Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Negligent multicultural driver maims motorcyclist

A motorist with a health condition which made him fall asleep at the wheel left a motorcyclist paralysed in a 'sickening' head-on crash after ignoring doctors' guidance not to drive.

Imtiaz Shah ploughed his 4x4 into Steven Hayes's motorbike in April last year, leaving the former mechanic unable to walk or talk.

The 42-year-old from Nelson, Lancashire, was jailed for 30 months at Preston Crown Court and banned from driving for three years, but is likely to be released from prison after half that time.

Mr Hayes, 48, is now permanently confined to a wheelchair and requires round-the-clock nursing in a care home.

His horrified family have spoken of their outrage at Shah's sentence, saying: 'That is not justice'.

'He condemned my dad to a life sentence dealing with those injuries yet he'll be out of prison in a little more than a year,' Mr Hayes's 21-year-old daughter, Jenny, said.

'This incident has had a devastating impact on my dad and our entire family.  'In a split second, my dad was robbed of his independence, much of his ability to communicate and to enjoy his life and his hobbies.  'He will need the support of carers every hour of every day for the rest of his life.'

The mechanic's wife, Linda, said she was 'grieving' for the loss of her husband's former-self.  'He'll never be the Steven I fell in love with. We are grieving for the Steven we lost that day.'

The court heard how Shah, a former council worker, had been told by doctors to refrain from driving after complaining of sleep apnoea - a condition which causes throat muscles to relax and narrow, putting sufferers into a deep sleep.

Despite doctors' advice, Shah continued to drive for months, and had clocked up 200miles on the day of the crash.

He had fallen asleep at the wheel when driving in Blackburn, Lancashire, while negotiating a roundabout. His Honda CRV narrowly avoided crashing into a Range Rover before he crashed into Mr Hayes, throwing his body into the air 'like a rag doll', the court heard. The vehicle was eventually stopped when it crashed into a wall.

'You were falling asleep at the wheel and losing control, narrowly missing a black car as you were veering towards the centre line,'  Recorder Simon Earlam told him.   'You continued to veer over the centre line. The driver of a Range Rover realised you were not going to straighten up.  'He and his passenger described how your head was down. I find you were probably asleep at this stage.

'It was a sickening collision head on. He was thrown into the air like a rag doll by the force. 'The impact was such that his helmet came off. Mr Hayes hit your windscreen leaving hair and flesh where he struck. He then hit the road surface leaving a trail of blood on the ground.

'The injuries to Mr Hayes have been most serious and permanently life-changing. They have ruined his life and that of his immediate family.'

Mr Hayes was in a 'deeply unconscious' state for months before being released from hospital and admitted to a care home.  The 48-year-old needed surgery to have part of skull removed. His family plan to launch a civil case against Shah.


Rape culture? There’s no such thing

Rape culture. It is a phrase that has slipped into public discourse with barely a peep of criticism, and it is referred to in feminist missives as if it were an objective, observable phenomenon. For the uninitiated, rape culture is the idea that modern culture – from pop songs to pornography to catcalling – is normalising sexual violence. But contemporary feminists are wrong: there is no such thing as rape culture, and the current obsession with this deeply misanthropic idea is doing more harm then good.

The suggestion that young men in particular can be slowly brainwashed into thinking rape is acceptable diminishes the seriousness of rape. Rape is a specific act of violent assault in which someone is forced into an act against their will or without their knowledge. Aside from murder, it is the ultimate burglary of individual freedom and, most commonly, an expression of the attacker’s desire for power rather than sexual satisfaction.

Let’s get this clear: one does not slide down a slippery slope towards rape. Yes, we live in a society that withholds total freedom and, furthermore, limits freedom for women. But this does not mean that we live in a society of rapists. No individual is entirely a product of their environment. Therefore, the contemporary argument that all men are potential rapists as a result of a society that sexualises women is inherently wrong. Rape is not something that can happen in ignorance; a man cannot rape a woman because he watches too much porn or because he isn’t sure if she’s up for it.

Underpinning the rape-culture hysteria is another wrongheaded idea: namely, that unwanted attention from men – from catcalling to arse-groping – is on the spectrum of sexual violence. This charge is bolstered by the worthless, anecdotal evidence that modern feminists rely on to make their case. Women and girls across the world are encouraged to share their experiences of unwanted male attention on social media - a superficial new women’s movement unified only by a hashtag and a pressurised need to declare oneself a victim of the evils of men. It’s like watching a modern feminist interpretation of Monty Python’s ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ sketch. Women are choosing to portray themselves as vulnerable, victimised and helpless.

It’s easy to see why the dodgy ideas of modern feminism aren’t being challenged. If you even try to unpick the idea of rape culture, you’re instantly called a rape apologist – or, worse still, a mens’ rights activist. Criticising this new orthodoxy is met with almost the same level of vitriol as expressing a dislike of feminism. But this belligerence only reveals how hollow the new feminism is. In the past year, support for feminism has boomed, but only in the manner of a Live Aid campaign, manifesting itself in the form of hashtags and t-shirt slogans. This new wave of feminism everyone is talking about has not furthered any coherent demands or ideas. All that binds it is a shared image of women as put-upon victims in need of one another’s fist-pumping Twitter solidarity.

The assertion that all young people are in thrall to a culture beyond their control underestimates their ability to exercise their human agency and negotiate sexual relationships. And, in the process, the severity of rape is diminished. Feminists who describe themselves as being ‘mentally raped’, as victims of rape culture and ‘rapey’ behaviour, undermine the specific act of rape as an isolated and distinct thing. While unwanted sexual attention towards women is a problem in society, there is a fundamental difference between an idiot grabbing your behind and being raped.

If we want to challenge the existing inequalities in society, then young women need to start answering back. This means demanding total freedom of expression, and using it – not seeking to limit the supposedly ‘rapey’ speech of others. Asking for protection from the nasty patriarchy through tear-brimmed tweets only wins you feminist-blogger brownie points. It’s no substitute for the uncompromising political battle that is really needed to achieve women’s liberation.


Women, liberate yourself from this feminism

When it was revealed that Elle magazine’s ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirts were actually made in Mauritian sweatshops, by women paid the princely sum of 62 pence per hour, there was shock and outrage. Although the retailer, Whistles, claimed this was above the minimum wage for Mauritius, it was hardly a triumph for women’s lib.

Elle had spent weeks chasing UK prime minister David Cameron for a photo in the infamous t-shirt for its feminism issue. You wonder how much time it would have taken to place a few calls and find out a bit more about the origins of the clothes. But, sadly, this kind of skin-deep display of ‘fighting for the cause’ has become commonplace among today’s so-called feminists.

For several years now, I have proudly stood up and said, hand on heart, ‘I am a feminist’ – even while living in Paris, where such statements are met with derision and sympathetic glances at your male partner. I did so because I believed feminism meant equal rights for both sexes and a fairer world for everyone. But these ideals bear little resemblance to today’s publicity-stunt feminism, which is based more around viral-video campaigns, Twitter feeds and t-shirts, which work to limit freedom, not expand it.

From the outside, campaigns like the Everyday Sexism Project, which seeks to raise awareness about sexism in everyday life, and the US Hollaback! campaign, which aims to stop men harassing women on the streets, seem admirable. But look beyond the Twitter feeds and the angry blog posts and what these campaigns are really doing is calling for censorship and diminishing women rather than empowering them.

Everyday Sexism initially looked like a good idea – a way of raising awareness of some of the more irritating and sometimes intimidating aspects of the female experience. But two years and 60,000 entries later, it just feels self-pitying. A constant stream of ‘look at what we have to put up with’ complaints, it paints women as perpetual victims. And while some of the entries describe genuine cases of sexual harassment, others merely seek out subjective instances of sexism, taken completely out of context. A post from last week read:

Recently, t-shirt company FCKH8 had a viral hit with its video, ‘F-bombs for feminism: potty-mouthed princesses use bad word for good cause’, which featured little girls dressed as princesses shouting feminism ‘facts’ at their viewers, along with a liberal sprinkling of the f-word. The ‘facts’ turned out to be discredited statistics, and the effect was downright risible. ‘Is a little girl saying “fuck” more offensive than pay inequality?’, the pre-teens yell at their viewers. Well, no, but watching women try to advance gender equality by broadcasting children having a tantrum is.

