Friday, January 19, 2018

WH Press Secretary: ‘No One Here Is Going to Pretend That the President Is Always Politically Correct'

The White House on Tuesday said President Donald Trump used “tough language” in his bipartisan immigration meeting last Thursday, but he isn’t politically correct, which is one of the reasons why people love him.

When asked to explain what “tough language” the president used in the meeting as was acknowledged by members of the administration, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “I wasn’t in that room, so I can go only off of the individuals who were. They said that term wasn’t used, but that tough language was.”

Sanders was referring to reports that the president used the term “shithole” when referring to Haiti.

“Look, no one here is going to pretend that the president is always politically correct. He isn’t. I think that’s one of the reasons the American people love him. One of the reasons that he won and is sitting in the Oval Office today is because he isn’t a scripted robot. He’s somebody who tells things like they are sometimes, and sometimes he does use tough language,” Sanders said.

“The point that he’s trying to make, the point that entire conversation frankly should be focused on: We’ve wasted five days fighting over one word when we should be fighting over the people that are involved in the DACA program,” she said.

“If Democrats really want to protect these individuals, that’s who they should be fighting for, and that’s what they should be fighting about is figuring out a permanent solution to DACA - not a quick fix - figuring out how to secure our border and increase border security, figuring out how to end chain migration, figuring out how to end the visa lottery system,” the press secretary said.

“They’re wasting time yet complaining about the fact that this president isn’t doing enough when he’s the only one that’s engaging in this process, and hopefully, they’ll get on board, get out of the way and start doing their job,” she added.


Selling Hate
Who will warn Americans about hate groups? The media know: the Southern Poverty Law Center. SPLC, based in Alabama, calls itself “the premier” group monitoring hate. Give us money, they say, and they will “fight the hate that thrives in our country.”

I once believed in the center’s mission. Well-meaning people still do. Apple just gave them a million dollars. So did actor George Clooney.

They shouldn’t.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali grew up in Somalia, where she suffered female genital mutilation. So now she speaks out against radical Islam. For that, SPLC put her on its list of dangerous “extremists.”

Maajid Nawaz was once an Islamic extremist. Then he started criticizing the radicals. SPLC labels him an “anti-Muslim extremist,” too.

While launching hateful smears like these, SPLC invites you to donate to them to “join the fight against hatred and bigotry.”

SPLC once fought useful fights. They took on the Ku Klux Klan. But now they go after people on the right with whom they disagree.

They call the Family Research Council a hate group because it says gay men are more likely to sexually abuse children.

That’s their belief. There is some evidence that supports it. Do they belong on a “hate map,” like the Ku Klux Klan, because they believe that evidence and worry about it?

I often disagree with the council, but calling them a hate group is unfair. In my YouTube video this week, the group’s vice president, Jerry Boykin, tells me, “I don’t hate gay people. And I know gay people, and I have worked with gay people.”

But once you’re labeled a hate group, you are a target.

One man went to the Family Research Council headquarters to kill people, shooting a security guard in the arm before he was stopped. The shooter told investigators that he attacked the FRC because he found them on SPLC’s hate list. Calling the council a “hate group” made its employees the target of real hate.

SPLC also smears the Ruth Institute, a Christian group that believes gays should not have an equal right to adopt children. The institute’s president, Jennifer Roback Morse, says they’re not haters.

“I like gay people. I have no problem with gay people. That’s not the issue. The issue is, what are we doing with kids and the definition of who counts as a parent.”

The institute doesn’t argue that gays should never adopt. “There could be cases where the best person for a particular child would be their Uncle Harry and his boyfriend,” Morse told me. But the institute wants preference given to “a married mother and father.”

For that, SPLC put the Ruth Institute on its hate map. That led the institute’s credit card processor to stop working with them. In a letter to the institute, the processor company said that it had learned that the “Ruth Institute … promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse.”

“We went and checked our website,” Morse told me, “and we were already down.”

I suspect SPLC labels lots of groups “haters” because crying “hate” brings in money.

Years ago, Harper’s Magazine reported that SPLC was “the wealthiest civil rights group in America, one that now spend most of its time – and money – on a fund-raising campaign.” People in Montgomery, Alabama, where SPLC is based, call its elegant new headquarters “the Poverty Palace.”

“Morris Dees’ salary is more than my entire annual budget,” says Morse. “Whatever they’re doing, it pays.”

Dees, SPLC’s co-founder, promised to stop fundraising once his endowment hit $55 million. But when he reached $55 million, he upped the bar to $100 million, saying that would allow them “to cease costly fundraising.”

But again, when they reached $100 million, they didn’t stop. Now they have $320 million – a large chunk of which is kept in offshore accounts. Really. It’s on their tax forms.

In return for those donations to SPLC, the world gets a group that now lists people like Ben Carson and Fox commentators Laura Ingraham, Judge Andrew Napolitano and Jeanine Pirro as extremists – but doesn’t list the leftist militant hate groups known as antifa.

SPLC is now a hate group itself. It’s a money-grabbing slander machine.


If you are a Democrat, you can disrespect women all you like

Yesterday, Cory Booker (D-NJ) detonated on Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. He didn’t just mansplain, he mansplained at maximum volume. He threw a deeply flawed security study in her face as if she didn’t understand the terror threats facing the United States, and unloaded on her for claiming that she couldn’t recall the president’s exact words in the now infamous “sh**hole” meeting:

Booker’s face is twisted in fury. He pounds on the table. He insults her character. It’s nothing short of a temper tantrum. If he were a Republican, this exchange would be taken as proof-positive that he doesn’t respect women. It would be video evidence, shared far and wide, of his sexism. It would be compared to Donald Trump’s physical approaches to Hillary Clinton during a presidential debate and used as evidence that Republicans aren’t just misogynistic, they’re menacing. Instead, Booker proudly tweeted out his rant, quoting himself like he’d just had “a moment.”

It’s incidents like this that convince so many Americans that identity politics are disingenuous and that lamentations about “norms,” “values,” and “civility” are grotesquely insincere.

Talk to any conservative woman and she’ll tell you that all too often the Left’s “respect for women” stops the instant a female pundit, politician, or activist slides just to the right of moderate.

The human capacity for rationalization and self-justification is nearly infinite, and it was on display yesterday. It was right for Booker to tear into Nielsen, his apologists said. After all, everyone who doesn’t condemn Trump’s infamous “sh**hole” comment is “complicit” in racism. Nielsen was lying to Congress. That wasn’t misogyny, you see, it was righteous anger. Are you, Mr. Conservative, telling me that Nielsen isn’t tough enough to handle a tongue-lashing? Are you telling me that she needs to be protected, to be coddled by Senator Booker?

Oh, and don’t talk to me about “values,” Mr. Conservative. Not when that man is in the White House.

We’re now entering the Iran–Iraq War phase of our conflicts over civility. The only norm left is hypocrisy. Many of the same Democrats who simply can’t believe the words that come out of Trump’s mouth once cheered Joe Biden’s claim to a Virginia crowd that Mitt Romney would “put y’all back in chains.” They spread far and wide claims that Romney had callously let people die just to make a buck.

And now, even as they lament the decline in discourse under Trump, they claim that conventional conservative policies are going to kill Americans by the thousands.

There is only one way to restore a measure of civility and dignity and a sense of proportion to public debate, and that’s to actually treat people with respect.

If the Democrats aim to argue that they can do better than Trump, they’d be wise to offer the country something other than Trumpism dressed up in blue.


Australia: Now political correctness is making its way into drivers' licences

The Queensland Government has scrapped a requirement for gender to be shown on all driver's licences, after complaints from the LGBTI community.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) confirmed that height was also removed as a requirement, after concerns the collection of personal information was potentially discriminatory.

However, the Department said the move towards gender-less licences was due to the need to make driver's and marine licences compliant with new anti-discrimination laws, according to the Courier Mail.

Another reason for change was due to improvements in technology, a spokesman for Roads Minister Mark Bailey said.

'TMR has received complaints and suggestions from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community about displaying gender/sex (M or F) on TMR cards,' a department document said.

Other information, such as eye and hair colour, is also being removed from records attached to licences.

'TMR has received feedback that the collection of personal information (eye and hair colour, complexion, height) may be perceived as discriminatory by some members of the community.'

Police will still have access to information on gender through databases, and drivers will still be asked to nominate their gender when applying for a licence.

The TMR stopped recording people's gender and height for all new and renewed licences in October 2016.



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


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Celebrating Religious Freedom Day With a Court Victory on Traditional Marriage

Religious liberty and freedom of conscience won big at the Supreme Court last week, just in time for Religious Freedom Day on Jan. 16.

The justices declined last week to hear a legal challenge against a Mississippi law that protects citizens, small businesses, government employees, and charities from official discrimination by government if they believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.

The Mississippi law benefits people on both sides of the marriage debate because when a government can punish one group of citizens for dissenting from cultural orthodoxy, it can punish any group for any belief.

In declining to hear a case against Mississippi’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523), the Supreme Court let stand the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in the face of challenges by the ACLU and Lambda Legal.

Now a year after HB 1523 was passed, Mississippians know they are free to live according to their religious beliefs about marriage without fear of losing their livelihoods.

It’s a victory in a battle that never should have happened in the first place. HB 1523 was a direct response to the threat of anti-religious discrimination after the Supreme Court redefined marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.

During oral arguments for Obergefell, Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was asked whether religious institutions could lose their tax-exempt status owing to their beliefs about marriage.

“[I]t’s certainly going to be an issue,” he told the court. “I don’t deny that.”

Although Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion in Obergefell that those who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman do so based on “decent and honorable premises” and that “neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here,” Verrilli’s comments told a different story.

Verrilli’s remarks signaled that the government could use its powers to tax and spend to force its views of marriage upon citizens.

In the two and a half years since Obergefell, activists, local and state governments, and federal authorities have treated the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman with contempt.

