Thursday, May 24, 2018



Canada: What we learned at last weekend’s “political correctness” debate, starring Jordan Peterson

The Munk debates are not monk debates.  They are a dignified Canadian phenomenon.  With immodesty unusual in Canada they announce themselves as:  "The Munk Debates are the world’s preeminent public debating forum. From gender and geopolitics, to nuclear weapons and neoliberalism, the Munk Debates tackle the most important questions of our time with passion and critical thought"

They are prestigious within Canada and attract a large paying audience so are very orderly and civilized.  They often feature well-known speakers


Venue: The Roy Thompson hall


On Friday, the city’s culturatti spent the first night of the May 24 weekend packed into Roy Thomson Hall for the latest Munk Debate, where the topic couldn’t possibly have been more timely: “Be it resolved that what you call political correctness, I call progress.” On the pro side: New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg and African-American academic and author Michael Eric Dyson. Arguing against: British thespian Stephen Fry and Jordan Peterson, who became the Justin Bieber of internet free-speech zealots after he posted YouTube lectures decrying PC culture on university campuses. The debate was moderated by Munk Debates chair Rudyard Griffiths.

All four debaters presented impassioned, intermittently effective, occasionally off-topic arguments. But who won? Who came to blows? And which two debaters should definitely be starring in a postmodern buddy cop movie? Here’s what we learned:

Toronto’s elite are anti-PC

Upon entering RTH, the crowd was asked to fill out a survey where they voted for or against the resolution. Going into the debate, 36 per cebt of attendees agreed that political correctness was a form of progress, while 64 per cent were opposed.

It may be politically incorrect to identify political correctness
One of the most remarkable things about the debate was that actual political correctness didn’t get discussed a whole bunch. On stage was Peterson—the guy who has famously refused to use they/them pronouns to address gender non-conforming students (at his job at a publicly funded university). And yet, that didn’t come up. Instead, the debaters discussed why perceived censorship is different from censorship (Goldberg), how the right are the true perpetrators of identity politics (Dyson), the value of hierarchies and the sovereignty of the individual (Peterson) and why nobody on this continent seems to have any bloody idea what political correctness is (Fry).

A New York Times profile of Jordan Peterson loomed large
On the day of the debate, the New York Times published a profile of the prof, in which the author lays out Peterson’s support for “enforced monogamy” and patriarchy based on innate male superiority. Goldberg quoted from the profile in her opening statement—presumably as a way of articulating the dangerous ideologies that could prevail in the absence of PC culture. Peterson accused her of attacking him personally.

It’s okay not to like your teammate

While Goldberg and Dyson were essentially coming from the same place on the Pro side, the men on the Con side were not exactly two anti-PCs in a pod. Fry, who is gay, opened his argument by noting that he was “standing next to someone with whom I have, you know, differences.” He appeared to be avoiding Peterson’s attempts at comradely eye contact throughout.

It’s also okay to call Stephen Fry offensive names

Or so says Fry himself. He argued that the problem with PC culture is that we have become too uptight about words, including a certain unprintable epithet for gay men. This would have been a great time for one of the Pro debaters to jump in and point out the myriad ways in which language influences thought and indicates societal values—but alas, that may have been a little too on-topic.

But it’s not okay to call Jordan Peterson white

The evening’s emotional climax came during a heated exchange between Peterson and Dyson, in which the former asked if there was a tax he could pay so he could stop hearing about his white privilege. Dyson responded by asking, “Why the rage, bro? You’re doing well, but you’re a mean white man. I have never seen so much whining and snow-flaking—there’s enough whine in here to start a vineyard.” The mean-white-guy thing earned Dyson the night’s only boos. Peterson came back saying that while he may indeed be mean, he was not okay with being called white: “The fact that race got dragged into that comment is a better example of what’s wrong with the politically correct left than anything else that could have happened,” he said, prompting a big cheer from the audience.

Nobody wants to appear dead-set against #MeToo

When Griffiths asked the debaters to address whether #MeToo has gone too far, Goldberg made the point that, in fact, the punishments have largely fit the crimes: “When you look at who has actually lost their jobs—it’s not based on random McCarthyist rumours, it’s people who took their dicks out at work…and now they’re staging comebacks!” Fry said that post-#MeToo political correctness has lead to a “genuine fear” in his industry amongst men who feel like they can’t say what they think. “It’s worrying,” he said, before adding that the revelations of decades of rampant and institutionally condoned sexual assault and harassment perpetrated against women are…also worrying.

Following a heated exchange, Dyson suggested that Peterson might better understand the notion of privilege if he accompanied Dyson to a black Baptist church. Peterson accepted the invitation, and Griffiths vowed to make sure this real-life buddy cop movie would actually happen.

Toronto’s elite are still anti-PC

In the end, the Cons were the winners by a significant margin—a result that probably had a lot to do with Stephen Fry’s wit, Michael Eric Dyson’s name calling and the particular biases of the well-heeled audience.

SOURCE






Australia: "Righteous" critics of a reasonable statement

In the age of Twitter, you must emote appropriately.  A plea for balance is not possible amid grief

Former Queensland premier Campbell Newman is standing by a series of tweets he made about police "creating total and utter chaos" around the Brisbane CBD when responding to a pedestrian hit and killed by a bus this morning.

A woman was crossing Ann Street near the intersection of Wharf Street just before 7:00am when she was struck by a bus. She died at the scene.

Police closed the intersection for hours and asked motorists to avoid the area.

In response, Mr Newman shot out a series of tweets, saying police could have handled the situation better to minimise traffic disruptions:

"There must be a better way for the Qld Police to deal with a tragic pedestrian death than to shut down the entire northern side of Brisbane and create total and utter chaos extending more than 5 km from the CBD."

"And for those of you who don't agree, what about the surgeons and doctors who didn't get to the hospitals on time, the cancer patients who were heading for treatment, the kids who had exams, the people who missed job interviews etc. etc.

 Gee. What would they say if someone had died in the back of an ambulance this morning that had been injured in an incident elsewhere but couldn't get to the RBH in time due to the traffic? Let's stick to the point rather than name calling and invective"

They were quick to attract criticism.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Newman's criticism was uncalled for. "Someone has lost their life, a family will be grieving tonight and I think it's very sad to hear that Campbell Newman has come out and criticised police," Ms Palaszczuk said. "The police have to undertake an investigation as quickly as they can where that event occurred."

Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan said police took appropriate action at the scene.  "I must say that I was appalled by comments made by former premier and former Brisbane lord mayor Campbell Newman about the police management of traffic while they were taking the necessary steps to investigate and respond to this morning's tragedy," Mr Ryan said.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington also voiced her disappointment at the comments made by her party's former leader. 

Speaking to the ABC, Mr Newman said he stood by his tweets, that he recognised the tragedy of the situation, but there was a need to examine if there was a better way of handling such incidents.

Mr Newman said police needed to consider the potential danger of delaying medical staff on other urgent tasks elsewhere in the city. He said if he were still premier, he would have invited the Police Minister and Police Commissioner to his office to discuss the matter.

A Queensland Police Service (QPS) spokesman said it handled the scene of Tuesday morning's fatality by the book. "It is standard procedure to close a road where a fatality has occurred while investigators from the Forensic Crash Unit conduct thorough scene examinations without interference from traffic," the spokesman said. "The QPS is also conscious of ensuring scenes of fatalities are managed with dignity and respect for the victims and their families.

"On this occasion, a traffic alert was issued to the public within minutes of the incident and local diversions were put in place while the intersection was closed to traffic for two hours."

SOURCE 






'Just work a little bit harder': Australian Liberal Party politician is heckled by an ABC audience for calling on women to stop being 'bitter' about not being promoted at work

A female politician was heckled by an ABC studio audience for declaring women needed to work harder and stop being bitter if they had failed to get promoted in the workplace.

First-term Victorian Liberal senator Jane Hume told the Q&A program that women, being half of the population, needed to stop thinking of themselves as a minority.

'I really dislike being patronised as if I am a minority,' she said.

The 47-year-old Melbourne-based senator, who is opposed to gender quotas, stirred up the Monday night audience when she suggested women needed to get by on their abilities instead of demanding special treatment. 'We are capable of anything but we are entitled to nothing,' she said.

'We have to work for what we want and for women that don't get there, the trick is work that little bit harder.

'Don't get bitter, get better. Work hard. Nothing that is worth getting doesn't come without hard work.'