Similarly, Hollaback!’s own viral video, in which actor Shoshana Roberts is seen being catcalled on the streets of New York City, lacks any depth of message. It has been used by many commentators as evidence that street harassment of women is a huge issue. In reality, it is a video clip of under two minutes in which, aside from a couple of creepy men who briefly follow her down the street, a woman is told she’s hot by a lot of men. Annoying? Yes. Grounds for a worldwide campaign? Hmm, not really.

Something that these campaigns have in common is a tendency to vilify men. In this distorted feminist world, men are rapists, stalkers and chauvinists. One of the potty-mouthed princesses says: ‘How about teaching boys not to rape?’ The idea that all little boys are potential rapists is the underlying assumption.

This new wave of feminism has reduced the issues women face to a battle of good v evil, with women as the victims and men as the exploiters. Ironically, it is exactly this image of a poor, vulnerable woman who needs to be protected from the big, bad world that the potty-mouthed princesses seek to parody.

And if men aren’t being accused of victimising women they are being patronised. Actress Emma Watson, UN Women’s newly appointed goodwill ambassador (whatever that means), gave a cringeworthy speech in which she invited men to join the feminism discussion.

Watson claims she first encountered sexism at the age of eight, when she was told she couldn’t direct a play because she was ‘bossy’ and a boy was given the coveted position instead. Give me a bloody break! Are we really supposed to believe a child of eight understood the concept of sexism? She also won’t have been the first little girl (or boy!) to be shouted down by fellow classmates for being overly officious.

When did fighting for equal pay and opportunities translate into piously whining about sexism and telling men how to behave? This constant portrayal of women as weak and helpless is not what I signed up for.

This feminist is looking for more than superficial posturing. I am a woman. I am not a victim. So I won’t be joining the current crusade; and I certainly won’t be buying the t-shirt.


Topless models set a good example, says Clarkson's girl

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is known for his outspoken views, but now it’s his daughter who is courting controversy.

Emily Clarkson, 20, has decided to speak out against the feminists she claims are ‘killing the curvy woman’ with their campaign to ban images of semi-naked models.

‘For years we have acknowledged and tried to fight the Size Zero Society that we have become so accustomed to, recognising its hold over us, but perhaps not looking deep enough to find its cause,’ declares aspiring photographer Emily, who claims that skinny women are being turned into role models as result.

The cause of society’s obsession with unhealthily thin models is women themselves, she alleges in her blogpost. Emily, one of Clarkson’s three children with his estranged second wife Frances, claims that women shun magazines when fuller-figured women are on the front page.

‘Did you know that Adele was on the cover of the worst-selling issue of Vogue?’ she asks. ‘Ladies, it’s not the men amongst us buying these mags, it’s us.’
Of the feminist campaign to ban pictures of topless models from red-top newspapers, Emily says: ‘These girls aren’t porn stars, they aren’t half starved and they certainly aren’t a size 6. What do all of these women have? Boobs, hips and smiles. They are gorgeous, healthy, confident and smiling, so why do we have such a beef with it? Why are “feminists” criticising it all the time? Do you know what really, really annoys me? That women, every day, are calling Page 3 girls horrible, horrible things.’

Prompted by rake-thin actress Keira Knightley posing semi-naked for an American fashion magazine, Emily says: ‘Keira took off her top and the whole world screams, “Oh, my God, you’re so brave, you’re so beautiful, go you, oh, my it’s so tasteful . . .”

Women’s rights supporters the world over have shared Keira’s photos on Facebook, telling her what an inspiration she is. Why? Because we can see her ribs? Because she’s an actress? Because she’s classy?’

Of former teen starlet Miley Cyrus, she remarks: ‘I look at Miley, with every rib jutting out, rubbing herself on things like a dog with worms and I just despair.’


Is fake fur even worse than the real thing? From destroying the planet to supporting sweatshops, why experts say faking it isn’t nearly as ethical as you think

Dazzlingly colourful and irresistibly fluffy, faux fur is taking over the High Street. From Bon Marché to Marks and Spencer, retailers are selling a wide range of stoles, hats, coats and bedspreads this winter. And shoppers are snapping them up after seeing celebrities such as Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham swathed in the fabric.

But far from concealing the fact the fur isn’t real, they’re flaunting it as a way of proving their ethical credentials. No wonder: fur has been demonised to such an extent by animal-rights campaigners that wearing the real thing is likely to earn you a few severe looks at best, and public rants by strangers at worst.

However, the fur industry is now fighting back with a devastating — and intriguing — suggestion that faux fur is actually far less ethical than real fur.  And the campaign is working: sales of real fur are booming again.

To understand the contentious issue, we have to go back to 1994, when five supermodels took off their clothes, sat on the floor and told the world: ‘We’d rather go naked than wear fur.’  The campaign, by animal-rights charity Peta, was a triumph. Sales of mink, sable and chinchilla plummeted.

Since then, all but one of the five models (Christy Turlington) has failed to keep their word: Naomi Campbell, for example, posed in a £120,000 Russian sable coat in 2009, and Cindy Crawford promoted mink coats in 2004.

Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, both Middleton sisters, Beyonce, Cara Delevingne and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have worn fur in recent years.

And real-fur sales have increased globally by 58 per cent since the end of the Nineties, says the British Fur Trade Association (BFTA).

Indeed, almost 500 designers, including Diane von Furstenberg, Yves Saint Laurent and Roberto Cavalli, currently use fur in their collections. And some furriers claim almost three-quarters of this year’s catwalk shows feature fur.

TV stylist Mark Heyes says: ‘Without question, it’s becoming more fashionable. I’ve never seen so much fur on the High Street. Faux or real, it’s on almost every item going, from dresses to tops and even keyrings.’

So, what on Earth has happened to change our minds on fur so radically?

The battle between the anti and pro-fur lobbies is still being fought vehemently. But Mike Moser, chief executive of BFTA, thinks that the new generation of fashionistas is waking up to the environmental impact of faux-fur production — and deciding that climate change is their main concern.

‘Younger people in particular want to hear all the facts then make up their own minds,’ he says. ‘The argument that we should replace real fur with fake is completely wrong. For environmental reasons, it should be the other way around.

‘There isn’t any doubt that the environmental impact of fake fur is profoundly worse than fur-farming.’

It’s undeniable that fake fur is made from non-renewable petroleum-based products, such as nylon, acrylic and polyester, then treated with heat and chemicals to improve its look and feel.

These industrial processes use three times as much non-renewable energy as real fur, according to the International Fur Trade Federation.

But fashion-conscious consumers often dump their faux-fur garments after just one season. Many end up in landfill and, just like petroleum-based plastic bags, can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.

Real fur, meanwhile, biodegrades naturally within six months to a year, and can even be composted in the garden, says Mike Moser.

Washing fake fur may harm the environment, too. With every machine wash, says a 2011 paper for the Environmental Science & Technology journal, each garment releases an average of 1,900 tiny particles of plastic, which are then swilled into rivers, lakes and, eventually, the sea.

It’s feared these particles may kill marine life and disrupt food chains.

Pro-fur lobbies also point to the unethical working practices of some faux-fur manufacturers. It’s already widely known that disposable fashion often relies on Third World sweatshop labour, paltry wages and toxic working conditions. But the International Fur Trade Federation claims that the manufacture of fake fur doubles the risk of ill-health in workers due to the emissions of carcinogenic substances during production.

And American Fur Commission spokesman Michael Whelan says: ‘Fast fashion is promoting dependence on foreign oil and exacerbating child-labour issues in the Third World.’ Given all this, should we not be buying the real deal instead?

Costume designer Minna Attala, who has worked for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Asos and is a life-long vegetarian, says it’s a grey area. ‘I’m not pro-fur but, because I’ve been educated on the subject, I’m not against it either,’ she says.

‘Killing animals for vanity is not right, but there are whole communities of people who rely on this industry for employment, and, in the majority of cases, the animals are treated well, so that they’ll have healthy coats.

‘Animals are treated horrifyingly in the meat industry, and nobody is throwing cans of red paint at steak-eaters.’

Around 20 per cent of fur comes not from farms, but trapping wild animals. These creatures, claim the pro-fur campaigners, are often killed quickly and humanely. Some are culled to help balance animal populations and native ecosystems. In New Zealand. for example, the government has encouraged people to buy what they call ‘the world’s most ecological fur’ — that of the paihamu, a small, non-native, furry animal that has been wreaking havoc on native species.

Meanwhile, fur-friendly companies, such as the Gucci Group, insist that all their furs are vegetable-dyed and tanned via traditional, non-toxic methods. However, this comes at a price — a mink scarf from Gucci costs £1,500.

