: 'Jeremy understood that the meeting hadn't been confirmed', so he didn't turn up.'

Mostly she puts Corbyn's behaviour down to shambolic lack of organisation rather than anything sinister. 'I've spent a lot of time with Jeremy,' she says. 'The disconnect between the Jeremy I know and the Jeremy who his supporters think he is — and what they are prepared to do in his name or for him because they think that is what he wants — is huge.

'My biggest issue is that Jeremy knows it's happening and that it's still happening. His words about unity are fine until his surrogates go out and say things like 'People will get what's coming to them', or 'De-selections are acceptable'.

'If he has surrogates attacking parts of Labour that have supported the party for decades and decades, then he's got a problem and we've all got a problem.'

She says many of the surrogates are 'clear and upfront' about who they are. Others stay anonymous.

'It's rarely your own constituents — they are disgusted and appalled by such behaviour' — she's been sent flowers, pottery and letters of support. 'They are also getting fed up with me being called the Jewish MP.'

What should Corbyn do?

'If Jeremy highlighted three or four really offensive comments done in his name and said: 'This is the sort of thing I believe is beyond the pale', that would be good. Name and shame. Make it clear they don't speak for him.'

Many have concerns about the virulent militancy within Momentum, set up following Corbyn's election as leader to harness the enthusiasm of his grassroots supporters.

Smeeth says there are some 'good people' but that she's 'wary of the long-term aspirations of some of their leadership', including those 'who have yet to vote Labour in a general election'.

The problem is that 'they've been abysmal about racism. And this talk of de-selection is attacking colleagues instead of Tories. I'd like an alternative government. Momentum is a hindrance to that. It's disgraceful.'

Are they a cult around Corbyn?

'It's something weird. There was a 'Jeremy for leader' phone bank here on the same day as a local by-election. They were calling Labour members rather than helping get the vote out. Their priority is not the Labour Party. It's not fighting the Tories. Their priorities are skewed.'

Smeeth was born in Edinburgh, the daughter of an East London Jewish girl and a rugged Scottish trade unionist. An only child, her father left when she was three. 'And when he left, he left. But my mum is my heroine.'

Her maternal family arrived in London having escaped Tsarist pogroms in the 1890s. One of her grandfathers set up a Jewish trade union branch for carpentry.

'My grandmother was literate and wrote complaint letters for all the old dears on the council estate. It was a version of councillor surgeries.

'My favourite story was when Sainsbury's changed the cap colour of semi-skimmed milk and all the old dears were very angry. My grandmother coordinated a joint letter to say 'they've all bought the wrong milk and it's cost them a fortune'.'

They moved to Bristol, where her mother worked as deputy general secretary of the union Amicus. 'I used to earn my pocket money delivering leaflets for Labour. I door-knocked for the first time in the 1992 election. I'd have been 12.'

Today, many of her constituents are not Corbyn fans. 'They don't think he can represent the country. They don't like his past relationship with the IRA.'

She says they find it 'offensive' when Jeremy — with his middle-class upbringing — says he doesn't consider himself wealthy.

'He earns £130,000 a year. My constituents are doing well if they earn 10 per cent of that,' she says. 'Perhaps it's easy to be an ideological purist if you can afford to live under the Tories. My constituents can't.'



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

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

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


Friday, September 23, 2016

Black on black shooting causes a riot for once

Because the shooter was a cop doing his job.  Note that there usually is testimony from black bystanders denying that the deceased was behaving offensively.  Such testimony has often been shown to be false

Police have insisted the man who was shot dead by a Charlotte cop was carrying a gun and refused repeated orders to drop it.

Father-of-seven Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was gunned down by Officer Brentley Vinson while standing next to his car in the North Carolina city on Tuesday night, prompting violent protests that left 16 officers injured.

His family have insisted he was disabled and was only reading a book when he was killed, but Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney says officers found a weapon in his vehicle.

Hours after the shooting, demonstrators arrived at the scene and began destroying marked police vehicles, setting trucks alight and throwing rocks at officers.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Putney said one person had been arrested and slammed the 'agitators' for turning a peaceful demonstration violent. 