Senator Hume's call for women to work harder antagonised the Q&A audience, where 41 per cent of the studio spectators identified as either Labor or Greens voters, compared with 32 per cent who declared themselves as Liberal or Nationals supporters.

The panel discussion took a tense turn when Senator Hume, a former banker, suggested an African schoolgirl in the audience from Melbourne's western suburbs, Sarah Ador Loi, could get ahead if she joined the Liberal Party and was mentored.

Macquarie University research fellow Randa Abdel-Fattah hit back by referencing the senator's skin colour. 'Spoken like a white, female politician,' she said as she sipped on a glass of water.

The Muslim academic, who grew up in Melbourne, suggested Sarah would not have the same connections to become a politician as someone who came from the wealthy suburb of Toorak.

The discussion had also focused on how just 21 per cent of federal Liberal Party politicians were women, compared with 44 per cent in the Labor Party, which has had gender targets since the mid-1990s.

SOURCE 





Catholic Therapist Allegedly Fired For Her Religious Beliefs Against Gay Marriage

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) filed a federal lawsuit against HealthSource Saginaw, Inc., on behalf of social worker Kathleen Lorentzen who was fired, apparently, because her Catholic religious beliefs precluded her from providing marriage counseling to a homosexual couple.

In addition to HealthSource Saginaw, Inc., defendants Mark E. Kraynak and Mark Puckett are also being sued. The Thomas More Law Center contends in its May 11 filing that Lorentzen's civil rights were violated under federal law and Michigan law, that there was a breach of contract, tortious interference, and termination in violation of policy.

"Kathleen Lorentzen, a Catholic and licensed clinical social worker was told by her supervisor that she had to be 'a social worker first and a Catholic second,' and was fired because she refused to compromise the Catholic faith which teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman," said the TMLC in a press release.

"Mrs. Lorentzen had an exemplary employment record of providing psychological counseling for over 20 years to a diverse group of patients," said the TMLC. "But despite her outstanding record, her former employer, HealthSource Saginaw (“HealthSource”), located in Michigan, terminated her."

“This case shows that people of faith are under assault in the workplace," said TMLC Senior Trial Counsel Tyler Brooks. "The fact is, however, that Christians need not choose between their faith and their jobs. Despite what many would have us believe, discrimination against Christians is a civil rights violation that will subject employers to legal liability.”

In the summer of 2017, Lorentzen -- who worked under contract as an Outpatient Behavioral Therapist and had treated many patients for HealthSource since 2011 -- provided some counseling on two occasions. She then decided that, as a Catholic, she could not provide further "marriage" counseling to a gay couple because such unions are contrary to her religious and moral beliefs.

On Aug. 23, 2017, Lorentzen asked her supervisor, Mark E. Kraynak, "if she could refer the couple to another therapist in the practice because of the conflict with her religious beliefs," reads the lawsuit. "In response, Mr. Kraynak became very angry. Mrs. Lorentzen then excused herself and left the meeting."

On Aug. 29, 2017,  Lorentzen "was summoned into a meeting with Mr. Kraynak and Colton Reed, HealthSource's outpatient manager," reads the lawsuit. "Mrs. Lorentzen was then interrogated in an aggressive and condescending manner about her faith and her work at HealthSource. During this exchange, Mrs. Lorentzen objected that she felt like she was being harassed and discriminated against because of her religion. Mr. Kraynak told Mrs. Lorentzen that eh had to be 'a social worker first, and a Catholic second.'"

When Lorentzen tried to her explain her views further by referencing certain clergy, Kraynak "hatefully said, 'They are just priests!'" reads the lawsuit.

On Sept. 6, 2017, Lorentzen received a letter form HealthSource's Program Executive Mark Puckett stating that she would be terminated in 30 days. After she received the letter, according to the lawsuit, Lorentzen "was subjected to a number of actions that undermined, embarrassed, and humiliated her" by Kraynak and Reed.

These actions reportedly included pushing Lorentzen, blocking her from walking down the hallway, and eavesdropping on her.

The lawsuit further states that when HealthSource's "medical director found out the actual reason Mrs. Lorentzen was leaving, he told Messrs. Reed and Kraynak that the gay couple seeking counseling could have simply been referred to another therapist and that they should not have terminated her without consulting him first."

The TMLC, on Lorentzen's behalf, is seeking a trial by jury on all claims, compensatory damages, past and future medical expenses, "damages for past and future mental and emotional distress," punitive damages, attorney's fees, tax costs of the legal action, and "other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper."

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on May 11, 2017.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018




Black surgeon who gave bride-to-be 'permanent brain damage' during a tummy tuck filmed videos of herself dancing and singing during surgeries

She sounds hebephrenic. There is a high incidence of mental illness among blacks.  Most probably an affirmative action graduate



An Atlanta plastic surgeon is facing a slew of lawsuits after it was revealed she had filmed herself singing and dancing over her exposed patients during surgeries.

Dozens of videos have been found that show Dr Windell Boutte cavorting in the operating room, even while making incisions on her patients.

In one video Boutte sings the to the rap lyric 'I'm 'bout to cut it', from an OT Genasis rap song, before slicing into one of her patients.

'You could not present a patient in a more undignified manner,' Susan Witt, an attorney representing one of Boutte's former patients, told WSBTV. 

More than 20 videos of Boutte's antics were found on YouTube. She is now facing seven malpractice lawsuits.

Ojay Liburd, 26, has blamed Boutte for leaving his mother Icilma Cornelius with permanent brain damage.

Cornelius was just weeks away from getting married and earning her PhD when she visited Boutte for a tummy tuck and liposuction in 2016.

Cornelius was just weeks away from getting married and earning her PhD when she visited Boutte for a tummy tuck and liposuction in 2016

But Cornelius' heart stopped after she was left on the operating table for more than eight hours. She will now need care for the rest of her life.

'She just wanted to be perfect for her wedding dress,' Liburd said. 'She had everything going for her.' 'That was the first time I ever saw my mom helpless.' 

Mitzi McFarland, who also underwent an operation with Boutte, said the results looked 'more like Freddy Krueger cut my stomach'.

This isn't the first time Boutte has come under fire for her work. In 2013, a woman who went to see Boutte at Premiere Dermatology and Surgery for a scalp irritation said she contracted MRSA during the treatment. She said she suffered permanent scars on her scalp as a result.

SOURCE






Refugee slowdown under Trump

The flow of refugees to the United States has slowed nearly to a halt, demonstrating that what President Trump’s administration could not achieve by executive order, it is accomplishing by bureaucracy.

The administration has cut the staff that conducts clearance interviews overseas, intensified the screening process for refugees, and for those people it characterizes as high-risk, doubled the number who need to be screened. As a result, if the trickle of refugees admitted continues at its current pace, just 20,000 are projected to enter the United States by the end of this year, the lowest figure since the resettlement program was created with passage of the Refugee Act in 1980.

The machinery of refugee resettlement has ground down accordingly.

“Every stage in the process works like the assembly line in a factory — each station knows exactly what to do and how to do the handoff to the next step,” said Barbara Strack, who retired in January as the chief of the Refugee Affairs Division at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. “This fiscal year,” she added, “the administration essentially ‘broke’ the assembly line in multiple places at the same time.”

The steepest decline has been in the number of Muslims who have been resettled. In fiscal 2016, 38,900 Muslim refugees came to the United States, according to statistics from the State Department. The following year, that number fell to 22,861. This fiscal year, just 2,107 have arrived.

A total of 13,051 refugees of all backgrounds have been admitted, making it unlikely that the administration’s originally planned cap of 45,000 — about half the number that came during the last year of the Obama administration — will be met.

“It’s death by a thousand papercuts,” said Jennifer Sime, senior vice president at the International Rescue Committee, one of the nine national resettlement agencies contracted by the State Department. “Little by little — until you get to the point where nobody is coming.”

A State Department spokesperson did not dispute that there was a slowdown and said that processing times may be slower as the government implements new screening procedures. And refugee resettlement, the department insisted, was not the only way to help displaced people.

“The United States will also continue to lead the world in humanitarian assistance and support displaced people close to their homes in order to help meet their needs until they can safely and voluntarily return home,” Carol T. O’Connell, principal deputy assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, said in a statement.

Even before Mr. Trump took office, resettlement of refugees was a protracted, interagency process, with vetting often taking two years.