Billionaire LGBT activist Tim Gill pledged to “punish the wicked.” Delivering upon his threat, government authorities have denied citizens across the country the right to live in accordance with their beliefs about marriage.

Members of numerous professions, including entertainment, counseling, emergency services, technology, farming, and the military, have been demoted or terminated from their jobs because of their beliefs about marriage.

The government also has targeted religious nonprofit organizations. Illinois, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia stopped contracting with faith-based adoption agencies because they would place children only with married moms and dads.

When the president of Gordon College privately wrote President Barack Obama to request a religious exemption from an effort to force government contractors to accept new views about marriage and sexuality, the school nearly lost its accreditation. Meanwhile, a local school district refused to employ students of Gordon College, and the city of Salem suspended its long-term contract that allowed the college to use the Town Hall.

Legislators in Mississippi responded to this wave of anti-religious discrimination by passing HB 1523. The bill protects individual citizens, public servants, businesses, and religious institutions from being penalized by the government for belief in traditional marriage.

But the ACLU and Lambda Legal sued on behalf of clients who claimed to be harmed by the law. Last June, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the plaintiffs had no standing because they failed to demonstrate that the law would violate their rights in any way.

The Supreme Court was right to leave the lower court’s decision intact.

These protections should not be controversial. Kennedy recently reiterated his call for tolerance of disagreement on marriage during oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the case of a Colorado cake artist whose belief in traditional marriage drew intense ire from state officials.

Admonishing Colorado’s state solicitor general, he stated that “tolerance is essential in a free society. And tolerance is most meaningful when it’s mutual.”

It seems to me that the state in its position here has been neither tolerant, nor respectful of [Jack] Phillips’ religious beliefs.

If federal, state, and local authorities would heed Kennedy’s call for tolerance and respect in Obergefell and Masterpiece, laws like HB 1523 would not be needed.

But as more and more Americans are forced to choose between their job and their conscience, both state legislatures and the Congress should promptly protect citizens from the new wave of government discrimination.

State laws such as HB 1523 and federal legislation such as the First Amendment Defense Act would ensure that the government cannot put anyone out of work for their beliefs about marriage.

Furthermore, what’s at stake here extends far beyond the marriage debate.

If the government can wield its power to silence opinions it disfavors, then everyone is at risk of being punished for holding the “wrong” opinions.

When Thomas Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that we commemorate today, he observed that Almighty God created the mind free and that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishment or burdens would beget only hypocrisy and meanness. This admonition bears remembering in our modern debate over the redefinition of marriage.

The residents of Mississippi are fortunate that their legislators got it right with HB 1523. Now, Americans in all 50 states need courageous leaders to stand up for their rights, too.


UK: The misogyny of #MeToo

The rage against Katie Roiphe exposes feminism’s hatred of women

If you want to see misogyny – real, visceral, woman-shaming misogyny, the kind that views women as incapable of thinking for themselves, or as possessors of such foul thoughts that they shouldn’t think for themselves – look no further than #MeToo.

Forget those tragic internet threads inhabited by men whose fury with women is one part concern about feminism and nine parts because they’ve never had sex; look, instead, at the thoroughly mainstream, celebrity-endorsed #MeToo movement whose fear of men is easily matched – outdone now, in fact – by its seething contempt for women who think for themselves.

Consider what has happened to Katie Roiphe over the past 48 hours. Roiphe is one of America’s most interesting essayists and authors, having come to public prominence with her precocious 1994 book "The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism" and going on to write everything from cultural criticism to a book on famous writers’ dying hours. She is currently the target of a most extraordinary Twitterstorm – a furious, censorious rage not over something she has said, but over something people think she is going to say in a future issue of Harper’s. We’ve had precrime; this is precensorship, the violent-minded punishment of an author for what she might at some point utter.

The Twitterati heard whispers that Roiphe, in a March feature for Harper’s, will name the woman responsible for the Shitty Media Men list, a kind of informal blacklist of journalists and editors who allegedly behave badly towards women, and they went berserk. They said this would endanger the creator of the Shitty Media Men list.

Let’s leave to one side that it is entirely legitimate and in the public interest to reveal who created this frankly chilling list, to which anyone can anonymously add the name of a media man who they claim, or think, has engaged in sexual misconduct. For the supporters of a naming-and-shaming, rumour-riddled list of names of the like a Witchfinder General might have drawn up in the past to rage against someone who dared to name the creator of that list is of course hilarious, and speaks brilliantly to the double standards, deep sense of entitlement and ugly disregard for due process of #MeToo’s chief public shamers.

The more pertinent thing is that Roiphe has been so publicly shamed, and ideally silenced, by women who claim they want women’s voices to be heard. But not Roiphe’s voice, it seems; not that bitch; shut her down. The outpouring of hatred for Roiphe has been astonishing, even by the low standards of Twitter debate and 21st-century virtual intolerance.

Guardian feminist Jessica Valenti swiftly did to Roiphe what she accuses men of doing to female journalists: tried to silence her. She described Roiphe’s rumoured piece as ‘profoundly shitty’ and ‘incredibly dangerous’ and tweeted out the Harper’s phone number so that people could harass the magazine into not publishing this witch’s work. Sady Doyle, a writer for Elle, branded Roiphe ‘pro-rape’, which really just means evil, witch-like. A writer for feminist mag Bustle wondered if ‘Katie Roiphe’ is a ‘pseudonym shared by a group of 65-year-old men’, because any woman who disagrees with us correct feminists must be a man really, right? Just as any black person who votes Republican or Conservative is a ‘coconut’.

Elsewhere Roiphe was branded an ‘Uncle Tom’ of gender, ‘trash’, a ‘bitch’ of course, a ‘demon’, and a ‘danger’ to good feminists who simply want to keep criminalising men without the benefit of such archaic things as due process or legal investigation. And all of this came from women, from women who pose as pro-women. Writer Nicole Cliff even encouraged writers to pull their pieces from Harper’s and offered to pay them to do so – an explicit attempt to heap editorial pressure on Harper’s to pull Roiphe’s piece / silence the evil witch. Five writers pulled pieces from Harper’s. Self-censorship to the end of censoring a woman who disagrees with mainstream feminists – what a degraded spectacle.

After all this, following all the kangaroo-trying of Roiphe, it was revealed that her piece won’t actually name the creator of the Shitty Media Men list! The rage against her, the entire witch-hunt, was built on a rumour, on fear, revealing the febrile, positively pre-modern nature of so many of today’s outbursts of fury against holders of outré opinions. Thank God it isn’t the 1500s – Roiphe would be dead already, before we discovered that she hadn’t actually uttered the sinful words the mob believed she had.

But even uglier than the fact-lite nature of the anti-Roiphe fanaticism has been its misogyny, its weirdly feminist-cum-anti-women outlook. Roiphe, you see – like any other woman who criticises the new victim feminism – suffers from ‘internalised misogyny’. This deeply patronising idea holds that women do not really know their own minds and are easy prey to the allegedly misogynistic culture that surrounds them. It is feared that their dainty brains will be made self-hating through too much exposure to ‘the culture’, just as Victorian men worried that Victorian women would faint or die upon reading an outrageous letter or hearing a labourer say ‘fuck’. The same was said of women who voted for Trump, whom one feminist columnist likened to ‘slaves fluffing the pillows of their master’s rocking chair’. That is one of the most misogynistic things I’ve read in the mainstream press in years.

Any woman who criticises #MeToo can expect to be metaphorically attached to the stake. This week the wonderful Catherine Deneuve and other French cultural figures slammed #MeToo for being anti-men and demeaning to women’s agency. Deneuve was raged against, with Asia Argento, the actress who started the accusations against Harvey Weinstein, saying she has clearly been ‘lobotomised’ by ‘interiorised misogyny’. Shorter: the old witch has been morally corrupted. Women like Ann Leslie and Anne Robinson have also been demonised, by other women, for raising criticisms. This week the B-movie actress Blanca Blanco got in trouble for daring to wear a red dress to the all-black fashion and virtue-signalling shitshow that was the Golden Globes. How dare women wear what they want? Or express their opinions? Seriously, can these feminists who are raging against ‘bad women’, outspoken women, difficult women, hear themselves?

We are now starting to see that #MeToo is not a pro-woman movement at all. It is a highly politicised campaign driven by, and benefiting, well-connected women in culture and the media, who must maintain their alleged victim status at all costs because it is leverage for them in terms both of their career and their moral authority in public discussion. This is why they respond with such unforgiving, misogynistic fury to any woman who questions them – because these women, these upstarts, these difficult creatures, threaten to unravel the victim politics that is so beneficial to a narrow but influential strata of society today. And so these women must be silenced, cast out, written off as ‘damaged’ and not worth listening to; let’s just be grateful that the asylums such free-thinking women would once have been dumped in no longer exist.


American Cardinal: Homosexuality is 'Abnormal,' No Need to Apologize 'For Teaching the Truth'

Catholic Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis who now serves on the Vatican's highest court, said the "homosexual condition" is an "abnormal condition," and that there is no reason for the Catholic Church to "ask forgiveness for teaching the truth about sex and sexuality."

In a Dec. 21 interview with the Macau diocesan newspaper O Clarim, the editors asked Cardinal Burke, "In an in-flight interview, after the umpteenth question about homosexuals, the Holy Father [Pope Francis] said that we obviously must not discriminate and we have to ask forgiveness from these people for the way they are treated."

Cardinal Burke said, "I haven’t read the Pope’s text. What I can say is that this year I turned 69, and I have spent my whole life in the Catholic Church. I have never encountered discrimination against people who suffer from the homosexual condition."

"We know that we are dealing with an abnormal condition: God has not created us to have sexual relations with people of the same sex," said Burke.  "This is not a discrimination against persons. It is to affirm the truth of Christ, the truth of our faith."