He added that the story of Scott's shooting is 'very different' to how it has been portrayed in social media, and made it clear that they did not find a book at the scene.

Charlotte's Mayor Jennifer Roberts has called for 'peace, calm and dialogue' as the city braced for further protests planned for Wednesday evening.

Students started the second round of demonstrations by staging a lie-in at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. 

Video shows one protester jumping on top of a police car and officers firing tear gas to break up the crowd. Several hundred people gathered with some setting fires to block a major road, while others set trucks ablaze.

Some stole boxes from trucks before police used flash grenades in an attempt to disperse the angry crowd, an ABC affiliate in Charlotte reported.

A group of protesters then tried to break into a Walmart store before police arrived and began guarding its front entryway.

Some protesters were heard yelling 'Black Lives Matter,' and 'Hands up, don't shoot!' . They held up a sign saying 'Stop Killing Us' and 'it was a book', making reference to the object Scott was reportedly holding when he was shot dead.

Charlotte police went to the complex around 4pm looking for a suspect with an outstanding warrant when they saw Scott - not the suspect they were looking for - inside a car, department spokesman Keith Trietley said in a statement.

Officers saw Scott get out of the car with a gun and then get back in, Trietley said. When officers approached, Scott exited the car with the gun again. At that point, officers deemed the man a threat and at least one fired a weapon, he said.

However, Scott's brother told reporters: 'He was waiting in the car for his son to get from school.

Detectives recovered a firearm at the scene and were interviewing witnesses, Trietley said.

Officer Brentley Vinson - a former college football player - was identified as the officer who shot Scott, WCCB reports. Officer Vinson, who has worked at the department since July 2014 and is also black, has been placed on paid on administrative leave, as is standard procedure in such cases.

Meanwhile, Scott's daughter Lyric Scott live streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.

In the video, she says that her father was parked and reading a book in his car while waiting for a school bus to drop off his son.

'My daddy didn't do nothing,' she is heard saying in the video. 'They just pulled up undercover.' She added that Scott was disabled and claimed that officers had Tasered him and then shot him four times. 

Adam Rhew said that the crowd began to disperse after police deployed tear gas. He said on Twitter that he estimates the CMPD used six to eight cans of tear gas.


Free speech destructive to Left’s stifling orthodoxies

Comment from Australia

Perhaps it was the delirium of pneumonia that allowed Hillary Clinton to speak so freely, putting half of Donald Trump’s supporters in what she called the “basket of deplorables”. Like the in vino veritas that sets in after a few drinks, Clinton’s honesty was refreshing.

They are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it”, said Clinton of the Deplorables. In one fell swoop the unplugged Democratic presidential candidate lifted the lid on the neo-fascist Left.

Clinton’s moment of ill-discipline reduced the fraud of so-called progressive politics to a simple illiberal equation: if you disagree with me on race matters, you are a racist. If you disagree with me over lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex politics, you are a homophobe. Disagree with my position on Islam, you are an ­Islamophobe. If you disagree with me on immigration, you are a xenophobe. Rather than engaging in debate, too many on the Left would rather portray disagreement on totemic issues as grounds for a mental disorder with the sole aim of shutting down any challenge to leftist orthodoxy.

The same politics of deriding deplorables is endemic in Australia, especially in the same-sex marriage debate. The Greens and LGBTI activists claim that allowing Australians to decide whether marriage should be redefined would fuel harmful hate speech from same-sex marriage opponents. Worse, the leaders of Australia’s alternative government succumbed to the lowest of low-rent politics. A plebiscite would lead to suicides, Bill Shorten said. Deputy leader Tanya Plibersek used a young boy named Eddie, the son of a same-sex couple, for political purposes. The aim is clear: shut down debate about same-sex marriage. Agree or shut up is the staple of neo-fascists. Never mind that we are debating an institution, not the sexuality of individuals.

Malcolm Turnbull exposed Labor’s thought police during question time last Wednesday. “Was Julia Gillard a homophobe when she opposed same-sex marriage? Was Penny Wong a homophobe when she opposed same-sex marriage? Of course not. The reality is, if people who opposed same-sex marriage then are not homophobes, then they are not homophobes now. The Labor Party has to stop preaching this hatred,” the Prime Minister said.