Soon after Mr. Trump became president, he moved to shut down the flow of refugees to the United States through a series of executive orders, an effort that was initially stymied by the federal courts. Still, in June 2017, the Supreme Court allowed the administration to pause admissions for 120 days. In October, the administration then put into place another 90-day pause for refugees from countries the administration identified as “high-risk,” of terrorism, including the mainly Muslim nations of Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Syria and Sudan. That hold ended in January, at least on paper.

Refugees from all nations who had already been through initial screenings waited to be interviewed by officers of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services at camps and cities around the world. But the frequency of those interviews slowed considerably.

One of the reasons was a large backlog in applications from immigrants seeking refuge in the United States under a different process — filing applications for asylum from persecution in their homelands, mainly Central America. Under international law, the United States cannot turn away or place caps on applicants who, unlike those applying for refugee status from the other side of the world — actually show up at the border.

In recent months, the immigration agency diverted 100 of its 215 refugee officers to conduct asylum interviews. That, said Jennifer Higgins, associate director of Refugee, Asylum and International Operations, part of the Department of Homeland Security, is part of “an effort to address the massive asylum workload.”

Refugees interviewed overseas undergo extensive background checks by United States law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The administration has now required refugees to list phone numbers and addresses going back 10 years, instead of five, as well as social media and email accounts, adding to the paperwork. And it has ordered an additional layer of vetting for refugees from 11 high-risk countries, meaning that many in the pipeline already approved had to be rescreened, leading to further delays.

Previously only male refugees were subject to such vetting, but now it includes females ages 14 to 50, which has exacerbated the backlog.

During the Obama administration, Ms. Strack, the former head of the Refugee Affairs Division, said there was pressure to reach the 85,000-person cap, but under Mr. Trump, there is no commitment to attain the allowed number.

“What is strikingly different this year is that there is no apparent urgency to address the dramatic backlog in completing security checks,” she said. The backlog has left refugees in limbo abroad.

Few refugees from the designated high-risk countries have arrived in the United States since January: 11 from Syria, 36 from Iraq and 22 from Sudan.

SOURCE






Democrats Love Playing Sexism Games

Hillary Clinton’s blame-everything-but-me tour is continuing in Australia, where she called a large part of America a bunch of sexists. Again. In an interview Down Under, Clinton pontificated, “There is still a very large proportion of the population that is uneasy with women in positions of leadership, so the easiest way to kind of avoid having to look at someone on her merits is to dismiss her on her looks.” Clinton further opined, “There is this fear, there is this anger, even rage about women seeking power, women exercising power, and people fall back on these attacks like you’re a witch or you should go to prison.” She added, “It’s not a majority, thank goodness, it’s not, but it’s a very vocal minority, at least in my country. And sometimes these tropes are very much part of the press coverage.”

This latest Clinton excuse comes straight out of the Democrats’ gender warfare playbook. You see, the real reason Hillary lost was not because of her record of dishonesty and leftist politics, but because conservatives — a.k.a. the “vocal minority” — just didn’t want a woman to become president, full stop. It’s pure sexism at play, they say; nothing else could possibly explain it.

The trouble is the excuse is simply not true. There are numerous examples proving that the charge of sexism is fraudulent as well as that the reason for conservatives not voting for Hillary and Democrats in general is primarily due to character issues (especially when it comes to Hillary) and policy reasons. How else does one explain, for example, the popularity of Nikki Haley? A recent Quinnipiac University Poll showed that a whopping 63% of American voters approve of Haley and her handling of the job of U.S. ambassador to the UN.

Secondly, two can play this “blame everything on sexism” game. Are the vast majority of Senate Democrats opposed to confirming Gina Haspel because they don’t want a woman heading the CIA? Clearly, they must be uncomfortable with a woman leading an agency that has only always been directed by a man.

The truth is, Democrats seek to elevate the lowest and least significant factors of an individual, such as their sex or ethnicity, as the issue of primary significance, while lowering and degrading those uniquely meritorious aspects of an individual that should be the basis upon which they are judged. That mindset and political strategy explains why Hillary is so keen to direct attention away from her many glaring faults to focus on non-factors.

SOURCE






Southern Baptists Are at It Again, Providing Disaster Relief During Hawaii's Volcano Eruption

Time and time again, we hear the refrain from progressives that conservative Christians fail to love their neighbors. And time and time again, stories emerge that reveal conservatives Christians quietly and faithfully loving and serving their neighbors. Southern Baptists in Hawaii are doing just that during this most recent eruption of Kilauea.

As the eruption of Kilauea continues, more and more people on Hawaii's Big Island have been displaced. Geologists are now warning that a large, explosive eruption could happen soon, sending ash and rocks miles into the sky. The dangerous gases being released by one of the world's most active volcanoes poses the greatest threat to the most people. Presently, close to 2,000 people have been evacuated. However, as the eruption event continues, it's difficult to estimate just how many people are going to be affected by Kilauea.

Chris Martin, executive director of the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention, told Baptist Press:

"Congregations on Hawaii's Big Island have banded together to pray, secure housing for some of the area's 2,000 evacuees and, beginning next week, operate a mobile shower unit.
"The main focus of our people so far," Martin told Baptist Press, has been ministry "to the needs that are immediate. But our history and our practice has been a long-term presence with those that have been affected by disasters."

"Stepping in to meet needs," Martin added, will "open great doors" for Gospel witness.

The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts have been well-documented, and the HPBC is proving to be no exception. On top of the official relief aid being provided, individual pastors and church members have been busy assisting families displaced by the volcano eruption. Using trucks and other vehicles, they have been helping move belongings out of homes threatened by the lava flow.

Members of area Baptist churches have been affected alongside their fellow community members,

At Puna Baptist Church in Pahoa, Hawaii, 10 member families have had to evacuate their homes and two of those homes have been destroyed by lava, associate pastor Rob Thommarson told BP.
"What we've done immediately is try to help all the families get into some immediate emergency housing," said Thommarson, himself among the evacuees. "Everybody is staying with family, friends and church members."

If the evacuation "continues for weeks or months," Thommarson said, Puna will attempt to move its evacuated members into "intermediate housing" with more privacy.

The local Big Island Baptist Association's mobile shower unit has been moved onto Puna's parking lot and likely will begin serving residents early next week, said Thommarson, a retired International Mission Board missionary. A prayer tent nearby will be manned by volunteers available to pray with evacuees.

Local churches of various denominations will band together to provide evacuees with food and clothing, Thommarson noted. A community prayer meeting is scheduled for Friday evening.

As the eruption continues—with the possibility that the worst is yet to come—it's great to hear stories about Christians demonstrating the love of Jesus to those who have been affected by Kilauea's eruption.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018




The Royal wedding

As a confirmed monarchist I did watch the Royal wedding on TV, mostly on Australia's channel 9.  So I thought I might note here a few desultory impressions of it.

The first thing I liked was all the splendid cars, old and new.  The old Rolls bringing the bride was particularly magnificent.  It was a 1950 Rolls-Royce Phantom-iv.  But there were a lot of impressive vehicles delivering the wedding party.



Then I was pleased to see Prince Philip looking so well -- in remarkable health for age 96

I was pleased to see that both young Princes wore military uniform. They wore the frockcoat uniform of the Blues and Royals  -- which is Harry's old regiment.  Both men were of course fully entitled to wear uniform as both had served in the armed forces in their younger days.  The Royal family is a military family -- as most European monarchies once were. I thought Prince Charles would be in uniform too but he wore a tailsuit in a rather horrible shade of grey.  He obviously didn't want to outshine his sons

It was good too that Harry kept his red beard.  Red-headed kids traditionally got bullied in British schoolyards but with the very popular Prince Harry being a red-head that must have been ameliorated. My father was a redhead so I have sympathy for redheads

It was good to see how Harry and William stopped to greet their Gurkha guards as they entered. Harry did of course work with Gurkhas when he was in the army in Afghanistan. They were the only people the Royal brothers stopped for.  That would have been noted and justly celebrated in Nepal.  The Gurkhas are held in huge respect in England. Here is one reason for that respect.

It was also good to see how the two brothers interacted while they were waiting. They are obviously a great support for one another.

The Dean of Windsor seemed rather tremulous.  He sounded like he might break down.  Since he was running the show, that would not have done.

When it came to the actual marriage service, Cantuar was in good voice -- a most experienced preacher. 

There certainly were a lot of Christian expressions from all who spoke. It went on and on, very repetitiously. God was so frequently invoked that one got the impression that he must be hard of hearing. Harry must have been bored but military men learn patience so he outlasted it without apparent difficulty.

