Wednesday, June 28, 2017



A Kind Word on Behalf of the Mexicans

Libertarian Robert Higgs makes below some perfectly reasonable points about Mexicans in general and I suspect that everything he says about them is true. But he is very one-sided in his comments. So I think it behooves me to restore some balance to the discussion.

His basic sleight of hand is to imply that illegal immigrant Mexicans are just like Mexicans in general. He does not consider that most Mexicans stay in Mexico and that people who break the law for their own advantage may be substantially unlike their law-abiding relatives -- and may in fact be just the sort of people that most societies would like to exclude.

And criminality among Hispanics in the USA is high. Its incidence runs about half-way between the white and black incidence, with the first-generation children of the illegal immigrants being particularly troublesome. America could certainly do without that.

And the political attitudes they bring with them are also a problem. Ones who share Higgs's libertarian views would be great rarities. Like most Latin Americans, they are instinctive socialists and reliably vote for the Democratic Party. They provide that party with one of its two big "rusted on" votes and have thus allowed that party to drift further Left than at any previous time in its history.

And that drift is a drift into authoritarianism, scarcely what Mr Higgs would wish. Latin American politics are overwhelmingly authoritarian socialist and the large Hispanic vote is bringing that to the USA too. Bipartisanship seems to have totally vanished. Mr Obama compromised on nothing.

"But we need them!" Mr Higgs says. Life in Australia is very similar to life in the USA but we have very few illegal immigrants of any kind. Successive conservative governments have cracked down on it very effectively. So I doubt that the USA needs Mexicans. If it does, however, the need could be easily met by introducing a "Gastarbeiter" (guest worker) system similar to that which applied in Germany from the 1960's on. In such a system LEGAL immigration could be allowed for a certain time and for certain occupations -- such as farm labor.

And America has a substantial population of non-working blacks -- who are the descendants of farm workers. Suitable adjustments to welfare provisions could, one imagines, get at least some of them into the jobs presently being done by Hispanic illegals.  How incorrect can I get?



“The immigration problem” or “the border problem” has been a heated topic of debate and politicking in recent years. (This recent spurt is only the most recent in a series that goes back for centuries in U.S. history.) In large part this debate pertains to the entry of Mexicans, especially undocumented Mexicans, into the USA. For those who support a strong “closed borders” or “secure the border” position, the debate often involves claims about Mexicans—what sort of people they are, what one may reasonably expect them to do if they become residents of the USA, what crimes they have committed or will commit in the future, and so forth. Anyone who is familiar with Mexicans is struck repeatedly by the sheer ignorance and the false claims that immigration opponents marshal in support of their position. The president himself has trotted out howlers about Mexican rapists and drug traffickers as important, standing problems of even the existing flow of Mexicans into the USA.

I have a working familiarity with the social science literature on immigration. (In the past I have written articles for economic history and demography journals that dealt with various aspects of immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.) More to the point for present purposes, I have considerable personal experience with Mexicans. I grew up on the rural west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley in the 1950s in a place with a population composed of about two-thirds Mexicans and their native-born children. In October 2015, I emigrated from the USA, and since then I have lived in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. I speak Spanish, though not with the fluency I would like, and in one way or another I deal with Mexicans nearly every day. So when I think or speak about Mexicans I do so with some personal as well as scholarly background.

In this light, I am stunned by how many Americans have a false impression of Mexicans. Of course, any generalization about them will be subject to qualifications. Mexico is a large, diverse country with a large, diverse population. And obviously from individual to individual great variations exist. No population consists of nothing but good people (however defined) or nothing but bad people (however defined).

Overall, I have found Mexicans—both those with whom I grew up in California and those among whom I now reside in Mexico—on average to be fine people in all relevant dimensions. They are devoted to their families and love their children. They are extremely hard workers, often under extraordinarily difficult and unpleasant conditions. They are good-natured and friendly, courteous and generous. They are also in many cases surprisingly resourceful, knowing how to build or repair all sorts of things, often without proper tools or materials. Many of them have an artistic capacity that allows them to create various products that are not only practical but also beautiful. Centuries of oppression and brutality by the ruling classes have not destroyed their hope for a better future, and they are often willing to bear great personal costs in order to make that future better for themselves and their children.

In view of the sorts of people they actually are—not as they are painted by vicious politicians and border bullies—one might well suppose that not only are they not an especially worrisome kind of immigrants to the USA, but instead exactly the kind that native-born American should welcome, the sort that among other things will do thousands of difficult and uninviting tasks—for example, working in poultry or meatpacking plants, putting on roofs, holding down building and highway construction and masonry jobs in rain and summer heat, cleaning hotel rooms, cooking and cleaning in restaurants, harvesting crops such as apples, asparagus, strawberries, and hundreds of others that demand backbreaking manual labor, and so on and on—tasks that native-born workers are not exactly clamoring to perform these days.