The BFTA advises consumers to buy only garments marked with the ‘Origin Assurance’ label, a scheme launched in 2007 to ensure that fur ‘comes from a country where welfare regulations or standards governing fur production are in force’.

Mike Moser is adamant that almost two-thirds of fur traded internationally is from Origin Assurance countries.

Yet none of this will convince Peta’s UK director Mimi Bekhechi that real fur is anything other than abhorrent. She maintains that the pro-lobby have got it wrong on the environmental impact of faux fur, and says there are plenty of eco-friendly faux options available.

She also claims that a cocktail of carcinogens, such as ammonia, chromium and formaldehyde, which is often used in dressing and dyeing real fur, negates its biodegradability.

‘Fur is only “natural” when it’s on the animal who was born with it,’ says Mimi.

‘Recent independent studies have found that the impact of production of a mink coat on climate change is three to ten times higher than the impact of a faux-fur coat.

‘We all have the choice to be cruel or kind. So, when real fur involves electrocuting a fox, or slitting the throat of a rabbit for fur trim, choosing one of the many soft, warm and luxurious faux or fur-free options, which are also more eco-friendly, becomes a no-brainer.’

Meanwhile, Minna Attala says: ‘If someone was to be truly to-the- letter ethical, they ought to forego both real and faux fur — and also fast fashion in general.’

No wonder the great fur debate remains as heated as ever. But, as the weather gets chillier and we reach for our Cossack hat and warming stole, it seems there’s no easy answer.



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, November 24, 2014

A multicultural "carer" in Britain

Stanley Nkenka was caught abusing Zak Rowlands, 19 [who cannot speak and suffers with autism and severe learning difficulties], after his concerned parents set up the hidden camera in his bedroom in Oxen Barn Residential Home in Leyland, Lancashire, because he had started flinching when people came near him.

And the fears of Paul and Julie Rowlands were confirmed when they watched the footage and saw their son being hit on the back of his head as he was put to bed before the teenager was left sobbing on his own in the darkness.

Nkenka has been jailed for six months after he pleaded guilty to ill treatment.

In the video clip the 35-year-old is seen hitting the boy on the back of the head and flicking him as he tells him to go to bed. He then pushes the teenager on the bed and says 'it's time to sleep' and calls him a 'stupid boy.'

As the youngster lays in darkness, Nkenka warns him 'Don't come out, or I will hit your head' before he swipes at him again.

Nkenka is seen later approaching Zak and saying quietly: 'Do you want some more?' before he leaves him alone in his bedroom.

Mr Rowlands, a firefighter, told the Daily Mirror: 'Seeing that man do this to my son sent a chill down my spine. 'I felt guilt that I wasn't there for Zak when he needed me most.'

Mr Rowlands said his wife, a police woman, had persuaded him to go through the police rather than confront Nkenka himself. The couple are now campaigning to have cameras installed in all care home bedrooms in a bid to stop patients being abused.

'Sadly we believe this treatment is rife in the care industry,' said Mr Rowlands. He said he felt disabled patients needed proper dignity and should therefore have cameras in their rooms to ensure they were not being mistreated.

Oxen Barn - privately run by the Priory Group - is a specialist home for adults who have autistic spectrum disorders and severe learning difficulties. The Priory Group said it had a 'zero tolerance' policy towards abuse and Nkena was sacked immediately after his 'totally unacceptable' actions came to light.

At the hearing Judge Christopher Cornwall said: 'The ill-treatment that is complained of seems to me to be dismissive of him as an individual, unkind and uncaring, and really disrespectful of him as a human being.

'Carers must know that if they fall so far below the standards that are expected of them to the extent that they ill-treat the people they care for, they must know they put their liberty at jeopardy.'

Mrs Rowlands previously told the court: 'When I saw the video recording of Nkenka hitting him, I felt sick, heartbroken, angry and incredibly guilty.

'It's hard to articulate the actual words that really describe my emotions. I'm scared, really scared that it will happen again.'

She said she knew something was wrong when her son started to flinch when he was touched or approached.

'Sadly Zak, my loving, affectionate, special and incredibly vulnerable son hasn't the mental capacity to be able to speak but he communicates in his own way,' she told the court.

'By making sounds and by the sparkle in his eyes when he's happy and by the tears and the sorrow in his eyes when he's sad or hurt. But when that's not enough I am my son's voice and will always be until I take my last breath.


Combat pilot who tried to halt lesbian kissing episode faces discharge

Vindictiveness towards normality

The Army is moving to discharge a decorated combat pilot who intervened to stop two lesbian officers from showing what he considered inappropriate affection on the dance floor during a full-dress formal ball at Fort Drum, New York, in 2012.

Lt. Col. Christopher Downey, who was once assigned to the White House and completed tours in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, ended up being convicted administratively of assaulting a soldier trying to videotape the kissing and grabbing.

Col. Downey’s attorney, Richard Thompson, says his client merely pushed down the camera to prevent photos and video that could end up on social media.

Mr. Thompson said Col. Downey’s commanding officer also convicted him of violating the directive that ended the ban on gays openly serving in the military.

“It’s political correctness run wild,” Mr. Thompson said. “Military rules do not apply to lesbian officers because of political correctness.”

Col. Downey won early battle with the Army last year. A special three-officer “show cause” board reviewed the punishment and unanimously ruled that the evidence showed he did not violate Army rules.

“The allegation of conduct unbecoming an officer … is not supported by the preponderance of the evidence,” the board wrote. “The findings do not warrant separation.”

Yet Col. Downey still faces separation by an Army forced-retirement board that began meeting this week.

On the night of April 14, 2012, seven months after President Obama lifted the ban on acknowledged gays in the military, Col. Downey moved to the dance floor to caution the two lesbian officers, a second lieutenant and a captain.

A warrant officer had approached Col. Downey and complained that their prolonged French kissing, buttocks grabbing and disrobing of Army jackets violated Army rules against inappropriate displays of public affection while in uniform on base, his attorney said.

He said the captain, who since has left the Army, complained that she and her girlfriend, whom she later married and then divorced, were victims of discrimination.

“Lt. Col. Downey gave his all to the Army and to the country he loves, yet the Army he so loyally served threw him under the bus merely to avoid negative press from the homosexual community,” Mr. Thompson said.

Mr. Thompson, who heads the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced Thursday that he had filed suit against the Army in U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit accuses the Army of violating Col. Downey’s constitutional rights by preventing him from adequately defending himself and asks a federal judge to overturn the convictions. It also seeks Col. Downey’s reinstatement to the promotion list and to the roster for attending the Army War College.

An Army spokesman at the Pentagon said it is long-standing policy not to comment on pending litigation.


‘Shirtgate’ and Common Decency

Had scientist Matt Taylor simply dressed professionally for TV, there would be no “scandal” to speak of

By Jonah Goldberg

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta project accomplished one of the most impressive scientific feats in our lifetime. They essentially moved a clunky machine from one speeding bullet onto another, by remote control, from 310 million miles away. It’s hoped this achievement will help usher in a new era of space exploration by teaching us how to exploit the raw materials swirling around the solar system. Also, it was really cool.

But it wasn’t cool enough for some feminists who found the shirt worn by Matt Taylor, Rosetta project scientist, to be a bigger deal. Taylor’s shirt, designed by a female friend, depicts a bunch of attractive, scantily clad women drawn from comic books holding guns. (Slate’s Amanda Marcotte oddly described their stances as “pornographic poses.”)

Rose Eveleth, a science writer, tweeted in response to a televised interview with Taylor: “No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt.”
A meteor shower of hashtagged rage rained down on both sides of the Atlantic. “Shirtstorm!” “Shirtgate!” and similar bullshirt.

What should have been the best week of Taylor’s professional life ended with him weeping on TV as he apologized for his alleged crime.

Many of my friends and colleagues on the anti-PC right have responded with understandable outrage. And it’s true: Taylor’s confession of wrongdoing did feel forced — awfully North Korean.

Still, the feminists have a point. Although I like the shirt (which is now selling like hotcakes), I would never wear it to a nice restaurant, never mind on a globally broadcast TV interview. The reason I wouldn’t wear it has very little to do with my fear of offending feminists. It’s simply unsuitable professional attire. I’d ask critics of the feminist backlash, would you wear it on a job interview? How about to church or synagogue?

Where feminists seem remarkably self-absorbed is in their assumption that only their sensibilities matter. It is hardly as if feminist-friendly career women in STEM professions (science, technology, engineering, and math) are the only people who might reasonably dislike the shirt. But here’s astrophysicist Katie Mack tweeting: “I don’t care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn’t appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in STEM.”

