Thursday, December 31, 2015

A first-hand account of current events in Israel

The media tell only half of it

By Paul Driessen and Glenn Taubman

When we planned our recent trip to Israel with 50 other Northern Virginians, we didn’t expect that it would coincide with the latest spasm of Palestinian violence against Israelis. We didn’t anticipate that this new war would be more insidious than past “intifadas,” with almost daily violence coming out of nowhere, with no warning, rhyme or reason.

No one is exempt. Old people have been stabbed and brutalized on city streets; so have young mothers with toddlers, rabbis in study halls, students in cars, people praying. Soldiers have been attacked at checkpoints. Children have been forced to watch their parents murdered in front of them. People waiting for buses have been rammed by cars and split open by meat cleavers.

A rocket hit Sderot, where a menorah atop a yeshivah was crafted from rockets that had previously rained down on this beautiful city, and where a colorful playground caterpillar doubles as a bomb shelter during frequent attacks. The Iron Dome defense system took out another flying bomb over Ashkelon.

Our group never wavered in its countrywide visit, but we were always looking around warily for signs of trouble. In some places an armed security guard accompanied us.

A suburban Jerusalem shopkeeper told us he and his six-year-old twins experience constant rocks and Molotov cocktails thrown at their house. He asked plaintively, “How do I explain that to my children?” Many nearby neighborhoods endure similar threats.

We thought back to October 2002, when the Beltway sniper and his young accomplice paralyzed the DC region for weeks, sowing fear and keeping people from pumping gas, buying groceries, holding soccer practices, or venturing from their homes. We ponder what happened in Paris and Mali, Chattanooga and San Bernardino, Boston and Fort Hood, Belgium and other countries.

Americans might try to imagine 50 or 100 copycats doing the same thing for weeks, months or years on end, and exhorting others to join them. Would they send their kids to school or engage in normal activities under such terrorism? Might they want the National Guard deployed? How would they respond if snipers return, or Paris and San Bernardino become more commonplace?

While many of these attacks occur in what the news media likes to call “Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory,” many have actually occurred in pre-1967 Israel, including downtown Jerusalem and Tel Aviv suburbs like Netanya and Ra’anana. As tourists, we saw firsthand how such random attacks sow fear, changes in daily life and calls for retaliation.

Markets had fewer people, restaurants were less crowded, businesses suffered. Mothers refused to send their children to school for almost a week, until more troops patrolled the streets. Life in cities gradually began returning to “normal” as our trip ended, but the stabbings and shootings continue.

News stories and anti-Israel activists often say more Palestinians than Israelis have died in these attacks – and repeat the vicious canard that “alleged perpetrators” have been “victims” of “extra-judicial summary executions.” In reality, the assailants were shot and killed while attempting to murder as many Israelis as possible; they were killed in the act by Israelis who are increasingly arming themselves for protection.

Israelis recognize that police and soldiers cannot be everywhere, and too often arrive only in time to count bodies and prevent additional murders. Self-protection under these circumstances is a citizen’s duty, and those attacking Israelis do so knowing the response is likely to be swift and uncompromising.

In fact, the response by Israelis exactly reflects Washington, DC Chief of Police Cathy Lanier’s recent advice: Citizens should do more than run or hide. They should “take the gunman down, take the gunman out. It’s the best option for saving lives before the police can get there.”

What do the Palestinian Arabs gain from their murderous mayhem, inspired by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, the Arab media and many imams? Absolutely nothing, because the vicious attacks destroy any notion within Israel that it has a true partner for peace.

They destroy any hope or belief that West Bank and Gaza Strip Arabs will ever govern themselves peaceably, in close proximity to Israel’s major cities, sole international airport and neighborhoods teeming with children – even if their “two-state solution,” settlement removal and other demands are met.

The media, United Nations, State Department and boycott-divestment groups frequently claim the Palestinian side merely wants a state of its own next to Israel. However, the blatant refusal of attackers and their supporters to accept even pre-1967 Israel – or even depict Israel on maps – shows they are intent on keeping this 90-year war boiling for their own nationalistic or religious supremacy purposes.

Abba Eban famously said “the Arabs never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity” for peace. They seem determined to continue that dismal record, and many want Israel obliterated.

With our own eyes, we saw that Israel is a place of marvelous vitality, creativity and diversity: amazing food, archaeology, culture, science (cell phone apps, desalination plants, miracle cancer treatments and much more), agriculture, beaches, secularism and profound spirituality. Its racial and ethnic tolerance, its human rights record – while not perfect – are worlds better than anything found in its neighboring countries, where ethnic and religious minorities are routinely repressed, tortured and massacred.

Under horribly adverse conditions, dating back decades before its founding almost 68 years ago, Israelis have built a thriving and energetic society, a marvel on the ruins of their ancient past and recent Jewish history. They are not going anywhere, nor should they be expected to – anymore than the English should leave England or Americans the United States.

Indeed, Israel has integrated some 600,000 Jews who were driven penniless from Arab lands after its 1948 independence, plus millions of other Jews and non-Jews from around the world over later decades. Its Christian population has risen from 34,000 in 1949 to 170,000 today. As they built new lives in their adopted land, Israel prospered with them.

By contrast, virtually no Arab countries have accepted or integrated any Palestinian Arabs, many of whom still claim “refugee” status generations after this long war began. They treat refugees from the current Iraq-Syria conflagration the same way, while driving out or murdering non-Muslims. How many Syrians are in Saudi Arabia or Qatar today, instead of Germany or France?

Israel’s Jews live the Jewish people’s dream of a sovereign state reborn in its ancient homeland, and they are there to stay, along with Circassian, Christian, Druze, B’hai, Arab and other Israelis we met. In sad parallel, the Palestinian Arabs have built a society based on death, perpetual grievance, medieval attitudes and beliefs, and murder-suicides they mistakenly call martyrdom.

The sooner they sheath their knives, step out of the Middle Ages, and accept the fact that their Jewish neighbors will be in Israel for another 3,000 years, the sooner they too will have a chance to thrive in a country of their own. The first genuine steps would be a wonderful way to begin 2016.

Via email

Leftist academics think the Jihadis are good guys

Bloodshed has never bothered Leftists.  Comments below from an Australian academic

Academic theoreticians are to blame for Australia being in a position where ASIO head Duncan Lewis, “an unelected securocrat”, tells democratically elected MPs that “silence is the price they have to pay for an uneasy civil peace”.

David Martin Jones, a former associate professor at Queensland University who is visiting professor at the War Studies department at London University’s King’s College, told The Australian that, from a widespread academic perspective, “the market and the West perpetuate the real global ­violence, not terrorists, who merely resist the capitalist behemoth”.

He said that “in asking MPs and, by extension, the wider political community to refrain from commenting on the connection between Islam and political violence, Duncan Lewis merely reflected a widespread view that criticism of Islam by a non-Muslim will only provoke Muslim rage and provide more recruits to Islamic State”.

Since the terror attacks on the US in 2001, “liberal political elites, academe and state broadcasters have consistently denied any connection between religion, in its Islamist form, and religiously inspired violence”.

He said that after the London bombings on July 7, 2005, and the more recent Paris attacks, “a predictable chorus of academic ­experts have appeared in the media to claim the latest outrage has nothing to do with religion”.

“Well might they,” he said. “For the past decade, grants and chairs in terror or peace and conflict studies have been dedicated to showing modern terrorism has no Islamic association.” Even if some Islamic connection was conceded, he said, this was viewed as part of a wider, anti-capitalist “resistance” by the rest to the West.

The past decade, said Professor Jones, had witnessed a ­proliferation of peer-reviewed academic journals that reinforced this “resistance” message. These included, he said, Critical Studies on Terrorism and Critical Security Studies. “Tracing this critical posture reveals how deeply imbued contemporary academe has become with anti-western self loathing”. Such journals explained, for example, that “the rhetoric of freedom and the democratic way of life it upholds inflames the Muslim community”.

Professor Jones said that “the antidote they suggest is not to condemn, but to enter into ‘force-free dialogue’ with the forces of resistance”. Thus, he said, this academically fashionable critical theory shared an elective affinity with “the resistance”.

Reading Islamism as a form of revolutionary Marxism with a relig­ious facade, he said, “enables the Western theorist to present the Islamist in more attractive academic garb as a fellow critic ‘representing a distinctive combination of Islamic and enlightenment thought’ ”.