Moreover, not all Mexicans who come to the USA are unskilled, low-wage workers. Entrants also include highly educated people such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, and information technology workers. Mexico’s labor force is no longer a mass of unskilled or semi-skilled workers, and in many cases both the migrants and the U.S. economy stand to gain by Americans’ welcoming highly skilled people from Mexico. That such people have relatively less to gain does not imply that they have nothing to gain. In any event, it behooves Americans to recognize the existence of this type of migrants as well as those at the bottom of the wage scale.

It would be a most instructive experiment if somehow all the immigrant workers were to be removed from the U.S. economy overnight. The upshot would be calamitous for many U.S. industries and for large geographic areas of the country. Immigration opponents rarely appreciate the extent to which the U.S. economy depends on Mexican (and other immigrant) labor and the tremendous extent to which the foreign workers produce and distribute goods and services essential to day-to-day life for everyone. The oft-heard claim that the migrants come to the USA simply to sponge off the welfare state is so preposterously out of touch with reality that it staggers the mind. Yes, of course, some immigrants take advantage of the welfare state, but their taxes (not just income taxes but also property, sales, excise, and social security taxes), fees, fines, and other personal payments also prop up that system. They are not simply welfare deadbeats (as obviously many native-born persons are) and not simply consumers or competitors for jobs or housing. They are above all producers.

More important, however, they are in the great majority of cases good and decent people seeking what most people seek—an opportunity to work toward building a better life for themselves and their children. For those of us who know them more intimately than most, it is painful to hear the ignorant and malicious statements that circulate about them, especially perhaps on social media, where people are frequently unrestrained in letting loose the most vitriolic and baseless accusations. Individualists, above all, should know better than to judge a large group of people on grounds such as race, ethnicity, or place or birth—attributes that no one has earned but has merely been born with. Americans in particular ought to meet a higher standard than to embrace such collectivism, especially about people who in many cases are personally unknown to those making the negative appraisal. Among the highest aspirations of the American people historically has been the idea that their country would serve as a beacon of freedom and a refuge for the oppressed of other lands. It is high time that more Americans became cognizant of the desirability of reestablishing this noble aspiration.

SOURCE





Second life for a VERY incorrect politician

Silvio Berlusconi, 80, is set for an astonishing comeback after sweeping election victories for Italy's right-wing, as critics admit the former prime minister is 'politically immortal'

Italy's right celebrated Monday after big victories in local elections, with all eyes on a potential comeback for former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi -  just months before the country holds national elections.

The 80-year-old billionaire's Forza Italia (Go Italy) party and the far-right Northern League won 16 of the 22 cities up for grabs Sunday.

Their victory was a shock setback for the governing centre-left Democratic Party.

The loss of the city of Genoa was a particularly big blow. The northern city has traditionally been a bastion of the left, but it passed to the centre-right for the first time.  

Former centre-left prime minister Matteo Renzi, dismissed the wins as having little bearing on national voter sentiment.

But the mood on the left was sombre. Editorialist Riccardo Barenghi wrote in the left-leaning Italian newspaper La Stampa that it 'couldn't have gone worse'. He added: 'Not just for Matteo Renzi, not just for the [Democratic Party]. But for the whole of the Italian left.'

'[It was] as if we'd gone back 23 years to when the left was beaten by the Cavaliere ('The Knight', Berlusconi's nickname), who appeared on the scene like a rabbit from a magician's hat, and today reappears like a castigating ghost.'

The next general election must be held by spring 2018, but the coalition supporting Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni is fragile and many experts say the government could call elections for late in the year.

At the national level, the PD and the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) are running neck-and-neck in the polls, each with about 30 percent of voter intentions, while Forza Italia and the Northern League are each hovering at around 14 percent.

Political commentator Stefano Folli called Sunday's results 'a searing and very painful loss for the left.' He wrote in the left-leaning La Republica: 'Berlusconi reveals himself to be politically immortal.

Berlusconi, 80, had been largely absent from politics - though not the gossip pages - following his ousting in 2011 and his party had since struggled with internal divisions and corruption scandals.

Silvio Berlusconi's return might have seemed like an impossibility two years ago when details of his lurid sex parties surfaced. The 'elegant dinners' would take place at the tycoon's mansion in the outskirts of Milan.

An Italian court heard that they'd involve pole dancing, strip teases and erotic games performed for Berlusconi by troupes of young women. The girls all received cash and rewards in return for attending the parties.

Two women invited to a 'bunga bunga' party - Ambra Battilana and Chiara Danese - claimed women at the notorious events would grope the media tycoon's genitals while singing 'Thank Goodness for Silvio'.