Alas, same-sex marriage activists chose hatred last Friday when they learnt that Christian groups planned to meet at the Mercure Sydney Airport hotel to prepare for the no campaign. The threats of violence, feral social media posts, including “are your children safe at Mercure” and nasty phone calls to staff showed the disdain for debate among same-sex marriage activists. Hotel management cancelled the event to protect staff. Did left-wingers in favour of same-sex marriage condemn the hate-filled campaign from their own side? No.

Whatever you may say about rigid Christian doctrinal teaching, the churches understand they operate in a liberal democracy where the marketplace of ideas will necessarily challenge their beliefs. Not so the gay-marriage zealots whose fanaticism seeks to suppress open debate and reason.

The critical question is why have so many on the Left taken this illiberal path? Whereas radical leftists in the 1960s were at the vanguard of libertarianism, challenging oppressive customs and canons, too many are now enforcers of their own stifling orthodoxies. The end of liberalism for many on the Left started more than 40 years ago when, by embracing identity politics, they untethered human rights from classical notions of freedom. Sex, sexuality, race and other forms of personal identification trumped Enlightenment freedoms and the very notion of universal, libertarian rights.

Soon enough, identity politics fuelled victimhood claims in a confected marketplace of outrage with feelings now the measurement of human rights. The right not to be offended, not to have one’s feelings hurt, marked the downward spiral of the liberal Left. Instead, a paternalistic Left set ­itself up as the arbiter of rights and freedoms based on repressive ­adherence to its feelings-based moral code rather than the universal rights of mankind.

There are few more defining moments in the Left’s long, illiberal demise than its response when Muslim fundamentalists slapped a fatwa on Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses, demanding his death, burning his novel and marching in London to suppress words.

By choosing silence at this pivotal moment, left-wing elites sided with Muslim fundamentalists who understood that free speech threatened their grip on power.

Now it’s the same with the Western Left. They understand that free speech is the enemy of their illiberal, stifling orthodoxies. It explains why so many on the Left refuse to countenance any change to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, even while three students from the Queensland University of Technology are dragged through a three-year legal rigmarole of racial discrimination claims for posting innocuous comments on Facebook. The silence from most on the Left attests to the neo-fascist transformation of their politics. To speak up would expose the illiberal project that the Left has undertaken for four decades.

Those who call out the Left’s dangerous regression deserve kudos. British writer Nick Cohen marched against Margaret Thatcher and denounced New Labour’s embrace of corporate capitalism. Cohen tendered his resignation from the Left a year ago: “Slowly, too slowly, I am ashamed to say, I began to notice that left-wing politics had turned rancid.”

In Australia, Guy Rundle recently lamented the Left’s enthusiasm for the ever-encroaching state and how the aim of anti-discrimination laws “is to make the censor ‘go inside’, so that you ultimately second-guess your own impulse to challenge, to express, to be outrageous or genuinely on the edge”.

At the weekend, former minister in the Hawke and Keating governments Peter Baldwin traced the sad demise of the Left from a rational movement committed to equality of people, regardless of race, gender and class, to one of moral depravity where so-called progressive intellectuals denounce Ayaan Hirsi Ali as an “Enlightenment fundamentalist”. Hirsi Ali was born a Muslim, was subjected to female genital mutilation and escaped an arranged marriage. Shouldn’t we pay tribute to a woman who choses Western freedoms over Islamic restraints?

We need more people like Baldwin who are honest about the Left’s conversion into loathers of freedom. Half-hearted analyses don’t cut it. When former NSW Labor premier Bob Carr scolded members of the Left for intolerance in the free speech debate, he refused to acknowledge that section 18C cements intolerance in our polity. It’s like saying you support democratic nations but not the sole beacon of democracy in the Middle East, Israel. It makes no sense.