Not surprisingly, he said, Islam­ism’s most effective online journals embraced this unmasking of the “true” sources of terrorism. “They also consider the war on terror ‘a narrative’ and a distorted Western ‘construct’ that Islamism ‘deconstructs’, and accept that orientalism and colonialism are the real causes of their ‘radical’ reaction,” he said.

Professor Jones said that “ultimately, to empathise with Islamism and provide it with a justification for its hyper-megalomaniacal violence was delusional”.

“Such a delusion, ironically, depends on the liberal pluralist tolerance that both Islamic State and critical theory otherwise abhor,” he said. The result was “a curious disjuncture between what Islamists say and have said for a while, and what the critical theorist and now ASIO say they mean — and what Islamists actually do.”


Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin Upheld Religious Freedom in Issuing Marriage Licenses

Acting to resolve a conflict between personal conscience and political duty on the subject of same-sex marriage, Kentucky’s new governor decided that marriage licenses don’t have to bear the name of the county clerk whose office issues the license.

Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, announced his executive order last week along with four others.

“To ensure that the sincerely held religious beliefs of all Kentuckians are honored, Executive Order 2015-048 directs the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives to issue a revised marriage license form to the offices of all Kentucky county clerks,” a statement from the governor’s office reads. “The name of the county clerk is no longer required to appear on the form.”

During his campaign for governor, Bevin came out in support of Kim Davis, the Democratic clerk of Rowan County,  who drew national attention when she went to jail for five days for refusing to issue any marriage licenses to avoid issuing them to same-sex couples. Davis cited her religious belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

“As we move into the New Year and upcoming session,” Bevin said in a statement, “I look forward to working with legislators and stakeholders to build consensus and drive policy that makes a meaningful impact on the lives of all Kentuckians.”

Bevin and Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton were sworn into office earlier this month. He succeeds Steve Beshear, a Democrat, as governor.

Whether or not she personally issued a marriage license, Davis had said, her name on the document signaled her consent.

“The controversy over Kim Davis and marriage licenses was a creation of a governor who was unwilling to do anything to help accommodate people with reasonable religious beliefs,” Roger Severino, director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

Anticipating the Supreme Court decision that would redefine marriage, Davis petitioned the Kentucky Legislature in January to accommodate the religious beliefs of clerks, Severino said. The legislature did not act.

Republican lawmakers in the state had requested that Beshear issue an executive order to accommodate Davis and other objecting clerks, USA Today reported.

“Regardless of whatever their personal feelings might be, the overwhelming majority of county clerks are following the law and carrying out their duty to issue marriage licenses regardless of gender, and the courts will deal appropriately with the two or three clerks who are acting otherwise,” Beshear said in July.

“Kim Davis didn’t want to attach her name and title to forms recognizing a marriage she does not believe exists,” Severino said. “So she asked for accommodation. She was ignored.”

With Bevin’s new executive order, Severino said, “nobody is denied anything.” Clerks who are willing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples may do so, he said:

The Supreme Court has had its say and is requiring that states issue licenses to same-sex couples. That does not mean that a same-sex couple has a right to a license delivered by a particular clerk. Nobody has a right to have a license delivered by a particular clerk or have their wedding solemnized by a particular magistrate when others are willing to do it just as well.


A Leftist sleazebag and an attempted feminist coverup

Earlier this month, Nona Willis Aronowitz wrote a piece for Matter titled “(Not) All Men: Why women want to believe Our Dudes are the exception.” It was about how women—even very feminist women—can rationalize or deny sexism perpetrated by the men in their lives. One of the “major obstacles in the Fight Against Patriarchy,” she wrote, “is that a sexist guy will always seem like an outsider—a bad-news ex-boyfriend, perhaps, but not your male feminist friend, your super chill brother, your gentle dad.”

I thought of Willis Aronowitz’s piece when I learned about the sudden dissolution of the progressive public relations firm FitzGibbon Media amid accusations of sexual predation by its founder, Trevor FitzGibbon. According to the Huffington Post, which broke the story, FitzGibbon’s former employees say their boss committed at least a half-dozen incidents of sexual harassment, as well as two sexual assaults. He reportedly propositioned a woman who sought a job at the firm, and later asked her for sexy photos. HuffPo’s Amanda Terkel tweeted that several of FitzGibbon’s clients also say they were assaulted. For many in the progressive media world, where FitzGibbon was well-known, the idea that he was a serial sexual abuser is deeply shocking.

Outwardly, the Washington, D.C.–based FitzGibbon Media appeared committed to feminist ideals: In addition to clients like Amnesty International and WikiLeaks, it represented NARAL Pro-Choice America and the women’s rights organization UltraViolet. But despite the ostensibly progressive environment, the alleged victims evidently didn’t feel as though they could speak out, and until recently, by all accounts, they didn’t speak to each other. Assuming the multiple and still-proliferating charges are true, it begs the question: How did FitzGibbon get away with it for so long?

According to HuffPo, FitzGibbon’s alleged misdeeds came to light at an Austin staff retreat a few weeks ago. A friend of a FitzGibbon employee, Sierra Pedraja, had met with FitzGibbon during the day in a hotel lobby about possible employment opportunities; he invited her to spend some time with him and his staff that evening. That night, he reportedly told her she was beautiful and, according to HuffPo, “asked her if she was open to having any fun while he was in town.” The next day, he asked her to meet alone at the hotel. She declined. “I was very eager to get a job, and he used that to his advantage,” she was quoted saying.

Soon, the news of FitzGibbons’ alleged behavior with Pedraja spread through FitzGibbon Media. Female employees began telling each other their own stories: some similar to Pedraja’s, some much worse. It was as if Pedraja had kicked over a rock, revealing all the vermin beneath. “When I heard them say this was sexual harassment—no, it’s so much bigger than that!” one former FitzGibbon employee told me. She says that FitzGibbon sexually assaulted her, though she asked me not to print the details lest he recognize her and try to make contact. Until Pedraja spoke out, she thought she was alone—that what happened to her was a “happenstance freak incident.” (I reached out to FitzGibbon for this piece, but he declined to comment.)

As the internal crisis mounted, FitzGibbon decided to close his company. Now his nearly 30 employees are out of a job just before Christmas.

Like a lot of people in progressive media circles, I was friendly with FitzGibbon, and I understand why it took time for some his alleged victims to see him as an abuser. He and my husband had been colleagues at another progressive PR firm, Fenton Communications, during the last years of the Bush administration. Once FitzGibbon founded his own firm, I frequently worked with his team to set up interviews, and would see him at lefty political events and in MSNBC greenrooms. Occasionally he’d call me out of the blue just to talk, and we communicated regularly on social media.

Hyperearnest, enthusiastic, and confiding, FitzGibbon comes across like an eager puppy. He’s a hugger, but that never set off red flags for me. (His former employee says the same thing: “I didn’t think he would be capable of crossing a line like that.”) A few years ago, we met for drinks when he was in New York. I suggested SoHo’s Temple Bar, which is great for conversation but, being dark and intimate, not a place I’d go with someone who seemed potentially creepy.

Certainly, some of FitzGibbon’s alleged victims kept quiet because they feared for their jobs or their professional reputations, but others found themselves making excuses for him. A lawyer whom he reportedly groped at the Bowery Hotel told the Guardian, “I brushed it off as I thought he was having a needy moment.” It never occurred to her, she said, “that this was dangerous serial behaviour that he was probably doing to other women, or that he was keeping us silent by giving us a guilt trip.” The former employee I spoke to was worried about how FitzGibbon’s wife would feel if she ever found out what had happened. “I had this irrational fear that she would show up on my doorstep one day crying with her twins in her arms,” she says. FitzGibbon had apologized to her profusely, she said, as he did to many of his alleged victims. Even as she worried about her career, she remembers also feeling a sort of pity for him.

In theory, most of us know that men who commit sexist aggressions appear to be perfectly ordinary; they are not some special breed of leering monster. Still, when someone we know as a nice guy turns out to be sleazy, we’re thrown. These situations force us to choose between a number of unpleasant possibilities. We can regard the man as a sort of double agent from the land of misogyny, and treat everything we know about him as a lie. We can accept that some men, including men with admirable qualities who we know and like, don’t see women as fully human, which can leave us wondering about all the men in our lives. Or we can think that since the guy was nice, maybe what happened didn’t actually happen, or wasn’t so bad, or won’t happen again.