He continued, "I must say sincerely, even though I haven’t read the words of the Pope, that I don’t see why the Church ought to ask forgiveness for teaching the truth about sex and sexuality."

"Rather, during my priesthood of more than 42 years, I have always found priests very compassionate in meetings with people who have had this difficulty and have suffered from this condition," said the cardinal.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

"The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided....(2358)

"Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (2359)"


New Zealand Census To List Only Two Genders

Gender bending madness has now become pervasive throughout western countries. We were told first that there weren’t only male and female which most people throughout human history believed there to be. There were in fact 76 genders, now that list has now grown infinitely. Most disturbingly it has evolved from just being the latest fad from social justice warriors to being enshrined in various laws. Most famously was Bill C-16 in Canada which made it criminal offense not to call someone by their preferred gender pronoun.

While Australia has not taken it to this extreme various arms of government have began to engage in the deconstruction of gender. With the passing of same sex marriage you can now choose gender X on the marriage form. On the 2016 census long before the legalization of same sex marriage you could choose gender ‘other’ on the census form. The Australian Bureau of Statistics stated this was done “in recognition of that fact that sex and indeed gender are no longer seen as purely binary options for response”.

But over in New Zealand they have decided to buck this trend with their 2018 census listing only two gender options male and female. Statistics New Zealand claim they made this decision after a series of tests on a third gender option and found that erroneous or deliberately inaccurate answers made the data unreliable. It is great to see some statisticians still with some common sense who recognize running a census based of feelings rather than biological science would not prove very useful.

Statistics New Zealand also does not ask any questions about sexual orientation. Both of these determinations have upset local LGBT activists in New Zealand with the head of RainbowYOUTH claiming “We need to know the size and location of our community” the reasoning behind this was so they could lobby for more government funds “Rainbow organisations are quite underfunded and the statistics would help us highlight to those in control of funding that there is huge need in our community”.

The decision of Statistics New Zealand is despite the fact that the new statistics Minister is Green Party Leader James Shaw who of course fully embraces the gender agenda. Shaw hoped that a new standard would be implemented before the 2023 census (let’s hope hes’s long gone before then) and also stated he could not override this decision “The Government Statistician is independent of the Government, and this is important to ensure we have high-quality statistics”. In New Zealand politics government ministers rarely override the decisions of the bureaucracy.

New Zealanders can now look forward to census next that will provide accurate and science based data for which decisions about government policy can be made for the next five years. The gender bending agenda can be resisted all it takes is returning to simple scientific reality.



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


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Coming Out As A Republican To My Democrat Family Went Worse Than Coming Out Gay

I am not a sex offender. But a number of my friends no longer have time to see me. Lifelong acquaintances now regard me with fear and distrust. I have been unfriended en masse on social media and excoriated by friends who deign to remain. And I have been singly excluded from social gatherings when the rest of my family was invited.

No, I am not a sex offender. I am something even worse than that. I am a Donald Trump supporter.

I was raised in a liberal Jewish family in Washington DC, where my dad served as a Democratic congressman for Los Angeles. Accordingly, I was indoctrinated with all of the correct values and views.

When I was seven, my dad took me on a celebrity-packed camping trip to Death Valley as part of a campaign to protect California’s deserts. Israel took center stage in family discussions. I attended a Quaker elementary school, where I learned the black national anthem before I knew the “Star Spangled Banner.” In high school art class, I even chose to focus on man’s destruction of the environment. I came out to my family as gay at the ripe age of 20, and they were duly overjoyed.

It was always a given that Republicans are bad people, representative of that shameful sliver of our flawed society that values money above the planet and think the world would be better off if everyone were a straight, white male. At a minimum they are racist, misogynistic and homophobic. Left to their own devices, they would exclude ethnic minorities from everything, kick sinful gay offspring onto the streets, and pave our parks over with oil derricks.

Of course, there are the less malicious Republicans, the ones who have fallen victim to their gun-toting, Bible-thumping families and sadly do not know any better than what they have been told. This type is not entirely to blame for their ignorance; they just deserve our pity. These truths are held by my family and our extended social and political networks to be self-evident.

These Ideas Didn’t Work Out Long-Term

When, in my adulthood, the liberal policy agenda became problematic for me, I found myself at a loss. I began to raise questions with my family and friends, and met resistance. It was not because my concerns were particularly inappropriate; I was just not supposed to be questioning at all.

One could disagree with nuances, but not the judgment of the (then) president, or the party. Period. The irony of this apparent intolerance for diversity of thought by the party claiming to champion the rights of groups underserved by the status quo was not lost on me.

For the first time in my progressive life, standing up for the values that I most strongly espouse—truth, morality, self-reliance, boundaries, tolerance, and a healthy dose of Jewish skepticism—was damaging my reputation and character. When I publicly opposed my dad’s support of the Iran deal, I was admonished. I had few friends with whom I could have a civil political conversation: one stopped all communication with me for two weeks because Trump won the presidency.

If Republicans are bad, Trump is nothing less than Satan embodied. Post-election family gatherings devolved into group Trump-bashing, which intensified as more rumors of my dubious views wafted across town. I did not even bother going to gay pride because it was fused with a Resist march. If you do not want to impeach our president, you have no place in gay life.

I was labeled a white supremacist by a friend I’ve known my entire life, and completely dropped with no explanation by another dear friend and self-anointed giant of the gay civil rights movement to whom my father had introduced me 15 years ago.

Your Platitudes Don’t Work Out In Real Life

Yes, I was in despair, but I was also outraged at not being understood for views that felt so plainly obvious to me logically and experientially. These were not pie-in-the-sky views I was advocating in order to provoke. The Affordable Care Act has made medical treatment of my bipolar disorder more expensive than ever. Under the nuclear agreement, Iran flagrantly continues to enrich uranium and fund terrorist activities.

As a small business owner, I am regularly assaulted with financially crushing, nonsensical red tape and bureaucracy, much implemented as lip service to environmental protection. With few exceptions, every one of my good friends feels more economically hopeless after the “recovery” than before, and abject homelessness on the streets of my beloved city has swelled to egregious levels.

In desperation, like a closeted teenager sneaking into a porn theater, I surreptitiously began to explore the forbidden territories of Fox News and other conservative outlets. Incredibly, I found myself agreeing more often than not.

Fine, I thought, but that is where I had to draw the line. A couple of conservative encounters does not a conservative make, right? Until more liberals began to recognize the disingenuousness and destructiveness of my party’s stances, I just resolved to stick it out. I did everything in my power to avoid that one last unspeakable, fatal option: turning Republican.

Harvey Weinstein Was the Last Straw

Then Harvey Weinstein provided me the impetus I lacked: the media outlets that had enabled and covered up his indiscretions for years were the same major public voices for the Democratic Party, the self-proclaimed party of worker’s and women’s rights. The game was up; two and two could no longer be five. I reached my threshold where no amount of hypothetical Republican bigotry or greed could approach the magnitude of hypocrisy, corruption, or criminality I saw rotting the Democrats to the core. I jumped ship.

I found out almost immediately that the Republican Party is not only not evil, but populated with nice, intelligent, humble people. Days after I added myself to the Log Cabin Republican mailing list, I saw an invite to attend a gathering with Chadwick Moore, an independent journalist and one of two lapsed gay Democrats I had heard of.

When Chadwick spoke, I was stunned: every sentence, every nuance and anecdote of his beautifully articulate, moving talk resonated almost identically with my own experience. From Chadwick and the dozens of other Log Cabin attendees that night, I learned I am not the only gay person to question Democrats or to be ostracized for doing so—by a longshot. The political climate has made it prohibitive for most of us to have a voice and find each other.

Seeing virtue (or perhaps just a lack of evil) in my compatriots finally allowed me to see it in myself. I am now certain that I can be a gay, Jewish Republican and still be a good person and a useful citizen.


'Sex is a blood sport both sides can get hurt': Pioneering feminist GERMAINE GREER has kept silent on the Hollywood sex scandal — until now

A rather senile ramble below but she doesn't seem much bothered about the present situation

What does 'Me too' mean after all? Apparently it means 'I too have been propositioned' or 'Advances have been made to me, too'.

The understanding is that the female speaker preserved her virtue in spite of all the odds and the male predator was sent away with his tail between his legs.

My father's generation called the men in such cases 'wolves'; others called them 'mashers'. Played in the movies by Leslie Phillips or Terry-Thomas or Sid James, they were figures of fun, leering, slavering fools who never ever succeeded in their attempts to corrupt women who were younger, smarter and sexier than they.

The behaviour of such lecherous characters has always been pathetic and/or ludicrous, as much of Harvey Weinstein's seems to be. Anybody who exposes his or her genitalia, the flasher on the escalator, say, may imagine that he or she is displaying sexual power, but the fact is the opposite. Weinstein is not a Don Juan but a sexual incompetent, and, but for his power in la-la land, profoundly resistible.

Accusations of rape are a different matter, of course, but the difficulty is that the issue is one of consent. The case used to be that if a man sincerely believed sex to be consensual he could not be found guilty of rape, but with convictions difficult to come by, this criterion has been loosening.

In my view (not commonly held) the law of rape is medieval and profoundly misogynistic. It is due for a radical overhaul, but in the cacophony of prosecutions and lawsuits that is coming our way, it is unlikely to get it.

What we can expect now is that the people accused of sexual misconduct — so far all of them men — will use every resource available to them to fight the accusations. The principal, and in many cases the only, testimony against them is the narratives of the victims.

All the accused will be expertly defended; while the complainants may believe that they are parties to the litigation they are actually — unless what has been brought is a civil suit — simply exhibits in the case. The duty of the defending team will be to discredit them. Eight women have already accepted payments from Weinstein for their silence; they may well find breaking that silence will have devalued their evidence.

