Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Another murder by a rejected multiculturalist

A man 'motivated by jealousy' and 'out for revenge' stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death just days after she made a statement in which she said she was petrified of him, a court heard.

Linah Keza, 29, was stabbed to death after David Gikawa, 39, used a key she gave him to sneak into her flat at 4.20am before launching into a 'brutal stabbing'. the Old Bailey was told.

The cause of death was given as stab wounds to the chest, the jury heard.

Gikawa, 39, denies murdering Ms Keza while she was with her young child at her flat in Leyton, east London on July 31 last year.

He used to live with Ms Keza in the flat, but that she had kicked him out the night before and was planning to change the locks, prosecutors said.

Jurors later heard from a witness how Ms Keza screamed and begged a neighbour to kick the door down as she was stabbed to death, while her young daughter shouted ‘leave my mummy alone’.

The 'systems in place failed to prevent' the death of Ms Keza, who had been in contact with both the police and social services, Peter Finnigan QC, prosecuting, told the court.

Mr Finnigan said Gikawa drove from a bar where he had been drinking with friends to Ms Keza's flat where the 'brutal stabbing' took place.

The incident was described by neighbour Gideon Bello, who told the court he went to investigate after hearing the shouts from the flat.

He told how he knocked on the door after hearing a young girl saying: 'Leave my mummy alone'.

Mr Bello said he then heard Ms Keza shouting: 'Please kick down the door, please kick down the door.'

He said: ‘[Gikawa] was holding her with his arm around her neck. I saw his hand moving around as if he was hitting her.

He then told how a blood-stained Gikawa ran away after he challenged him.

Mr Finnigan earlier said the victim wanted to start afresh and be 'free from the fear, threats and control'.

But, he said, Gikawa was 'determined to prevent it' claimed he would rather kill Ms Keza and himself than see her go out with another person.

Characterising the relationship, Mr Finnigan said: ‘He had both used and threatened violence and even death. That was his way of maintaining or controlling the relationship and to some extend he succeed.

‘Linah found it difficult to break away from him. Latterly, as his behaviour degenerated and threats became worse she took increasing action against him to leave her alone.’

Their relationship, which began after they met in 2009, had been 'turbulent from an early stage' and Gikawa had a 'darker side', the court heard.

Mr Finnigan said: 'He had in the past attacked her and beaten her.'

The jury was told about one incident when a knife was allegedly put inside Ms Keza's mouth.

Police were called but she did not want to go to court and the case was dropped, the jury heard.

Mr Finnigan said that just a few days before her death Ms Keza sought a non-molestation order from the court. He then read from the witness statement she gave.

'Very controlling': Ms Keza wrote in her statement how Gikawa had attacked her before. He allegedly sneaked into her flat - to which he still had keys - at around 4am and stabbed her

It said Gikawa was 'very controlling' and she said she could not speak to her family because they would 'disown' her if they knew she was pregnant before being married.

Reading from the statement, Mr Finnigan said: 'I'm petrified of him. I don't want a life of violence any more. I just want to live a safe life.'

The statement also told how in April 2011 Gikawa allegedly attacked her at his home in Edmonton, north London, after she found out he had been cheating on him with another woman.

‘He pushed me on the bed, he pushed the pillow on to my head and punched the pillow several times,’ she wrote.

The jury heard that the police were called on July 29 - two days before Ms Keza's death - three times.

Mr Finnigan said that police said during a conversation with them Ms Keza alleged that Gikawa 'carries a kitchen knife that he had sharpened'.

Gikawa, of Leyton, East London, denies murder. [Africans very rarely admit guilt, even when it is obvious]. The trial continues.


Mere abuse won't stop voters backing Ukip

This paper holds no brief for Ukip [a British patriotic party], whose leaders we would shrink from trusting with the levers of power. The party also appears to attract more than its fair share of candidates with eccentric and, in some cases, obnoxious views.

But when polls show Nigel Farage’s supporters streaking ahead of Labour and the Conservatives, while trampling the Lib Dems into dust, isn’t it time for the mainstream parties to wake up to what’s happening in modern politics?

To date, their sole line of attack has been to seek out and heap abuse on mavericks in Ukip’s ranks.

Indeed, this was the approach adopted yesterday by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, a normally mildly-spoken Cameron ally, who condemned the offensive views of a local council candidate as ‘absolutely disgusting’, ‘divisive’ and ‘un-British’.

But if the idea is to tarnish Mr Farage’s whole party with guilt by association, it clearly isn’t working.

With 31 per cent now saying they’ll vote Ukip in the euro-elections – against 28 per cent for Labour, 19 per cent for the Tories and 9 per cent for the Lib Dems – it seems that the more the party is insulted, the stronger its support grows.

Are Mr Hunt and Co trying to suggest that almost a third of the population are disgusting, divisive and un-British?

On the contrary, the overwhelming majority of Ukip supporters are decent people, heartily fed up with having their views ignored by the political class.

If they want to regain lost ground, the mainstream parties should try heeding voters’ wishes on such issues as uncontrolled immigration, human rights madness and the relentless surrender of our sovereignty to Brussels.

Abuse alone, however merited in individual cases, just sounds like panic.


China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years

It is said to be China's biggest church and on Easter Sunday thousands of worshippers will flock to this Asian mega-temple to pledge their allegiance – not to the Communist Party, but to the Cross.

The 5,000-capacity Liushi church, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster Abbey and a 206ft crucifix that can be seen for miles around, opened last year with one theologian declaring it a "miracle that such a small town was able to build such a grand church".

The £8 million building is also one of the most visible symbols of Communist China's breakneck conversion as it evolves into one of the largest Christian congregations on earth.

"It is a wonderful thing to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It gives us great confidence," beamed Jin Hongxin, a 40-year-old visitor who was admiring the golden cross above Liushi's altar in the lead up to Holy Week.

"If everyone in China believed in Jesus then we would have no more need for police stations. There would be no more bad people and therefore no more crime," she added.

Officially, the People's Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.

Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.

Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.

"By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon," said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.

"It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change."

China's Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre's Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.

By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

"Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this," Prof Yang said. "It's ironic – they didn't. They actually failed completely."

Like many Chinese churches, the church in the town of Liushi, 200 miles south of Shanghai in Zhejiang province, has had a turbulent history.

It was founded in 1886 after William Edward Soothill, a Yorkshire-born missionary and future Oxford University professor, began evangelising local communities.

But by the late 1950s, as the region was engulfed by Mao's violent anti-Christian campaigns, it was forced to close.

Liushi remained shut throughout the decade of the Cultural Revolution that began in 1966, as places of worship were destroyed across the country.

Since it reopened in 1978 its congregation has gone from strength to strength as part of China's officially sanctioned Christian church – along with thousands of others that have accepted Communist Party oversight in return for being allowed to worship.

Today it has 2,600 regular churchgoers and holds up to 70 baptisms each year, according to Shi Xiaoli, its 27-year-old preacher. The parish's revival reached a crescendo last year with the opening of its new 1,500ft mega-church, reputedly the biggest in mainland China.

"Our old church was small and hard to find," said Ms Shi. "There wasn't room in the old building for all the followers, especially at Christmas and at Easter. The new one is big and eye-catching."

The Liushi church is not alone. From Yunnan province in China's balmy southwest to Liaoning in its industrial northeast, congregations are booming and more Chinese are thought to attend Sunday services each week than do Christians across the whole of Europe.

A recent study found that online searches for the words "Christian Congregation" and "Jesus" far outnumbered those for "The Communist Party" and "Xi Jinping", China's president.

Among China's Protestants are also many millions who worship at illegal underground "house churches", which hold unsupervised services – often in people's homes – in an attempt to evade the prying eyes of the Communist Party.

Such churches are mostly behind China's embryonic missionary movement – a reversal of roles after the country was for centuries the target of foreign missionaries. Now it is starting to send its own missionaries abroad, notably into North Korea, in search of souls.

"We want to help and it is easier for us than for British, South Korean or American missionaries," said one underground church leader in north China who asked not to be named.

The new spread of Christianity has the Communist Party scratching its head.

"The child suddenly grew up and the parents don't know how to deal with the adult," the preacher, who is from China's illegal house-church movement, said.

Some officials argue that religious groups can provide social services the government cannot, while simultaneously helping reverse a growing moral crisis in a land where cash, not Communism, has now become king.

They appear to agree with David Cameron, the British prime minister, who said last week that Christianity could help boost Britain's "spiritual, physical and moral" state.