Yet word didn’t get out. The media critic Jennifer Pozner tweeted that two women had warned her about FitzGibbon and that his behavior was an “open secret”—but if it was, it was only open within a small circle. I reached out to several of my husband’s former colleagues, three of them women. None knew about his sexual harassment history. The employee who told me about her assault says she never heard a single rumor about FitzGibbon. And yet more women are now coming forward: “Women keep reaching out to us with more creepy allegations about Trevor FitzGibbon. People who didn’t work at the firm,” tweeted HuffPo’s Terkel on Friday. Many women, it seems, kept quiet about what happened to them, some because they were scared, some because the dissonance between his persona and his behavior knocked them off balance.



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


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A politically incorrect Christmas

Michael Graham

Say what you want about the conservative, churchgoing Grahams of Lexington County, S.C., but we knew how to cut loose for Christmas. Growing up in the Deep South, I never had the pleasure of a white one, of course. But what we southerners lack in snowfall, we make up for in lard. And sugar. And gravy. Usually in the same dish.

My father is a lifelong fiscal conservative (aka “cheapskate”), yet Christmas was the one time of year he would crack open his wallet. Though he bragged about being “tighter than Dick’s hat band”—a vaguely disquieting southernism that has something to do with frugality—my sister and I awoke to a mountain of presents every Christmas morning.

And I do mean morning. As evangelical Christians, we celebrated Christ’s birth in the early hours of daylight, as the Good Lord intended. People who celebrate Christmas on the eve are either utterly unfamiliar with biblical teaching or Catholic. (I kid, my papist friends.)

For us, Christmas morning always exceeded expectations. The breakfast of spicy Bisquick sausage balls and “mimosas” made with sparkling grape juice never disappointed. Even the music was from Christmas Central Casting. For reasons still unclear to me, gas stations used to give away Christmas albums produced by Firestone and Goodyear (nothing says Christmas like a lube, oil, and a filter). These were all-star collections of Andy, Bing, Burl, and the gang. Mom would stack them on the record player and—assuming the arm of the record changer didn’t get stuck—we’d have a nonstop soundtrack for Christmas morning.

My mom’s philosophy on Christmas present distribution might be called the “Chicago voting” model: early and often.

Do I even need to say that we had a real tree? Of course we did. And not some scruffy pine from the woods behind our house, either. (“Too redneck!”—my mom.) No, sir, Dad would splurge on a Fraser fir bought from the Rotary Club. Did he do it because it sent my sister and me into paroxysms of Christmas glee? Or because it gave him an excuse to screw around with digit-endangering power tools late into the night? Only Santa knows.

I do know that the tree filled our small, 1970s prefab home with an opulent scent of celebration. When I was young, I thought every fancy cocktail party I saw in the movies must smell the way my house did on Christmas. My mom would add to the overall effect with potpourri and stacks of presents around the tree. Her philosophy on Christmas present distribution might be called the “Chicago voting” model: early and often. Just days after the tree went up, we already had significant giftage growing. By Christmas Eve it looked like a dump truck from Macy’s had crashed into our living room.

I remember one Christmas morning in particular. I was 9 years old, and we were having a banner day. My sister and I were exhausted from the sheer volume of presents. Shards of wrapping paper were scattered like shrapnel on the North African desert after Rommel had rolled through. We were just transitioning from the “heartfelt gratitude” portion of the program to the “Hey, that’s mine” ceremonial combat when my dad asked, “Are you sure that’s it?”

I looked under the tree. Nothing. I scanned the post-Christmas carnage. Not an unwrapped package in sight. I glanced at my mom, who was also looking around the room with a “Did I forget something in the attic?” look on her face.

(The fact that I never heard my parents rummaging around the crawlspace over my room late on Christmas Eve is proof that Santa is real.)

Then Dad nodded his head toward the upright piano along the wall. “Look over there,” he said.

I waded through the wrapping paper, peered behind the piano and saw . . . something. A long, leather case leaning against the wall. I dragged it over to our floral-print sofa and laid it on the cheap, olive-green carpet at my father’s feet. “Open it up,” my dad said, a twinkle in his notoriously nontwinkling eyes. There was a zipper at one end. I slid it down, reached in, and pulled out something long and heavy.

“Oh, Simon!” my mother cried.

No, it wasn’t a Red Ryder BB gun. (This was years before “A Christmas Story.”) It was a single-barrel, break action, 20-gauge shotgun. A real live gun.

There aren’t actually words for what I felt in that moment. I was astonished, flabbergasted, stupefied, and more. Of course I hadn’t asked Santa for a shotgun. I hadn’t asked him for a Lamborghini or a date with Princess Leia either, because certain things are simply beyond a boy’s imagination. My shotgun wasn’t a crazy, extravagant Christmas present. It was an impossible one. And yet here I was, holding it in my hand, as my father beamed with satisfaction.

And that’s when it got me. The thrill of hope.

I have very few other specific memories of my childhood Christmases after that. What I do remember are vague feelings of disappointment. It’s not that my Christmases were less bright. They were the high point of my year. But when a child is convinced that Christmas is the season when impossible hopes come true, then he can only be disappointed. For no matter how glorious the gifts beneath the tree are, he has the human capacity to hope for even more.

Christmas is an irrational celebration of the limitlessness of our hopes. And yet, that’s why the disappointment we inevitably feel isn’t a bug. It’s a feature. Unrealized hope is always there to tempt us away from the joy of what we have, the good things already grasped in our hands. Which is why every child has, at least once in his life, cried on Christmas morning.

Now that I’m a father, I’m doing my best to keep my childhood traditions alive: A real tree, spicy sausage balls, and children bursting out of their bedrooms on Christmas morning like joyous, uncaged beasts.

But my favorite moment comes the night before, in the waning hours of Christmas Eve. The children are asleep. The fading fire still burns, though darkly. Music drifts softly through the house (the same Goodyear Christmas soundtrack), and the tree stands in the red-tinged darkness, warm with lights.

I’ve got a drink in one hand, and the other draped over the shoulder of my wife, lying drowsily on the sofa next to me. The warm, heavy scent of the tree fills my lungs and unleashes my memories—memories of my children on Christmases past, along with fresh smiles over how giddy they’ll be in the morning when they see all the wishes Santa made true.

Christmas is an irrational celebration of the limitlessness of our hopes.

I have hopes for my children, these four precious gifts I have been given by grace, though these hopes may seem modest to you. Other parents may fantasize about a family of Nobel Prize winners who star in Oscar-nominated movies in their spare time. Me? I just want them to be healthy, to be happy, and to avoid a few of the painful mistakes I’ve made. A future without sorrow or want. Is that too much for a father to hope for?

I think of my wife, nestled beside me so warm and vulnerable. Dare I hope she loves me even half as much as I love her? She doesn’t talk about it often, but my wife has multiple sclerosis. Every day she wages a solitary battle against her own body, and she does it without complaint. And if that’s not bad enough, she has to live with me—a husband who works in radio and writes on the side, an enthusiastic, but often inept, partner. How does she do it? Why must she? Can’t she just live, without another day of worrying about bills, or struggling with her health, or being let down by her oaf of a husband?

Those days are coming, I know they are. But as I sit beside the tree, so still, so quiet in the light of the fading fire, that knowledge fades, too. I’m drawn away by my own impossible Christmas gift. By the elemental power of a simple story, whose symbols are all around me: A star. A manger. A baby, born so helpless, so alone. And yet somehow, so full of hope.

I don’t notice it, but my eyes are moist. My throat is dry. And there in the pale light of the glistening tree, hope envelops me like swaddling clothes. It warms me like the breath of a newborn child. It fills my lungs. It pumps the very blood through my heart. I close my eyes. I bow my head.

And I believe.


Liberal Activists, Celebrities And Politicians Lose Their Minds Over Tamir Rice Ruling

Evidence be damned!

The Tamir Rice verdict sparked outrage from celebrities, activists and politicians after it was announced Monday that Cleveland police would not go to trial in the death of a 12-year-old boy they fatally shot. Rice was shot Nov. 22, 2014, after appearing to reach for a gun in his waist band.

The gun turned out to be a fake, and the case grabbed national attention as one of the premiere cases in the Black Lives Matter movement.

As protesters took to the streets of Cleveland, Twitter exploded with reaction.


Cleveland officers won’t face charges in shooting death of black boy with toy gun

CLEVELAND — After more than a year of investigation, a grand jury declined to bring charges against either of the two police officers involved in the fatal 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was playing with a toy weapon in a Cleveland park.