Equally absurd, the Greens can walk out on Pauline Hanson but to denounce a duly elected senator as having no place in a democracy is more offensive than anything Hanson says. It is the antithesis of democracy. We’ve tiptoed around calling out the neo-fascist mindset of many on the Left for too long. What is more deplorably neo-fascist: the clumsy words of the often ill-informed Hanson who believes in free speech or the slippery sorts on the illiberal Left who cannot stomach open debate?


Saudi Arabia condemned?

Saudi Arabia won't take ANY refugees, even though they could easily afford it, so I suppose U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (below) was condemning them.  If not, why not?  And if the Saudis won't take in their fellow religionists, why should anybody else?

The United Nations' human rights chief on Monday doubled down on his criticism of political leaders who are leery of admitting refugees due to security concerns, labeling them “racists and xenophobes” and saying they would face the judgment of humanity.

Addressing a U.N. summit on refugees and migrants in New York – one day before President Obama hosts another one – U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein took direct aim at what have become regular targets of his over recent months.

“The bigots and deceivers, in opposing greater responsibility-sharing [relating to admitting refugees from conflicts like the one in Syria], promote rupture,” Zeid said.

“Some of them may well be in this hall this morning. If you are here, we say to you: We will continue to name you publicly. You may soon walk away from this hall. But not from the broader judgement of ‘we the people’ – all the world's people. Not from us.”

Zeid did not name those he was referring to, but has done so in previous speeches. They include Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and a handful of right-wing European politicians – including some in power, such as the president of the Czech Republic and the prime ministers of Hungary and Slovakia.

Zeid said the U.N. member states present on Monday could change the suffering faced by refugees from conflicts, by promoting “respect, safety and dignity for all.”

“But not when the defenders of what is good and right are being outflanked in too many countries by race-baiting bigots, who seek to gain – or retain – power by wielding prejudice and deceit, at the expense of those most vulnerable,” he said.


Critics on Civil Rights Report: It's 'Dangerous' -- Important to ‘Push Back Against This Nonsense’

Faith leaders and religious liberty advocates are weighing in on the recently released U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report that concluded terms such as “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” were code words for discrimination and even “Christian supremacy.”

Their response is clear: The commission is out of step with the founding principles of the United States of America and its findings threaten the free practice of religion in this country.

“The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance,” Martin Castro, chairman of the commission, said in a statement included in the 296-page report.

“The report was misleading in its account of the law, and dangerous in its recommendations,” Roger Severino, director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told CNSNews.com.

“It is preposterous for the chair to say that laws that protect the right of Muslim prisoners to grow beards, Native Americans to use sacred eagle feathers, and Sikhs to wear turbans in government jobs, are somehow an insidious attempt to impose ‘Christian supremacy’ on the nation,” said Severino.

“Perhaps most troubling is the attempt to discredit sincere religious believers as being motivated by hate instead of faith and the implied recommendation that religious groups should change their beliefs on sexual morality to conform with liberal norms for the good of the country,” said Severino, who also worked with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

“I would expect to see such a slanted and anti-religious report come out of China or France perhaps, but am disappointed to see it come from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights,” he said.

“The report of the Civil Rights Commission, alleging that First Amendment claims of religious liberty are a mere cloak for discrimination, is pure hate speech,” Bishop E. W. Jackson, founder and president of Staying True to America’s National Destiny, or STAND, told CNSNews.com.

“This Commission has become a tool of the totalitarian left to stigmatize faith in God and belief in the Bible and its moral principles,” said Jackson.

He continued, “This report turns the concept of civil rights into a tool of religious persecution. It should be denounced by the American people as a dangerous departure from the spirit, letter, and plain meaning of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

Speaking to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on his Washington Watch radio show, Ken Blackwell, the senior fellow for Family Empowerment at the FRC, said it is important to “fight back” against the report and its findings.

“There is a fundamental struggle in this country between those who believe in individual liberty and those who believe in our ability to practice our faith in the public square, and those who would cleanse the public square of faith and God,” Blackwell said.

“Essentially, what these folks are trying to do is to change the meaning of our language; to change the meaning of the very foundation of words and concepts of our Constitution,” Blackwell said. “And so in the marketplace of ideas and our public dialogue, agencies and agents like this can cause confusion and lead us down a rabbit hole.”