It is worth bearing in mind that though almost 60 women came forward with allegations against Bill Cosby, allegations that included rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery and child sexual abuse, the one criminal case finally brought against him has resulted in a mistrial.

In the military, and other organisations founded on similar principles, there has always been a rule that fraternisation between the ranks is not on. A person, male or female, with power over subordinates cannot be permitted to make a pass at any of them because he or she could be using a position of power to secure sexual favours by threat or coercion.

Teachers may not seduce their students while they are students, though quite a few will marry a student after graduation. If a teaching assistant only a year or two ahead of you puts a hand on your knee during a tutorial, you'd be a fool to spend the weekend weeping. One word of complaint could lose him or her the job, in which case weeping would be appropriate, for him or her, not for you.

Sex has always been a bloodsport and players on both sides can get hurt. The aggressor takes a risk and the victim, especially if he or she is the only other person in the aggressor's hotel room, runs a risk.

In the Thirties, during the Depression, one of the few ways young women could earn a living was by carrying out secretarial duties for travelling businessmen — in their hotel rooms. In 1932, when Joan Crawford played Flaemmchen in Grand Hotel, the 'little stenographess' herself was on the make, with a collection of glamour photos she could show to a likely contender.

She was also sharp, tough and aware that she couldn't give away what had to serve as her meal-ticket. Not nice, not Doris Day certainly, but more dignified than all this weeping and wailing about unwelcome advances.

Meryl Streep, doyenne of women in film, accepting Best Actress at the National Board of Review awards gala, confused her audience by singing the praises of men: 'I love men', she carolled. 'Oh my God! Yeah, I know it's the year of the woman and everything, but oh my God! The men! All my mentors have been men.'

Which is not surprising seeing as nearly all the people in a position to mentor her were men.

'I have experienced things, mostly when I was young and pretty. Nobody comes on to me [now],' she told The New York Times. 'But back in the day, when everybody was doing cocaine, there was a lot of behaviour that was inexcusable. But now that people are older, and more sober, there has to be forgiveness, and that's the way I feel about it. I was really beaten up, but I don't want to ruin somebody's mature life. I just don't.'

This extraordinary statement doesn't bear thinking about. The cocaine was illegal, but the sex wasn't. What 'beaten up' means in the context is unimaginable.

Perhaps Streep will be subpoenaed one day and made to explain herself, but I wouldn't hold my breath. No one has accused Weinstein of doing cocaine and as Streep has said he was 'a champion of really great work'.

The original Me Too movement was set up nearly ten years ago by black activist Tarana Burke to address the problem of sexual abuse among black female blue collar workers. As such, it was massively ignored by white feminist activists until, in October last year, actress Alyssa Milano sent out a tweet inviting women protesting against sexual harassment to post #metoo as a status update.

When Time Magazine put Me Too on the cover as person of the year, Tarana Burke was not included on that cover.

Bestselling author Shirley Conran, 85, advised working women in her book Superwoman, that 'life is too short to stuff a mushroom'. Divorced from Sir Terence Conran, she has two sons, Jasper and Sebastian.

During the Sixties, sexual harassment, and indeed sexual molestation, were everyday risks. Yes, people got fired — but it was the women, not the men.

What I remember about the men back then is that they were always vicious in their punishment if they were turned down. And they had long memories. They would see that you didn't get promoted, or were even demoted. A man in a rank above you found it easy to punish you for not giving in to him. And if you complained? No one ever took you seriously and nothing at all would happen except you may find yourself suddenly given a worse job to do.

In the late Sixties and early Seventies, I led a group of women journalists in protests, sit-ins and demos for gender equality. We were fighting for equal pay and equal opportunities, and there was even a torch-lit march on Downing Street. Yet I haven't felt the need to add my voice to the MeToo movement today. I don't think the women behind it especially need my generation's help — they're getting on just fine by themselves.

As for the French women who wrote that long-winded whine of a letter, well, they're in a very lucky position: they are powerful and are perfectly able to make it clear to a man that they don't want his attention. But that's not the case for all women. It's easier to see off unwanted advances when you're rich and famous.

Having said that, I'd be astonished if Catherine Deneuve hadn't been sexually harassed or molested in all her years in the film industry — if she hadn't had her knees touched, if we could put it as daintily as that. Every single woman I know has, at some point in her life, been sexually harassed. I suffered severely from it.

Is touching a woman on the knee a crime? I think touching anywhere needs to be forbidden as then it's clear: a person must not touch someone else's breasts, bum, big toe . . . anything.

If a man wants to make a sexual advance to a woman, he has eyes to signal and a mouth to tell her she's beautiful or ask whether she would like a drink, to which she can respond as she pleases. He doesn't need to touch to make his meaning clear. Touching may give an unattractive man a sexual frisson but annoy a woman who feels that if she objects, the man will say: 'Oh, it was accidental'.

Fundamentally we should all have our own space and no one should invade it. And if a man engages in frottage on the Tube, then of course that's wrong and women should jab back with their elbows, or better still, an umbrella. It's actually very simple. If you try to touch a goldfish in a bowl, it will dart away to the other side. In my view, we should all be untouchable in our own space, just like the goldfish.

In any case, feminists have other battles on their hands right now. I think we should set our sights very firmly on the BBC and on big private corporations, where women are still not being paid as much as men for doing the same work.

It's illegal, and I don't know why people aren't in prison for it. I find it hard to believe — and extremely depressing — that almost 50 years after our marches and protests, almost 50 years after the Equal Pay Act, our public broadcaster still doesn't have parity of pay.


Illegal Immigration And Crime

The stunning numbers the Left cannot refute.

On December 21, 2017 the Department of Justice issued a press release, "Departments of Justice and Homeland Security Release Data on Incarcerated Aliens-94 Percent of All Confirmed Aliens in DOJ Custody Are Unlawfully Present."   The initial statistic cited in the title of that DOJ press release shows that there is a truly significant distinction to be drawn between aliens who are lawfully present in the United States and aliens who are illegally present in the United States, either because they have entered the United States illegally or they have violated the terms of admission after entering the United States via the inspections procedure at ports of entry.   The press release begins with the following statement: 

President Trump's Executive Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collect relevant data and provide quarterly reports on data collection efforts. On Dec. 18, 2017, DOJ and DHS released the FY 2017 4th Quarter Alien Incarceration Report, complying with this order.  The report found that more than one-in-five of all persons in Bureau of Prisons custody were foreign born, and that 94 percent of confirmed aliens in custody were unlawfully present.

Although immigration anarchists have consistently manipulated language, engaged in tactics of bullying and intimidation and, when all else failed, flat-out lied about every aspect of immigration, the Trump administration is providing the truth.

 The DOJ press release, upon which my commentary today is based, lays out the cold, hard and unequivocal facts. It is significant to note that the title of the press release included the phrase, "confirmed aliens in DOJ custody" because all too frequently aliens who face deportation make false claims to United States citizenship to avoid being deported.  Therefore there may even be more deportable aliens in federal custody, while the actual number of such aliens in local and state custody are unknown and unknowable particularly in Sanctuary Cities and Sanctuary States.   Here is an excerpt from the press release that provides some quick statistics and a paragraph that addresses the lack of information about aliens in city and state facilities. 

A total of 58,766 known or suspected aliens were in DOJ custody at the end of FY 2017, including 39,455 persons in BOP custody and 19,311 in USMS custody. Of this total, 37,557 people had been confirmed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be aliens (i.e., non-citizens and non-nationals), while 21,209 foreign-born people were still under investigation by ICE to determine alienage and/or removability.   Among the 37,557 confirmed aliens, 35,334 people (94 percent) were unlawfully present. These numbers include a 92 percent unlawful rate among 24,476 confirmed aliens in BOP custody and a 97 percent unlawful rate among 13,081 confirmed aliens in USMS custody   This report does not include data on the foreign-born or alien populations in state prisons and local jails because state and local facilities do not routinely provide DHS or DOJ with comprehensive information about their inmates and detainees-which account for approximately 90 percent of the total U.S. incarcerated population.

For decades, the truth has been carefully kept from Americans by globalist politicians from both political parties.  They have been far more concerned about doing the bidding of the globalist special interest groups that fund their campaigns, than they have been about the threats that open borders and immigration anarchy pose to public safety and national security.   On April 19, 2016, towards the end of the Obama administration, the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security conducted a hearing on the topic, "The Real Victims of a Reckless and Lawless Immigration Policy: Families and Survivors Speak Out on the Real Cost of This Administration's Policies."

I wrote about that hearing in an article which also included links to statements made by Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Chairman of the subcommittee, who opened the hearing with his statement that set the tone for what would follow. used one of Rep. Gowdy's statements as the title for their article, "Trey Gowdy: More Illegal Immigrants Convicted of Crimes At Large in the U.S. Than The Population of Pittsburgh."

At that same hearing Congressman Lamar Smith noted that although it has been estimated that illegal aliens account for about 3% of the U.S. population, they account for 30% of all murders -- making illegal aliens 10 times more likely to commit murder than anyone else. Adding that huge number of at-large criminal aliens to the huge number of criminal aliens who are incarcerated in prisons provides a measure of the true scope of the immigration crisis that can only be solved by ramping up efforts and resources to secure our nation's borders and enforce our nation's immigration laws from within the interior of the United States.   The blunt honesty of Chairman Gowdy and Representative Smith contrasts directly with the propaganda spewed by globalists such as Jimmy Carter, the originator of the Orwellian  term "undocumented immigrant."

Beginning with Carter's administration, the globalist immigration anarchists have embarked on a campaign of deceit.  Their goal was to erase America's borders and flood America with a virtually unlimited supply of cheap and exploitable workers, an unlimited supply of foreign tourists and foreign students and ultimately new voters who would be indebted to the politicians who made their presence in the United States possible.   To further obfuscate the truth, Carter demanded that all INS employees substitute the term "immigrant" for the term "alien" even though the term alien is an integral part of the immigration laws of the United States and is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act simply as "Any person, not a citizen or national of the United States.  Under his campaign of deceit, illegal aliens were be referred to as  "undocumented immigrants" as though all that these illegal aliens lacked was a piece of paper. The truth is that aliens who run our borders are not undocumented, they are un-inspected. 