There was a pronounced African presence throughout the proceedings, presumably in deference to Meghan's partial ancestry.  The cellist was good but I was unimpressed by the rest of it.  Episcopalian Bishop Michael Curry was very active and dramatic in his speech but all he did was state some extremely anodyne comments repetitiously and with a lot of noise. 

But you can't expect much more from the Episcopalians. Homosexuality seems to be the only thing Episcopalians care about. Had the bishop quoted Romans 1:24-27 that might have livened things up.  As it was, his  speech was just way too long.  It was supposed to last 6 minutes but in a rather good demonstration of black ego he performed for 17 minutes. Never in the field of human preaching has so little been said for so long. 

The  media generally praised his speech highly but what else could they do with a black bishop from the world's most politically correct church?

Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir performed Ben E King's soul classic Stand By Me during the service. It was repetitive but sung with a lot of energy.  I noted that Camilla looked horrified when they came on.  I thought it was just noise.

I noted that St George’s Chapel had a medieval "rude screen", behind which all the "magic" happened -- out of sight of most of the congregation. The chapel was built in the 14th century so it reflects its times.



And I was rather pleased to see beadles in use guiding people.  Is it only Anglicans who have beadles?  I have never seen one on the more Protestant services I am accustomed to.

The departure of the married couple in an Ascot Landau with a big Household Cavalry escort was of course what one expects of a great Royal occasion.  Some of the carriage horses were clearly a bit spooked by the cheering etc but they were well managed. If there is one thing the Royal family and their attendants know about it is horses.  It's an equestrian monarchy.  Even the Queen still rides -- but only ponies these days.

The bride:  I was rather surprised by the strong resemblance between Meghan and her mother, though I suppose I should not have been.  I had supposed that Meghan's fine features would have come from her Caucasian father but clearly she got a bit from both -- JR.






When Social Media Debunk Conspiracy Theories

A few days after the Parkland high school massacre, an aide to a Florida state legislator lost his job for claiming that two survivors were "not students here but actors that travel to various crisis [sic] when they happen." Such "crisis actor" rumors, which have spread after several recent public tragedies, are a reminder that people are capable of believing bizarre stories that are supported by only the thinnest alleged evidence. But some pundits think they represent something more: a breakdown in the media ecosystem.

A February 20 ThinkProgress article, to pick one representative example, announces in its lede that crisis-actor tales "have spread like wildfire across social media platforms—despite the repeated promises of Big Tech to crack down on fake news." The author circles back to that idea at the end, arguing that "the viral spread of the 'crisis actor' theory, along with other recent examples of highly-shared fake content, shows that [Facebook] is still ripe for misinformation and exploitation." One Facebook post touting the theory, he notes, has gotten more than 110,000 shares, and some of the videos promoting the idea have been "viewed tens of thousands of times."

That sounds less impressive when you start thinking about the context. We do not know how many of those 110,000 shares were trolls or bots, those crisis actors of the online world. Nor do we know how many people watch a video because they're inclined to believe it, how many watch because they're inclined to laugh at it, and how many just turn it off after 30 seconds. And what other numbers should we be examining? The day after the ThinkProgress piece appeared, MSNBC posted a video of a Parkland student reacting disdainfully to the idea that he's an imposter; within 24 hours, it had been viewed more than 94,000 times. That is also in the "tens of thousands." (Of course, we don't know how many of those viewers believed what they were hearing either.)

In my Twitter feed, the overwhelming majority of tweets mentioning crisis actors have denounced, debunked, or just made fun of the idea. That could simply reflect who I choose to follow, so shortly after the Florida aide was fired, I did a full Twitter search for "crisis actors" to see what cross-section of opinion would appear. Of the first 30 tweets that came up, two-thirds disdained the idea. When I did the same test on Facebook, I got roughly the same results. Meanwhile, some (though not all) of the Facebook posts promoting the idea were getting pushback in the comments, so this wasn't just a matter of conversations taking place in separate bubbles. Actual arguments were underway.

Obviously, these are not scientific samples. I'm not going to make grand claims about how many people have embraced or rejected the rumor. But what I saw reinforces what common sense would suggest: Widespread discussion of a bizarre belief is not the same as widespread support for a bizarre belief.

That is especially true when you remember three more things. First, many of the people who believe the crisis-actor theory—probably almost all of them—are already predisposed to believe tales like this. In an earlier era, with an earlier urban legend, they may well have whispered the story to each other in person.

Second, social media tend to make marginal ideas more visible. But this increased visibility does not always go hand in hand with increased popularity.

Third, more people still get their news primarily from TV than from social media. And TV coverage of the crisis-actor thesis has been overwhelmingly critical of it. Indeed, just about all the mainstream coverage has been negative.

The idea that the crisis-actor story is replicating unchallenged in some endless cancerous pattern may play to people's anxieties about social media. For anti-gun activists, it may also play to the pleasures of highlighting the most idiotic arguments on the other side. But out there in the actual internet, people were knocking these stories down. The criticisms of the conspiracy theory may well have been more viral than the theory itself.

SOURCE






Iraqi 'Republic': No Christian Converts

The 2017 State Department report on human rights in Iraq, which was released last month, begins by unambiguously declaring: "Iraq is a constitutional parliamentary republic."

It says, "The outcome of the 2014 parliamentary elections generally met international standards of free and fair elections and led to the peaceful transition of power from former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi."

Sounds like a bastion of freedom and representative government.

When you actually read the report, however, you quickly discover it is not.

"The (Iraqi) penal code stipulates that any person convicted of promoting Zionist principles, association with Zionist organizations, assisting such organizations through material or moral support, or working in any way to realize Zionist objectives, is subject to punishment by death," says the report.

This means that if you are an Iraqi and you join a group that gives "moral support" to the belief that Israel has a right to exist, the government of Iraq's "constitutional parliamentary republic" can arrest you and execute you.

Freedom of conscience in the Iraqi republic is a one-way street.

"The National Identity Card Law automatically registers minor children as Muslims if they are born to at least one Muslim parent or if either parent converts from another religion to Islam," says the human rights report.

"Personal status laws and regulations prohibit the conversion of Muslims to other religions," elaborates the State Department's most recent report on religious freedom in Iraq.

An Iraqi Christian can become a Muslim and automatically bring all their minor children with them, but if one of those minor children, having reached adulthood, decides he believes that the Christian faith he was initially raised in is in fact the true faith, he may not rejoin it.

This is the policy of the Iraqi government the U.S. helped save from the Islamic State — which the State Department correctly declared was committing genocide against Iraqi Christians as well as against Yazidis and Shiite Muslims in the areas it controlled.

President George W. Bush, who in 2003 ordered the U.S. military to overthrow the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, was re-elected in this republic in 2004.

On Jan. 20, 2005, he stood in front of the U.S. Capitol and delivered an inaugural address in which he sought to give this nation a global vocation. "Ending tyranny in our world," he called it.

"So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world," Bush said.

"This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary," he continued.

"Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities," Bush said. "And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way."

In December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who came to power after that 2014 Iraqi election, declared victory over the Islamic State "caliphate."

"Our battle was with the enemy that wanted to kill our civilization, but we have won with our unity and determination," he said.

On Saturday, Iraq held another election, which The New York Times reported was "remarkably peaceful."

"In a country awash with weapons and random violence, Election Day was notably quiet, without any major incidents," the Times reported on Sunday.

The results indicate that a coalition backed by Shiite clergyman Muqtada al-Sadr was the leading vote getter. Sadr, as the Times noted, was formerly "a firebrand militia leader whose forces once battled American troops in Iraq and were implicated in widespread atrocities against civilians."

The lesson: Bush was wrong.

America's foreign policy should aim at advancing the liberty, security and prosperity of the American people, and our leaders must put aside any idea that they can use American power to rearrange the world to fit some Utopian ideal.

SOURCE






Scandinavian Approach to Counterterrorism, Islamist Ideology Is Flawed

How Western democracies should respond to terrorist attacks is an ongoing concern. One such dilemma is whether the state should just focus on preventing attacks or whether it has an obligation to challenge the ideology that spurs those attacks in the first place.

Two countries currently grappling with that are Sweden and Finland. Individuals inspired by ISIS, the Islamic State terrorist group, attacked both countries last year.

In April 2017, Rakhmat Akilov committed a vehicular attack in the center of Stockholm, using a truck to kill five and injure 10.

Four months later, in August, Abderrahman Bouanane killed two people and injured eight in a series of stabbings in the southwestern Finnish city of Turku.