Ms Shi, Liushi's preacher, who is careful to describe her church as "patriotic", said: "We have two motivations: one is our gospel mission and the other is serving society. Christianity can also play a role in maintaining peace and stability in society. Without God, people can do as they please."

Yet others within China's leadership worry about how the religious landscape might shape its political future, and its possible impact on the Communist Party's grip on power, despite the clause in the country's 1982 constitution that guarantees citizens the right to engage in "normal religious activities".

As a result, a close watch is still kept on churchgoers, and preachers are routinely monitored to ensure their sermons do not diverge from what the Party considers acceptable.

In Liushi church a closed circuit television camera hangs from the ceiling, directly in front of the lectern.

"They want the pastor to preach in a Communist way. They want to train people to practice in a Communist way," said the house-church preacher, who said state churches often shunned potentially subversive sections of the Bible. The Old Testament book in which the exiled Daniel refuses to obey orders to worship the king rather than his own god is seen as "very dangerous", the preacher added.

Such fears may not be entirely unwarranted. Christians' growing power was on show earlier this month when thousands flocked to defend a church in Wenzhou, a city known as the "Jerusalem of the East", after government threats to demolish it. Faced with the congregation's very public show of resistance, officials appear to have backed away from their plans, negotiating a compromise with church leaders.

"They do not trust the church, but they have to tolerate or accept it because the growth is there," said the church leader. "The number of Christians is growing – they cannot fight it. They do not want the 70 million Christians to be their enemy."

The underground leader church leader said many government officials viewed religion as "a sickness" that needed curing, and Prof Yang agreed there was a potential threat.

The Communist Party was "still not sure if Christianity would become an opposition political force" and feared it could be used by "Western forces to overthrow the Communist political system", he said.

Churches were likely to face an increasingly "intense" struggle over coming decade as the Communist Party sought to stifle Christianity's rise, he predicted.

"There are people in the government who are trying to control the church. I think they are making the last attempt to do that."


A weak establishment is letting Islamists threaten British freedoms

Sunday is Easter Day, but the pupils of 25 or so state schools in Birmingham probably do not know what that means for Christians. Argument rages about Islamist infiltration of these schools, and the exclusion of non-Muslim beliefs that results. There is an apparent plot by Muslim extremists to get their people into school governorships and install like-minded heads. This week, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, boldly appointed Peter Clarke, a former senior policeman, as his commissioner to look into the whole thing.

As always with stories about Islam in Britain, the details are incredibly opaque, although The Telegraph’s Andrew Gilligan is getting us closer to the truth. Some say that the secret “Trojan Horse” document, which last month revealed the supposed plot, is a forgery. Many of the charges levelled at Tahir Alam, the Islamist chairman of governors of Park View Academy, the school at the centre of the row, are anonymous. In the past six months, five of the non-Muslim heads in schools linked to the alleged plot have retired, but terms and conditions seem to prevent them from speaking. The (Muslim) Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, Khalid Mahmood, has spoken up courageously about what he believes is happening, but he is almost unique. He tells me that most of the many worried (chiefly Muslim) parents who have complained do not want to be identified. They are frightened.

If you stand back and think about it, this fear and confusion are in themselves extraordinary. Here we are in a 21st-century Britain that constantly congratulates itself on its tolerance and openness, and likes to sanctify “whistleblowers”, yet it is seriously difficult to know what on earth is happening to the education of hundreds of children in our second-biggest city.

The schools in question are mainstream, secular, taxpayer-funded state schools, but even asking about them provokes outrage. It is alleged, for instance, that at Park View, speeches in favour of the now-dead al-Qaeda ideologue of terrorism, Anwar al-Awlaki, have been made. Yet there is tremendous institutional resistance to investigating. Imagine what would happen if an authority figure in a predominantly white state school were accused of praising, say, Goebbels in assembly. Surely the truth would out pretty quickly.

But if you look at the reaction to Mr Gove’s intervention from those in power in Birmingham, you see nothing but surly resistance. Mark Rogers, the new chief executive of the council, has said, before he can really know, that there is no plot. It is just a matter, he thinks, of “new communities” raising “legitimate questions” about what they want for their children. He manages to discuss the entire issue without using the word “Muslim” once, a truly heroic piece of evasion.

The Labour council leader, the archetypally named Sir Albert Bore, shakes his head about Mr Gove creating “a growing community divide” by sending in Mr Clarke. He thinks that the divide will appear if “this process is interpreted to be one which is about Islamification”. But suppose Islamification does turn out to be the nub of the problem, must Mr Clarke fall silent to ensure that Sir Albert can have a relatively quiet life?

Most egregious is Chris Sims, chief constable of the West Midlands Police. You would think that a policeman would welcome the judgment of an ex-colleague, but Mr Sims appears to be doing whatever he can to put Mr Clarke off. He says Mr Clarke’s appointment is “desperately unfortunate” because “people will inevitably draw unwarranted conclusions from his former role as national coordinator for counter-terrorism”. Of course they will, if a chief constable tells them to do so.

“I am a strong supporter of open and inclusive education for all children in Birmingham,” he adds. I don’t really see why we need a policeman’s opinion about schools policy, but since Mr Sims offers his, why does he not support attempts to make sure that the open and inclusive education he loves is a reality in Birmingham, rather than just a phrase?

The answer lies in the word “community”. It is pleasingly vague, and constantly deployed wherever issues of race or religion are raised. The “community” will resent this, we are told; the “community” will feel threatened by that. “Community” is always cited as a reason for not enforcing the laws of the land. Two key questions are not asked. The first is: “Is it right that public policy in matters like schools or policing should be built round particular religious or ethnic groups, rather than the rights of all citizens?” The second is: “When you speak of the community here, do you know what you are talking about?”

In the Birmingham case, it seems we are dealing with a war within Islam, between the more articulate, extreme and mysteriously well-funded Salafists (or Wahhabis) and the quieter, more traditional and numerous Barelvis. One must doubt whether Mr Rogers, Sir Albert and Mr Sims know their way round these internal Muslim disputes, yet they appear confidently to identify with the Salafists as “community” representatives. In the jargon, they are looking for “credible partners”.

Like a lot of people who are frightened by things they do not understand, they seem instinctively to want to hug closest those who might be nastiest. The people who suffer most from such policies are those whom an open society ought to cherish – Muslims who, while holding to their faith, do not want to have their lives ruled by extreme clerical leaders with a political agenda. In this dispute, the few such people – parents at the schools affected – who do dare to speak, talk straightforwardly of wanting their children to have a normal British education. It is, to reapply Mr Sims’s phrase, “desperately unfortunate” that the local, mainly white establishment is so weak about making sure they get it.

So what can Mr Clarke do between now and July, when he must report? He has statutory powers, so the people he asks must give him answers. If Mr Clarke does not get the information he needs, Mr Gove can take control of the school directly. It is really information that matters the most. Everything to do with Islamism is a web of obscurity, designedly so. People who believe that the Western way of life is a lie which should be overthrown have no scruples about concealing their actions and motives. Although Mr Clarke is not looking for terrorism in this case (and none has been alleged), his former job teaches him at least two relevant things – how extreme Muslims think and how they operate.

There is, of course, a relation between what you think and what you do. It is this that the British authorities are still so bad at identifying when they deal with Islamists. On its website, MI5 says that the concept of “subversion” “focuses on hostility to democratic processes”. It goes on to say that the threat of subversion was a big issue during the Cold War but “is now considered to be negligible”. MI5 “do not currently investigate subversion”.

All Islamist schools of thought are hostile to democratic processes, many explicitly so. They strive to create a global society in thrall to their version of Islamic law. As we learnt when Islamists educated in British comprehensive schools blew themselves up and killed 52 – mainly their fellow citizens – in July 2005, some use violence to try to bring this about. Most don’t, but they do work to subvert – that is the right word – the institutions that we all need. They are organised in schools and universities. They infiltrate local government and public administration. They are expert at getting public money under false pretences. They are not “negligible”, but still we neglect the threat they pose.



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


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Long-term British jobless to have to scrub war memorials and historic monuments to keep welfare benefits

Long-term unemployed people will have to clean war memorials, restore historic monuments and look after animals at city farms to keep their benefits from today.

The Government is unveiling its Help to Work scheme aimed specifically at 200,000 people who have been unemployed, or unable to hold down a job, for three years.

Under the scheme, these long-term unemployed will have to report daily to local job centres to discuss how to get back to work.

If they are judged not to have enough work experience they will be allocated volunteering roles with charities and other providers.

Typical examples include scrubbing war memorials, helping to clean up historic monuments and working in local cafés run by volunteers.