They said that at one point Berlusconi brought in a statue of a little man with a huge penis. Berlusconi then 'began passing it around the girls, and he asks them to kiss the penis.'  

On Sunday it benefited in part by picking up votes from supporters of Five Star, which performed poorly in the first round and failed to make it into run-offs in any of the largest cities.

But he boasted that he injected energy into his party's efforts. He said: 'I'm back and you can see the results. 'If we remain united we will win the general election. And we will do so with a programme that I'm drawing up and will make public soon.'

Renzi, 42, limited himself to admitting that 'it could have gone better.'

Silvio Berlusconi was previously found guilty today of paying Moroccan Karima-El Mahroug, nicknamed 'Ruby the Heart-Stealer' for sex at a 'bunga bunga' party

The former media tycoon, who was also up until recently the owner of AC Milan, served nine years in three separate terms as Italian Prime Minister - making him the third-longest Italian PM since the country unified.

In 2013 he was sentenced to seven years in jail for sex and corruption offences - including having sex with 'Ruby the Heartstealer', a Moroccan nightclub dancer who was just 17 at the time.

Berlusconi was accused of using his influence to get Ruby, real name Karima-El Mahroug, released from Police custody.

The conviction, however, was later overturned.

SOURCE





Resident group claims women have become ‘endangered species’ in heart of Paris

IT’S supposed to be the place of liberte, egalite and fraternitie, but locals in one Paris suburb claim women have become an “endangered species” in the heart of the city.

Local activist group SOS La Chapelle, made up of residents in the La Chapelle-Pajol suburb, say the area has become a “no go zone” for women who area afraid to walk the streets of central Paris.

Together with members of another resident’s group, Demain La Chapelle, they’ve launched a petition calling for French President Emmanuel Macron, his Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, to increase police numbers and clean up the area they say is dominated by drug dealers and traffickers.

An online petition titled “Women an endangered species in the heart of Paris” has gained nearly 20,000 fans on Facebook in two weeks. It claims women in the area are subject to insults in “all languages such as “b****, dirty wh*re, I’ll kiss you.”

“There are pickpockets street drinking, spitting, rubbish everywhere, The heady smell of urine,” it states. “There are the traffickers that take root: human beings, drugs, cigarettes, or false documents. “The employees of these traffickers mean to us every day that we are undesirable, we and our children.”

News of the petition has made headlines in France and sparked protests in the area as it comes amid a wider debate about immigration and cultural attitudes in the society where the burka is banned and immigration was a galvanising issue in recent Presidential and parliamentary elections.

La Chapelle has become home to a number of migrants in recent months following the closure of the Jungle refugee camp in Calais due to its proximity to Gare du Nord station from which the Eurostar travels direct to Calais and London.

It has quickly become politicised with some blaming immigrants for “hunting” women and creating a “male den” in the city.

The organisers have strenuously denied they were targeting one group or another and say they simply want to make women safe.

“Our petition written by local women does not target any particular public, it makes an inventory of various problems that overlap each other and cause problems of different natures (security, cleanliness, alcoholism, traffic, occupation of the public space ...).” the group posted in a follow-up statement online.

“We absolutely do not endorse articles and reports that make rapid amalgamations aimed at stigmatising a population.”

However those unhappy with the petition, that has led to street protests, claim it is xenophobia dressed up as feminism and has stoked anti-immigrant sentiment.

“It is a complete manipulation of the truth,” a woman known as Alice, told The Local. “The majority of the people in the area behave well”. “I have to come here everyday and if I didn’t feel safe I wouldn’t do it. This is a lie made up by the press and right-wing politicians,” another said.

Demain La Chappelle organiser Loic Guzman said the group is not “targeting migrants”, but their presence has attracted criminal gangs who sell fake immigration papers and drugs which has become the real problem.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has called for new accommodation centres “all over” the country to help address the issue of where to house the migrants moved out of Calais’ Jungle.

SOURCE






Meet overweight and extreme Australian feminist, Clementine Ford

She has admitted to bouts of mental illness.  She does however have a baby son -- and boy babies have a way of civilizing feminists -- simply by being themselves

Controversial feminist Clementine Ford has encouraged on a fan to 'kill men' in a handwritten note inside a copy of her latest book.

The Melbourne-based author and Fairfax columnist has regularly spoken about being the target of graphic abuse, trolling and death threats from men on social media.

But a picture shows that when signing one copy of her latest book, 'Fight Like a Girl', Ms Ford wrote to a fan: 'Have you killed any men today? And if not, why not?'

Ms Ford, 35, released her non-fiction 'manifesto' centred around her feminist views and experiences in September 2016.

In it, the mother-of-one urges 'all women and young girls - to take the emptiness and numbness they feel about being a girl in this world and turn it into rage and power'.

Previously, Ms Ford has complained about trolling and 'hate' she receives on social media and through online forums.