Okay, maybe. But why are feminist motives so special? What if you’re a devout Christian, Muslim, or Jew working in the humanities? What if you like cartoonishly sexy ladies, but you hate guns? What if you’re simply the kind of person who thinks male professionals should wear a jacket and tie on TV?

In short, feminists want a monopoly on when everyone must be outraged or offended. A few weeks ago, feminist idiots rolled out a video of little girls dressed as princesses, cursing like foul-mouthed comedian Andrew Dice Clay. Unlike Taylor, they set out to offend. But that was in support of feminism, so it was okay. (I’d like to see the parents of those kids tearfully apologizing for exploiting their kids as cheap propaganda props.)

We live in an age of diversity, defined not merely by gender and race, but by lifestyles and values. That’s mostly a good thing — mostly.

Like all other good things in life, diversity comes at a cost. And a big part of the tab is a lost consensus about what constitutes good manners and propriety. So instead of knowing how to behave, we spend vast amounts of our time worrying and arguing about it, with combatants on every side insisting it’s “Live and let live” for me but “Shut up! How dare you!” for thee.

In this age of unprecedented cultural liberty, we’ve lost sight of the fact that common standards of decency and decorum can be liberating. They inconvenience everyone — a little — but they also free us from worrying about who we might offend or why. School uniforms, remember, constrain the wealthy kids for the benefit of the poor ones.

For millennia, good manners were understood as the means by which strangers showed each other respect. Now, too many people demand respect but have lost the ability, or desire, to show it in return.


Britain's ongoing transformation into East Germany

The recently enacted UK Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act embodies a new relation between state and society. This relation has been implicit, developing slowly and inherent in many pieces of legislation, but this law embodies it overtly and completely.

From my conversations with civil servants involved in drafting the powers, it became clear that the underlying idea of the law is that local authorities should be ‘enabled’ to do whatever they want to do. In the consultation process, local authorities were asked: ‘Is there anything that you would want to do that is not covered by these powers?’ That is, they were asked not, ‘what does this allow you to do?’, but ‘is there anything you can’t do?’.

Here we see a new approach to law and to lawmaking: the development of the freedom of action of state officials, as an end in itself.

Historically, it was the freedom of civil society that was promoted as an end in itself: freedom of speech and of association were promoted as goods in themselves, regardless of how people chose to use these freedoms. Now it is the freedom of the state that is developed systematically as a project, and which requires no further justification. The expansion and creation of new powers is seen as good in itself, be it a law-and-order policy or a neighbourhood-renewal strategy.

Increasingly, to solve social problems means to create new powers. The ASB Act includes ‘public-space protection orders’, ‘community-protection notices’, ‘dispersal powers’, as well as new behavioural injunctions and powers of eviction (see ASB Act guide). So – by a strange inversion – it is through giving the state new powers that a community is served, and public space ‘protected’.

This means a different form of law, and a different form of policy. Laws are no longer seen as limitations on the arbitrary power of the state. Instead, they are described as ‘tools’, things to be used by officials. They are described as ‘useful’, like a good spanner or a saw. The official here is the subject and the law a mute thing in their hands.

Yet, significantly, new powers are created without any specific plan in mind as to what officials may want to use these powers for. New powers are described as being ‘part of the toolkit’. The new ASB Act was described as a ‘great addition to the toolkit’ and ‘quite handy’. The concern here is merely that, in any situation, local authorities and police should have a wide variety of options as to how they proceed.

In any concrete situation – for example, a person playing music too loud – the authorities will be able to survey their toolkit and pick exactly the right legal instrument for the job. Ideally, in any situation there will be a power that can be used there and then, with as few obstacles as possible.

In the consultation on the ASB Act, any restriction on the free action of officials – such as the need for a public consultation, or a formal legal proceedure – was described as ‘too bureaucratic’ or as ‘red tape’. So while society becomes tied up in more and more red tape, the action of officialdom is cleared from all possible restrictions. The new principle becomes: restriction for society, freedom for officials.

This law embodies a constitutional change which has been developing for a while, and is now, in the shape of the ASB Act, stated explicitly. The classic relationship between state and society is dead. AV Dicey’s Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution explains how, in the English constitution, it is the freedom of civil society which is the general and default principle, while the power of the state is limited and must be justified. Everything is allowed unless it is specifically banned; every incursion of state power into the domain of civil society is a special event which requires specific justification. The rule of law, he said, excludes ‘arbitrariness, or prerogative… on the part of government’, or any form of ‘wide, arbitrary, or discretionary powers of constraint’.

As we approach the 800-year anniversary of the Magna Carta, it is clear that this constitutional arrangement has now been inverted. Significantly, this has occurred not through the totalitarian force of an assertive state – through martial or sedition law, star chambers or inquisitions – but in the anodyne form of law-as-‘toolkit’.

This is why the ASB Act passed so quietly and with so little comment. It is not that the domain of civil society is being retaken or stamped upon, but rather that it has evaporated as a principle or reality in policymaking. That law should be a ‘tool’ for officials to use now appears commonsense, natural.

A community is protected not through freedom but through a ‘community-protection notice’. The only remaining political subject is the official, and the law becomes their hardware store.


Vatican Conference Confirms Traditional Marriage ‘Deeply Rooted in the Nature of Man’

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said on Wednesday that the diverse gathering of religious leaders from around the globe for the Vatican’s marriage conference shows the universal belief in marriage being between one man and one woman and that efforts to redefine the institution will ultimately fail.
“It will never happen,” Perkins told CNSNews.com. “[Traditional marriage] is too deeply rooted in the nature of man.”

Perkins said that at least 14 religions are represented at the conference, including many that hold vastly different theological views but that all agree on the definition of marriage.

“What is shared is the understanding of marriage as being between a man and a woman,” Perkins said. “It’s actually rooted in the natural order.”

Perkins said the global embrace of traditional marriage at the event “reinforced the stand that so many have taken in the orthodox world.”

And if people who advocate on behalf of natural marriage sometimes are discouraged because of the opposition to it expressed in the media and popular culture, the consensus on the subject at the conference is inspiring, Perkins said.

“Sometimes you are tempted to feel you are alone,” Perkins said. “That is absolutely without question not the case.”

Perkins said he hopes to continue the FRC’s advocacy work for marriage by encouraging church leaders in America to recommit to traditional marriage and to speak out beyond the pulpit on the subject.

“We need to speak to culture unapologetically about what marriage is,” Perkins said. “It’s for the well-being of children, the well-being of man and woman and the well-being of society.”

The Vatican conference, entitled the “International Interreligious Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman,” featured leaders from diverse faiths and academia from around the world speaking about natural marriage and its connection to human spirituality.

The Vatican produced a series of six videos entitled “The Destiny of Humanity: On the Meaning of Marriage” featuring many of those leaders.

“The God who invented human sexuality also invented the universe,” Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College says in the first video. “The two fit.”

In remarks to open the three-day conference on Monday, Pope Francis spoke about marriage and its benefit to children.

“Children have the right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity,” Francis said.



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, November 23, 2014

Multicultural taxi driver and three friends sentenced to a total of 68 years for gang rape of drunk woman passenger in Britain

A taxi driver and his three friends have been sentenced for a total of 68 years over the rape of a drunk passenger.

Tamseel Virk, 42, Najim U-Saeed, 31, Wakar Akhtar, 21, and Azad Raja, 38, were each handed 17 year jail terms for the 'despicable' attack on the vulnerable woman in Bradford, Yorkshire.

A judge heard how taxi driver Virk picked up the intoxicated victim after she had been out celebrating a friend's birthday in Leeds.

When she came round, she found Raja was having sex with her - while Akhtar told her he had already had sex with her.

Virk, U-Saeed and Raja were sentenced at Bradford Crown Court. Akhtar was also sentenced but is currently on the run - and is believed to have fled the country after giving evidence, the court heard.

His Honour Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC told the court that the victim had been enjoying herself earlier in the evening of May 25. But she ended up 'coming to her senses on a park bench in another city being raped'.

Describing the victim's experience as a nightmare, he told the three men in the dock: 'This was totally despicable, it was utterly callous, it was a degree of inhuman behaviour hard, even for one such as myself inured to evil, to understand.'

During the two-week trial, in which the men denied conspiracy to rape, the court heard that the teacher had been drunk when she left the party without her bag and was seen at Leeds train station.