“It very important that we push back against this nonsense,” Blackwell said.

Jesus’ Teachings

On Tuesday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCC) weighed in, refuting Castro’s claims and stating that people of faith care for those who are discriminated against.

“[Castro] makes the shocking suggestion that Catholic, evangelical, orthodox Jewish, Mormon, and Muslim communities are comparable to fringe segregationists from the civil rights era,” Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, said in the statement.

“These statements painting those who support religious freedom with the broad brush of bigotry are reckless and reveal a profound disregard for the religious foundations of his own work,” said Lori.

“People of faith have often been the ones to carry the full promise of America to the most forgotten peripheries when other segments of society judged it too costly,” he said. “Men and women of faith were many in number during the most powerful marches of the civil rights era.”

“Can we imagine the civil rights movement without Rev. Martin Luther King, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel?” Lori said. “In places like St. Louis, Catholic schools were integrated seven years before the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.”

“Jesus taught us to serve and not to count the cost,” Lori said.

“We wish we were there in even greater numbers, but we are there to humbly offer the full promise of America to all,” said the bishop. “Rest assured, if people of faith continue to be marginalized, it is the poor and vulnerable, not the Chairman and his friends, who will suffer.”

Government Mandates

Even two members of the eight-member commission, which is chosen by the president and Congress, disagreed with the conclusion of the report, including Gail Heriot, professor at the University of San Diego School of Law.

“Back when the federal government didn’t heavily subsidize both public and private higher education, when it didn’t heavily regulate employment relationships, when it didn’t have the leading role in financing and delivering healthcare, we didn’t need to worry nearly so much about the ways in which conflicts with religious conscience and the law arise,” Heriot said in her rebuttal in the report.

“Nobody thought about whether the Sisters of Charity should be given a religious exemption from the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, because there was no Obamacare contraceptive mandate,” she said.

U.S. Catholic bishops at their annual meeting in Baltimroe, Md. 

“The Roman Catholic Church didn’t need the so-called Ministerial Exception to Title VII in order to limit ordinations to men (and to Roman Catholics), because there was no Title VII,” Heriot said.

“If there is any hypocrisy and intolerance, it is emanating from Mr. Castro who unfairly smears Christians, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are sincerely following their consciences out of love of God and neighbor, and who only want to be free to continue to serve the needy without government discrimination,” Severino said.

Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty Institute, said he questioned Castro’s role as chairman of the commission.

"No one denigrating religious freedom should be serving on a civil rights commission, much less being its chairman,” Shackelford said. “Calling religious freedom and liberty ‘code words’ for racism, homophobia, and sexism is reprehensible. America was founded on religious freedom.”



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

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

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


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Born That Way? A False Hypothesis

Literature reviews are a common thing in the world of academic research. They often involve esoteric topics confined to a narrow universe of scholarly interest. Few literature reviews, however, have generated as much controversy as the recently published paper “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological and Social Sciences,” by Lawrence Mayer and Paul McHugh.

Among the issues attracting attention in the Mayer-McHugh paper is the claim that the causes of sexual orientation are poorly understood, but — most importantly — that genetics is not the sole determinant of sexual orientation. The hypothesis that those who have lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) orientations were born that way is found to be inconsistent with the data. Mayer and McHugh write:

There is virtually no evidence that anyone, gay or straight, is “born that way” if that means their sexual orientation was genetically determined. But there is some evidence from the twin studies that certain genetic profiles probably increase the likelihood the person later identifies as gay or engages in same-sex sexual behavior.
Mayer and McHugh reviewed research on potential environmental factors, such as abuse, but did not find the evidence convincing for any specific environmental factor. They suggest additional research on potential environmental influences.