In announcing the decision Monday, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty said he did not recommend that the grand jury bring any charges.

McGinty said he believes both of the Cleveland officers involved were reasonable in their belief that Rice had a real weapon, and that new analysis of the video of the shooting leaves it "indisputable" that the boy was pulling the weapon from his waistband when he was killed.

"The outcome will not cheer anyone, nor should it," McGinty said. "Simply put, given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes, and miscommunications by all involved that day, the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police."

Rice, who was black, was fatally shot by officer Tim Loehmann, a white rookie officer, on Nov. 22, 2014, as the young boy played with a toy gun in a public park. The grand jury also reviewed the actions of Loehmann’s partner, Frank Garmback.

The officers said earlier this month that Rice appeared much older and reached for the toy gun that was tucked in his waistband before Loehmann shot at him.

Police officers are rarely charged after on-duty shootings. There have been at least 975 police fatal shootings in the United States this year, according to a Washington Post database; officers have been charged with a crime in just eight of those shootings.

McGinty said the death of Rice did not meet the standard of a crime.

In a statement issued not long after the prosecutor’s announcement, attorneys for Rice’s family decried the grand jury process and renewed their calls for the Department of Justice to bring federal charges.

"It has been clear for months now that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty was abusing and manipulating the grand jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment," the family attorneys said.


Australia: A government hospital system with three times more bureaucrats than doctors

A review of South Australia's hospital system needs to examine the number of bureaucrats after documents show administrators outnumber doctors, Family First MP Robert Brokenshire has said.

Mr Brokenshire called for an independent review after obtaining the data under Freedom of Information which showed administrators now outnumbered doctors by three to one.

The number of administrators has jumped by more than 1,600 to 13,477 in the past 10 years compared to the number of salaried doctors which rose to 3,897.

The documents also showed the number of executives increased to 113 from 84 - 10 years ago.

Mr Brokenshire said the disparity needed to be examined. "So I'm calling for an independent audit to actually have a look at and put a public report out to say whether or not, all these bureaucratic positions are required at a time when we have unprecedented pressures in our hospitals that our doctors and nurses are trying to cope with," he said.

SA Health said since 2010 there had been a more than 10 per cent reduction in executives working in SA Health and that in May it announced cuts to 25 executive roles and 425 staff from head office.

"South Australia has more doctors and nurses per capita than the national Australian average and there are only two other states that have a lower ratio of administrative and clerical staff per capita than South Australia," the statement read.

"The vast majority of SA Health staff are based on the frontline in local health networks or in roles directly supporting frontline staff."


Australia: Killers and terrorists will be served Halal chicken at 'religious friendly' Christmas lunch at Supermax - because so many of the inmates are Muslim

Christmas dinner inside Goulburn's Supermax prison for many of the inmates will be Halal chicken with cranberry sauce in an aluminium tray slid through the hatch of their four-by-three metre cell door at around 11am on Friday.

An unprecedented number of arrests of terror related suspects has boosted the number of Muslims locked up inside Supermax this Christmas alongside longer term inmates like serial killer Ivan Milat and double murderer Vester Fernando.

Daily Mail Australia can reveal that 37 high risk inmates will be spending the holiday season inside the prison and the increase in Islamic prisoners means there will be more call on the 'religious friendly' meal option on Friday's menu.

Although they are unlikely to be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, Supermax's newer inmates like teenager Raban Alou will find little comfort in the culinary nod to his religion.

Alou was locked up in October for allegedly supplying schoolboy Farhad Jabar, 15, with the gun that killed police accountant Curtis Cheng at Parramatta in western Sydney.

Supermax prison is a modern jail within the larger 19th century jail which lies on the edge of the town of Goulburn, 200km southwest of Sydney.

While Goulburn's main prison, where inmates are caged in open-air yards in a noisy and sometimes menacing rabble, the atmosphere inside Supermax is more like a hospital than a jail.

It feels clinical, and with dozens of the country's worst offenders behind the glass doors of their day rooms like animals in a zoo, it is creepy.

Alou is likely being held in Supermax's segregation area, 7 wing, where all fresh admissions are held as they get used to the high risk management prison's rules and restrictions.

Alou, who is spending his first Christmas inside after being charged with aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of a terrorist act, will be offered the Halal chicken with potatoes and mixed vegetables.

Muslim inmates can also opt for the vegetarian Christmas lunch option of a spinach and ricotta burger with potatoes and vegetables.

Prepared three days earlier by criminals in one of the state's four prison kitchens in Sydney and regional NSW, the meal will be reheated, placed on a trolley and given to Alou in his cell. For dessert, he will receive a fruit mince pie.

The food will have been precisely measured to be high on vitamins and minerals and low in harmful fat or salt rendering it, many inmates claim, completely tasteless.

After a year in which breaches at Goulburn prison have resulted in escapes, attempted escapes and the amassing of contraband such as mobile phones, security will be tight in Supermax where guards can only interact in pairs with inmates.

In the lead up to Christmas, Corrective Services usually instigates a pre-season crackdown with officers from a special anti-contraband force and dogs searching common areas of the prison to sniff out drugs.

At this time of year, these teams also step up searches of visitors who may try to bring illegal substances into prisons.

Searches unearth stashes of methadone, fruit to make 'jail brew', cannabis, pills, steroids, 'ice', mobile phones and SIM cards, weapons such as shivs made from filed toothbrushes, wood or metal, and other banned items tattoo guns and cigarettes.



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, December 29, 2015

Another charming multiculturalist

PENNYSYLVANIA man Rick ‘Ricky’ Webster is just 26-years-old, but he is set to serve his second prison sentence for having unprotected sex with women without telling them he is HIV positive.

Webster was slapped with a 33 to 66 month prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to nine counts of reckless endangerment, related to not disclosing his HIV status to three female sexual partners.

Senior Judge Leonard N. Zito described Webster’s actions as ranking “among the most cowardly of human acts”, the Morning Call reported.

“This was not only disrespectful but it borders on the most heinous and deplorable acts,” he said.

“What he did, what Ricky Webster did, was to steal the lives of these young girls.”

Webster, who was born with HIV, showed remorse in court and his father asked the judge to take his obstacles in life into account, but Judge Zito refused to give him any sympathy.

“I get the feeling everyone is out to make him the victim. He’s not the victim,” Judge Zito said, the Le High Valley Live reported.

None of the three women have tested positive for HIV, but the testing period has not expired yet.

Assistant District Attorney Anthony Casola said the emotional trauma would be difficult to overcome even if there was no infection.

“I know that they’re going to be concerned about this for the rest of their lives,” Casola said.

In court, Webster admitted to cheating on his pregnant girlfriend when he slept with his female co-workers.

Webster was previously sentenced to four years in prison in 2010 for having unprotected sex with two women in New Jersey, including a 15-year-old girl.


Children brought up by both parents far less likely to suffer mental ill-health

Britain's Draconian feminist-inspired divorce laws have greatly discouraged marriage, thus depriving children of the best environment for them

Children brought up by single parents and in step families are three times as likely to suffer from mental health problems, a major study has found.

Research on more than 10,000 children found that those brought up by both natural parents are far less likely to suffer severe emotional and behavioural problems.

The major study by University College London shows large differences in the well-being of children, depending on their upbringing.

Experts said the findings added to “a mountain of evidence” about the damage caused by family breakdown, with children left stressed by marital breakdowns, or falling into poverty which could increase their risk of psychiatric distress.

The Millennium Cohort Study examined the mental health of 10,448 11-year-olds living in the UK. Overall, 6.6 per cent of children living with both natural parents were found to have severe mental health problems, compared with 15 per cent of those living with single parents, and 18.1 per cent of those living in step-families.

Those brought up by single parents and in step-families were particularly likely to suffer from conduct and hyperactivity problems, the mass study found.  Almost one in five children brought up in step-families were rated as suffering some form of conduct problem, such as tantrums and fights. The figure of 19.5 per cent compared with a figure of 7.1 per cent among those brought up by both natural parents and 17.4 per cent among those brought up by a lone parent.

Higher levels of mental health problems were found among boys, who were more likely than girls to suffer from conduct problems, hyperactivity and inattention.

Racial differences were also found. White boys were the most likely to suffer from hyperactivity and conduct problems while mixed race girls were the most likely to suffer from any type of severe mental health problem.