Here is a bit of clarity: the difference between an illegal alien and an immigrant is compared to the difference between a burglar and a houseguest.   Today so-called sanctuary cities betray America, Americans and immigrants and pose a clear and immediate danger to public safety and national security as their leaders resort to similar Orwellian propaganda to justify their dangerous illegal policies. Those cities should be referred to as "magnet cities" because they attract transnational criminals, fugitives and terrorists and flood the labor market with illegal aliens who displace American and lawful immigrant workers and undermine wages and working conditions.

This past year Congress conducted hearings about America's gang crisis, particularly MS-13, once again disclosing the deadly impact of failures of immigration law enforcement.

Today immigration anarchists continue to tell lies. They say that if local police were to work in coordination with immigration law enforcement authorities that illegal alien victims of crime would be fearful of coming forward to report crimes committed against them.   

In reality, visas are available for illegal alien crime victims that would enable them to remain in the U.S. if they cooperate with police in identifying the criminals.  Other visas are also available for illegal aliens who, although not the victims of crimes, nevertheless provide actionable intelligence to law enforcement to combat criminals and terrorists and the organizations to which they may belong.

Throughout my career with the INS one of my key areas of responsibility was to use my authority as an INS agent to cultivate informants and cooperating witnesses within ethnic immigrant communities to assist in criminal investigations on the local, state and federal levels.   This was particularly true when I was assigned as the first INS representative to the Unified Intelligence Division of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and subsequently promoted and assigned, as a Senior Special Agent, to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Indeed, this was one of the critical elements of my annual evaluation.   If advocates for Sanctuary Cities were truly concerned about "immigrants" why in the world aren't they providing information about the visas that are available to illegal aliens who cooperate with law enforcement authorities?  The answer is self-evident- they don't care about the immigrants, only about promoting their false narrative.

Another deceitful claim is that through implementation of "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" our authorities would be able to get all of the illegal aliens "out of the shadows" so we would finally know who is here.

In reality, terrorists might avail themselves of the opportunity to acquire new identities if their biometrics were not on file while those alien criminals fugitives and terrorist aliens who know that their biometrics are likely on file, would simply remain in the shadows. 

CBP (Customs and Border Protection) has more than 60,000 employees, including inspectors at ports of entry and Border Patrol agents.  If, as immigration anarchists claim, it does not matter how aliens enter the United States, why do we need to continue to fund CBP?   The answer, of course, is self-evident. 

President Trump understands the truth and is acting appropriately.  All rational Americans should be appreciative and supportive of his efforts to protect America and Americans. 


‘Creeping Stalinism’: secrecy law could imprison Australian whistleblowers and journalists

The article below is lengthy but is from the Leftist "Guardian" so, as usual tells only half the story. The laws discussed are regrettable but the whole reason for a crackdown is that Leftist public servants ignore their duty to be politicaly impartial and so will do anything to embarrass a conservative government.  They are an Australian version of the anti-democratic "deep state" that is doing its best to hobble America's duly elected President Trump

Government whistleblowers and journalists who report on leaked information could face 20 years’ imprisonment if changes to Australia’s official secrecy laws pass parliament.

The overhauled offence provisions, introduced to the House of Representatives in December just hours after marriage equality became law, form part of the Coalition government’s broader crackdown on treason, espionage and foreign interference. If passed, the reform will increase tenfold the maximum penalties for anyone communicating information potentially harmful to the national interest, where that information is obtained via a government official without authorisation.

“This is ‘creeping Stalinism,’” said Ethicos Group specialist Howard Whitton, who has advised governments and the United Nations ethics office on whistleblower policy. “The absolute protection of principled disclosure of wrongdoing – unfettered by government – must be preserved, or Australia will become a laughing stock internationally.”

Australia’s existing official secrecy laws date back to 1914, when sections 70 and 79 of the federal Crimes Act were hurriedly introduced following the outbreak of the first world war. Describing prior prohibitions as “shamefully lax”, the attorney general (and future prime minister) Billy Hughes imposed a penalty of two years’ imprisonment on public servants who disclosed any government information without authorisation. No defences were made available.

Despite the draconian nature of such wartime provisions, that legislation has remained law in Australia over the following century with only minimal amendment. In 2008, the Rudd government asked the Australian Law Reform Commission to hold an inquiry, which resulted in modest reform proposals in its report Secrecy Laws and Open Government in Australia.

“Reform of Australia’s secrecy laws is long overdue,” said Hugh de Kretser, executive director of the Human Rights Law Centre. “After a careful and comprehensive review, the ALRC concluded that our secrecy laws were excessive and needed to be better targeted to protect legitimate government interests. Instead of acting on the ALRC’s recommendations, the Abbott government intensified our secrecy laws with the introduction of the Australian Border Force secrecy provisions and expansive Asio secrecy laws.”

The reality is public interest defences to alleged criminal acts are few and far between

That trend looks set to continue. The proposed legislation criminalises communicating or otherwise dealing with information where that information was obtained by a public servant and is “inherently harmful” or likely to harm “Australia’s interests”. The former is defined as including any information produced by a security agency, while the latter includes prejudicing Australia’s international relations “in any way” or damaging relations between the federal government and a state.

“These broad definitions, coupled with penalties of up to 20 years in prison, raise serious risks of stifling the free flow of information and leaving Australian people ignorant of important matters in the public interest,” de Kretser said. “Open government is a foundational principle of democracy. Australians have a right to know what their government does in their name. Of course, some information must remain secret to protect our security and national interests. But these proposed laws have not got the balance right.”

The new provisions are primarily directed at commonwealth officers, defined to include current and former public servants, contractors, defence force personnel and employees of businesses who provide services to the federal government. But the expansive wording of the offences means any person who comes into contact with information obtained by a commonwealth officer could fall within the legislation’s scope.

The prescribed penalty ranges from five to 15 years’ imprisonment for standard offences, stretching to 20 years for aggravated offences. Aggravating circumstances include where the relevant information was classified secret or above, the person committing the offence held a government security clearance, or the offence involved five or more records each with a security classification.

These aggravation provisions appear intentionally designed to target Edward Snowden-type leakers. The bill’s explanatory memorandum even provides an example strikingly similar to the Snowden case, a contractor who leaked extensive American intelligence information to the Guardian and other publications. “Person A is employed as an IT systems administrator at a commonwealth government intelligence agency,” the explanatory memorandum hypothesised. “Throughout his employment Person A copied 1,000 electronic files from the agency’s internal holdings to a personal hard drive … Person A publishes all 1,000 documents on the internet.”

This impetus for the new offences mirrors that of stalled attempts to reform official secrecy laws in the UK, which were described last year by Open Rights Group chief executive Jim Killock as “a full-front attack … squarely aimed at the Guardian and Edward Snowden.”

“The suggested changes take the wrong lessons from the Snowden and other revelations, and ignore the reality of the connected, global information environment in which we now live,” said Gill Phillips, director of editorial legal services at Guardian News and Media. “If public interest journalism is made harder or even criminalised, there is a real risk that whistleblowers will bypass responsible journalists altogether, and simply anonymously self-publish data leaks online, without any accountability.”

While journalists are partially protected by a defence established in the new laws, this safeguard has been derided as insufficient. Journalists prosecuted under the offence would be required to satisfy a court that their reporting met vaguely defined criteria, said the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) chief executive Paul Murphy.

“The explanatory memorandum states that journalist protections are lost if they are not engaged in what is deemed to be ‘fair and accurate reporting’ and in circumstances where it is alleged their reporting is ‘distorted,’” he said. “The protection is entirely unavailable if the subject matter is said to not be in the public interest. This is a very broad term.

“A further issue is the definition of ‘journalist’ used in the bill. The MEAA acknowledges that this definition covers journalists not regularly employed in a professional capacity and may include a person who self-publishes news or news analysis, but anchoring the definition of journalists to the dictionary meaning could well prove a mistake down the track and lead to legitimate coverage being excluded from the bill’s modest protections.”

The proposed legislation additionally provides that the public interest test will not be met where the information concerns the identify of intelligence officers, or if the journalist’s conduct could endanger public health or safety. The draft statute is also ambiguous about the legal test to be applied: whether the reporting must objectively be in the public interest or whether it is sufficient for the journalist to reasonably believe it to be so.

“It is always hard to know how this type of defence will work until you see how a judge interprets it,” said Phillips. “On the face of it, it is a good thing that thought is being given to the inclusion of a public interest defence, especially as there is not one presently available. However, the reality is that public interest defences to alleged criminal acts are few and far between. What we do know from our experience in other areas of the law is that it can be hard for journalists where the evidential burden, as I understand is being proposed here, rests on them.”

Public servant whistleblowers will not enjoy the benefit of a public interest defence. While the offences are not applicable where the information is disclosed through appropriate channels via the Public Interest Disclosure Act, the federal whistleblower protection scheme, that law has often been criticised as ineffective and is awaiting reform.

The approach taken in the proposed reform, according to Murphy, “ignores the inherent weaknesses of these laws to protect complainants and preserve their rights. These changes represent a substantial threat to whistleblowers and journalists who seek to publish critical public information. Whistleblowers in Australia get punished; it is as simple as that. Laws like these create further disincentives for people who witness wrongdoing and corruption to air their concerns.”

“This is a corruption issue, not a free speech issue,” added Whitton. “Australia is at serious risk of state capture if whistleblowers are not protected.”

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s second reading speech to the House of Representatives gave little attention to this element of the amendment bill, with the term “secrecy” appearing just once.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Department said: “The government is committed to striking the right balance between openness and transparency in government and the legitimate need to protect some commonwealth information.