In one case in 2015, a man called her a 'sl**' and was sacked by his Sydney-based employer.

Ms Ford has an army of close to 300,000 fans across social media.

It comes after publisher Allen and Unwin announced on Monday it had acquired the rights to her second book.

'Boys Will Be Boys', a book Ms Ford claims will be a 'love letter to her son', is due to be released in 2018.

But within just hours of the announcement, a petition calling for the 'man hating' piece not to be published was set up on Change.org.

The petition has received 300 signatures in less than 24 hours. Ms Ford hit out at its organisers on Twitter saying: 'Oh no, they will probably take my contract away now.'

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017



Google Pledges $1 Million To Preserve LGBTQ Stonewall Inn Story

More valorization of homosexuality

Google announced on Sunday that it will be donating $1 million to the LGBT Community Center in New York City to preserve and disseminate the story of the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 in digital formats.

“With our donation, my hope is we can capture and preserve their stories and, through technology, share them with the world to inspire all those who continue to strive for human rights,” said Eric Schmidt, executive chair of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, at a press conference on Sunday.

In 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, was raided by police for serving liquor without a license. The scene turned violent as bar-goers began rioting against the police.

The Stonewall Riot drove the formation of the Gay Liberation Front and other LGBTQ civil rights activist groups.

The announcement about Google’s donation was made by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and West Side Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), at a press conference on June 18, the start of Pride Week in Manhattan.

Schumer posted on his Facebook page on June 18 to celebrate the donation. He said, “the lessons of [Stonewall Riots’] history can reach tens of millions of people across the nation, and across the globe.”

The $1 million grant, according to a written statement from the Center, will allow it to partner with the National Park Foundation (NPF) to create “a digital experience that broadly shares the story of LGBTQ civil rights, firmly establishing LGBTQ history in the fabric of American history.”

“This announcement sends an unmistakable message to Washington: that the America we know celebrates and cherishes its diversity; it doesn’t hide from it or fear it,” Schumer said. “Google’s generous pledge could not come at a more vital time.”

However, the founder of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, Peter LaBarbera, said he sees a more “deviant” aspect of the movement that is being “whitewashed.” He said the event in 1969 was a violent protest against police and that there were “hustlers that would have sex with teenage boys.”

“In my eyes, the whole homosexual activist movement is about normalizing a sexual perversion and turning it into a civil right,” he said. “And to do that, they have to overlook or change or rewrite history because there’s a lot of unsavory aspects to the early gay history, just as there are to the current homosexual movement.”

On June 24, 2016, then-President Barrack Obama issued an executive proclamation to create a national monument in Christopher Park, across the street from the historical landmark.

“Obama already started it. He was trying to make Stonewall as powerful a civil rights event as SELMA, but in SELMA, Americans were all unified against racism,” LaBarbera said. “(Stonewall Inn)’s probably the most pornographic historical landmark in America. It just doesn’t fit what you would normally associate with noble history.”

Schumer said during the press conference that there are “people in Washington who would see our country backslide on equality.” He pointed to more than 100 anti-LGBTQ legislations passed by state and local governments since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency.

“We’ve only had gay marriage for 2 years in the United States but is that now part of history? If you’re against gay-marriage, you’re just a bigot and a homophobe and a hater?” said LaBarbera.

Schumer’s press office has not responded to CNSNews.com’s request for an interview.

Glennda Testone, the Center’s executive director, called the funding “inspirational” and said it will “lift up LGBTQ history on a global platform, further magnifying the Stonewall Uprising’s place in the overall story of the LGBTQ civil rights movement.”

According to National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth, Google’s donation accounts for half of the amount needed to “effectively launch” the national monument. 

“The national parks community is grateful for Google’s support to develop education programs for New York City students — and eventually students worldwide — that focus on the important issues of equality, human rights, civil rights, and more,” Shafroth said.

But LaBarbera believes homosexuality is not a civil rights issue, but a moral issue.

“They want to force it, not just on the rest of the country, but especially on students,” LaBarbera said. “They want to teach LGBT history as real civil rights history to kids so they want to propagandize and indoctrinate kids of this mythical narrative to turn this moral issue into a noble civil rights.”

LaBarbera believes the riot in 1969 accomplished what it set out to do, which, he said, is to radicalize the movement.

“It’s been very bad for our society, though. It’s terrible to have immoral sexual behaviors normalized to a culture and especially to kids,” LaBarbera said.

The idea for Google’s donation, according to the New York Times, originated from William Floyd, Google’s openly gay New York external affairs director.

Others present at the press conference on Sunday include openly gay city council member Corey Johnson, and Public Advocate Letitia James, who did not respond to CNSNews.com’s interview requests.

American Express has also pledged a $100,000 donation to the campaign. The projected completion date is June 2019, the Stonewall Rebellion’s 50th anniversary.