A team led by J. Michael Bailey published a literature review on this topic at about the same time that Mayer and McHugh published theirs. At times making different inferences than Mayer and McHugh, particularly when the research evidence is ambiguous, Bailey et al. also conclude that genetics is not the most important causal factor for sexual orientation:

Based on the evidence from twin studies, we believe that we can already provide a qualified answer to the question “Is sexual orientation genetic?” That answer is: “Probably somewhat genetic, but not mostly so.”
Both of these research teams reached the same conclusion about the role of genetics in the development of sexual orientation by reviewing studies of twin siblings. With twin studies we want to know the concordance rate: If one member of a twin pair has a same-sex orientation, what is the probability that the other twin also has a same-sex orientation? Identical (monozygotic) twins share all of their genes in common. If sexual orientation is entirely due to genetics, or perhaps a combination of genetics and prenatal environment, then the concordance rate for identical twins would be one, or quite close to one. Fraternal (dizygotic) twins have the same number of genes in common as any two, non-identical siblings. If the concordance rate for identical twins is greater than that of fraternal twins, then clearly genetics plays a role. When considering studies that used the best sampling methods, Bailey and his colleagues found an average concordance rate for identical twins of .24 and .15 for fraternal twins. Yes, genetics plays a role in the development of sexual orientation, but the environment plays a larger role.

Those who desire a rigorous understanding of the science of sexual orientation should read both of the recent literature reviews. Unlike the data on the role of genetics, the data on environmental factors is often open to more than one interpretation, so considering multiple perspectives is helpful.

Epigenetics helps explain why the born-that-way hypothesis is false even though genes play a role. The epigenome affects the expression of genes. While our genome is relatively static, our epigenome is influenced by the environment. Thus some identical twins come to look different, behave differently, and have differing risk for psychological disorders. Each twin has different environmental experiences. The differing epigenomes result in different expressions of their common genes. Even if a “gay gene” exists, the born-that-way hypothesis would likely be false because interactions with the environment could affect the expression of the gay gene.

The born-that-way hypothesis is important to people on all sides. Members of the LGB community and their allies often believe that a stronger case can be made for societal embrace of the LGB lifestyle if sexual orientation is caused by genetics. Supporters of traditional morality may also feel more comfortable disapproving of behavior when they believe the behavior does not have a biological foundation.

All complex human behavior has a biological foundation. For example, sociobiology suggests that males are hard wired with a propensity to mate with many partners. Even if males are born this way and it is 100 percent due to biology, it does not follow that mating with many partners is moral. The degree to which any behavior is genetically based has no bearing on its morality, nor its benefit to society. We have considerable control over our biological predispositions; civilization would not be possible otherwise.

The nature vs. nurture question has been, in a sense, settled; the answer is (to some degree) a matter of both. Because the answer involves both, those who argue for the virtue, or lack thereof, of any behavior need to always consider legal, societal, or religious claims rather than strictly biological claims.


Karma is a wonderful thing

The monstrosity above turned a joke into an offence.  She would have been eased out long ago except for her abundant melanin

An academic who triggered a row over Sir Tim Hunt which led to Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir Tim Hunt losing his job, has had her own hours cut back.

Sir Tim resigned from his honorary professorship at University College London last year after Connie St Louis’s report of his allegedly sexist remarks at a conference in South Korea.

Heatstreet reports Ms St Louis, a lecturer in science journalism at London’s City University, has had her postgraduate course downgraded, with her teaching hours severely cut.

While giving a toast at the conference in Korea, Dr Hunt joked: 'It's strange that such a chauvinist monster like me has been asked to speak to women scientists.

'Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry. Perhaps we should make separate labs for boys and girls?'

Ms St Louis was criticised at the time for quoting Dr Hunt selectively, triggering a worldwide debate which ultimately cost him his job.

But her own cv was questioned in the wake of the debate, including claims she had written for national newspapers such as the Daily Mail, the Sunday Times and the Independent.

City University in London appears to have dropped her course, according to a timetable seen by Heat Street, and she has been given only one two hour-long class to teach every week for two months.