Other work includes helping out at community and city farms, cleaning and restoring river and canal banks and even sorting through second hand clothes in charity warehouses.

Failure to cooperate could see them losing work-related benefits, such as the £72-a-week job seekers’ allowance.

Government sources said the placements – which will last for up to six months each – were focused on the voluntary sector to avoid taking jobs from other people.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said the measures were part of a Government push to get a job for everyone who can work.

There are an estimated 600,000 job vacancies at the moment. He said: “A key part of our long-term economic plan is to move to full employment, making sure that everyone who can work is in work.

“We are seeing record levels of employment in Britain, as more and more people find a job, but we need to look at those who are persistently stuck on benefits.

“This scheme will provide more help than ever before, getting people into work and on the road to a more secure future.”

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, added: “Everyone with the ability to work should be given the support and opportunity to do so.

“The previous system wrote too many people off, which was a huge waste of potential for those individuals as well as for their families and the country.”

But David Green, a director of right of centre think tank Civitas, urged the Government go further and remove the three year qualifying period for the scheme.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “From the minute someone is out of a job they should be given something positive to do – not leave it for three years.”

The Government’s plans for its Help to Work scheme were originally announced at last Autumn’s Conservative party conference. Further details about the types of voluntary scheme were disclosed on Sunday.


Amid Holocaust remembrance, antisemitism adapts and thrives

by Jeff Jacoby

IT WASN'T a failure of Holocaust remembrance that explains why Frazier Glenn Miller opened fire outside two Jewish community facilities in Overland Park, Kan., murdering three people on the day before Passover.

Miller, a 73-year-old former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon, knows all about the Holocaust — enough, at any rate, to extol Adolf Hitler as "the greatest man who ever walked the earth" and to shout "Heil Hitler!" after his arrest. Like his hero, Miller is obsessed with Jews. Asked once in an interview whom he hated more, blacks or Jews, he didn't hesitate: "Jews!" he said. "A thousand times more!"

Such anti-Semitic malevolence led 70 years ago to the Shoah — the industrial-scale annihilation of two-thirds of Europe's Jews: six million men, women, and children, among them my father's parents and four of his brothers and sisters. They were murdered not as a means to an end — not for their money or their land or because they posed a military or political threat — but as an end in itself. Hitler's purpose in exterminating the Jews was for the Jews to be exterminated.

For decades after the Holocaust, it was tempting to believe that such genocidal prejudice against Jews was a thing of the past, at least in the enlightened West. The world had seen what anti-Semitism at its most uninhibited could do. What people had been sure could never happen had happened — but by harnessing the power of memory, we could ensure that it never happened again. So Holocaust memorials and museums were erected in cities large and small. Concentration-camp survivors published their memoirs and spoke about their experiences. Students were taught about the Nazis and the Final Solution. Yom HaShoah — an annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins Sunday evening — was added to the calendar each spring.

But Jew-hatred hasn't been purged. On the contrary: It has erupted in recent years with shocking scope and strength. It has been revived "in the halls of parliament and in the streets," writes political scientist Daniel Jonah Goldhagen in a new book, The Devil that Never Dies. "Among elites and common people. In public media, places of worship, and in the privacy of homes. Where Jews live and where they do not."

An old-style white-supremacist neo-Nazi like the shooter in Kansas, evil as his crime was, is the least of this resurgent threat, especially in this country. Hitler-idolizing anti-Semites like Miller, widely regarded as abhorrent, are a negligible phenomenon in the United States. His deadly rampage was instantly condemned across the board; only among the kooks did anyone express support for Miller's vilification of Jews.

Where anti-Semitism is gaining market share today is not among those who yell "Heil Hitler" or demonize Jews as Christ-killers. The oldest and most protean of hatreds has assumed a new form for a new age: hostility to Zionism and Israel. The classic anti-Semitic motifs — Jews are aliens, Jews are murderous, Jews are rapacious, Jews are disloyal, Jews manipulate governments — have been repurposed for a post-Holocaust generation that speaks with a post-Holocaust vocabulary.

Sophisticated and educated Westerners today know better than to blame "the Jews" for society's ills, or to suggest that the best solution to the "Jewish Problem" is for Jews to disappear.

But it is widely acceptable in many circles to debate whether the world's only Jewish state has a right to exist. Or to insist that the Middle East's turmoil would be resolved if only that Jewish state would make peace with its enemies by conceding to their demands. Or to claim with a straight face, when Israel defends itself against Arab and Islamist violence, that it is behaving as the Nazis did.

This helps explain why anti-Semitism soared in recent years even as Palestinian terrorism against Israel soared. For if Zionists are tantamount to Nazis — if the Jewish state is the equivalent of Hitler's Germany — then decent people everywhere must oppose it. Through endless repetition of the most odious "Israelis = Nazis" canards, the memory of the most lethal horror ever inflicted on the Jewish people has been transmuted into a new bludgeon with which to batter them. Meanwhile, waves of incitement build against the largest Jewish community on the planet, whipped up by enemies who make no secret of their ultimate goal: to annihilate it.

Thus does the old plague bacillus of anti-Semitism mutate and flourish once again, in the very shadow of the Holocaust memorials put up as a warning of what unchecked Jew-hatred can lead to. Truly, it is diabolical.


Sexist philosophers?

In my experience  philosophers are overwhelmingly far-Left  -- so the critics in this case must be nickel-plated b*tches

According to a January report from the American Philosophical Assn.'s Committee on the Status of Women, the philosophy department at the University of Colorado Boulder is a hotbed of "unacceptable sexual harassment, inappropriate sexualized behavior and divisive uncivil behavior."

It's hard to figure out exactly what the male philosophers at Boulder were actually doing in the way of "inappropriate sexualized behavior" because the committee, which seemed to have spent a full year (plus $25,000 of Boulder's money) on this witch hunt, is keeping that under wraps. The report that it issued to the public is merely a "summary" containing no specific incidences of misconduct, much less naming any names. The report did say that there was "excessive drinking" when professors and graduate students socialized together, and that "some male faculty have been observed ogling undergraduate women students."

Ogling! Guess Plato's “Republic” isn't that interesting after all.
The women's committee also complained that the Boulder philosophy department was treating the problem far too -- philosophically. The report stated: "The department uses pseudo-philosophical analyses to avoid directly addressing the situation. Their faculty discussions revolve around the letter rather than the spirit of proposed regulations and standards."

So the women's committee decided to inject some spirit of its own into Boulder's lackadaisical philosophy department: the spirit of the Women's Christian Temperance Union combined with the spirit of Chairman Mao. The committee proposed that henceforth there be "no alcohol served at any events connected with the department … and no evening socializing." The committee also demanded that the department institute mandatory sexual harassment training for all, hire a “facilitator” whose job it would be to make female philosophy students feel better, and dissolve all departmental listservs so that faculty and students wouldn't be able to communicate with one another easily.

Oh, and no joking around, either! "Avoid cheap and easy jokes in class or other professional settings. Individuals must call out disrespectful comments as they occur, and those called out should receive the correction without being defensive."
The year 1966 in China just called. They want their Red Guards back.

Administrators at Boulder didn't go quite so far as the ladies of the American Philosophical Society's Committee on the Status of Women wanted. But they went pretty far. They fired the department chair, barred the department from admitting new graduate students and duly set up the mandatory sexism training classes that the committee had recommended.

Then, in February, Bradley Monton, an associate professor of philosophy at Boulder, complained at a meeting of the Boulder Faculty Assembly's Executive Committee that both the committee's findings and the administration's actions were exaggerated. Monton said the practices that the committee had spotlighted -- excessive after-hours drinking among faculty and students -- had ended years earlier. Monton later retracted his remarks -- under pressure from the administration, he now says -- and resigned from the faculty assembly, also under pressure.

College philosophy departments have been under attack from feminists for years. Philosophy is one of the few humanities fields left in which men actually outnumber women. At the University of Georgia, for example, only 33% of undergraduate philosophy majors are women, according to a National Public Radio report. Nationwide, only 20% of philosophy professors are women.
Feminist philosophy professors don't like that, even though a study at Georgia State University found that female students who took an introductory philosophy course simply deemed "the course less enjoyable and the material less interesting and relevant to their lives than male students."

Philosophy is the most abstract of all the humanities disciplines, and it's likely that it appeals more to men, with their generally greater facility for abstract, math-like reasoning, whereas women's brains seem more strongly adapted to social skills and memory.