“Protecting Australia from espionage and foreign interference relies heavily on having strong protections for our information, especially where disclosure causes harm to an essential public interest. The unauthorised disclosure or use of certain information can prejudice national security and defence, or our relationships with other countries, and as such criminal offences are necessary to deter such disclosures and punish them if they do occur.”

The Commonwealth Ombudsman’s office said: “Given that unauthorised disclosures do not receive protection for disclosers, the ombudsman encourages public officials to make their disclosures in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act.”



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


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Authoritarian Britain

Research by Oxford University academics suggests Britain needs to cut back on its drinking as well as fast food

The traditional January detox when Britons stop drinking and start dieting could last all year under new government health guidelines.

Public Health England (PHE) has told fast-food chains and supermarket ready-meal makers to “calorie cap” their foods, cutting down lunches and dinners to 600 calories and breakfast to 400.

The plan, to put the whole of the UK on a diet, is due out in March.

To add to the agony, it coincides with research showing that the UK’s alcohol rules are too lax, with even drinking one pint or glass of wine a day poisoning the brain and raising the risk of dementia.

Alison Tedstone, PHE’s chief nutritionist, told food bosses that 27% of UK adults are obese, 36% more were overweight


What a lot of excreta! 1600 calories is a weight-loss diet so this is all hot air. There is unlikely to be any serious enforcement of this or the government will be out on its ear -- JR

The myth of toxic masculinity

Stop pathologising men – they’re doing just fine

In these strange political times, it’s very fashionable to trash men. ‘Toxic masculinity’ has become the prefabricated phrase of choice bolted on to every problem involving men. Such lazy use of language would have George Orwell turning in his grave.

The toxic masculinity argument demands that men need to be fixed, re-educated and reprogrammed. This baseless assumption, founded on nonsense psychologism, is deeply insulting. What would happen if another identity group were told that they were flawed and lacking, and must be re-educated? We’re in danger of returning to the days when pathologising certain groups was regarded as normal – when homosexuality was treated and accepted as a mental illness, of women were labelled hysterics.

The discussion of toxic masculinity doesn’t really have much interest in helping men, either. It was interesting that last year’s International Men’s Day came and went without much fuss, considering it was sandwiched by two male suicides. The first was Carl Sargeant, a Labour Party MP who killed himself after being accused of non-criminal sexual harassment (Sargeant died not knowing his accuser or the allegations against him). The second suicide was a paid Labour Party employee. No doubt the relative silence about these two suicides is an attempt to downplay the Kafkaesque witch-hunt of men following the #MeToo campaign. Many mental-health charities concerned with male suicide also failed to mention these tragic events.

This narrative of toxic or flawed men does not represent what I encounter in the context of the psychoanalytic clinic. Prefabricated phrases like ‘men are emotionally illiterate’, ‘men cannot cry’ and ‘men have to own their vulnerability’ are not something I recognise in my psychoanalytic work. Many women can find great difficulty in opening up, as can men. More importantly, many find that being stoic in confrontation with mental distress can be vital for coping with the vicissitudes of life.

Peoples’ struggles and subjectivities are ultimately heterogeneous – so very heterogeneous that one cannot predict how a man or a woman coming to psychoanalysis will be, and how they will react to ‘opening up’. It takes time and patience to get to know somebody and understand the (very singular) symptoms they struggle with. The kneejerk application and totalisation of a person with a homogenous theory like toxic masculinity removes the possibility of a unique and individual process of subjectification.

This simplification and stereotyping is a key factor of identity politics, especially within the more authoritarian left, which has a propensity to diagnose how other groups act as oppressors. (The classic example being that white males are supposedly racist and exude damaging toxic masculinity.) This becomes problematic when people who are supposedly being protected from such oppression don’t agree with the ideology. For example, not all women, trans or gay people want to be dictated to or spoken for. This reluctance to accept the popular idea of toxic masculinity is often met with accusations of being in denial or suffering from internalised misogyny. Rather than celebrating difference, the psychologism of toxic masculinity alienates the individual from their own subjectivity, negating his or her own ability to write their own narrative.

As Michel Foucault and Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi outlined, in highly controlling societies the perfect prison is one in which individuals police themselves. Toxic masculinity, and the reification of masculinity, has created a panoptic psychological regime to guard against what is considered to be Orwellian wrongthink. The norm is supporting Safe Spaces, PC culture and identity politics, and any criticism is immediately condemned as being caused by toxic masculinity. The psychoanalyst Roland Gori argues that people crave this ‘security’ of the norm, as it relieves them from the dizzying ‘groundlessness’ of heterogeneousness which resides outside the norm. In order to maintain our freedom and liberty, we have to reject the idea that security is found in conformity.

Let’s be honest. Pretty much the only identity group that it is considered acceptable to pathologise is men. Like the witch-hunts of old, men must admit to the sin of toxic masculinity, and be purged, or else face persecution. It is time to call out the narrative of toxic masculinity for what it really is – a toxic idea.


The British army’s latest ads spell the end of the warrior ethos

The British Army’s new advertising campaign unwittingly highlights the crisis of this institution. Its ads seem keen to present the army as a Safe Space, where people’s feelings and identities will always be affirmed and they will not be subjected to the kind of pressures normally associated with a military outfit. The message seems to be: ‘We’re no longer really an army, so sign up and have a nice, easy life.’

In line with today’s celebration of emotionalism, the recruitment campaign tells would-be soldiers it’s ‘okay to cry’; it’s cool to emote in public. Unlike older recruitment campaigns, this one downplays the physical and mental attributes that are usually associated with soldiering. Instead of emphasising excitement and adventure, it focuses on psychological validation and empathy. It all suggests that the army thinks emotional vulnerability will be the default characteristic of new recruits. So one of the feelgood ads shows a tearful soldier in a jungle opening a letter from a loved one; his mate affirms his emotions and offers him a cup of tea.

The flipside of this focus on the emotional is a self-conscious downplaying of the importance of physical fitness in those who join the army. One advert asks the question, ‘Do I have to be a superhero?’, and then implicitly answers with a firm ‘No’. It features a lad who confesses that he is physically unfit but who later manages to gain some strength, with the help of his mates. The campaign’s subliminal message – that it is okay to be soft – makes it look like an appeal to join the Brownies or the Cubs.

As it happens, no army ever expected new recruits to be ‘superheroes’. So why this keenness to reassure would-be soldiers that it’s fine for them to be regular lads and lasses? Because this is about distancing the army from its traditional association with the values of heroism, courage and valour. The emphasis of this strange public-relations exercise is on the ordinary and banal, not the extraordinary or brave.

The army has justified its campaign as a necessary response to its current recruitment crisis. It says its traditional recruitment pool of white men has diminished over the past 10 to 15 years, so it needs to reach out to wider sections of society. The army is portrayed as an all-inclusive institution where people can openly discuss their sexuality and practice their religion. One ad, titled ‘Keeping my Faith’, shows a Muslim soldier kneeling in prayer while his comrades turn down a crackling radio so that he can carry out his religious duties undisturbed.

Some have criticised the campaign for its one-dimensional focus on reassuring Muslim, gay or physically unfit recruits, claiming this panders to the fashionable ethos of diversity. But this overlooks the real issue at stake. The army should be open to people from all kinds of backgrounds. The real problem with this campaign is that it presents military life as a Safe Space where everyone can feel comfortable. And in doing so, it unwittingly lowers expectations of what it means to be a professional soldier. Instead of appealing to young people’s quest for adventure and their sense of idealism, courage and duty, the army is trying to replenish its numbers by appealing to those who might be put off by such a hardcore militaristic outlook or image.

The recruitment drive, which its creators refer to as the ‘Belonging Campaign’, makes no attempt to explain the actual purpose of an army. It avoids spelling out just what kind of people might be suitable for a life of professional soldiering. Anyone watching these ads could be forgiven for not knowing that being a soldier involves fighting against, and sometimes killing, the enemies of one’s country.

In one sense, the Belonging Campaign represents an important departure from previous public-relations initiatives by the army. Its implicit promotion of the Safe Space ethos and mawkish celebration of emotional vulnerability suggests the army has more or less given up on the values associated with the warrior ethos – at least publicly. But in another sense, the campaign can be seen as only the latest version of an effort to sell military life as little more than a sensible career choice for people looking to improve their skills and prospects. Over the past decade, recruitment material for the army has boasted that army life can equip people with skills and qualifications that can be easily transferred into civilian life. Such material always focuses on what recruits will get out of the army rather than on what is expected of the soldier him or herself.

For some time now, the army has tried to gain recruits by presenting itself as just another skills-and-training institution. It has downplayed military values and objectives. But now it has gone a step further. Now it explicitly distances itself from the values of a fighting force. It seems the only thing that distinguishes it from normal civilian institutions is that it expects its employees to wear a uniform and maintain a modicum of discipline.

This trend for turning the army into a borderline civilian institution speaks to a serious identity crisis. There is now very little cultural validation for the risky and sometimes dangerous actions soldiers often have to take. In recent decades the military has bought into the culture of risk-aversion that afflicts society more broadly. The ethos of safety has been institutionalised within the military. Army commanders have to draw up risk assessments for every aspect of soldiers’ training. Some have stopped testing soldiers to their limits lest they inadvertently contravene health-and-safety rules. General Sir Michael Rose, former head of the SAS, has spoken out about the destructive impact of risk-aversion on the morale of the military. He has denounced the ‘moral cowardice’ that has brought about what he calls a ‘most catastrophic collapse’ in the military ethos.

What the Belonging Campaign has failed to grasp is that people do not simply want to belong – they want to be part of something that is meaningful. People will join the army if they feel this institution has some purpose, and if its values inspire and move them. People are prepared to expose themselves to the risk of battle if they feel that something important is at stake, and that their contribution will actually mean something. Unless the army can provide recruits with values that inspire them, and a way of life that has real meaning, then the recruitment crisis will drag on.