SOURCE






The mainstreaming of the terror prejudice

Islamists and ‘liberals’ are united in their contempt for the demos

There are many disturbing things about the Finsbury Park Mosque attack. The most disturbing, of course, is the thing itself. This was a grotesque assault on our fellow citizens and on freedom of religion. To mow people down as they congregate outside their place of worship is to display a murderous disregard for the liberties that make secular, democratic society possible.

But there’s another disturbing thing and one that deserves far more interrogation: the media response to the attack and its confirmation of a coming-together of the Islamist and so-called liberal outlooks, of a fusing of Islamist and leftist contempt for the demos.

The response to the Finsbury attack has been striking for its double standards. Observers and politicos have done all the things they warn us not to do after Islamist attacks. After Islamist terrorism they instruct us not to get angry, not to hold any community or culture responsible, and not to fall for the apparently foul, racist idea that the Koran or certain imams might have inspired this violence. In fact, they ringfence Islam from criticism and frown on efforts to discover the possible scriptural source of the terror. They wield the insult ‘Islamophobe’ against anyone who suggests there might be a broader cultural problem behind such violence. ‘It’s just an individual with warped ideas’, they insist.

This time, in response to a suspected act of far-right violence, they’ve changed their tune. They’ve ditched their usual pacifying cry of ‘Keep calm and carry on’ in favour of inviting the nation to look in the mirror. This act of violence does have a communal base, they claim. It speaks to an ‘increase in Islamophobia all over the country’, one Labour MP insists. This violence does have an intellectual origin we should all worry about: it is the tabloid media’s ‘addiction to Islamophobia’ that nurtured it, we’re told. This violence does raise questions about certain communities in Britain, especially tabloid-reading ones, described by one columnist as ‘the vulnerable’, easily whipped into ‘crazed hysteria’. We know who they mean: the white working class.

Suddenly, it is okay to see an act of individual violence as a signifier of social and communal problems. It is bad, apparently, to raise any questions about Muslim communities after Islamist attacks. But after Finsbury it is absolutely fine, important in fact, to query the rank, media-fuelled prejudices that apparently lurk in certain communities ‘all over the country’. This amounts, pretty explicitly, to saying, ‘We must never criticise the Muslim community, because we might hurt their feelings, but we should definitely criticise the tabloid-addicted, “vulnerable” sections of society that refuse to respect religious difference’.

There’s a profound paternalism here. This approach both infantilises the Muslim community, treating them as incapable of robust discussion, and criminalises the white working class, who are presumed to be one newspaper editorial away from ‘crazed hysteria’.

But the double standards also point to a deeper problem: the commonalities between the extremist Islamist outlook and what passes for ‘liberal’ commentary today. (It isn’t genuinely liberal, of course, but that’s for another column.) Reading some of the commentary on the Finsbury attack, about the ‘poisonous narrative’ spreading through Britain and creating ‘hateful bigots’ all over the country, it is hard to tell where mainstream thinking ends and Islamist intolerance begins. Because that outlook, that idea that vast numbers of Brits despise Muslims and are on the cusp of bigoted hysteria, is precisely the underpinning of the extreme victim narrative of modern Islamist violence.

From 7/7 to the Manchester Arena bombing, we know that one of the key ideas uniting Britain’s successful or failed Islamist terrorists is that the modern West hates Muslims. There’s a deep strain of censorious self-pity: Western armies hate Muslims, Western citizens hate Muslims, the Western media mocks Muslims, and so perhaps we deserve to be punished.

This easily crosses the line into haughty contempt for the demos, who are presumed to be morally slovenly and, of course, Islamophobic. Recall the arrested terror cell of 2006, who wanted to blow up those ‘slags dancing around’ at London nightclubs. Or the 2007 car bombs left outside the Tiger Tiger club in London. There have also been planned or attempted attacks on airports and football stadiums. And of course a pop concert. It is reported that Salman Abedi, the Manchester concert bomber, was very concerned about Islamophobia: he thought Brits were ‘unfair’ to Muslims.

Every single one of these self-pitying prejudices, these narcissistic beliefs that modern Britain is packed with horrible slags and idiots who are unfair to Muslims, will have been emboldened by the post-Finsbury commentary. The media’s wildly inaccurate depiction of Britain as a hotbed of anti-Muslim hate, which lurks ‘all over the country’, is of a piece with the Islamist prejudice against British citizens.

What unites the extreme Islamist and the modern liberal observer is a profound discomfort with the demos, a deep fear of ordinary people and their emotions and beliefs. In different ways, one via violence, the other via peaceful demands for greater policing of people’s views on Islam, these two groups problematise sections of the public and depict them as ripe for either punishment or re-education.