The judge said: 'On that day, as was her right, she enjoyed at the birthday party a number of drinks. That is part, gentlemen, of our culture.'

At some point she had got in a taxi to travel to wherever she was staying but had got out again in a confused state - possibly regarding getting her bag back.

It was then, the court heard, that Vick saw her and 'accosted her and secured her in the presence of the cab' according to the judge.

Vick then drove the confused woman from Leeds, West Yorkshire, to Bradford, 11 miles away - and to a destination she had not asked for.

During the journey, the court heard, there were 15 phone calls made between Vick and the other defendants.  'This was four men putting into place an operation to do that which the jury have found,' said Judge Durham Hall, adding that their victim was a young vulnerable woman.

After meeting at a park in Bradford the court heard Akhtar had invited his uncle Raja to 'join in the fun'.

Their victim came to in the early hours of the May 26 being held and being raped by a man.

During the trial, the court heard that U-Saeed then turned up 'too late physically to join in the rape that he had set up'.

Speaking to the court via a video screen the woman spoke briefly to the court to give her victim impact statement.  She told the court that prior to the incident she was a confident independent woman.  'I had been planning to settle down and start and family with my partner of four years.

'Following the 25th [of May] I felt I had the identity and everything I had worked for kicked out of me.'

She added: 'Something so horrific and personal has happened. I do believe I won't let what's happened get the better of me.'

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Snow, said: 'Firstly, I want to praise the courage of the victim in this case, who has had to give evidence during the trial, against the men convicted today.

'These men have been found guilty of a despicable crime against a vulnerable lone female, who was taking a taxi home after a night out.

'Tamseel Virk had collected the victim in Leeds, her intention was to go home.  'Unfortunately Virk realising her vulnerability, sexually assaulted her in his car. 'Following this appalling act, he then arranged with friends to deliver her to them.

'She was then taken to a park in Bradford, miles from where she intended to be dropped off, whilst there she was forced to commit sexual acts on the other males present.

'I have no doubt whatsoever that the events of that night have had a significant and profound effect on the victim.   'We hope that the sentences passed by the courts today will give the victim in this case some comfort and help her to try and now move on with her life.

'We also hope that today's sentence will give victims of similar offences the confidence to come forward and report these matters to our specially trained officers, who will robustly and thoroughly investigate with sensitivity all reports with the aim of securing convictions against offenders.'


Have scientists finally found the 'gay gene'? Major new study of 800 brothers backs claims sexuality is in our genes

A large study of gay brothers has reignited the debate over whether a 'gay gene' exists - and adds to evidence that genes influence men's chances of being homosexual. Some scientists believe several genes might affect sexual orientation.

Researchers who led the new study of nearly 800 gay brothers say their results bolster previous evidence pointing to genes on the X chromosome.

The researchers say they found potential links to male homosexuality in a portion of chromosome X and on chromosome 8, based on an analysis of genetic material in blood or saliva samples from participants.

Chromosome X is one of two human sex chromosomes; the other is chromosome Y, present only in men.

The study authors note that animal research suggests a gene located in one region of chromosome X may contribute to some sexual behavior; it's one of the same regions cited in the new study.

They also found evidence of influence from a gene or genes on a different chromosome.

But the study doesn't identify which of hundreds of genes located in either place might be involved.

Smaller studies seeking genetic links to homosexuality have had mixed results.

The new evidence 'is not proof but it's a pretty good indication' that genes on the two chromosomes have some influence over sexual orientation, said Dr. Alan Sanders, the lead author.

He studies behavioral genetics at North Shore University Health System Research Institute in Evanston, Illinois.

Experts not involved in the study were more skeptical.

Neil Risch, a genetics expert at the University of California, San Francisco, said the data are statistically too weak to demonstrate any genetic link. Risch was involved in a smaller study that found no link between male homosexuality and chromosome X.

Dr. Robert Green, a medical geneticist at Harvard Medical School, called the new study 'intriguing but not in any way conclusive.'

The work was published Monday by the journal Psychological Medicine. The National Institutes of Health paid for the research.

Specific causes of homosexuality are unknown. Some scientists think social, cultural, family and biological factors are involved, while some religious groups consider it an immoral choice.

Study participant Dr. Chad Zawitz, a Chicago physician, called the research 'a giant step forward' toward answering scientific questions about homosexuality and helping reduce the stigma gays often face.  Being gay 'is sort of like having certain eye color or skin color — it's just who you are,' Zawitz said.

'Most heterosexuals I know didn't choose to be heterosexual. It's puzzling to me why people don't understand.'


Biased Anti-Bias Regulations

Anti-bias regulations are sometimes biased and at odds with civil liberties. The Cato Institute’s Walter Olson gives a recent example from a left-leaning region in Spain:

The separatism-minded Spanish region of Catalonia has enacted a law under which “the person accused of homophobic acts will have to prove his innocence, reversing the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.” [El Pais, TheLocal.es] The law includes fines for anti-gay occurrences in the workplace. Advocates defended the shifting of the burden of proof onto the accused to prove innocence as a “positive discrimination measure [that] is already in place for other offenses, such as domestic violence against women, in instances when it is very difficult to prove.” [VilaWeb]

Never mind that European human-rights provisions say that “Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.” People accused of bias are apparently deemed so awful that they can be stripped of universal human-rights protections (as are those accused of domestic violence).

In America, the Education Department is moving in the same direction, although it is doing so without any legislative authorization. Citing federal laws such as Title IX and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, where I used to work, is issuing “Dear Colleague” letters demanding that schools restrict due process and stop being evenhanded in discipline. Its demands are not only reducing the due process rights of accused people, but also are undermining fairness and accuracy in adjudications (and eroding free speech as well).

In the United States, some colleges now operate a two-track system, in terms of the burden of proof. In ordinary offenses, they apply a clear-and-convincing evidence standard, and allow the accused protections like prior disclosure of the evidence against them (and sometimes allow the accused to personally cross-examine the complainant if the accused cannot afford counsel). But in cases of alleged sexual harassment, assault, and gender-related offenses, they apply a meager “preponderance of the evidence” standard, bar any cross-examination by the accused, and often deny the accused meaningful access to the evidence against him needed to prepare a defense.

The Education Department has caused this inequitable result, through a misinterpretation of the federal sex discrimination law Title IX. The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights takes the erroneous position that the clear-and-convincing evidence standard is banned by Title IX, that interim measures against the accused should take place before any finding of guilt, and that adjudications and appeals should be done so quickly and with so little scrutiny of the complaint that basic protections for the accused often become impossible to provide. A White House task force demanded this year that accused people not be able to cross-examine their accusers, even though court rulings occasionally require that opportunity in campus cases like Donohue v. Baker.

I earlier explained why the Education Department’s change in the burden of proof was illegal, and wrongly ignored the notice-and-comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Education Department disregards the fact that, as James Picozzi noted in 1987 in the Yale Law Journal, “Courts, universities, and student defendants all seem to agree that the appropriate standard of proof in student disciplinary cases is one of ‘clear and convincing’ evidence.” (James M. Picozzi, University Disciplinary Process: What’s Fair, What’s Due, and What You Don’t Get, 96 Yale L. J. 2132, 2159 n. 17 (1987)).

The Education Department’s demand for interim measures (against innocent students accused of sexual harassment or assault who have not yet received a disciplinary hearing) is a violation of due process, as I earlier explained in The Daily Caller, and at greater length at this blog.

The Education Department also undermines due-process and equal-protection guarantees through its recent promotion of de facto racial quotas in school suspensions, which misinterpret the federal race-discrimination law Title VI, as I explain at this link.

Such racial quotas violate the Constitution and the court ruling in People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 538 (7th Cir. 1997). They also ignore the fact that student infraction and misbehavior rates vary dramatically by racial group, according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Criminal Justice by John Paul Wright, et al., making any demand for proportional representation in suspensions nonsensical. That study, entitled “Prior Problem Behavior Accounts for the Racial Gap in School Suspensions,” concluded that higher school suspension rates among certain ethnic groups are “completely accounted for” by misbehavior among students in such groups, and not the result of prejudice on the part of teachers or school officials.


The Continuing Assault on American Culture

Last week in Maryland, the Montgomery County school board added its voice to the growing chorus singing the tired refrain that America’s long-held cultural traditions can be dismissed if they do not accommodate everyone. By a 7-1 vote, the board eliminated all religious references such as Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah from their 2015-2016 school calendar.