Children brought up in low income households were also more likely to suffer mental health problems, with a four-fold difference between the wealthiest and poorest households.

Andy Bell, chief executive of the Centre for Mental Health said: “It is not known from the information available to us why children living with both their parents are less likely to have mental health problems at age 11, but there are likely to be a range of reasons.

“We know that incomes are an important factor and children from the poorest families are four times as likely to have mental health problems as those from the wealthiest households. “Stress and distress among parents may also be an important factor putting children at risk.”

Norman Wells, from the Family Education trust, said: “This study adds to a mountain of evidence that family stability matters and that family breakdown can have a damaging effect on the mental health of children.

"The fact that a growing number of children lack the advantages of being raised by both their natural parents in a stable family unit is not something we can afford to be complacent about.”

Children who are bullied at school grow into adults with an increased risk of anxiety disorders, depression and suicidal thoughts, the findings show

Calling on the Government to do more to promote and encourage marriage, he said the rise in births outside marriage in recent years was having a damaging impact on children.

"In an age that places great emphasis on personal fulfilment at all costs, this study is a salutary reminder that the personal choices we make can have a lasting impact on others, and especially on our children,” he said.

Carey Oppenheim, Early Intervention Foundation chief executive, said families needed help earlier if children were struggling.
“Every child deserves the best opportunity to realise their full potential and we know that those with well-developed social and emotional skills have a better chance of being happy and healthy adults. That is why it is so important to tackle the inequalities that exist in these vital skills between children from different backgrounds,” she said.


Fewer British women are seeking divorce as men behave less badly: Number of wives seeking split drops by half since the mid 1980s

I doubt that male behaviour has changed much.  Draconian divorce laws mean that they marry less frequently, however.  So they will mostly be very confident of the relationship when they do marry and slower to end it

Women are less likely to seek a divorce in the first five years of marriage today than they were 30 years ago because their husbands have a more realistic expectation of marriage, according to a pro-marriage researcher.

According to the analysis, fewer women are asking for a divorce early in their marriage because men are walking down the aisle with their eyes wide open.

Sir Paul Coleridge, founder of the Marriage Foundation, commissioned the data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which distinguishes between divorces instigated by husbands and wives.

'The scale of the decrease in women filing for divorce suggests that 'men doing better' must be a significant factor,' Sir Coleridge told The Sunday Times.

While 7.9 per cent of women initiated divorce proceedings within five years after marrying in 1986, the figure dropped to 4.2 per cent in 2013.

The proportion of men seeking to part in the same period also dropped from 3 per cent of those who wed in 1993 to 2.2% for those married in 2008 and seeking a divorce by 2013.

Dismissing reasons such as a change in work-life patterns, and the later stage at which women now get married, Marriage Foundation researcher Henry Benson says the change is because men get married these days because they want to, not because they 'have' to because of social pressure.

'In the 1990s, a man was under social pressure from his family or friends. 'Do the right thing,' they say. 'Make an honest woman of her. Tie the knot.' So he enters marriage under a certain amount of duress, without ever fully buying into it,' Benson said in The Sunday Times article.

'So as long as things are good, he is broadly content with his new arrangement, but over time, and perhaps with the arrival of a baby, inevitable little conflicts emerge.

'Instead of dealing with them responsibly, he feels less constrained in the way he behaves because he never really bought into a long-term plan. She becomes aware of his indifference and pulls the plug,' he said.

Other experts attribute the uptick of divorces in the 1980s as women no longer accepted their role as sole child carer and pushed back against old stereotypes. 

They argue that some men have caught up with expectations of equal division of domestic labour, which causes less conflict


War on Christians? This Doctor Spoke Out About Homosexuality. Guess what happened next...

The War on Christians continues: Boston urologist Paul Church should have just stuck to telling co-workers that smoking is unhealthy.

But making similar arguments about the gay lifestyle to his Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) colleagues ultimately got him expelled from the hospital’s staff after 28 years of apparently impeccable service.

The BIDMC board of directors has quietly upheld Church’s expulsion for expressing “offensive” views when he again objected to the hospital’s gay pride events. That edict was the capstone of Church’s 11-year battle with Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital over its glorification of all things homosexual.
Homosexual activists used to advocate for equality, to be treated like everyone else. Now, predictably, they're asking for preferential treatment. As a result, those who disagree with their lifestyle are losing their freedom of speech.



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, December 28, 2015

Woman who falsely claimed she had been raped twice at the same park is jailed for two years

Such claims are common in Britain.  At least British judges do usually lock the bitches up for a few years

A young woman who falsely claimed she had been hauled into bushes and raped twice by the same man in the same park five months apart has been jailed for two years.

A court heard former Edinburgh Academy pupil Naima Shereen Mirza, 21, 'spun a web of lies and deceit', causing police to waste hundreds of hours investigating her malicious allegations.

Officers became suspicious when Mirza named her attacker as a man from Perth, who was actually in jail at the time the alleged offences took place when she was a pupil at Edinburgh Academy, a court heard.

After searching her property, they found a journal where she documented her increasingly alarming thoughts and fantasies, including the names and offences of rapists and sexual offenders from around Scotland.

She later told detectives she concocted the attacks to explain her poor exam results after failing to get in to Strathclyde University, in Glasgow.

Mirza denied that on various occasions between May 15, 2012, and April 2, 2013, she falsely represented to police officers and civilian operators at the 999 service that she had been sexually assaulted and raped in Edinburgh's King George V park.

But a jury of 12 women and three men found her guilty after a nine-day trial earlier this month at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The first police officer to interview Mirza was DC Lesley Robertson of the Public Protection Unit on May 15.

She described how Mirza sat with her hair over her face as she talked to her and ran out of the room several times.

She said she found her behaviour quite strange. 'I had concerns about her hiding her face and running out of the room' she said. 'I had the impression it was very well planned. I didn't see any real distress or anything like that'.

DC Barry Murphy said Mirza told him she had been distressed and unhappy about her exams and had decided to 'make up' her alleged attack to explain her poor results.

She wrote a letter to one of the officer's in the case which said: 'Nothing happened. I went to the park and made it up. I wanted another year at school to get to Strathclyde University'.

Mirza told the jury she had wanted to do forensic biology at Strathclyde University and had had a conditional offer from them, but failed to get the 'A' in chemistry she needed

She said she wanted to do an extra year at school as she thought she had not done well in the exams. The court heard she did well in one exam however, getting 80 per cent for Drama.

Sentencing Mirza, Sheriff Michael O'Grady QC told her: 'In many years in these courts in one capacity or another, I have come across the whole range of hateful, hideous and downright bizarre things that people do to each other and the world at large.

'But I doubt, however, in all that time that I have encountered a course of conduct so strange, so needless and so hard to fathom as yours.'  He added: 'It is also a course of conduct that is selfish, devious and persistent to a truly remarkable degree'.

He said resources were diverted from 'genuine crimes where genuine victims were anxiously and fearfully waiting for their assailants to be brought to book', adding: 'That is not only appalling, it is positively cruel.'

'For almost a year you spun a web of lies and deceit of quite remarkable scope, intricacy and forethought.

'Throughout that time, you caused huge amounts of public money and effort, not to mention the dedication and commitment of the police officers from whom we heard, to be needlessly expended for no other purpose than the gratification of watching them dance to your tune'. 


State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”

The cease and desist came about after Aaron and Melissa Klein participated in an interview with Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins. During the interview, Aaron said among other things, “This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong.”

Lawyers for plaintiffs, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, argued that in making this statement, the Kleins violated an Oregon law banning people from acting on behalf of a place of public accommodation (in this case, the place would be the Kleins’ former bakery) to communicate anything to the effect that the place of public accommodation would discriminate.

Administrative Law Judge Alan McCullough, who is employed by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and was appointed by Avakian, threw out the argument in the “proposed order” he issued back in April.

But today, Avakian, who was in charge of making the final ruling in the case—and is also an elected politician—reversed that decision.

“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,” Avakian wrote.

The Kleins’ lawyer, Anna Harmon, was shocked by the provision.

“Brad Avakian has been outspoken throughout this case about his intent to ‘rehabilitate’ those whose beliefs do not conform to the state’s ideas,” she told The Daily Signal. “Now he has ruled that the Kleins’ simple statement of personal resolve to be true to their faith is unlawful. This is a brazen attack on every American’s right to freely speak and imposes government orthodoxy on those who do not agree with government sanctioned ideas.”