The communion between Islamist and mainstream media thinking was perfectly captured in the figure of Piers Morgan yesterday. He had Tommy Robinson, founder of the English Defence League, on his ITV show Good Morning Britain. When Robinson criticised the Koran, Morgan blasted him, and was cheered by virtually the entire media for doing so. ‘To mock [Islam] and its holy book is an outrage’, Morgan said. ‘Show some damn respect!’

This is the Islamist outlook, too. In fact this is the thinking behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre: that it is an ‘outrage’ for anyone to criticise Islam. In responding to Finsbury by demonising people ‘all over the country’ as ignorant or hateful towards Islam and insisting the Koran should never be mocked, it is possible these observers have written the script for the next act of extremist, victim-politics Islamist violence.

SOURCE






Human rights: the friend of foreign criminals

How human-rights law demeans democracy and citizenship

Last week, the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of two foreign criminals seeking to resist deportation to their countries of citizenship. Although the case turned on a narrow issue of whether it was lawful to deport the foreign criminals before they had exercised their appeal rights – the so-called ‘deport first, appeal later’ policy – the case highlights broader issues about the nature of rights. Are rights determined democratically or is the sovereignty of the people curtailed by human rights? And if rights are not determined democratically, then what is their source?

If rights were determined democratically, then the Immigration Act 1971 would have concluded the Supreme Court case in favour of then home secretary Theresa May. This act, passed by the people’s representatives in parliament, empowers the home secretary to deport a foreign criminal if he is a non-British citizen convicted of a serious criminal offence. In the two appeals before the Supreme Court, these conditions were satisfied. The appellants are non-British citizens: Kevin Kiarie is a Kenyan citizen and Courtney Byndloss is a Jamaican citizen. And each had committed serious offences which warranted prison sentences of two and three years respectively. Since the statutory conditions were satisfied, the home secretary should have been entitled to deport them.

If rights were determined democratically then the case would never have gone to court, since the principle that the home secretary relied on had been settled law for over a hundred years: the power to deport a non-British citizen (then referred to as an ‘alien’) was contained in the Aliens Restriction Act of 1914. As a court noted nearly a hundred years ago, when a foreign criminal tried to impugn the home secretary’s decision to deport him, ‘parliament has expressly empowered the secretary of state as an executive officer to make these orders’ (1). That wise court needed to say little more because that judgement was given in an era that recognised the democratic basis of rights.

But in recent years, the democratic nature of rights has been challenged. The Human Rights Act 1998 made the European Convention on Human Rights an integral part of domestic law. This ushered in two competing models of rights determination: one based on democracy and the other based on human rights. The former draws its power from the democratic arms of the constitution (parliament and government, empowered by the people), while the latter draws its power from the legal arm of the constitution (the judiciary, empowered by law). A constitutional conflict for supremacy between democracy and human rights results.

The deportation of foreign criminals illustrates this constitutional conflict. From time to time, human rights assert themselves with the court declaring that a particular deportation would be unlawful on human-rights grounds. Democracy then seeks to assert itself with legislative reforms on substance and procedure. One such recent round in this conflict resulted in the Immigration Act 2014, which enabled the home secretary to certify that certain foreign criminals would be subject to ‘a deport first, appeal later’ procedure. Last week’s decision by the Supreme Court means that this latest skirmish has seen human rights win out over democracy.

Despite Theresa May doing in 2014 what home secretaries had done for decades, the Supreme Court declared her deportation orders to be unlawful. The court proceeded on the basis that democracy is not the ultimate source of rights, as democratically determined rights can be overturned by human rights that stand above the demos. In other words, whatever specific national laws parliament passes to deal with specific problems, these laws can be trumped by human rights that have a greater status.

In these particular appeals it was the right to respect for family life, set out in the European Convention on Human Rights, that caused the Supreme Court to trump the home secretary’s decisions. The Byzantine route by which the court used a vague ‘right to respect for family life’ to trump a specific power, exercised for decades without legal or political objection, arises because human rights are, in law, fundamental. They are rights that have quasi-constitutional status. In short, human rights have a status that enables them to trump decisions authorised by parliament’s laws. By one route or another, no matter how tortuous, a human right will find a way of asserting its quasi-constitutional status. This conflict between democracy and human rights will always be resolved in favour of the latter, until parliament repeals the Human Rights Act and re-establishes the democratic model of rights determination.

But since parliament has no current intention of ending the human-rights model of rights determination, it is worth considering the nature of human rights. A former top judge and fervent supporter of human rights, the late Lord Bingham, observed in 2010 how the most likely beneficiaries of human rights would include ‘immigrants, asylum seekers… prisoners and criminals’ (2). He was right: human rights do befriend foreign criminals.