Bouanane, currently on trial in Helsinki, told the court, “I honestly felt like I was controlled remotely … The idea was to keep attacking as long as a head falls.”

Akilov and Bouanane were both asylum-seekers who either had no right to be in the country or were in the process of being deported.

Recently, I visited both Sweden and Finland, speaking to dozens of government officials, police officers, and academics to gain insights into how the countries have responded.

Threat Assessment

Sweden suffered its first Islamist terrorism attack in December 2010. Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, an Iraqi, packed explosives into a car in the heart of Stockholm and then detonated his suicide vest in a busy shopping center nearby.

Abdulwahab died, but fortunately, nobody else did. The plot had clear links to a precursor group to ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).

There were only 200 Islamists on Stockholm’s intelligence radar at the time of Abdulwahab’s plot. Now, according to Anders Thornberg, the head of Sweden’s security police, that number is 2,000.

An additional reason for concern is that Sweden has seen about 300 foreign fighters head to Syria and Iraq (although nongovernmental sources speculate the actual number is higher, between 400 and 500). A Swedish Defence University study states that about 150 of them have returned, 100 are still fighting overseas, and about 50 have been killed.

Thankfully, the numbers leaving Sweden have dried up—with only about 10 last year, and 2018 is presumably unlikely to see an increase.

Finland, meanwhile, has about 370 people connected to international terrorism on its intelligence radar, with about 80 going to join the conflict in Syria (about one-fifth of them women).

With a population of between 75,000 and 100,000 Muslims, that’s an unusually high number. About 20 foreign fighters have returned to Finland, and a similar number were killed in the fighting.

Prevention of Violent Extremism

Sweden has placed special emphasis on the “prevention of violent extremism” in its counterterrorism strategy, with the intent to “counter and reduce the intent to commit or support terrorist attacks.”

Responsibility for the prevention of violent extremism lies with the Ministry of Justice. Yet responsibility for implementation often lies within Sweden’s 290 municipalities, which have great autonomy over local governance.

There’s concern in Stockholm that while these municipalities are familiar with warning signs for far-right movements, they are much less familiar with radical Islamists.

Finland is also focused on prevention. Integral to that are two complementary government-backed initiatives, Anchor and Radinet.

Anchor, which operates throughout Finland, deals with young offenders by allowing arms of the state that deal with troubled youth—police and social workers, for example—to share data about those individuals.

Radinet is a voluntary program, led by nongovernmental organizations, that seeks to integrate far-right and Islamist extremists into Finnish society.

While these NGOs can get financial assistance from the government, they surprisingly have no obligation to report to the state on the progress of their work with the extremists.

Finland is only interested in preventing acts of violence, not dealing with ideology. As a result, its work on the prevention of violent extremism stresses the importance of dialogue and a willingness to discuss foreign policy, stigmatization, and marginalization—but not Islam or theology.

This focus on grievance over ideas is a mistake. Islamist groups have an endless supply of grievances to work through, and the notion that Finnish foreign policy is causing radicalization is a stretch, to put it politely.

By only focusing on grievances and downplaying the power of ideas, Finland is doomed to misunderstand the nature of the threat.

Integration of Asylum-Seekers

Finland and Sweden face a challenge of integrating the almost 200,000 asylum-seekers they took in between them in 2015 alone.

Sweden, a country of under 10 million people, took in 163,000 of them. (As a proportion of the population, that is like the U.S. taking in about 5.3 million.)

The government acknowledges that about 50,000 have no legal right to be in the country, and yet it is resigned to them staying anyway and is attempting to provide housing for these new arrivals. It has also launched job creation and youth education initiatives.

Finland took in 32,000 asylum-seekers in 2015, many of whom are Shia Muslim Iraqis. That has had an unsettling effect on some within the pre-existing Sunni Muslim population in Finland, who fear an effort to shift the ethnic composition of the Muslim community there.

That in turn has led to some levels of hostility toward new asylum-seekers among Finland’s Muslims.

That is just one of the difficulties. Another example cited was that there are also those who were tortured in Iraq living in refugee centers with those who tortured them.

Full Speed Ahead

The most striking thing about the Swedish and Finnish responses to the terrorist attacks last year was how little response there was.

There appears to be few regrets within those governments at taking in so many asylum-seekers, which is seen as a global obligation. Perhaps they are right, and they can painlessly integrate so many newcomers into such small populations.

However, there is scarce precedent suggesting such a radical policy can work.

One noticeable consequence of the terrorist plotting is cities’ physical transformation in an attempt to prevent future vehicular attacks.

The area of central Stockholm attacked last year is incredibly well-fortified with barriers. Meanwhile, barriers placed around a Helsinki church last summer after authorities received a tip-off that a vehicular attack was being planned remain in place.

An attack takes place, and barriers go up. Or it’s thwarted and the result is the same. Yet until the policies that led to Sweden and Finland being imperiled in the first place are addressed—excessive levels of immigration and an unwillingness to deal with Islamist ideology—they are destined to require such defenses for many years to come.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Monday, May 21, 2018



THE RELIGION OF RACISM

Only believing in white evil can save you now

Obama once called slavery, “America’s original sin”. Jim Wallis, a member of Obama’s White House Faith Council, has a book out titled, "America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege".

Accusations of sinfulness usually tell us more about the values of the accuser than the accused.

If racism is America’s original sin, then its redemption lies in anti-racism. For liberal theologians, Christian and Jewish, who no longer believe in the traditional biblical sins, racism is a godsend. It provides the moral drama of damnation and redemption, confession and absolution, in a way that is compatible with the larger secular culture and their own political ambitions.

Fighting racism isn’t just a cause, it’s a religion. And all that remains of major religious denominations.

The most resonantly dramatic events for Christian and Jewish liberal denominations remain the fight against slavery and the struggles of the civil rights movement. They revisit and recreate them ceaselessly. And each protest movement, whether it’s Muslim migrants at airports, illegal aliens from El Salvador at the border or Black Lives Matter racists at coffee shops, is a religious revival experience.

The trouble is that the hunt for this particular sin has come to pervade our legal system, taint workplaces, terrorize campuses and unleash social media mobs on random offenders. We are not in a libertine age just because sexual morality is as dead as disco and drugs are on the verge of being legalized. The sins of traditional morality have been replaced by an even more ruthless moral code.

Employees, employers, students and businessmen still fear being fired, expelled and hounded out of society for offending the sensibilities of a fanatical sect and its zealous enforcers. They hide behind hypocrisy, denouncing others while living in terror that their own private offenses will be outed.

A drunken tweet, an indiscreet joke or a mere implication can end even the most respected career.

The religion of racism has become a twisted creed that has perverted its own origins. What began as a unitary effort to bring together different races around religion has instead become a cult that uses its beliefs to divide us with white people as perpetual sinners and black people as unstained saints.

Its fetishization of black victimhood is bad for black people and its conviction that white people are inherently sinful is bad for everyone. As real racism has diminished, its conviction in the ubiquity of this particular sin has not. Fighting the overt discrimination of segregation turned into hunting for covert bigotry by working backward through disparate impact creating a guilt through lack of association.

If black people weren’t visiting national parks or living in sufficient numbers in Utah, it was evidence that national parks and Utah were racist. Racism was no longer something to be discovered by witnessing its presence, but by noting the absence of some ideal multicultural diversity statistic. Civil rights shifted from lifting state sanctions that mandated discrimination against black people to imposing state sanctions that mandated discrimination on behalf of black people. Like the segregationists, they were abusing government power to impose the version of the ideal racial balance that they wanted to see.

The absence of the realization of this vision became its own evidence of racial sinfulness.

One fundamental difference between a free society and an oppressive society is that the former punishes bad behavior while the latter punishes the absence of good behavior. A free society, such as America, punishes theft. An oppressive society, such as the Soviet Union, punished the failure to work.

When civil rights shifted from punishing mandatory segregation to punishing the lack of integration, it ceased to be a movement pursuing freedom and instead became a totalitarian movement.

Racism diminished, but the religious, emotional and financial need for its existence on the part of the religion of racism did not. Their mission became manufacturing racism. The most mundane interactions were reinterpreted through the discriminating eye of the microaggression. Otherwise neutral institutions were accused of pervasive whiteness. Racism ceased to be an observable interaction between individuals and became the unseen gluonic binding block of all social matter in America.

The religion of racism had reached its logical conclusion. It was no longer the absence of black people, but the presence of white people that was racist. Racism was America’s original sin. White people carried it everywhere with them like radiation. To be white was to have your body and your mind, your thoughts, your writings and even the inanimate objects around you be infected by racial radioactivity.