Feminist philosophers are having none of that, however. They've insisted that their profession is institutionally biased against women. They've urged such supposedly corrective measures as shunning professional conferences whose panels don't include female speakers and discontinuing the philosophy "smoker," a traditional part of the faculty hiring process in which job candidates and professors have discussions over drinks -- an institution that feminists claim encourages suspicious male bonding (feminist philosophers don't seem to like booze).

Fortunately, there seems to be a backlash against Boulder's draconian measures with respect to its philosophy department. Six women with ties to the philosophy department have issued a public statement complaining that the university's actions tarnished the professional reputation of the entire department. And last week, even the American Assn. of University Professors sided with Monton, not Boulder. "One of the central tenets of academic freedom is the right of faculty to speak out on matters of institutional policy," said an AAUP report demanding that Monton's full faculty privileges be restored.


'Holding child's hand too tightly is abuse'

Foster parents had children taken away after British social workers claimed they were manhandling youngsters crossing road

Social workers took two children away from their foster parents after claiming they were holding the children's hands too tightly while crossing the road.  The children were immediately removed from the couple's care and handed over to new foster parents.

There are currently 68,110 children in care according the most recent figures with 50,900 in stable foster homes.

However, according to The Sun,  233 children were removed from their foster parents - including one couple for holding the children's hands while crossing the road crossing the road.

The children were removed from the couple in Buckinghamshire while social workers investigated 'marks' on the children's wrists.

Sue Imbriano, Children's director of Bucks County Councils said: 'Social workers are having to make extremely difficult decisions on a daily basis, but they are always made in the context of wanting to ensure the best outcomes for young people.'

According to the Department of Education, one in every 166 children in the UK is in care.

Despite 233 children being removed from foster care last year, according to Foster Talk, a company which provides support for foster parents, the majority of allegations are false.

According to their website: 'The most common reason arises out of the child’s belief that if they tell someone that they are being mistreated, they will be able to return home to their parents.

'Another cause might be low self-esteem. If a young person has had a number of foster placements, an allegation might be made in order for them to discover whether those responsible for them truly care.

'Other children might crave attention and will view even negative focus as better than nothing.

'Sadly, sometimes an allegation is made because the young person in care has been abused in the past and has kept it a secret.

'Accusing a Foster Carer of abuse is a way of bringing this out into the open. And sometimes children who have previously been in emotionally harmful environments misinterpret things which in the past have been precursors to abuse i.e. the offer of a cuddle or a kiss goodnight.

'Of course, in some rare cases the allegations against Foster Carers are found to be true. It is in these instances that the sometimes stressful and emotional investigation process is shown to be worthwhile.'



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, April 28, 2014

National socialism strong in Scotland

It's most unlikely that Alex Salmond would be as vicious as Hitler but his propaganda draws on the same basic emotions -- powerful ones.  Dominic Lawson reports below

On the day I arrive in Glasgow, the referendum debate goes nuclear. Literally. The front page of the Scotsman newspaper screams ‘UK draws battle lines on nuclear weapons’.

This is its take on the fact that Westminster has issued its sternest warning yet about the Scottish National Party’s pledge to close the Trident missile base on the Clyde.

To add to the threat level, First Sea Admiral Lord Sir George Zambellas chooses the same day to warn that, with independence, ‘Scotland would no longer have access of right to the security contribution of one of the finest navies in the world’.

As I wander in to Vroni’s Bar in the centre of Glasgow, it’s hardly surprising that one of the regulars there is more than happy to give this visiting Englishman his considered view of the matter.

‘So, the First Sea Lord says that we would be defenceless without the Royal Navy? But we won’t need a Navy when we’re independent. The only people who might attack us are the English. And they are too stupid to do it by sea. They will come over Hadrian’s Wall — and we’ll be ready.’

Actually, I could imagine the speaker relishing such a fight. He has the build of a rugby prop forward and a generally intimidating presence. But this is no hooligan.

After a drink together, I discover he had been a civil servant in the Scottish Office before taking a job in financial services.

On learning he is in the world of business, I ask my pugnacious drinking companion how he feels about the warnings from the Westminster political parties — not to mention leading banks and insurance companies — of the damage that independence might do to Scotland’s prosperity.

‘I am for independence, whatever the price. Whatever the cost.’

‘Even if it meant living in wigwams?’ I suggest provocatively.

For a moment I thought I had gone too far — it probably isn’t wise for a Londoner in a Glasgow bar to suggest even in jest that the Scots on their own would be no better off than Red Indians.

But after giving me a brief look of incredulity, he replies steadily: ‘I would be for independence even if it meant we all had to live in wigwams.’

In fact, my remark had been particularly tactless.
My new friend goes on to explain exactly why he is so vehemently for Scottish independence.

‘My family were thrown out of their homes, thrown off their land, by the Anglo-Scottish aristocracy in the Highland clearances [in the early 19th century].

‘The Union with England might have been good for big landowners and the like; not so for my folk. But I don’t hate the English, not at all.’

I believed him — and not just because he didn’t give me a Glasgow kiss when I put Scots and Red Indians in the same sentence, and in my very English accent.

The truth is that there is a vituperative and even vicious side to the Scottish nationalists’ tactics in the referendum debate; but this nastiness is not directed at the English. Instead, it is aimed entirely at fellow Scots who dare to suggest this nation — and it is a nation — needs for its own sake to remain in union with the rest of the United Kingdom.

At times they are treated by the nationalists as if they are Quislings, traitors — which is deeply unpleasant for those who consider themselves only as being loyal to the British state they were born in.

The leader of the Better Together Campaign, former Chancellor Alistair Darling, has complained of how the nationalists are ‘monstering’ Scots who speak up for the Union.

A fellow Scots Labour MP — who doesn’t want to be named — says: ‘The sort of things we have been receiving and experiencing are vile and really frightening.

‘We have people walking into the constituency office shouting appalling abuse. My office manager has not been able to sleep all week because of the threats and abuse he has been receiving. When I walk down to the shops I pull up my hood because I am so worried about being recognised and attacked on the street. It has been terrifying.’

In Tennent’s Bar, the most traditional of pubs in Glasgow’s West End (with no fewer than 12 hand pumps dispensing different real ales), I gain an impression of the same phenomenon. My drinking companion on this occasion reveals himself to be a BBC Scotland executive.

He tells me of the ‘harassment from CyberNats’ who bombard the BBC with emails complaining about alleged anti-nationalist bias in this, that or the other programme.

‘It’s clearly co-ordinated,’ he says. ‘Hundreds of complainants each saying exactly the same thing. And they know how to work the system, how to escalate the complaint.’

Of course, this is nothing like the in-the-face harassment the Scottish Labour MP described. But when I ask the BBC executive if his producers and reporters are feeling intimidated by the ‘CyberNats’, he says: ‘Yes.’ Yet it is hardly surprising that Nationalists’ feelings should be running so high. This is a once in a lifetime — indeed, a once in over 300 years — opportunity to realise a dream of an independent and self-governing Scotland.

And for long-time SNP supporters, this is something to which they are committed in a way that matters far more than party allegiance or even basic concepts of Left and Right.

One of my drinking partners in Tennent’s described attending this month’s SNP conference, at which the party’s deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon declared: ‘After 80 years of campaigning, the last mile of our journey to independence is upon us.

‘It may well be the hardest mile of all … If need be we will carry each other over the finishing line. But friends, we will not fail.’

As he described it to me: ‘The atmosphere was more rally than party conference, at one and the same time intensely emotional, but somehow aggressive.

‘I got lots of angry looks when it was noticed I was not applauding and some of them began what I can only call hostile clapping in my direction. But I was just there to take  notes.’

In the past fortnight the war between Nationalists and the Unionists has been fought over the women’s vote. SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Alec Salmond suddenly appointed two women to his cabinet, to counter five ‘pledges  for women’ by Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran.

So, I decided to approach two friendly-looking women enjoying a late-afternoon tipple.

Where did they stand on the vote that could see them becoming part of a new country? The first, Shirley, explained she had been very worried about the prospect of independence, but that her friend, Alison, had been talking her round. At this, Alison beamed approvingly.

But what was Shirley’s anxiety? ‘I see it like a business. It’s about money. Would we go bankrupt on our own?

‘Now, because of what Alison has been telling me, I think we’d manage.

‘If the vote was to stay in the Union, I wouldn’t feel any less Scottish — I couldn’t feel more Scottish. But I’d still feel a bit scared the day after, if the vote went “Yes”.’

Alison was having none of that: ‘Let me ask you: is there any country that became independent and regretted it afterwards?’

This was said with compelling force, but then, as I discovered, Alison was a compelling character, brought up on the Easterhouse council estate, notorious as the poorest in the whole of the UK.