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, called the order “outrageous” and said citizens of Oregon should be “ashamed.”

“This order is an outrageous abuse of the rights of the Kleins to freely practice their religion under the First Amendment,” he said.

It is exactly this kind of oppressive persecution by government officials that led the pilgrims to America. And Commissioner Avakian’s order that the Kleins stop speaking about this case is even more outrageous—and also a fundamental violation of their right to free speech under the First Amendment.

Avakian would have fit right in as a bureaucrat in the Soviet Union or Red China. Oregon should be ashamed that such an unprincipled, scurrilous individual is a government official in the state.

The case began in February 2013 when Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer filed a complaint against the Kleins for refusing to bake them a wedding cake.

At the time of the refusal, same-sex marriage had not yet been legalized in Oregon.

The Bowman-Cryers’ complaint went to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which is in charge of defending the law that prohibits businesses from refusing service to customers based on their sexual orientation, among other characteristics, called the Equality Act of 2007.

In January 2014, the agency found the Kleins unlawfully discriminated against the couple because of their sexual orientation. In April, McCullough recommended they pay $75,000 to Rachel and $60,000 to Laurel.

In order to reach the total amount, $135,000, Rachel and Laurel submitted a long list of alleged physical, emotional and mental damages they claim to have experienced as a result of the Kleins’ unlawful conduct.

Examples of symptoms included “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “felt mentally raped, dirty and shameful,” “high blood pressure,” “impaired digestion,” “loss of appetite,” “migraine headaches,” “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock,” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”

In their Facebook post, the Kleins signaled their intention to appeal Avakian’s ruling, writing, “We will not give up this fight and we will not be silenced,” already perhaps putting themselves at risk of violating the cease and desist.


The year race made a comeback

In 2015, we saw the rise of a toxic new racialism.

I’ve always loathed the phrase ‘people of colour’. It’s awkward and dehumanising – one of those PC phrases that somehow manages to be more ‘Othering’ than the alternative. But I’ve been hearing a lot of it over the past year. The phrase, popularised by Eighties anti-racist activists, has crept into the mainstream – into newspaper columns, campus debates and Twitter slanging matches. That along with the inexorable tweeism ‘black folks’.

There’s something in this. Among young politicos in particular, a new politics of race arose in 2015. Some of it is familiar and old-school, growing up around issues of police brutality and social inequality, but much of it is quintessentially modern, draped in therapeutic concerns about ‘racial consciousness’, ‘microaggressions’ and ‘cultural appropriation’. But what unifies it all is a troubling desire to erect racial boundaries – a call for black people to adopt the role of the victim and for white people to self-flagellate in a corner.

The discussion about race has been more live in the West than it has been in years. From protests against police brutality to Oxford students demanding ‘Rhodes Must Fall’, there is a sense that racism is not only alive and well but more insidious than ever. Everything from ‘offensive’ statues to racist coppers is seen as part of the same existential threat. This stoked-up sense of racial peril has not only conflated genuine concerns about persisting inequalities with mere thin-skinned offence-taking — it has also worked to rehabilitate race, to give it a PC make-over.

In 2015 there was a constant insistence not on unity or solidarity, but on difference. There is a new racialism festering, which springs not from white supremacist gunmen, policemen with itchy trigger fingers or the bluster of Donald Trump, but from those who deign to call themselves anti-racist. And in almost every corner of modern life this year, its divisive presence was felt.

On college campuses, the rise of microaggressions has made socialising a fraught activity. The brain-child of Seventies academics, microaggressions is the idea that white people’s clumsy comments can destroy black people’s self-esteem and contribute to their macro-oppression. Colleges across the US, including Oberlin, Carleton and Willamette, maintain lengthy lists of verboten phrases, and it’s starting to catch on in the UK, too.

More often than not, microaggressions amount to little more than impertinent questions: asking where someone is ‘really from’ or if you can touch their hair. But as well as implying that black people are incapable of challenging someone’s clumsy comments without running to the authorities, they encourage a kind of paranoid racial etiquette, where we are told to treat people differently depending on their skin colour. When it was discovered this year that UCLA included the statement ‘I don’t believe in race’ on its list of microaggressions, the divisive trajectory of it all was laid bare.

Then there’s the cultural realm. Under the new racialism, you see, it’s not only people who must be separated into our own convenient boxes — so must culture be. That most risible of 2015 trends – the rise of ‘cultural appropriation’ – has seen white people lambasted for rapping, wearing corn rows or just doing a yoga class. The fact that all artistic and cultural movements are built on borrowing – and that from rock’n’roll to rap this exchange has played a big role in bringing people of different backgrounds together – seems to have done nothing to dent this toxic idiocy.

But most tragically of all is the influence the new racialism has had on politics. Time and again this year, political campaigns on racial issues have focused not on collective strength and solidarity, but on vulnerability and division. Black Lives Matter (BLM), the hashtag-turned-direction-action-group, responds to each police killing of black people by hosting ‘die-ins’ or marches where so-called white allies are encouraged to hang to the back or hold up signs repenting for their ‘white privilege’. Meanwhile, protests at the University of Missouri and elsewhere over allegations of discrimination have focused on demands for ‘racial-awareness training’.

At every turn, race is reified. Revelations that leaders in black-activist organisations, including the NAACP’s Rachel Dolezal and (allegedly) BLM’s Shaun King, are in fact white, should come as no surprise. In this toxic, racialised climate, political authority is calculated not on the basis of your arguments, or your support from a section of society, but from the position you claim for yourself in a hierarchy of oppression. That some white people are blacking up, and bolstering their credibility by cooking up fake hate crimes against themselves, is only a bizarre expression of the new politics of segregation.

March 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the civil-rights marches from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. Defiant in their Sunday best, those protesters were the antithesis of the victim-obsessed quasi-radical radicals we see today. Marching in spite of police beatings, targeted assassinations and constant threats from government for them to cease their activities or else, they refused to be cowed – and made it out the other end with undented optimism. On the steps of the Montgomery state capitol, Martin Luther King hailed the coming of ‘a day not of the white man, not of the black man’ but ‘the day of man as man’. In 2015, that day felt as far away as it’s ever been. 


James Deen: the injustice of Twitter trials

The rape-culture crusade has ushered in a new era of mob justice

The world of adult entertainment has been rocked by allegations of rape and sexual violence against one of its biggest stars. James Deen, variously called the Tom Cruise and Ryan Gosling of porn, was accused by his ex-girlfriend and fellow porn actor, Stoya, earlier this month. Deen had developed a reputation as a ‘feminist porn star’, often including disclaimers in his films that everything depicted was completely consensual, and advocating for greater awareness of consent and sexual violence. Stoya took to Twitter and denounced Deen, accusing him of holding her down and raping her ‘while I said no, stop, used my safe word’. The tweet has been retweeted over 11,000 times. And there are now a total of 10 porn actresses who have come out and accused him of similar crimes. One woman, Tori Lux, posted an online essay accusing Deen of pinning her to the floor during a film shoot and hitting her on the head.

These accusations led to an online rush to express support for the women making them. An article in Time claimed the case represented a ‘shift in rape culture’ in which a ‘tidal wave of women’s truth’ was ‘washing away the detritus of lies about sex and violence’. The article appeared to have the case against Deen all sewn up, arguing that because between 0.2 and 8 per cent of rape allegations are false, Deen was probably guilty. Another writer said, ‘I don’t need Stoya or any woman to “prove” that she has been raped for me to believe her… I BELIEVE WOMEN. Period.’ The hashtag #IStandWithStoya began trending, with one tweeter claiming that if you questioned the truth of the allegations then you were ‘part of rape culture’. The fallout from the tweets has been swift: Deen has had his sex-advice column with a women’s magazine pulled and he has resigned from the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee.

Make no mistake: what’s happening to James Deen and others who find themselves on the harsh end of the Twitterati is terrifying. Deen’s is just the latest case of an allegation of serious sexual violence playing out in the kangaroo court of social media, in which the presumption of innocence and due process are routinely ignored. Sadly, these informal Twitter courts are becoming more popular. Deen’s case mirrors that of Jian Ghomeshi, the Canadian talk-radio host, who was subject to an allegation of sexual assault in a newspaper at the end of 2014. Shortly after the story was published, the hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported began trending, with women posting allegations of sexual violence that they had not taken to the police. Ghomeshi has now been charged with sexual assault. Last year, 23-year-old YouTuber Sam Pepper was accused by a young woman in a lengthy YouTube video of raping her. The video received over two million views. But when the Los Angeles police contacted the woman, she refused to proceed with a complaint.  