Racism was no longer an objectively measurable phenomenon. It had taken on all the characteristics of metaphysics. It was everywhere and yet undetectable. It was transmitted by the immutable nature of race, a phenomenon that was paradoxically a construct and yet inflexibly inescapable.

Every tragedy, grievance and outrage was ultimately attributed to this primal evil and original sin.

Political opposition to Obama, poor water management decisions, infant mortality rates, environmental shifts, the vagaries of entertainment industry casting, gun violence and a thousand others could be put down to racism. The religion of racism, like all religion, had found something that explained everything.

To understand America, all you had to do was understand racism. And then you would know that we were a country perpetually divided between privileged white people and powerless minorities.

Implicit bias is the final catechism of a faith in racism. It is a pseudo-religious ritual whose purpose is to force its victims to confess their sins and assert its doctrinal belief in the innate racism of white people. Like all cults, it does this through the familiar brainwashing process of challenging and breaking down identity, through twisted reasoning and emotional abuse, and then reconstructing it in its own image.

To its believers, implicit bias is the truth that we are all racist. But that we can be saved from our racism by confessing it. Activism is penance. Denounce others and you too can make it to multicultural heaven.

The religion of racism has the right to believe in its hateful creed. What it does not have the right to do is enforce it on others. And yet the left has made a mockery of the separation of church and state by making its own secular religion, obsessed with planetary and racial damnation, into a national creed.

And, like all efforts at imposing a religion, it has led to a religious war which some call a culture war.

The religion of racism is less concerned with actual racists, than with racial unbelievers. The ultimate heresy, the one it’s rooting out with implicit bias and extreme prejudice, is that racism isn’t everywhere. And it’s not a burning national crisis that requires handing out unlimited witch hunting powers.

The theocrats of social justice prefer opposing views to skepticism. The existence of racists reaffirms their belief in the defining power of racism. It’s the skeptics of racism who are the real threat.

If you don’t believe that racism is significant, you challenge their entire reason for being.

And the religion of racism meets these challenges by manufacturing a racial crisis as it strings together anecdotal incidents from a Waffle House to a New York City apartment to a student dorm to a coffee shop, to support its unified field theory of universal bigotry and suppress skepticism about its powers.

The puritanical panic has less to do with fear of racism than the emotional needs of the witch hunters. Informing on your neighbors, denouncing fellow students and becoming the center of attention is emotionally fulfilling for the same psychological reasons that it was for the Salem accusers, the Parisian mobs of the French Revolution and the rampaging Communist students of the Cultural Revolution.

But beyond the twisted psychology of the activist accusers, the judges of kangaroo courts and the town criers of the media eager for scalps, the human sacrifice of the purge releases social tensions. This was the social function of human sacrifice. The shocking spectacle of bloodletting, the mob psychology and adrenaline release, relieved the fears and anxieties bedeviling society and left them feeling cleansed.

The constant hunt for scapegoats is a feature of an anxious society fearful for the future. Social justice scapegoating gives a generation on the edge of history a temporary sense of control by abusing others.

The left likes to believe that it’s a positive movement, defined by its utopian aspirations, not its brutal tactics. But it is a movement built on fear and hate, on a historical inevitability that is premised not on human progress, but on human collapse, on inescapable problems and necessarily ruthless solutions.

The religion of racism isn’t unique to America. But there is something special about it in this country. It stinks of the soured beliefs of liberal religious denominations, their loss of faith in God and man, and their growing conviction that salvation lies only in wielding the unlimited power of their governments.

SOURCE





MIT professor Eric Lander apologizes for praising controversial Nobel winner James Watson

Watson's statements on IQ were well-grounded in psychometrics

Eric Lander, the founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, has apologized for toasting 90-year-old Nobel Prize winner James Watson over the weekend.

In a contrite e-mail to colleagues, first reported Monday by Stat, Lander said he was aware of Watson’s racist and misogynist views, and had even been present when the celebrated scientist made anti-Semitic statements, but ultimately agreed to praise Watson for his role in the Human Genome Project.

In his tribute to Watson at a Biology of Genomes meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Saturday, Lander credited Watson for “inspiring all of us to push the frontiers of science to benefit humankind.” He neglected to mention that the man who helped discover the double helix also has suggested there’s a link between exposure to sunlight and sexual urges, and argued that there is racial disparity in intelligence based in biology.

In his e-mail Monday, Lander said he should not have toasted Watson. Though he did make an oblique reference to Watson’s past statements when he called him “flawed,” that wasn’t enough, Lander said.

“I’d like to do that now: I reject his views as despicable,” Lander wrote, according to Stat. “They have no place in science, which must welcome everyone. In retrospect, I should have followed my first instinct, which was to decline the invitation. As someone who has been on the receiving end of his abhorrent remarks, I should have been sensitive to the damage caused by recognizing him in any way.”

Before the apology, social media reacted angrily to Lander’s remarks.

“By toasting Jim Watson, Eric Lander is saying that sexism, racism, anti-semitism, and all sorts of forms of harassment and vile behavior by someone in power in science is A-OK — disgusting,” tweeted University of California-Davis professor Jonathan Eisen, who also posted a video of Lander’s tribute, calling it “a horrific action.”

“I hope we can all pause and think deeply about which scientists we choose to honor & why,” tweeted Michael Eisen, a biologist at UC Berkeley. “How it is that someone everyone knows to be racist, sexist & anti-semitic is still among us, let alone toasted. And how many lives and careers have been & are being ruined by our silence?”

SOURCE





Rev. Graham Slams Episcopal Church on 'Marriage' Change: 'Caving to the Gay Agenda'

Commenting on the Episcopal Church's decision to change marriage terminology from "husband and wife" to "union of two people," evangelical leader Rev. Franklin Graham said that to "change what God has defined" is "disobedience," sin, and added that "all of this is caving to the gay agenda."

In a May 18 post on Facebook, Rev. Graham said, "I have many friends in the Episcopal Church and I was saddened when I recently learned that the church wants to remove the terms 'husband' and 'wife' from their standardized marital vows. They want to replace the phrase the 'union of husband and wife' with the 'union of two people.'"

"I’ve got news for them -- just changing their words in their ceremony won’t make it right," said Graham. "You cannot change what God has defined."

"Through the centuries, people have tried to reinterpret, repackage, or rewrite God’s laws to suit themselves and their own evil desires," he said.  "It’s nothing new; but the end result is always the same. It’s called disobedience—it’s called sin. And sin brings God’s judgment."

"All of this is caving to the gay agenda," said Rev. Graham.

He continued,  "I read that the Church of England’s Secretary-General William Nye has been an outspoken critic of this change—good for him. More Christians and more people in church leadership should speak up about the sins that are within the church and stand against things that would not be aligned with the authority of God’s Word.

He ended his post with the passage from 1 Peter 1:25:  "the word of the Lord remains forever."

SOURCE





Against hate-speech laws

Nadine Strossen’s new book makes an important case for the importance of free speech without limits.

Hate speech is the thorniest of issues for defenders of free speech. When asked where those who champion freedom of expression would draw the line on ‘acceptable’ speech, many of even the usually most stalwart proponents of free speech draw it here.

In particular, attitudes towards hate speech are what divides a European approach to free speech from a US, First Amendment-based approach. In Europe in recent decades the net on what speech is permitted has been drawn ever tighter as governments seek to rein in speech they say harms individuals based on a variety of their characteristics: from race and religion, to sexual orientation. In the US, backed by a First Amendment that places far more protection on speech, courts have traditionally firmly resisted temptations to place limitations on speech, even when it is deemed hateful.

Nevertheless, with the rise of nationalist rhetoric in the US, and in particular following a number of protests against speakers on university campuses that have in some instances turned violent, there has been a renewed interest in the US in potentially introducing some kind of hate-speech measures.

It is this that has spurred veteran free-speech campaigner, Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1991 to 2008, to revisit the question of hate speech in her new book Hate: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship.

Hate considers the way in which the First Amendment has been interpreted in the US over the past century, examines the use of hate-speech laws in developed democracies elsewhere, and explores some of the arguments used to defend hate-speech legislation – and why they do not stand up to scrutiny.