This was where the former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith was so shocked by witnessing generations of families locked by welfare dependency into poverty, joblessness and drug addiction that he wept.

Alison, however, had been the only person in her school to go to university and is now a teacher — and whose job is to sort out the most difficult teenage boys, many of whom are gang members from the same blighted part of Glasgow where she had lived as a child.

Alison’s support for the  SNP — and therefore independence — is conditioned by her experience.

‘The Labour government in Westminster introduced university fees. The SNP opposed them. I wouldn’t have gone to university if there had been fees. And the SNP opposes Trident. It is the nearest party we have to Socialism.’

So, how would Alison feel if the Scottish people voted in September’s referendum to stay part of the Union — a union that might well see a Conservative led-government after the 2015 General Election? ‘Suicidal!’ I then plucked up enough courage to reveal to Alison that my father had been a Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher.

Instead of exploding, she then told me her ‘secret’: that her parents had been the only Conservative voters she knew of on the Easterhouse estate,  and it was they who had urged  her to go to university after  her teachers had ridiculed  her ambition.

It is one of the myths about Scotland that there are no Tories left in it. In the 2010 General Election, the Conservatives garnered 412,855 votes — not so far behind the SNP’s 491,386 supporters.

However, the vagaries of the first-past-the-post constituency system means that the Tories have a solitary seat at Westminster despite getting the support of 16.7 per cent of the Scottish electorate.

What those Scots who vote Conservative fear is that in an independent Scotland, they would be doomed to live under Socialism in perpetuity — exactly the outcome Alison was praying for.

Earlier, two businessmen in Vroni’s Bar had supplied me with their reason for voting ‘No’ to independence — even though one was from an Irish working-class family and said that all his relations in the Emerald Isle couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to ‘get rid of English rule’.

The first of them, a lawyer called Douglas, exclaimed that if the vote went ‘Yes’: ‘We’d have a Socialist republic of Scotland. It would be back to the Seventies.’

He added that he had ‘no problem with the Tories’.

Another drinker, though protesting ‘I’m a Socialist,’ was caustic about the litany of pledges by the SNP. ‘They talk as if an independent Scotland will be a socially just Xanadu — with free child care, free  university education,  free everything.

‘They are promising everything under the sun because they don’t give a toss what will happen after the vote.  ‘This is the only vote they need  to win. After that, it’s game over.’

Indeed, it is the sheer size of the stakes that have impelled the Better Together campaign to make a series of dire warnings, including a somewhat ill-judged one by the former Labour defence minister and Nato secretary general Lord Robertson that the effect of a nuclear-free, independent Scotland will be ‘cataclysmic’ for the West as a whole.

It may be that the Unionist campaign has been too negative. But there is one of its warnings which, on my soundings in Glasgow, does seem to have struck home: the insistence by all three Westminster parties that an independent Scotland can’t be part of a currency union with the rest of the UK.

That the currency issue is the Achilles heel of the Nationalists is made clear by the fact their leader Alex Salmond refuses even to mention what should be the proof of his confidence in the economic viability of an independent Scotland — its own currency.

So, I engaged in discussion at a bus stop on the way back to my hotel — and after spending a day matching Glaswegians drink for drink, I was grateful for something to lean on.

So, FOR what it is worth, my randomly chosen interlocutor was most exercised by the possibility of not being in currency union with the rest of the UK.  Or as he put it less technically: ‘The real worry is our money. Will it be worth the same?’

Nor did he mind what ‘Youse’ — that is, the English —  thought about the independence referendum: ‘I don’t see why youse have to say anything. If someone wants a divorce, it’s up to them to say why it would be better to end the marriage.’

Actually, though we English don’t have a say in this vote, we should be prepared to say what we think about the prospects of ending this remarkable Union, whose peoples fought as one to defeat the greatest threat to all within it: the Nazis.

And, as it happens, one of my drinking companions in Glasgow did ask what I would feel if Scotland voted for independence on September 18.

I replied I would never feel that Scotland was a foreign country — even if I needed a passport to cross the border.  I added that while Scotland’s population is barely 8 per cent of the total on the mainland, it was so much bigger than that in the hold it has on our imaginations, our sense of what Britain means in all its cultural and historical richness.

I concluded by telling her that I would feel in some intangible way diminished if its people chose to revoke the Act of Union of 1707 — whose Article 1 had declared: ‘The two kingdoms of Scotland and England shall on 1st May and for ever after be united into one Kingdom by the name of Great Britain.’

And I told her that my day in the bars of Glasgow had made me feel that all the more.


Le Pen hits front in France's EU elections: Far-right party predicted to humiliate Hollande's socialists at the polls

The National Front is leading opinion polls before France’s European elections next month.

The latest poll - a CSA survey for BFMTV and Nice Matin - puts their vote at 24 per cent.

This compares to 22 per cent for the UMP opposition and 20 per cent for President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party.

It follows a massive swing to the right in local elections which led to the entire Socialist government resigning earlier this month.

Mr Hollande spoke of a ‘moral crisis’ in France, and appointed a new administration. However, his left-wing policies are still failing.

Unemployment is spiralling above the 11 per cent mark, as other polls regularly show Mr Hollande’s personal approval rating at less than 20 per cent.

This makes him by far the most unpopular head of state in the history of modern France.

The National Front (FN) enjoyed unprecedented success in the April elections - taking control of 11 key constituencies, and up to 1200 municipal seats.  Most of its gains were in areas of high unemployment and immigration, especially in the south of France and the depressed north.

‘No one can seriously deny this has been a huge victory for us,’ said FN leader Marine Le Pen, who believes they will do even better in May’s European elections.

Ms Le Pen is widely credited with having modernised the FN - moving it away from its racist and anti-Semitic roots.  She won almost 18 percent of the national vote in the first round of presidential elections two years ago, and has worked hard to ‘detoxify’ other FN members.

Her infamous father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founded the FN and has a number of convictions for stirring up racial hatred.  Mr Le Pen is now 85, and takes a back seat from the day to day running of the party.

Polls have regularly suggested that the FN could win up to a quarter of the popular vote in the European Parliament elections in May, but this is the first time that their vote has appeared higher than the two main governing parties in France.

The FN currently has three seats in the European parliament, compared to 11 in 1994.

Despite the FN’s widespread popular appeal, they have been viewed as a chance to protest against mainstream parties.

The FN currently only has two seats in the French National Assembly, compared to 35 in 1986.


British bank  drops overdraft fee on Islamic accounts

Lloyds Bank has been accused of religious discrimination after offering free overdraft accounts to Muslims.

The bank sent customers a booklet this month explaining new charges.  While many will have to pay up to £80 a month if they go into the red, Muslims were told they would escape the charges. The document said: “We are removing the monthly overdraft management fee of £6 from our Islamic Account, Islamic Student Account and Islamic Graduate Account. So, if you use an unplanned overdraft on these accounts, there won’t be any charges.”

One customer, Anita Milton, a nurse of New Eltham, south London, said: “I can’t believe that they’re thinking of offering one account for Muslims and making everyone else pay for the same service. Do I have to change my religion to get the best deal?"

Barclays, Co-op Bank and RBS said they do not offer alternative bank accounts to Muslim customers.

James Daley, of Fairer Finance, a consumer group, said: “The best thing would be for everyone to switch to the Islamic account to avoid these charges. But if everyone does that I doubt it will be financially viable for Lloyds.”

The Islamic account was set up by the High Street bank to attract Muslim customers by allowing them to keep faithful to their religion.

A Lloyds spokesman said Islamic accounts were intended for customers who cannot receive or pay interest under sharia, but were available to anyone, regardless of their faith.

“Our focus has always been on meeting the needs of UK businesses and personal customers. We offer a range of retail, business and investment products to meet the needs of our customers, available through all of our branches across the UK. The Islamic current account is for customers who cannot receive credit or debit interest due to their religious beliefs. All of our Islamic accounts comply with Islamic law and are available to anyone regardless of background or faith.

"These accounts are structured differently to our traditional accounts and do not offer credit interest or other features that are available on our other products. A comparison with the overdraft charging structure on other accounts is meaningless.”


Teenager who sexually assaulted 12 women aged between 17-48 walks free from court with referral order designed to help HIM

A teenager who sexually assaulted 12 women, including a 48-year-old, has walked free from court with a referral order aimed at rehabilitating him and addressing his behaviour.

The 14-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted 12 separate incidents when he appeared at Manchester Youth Court.

The assaults took place between August 20 and October 9, last year around the University of Manchester.

On August 28, an 18-year-old girl was sexually assaulted near to the university's Science Park.