The Belonging Campaign is looking in the wrong places with these ads. Young people who want to settle into a Safe Space and never be challenged or confronted are unlikely to join an institution known for placing people in combat zones. The only beneficiary of the Belonging Campaign is the public-relations outfit that was commissioned to produce it.


No government need take notice of Guardian readers and Twitter-provoked petitions

Online petitions don't represent the majority of the population

Rod Liddle

I once asked Michael Gove, when he had just been appointed Education Secretary, if he would mind awfully appointing me as chairman of Ofsted: I had one or two vigorous ideas, such as reversing the grades awarded to schools for ‘cultural diversity’ so that they more closely represented what the overwhelming majority of parents actually think. Michael smiled politely and walked away, which I took as a definite indication of assent. Frankly, I will never forgive the treachery. Gove handed out the job to someone who went native almost immediately, became subsumed by the Blob. Serves him right. I assume Gove, in a cowardly manner, was worried by the possible howl-round of appointing a chap who had once asked readers if they had ever, after a few pints, considered giving one to Harriet Harman. I had been trying to be nice, but there we are.

Michael was clearly terrified of the Twit-ter-storm, the maniacs on social media sites, the relentless fury of a couple of hundred thousand people, almost all of whom we pay for out of our taxes to carry out their fatuous jobs, if they have any, and who care for freedom of speech and freedom of conscience with the same fervour with which a Tower Hamlets imam cares about the rights of his local LGBTQI folk.

Toby Young got a little further than I did, as part of The Spectator’s drive to capture all the major offices of government — Taki in charge of immigration, Charles Moore personally strangling foxes at the Min of Ag and Jeremy Clarke running the MoD — but tendered his resignation when it became evident that it would be shortly tendered for him. The mob works. The mob thinks it is an expression of democracy — and in a sense it is, so long as nobody of importance pays any heed to its eternal, moronic fugue and its bedwetting tantrums.

The problem is that people who should know better, i.e., the government, do take it seriously. Perhaps it is because they are right-wingers: they see that 200,000 people have signed a petition against something and assume that they are just normal people, a bit like them. But they are not. They are the same 200,000 liberal-left wank-puffins who sign every fatuous petition got up by or 38 Degrees: they are magnificently arrogant in their presumption that because 0.3 per cent of the population have summoned up the ability to click a button, they must have their way.

The first thing, then, is for the government to reappraise the numbers issue. Maybe start taking a mild interest in petitions when they reach about the four million mark — about 6 per cent of the population, instead of promising House of Commons debates as soon as they reach the pitiful figure of 100,000, as is the case now. So, four million, minimum, otherwise ignore them totally. The government is out of date on the numbers, on what constitutes a genuine public feeling.

With Toby Young there was no popular feeling at all — it was just them again. The usual suspects. Take no notice of them, they count for nothing. Because otherwise nobody who is right of centre will ever be able to be appointed to anything. Every time they do, the puffins will begin their work. The fundamentalist wankpuffins will tap ‘Toby Young Twitter tits’ or ‘Rod Liddle Facebook give Harriet one’ into Google and rip everything out of context, stripped of nuance and regardless of whether it was uttered 25 years ago — and then the foot-soldier wankpuffins will swallow it whole and tap their little buttons on their laptops for That’s how it works — a few judicious Googles and almost every-one in the country can be found bang to rights, can be shrieked at and told to resign.

The political right, in general, does not behave like this. It does not become beside itself with fury when someone who has views counter to their own is appointed to a post, which is all that happened in the case of Young. For the left, it is all that matters: if he disagrees with me, he must be vile and thus unsuitable.

Toby Young was appointed to a minor role on an obscure education quango because of his exceptional work with free schools. In the education sector there are almost no right-wingers appointed to anything. No visiting professors, or honorary professors. By contrast, the genuinely idiotic journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has been a visiting professor at three universities, despite having said that she wishes white men to be expunged from the face of the earth and that the white working class is ‘scum’, and having referred to people who voted Leave by the brilliant term ‘Brex-shitters’. But the right do not get inflamed in quite the same way.

Your history will always come back to haunt you, but only if you are on the right. If you are on the left, it won’t matter at all. Just hypothetically speaking, I think it is entirely possible that one could be appointed to a senior position within a left-wing party despite having demanded honours for IRA murderers, supported genocidal terrorist organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and proclaimed an affection for a totalitarian communist dictatorship in, say, Cuba which imprisons trade union leaders and persecutes homosexuals That’s just hypothetically speaking, mind; I can’t know for sure.

The problem is not the mob, no matter how fascistic and undemocratic its mindset might be. The puffins have every right to tap their little buttons, to scream and stamp their feet, to howl with anguish. The problem is solely the respect given to it. A Guardian editorial column is read by about 100,000 people, 0.1 per cent of the population. It does not matter. And nor does double that number signing a petition. It is time the right wised up to this and acquired from somewhere the semblance of a spine.


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


Monday, January 15, 2018

The Uncensored President

If you haven't figured this out yet, Donald Trump tends to be unfiltered and uncensored. While we in our humble shop do not condone his coarse language or style, and see it as unbecoming the office he holds, the fact is Trump resonates with the majority of "blue-collar" Americans. As Mark Alexander noted in his profile on Trump Wednesday, "He is a New Yorker, and he's always acted like an archetypal New Yorker — brash, boastful, profane and unpredictable."

In regard to Trump's now infamous "s—thole countries" remark, Alexander observed, "Trump should be credited with exercising restraint in his description of those countries."

For the record, most of your Patriot editorial team members have traveled to some of the countries Trump was referencing (among others), and some of us have lived in them. We can corroborate first hand that Trump's alleged remarks regarding Haiti, El Salvador and some countries in Africa are accurate — because they have been governed by corrupt tyrants for generations. That does not, however, mean that citizens from those nations coming here to make a better life have no value, as Trump crudely implied.

Joe Concha, media analyst for The Hill, noted: "This is how he speaks. He's inelegant, yes. He's unfiltered, yes. But what people like about him so much is that he's authentic. ... I don't think one Trump supporter jumps to the other side because of this comment." Actually, Trump's remark will bring more working blue-collar Democrats, those who have been ignored by the Democrat Party for 30 years, onto the Trump train.

Predictably, Demos and their mainstream media outlets are feigning outrage that such a word was used in the White House. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who confirmed reports of Trump's comments, wailed from the fainting couch, "I cannot believe that in the history of the White House and that Oval Office any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak." What planet has he been on? Bill and Hillary Clinton's undisputed tirades, as described by their Secret Service agents, make Trump's remarks sound like playground banter.

Of course, all the hyperbolic rhetoric on the Left is an effort to paint Trump as a racist.

Their strategy is to undermine Trump's plans for immigration reform and border security. Democrats know that their political future depends on growing the immigrant population — a population they label as a victim class, which they can then exploit for votes. As Democrats have veered farther left, their working-class base has diminished. Rather than pivot back to the political center, they have only doubled down on immigration, further rejecting the American worker in favor of the non-American.

On a final note regarding Haiti, it was Bill and Hillary Clinton who exploited the Haitian people for their own financial gain...


An authoritarian homosexual

Sean Gabb thinks that the increasingly open authoritarianism of the Left is evidence that they are losing

I have some respect for Peter Tatchell. He campaigned against the anti-homosexual laws before this was a safe thing to do. He has shown courage on other issues. This being said, I am troubled by his latest set of recommendations. Writing on the 8th January 2018 for The Friends of Europe blog, he declares that “equal rights are not enough.” It is not enough for people to be treated equally before the law. It is also necessary for children to be brainwashed into agreeing with him. He says:

To combat intolerance and bullying, education against all prejudice – including racism, misogyny, disablism, xenophobia, ageism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia – should be a stand-alone compulsory subject in every school. Equality and diversity lessons should start from the first year of primary level onwards, with no opt-outs for private or faith schools and no right for parents to withdraw their children.....

These lessons should be subject to annual examination, ensuring that both pupils and teachers take these lessons seriously; otherwise they won’t. A pupil’s equality grades should be recorded and declared when applying for higher education and jobs, as it is in the interests of everyone to have universities and workplaces without prejudice.

To see what Peter means, let us take a number of issues:

Whether the various races are of equal intellectual or moral capacity;

Whether the sexes are of equal intellectual or moral capacity;

Whether sex outside an exclusive relationship with a person of the opposite sex is right or advisable;

Whether changing sex, with present levels of technology, is advisable;

Whether mass-immigration is good for a host community.

I could mention other issues, but these will do. No side in any of them is self-evidently true. The truth of each side must therefore be a matter of argument. In all cases, argument either way rests on assumptions that are themselves matters of argument. For the authorities to classify one side in any of these issues as “hate” is as much an abuse of power as criminalising particular views about the Nature of Christ or the sources of religious knowledge. Let attacks on life and property be punished according to law. But let any opinion stand or fall by the appropriate evidence.

Peter is demanding that all education should be made into a scheme of propaganda for what he presently believes. He seems to be demanding that anyone who refuses to preach this should be banned from teaching. He is also demanding that any child who, for whatever reason and perhaps for however long, dissents from what is taught in class should be denied entry to university and marked for life as a dissident.

Except the issues are different, this sounds like the practice of the Soviet police states. It seems calculated to produce in schools an environment of hysterical conformity and of spying and of malicious informing – an environment that will be carried into the adult world. Since elsewhere in his article, he calls for what looks like a comprehensive censorship of the media, Peter may think he has a scheme to make everyone agree with him for ever and ever. I doubt this. In any society that retains the smallest trace of freedom, conformity will be at most superficial and temporary. Even in the Soviet police states, generations of propaganda and labour camps failed to keep the system from eventually collapsing, after which every banned opinion flourished again like weeds in an untended garden.