Strossen provides an excellent overview of the ‘neutrality’ and ‘emergency’ principles. The former guarantees that speech will be protected no matter the viewpoint of the speaker. This is essential in a democracy because it ensures that the government does not become the arbiter of the acceptable viewpoint at any given time. Strossen points out how vital this principle has been in defending not just what society might now classify as ‘hate speech’ such as racism but also pro-civil-rights messages. Proponents of hate-speech laws would do well to study the 1972 Chicago v Mosley case Strossen cites, in which an African-American postal employee was only allowed to protest outside a high school, with a sign that read ‘Jones High School practices black discrimination’, on the basis of the First Amendment.

The cases covered by Strossen demonstrate time and again how freedom-of-expression protections – as opposed to limitations offered by hate-speech laws – protect minority and persecuted groups, citing US Civil Rights leader, Congressman John Lewis’s observation: ‘Without freedom of speech and the right to dissent, the Civil Rights movement would have been a bird without wings.’ And she goes on to show how hate-speech laws can often have the opposite effect – that they end up targeting the very minority groups such laws purport to protect. Examples include that of a prominent journalist and member of the Uzbek minority in Kyrgyzstan who was charged with ‘inciting ethnic hatred’ for reporting on conflicts between Uzbeks and the majority Kygryz.

Too often free-speech advocates seem to want to have it both ways: arguing that speech is so vital to a democratic society that it needs to be protected and yet not powerful enough to cause hurt

Strossen also lays out clearly the ‘emergency’ principle in which the government may suppress speech only when it directly causes specific, imminent and serious harm, citing an opinion from a 1927 case in which Justice Louis Brandeis wrote: ‘Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of speech… Men feared witches and burned women.’

Strossen is a lawyer and the book is strong on legislation and the court rulings that have interpreted such laws, both in the United States and Europe. She also does not shy away from the notion that words can harm. This is refreshing. Too often free-speech advocates seem to want to have it both ways: arguing that speech is so vital to a democratic society that it needs to be protected and yet not powerful enough to cause hurt.

‘[W]e cherish speech precisely because of its unique capacity to influence us, both positively and negatively’, she writes. ‘But even though speech can contribute to potential harms, it would be more harmful to both individuals and society to empower the government to suppress speech for that reason.’

Strossen gives a brief overview of various research that shows both that hate-speech laws do little to limit the hateful views they seek to suppress, and that by limiting the exposure individuals have to hateful views, the less resilient they become to a whole raft of potentially distasteful and intolerant viewpoints.

However, at 208 pages, this element of Hate felt a little light, and while overall it provides an excellent overview of the legal frameworks of hate speech and their impacts, I would have liked more examples and personal stories exploring the sociological and psychological arguments against hate-speech laws. Given that the psychological and social effects of hate speech is are a key element in the demands of various groups for increased restrictions on speech, it seems to me this is a vital part of the polemic on hate-speech legislation.

One of Strossen’s challenges is that she lays out the direction of her argument – and her conclusions – from the outset, meaning that the conclusion (hate-speech laws do not protect us from harm or promote greater tolerance in societies) often comes before the evidence that supports this argument. This is particularly true of the overview, which meant that at times I felt Strossen failed to bring me along with the thread of her arguments. I agree wholeheartedly with Strossen’s views on hate speech – 45 years of evidence from the work of Index on Censorship chimes entirely with her conclusions. But I did wonder whether Hate would be as convincing to a reader who currently either sits on the fence or is firmly in favour of hate-speech law.

However, in these times of censure by the mob, and of major corporations with the power of governments to limit speech, it is welcome to hear voices like Strossen’s making themselves heard and reminding us why the urge to limit speech in the name of protection ultimately offers no protection at all.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Sunday, May 20, 2018




Sex-crazed Muslims again

Their religion consigns many men to celibacy.  Under polygamy, rich old guys get most of the women. Celibacy works about as well for them as it does for Catholic priests

A brave woman has revealed how she was gang raped as a teenager after being drugged at a party that her friend had lured her to.

Philippa Briggs, now 21, from Buckinghamshire, has described how she was raped by a group of older men at the age of just 14.

Two of her attackers Kashif Amjad, 31, and Sakib Ali Sadiq, 35, were jailed for ten years following the horrific incident, but her other attackers remain free.

Philippa explained how her friend, who was 16 at the time, had persuaded her to go to the house party - but put the blame on her when she told her she'd been attacked.

The friend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was later given a two year detention training order for causing a child to engage in sexual activity, for her role in the attack.

Philippa, who was adopted at the age of six but placed into a children's home after difficulties at home, described how her friend, who had managed to persuade her to go to the party in 2009.

She explained how she had been desperate to 'fit in', having met the older friend at the children's home she was living in.

At the party, she said her 'head started to spin' after having a drink a man gave her, despite asking for just an orange juice.

She remembers another man asking her whether she was 'okay', before 'everything went black'.

Philippa recalled: 'When I opened my eyes, I was on a cold bathroom floor and my vision was blurry.

'I tried to get up, but to my horror I realised I was being pinned down by something extremely heavy. Terror ran through me as I realised there was a man on top of me.

'I couldn't make out his face, and when I opened my mouth to try to scream no sound came out. I drifted in and out of consciousness as he raped me, too weak and woozy to fight him off.'

Philippa described the intense pain she felt the next time she woke up, this time alone.  'Pain tore through me as I tried to get up and I looked down to see my legs were covered in blood,' she said.

'I felt sick, but I knew I had to get help - and fast. I was distraught when I realised the door was locked. I was completely trapped. As I desperately tried to figure out how to escape, I passed out again.

'When I woke some time later, my trousers were round by my ankles again. My stomach knotted with fear as I realised I must have been raped for a second time.'

Philippa described how she had 'screamed and banged' on the door, until her friend came to get her. However, even though she told her that she'd been attacked, she was dismissed by her friend, who she says gave her 'a look of disgust'. Her friend told her that she was staying at the party, saying: 'It's not my problem if you're too drunk to enjoy yourself. You're a disgrace, you look a total mess.'

Philippa said the friend then took her outside, before telling her to find her own way home, despite the freezing conditions.

Eventually, she was found by the police, who had been contacted by her children's home when she missed her curfew.

Philippa was taken to a rape centre, where medics told her she had been drugged and that her injuries suggested she had been attacked by as many as five men.

She was also given the morning after pill, and told to take a pregnancy test after a few weeks.

Police managed to track down two of her attackers through DNA, with the pair jailed in 2011.

However, the other men involved in the attack were never caught.

Describing the impact that the attack has had on her life, Philippa said: 'I'll never forget the horrifying evening my entire life changed.

'Justice had been done for two of my attackers, but knowing that there was at least three others out there was difficult.

'I suffered with post-traumatic stress after the attack and doctors put me on antidepressants.'

However, Philippa says she feels a lot stronger now, explaining: 'I won't let those monsters steal a second more of my future.'  

SOURCE






UK Proposes Six Year Prison Sentences for Online Posts Against Religion, Transgender

People promoting “hostility” towards a religion or the transgendered online could get much harsher sentences, of up to six years in jail, especial if they have a large online audience according to new proposals.

The Sentencing Council for England and Wales has drafted changes to public order offences, including anyone perceived as targeting online a “protected characteristics” including “race; sex; disability; age; sexual orientation; religion or belief; pregnancy and maternity; and gender reassignment.”

The most severe punishments will be handed to those “in a position of trust, authority or influence and abuses their position to stir up hatred,” such as political leaders or figureheads and anyone whose offences are “persistent.”

If an “offender was a member of, or was associated with, a group promoting hostility based on race or religion,” their sentence will also be harsher.

The Sentencing Council believes that the use of social media, YouTube, and other “websites” to stir hatred is a growing problem – despite the number of prosecutions remain relatively low.

“Volumes of these offences are extremely low and there have been no offenders sentenced for some offences,” the Sentencing Council said.

“However, given the recent social climate and an enhanced focus on this type of offending, the council considers it would be useful for sentencers to be equipped with guidance on sentencing these offences,” they continue.

“Other cases involved publication on YouTube of content inciting serious violence towards particular racial or religious groups, websites being published including abusive and insulting content, with some activity continuing over a long period of time and intended to reach global audiences.”

The proposals will now be subject to a three-month public consultation ending in August.

The launch comes nine months after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) promised to peruse online “hate crime” as vigorously as those taking place face-to-face, saying they hope to see more prosecutions, with longer sentences for those convicted of “hate” online.

Separate “hate crime” guidelines from the CPS released in January last year reaffirmed that no evidence is needed to report a “hate crime”, and they only need to be “perceived” by the alleged victim or someone else.