Less than a month later, on September 21, three women, aged 21, 22 and 27, were sexually assaulted by the boy.

Then on October 5, he sexually assaulted five women, aged 17, 21, 32, 32, and 35.

The final assault took place on October 9, when the teenager attacked a 48-year-old.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Larkin said: 'Thanks to the information provided by the victims and the witnesses who came forward, we were able to make a swift arrest.

'Following our press appeal, a further six women contacted us to say that they had also been assaulted.

'Although the victims were upset by what happened, each one of them have expressed a genuine wish the boy receives help and does not offend again.'

The teenager was sentenced by magistrates to a 12-month referral order.

According to Department of Justice guidelines, referral orders are suitable for first-time offenders under the age of 16, who plead guilty to their crimes.

The sentence involves the youth appearing before a volunteer youth offender panel, who will hold the teen account for his actions.

Youths are required to attend with their parents or guardians and may be required to make reparation or restitution to their victim based on the restorative justice approach.

Under the order the 14-year-old will be required to agree a contract with the panel, which can include repairing any damage caused or making financial recompense, as well as taking part in a programme of interventions and activities to address behaviour.



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, April 27, 2014

Torquemada Invades America

Torquemada has landed in America. This nation of free and open inquiry has been seized by totalitarians who refuse to entertain other points of view. The debate about global warming is over say adherents of this position. When, if ever, has the debate about any scientific issue been over?

That is the least of it. So complete is the feminist assault on the culture that one can no longer say men and woman aren't interchangeable. Should a military officer challenge the faith, he can be sure promotion is not in his future. Common sense is in retreat before the gods of cultural reformation.

It is now part of the orthodoxy to contend that all nations and cultures are equally good, with the possible exception of Israel. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the author of Infidel, had the temerity to challenge this "truism" and was denied an honorary degree Brandeis authorities had promised her. Skeptics are not welcome at American universities. In fact, should one leave the herd of independent thinkers, he will feel the full wrath of faculty and student chastisement. The orthodoxy will not accept a challenge.

Here is American fundamentalism with a vengeance. A business executive gave money to an organization that supports traditional marriage and he is hounded by homosexual activists. A photographer refuses to take pictures at a homosexual wedding and he is treated as a sinner who must be punished. A business executive argues against homosexual marriage and his entire food chain is imperiled until he repents.

This is secular religious fervor as passionate as any formal religion. Kids are indoctrinated at the earliest age to imbibe the "truth." In fact, "critical thinking," the goal of education, involves neither a critique nor thought. The imposition of belief is right out of an Orwellian playbook. A search for truth has been subordinated to the acceptance of belief. To be an outlier in the nation is to be a recluse, cut off from social exchange, a leper in the modern age.

We do not yet have reeducation camps since the educational institutions are "doing their jobs," albeit there are always sensitivity training sessions. Stigmata are effective tools in holding back dissent. Who doesn't fear being described as foolish or the equivalent of a Holocaust denier? The instrument of social ostracism is almost foolproof.

Now a generation of scientists is saying the human mind is programmable like a software program. Life is no longer unpredictable, a human centered world view. Instead it is within the reach of programmers who can manipulate thought. The sacred is being desacralized, a humanistic vision made blind.

In the midst of this totalitarian attack the public has been mute. One wonders why there isn't blind rage. How can people be indifferent to the casual take-over of their thinking? So immersed in self-gratification and popular culture are John and Mary Q. Public that they do not recognize what is happening around them. Schools and colleges promote the orthodoxy and not a peep form the academics whose bread and butter is being usurped. If there is thinking in Academe, it is only whose thoughts that fit a priori conclusion. Dogmatism prevails.

Where did we come from? Where are we to end up? Questions involving the unknown are no longer unknown. The dogmatists have an answer. It is in a scientific equation or the mind of the grand inquisitor. The answers are known or about to be known. No need to ask questions. In fact, there isn't any need for debate.

Yet I hope there is a day when there will be a cri de coeur heard throughout the land. The words "I disagree" should be loud and forceful. At the moment, however, I regard this hope as wishful thinking.


God Movies Make Money

The accountants in Hollywood don't have to believe in heaven to notice the box office numbers on recent movies with religious themes.

"Heaven Is for Real" opened in the days before Easter and grossed more than $22 million, coming in second for the weekend, just $3 million behind the latest "Captain America" blockbuster (in its third week). The movie's per-screen average — $8,895 — was far above the rest of the top five.

"Heaven Is for Real," like many movies, is based on a best-selling book. It's a real-life story about 4-year-old Colton Burpo and his visions of heaven after an emergency surgery in 2003. Within three weeks of its November 2010 release, the book debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times best-seller list. Eventually, it made its way to No. 1.

Box Office Mojo reported, "Sony targeted their marketing towards Christian audiences, and placed an emphasis on calling ahead for group ticket sales." Stop the presses. Breaking news. There is a Christian audience, and it has wallets that open.

This has happened repeatedly this year.

It happened in mid-March, when "God's Not Dead" opened at No. 4 with a $9 million gross, and then surprised the ticket-watchers by persistently drawing an audience, as it now approaches $50 million at the box office. This comes despite film critics trashing it, and one insisting, "Even by the rather lax standards of the Christian film industry, 'God's Not Dead' is a disaster."

This was not a studio movie, but a production of the Arizona-based Christian company Pure Flix. At the center of the plot is a debate between a college philosophy professor and a freshman student over the existence of God. No, it's not your usual popcorn fare, but there is an audience that surely enjoys the rare occasion of a script strongly striking back at Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin, offering rebuttal to the usual atheist arrogance of most pop culture products.

Interestingly, there is also this: In the corners of the plot are several Christian product placements — appearances testifying to Jesus by "Duck Dynasty" stars Willie and Korie Robertson, and the Christian-rock band, the Newsboys. Jesus sells.

One can easily see how the word of mouth spreads on a movie like this, when all the people attending the Newsboys' concert at the movie's end are asked to text message "God's not dead" to their friends and acquaintances.

"Son of God" was produced by adding some new footage and re-editing the Jesus sections of Mark Burnett's History Channel miniseries "The Bible." It was released in mid-February and also showed surprising strength, grossing $25 million in its first weekend and a total of $60 million so far. And why not? "The Bible" has become the top-selling miniseries on DVD of all time.

Some have compared these numbers to "Noah," which hasn't lived up to expectations — especially after the endless hype. But there's a reason it disappointed. Despite the movie's putative inspiration in the Bible, "Noah" isn't a religious movie. The leftist critics were kind, but critics at the conservative Intercollegiate Review panned it as "The Rocky Horror Bible Show," comparing its Noah to a man-hating, eco-maniacal unabomber, and its story as Genesis "rewritten by Cher." It should tell us something that another big-money Russell Crowe movie, "Gladiator," had a nobler view of God and man.

Just as there's always an audience for a horror movie, and there's always an audience for a romantic comedy, there is always an audience for faith-friendly films. Theater owners have been learning that lesson all year. Will the Hollywood studios ever catch on?


Feminists Fighting McDonald’s Are Learning The Wrong Lessons

A recent article in Slate by Antonia Ayres-Brown, a junior in high school, details the valiant feminist struggle she ultimately brought to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities against McDonald’s for … discriminating on the basis of sex in the distribution of Happy Meal toys. “Despite our evidence showing that, in our test, McDonald’s employees described the toys in gendered terms more than 79 percent of the time, the commission dismissed our allegations as ‘absurd’ and solely for the purposes of ‘titilation [sic] and sociological experimentation,’” she wrote.

Let’s leave aside the fact that Connecticut has a Commission on Human Rights and note that this girl sincerely believes McDonald’s offering toys described, at times, as being for a girl or for a boy is a human rights violation.

While I admire the girl’s plucky disposition and effort, I do hope one day she learns to channel her energy into productive uses that will advance her cause in positive ways. This could have all been solved by her parents simply encouraging her to ask for the toy she wants.  If girls are continually taught that they as individuals have no power to negotiate a situation as simple as “I’d like that toy” without the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights getting involved, I submit that these women are proving the case that they should not be put in positions of leadership or power.

By the author’s own admission,“McDonald’s is estimated to sell more than 1 billion Happy Meals each year.” Yet it does not occur to her that the fast food worker giving a “girl’s” toy to a girl is simply trying to give the customer what she wants in the most expeditious manner possible.  This is a company that sells a billion of these things a year and gets them in the hands of their customers as fast as possible.