This is because human-rights advocates have a sense of the values they must challenge. In other words, in the conflict between democracy and human rights, those who champion the latter recognise that the foreign criminal can be used to challenge values that underpin democracy. The central feature of the foreign criminal facing deportation is not that he is a criminal or that he is a foreigner – it is that he is not a British citizen. It is this quality that makes him liable to deportation.

Citizenship is the bedrock of democracy. Citizenship is the quality that means that those who have it are political equals within a nation. Citizens have an innate sense of the value of this quality. For most of the 20th century, the state also recognised the importance of citizenship and hence had no hesitation in deporting those who lacked it in furtherance of ‘the public good’, words defining the home secretary’s power to deport that can be traced back to 1914. But in recent decades, the state has been conflicted between a belief in democracy, and the citizenship on which it is based, and a belief in human rights, which are premised not on citizenship, but on an abstract view of ‘humanity’.

Human rights cannot recognise citizenship. For the human-rights advocate, rights are derived not from a political community of equals, but from ‘a common humanity’. In her postwar critique of totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt referred to this approach as drawing on ‘the abstract nakedness of being human’. She concluded that ‘the world found nothing sacred’ in this abstract nakedness because rights are meaningless in the absence of a political community that is able to define and give effect to rights.

Human rights befriend the foreign criminal because he is a non-British citizen. He has the abstract nakedness of being human and hence is suitable for being smothered in the human-rights protections that seek to deny a meaningful distinction within a nation between citizens and non-citizens. The human-rights discourse cannot recognise that Kiarie and Byndloss are citizens of other nations and hence that it is to Kenya and Jamaica that they should now look for the fulfilment of their rights.

In the ongoing conflict between democracy and human rights, the Supreme Court has resolved the latest skirmish in favour of the latter. It is easy for human-rights law, empowered by the Human Rights Act, to side with foreign criminals by treating citizens and non-British citizens as essentially the same. But citizens cherish their status as full and equal members of a democracy and they do not expect foreign criminals who are non-British citizens to be treated on a par with them. The conflict between democracy and human rights goes on.

SOURCE





The ACLU must fight for liberty, not social justice

The civil-liberties group has become bogged down in ‘progressive’ causes

‘Healthcare access is a civil-rights issue’, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) declared in a 2017 email blast, opposing Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. ‘Tell your representative to vote NO on repealing the ACA.’ Stressing that the Republican-sponsored repeal would ‘gut’ Medicaid, while ‘24million people would lose coverage’, the ACLU’s call to action was indistinguishable from urgent emails issued by other progressive advocacy groups – which is what made it so remarkable. Once, the ACLU did not engage, much less seek the lead, in social-welfare debates. Once, it was a non-partisan organisation focused on liberty and equality under law. Today the ACLU trumpets an expansive, progressive commitment to social and economic justice.

The social justice warrior’s gain is the civil libertarian’s loss. The ACLU still engages in the fight for civil liberty, especially in opposition to the post-9/11 security state and as part of the anti-Trump ‘resistance’. But the 21st-century ACLU has chosen its battles with a progressive sensibility that devalues free speech and due process for all. Most notably, it has shied away from confronting campus-censorship crusades and the threat of an ideology that equates allegedly hateful speech with discriminatory action, subordinating the right to speak to the imagined rights of particular listeners to suppress what offends them.

This anti-libertarian dogma dates back some 30 years, and in the beginning the ACLU publicly opposed it. But as progressive hostility towards free speech widened and deepened, its influence spread to the ACLU. The First Amendment’s future is at stake. As generations of students schooled in the ‘virtues’ of censorship become policymakers, the US may follow Western Europe in criminalising speech that authorities deem hateful or discriminatory.

When asked, ACLU officials are still apt to critique this approach to speech, and if you look for it, you can find a page on its website opposing campus speech codes. You can find instances of ACLU state affiliates opposing free-speech zones on campus and other acts of censorship. You can hear an ACLU attorney defend the speech rights of right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. But you will also see the ACLU attaching trigger warnings to a blog post, in tacit agreement that speech can be a form of assault. You’ll see it describing allegedly harassing speech as ‘verbal conduct’ – the first rhetorical refuge of the censor. The ACLU, once devoted to free speech, has effectively been a quiet friend more than an active opponent of campus speech-policing. For over a decade, more often than not, the ACLU has exercised its right to remain silent while campus-speech controversies raged.

It’s difficult to discern much less document what an organisation fails to say or do, but ask yourself: how often have you heard the ACLU speak out against progressive censors? How often have you seen ACLU officials quoted defending speech in coverage of censorship news, like the violent protests of Charles Murray’s talk at Middlebury College or demands for the firing of a liberal Evergreen State College professor who questioned the tactics of anti-racism protesters? Did you hear it criticise former University of Missouri professor Melissa Click when she tried to bar a young journalist from covering a campus protest? Did you hear the ACLU condemn the vilification of former Yale instructor Erika Christakis and her husband, Professor Nicholas Christakis, after Erika suggested that students ‘think critically’ about regulating ‘offensive’ Halloween costumes?