The move was made following a request from the Muslim community that has lobbied for years to include at least one of two major Muslim holidays, Eid al-Adha or Eid al-Fitr, on the school calendar. Saqib Ali, a former Maryland state delegate and co-chair of the Equality for Eid Coalition, bemoaned the decision, saying, “By stripping the names Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, they have alienated other communities now, and we are no closer to equality.” Muslim leaders were especially interested in raising the status of Eid al-Adha because the holiday falls on the same day as Yom Kippur and they considered the move an important symbolic step.

No doubt. Yet in a predominantly Judeo-Christian nation, the obvious question must be asked: How far should such accommodation go? What about Shinto holidays such as Setsubun-no-hi or Haru Matsuri? Hindu holidays such as Vasant Panchami or Pitr-Paksha? How about the Buddhist holidays of Vesak or Uposatha?

Once our prevailing culture – the one that created the most dynamic nation in the history of the world – is subsumed in a multi-culti stew, shouldn’t everyone be equally accommodated? And if not, don’t we owe the rest of the world an apology for having the temerity to insist that our prevailing American culture prevail in America?

Certainly the American Left thinks so. In fact, our apologist in chief, a.k.a. Barack Obama, has made a regular habit of apologizing for our nation’s shortcomings. Moreover, he has rendered the concept of American exceptionalism meaningless by comparing it to that of other nations. Such nonsense is reminiscent of the leftist-inspired “every kid gets a trophy” mindset that puts showing up on par with genuine achievement, lest anyone’s feelings get hurt.

That would be the same Barack Obama poised to deal the prevailing American culture its biggest body blow in history, unilaterally legalizing millions of illegal aliens. Illegal aliens are urged by the Left to “celebrate their differences” in lieu of assimilation, respecting our border, language, traditions and culture.

And make no mistake: Public schools and odious school boards like the one in Montgomery County are leading the charge. They stand in solidarity with city councils in Seattle and Minneapolis that scrapped Columbus Day in favor of “Indigenous People’s Day,” part of an effort to remind Americans about “social justice,” and what Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant called the “ongoing marginalization, discrimination and poverty that indigenous communities face to this day.”

Again, such cultural assaults are nothing new. In 2012, students at Capital High School (CHS) in Charleston, West Virginia, were forced to stand during the Black National Anthem (Lift Every Voice and Sing), played every morning following the true National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. They were forced to do so until Capital High School principal Clinton Giles relented following pressure from parents. One is left to wonder whether anyone ever challenged the rank separatism a different national anthem for black children represents.

Not likely. As with every assault on America’s prevailing culture, those who dare to object are routinely dismissed as bigots, racists, nativists, etc. by those who believe the only remaining cultural imperative is political correctness.

That political correctness has reached absurd levels in our nation’s schools. In 2013, Hunter Spanjer, a three-year-old deaf boy in Lincoln, Nebraska, was bullied by school officials to change his name, because the Sign Exact English (S.E.E.) for “Hunter” looks like a gun, violating the school’s zero-tolerance policy. Hunter was joined by seven-year-old Josh Welch, a Baltimore student suspended for chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a pistol, representing yet another affront to the leftist doyens who have willingly joined the ranks of their fellow leftists, all of whom are determined to “transform the United States of America” into a socialist utopia.

It is a socialist utopia that requires dismantling our prevailing culture, brick by brick. One that increasingly characterizes the 80% of Americans who believe Judeo-Christian values constitute the foundations of American culture as out of touch at best, or at worst, as our illustrious president once put it, “bitter clingers” who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

“It is about equity,” said Montgomery County school board member Rebecca Smondrowski, who introduced the resolution to eliminate the holiday calendar references. “I made the motion because, if we are closing for operational reasons, then there should be no need to make reference to religion. That is the most equitable solution that I could see while recognizing that we need to be seriously addressing the criteria for how these things are decided in the future.”

Bet your life those criteria won’t include any deference for our prevailing Judeo-Christian culture. As far as the Left is concerned, such deference requires an offsetting accommodation – or an abject apology.


New Air Force Rules Cleared for Takeoff

Veterans' Day may have been Tuesday, but it looks like the Air Force has a belated offering: more clarity in the debate over religious liberty. For two years, our friends in Congress have been calling on the branch to overhaul its language and better protect the freedoms our fliers are fighting to protect. Based on the latest news, it looks like the message is finally getting through to Air Force leaders, who just released a new document that, we hope, is a step in the right direction on an issue that should concern every American. In particular, the Air Force took aim at AFI 1-1, Sections 2.11 and 2.12, softening the tone that was immediately hostile to faith.

Now, under the new regulation, the branch has done away with the vague and confusing language, which shackled any Air Force leader from expressing their religious beliefs – even in an unofficial capacity. Several of our allies on the Hill, including House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Dr. John Fleming (R-La.), and Randy Forbes (R-Va.), have repeatedly called on the Air Force to revise their rules. Of course, we’ll only know what this means practically when leaders implement it.

“Congress made it clear in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that the Department of Defense needs to do more to protect the freedom of our service members to practice and express their religious beliefs while serving our country,” Sen. Lee said. “As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has worked for these protections, I am encouraged to see the Air Force reassessing their own standards to bring them closer to current law. I hope that these new regulations will be implemented with adherence to Congress’s intent of protecting the constitutional rights of Airmen.”

To nudge the branch along, Rep. Lamborn had offered an amendment to the Defense bill calling on the Pentagon and Air Force to revise their regulations on religious liberty. Yesterday, he was on “Washington Watch” to talk to me about these developments. (To listen, click here.) These brave men and women risk their lives to defend America – the least we can do is provide them the clarity and support their faith deserves.



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, November 21, 2014

Three multiculturalists banned from approaching girls in Britain

A High Court judge has ruled that three men who are legally banned from approaching young girls following the alleged sexual exploitation of a child can be named following criticism that anonymity orders could harm the justice process.

Ten men received short-term injunctions ordering them not to approach in public places "any female under 18" with whom they are not personally associated.

The orders against three of the men, all from the Birmingham area, have been made final. They are: Omar Ahmed, 27, from Yardley, Mohammed Anjam, 31, from Aston, and Sajid Hussain, 40, from Sparkhill.

The court heard that Mr Ahmed, 27, who lives with his parents, brother and two sisters in Yardley, had been deemed at risk of self harm by mental health professionals.

He lost his delivery job when he was arrested as his car was confiscated and receives job seekers allowance.

Mr Anjam lives alone and occasionally works in one of a number of newsagents that his family own.

He also has a zero hours contract with Domino's Pizza and a "considerable history" of offending.

The court heard that he would be "embarrassed" if his identity was made public and was concerned about the impact on his family, particularly his mother who is in ill health.

The orders were issued by Mr Justice Keehan after a vulnerable teenager was found at a hotel with different men at different times, prompting concerns from social workers and police.

Now the judge has ruled the men subjected to final orders could be identified, suggesting that it was their own alleged "reprehensible conduct" that led them to this position.

The judge said the case involved the "alleged sexual exploitation of a young person by a number of men considerably older than her" and that those seeking to protect their own identities were doing so for their own benefit.

He said: "At the current time there can be no greater public interest in these proceedings. There is a high public interest in the public having a right to know what steps the court has taken to afford protection to the young person in this case and other people in the locality."

He said he had "no doubt" that public identification of the men would cause "embarrassment to them and their families and would no doubt cause considerable distress".

He said that while some individuals may try to "interfere" with them or assault them, the risk was unknown and that there was no evidence to suggest their lives could be put at risk.

He said his "clear decision" was that those against whom final injunctive orders had been made could be identified.

West Midlands Police have made arrests in the case, while Birmingham social services bosses, who have responsibility for the girl, are taking civil court litigation. However, none of the men has been charged with a criminal offence.

Sarah Simcock, for the police, argued that the men should not be named as it could put the personal safety of both them and their families at risk.

"There is a risk of retribution, vigilantism and targeting in the nature of that which happened in Rotherham," she told the court.

"There will be community tension, there will be concerns and a very real risk of retribution by groups such as the EDL."

She warned that members of the public could do their own "research and reporting" on social media, which is largely unregulated, and that people could also be misidentified.

However, the judge said there was a "very strong public interest" in naming the men.

Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP who helped expose the grooming of white teenage girls by men from a Pakistani background in Rochdale, last month questioned the decision to protect their identities: "Why should it be kept a secret?" he asked.

"If these men have to be kept away from girls in public places, that's pretty serious stuff."

Publishing their names would mean girls would know to avoid the men, and could "encourage others to come forward and share their knowledge", he argued last month.