These Twitter tribunals pose a significant threat to justice. By plastering allegations all over the internet, by throwing opinions and judgements on to any available social-media platform, those making allegations and their supporters risk seriously prejudicing any future trials that may come as a result. When these allegations are made, the internet becomes awash with all kinds of potentially inadmissible evidence, which any defence lawyer worth their salt would point to as potentially prejudicial.  Worse, the online scrutiny these allegations receive may work to undermine the credibility of these women. What if they say things at this stage that are inconsistent with what they may say later on? We may be very keen to ‘believe’ Deen’s accusers, but if he is ever to receive a fair trial they will have to convince a jury of his guilt. This will be a lot harder if they have shown themselves to be unreliable on Twitter or in the celebrity gossip pages.

The use of statistics in the discussion of Deen’s case, and other cases in which people rush to ‘believe at any cost’, has also been revealing. It is often said that a low number of rape allegations are false, and so most allegations of sexual violence are likely to be true. But the important caveat to the statistic that the Time piece and others missed was the word ‘provably’. It is true that only 0.2 to eight per cent of rape allegations are provably false. But, for obvious reasons, proving an allegation is false or misconceived is extremely difficult, perhaps even more difficult than proving an allegation to be true. Rape is a crime for which there is likely to be little objective evidence. It often comes down to one person’s word against another. The whole concept of ‘truth’ and falsity is very difficult when considering rape: two people’s perceptions of a particular interaction could be very different, with one person feeling as though what occurred was consensual and the other genuinely believing otherwise.

This is especially true in Deen’s case. Working on a porn set, in which extreme forms of sexual behaviour are far more common than in your average bedroom, means that the scope for misunderstanding, confusion and ambiguity is bound to be far higher. Once the word ‘provably’ is included the logic of the argument so often used to convict men like Deen completely collapses. Just because a low percentage of allegations are provably false does not mean that the rest of them are true.

But what makes these twitch-hunts even more dangerous is that we may never know if an injustice has been done. The move away from due process to online kangaroo courts means that those accused are simply punished at the behest of an online mob, without any scrutiny whatsoever, and then left to live with their sentence. If James Deen loses his career without ever going before a courtroom, we will never know whether this was a just outcome. We will just have to accept blindly the verdict of the Twitter court.

What the James Deen fiasco shows is that rape culture is a catastrophically dangerous idea. It is being used to usher in a new era of ‘no smoke without fire’ justice. In this world, the rush to ‘believe’ at all costs is elevated above the need for objectivity, impartiality and due process. We need to end the Twitter trials and give allegations of rape and sexual violence the serious and careful attention that they deserve.



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, December 27, 2015

Multicultural dentist is jailed after he tried to kiss young woman patient and grabbed her breast as he worked on her teeth

A dentist who grabbed a patient's breast and joked he could cure a nurse’s intimate medical condition with his ‘magic tongue’ has been jailed.

Fadi Sukaria was already under investigation for repeatedly assaulting one of his colleagues when he tried to kiss and caress a young patient as he was filling her tooth.

The court heard how the 45-year-old, originally from Syria, 'deliberately engineered' a situation to ensure he was alone with the victim at his surgery in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

At the time, he was already subject to restrictions - including being unable to carry out work without a chaperone - due to a General Dental Council (GDC) probe into his behaviour.

He was later struck off over his behaviour towards his colleagues - which included asking the nurse if she had ever been raped - at the dental practice in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Sukaria will now spend Christmas behind bars after a jury found him guilty of one count of sexual assault.

Jailing Sukaria for ten months, Recorder Abdul Iqbal QC said the female patient had suffered emotionally and psychologically as a result of her ordeal.

He said: 'Health professionals are entrusted to a very high level by members of the public.

'With that high level of trust placed in you comes a high level of responsibility. The public deserve to be protected from professionals who abuse that trust.'

Recorder Iqbal added that Sukaria never accepted responsibility for what he did.

'You still maintain....that she has lied and she wants compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority even though there is no evidence that she has tried to make a claim,' he said.

Sukaria, who used to live in Leeds but now lives in London, was struck off by the GDC in March this year for professional misconduct while working at Gateway Dental Practice in Barnsley.

At GDC hearing heard how he repeatedly groped his colleague, made sexually explicit comments and asked if she had any 'rude' pictures or videos on her phone.

When he heard she was suffering from cystitis, Sukaria said: 'I have a magic tongue to make it better.'

The hearing was told how Sukaria also asked the woman, referred to as Nurse A, if she had ever been raped before adding: 'I’ve never raped anyone.’ He stroked her breast, groped her bottom and bit her arm.

Saba Naqshbandia, for the GDC, said the incident took place in November 2012 while they chatted about going to the gym.

'During this Sukaria stroked her bottom very lightly and said it was "nice". The complainant responded by saying: "Don't ever touch my bum",' the hearing was told.

'He stroked her breast saying: "I will touch these instead". She recalled that he was laughing.'

The panel heard the woman then had to lean next to him to use the computer. As she used the mouse, he stroked her right breast again, before grabbing her right arm with his teeth and sucking it.

Sukaria also showed another dental nurse - Nurse B - pictures of a woman's bottom on his phone. He also thrust his groin while laughing, the hearing was told.

Giving evidence, Nurse B said: 'I think he was a bit filthy minded. I don't think he thought there was anything wrong with what he did even though it was inappropriate.'

Sukaria, who qualified as a dentist in his home country before moving to the UK, denied all the allegations against him but was struck off.

GDC panel chair Mary Harley said: 'The committee takes a particularly serious view of your conduct because it took place in a professional setting.

'As a dentist working directly with these dental nurses, you were in a position of authority over them; you abused that position for your own sexual gratification.

'Your conduct would be considered deplorable by members of the dental profession and indeed by members of the public.' 

The court was told Sukaria, the sole breadwinner for his family in Syria after his brother was injured and left paralysed following a bombing, was now unable to find work and was living on Jobseekers' Allowance.


Houston Restaurant Chain Warns Customers: ‘This Store is Politically Incorrect’

The Berryhill Baja Grill says it will not let political correctness ruin its celebration of Christmas.

The Houston area restaurant chain put signs up in each of its five locations that warn potential customers to be prepared for a big serving of Christmas spirit and patriotism when they walk through the door.

“Notice. This store is politically incorrect. We say Merry Christmas. God bless America. We salute our flag and give thanks to our troops, police officers, and firefighters. If this offends you, you are welcome to leave. In God we trust,” say the signs, which are simply signed “Berryhill.”

Berryhill CEO Jeff Anon said he was inspired to put up the signs when he saw the generic red cups debuted by Starbucks this winter, which he and other Christians have interpreted as the company’s attempt to downplay the celebration of Christmas.

Anon’s son showed him similar signs at other stores across the country, and he decided to follow suit.

Even with the politically incorrect warning, Anon says business is still good at the popular Tex-Mex chain and most of his customers approve of the message.  “I’d say for every one who thought it wasn‘t appropriate, probably 10 to 20 who thought it was and supported it," he said.

“I guess the political correctness has gone overboard sometimes,” customer Randy Massy commented.

“I celebrate Christmas. I salute the flag. I’m an American. It doesn’t offend me at all,” said attorney Cynthia Bivins while eating lunch with her friend at the chain’s Post Oak location.

Employees at Schuler’s Bakery in Springfield, Ohio told The Blaze that despite a few angry phone calls, business doubled after they put up the sign, a photo of which went viral in November.

“We didn’t do it for the publicity,” bakery clerk Katelynn Jackson added. “It was just to prove a point. We still live in America, and we’re standing up for what we believe.”

“I had no idea it was going to turn out like this,” bakery owner Trent Schuler told Breitbart regarding the “overwhelming amount of support” he has gotten from the public.


Are we hardwired to be religious because of EVOLUTION? Fear of God may have led humans to co-operate more which gave us an edge over other animals

Religion is often seen as being at odds with the science of evolution, but according to a growing area of research, it may actually be a product of this fundamental biological process.

Fear of incurring the wrath of God, or a range of gods, may have played a key role in the development of our species, according to a leading expert in the evolution of human co-operation.