People do not eat at McDonald’s to get into a gender studies discussion with the teenage kid at the register; they go there to get food fast, hence the term “fast food.” If the author had worked in fast food for any nominal period of time, she might realize that the employee’s main motivation is not to spend any time persecuting women but to make it through his or her shift as painlessly as possible.

The author predicates her case based on a “concern with the harmful effects of gender-classified toys” but spends no time noting or referencing any data that proves that gender-based Happy Meal toys are harming anyone. If we want women in STEM careers we might want to inform them of the basic premise of the scientific method.  She spends no time seeking data to prove her hypothesis and therefore isn’t providing McDonald’s or the reader any scientific reason to change practices. She has gathered data proving that McDonald’s most often allocates gender-based toys to the appropriate gender. This likely was already evident to majority of humans on this planet and in rational circles makes sense.

No data is offered to demonstrate that there is actual harm being done to children when given a toy that often coincides with their personal preference. Her entire assumption is that it offended her so therefore it must have some long term effect on all people. The only long-term effect evident is this child has spent way too much time writing letters to McDonald’s instead of learning to simply ask for the toy she’d prefer.

If there is such a great demand out there of girls who desire the boy-labeled toy, wouldn’t McDonald’s know that? The corporation is known for studying its customer base intensely to move product. That’s the handy thing about capitalism: If parents feel like their children are having a negative experience at McDonald’s; parents will not take their children there. McDonald’s is in the business of giving its customers what they want and logically for their supply chain it makes sense to allocate toys to the appropriate gender. In fact, it would be cheaper for McDonalds to have just one toy available but the company differentiated its product to meet demand for girl-specific toys in Happy Meals.

When I went to McDonald’s as a kid there wasn’t a choice. You did what you were supposed to and fought with your siblings over who got the best toy. There was no campaign to write letters to the CEO of McDonald’s or asking for a different toy. That wasn’t even an option. So basically we have a kid complaining that this company has the audacity to better serve girls instead of sticking girls with the toy their older brother will take because she doesn’t want it.

McDonald’s, like many companies, has realized the buying power of women and has smartly begun to target them. To misinterpret this as a setback is a strange feature of feminism. But much of modern feminism’s main arc seems to be spending time taking gains that women had pocketed already and demonizing them. Followed by the same women wondering why people don’t promote them or take them seriously. You can’t advance women’s voices in the world by spending the majority of your time being embarrassed by basic female preferences. Companies recognizing female preferences and catering to them is now bad in the eyes of modern feminism? That makes no sense.

Girls would be better served learning about the beneficial reciprocity of capitalism and the innate power of just asking for what they want in the first place. McDonald’s will be happy to accommodate them.


Calif. moves to ban judges affiliated with Boy Scouts

California is proposing to ban members of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) from serving as judges because the Boy Scouts do not allow gay troop leaders, The Daily Caller has learned.

In a move with major legal implications, The California Supreme Court Advisory Committee on The Code of Judicial Ethics has proposed to classify the Boy Scouts as practicing “invidious discrimination” against gays, which would end the group’s exemption to anti-discriminatory ethics rules and would prohibit judges from being affiliated with the group.

“The Committee’s invitation ignores the fact that the change also encompasses other youth organizations whose membership is limited on the basis of gender, e.g., the Girl Scouts, as well as the military, which continues to practice ‘discrimination’ on the basis of gender,” wrote Catherine Short, legal director of the pro-life group Life Legal Defense Foundation, in a letter to the Committee obtained by TheDC that predicts possible implications for pro-life judges in the future.

“Perhaps this is not an unintended consequence,” wrote Short.

“This proposed amendment has as its overtly-stated purpose the branding of the BSA as an organization whose members must be assumed to be biased and thus unfit for the bench. The Committee states that ‘eliminating the exemption… would enhance public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary,’” Short said.

“On the contrary, by promoting a hierarchy of politically-favored ‘victim’ status through pointlessly impugning the integrity of members of a venerable American institution, the proposed Amendment will communicate to the public that judges are being told by the California Supreme Court what to think, whom they may associate with, and what are permissible opinions to hold, and that only those who toe the line will be allowed to sit on the bench. The public can hardly expect impartiality from the judiciary in such a climate of intolerance,” Short wrote.



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, April 25, 2014

Multicultural fraudster in Britain stole millions

A con artist who concocted an elaborate £3.5million mortgage scam to fund his luxurious lifestyle has been jailed.

Alick Kapikanya, 45, stole the identities of elderly homeowners, secretly seized ownership of their houses and then repeatedly remortgaged them.

As homeowners fought to reclaim their properties, Kapikanya travelled in chauffeur-driven limousines, stayed in luxury hotels, and gambled his fortune.  Once, he splurged £170,000 in a single night.

Kapikanya, who was today jailed for seven years, visited victims in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Lincolnshire, pretending he wanted to buy their homes.

He employed a team of fraudsters to pose as the elderly and widowed homeowners, asking solicitors to sign over their properties.  With the help of bankrupt property developer Marshall Joseph, the gang secured million-pound loans against the homes from independent financiers.

The plot successfully netted £3.5million in loans, and attempted to secure another £3.3million.

Kapikanya paid £1million of the money into accounts at Mayfair casinos.

The scam started in March 2007, and went undetected for months.

Finally, one of the loans companies raised concerns, sparking a seven-year investigation by Greater Manchester Police to prosecute Kapikanya and his co-conspirators.

Joseph has been jailed for four-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and a bankruptcy offence.

Three of the gang who posed as homeowners were convicted. Irene Perciful, 50, of Cambridge, has been jailed for 12 months after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.  Peter Tanner, 54, of Cambridge, was given a 15-month sentence suspended for two years, with 140 hours unpaid work.  Myra Trigg, 57, of Moss Side, was handed a 32-week sentence suspended for two weeks, with 80 hours unpaid work.  Another conspirator who banked £50,000 of the proceeds, Bruce Robertson, was jailed for 30 months.

Speaking after the conviction, widowed victim Gwyneth Cooke, 59, described her ordeal.  Mrs Cooke, whose husband John died in 2000, was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks before the trial.

She discovered the scam when a solicitor told her she owed money on the home she had lived in for 27 years in Worsley, Greater Manchester.  She said: 'I was absolutely horrified.

'All they had were a few utility bills and documents and someone was able to get a loan on my house pretending to be me. 'I would never ever forgive them for as long as I live.

'I have the satisfaction of seeing some of them go to prison. But I think they should all have got 100 years’ hard labour with no remission.'

Sentencing, Judge Robert Atherton said: 'The homeowners in Walkden Road were either widows or widowers for whom their homes are very precious, particularly as they grow old and spend time with memories of life when they were not on their own.

'The sheer anxiety of thinking they may lose their homes must have been a serious concern.'

Ben Southam, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: 'When the defendants were arrested they had succeeded in defrauding various financial institutions of £3.5million, and had attempted to raise a further £3.3 Million.

'Each of them had their own specific role to play in this fraud, and all were fully aware of their actions. The mortgages and loans were obtained against houses they did not own, and without the knowledge of the real home owners.

'The true owners knew nothing about the loans being secured against their homes and were caused considerable distress and inconvenience to prove to the lenders that they knew nothing about the loans.

'We will also continue to make full use of the POCA legislation to ensure that criminals do not benefit financially from their illegal activity and we are currently pursuing the ill-gotten gains of Bruce Robertson, Alick Kapikanya and Irene Perciful.'


British  pub is decorated with Union Jacks because the flag of St George 'might offend people'

Customers claim a JD Wetherspoon pub hung Union Jacks on England's national day in case non-English people found the St George's flag offensive.

Drinkers at The Saxon Shore in Herne Bay, Kent, blasted the move as 'political correctness gone mad' after staff decided not use England's red and white flag in favour of the United Kingdom's.

When angry customers asked why the pub was decorated in Union Jacks, they claim staff told them that the St George's flag 'might offend'.

Dental nurse Sam Gurney, 29, said she was 'gobsmacked' after she saw the St George's Day promotion while drinking with friends at the JD Wetherspoon pub.

She said: 'Being quite a patriotic person, I thought "Oh my God, why have they got the Union Jack instead of the St George?"

'I asked the manager and she said, "don’t go there". Apparently it was the Union Jack or nothing - I was completely gobsmacked.

'She said the policy was there because of fears the St George’s flag might offend people, which is just political correctness gone mad.

'It annoys me because when it was St Patrick’s Day, they made a big deal out of it flying Irish flags, hats and shamrocks but yet we can’t celebrate our national day.

'The Union Jack doesn’t make sense as Scotland are voting to break away. I’m pretty sure they won’t be flying it on St Andrew’s Day or St David’s Day.'