The court had previously heard that the teenager was found in a hotel room with one of the men. He was arrested before being released on bail pending further investigations.

The man said he believed the girl to be 19 and was not aware she was in local authority care. He told the judge he had "done nothing wrong".

Lorna Meyer QC, for Birmingham City Council, said that in August the girl was found at a hotel with three other men, after she had gone "missing". Two of the men appeared before the judge, saying they had "done nothing".

Two other men were found in a car in which the vulnerable teenager had previously been a passenger, the court heard.


Another tragedy brought on by Britain's "know-it-all" social workers

In his sentencing remarks at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Sweeney addressed the defendant thus: “Tania Clarence, you are now aged 43, and are of previous good character.”

That plain, factual statement had a depth charge of unimaginable sorrow because this was no ordinary criminal. For life had dealt Tania Clarence a series of terrible blows. After her daughter, Taya, was born in 2006, Tania suffered several miscarriages before giving birth to Olivia in June 2009. The happiness of Tania and her husband Gary seemed complete when, soon after, she fell pregnant with twin boys. Max and Ben were born prematurely at 26 weeks while the family was on holiday in Portugal in July 2010. The babies remained in intensive care for four months until they were finally allowed to return to the Clarences’ Wandsworth home in November.

That’s a hell of a strain for any parent to cope with. As if things weren’t difficult enough, in August 2010, while the twins were still in hospital, it was discovered that Olivia Clarence suffered from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 2, or “floppy baby” syndrome – a genetic disorder that leads to muscle-wasting and considerably reduced life expectancy. Most children with SMA die by their early teens.

Three months later, the shellshocked Clarences were told that Max and Ben also had SMA. To cope with one profoundly disabled infant is a challenge. Tania Clarence, a woman who had suffered depressive episodes throughout her life and had a family history of suicide, now had to deal with four children under the age of four, three of whom had a life-limiting condition that meant they would never feed themselves or control their movements.

All the evidence suggests that Gary and Tania carried their beloved burden with indefatigable courage. They moved to Surrey and borrowed heavily to equip their new house with everything necessary to make the children’s lives as easy as possible. The Clarences preferred to put quality of life for their babies before operations and countless painful medical interventions, which they deemed unnecessary, given the circumstances. The professionals disagreed. There were distressing clashes with doctors and social services. In one crisis, the Clarences were accused unfairly of tampering with Olivia’s medical equipment. Then, Tania’s rock, social worker Suzie Holley, was taken off the case and replaced with a novice because Kingston Social Services, in their infinite wisdom, decided that Miss Holley had got “too close” to Mrs Clarence.

Just imagine what a hammer blow that was to a woman struggling to cope day-to-day while her brain was still clanging with the death sentence her three babies were living under. Soon after, on Easter Tuesday, while Gary was away with their eldest child, Tania took a nappy and smothered Ben and Max and then Olivia, before attempting suicide. In a note for their nanny, she explained that she had to kill the children as well as herself because Gary would never be able to cope with them on his own.

It’s the kind of warped maternal logic – love gone mad – which makes perfect sense to someone who is mentally ill. In a heartbreaking note to her husband, Tania said that the only thing that was giving her the strength to kill “Liv” was the thought that Max and Ben were already playing in Heaven as they had never been able to play before.

It is, as the judge remarked, the saddest story he had ever come across. And yet, even amid the horror, there are small things to be grateful for. There was no witchhunt of Tania Clarence. A public, which is far better educated about depression than it was even a few years ago, grasped from the start that a doting mother who had done that to her darling children was to be pitied, not reviled. Similarly, the prosecution at Tania’s trial accepted her plea of guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, due to being mentally ill. Lord Justice Sweeney, who could have awarded Mrs Clarence a prison sentence, elected instead for the humane option of a hospital order, and to have Tania confined for her own safety under the Mental Health Act.

Questions were also raised about the culpability of the authorities that were supposed to be supporting the family, not adding to their woes. The judge noted that Tania Clarence had barely slept in the months before she killed her children because of the “increasing distress” of watching Ben, Max and Olivia’s treatment by doctors.

Altogether, the quality of mercy was palpable throughout the case. As the judge told the sobbing woman in the dock: “The prosecution accepts that you loved all four of your children – indeed, there is a substantial body of evidence that they were happy and well looked after – and that you were grief-stricken that Olivia, Max and Ben were destined to die early and before you.”

Compare and contrast with the horrendous treatment that befell Sally Clark, another woman of previously good character, who in 1999 was hounded and wrongfully jailed for the “murder” of her two cot-death babies. Sally’s depression was mistaken for heartlessness, her inability to feel anything for cold indifference. We knew no better back then.

Gary Clarence has said he will stand by his wife on “the long road ahead”. Good man. He must have gone through such a maelstrom of feelings when he learned what she had done to the children, yet he is clear that his wife loved them but was “overwhelmed by depression because of the constant pressures of caring for them”.

Gary says lessons need to be learned from his wife’s story of “dedication and love which turned to despair and utter hopelessness”. They certainly do. One lesson is for the official experts in disabled children who think they know better than the parents who care for those children 24/7. The other lesson is that mental illness is every bit as serious as the physical kind and our society is more civilised for understanding that.

The traditional business of the law is justice balanced with mercy. In the case of Tania Clarence, however, there was no need for balance. Mercy was the justest thing of all.


Capt. Ron Johnson: Ferguson Community 'Ready to Show Their Character'

Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, left

Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol says he expects protests to erupt in Ferguson, Missouri, regardless of whether a grand jury indicts Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

"Well, I think we have got a community that's ready to show their character," Johnson told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly Tuesday night.

Johnson said police have met with several groups and individuals, and people "definitely will be out protesting whatever the decision is." Even if the police officer is indicted, some protesters will still be out there demanding "change," he said.

Although many out-of-town protesters have gone home in recent weeks, "We do expect that they will come back. Actual numbers I can't give. But we did have a large number of out-of-town protesters that came into the community." Johnson said those protesters are now returning in buses, vans, and by the carload.

And they are "very organized."

One group of protesters, the "Don't Shoot Coalition," has presented police with 19 "proposed rules for engagement," a bill of rights for protesters and a list of don'ts for police.

Number 1 is "the preservation of life."

Number 3 demands 48 hours advance notice before the grand jury decision is announced.

Number 7 says police will "wear only the attire minimally required for their safety."

Number 11 says police will respect "safe houses" as "sacred ground" for protesters.

Number 14 says, "police commanders will allow protests to take and occupy larger and more disruptive spaces than would normally be tolerated, and will allow occupation of those spaces for longer periods of time than would normally be tolerated."

Number 15 demands that police "be tolerant of more minor lawbreaking (such as thrown water bottles) when deciding whether to escalate the use of force."

Amazingly, Johnson told O'Reilly that there are "about 12 points" of the 19-point manifesto "that we agree with."

But Johnson also said police will not tolerate any violence: "And we're not going to let any group come in and take away the constitutional rights of protesters or hurt our business, the safety of our citizens. Any group can come in, and if they are peaceful, then they can be here and they won't have any issue with law enforcement."

The National Guard will help police "protect our businesses," Johnson said. "They are actually a resource for us. To make sure we...have the proper resources to make sure that the public is safe and the businesses are maintained, and the constitutional rights are maintained. So, they are a resource that we will use as needed.

"But, for the most part -- for all the part, I guess -- they will be used to help make sure our businesses remain secure."

Meanwhile, on Sean Hannity's show, Derk Brown, the founder of "Justice for Mike Brown" said point-blank, "I don't want justice for the officer."

"You don't want justice for the officer?" Hannity repeated.

"What he did was wrong," Brown replied.


We can sympathise with British voters who back Ukip as their only way of delivering a howl of protest at the political elite’s failure over immigration

Today, voters go to the polls in the Rochester and Strood by-election. If there was any doubt about Ukip’s impending victory, this has almost certainly been dispelled by two shocking news items this week.

First, it has been revealed that Britain is granting its precious citizenship to more immigrants than any other EU nation: 193,000 passports dispensed like Smarties in 2012 alone, a total of 2.1 million since this century began.

Further statistics show that 1.3 per cent of all Eastern Europeans, more than a million in all, now live in Britain, and arrivals show no sign of abatement.

This country is the destination of choice for a host of Poles, Romanians and people from the Baltic republics fleeing from their own struggling economies to pitch camp in prospering Kent or Essex, Swindon or Slough, or above all London.