I could end here. There was a time when I would have ended here. Or I might have suggested that powers taken to impose one set of views could one day be used to impose the opposite. I might then have expected Peter to slap his forehead, and confess how, in an excess of zeal, he had called for a total state. But that was thirty years ago, and I have too much respect for Peter’s intelligence to believe he fails to understand what he is saying.

On the one hand, as said, I am troubled by his recommendations. There is some chance that our Fake Conservative government will take them up. In some degree, they have been taken up. Several years ago, I sat in a meeting where a teacher explained how the father of one his pupils was a UKIP activist, and how the boy’s outspoken Euroscepticism in class might be a matter for intervention by the “safeguarding team.” No new law would be needed to impose what Peter is recommending. I can easily see how the Ministers would take this up as another attempt at signalling virtue to the Cultural Marxists – or “the Puritans” – they have done nothing since 2010 to dislodge.

On the other hand, I find the recommendations reassuring. They suggest a perception of weakness. These people have had something like total control of the mainstream media and of education at least since 1997. They have silenced dissent wherever they control. They have still not established ideological hegemony. They are growing old. One at a time, the true believers are giving way to a new and mediocre generation of apparatchiks. Now is the time when you must expect to see them turn desperate for what they have built to be set in concrete. When they were young, they built their total state behind a façade of semi-liberal platitudes. Now they are old, and now they feel that they have been building on sand, the gloves are coming off.

I do not think they will win. A year on, and the Referendum result in England and the Trump victory in America have disappointed those who worked for them. The fact remains that, despite a wall of propaganda and Establishment money, majorities voted to leave the European Union and for the promises that Mr Trump made and appeared to believe in keeping. There will come a time when the present order of things falls with a sudden crash. 2016 was not that time. But the slow and silent undermining that precedes a crash is undeniable. Peter Tatchell and his Puritan friends know this. They have nothing to lose from calling for an openly total state. In the long term, even so, it will avail them naught.


The decline of manners

Manners are a form of consideration for others

Rebecca Hagelin
As my hubby and I pulled up to the front door of the fancy five-star steakhouse that a friend had given us a gift certificate for, we were shocked by the sign that awaited us.

Given that this restaurant is known for its romantic ambiance, elegant interior and tables draped in crisp white tablecloths, I was looking forward to an elegant date night.

So, the sign really threw me for a loop: “Kindly remove your hat when entering the restaurant. Thank you for not wearing gym wear, sweat pants, tank tops, clothing with offensive graphics or language, or exposed undergarments.”

Seriously? Have moms and dads so neglected teaching basic civility and manners that a restaurant manager has to tell people how not to dress?

Maybe it’s time for a manners revolution.

If you’re a regular reader of my column, then you know I frequently write about public policy. Not so today. Teaching manners and civility is a matter of family policy. Your family policy.

It was my mom who taught me how to dress for the situation, and I pretty much knew the rules by age five. While I understand and even appreciate today’s very casual style, apparently there are a lot of adults who don’t know that it’s downright rude to wear sweatpants in some places.

Dressing appropriately is more a matter of practicing basic civility and respect toward others than it is about fashion.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the older couple at a table near us, dressed to the nines for their big night out at a special place, and how disrespectful it would be for a woman to plop down next to them with her undies on display. Or for a man to show up wearing gym clothes and a baseball cap.

Children don’t learn good graces and how to be thoughtful unless their parents take the time to teach them. You have to start young and reinforce, reinforce, reinforce every day of your child’s life to build respect and kindness.

Why? Because American society and institutions used to come alongside parents and reinforce respectful behavior; but for three or more decades now, the culture has taught us to be self-centered, technologically oriented to the point of tuning out real relationships, and just plain rude.

And, as recent news reports testify, our culture has also taught us to tolerate highly disrespectful and immoral behavior like sexual harassment.

Apathy toward indecent, uncivil, and immoral behavior has been the undoing of many a society throughout history. Nations filled with individuals who are apathetic about how they treat others ultimately become nations marred by selfishness and greed.

History shows us that no enemy was able to defeat ancient Rome; Rome fell from within when it became morally bankrupt. A country composed of selfish, greedy, immoral individuals cannot stand.

Common decency, civility and morality are intertwined, and the future of our children as individuals and our society as a whole utterly depend on them.

Consider the words of professor Alexander Tyler, an 18th-century historian and economist who wrote the following in his central work, The Cycle of Democracy, in 1778:

“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty,from liberty to abundance, from abundance to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back into bondage.”

Ours is an apathetic society, to say the least. If our children are to have a future of freedom, it’s going to be up to us to start restoring the very basis of a civil society: our civility.

To truly influence the culture, we must teach our children to be respectful, helpful, courteous, and generous, and we must teach them to continue exhibiting these traits even if they never receive a smile or thanks in return. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.

Remember, it’s about way more than the the sweatpants.


Taiwan isn't China, and Taiwanese aren't Chinese

by Jeff Jacoby

Lights come on as the sun sets in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. In the foreground is the Taipei 101 skyscraper, one of the tallest buildings on earth.

THERE IS a moment in "1776," the acclaimed musical about the American founding, in which Benjamin Franklin explains to the Second Continental Congress why he can no longer think of himself as an Englishman. He is aggrieved that the colonists are being denied the full rights of English citizens, but that isn't the whole of it.

"We've spawned a new race here — rougher, simpler, more violent, more enterprising, less refined," Franklin says. "We're a new nationality. We require a new nation."

I thought of that scene as I was having dinner recently with three students in Taipei.

The three — Celia Chung, Tony Chang, and Polly Cheng — attend National Chengchi University, one of Taiwan's oldest institutions of higher education. I met them during a visit to Taiwan sponsored by the Association of Foreign Relations, a Taiwan-based NGO that promotes international awareness of the island's affairs. After several days of meeting middle-aged diplomats and civil servants, I had sought out a chance to talk with young people not constrained by party line or government platitudes. In particular, I wanted to know what it meant to them to be Taiwanese.

On the rare occasions when Taiwan attracts media attention in the United States — for example, when then-president-elect Donald Trump made a point of taking a congratulatory phone call from Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's president — there is always much talk of the "One-China" policy, the old dogma that Taiwan and the mainland are inextricable elements of a single country.

The Communist regime in Beijing clings fiercely to that claim, in effect maintaining that Taiwan is a renegade Chinese province and not a unique country. During the decades when Taiwan was an authoritarian state under Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Party, Taipei's government echoed the "One-China" fiction, claiming that it was the sole rightful ruler of all China.

Taiwan abandoned that delusion when it became a democracy in the 1980s. But relations with China still cast a giant shadow over Taiwanese politics and society. Beijing goes to great lengths to blackball Taiwan in international forums, reacting menacingly to any suggestion that Taiwan be treated as sovereign. At times China has resorted to naked intimidation: In 1995 and 1996, as Taiwan prepared to hold its first freely contested presidential election, China launched missiles at Taiwan's shores — a warning to voters not to support the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.

At the same time, China and Taiwan are economically intertwined. China is Taiwan's biggest trade partner, absorbing 40 percent of the island's exports. Some 2 million Taiwanese live and work in China, and Taiwan's foreign direct investment in China has surpassed $10 billion a year. Moreover, millions of tourists from the mainland visit Taiwan each year.

But neither China's military threats nor its economic pull — nor the fact that 95 percent of Taiwan's population is ethnically Han Chinese — induces my dinner companions to describe themselves as anything but Taiwanese. None feels any emotional affinity for China. None wishes to see China and Taiwan reunited. All three reject the "One China" posture. The rest of the world should, too.

The students I met certainly don't agree on everything, especially the question of how assertive Taiwan's foreign policy should be.

Tony and Polly are offended by the diplomatic status quo — the exclusion of Taiwan from membership in most international organizations, for instance, or the refusal to let Taiwanese athletes compete under their country's name and flag. They would like to see more pressure on China to stop demeaning Taiwan. Celia, who comes from a region of Taiwan heavily dependent on tourism, favors maintaining the status quo and not imperiling the gains Taiwan has already made. "I think China is a horrible country with a bad human rights record," she says. But it is also a powerful enemy, and provoking it could be suicidal.

Most Taiwanese share Celia's caution, according to opinion polls, and it is the dominant attitude in risk-averse diplomatic circles. When I ask Kwei-Bo Huang, the Association of Foreign Relations' secretary-general, whether the frequent snubbing of Taiwan in international settings makes him angry, he replies serenely that Taiwan must accept what it cannot change. "We need to strike a balance between saving face and making gains."

As a small island threatened by a totalitarian superpower, Taiwan's freedom of action may indeed be limited. Yet, as with the American colonists in Franklin's era, the more intense the threats and pressure from the mother country grow, the more distinct the sense of national separateness becomes. Taiwanese democracy has galvanized a Taiwanese national identity — one more deeply-rooted in Celia, Tony, and Polly than it was when their parents were their age.

For 25 years, the Election Study Center in Taipei has been asking Taiwan residents whether they consider themselves Taiwanese, Chinese, or both. In 1992, only 17 percent of respondents identified themselves as exclusively Taiwanese, while 25 percent said they were Chinese. Today, with a generation having grown up under democracy, those numbers are dramatically different: More than 58 percent of respondents now identify as solely Taiwanese, while a mere 3 percent of Taiwan's people see themselves as Chinese. And among the young, Taiwanese identity has become almost universal. In a 2013 poll, more than 90 percent of people under 34 identified themselves as exclusively Taiwanese.

Thanks in part to England's harsh perversity, American colonists metamorphosed from loyal English citizens who loved their king — in 1767, Franklin still admired George III as the best king in the world — into a new nationality, requiring a new nation. Thanks in part to China's brutal stubbornness, something similar has happened in Taiwan. "One China" is dead, and Beijing helped kill it.



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