An investigation by Breitbart London last year also confirmed that many UK Police forces consider “unfriendliness” and “dislike” as signs of “hostility” and “hate,” with the CPS admitting there is “no legal definition” of “hostility.”

Germany recently went further than any Western democracy in efforts to control online speech, legally requiring social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to quickly remove “hate speech” from their sites.

However, the law is set to be revised following evidence that too much online content is being blocked, and critics claiming there was a widespread “chilling effect” on speech.

The legislation has led to satirical posts being removed and a leader of the populists AfD party being censored for criticizing police policy and Islam.

SOURCE





Compromise in Transgender Debate Demands Rejection of Reality

Conservatism is rooted in the pursuit of objective truth, and the truth is there are only two genders.

By its very nature, truth exists independent of our beliefs, opinions, prejudices and superstitions. It does not bend to our will and is not subject to a majority vote. We may reject truth, we may rage against it, but truth remains, unfazed. “Facts don’t care about your feelings,” as Ben Shapiro put it.

It is curious, then, that the conservative National Review would publish an article calling for a societal rejection of biological truth in the name of compromise. Conservatism, after all, is a philosophy rooted in the pursuit of objective truth.

In “Time for a Compromise on Transgenderism,” NR’s J.J. McCullough calls on conservatives, in the name of compromise, to set aside rational thought and biological reality and embrace the delusion behind transgenderism; namely, that sex/gender is not rooted in our DNA, but in our feelings. Though laudable in its attempt to strengthen social cohesion, it is nevertheless a study in falsehoods and contradictions.

McCullough declares, “Homosexual people are unavoidable and common. … Through education, and especially exposure, homosexuality is no longer regarded as bizarre, threatening, or mysterious.”

First, homosexuals and transgenders are actually only a tiny subset of the population. According to ULCA’s Williams Institute, just 1.7% of the U.S. population identifies as homosexual, and just 0.3% as transgender. Other studies put the number of homosexuals at 3-4%. But fewer Americans identify as transgender than have heterochromia (two different colored eyes). It should also be noted that both homosexuality and transgenderism are behaviors, not biological traits.

Second, social acceptance of a behavior does not convey moral validity. The Communist Chinese implemented the one-child policy, but social acceptance of the policy does not make the tens of millions of abortions it brought about any less murder. Or you could go the Nazi Holocaust route. Enough said.

McCullough declares resistance to the normalization of deviant sexual behavior is an “immature, demagogic phase” of American life, ignoring the fact it is the LGBT proponents who are aggressively trying to overturn thousands of years of social order and proven biological science.

Americans who hold to traditional morality and biological reality are accused of hatred and bigotry, forced by the state to deny reality and violate deeply held religious beliefs, or face hate-crimes charges, public vilification and even the loss of their livelihoods.

McCullough’s “compromise” is for the reality-based population (i.e., “cultural conservatives and traditionalists”) to extend “broad tolerance for the reality that transgender men and women exist, and are entitled to basic human dignity, just like everyone else.” This is a straw man. No conservative calls for mistreating transgenders or denying basic human rights. Just the opposite; Christians proclaim the eternal worth of every soul as a child of God.

However, dignity is a subjective term. It flows outward from dignified people, and cannot be granted. Despite being mocked, cursed and spat upon, Christ could not be robbed of his regal dignity by the offending Jews. On the other hand, those engaged in the most flamboyant displays of sexual deviancy during LGBT parades cannot obtain dignity, regardless of the coercive power of the state.

Though McCullough claims transgenderism is a “persistent aspect of humanity,” that is demonstrably false. Examples of effeminate homosexual men, or “butch” lesbians, have long been with us, but the claim that a biological male is an actual woman, or vice versa, is very recent, not to mention delusional.

More important than these battles in the culture wars are the implications for life itself.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the first U.S. institution to perform “sex reassignment” surgery, “The belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex — so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’ — is not supported by scientific evidence.”

Furthermore, studies show a staggering 41% of transgendered people attempt suicide in their lifetimes, and that suicide rate is relatively constant regardless of other variables, like living in an area where homosexuality/transgenderism is widely accepted. Nurturing their delusion, rather than providing treatment, is cruel and deadly.

Even McCullough admits, “The risk of psychologically and physically damaging children by encouraging or enabling them to embrace transgender identities before pubescence must be acknowledged as a valid concern backed by credible evidence.”

Yet if the first phase of the compromise is for conservatives to accept the delusional altered reality of transgenderism, then on what basis does one then reject allowing a sexually confused child to “transition”?

The problem with McCollough’s entire argument is that the Rainbow Mafia is not interested in compromise; they simply demand our surrender. Prior to the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling, LGBT proponents mockingly asked conservatives to tell them how our lives would change if same-sex marriage was legal. As we predicted, so they have done. Christians are being persecuted by the state, ostracized by society and denied their constitutionally protected rights to freedom of religion, speech and association. Their livelihoods are being destroyed.

So while McCullough’s intentions are worthy, his approach is completely wrong. No person should be forced to accept biological falsehoods, nor violate their moral and religious beliefs, to appease a few militant, biologically confused people. We should never, ever allow the compulsive power of the state to silence debate, especially when one side is rooted in delusion.

SOURCE







The PC sickness in Australia

“I’M GOING to miss this,” said the comedian. And for a moment nothing was very funny anymore.

We had been chatting about our respective mongrel ancestries when we realised we were both part Scots-Irish.

“I never understood exactly what Scots-Irish was,” I said. “As far as I can tell some Scots went to Ireland because they didn’t like the Scottish and then when they got there they decided they didn’t like the Irish — or the English for that matter.”

“Yep,” he said. “They basically just rocked up and said to everyone: ‘If you don’t like it then f*** off!’”

“They’re so disagreeable!” I said. And that’s when my friend paused.

“I’m going to miss this,” he said.

For a moment I was scared he was about to tell me he had some terminal disease but then the penny dropped — and like a true Scotsman I noticed it.

“Soon we won’t be able to talk about this anymore,” he said. “We won’t be able to laugh or take the piss out of people for their differences. Everybody will just be exactly the same.”

It was an extremely depressing thought and for a moment I wished he really had told me he had a terminal disease.

Comedians are of course notoriously melancholy creatures but there have been several recent developments that make me more sure than ever that my mate is on the money.

One was a report this month that the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions had ordered his Newcastle office to complete a sexual harassment course after a lawyer “tweaked” a colleague’s nipple.

Sounds fair enough, you might think, until you read on. You see, it wasn’t a lecherous old man groping a young vulnerable clerk. It was a female solicitor mucking around with a male colleague when she gave him a little nipple-cripple over his shirt. Call the prosecutors!

And it gets better. It wasn’t even the bloke who had his nipple tweaked who made the complaint. He wasn’t fussed at all. Instead it was someone in the office who witnessed it and reported it as “inappropriate”.

As a source rather plaintively told The Daily Telegraph: “It was just a joke.”

But as my comedian mate now knows, there are no jokes anymore. There’s just appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.

And so, as a result of a playful exchange between two friendly colleagues who were completely untroubled, dozens of legal experts have to sit through an interminable sexual harassment lecture delivered perhaps by some po-faced bureaucrat or perhaps by a disembodied online portal. It’s hard to know which would be a bigger waste of the taxpayer’s time or money.

Moreover, the female solicitor is said to be “highly embarrassed” by the whole affair. So well done to the #metoo mole who called it in. You’ve just humiliated a woman for having too much fun at work. What a victory for progress that is.

It would be tempting to write this off as just a rogue PC absurdity — even if it did come from the highest prosecutor in the nation’s biggest state. If only this were so.

Recently I learned of colleagues at another government organisation who were forced to undergo cultural awareness training after an eerily similar incident.

In this case, two people, one white and one black, were talking about how absurd it was that a certain derogatory racial term was still allowed to be used in some contexts. Another person in the office overheard the conversation and reported them.

And so it was back to the re-education camps for that happy little workplace. Yes, even a black person discussing a racist word can now be sanctioned for racism.

Again, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is as dumb as society could possibly get but, again, you’d be wrong.

Because just last week an educator infamously suggested that parents should ask their babies for consent babies before changing a nappy [diaper]. Needless to say, in any such exchange it would not just be the nappy that was completely full of it.

I had words about this on Studio 10 and apparently it became a “Twitter Moment”, so I don’t want to add further to the mob frenzy. All I would offer is that anyone who compares changing a nappy to rape needs to seriously consider their world view.

SOURCE 

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

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

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

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