Three-quarters of the British people think this is a terrible idea, and most of our politicians now claim they agree. But it is self-evident that the Coalition Government’s repeated promises to stem EU immigration have proved worthless.

Even those of us who refuse to regard Nigel Farage as a serious or credible figure sympathise with voters — especially those living in areas with high densities of immigrants — who back Ukip at the ballot box as their only means of delivering a howl of protest about what successive governments have allowed to happen to Britain.

Ministers resort to weasel words, suggesting that reality is not as bad as MigrationWatch UK, the most authoritative monitor, reports; or that new restrictions will start cutting the intake some time soon.

But the merest common sense shows that if two million immigrants have been given British passports since 2000, and with our population predicted to grow by one-third in the lifetimes of our children, immigration is totally and perhaps irretrievably out of control.

There are a number of causes. The first is flattering: Britain is seen as a wonderful place to live. Nobody with a choice wants to make a new life in rich but dreary Germany; or France, a political and economic basket case; or Italy, which is in even worse shape.

Another reason for the vast influx here is that our judges and bureaucracies are the most sympathetic in the world to hard-luck cases.

In the remote bush of Somalia and Ethiopia, people hear that if they can somehow make their way by plane, boat or container lorry past Customs at Dover, they are assured of cash and a safe haven.

No other nation’s officials or judicial machine treat foreign suppliants so generously, not least through their view of human rights entitlements.

Our judges, from the highest in the land downwards, interpret their duty to newcomers with a generosity that betrays a more important responsibility - to the British people.

No other member of the EU enforces its regulations so rigidly, and with so little heed for our society’s interests against those of the Union as a whole.

The fact is that the EU’s rules allowing free movement of populations can only work if there exists a rough equilibrium of economic and social conditions in all member states.

There is no problem if as many British people want to live in Estonia as Estonians want to come here; or if thousands of Mancunians yearn to live in Provence under the benign rule of President Francois Hollande.

As it is, however, Hollande’s fellow countrymen are fleeing in such numbers that at our local playground in West London one scarcely hears English spoken.

In an echo of our parents’ wartime experience of such refugees, I dub them the ‘Free French’. But it is no longer funny to make jokes about Polish plumbers or Latvian waiters, because they are here in such crazy numbers.

One in every 60 Poles and one in every 30 Latvians is not in Poland or Latvia, but in Britain.

Almost all the arguments deployed by fanatical Europeans to make this seem good news are fallacious. Overwhelming evidence shows that the beneficiaries of open borders are not host countries, but immigrants.

Per capita GDP in the host nation scarcely increases; new arrivals age too fast to help much with paying the pensions of older Britons.

Housing, schools, the NHS, the welfare system and indeed mere space in this crowded island are subjected to stresses that are immense, and verge on the intolerable.

On Tuesday, another grotesque twist to the immigration debate was provided by Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary and wife of the equally calamitous Ed Balls.

She had the effrontery to deliver a big speech denouncing the failure of immigration control under David Cameron’s Government. This came from a woman who was herself a member of the Labour government which opened the floodgates.

Tony Blair and his colleagues deliberately set themselves to ‘change the character of Britain for ever’. A key element in their strategy was to promote a vast influx of newcomers, most of whom could confidently be expected to vote Labour.

They lied through their teeth about the implications of their policies, and succeeded so well that more than two million immigrants entered this country between 1997 and 2010.

According to the latest projections, more than one third of new households will be a result of immigration.

The percentage of white British people living here is predicted to fall to 67 per cent by 2051, and to 50 per cent by the end of this century.

In 1998, just after Blair took power, the Office for National Statistics projected the UK population to peak at 65 million in 2051, then slowly fall. It is now expected to reach 80 million by 2050, 85 million by 2093.

That is the scale of the betrayal of the British people by the party of Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband.

Even now, though she claimed this week to recognise the scale of public dismay at what has happened and continues to happen, Cooper offers no substantial remedy, save to waffle that she wants to see ‘fair immigration’, whatever that may be.

She also promises ‘smarter controls’, imposed by an additional 1,000 border guards. Just as most of the heartless robots who administer Britain’s airport security nowadays seem to be Bulgarian, so presumably Labour’s new border guards will be Polish.

Why do I jest? None of this is remotely comic, least of all if one is among millions of British people who live amid large immigrant communities of all races and colours.

These Britons are furiously angry, because neither they nor the rest of Old Britain has ever been given a chance to endorse or veto the drastic change in our society, imposed by a monstrously arrogant political class.

Give Cameron and Theresa May their due: unlike Yvette Cooper and her party - and for that matter Nick Clegg and his Lib Dem rabble of rabbits - the Tories sincerely want to curb immigration, even if they have thus far failed to do so.

But all our politicians will do well to heed the message coming from electorates across the Western world: voters are sick of being told lies on issues about which they care passionately.

The reality is there in the statistics about Britain’s crazy passport giveaway and the huge tribe of EU migrants nesting here: our society is being wrenched askew in ways most British people do not want.

I have always called myself a European, and indeed I still cherish hopes that this country will not leave the EU — assuming that an in/out referendum is held in 2017 — because I am fearful of the economic consequences.

But, given the crying need for more honesty in the immigration debate, it seems essential to acknowledge that it is doubtful whether Britain can regain control of its borders, and limit its soaring population, while remaining within the Union.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it plain that she will not entertain Cameron’s plea for a review of the core EU policy of unrestricted movement of populations.

More than that, even if Cameron wins next May’s General Election and remains Prime Minister, it is unlikely he will thereafter be able to secure a meaningful renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership, or for that matter of the Union’s overall treaty provisions.

Thus, it is plausible that the British people will find themselves facing a choice towards the end of this decade: vote for this country to remain a member of the EU, at the cost of accepting an annual increase in our population of several hundred thousand people; or regain some powers to refuse entry to immigrants, at the cost of a terminal showdown with our EU partners.

I am the first to accept that immigration is a fiendishly problematic issue.

We should acknowledge that, while globalisation has shrunk the world in a fashion that has brought us many benefits, above all economic, it has also created unprecedented difficulties about controlling movements of people.

We claim to cherish the ideal of freedom, but some manifestations of freedom - for instance, the choice to live somewhere other than one’s country of origin, now being embraced by tens of millions - poses big difficulties and dilemmas for the most desirable locations on the planet, Britain prominent among them.

If Ukip formed a government, I suggest that it would encounter just as many difficulties in controlling immigration as the present administration, unless we all resigned ourselves to living in an island fortress under semi-siege conditions.

None of these cautionary words weaken the indictment against the failures and deceits of recent governments in making and implementing immigration policy.

Scarcely a single front-bench politician of any party has come clean with the British people about what has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen to our island, as unprecedented numbers of newcomers crowd our airports and cities.

I hope desperately that come next May, voters will not allow support for Nigel Farage’s stand against immigration to put Ed Miliband into Downing Street.

But who can blame the people of Rochester and Strood for voting Ukip today? The Prime Minister has used a crassly juvenile phrase about wanting to see defector Mark Reckless’s supposedly overweight bottom removed from the green benches of the House of Commons.

In truth, however, it is the fat bottoms of all established politicians, including himself, into which voters yearn to jab an enormous pin, and why should they not do so?

The failure to control immigration is a disgrace to all those who have governed us through the past generation. It is scarcely surprising that they should be punished for it at the polls.


7th Circuit Reverses Decision Stripping Away Clergy Tax Housing Allowance

Today Family Research Council commends the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit for reversing a decision by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb that declared the clergy housing tax allowance unconstitutional. Family Research Council's "Watchmen on the Wall" pastors’ network is composed of over 40,000 churches from across the country.

On behalf of the over 40,000 pastors who make up our church network, we welcome today's appellate decision striking down Judge Crabb's ruling stripping away pastors' tax-free housing allowance. We commend the 7th Circuit for holding accountable a judge whose name became virtually synonymous with religious harassment when she tried to strike down the National Day of Prayer as unconstitutional four years ago.

Going back to Patrick Henry in 1785, society has tried to relieve the clergy's housing burden because of the tremendous social benefits churches offer the culture and because so many clergy, despite their exceptional educations, receive only modest salaries.

Through charitable work for the homeless, substance abuse, marriage counseling, adoption, and other initiatives, the church's outreach helps treat a lot of the social ills that otherwise would become the burden of taxpayers and the federal government. What's more, the Supreme Court has already made it clear that these sorts of tax laws don't injury anyone-which is why Judge Crabb's decision ended the same way as her last attack on religion: in embarrassment.



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