He argues that belief in a divine being who will punish bad behaviour may have allowed humans to co-operate in a way our relatives in the animal kingdom do not.

The sense of being watched by an omnipotent or supernatural being may have ensured members of early human groups behaved less selfishly.

Increased levels of co-operation is thought to be one of the key traits that allowed Homo sapiens to become so successful.

Researchers at North Carolina State University found that belief in all-powerful and moralising gods tended to appear at times of hardship in human history.

They claim that believing in such a supreme deity helps to ensure people within a society live by certain moral rules that are necessary when living in harsh environments or in times of hardship.

The researchers studied the origins of 583 religious societies around the world.

They compared these to climate, rainfall and plant growth data for each area to build up a historical picture of the conditions each society was living in.

The findings may help to shed light on how religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam first emerged and why stories of hardship play such a central role.

Professor Dominic Johnson, an expert in evolutionary biology and international relations at the University of Oxford, believes this may be why fear of God is such a dominant feature in world religions.

In his new book, God is Watching You, he said that belief in divine punishment is actually hardwired into us by evolution and so led to the development of the world's religions.

He suggests that rather than being an opposing theory of the world to the ideas of evolution by natural selection put forward by Charles Darwin, religion is actually a product of it.

'The ability to anticipate rewards or punishments arising from our behaviour would clearly have been favoured by Darwinian natural selection, because it promoted survival and reproduction,' he said.

'I argue this extended to the anticipation of supernatural reward and punishment.

'God-fearing people were better able to avoid raising the ire of their fellow man, lowering the costs of real world sanctions, and raising the rewards of co-operation.

'It offers a striking twist on the old science and religion debate - religion is not an alternative to evolution, it is a product of evolution.'

Professor Johnson added the reason why fear of punishment has become such an important force in religion rather than other aspects like love and altruism, which are also promoted in the major religions like Christianity, is mainly due to the way our brains our wired.

Psychological research has demonstrated that negative events tend to have a more potent impact on our thinking and behaviour than positive ones.

Indeed, people tend to value losses almost twice as much as when they make gains.

This is perhaps due to the innate drive among our earliest ancestors to avoid negative and dangerous situations that may pose a threat to their lives, and so their ability to pass on their genes.

As humans began to live in larger and more social groups, this led to a greater ability to understand each other's intentions.

Professor Johnson said: 'When humans evolved the capacity for complex language and theory of mind – the ability to know what others' know - our behaviour became increasingly transparent and selfish behaviour and social transgressions risked increasing costs from retaliation or reputational damage.

'Avoiding these costs ushered in a new era in which the suppression of selfishness became a vital ingredient of an individual's evolutionary success.

'The idea that one's good and bad deeds will be observed, judged and rewarded or punished by God or some other supernatural agent is a recurring feature of virtually all of the world's religions, both past and present.

'The looming threat of supernatural punishment deterred selfish behaviour and increased cooperation, and this was a good thing for individuals as well as society.'

He said that all of the major religions emphasise the importance of moral to avoid incurring the displeasure or anger of a god.

In Christianity, those who are faithful and ask forgiveness of God will be granted entrance into heaven, while those who do not will be sent to hell.

The Old Testament and Hebrew bible depict a far more vengeful God that actively punishes mankind for its transgressions.

Hindus believe that if they are sinful during their life they will be reincarnated as an undesirable animal.

Even the Romans and ancient Greeks believed in gods that were responsible for natural disasters and had to be appeased.

Professor Johnson claimed that pagan belief systems often feature spirits with powers of retribution and many indigenous cultures believe ancestral spirits watch over their activities.

He added: 'When we do something selfish or wrong, even if we are alone and could never be found out, we nevertheless find it hard to shake a sense that somehow our actions are observed and disapproved of by someone or something.

'It's not logical. It's not rational. But it turns out that such a belief is common to religious and nonreligious people alike.

'In fact, it seems to be ubiquitous across history and across cultures – part of human nature.'


The Rhetoric of Nonsense, Fabricating Palestinian History

For nearly two decades the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been denying Israel's right to exist, and a recent "Nakba Day" was no exception. In a Gaza speech on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, his personal representative made the following statement:

"National reconciliation [between Hamas and Fatah] is required in order to face Israel and Netanyahu. We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years B.C.E.—we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7,000-year history B.C.E. This is the truth, which must be understood, and we have to note it, in order to say: "Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history."[1]

This remarkable assertion has been almost completely ignored by the Western media. Yet it bears a thorough examination: not only as an indication of unwavering Palestinian rejection of Israel's right to exist but as an insightful glimpse into the psyche of their willfully duped Western champions.

Archaeologists have only the dimmest notion of prevailing ethnic concepts in 7000 B.C.E. There may have been tribes and clans of some sort, and villages may have had names and a sense of collective or local identity, but their nature is completely unknown. Even with the elaborate symbolism of the period, as seen in figurines, and other data such as the styles of stone tools and house plans, nothing whatsoever is known regarding the content of the makers' identities. Writing would not be invented for almost another 4,000 years and would only reach the Levant a thousand years after that, bringing with it the ability to record a society's own identity concepts.

There were no Jews or Arabs, Canaanites, Israelites, or Egyptians. There were only Neolithic farmers and herders. In fact, none of the concepts that Abbas used developed until vastly later. The Plst—a Mediterranean group known to the Egyptians as one of the "Sea Peoples" and who gave their name to the biblical Philistines—arrived around 1200 B.C.E. Arabs are known in Mesopotamian texts as residents of the Arabian Peninsula from around 900 B.C.E. The concept of a "nation" emerged with the kingdoms of Israel and Judah and their neighbors sometime after 900 B.C.E. The Romans renamed the Kingdom of Judea "Palestina" after the biblically attested Philistines, the hated enemy of the Israelites, following the defeat of the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 C.E. The ethnic identity called "Palestinian," denoting the local Muslim and Christian inhabitants of the region south of Lebanon and West of the Jordan River, tenuously developed as an elite concept at the end of the Ottoman era and did not propagate to the grassroots until the 1920s and 1930s.[2]

Is there perhaps genetic continuity between modern Palestinians and Neolithic farmers and herders? Perhaps, but that is not what Abbas claimed. Is there cultural continuity, a nation with a name? Hardly.

Why then should Abbas make such an incredible fabrication? And why lie in such a ludicrous and extravagant fashion? Part of the answer is that for Abbas, as it was for PLO leader Yasser Arafat before him, there is a reflex that simply and absolutely cannot accept the antiquity of Jews. Arafat famously told then-U.S. president Bill Clinton that there was no Jewish temple in Jerusalem, causing the usually unflappable Clinton to nearly explode.[3] Denials regarding the Jewish historical connection to the Land of Israel generally and categorical denials that Jews constitute a nation are all frequently heard from Palestinian leaders, intellectuals, and others.........

An example of the erosion of Western critical filters was the unchallenged appearance of an opinion piece in The Washington Post in December 2011 that effectively repeated some of Abbas's absurd statements regarding the antiquity of the Palestinians. Maen Rashid Areikat, the PLO representative to the United Nations, stated that Palestinians had "lived under the rule of a plethora of empires: the Canaanites, Egyptians, Philistines, Israelites, Persians, Greeks, Crusaders, Mongols, Ottomans, and finally, the British." Throwing history out the window, he added

"we are Arabs with black, brown, and white skin, dark- and light-colored eyes, and the whole gamut of hair types. Like Americans, we are a hybrid of peoples defined by one overarching identity. Many in the United States forget that Palestinians are Muslims and Christians. They ignore the fact that Palestinian Christians are the descendants of Jesus and guardians of the cradle of Christianity."

Palestinians can simultaneously be Arabs, who arrived in the Levant in the seventh century C.E., and be more ancient than the Canaanites. At the same time, the empires they endured and that infused them include everyone except Arab ones, notably the Umayyad and Abbasid, which brought Arabs and Islam to the region in the first place. The fact-checkers of The Washington Post editorial page fall mute and shared reality is eroded further. Unfortunately this sort of rhetorical nonsense resonates deeply, especially with some Christian supersessionists committed to anti-Zionism.[19] History no longer matters.

It is often stated that peace can only come when Israelis and Palestinians recognize one another's narratives. Claims regarding the Neolithic Palestinian nation indicate this unlikely to occur either in the future or in the past. In the meantime, anti-reality continues to spread.

Much more HERE


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