The wisdom of a Muslim intellectual

Media wonder boy Reza Aslan is behind the curve on this one: this particular talking point has already been debunked (not that he would care, or stop repeating it, if he knew). Back in June 2015, the New America Foundation published a study that garnered enthusiastic international publicity, as it purported to demonstrate that “right-wing extremists” and “white supremacists” were a larger threat to the U.S. than Islamic jihadis. The study was obviously skewed, as it was based on the number of those killed by jihadis and by right-wing extremists since September 12, 2001, leaving  out 9/11. The study also ignored the many, many foiled jihad plots, and the fact that jihadis are part of an international movement that has killed many thousands of people, while right-wingers and white supremacists are not. It stated that right-wing extremists had killed 48 people from September 12, 2001 to June 2015, while Islamic jihadists had killed only 26 people in the U.S. in that span. If 9/11 had been added, the tally would have been 3,032 killed by Islamic jihadists and 48 by purported right-wing extremists. And even by the New America Foundation’s rules, the Orlando jihad massacre makes the death toll stand at 76 killed by Islamic jihadis, and 48 by purported right-wing extremists (I repeat “purported” because to get to its count of 48, the NAF counted as “right-wing” attacks killings that were perpetrated by people who were obviously deranged psychopaths devoid of any ideology). Will Reza Aslan retract and apologize? What do you think?

The semi-literate and fact-free Aslan is the living embodiment of how repeating politically correct shibboleths can enable you to go far in this world. Aslan has made the ridiculous claim that the idea of resurrection “simply doesn’t exist in Judaism,” despite numerous passages to the contrary in the Hebrew Scriptures. He has also referred to “the reincarnation, which Christianity talks about” — although he later claimed that one was a “typo.” In yet another howler he later insisted was a “typo,” he claimed that the Biblical story of Noah was barely four verses long — which he then corrected to forty, but that was wrong again, as it is 89 verses long. Aslan claimed that the “founding philosophy of the Jesuits” was “the preferential option for the poor,” when in reality, that phrase wasn’t even coined until 1968. He called Turkey the second most populous Muslim country, when it is actually the eighth most populous Muslim country. He thinks Pope Pius XI, who issued the anti-fascist encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, was a fascist. He thinks Marx and Freud “gave birth to the Enlightenment,” when it ended in the late 18th century, before either of them were born. He claims that “the very first thing that Muhammad did was outlaw slavery,” when in fact Muhammad bought slaves, took female captives as sex slaves, and owned slaves until his death. He thinks Ethiopia and Eritrea are in Central Africa. A “renowned religious scholar” such as Reza Aslan should not make such elementary mistakes. But this is, of course, the man who writes “than” for “then”; apparently thinks the Latin word “et” is an abbreviation; and writes “clown’s” for “clowns.”

There is a sinister side to this sideshow: Aslan is a Board member of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). NIAC has been established in court as a lobbying group for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Said Michael Rubin: “Jamal Abdi, NIAC’s policy director, now appears to push aside any pretense that NIAC is something other than Iran’s lobby. Speaking at the forthcoming ‘Expose AIPAC’ conference, Abdi is featured on the ‘Training: Constituent Lobbying for Iran’ panel. Oops.” Iranian freedom activist Hassan Daioleslam “documented over a two-year period that NIAC is a front group lobbying on behalf of the Iranian regime.” NIAC had to pay him nearly $200,000 in legal fees after they sued him for defamation over his accusation that they were a front group for the mullahs, and lost. Yet Aslan remains on their Board.


Teenager, 19, accused of plotting nail bomb terror attacks at London landmarks appears before an Old Bailey judge

A teenager accused of planning nail bomb attacks on famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace appeared at the Old Bailey today.

Haroon Syed, 19, allegedly researched potential targets including the Queen's London residence and Oxford Street in London's West End. He is also looked up military bases between 12 April and 9 September this year, it is said.

Syed is accused of attempting to buy guns and bomb making material online with a view to carrying out an attack 

He was arrested on 9 September following an investigation by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command.

Syed appeared in court today via video link dressed in a grey prison tracksuit.

Listing his case for a three week trial beginning on 13 March, Mr Justice Saunders said: 'Mr Syed, I have done my utmost to make sure this comes to court at the earliest possible opportunity.

'In the meantime you are remanded in custody'.

Syed, of Hounslow, west London, is charged with the intention of committing acts of terrorism engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to that intention.

He is due back in court on 13 January for a pleas and case management hearing.



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