After posting her disgust on Facebook, Miss Gurney received support from other drinkers.  Shirley Turner posted: 'Wetherspoons ought to be ashamed of themselves.  'St George is the patron saint of England, so for St George's Day fly the cross of St George which is the English flag. Simple!'

Katherine KJ Baxter added: 'Yet they’ll still fly the cross to show support to the English football team. How does that work then?'

Pub manager Hayley Bates said she understands why drinkers have questioned the decision to use the Union Jack, but said the pub had always used those flags.

She said: 'I can see her point, but we have always used the Union Jack to celebrate St George’s Day and it has never been an issue before.  'She started questioning it and she also said we should make a bigger deal out of St George’s Day than St Patrick’s, which I agree with.  'But I’ve been at Wetherspoons for eight years and nothing has changed in that time.'

A JD Wetherspoon spokeswoman denied the Union Jack flags were put up through fear of offending customers with the English national flag.  She said: 'They have got St George's flags up now, they were put up today.

'It was something which was done every year, it was the decorations they always had.  'Nobody had ever pointed it out before, so now they have changed the decorations. We like to please our customers.' 


Atheists should show 'liberal tolerance' to Britain's status as a Christian country

Atheists should accept that Britain is a “Christian country” – and show “liberal tolerance” towards it, a group of prominent philosophers has argued.

In a letter to The Telegraph, eight leading thinkers including Prof Roger Scruton, the philosopher and writer, insist that the moderate brand of Christianity “enshrined” in the British constitution actively protects those of other faiths and none.

The letter was published as Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, who is himself an atheist, said it was “flamingly obvious” that Britain is founded on Christian values.

Their intervention came amid a debate over the role of faith in modern Britain triggered by claims from David Cameron that the UK is still a Christian country, despite living in a more secular age.

In an article last week in the Church Times, the Prime Minister urged people in Britain to be unashamedly “evangelical” about Christianity.

But in response, dozens of writers, scientists and celebrities, wrote to The Telegraph accusing Mr Cameron of sowing “alienation” and “sectarian” division.

The group, led by Prof Jim Al-Khalili, the biologist and president of the British Humanist Association, and including Philip Pullman and Sir Terry Pratchett, the writers, accused Mr Cameron of causing harm by emphasising Christianity.

But in a response letter, eight thinkers including Prof John Haldane of St Andrew’s and Prof Nigel Biggar, of Oxford, argue that the special status of the Church of England, as established church, had itself actively fostered “liberal” values in Britain for centuries.

“Prof Al-Khalili and his cosignatories are quite correct to describe British society as plural and to say that it has benefited from the contributions of many non-Christians,” they write.

“Nevertheless, in important ways Britain remains a Christian country, as the Prime Minister has rightly claimed.”

The form of Christianity embodied by Anglicanism has, they argue, become the “public orthodoxy” and itself represents a “Christian humanism”.

“This Anglican establishment is liberal, imposing no civil penalties on non-Anglicans, which is why so many non-Anglican Christians and non-Christian believers support it,” they said.

Pointing to evidence suggesting large swathes of the population who do not attend church still identify with Christianity, they add: “It is understandable that convinced atheists will find this situation irritating.

“But a public orthodoxy of some kind is inevitable, and some citizens are bound to find themselves on the wrong side of it and required to exercise liberal tolerance toward it.”

Mr Clegg said: “I'm not a man of faith, but it think it's stating the flamingly obvious that we as a country are underpinned, informed, infused by Christian values.

“Christian heritage, Christian history, Christian culture, Christian values and I think that is something that is obvious about our identity as a nation.

“We are also a very tolerant nation, in fact one of the great Christian values is tolerance, respect for other people, other nations, other faiths, other views so I think our Christian heritage sits very comfortably alongside our plurality, our tolerance as a people .”

Nadhim Zahawi, a Tory MP of Muslim heritage, said: "People need to recognise and celebrate this country's Christian culture. "That doesn't mean it squashes other people of no faith at all.”

Alok Sharma, a Conservative MP, who is Hindu, said it was “nonsense” to say Britain is not a Christian country: “Christian values and organisations the backbone of civic society,” he said.  "The good they do is for everyone across the community, they help all denominations.”

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: “We'll leave it to other people to argue whether, in light of its pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon and Roman influences and post-Christian enlightenment influences, our law can be described as Christian.

“We'll also leave it to other people to point out that the shift away from Christianity and to non-religious identities is one of the biggest cultural shifts of today.

“Neither of these points is directly relevant to the purpose of Monday's letter.

“That letter made it clear that we respect the right of people to their religious beliefs but that in a very diverse society like today's we need to build an inclusive national identity not a narrow one.  “To try and make this instead a war of words about religion as such is a distraction.”


The BBC’s groupthink is an enemy to free speech

When Jeremy Paxman joins the growing chorus of those who criticise the way the BBC has become a “smug”, dysfunctional, over-blown bureaucracy, run by overpaid unaccountable apparatchiks, one might think that they are describing the European Union, which is doubtless why the BBC loves it. We are familiar with the main reasons why the BBC, for all that it continues here and there to make much-appreciated contributions to our lives, has come to inspire such hostility (“loathsome” was Paxman’s word for it)

Its higher reaches have indeed become a parody of that mindless bureaucracy so brilliantly satirised in its own recent series W1A. It is outrageous that 360 of its senior executives are able to pay themselves more than £100,000 a year, 130 of them more than the Prime Minister. It is perhaps not surprising that the overwhelming impression that the BBC and its presenters give to the world is that they seem to be so babyishly pleased with themselves; and one of the symptoms of this “inflation”, as the psychologists call it, is that the BBC, with its endless puffs and trailers to tell us what a wonderful service it is giving us, too often seems, au fond, to be about nothing more than itself.

But, as ever more people seem to recognise, the most damaging price we pay for the BBC’s near-monopoly of the airwaves is the way it imposes on our national culture its own, only too recognisable view of the world: its own narrow, one-sided, left-of-centre form of groupthink. On pretty well every issue of the day, the BBC has its “party line”, dictating what can and cannot be said, who it invites on and who it excludes: from the EU and global warming to gay marriage; from wind farms to government “cuts”; from Israel to fracking. This is to the point where too many of its programmes are little more than propaganda, put over by self-regarding presenters who frequently cannot hide their impatience with anyone who doesn’t agree with the groupthink.

There is one salutary way to see just how one-sided the BBC has become, and that is to listen to American radio talk shows. Some, described as “liberal”, parrot the same politically correct line as the BBC. But others, called “conservative” are everything the BBC isn’t. Appearing on some of the more intelligent of such shows, with spirited, well-informed presenters, I have more than once observed: “I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be on this show, because back home in Britain none of what we have been saying to each other would ever be allowed on the BBC.”

With ever more people suggesting how the BBC could be reformed, or its monopoly broken up, there could be no more effective way to show British listeners what we are missing than to allow a rival network, free to put over the kind of views and values which, at the moment, the BBC manages to exclude from the national debate – except to pour scorn on them, even though they might reflect views held by much of their audience. This would certainly give the British a shock, because it is called “free speech”, something which no body is more active in suppressing than that unutterably “smug” state broadcasting organisation we all have to pay for.

Ukraine crisis is EU’s fault

One phrase in a piece by one of our most prominent commentators on the great Ukraine imbroglio exemplifies just how the West’s preferred narrative for this shambles is getting the story upside down. Can the West, it asks, make “a last-ditch attempt to deter Russia from its imperialist ambition”? As some of us have long been trying to point out, the trigger to this crisis was not President Putin’s attempt to further Russia’s imperial ambitions, but that of the EU to extend its own empire, right into the heart of a region which Russians see, ethnically and politically, as very much their national concern.

It was the ambition to absorb Ukraine into the EU that finally provoked 96 per cent of Crimean voters to choose to rejoin the country where they belonged through most of the last 230 years. Faced with that hubris exemplified in David Cameron’s boast last year that he wanted to see the EU stretching “from the Atlantic to the Urals”, it is unsurprising that so many of the Russian-speakers in Ukraine’s industrial heartland would prefer to be ruled by Moscow than by some alien government in Brussels.

For 60 years the “European project” has been driven by its ideological belief that the evil of “nationalism” must give way to an undemocratic, unaccountable “supra-nationalism”. But by pushing its “soft power” right up to Russia’s borders, the EU has finally gone a bridge too far. The lesson it shows no sign of learning is that there is still a real world outside its own little bubble of make-believe, where the sense of national identity and national interest cannot just be steamrollered into oblivion.



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