Instead, the ACLU responded to the censoriousness of the Yale protesters by sympathising with their concerns and chastising their free-speech critics for a ‘refusal to confront… discrimination and inequality on campus’. And, when the Northern California ACLU affiliate belatedly conceded Ann Coulter’s right to speak at Berkeley, it did so equivocally, taking care to condemn ‘hateful’ speech and asserting with questionable accuracy that the US Constitution does not protect verbal harassment. In fact, the Constitution protects quite a lot of speech labelled harassment on liberal campuses.

National ACLU legal director David Cole subsequently issued a stronger statement about the Coulter controversy criticising the heckler’s veto, which may signal a new willingness to intervene in free-speech battles in explicit opposition to student censors. The need to defend mass anti-Trump protests is re-engaging the ACLU in free-speech battles extending beyond periodic defences of right-wing speech. The ACLU has long defended the rights of the occasional outré political enemy, like Yiannopoulos, or Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, who organised vicious anti-gay protests outside military funerals. Defending the First Amendment rights of wingnuts, while deploring their ideologies, buttresses the ACLU’s credibility as a free-speech advocate, while avoiding the political and financial risks of directly attacking its censorious friends – allies in a fight for social justice.

A commitment to free speech requires political independence and also a certain hard-heartedness when confronting claims of emotional harm. But amid heightened progressive concern about bullying and its effect on equality, the ACLU has anxiously demonstrated compassion for students deemed disadvantaged and vulnerable to verbal offences. It has, for example, endorsed the Obama administration’s anti-bullying initiatives, which defined harassment more expansively than it was defined by the Supreme Court, and could conceivably make schools liable for controversial references to racial, ethnic or sexual stereotypes. Reasonable people will disagree about efforts to balance free expression with the regulation of public-school bullying, but civil-libertarians must err on the side of speech. In recent years, the ACLU has too often erred on the side of social justice.

It has even sided with a progressive vision of justice that includes a crusade against due process in campus controversies over alleged sexual assaults. The ACLU has not simply been silent about the widely documented proliferation of kangaroo courts on campus - it has been quietly complicit in their abuses, offering approval of the Obama administration’s Title IX directives, which are largely responsible for them. (Perhaps not coincidentally, the official who oversaw these directives for the past four years was a former ACLU attorney.) ‘Title IX is pretty awesome because it is expansive’, a remarkably naïve ACLU blogpost declares. ‘By addressing the various needs and challenges faced by survivors, Title IX pushes universities to do a better job of creating a campus environment that discourages and, ideally, prevents sexual violence.’

Once the ACLU defended the presumption of innocence. Now it approves of rules effectively presuming guilt, requiring minimal standards of proof in campus assault cases, and treating accusers of unproven assaults as ‘victims’ or ‘survivors’. It seems poised to oppose any efforts by the Trump administration to reform Title IX rules that favour the demands of accusers over the rights of the accused.

How did the ACLU end up on the wrong side – or no side – of urgent debates about due process and speech? In part, the ACLU’s transformation is a result of generational shifts. The old liberal guard of ACLU leaders is ageing out. The new guard is progressive, shaped partly by campus politics and the left-leaning culture of the late 1980s and 1990s, with its expansive definitions of discrimination and restrictive approaches to speech.

It’s worth noting that generational changes have wrought policy changes before. The ACLU adopted its civil-rights agenda in the 1960s and 1970s in response to an influx of younger leaders shaped by the civil-rights movement. For decades, that agenda focused more discreetly on discrimination. The dual and sometimes duelling commitments to advancing equality and defending free speech created occasional internal conflicts, exemplified by a heated debate in the 1990s over policy governing workplace harassment. But the ACLU managed to balance a civil-liberties agenda with a commitment to civil rights. Periodically, its left wing, concentrated in Southern California, introduced resolutions formally adopting an economic-justice agenda, and periodically the resolutions were defeated. Today, however, the left wing is the organisation’s centre of gravity, and achieving its vision of economic justice is an explicit ACLU mission.

Partisanship is an obvious pitfall for this newly progressive ACLU, as its comprehensive (and enormously profitable) opposition to the Trump administration makes clear. Trump’s picture adorns the the ACLU’s homepage, and ACLU sidewalk canvassers invite passers-by to join it in opposing him. Executive director Anthony D Romero tried to preempt or defuse charges of political partisanship with an unusual statement defending the ACLU’s anti-Trump initiatives, like the creation of a grassroots ‘people power’ project led by a former adviser to Democratic Congressional leaders. ‘We will be moving further into political spaces across the country as we fight to prevent and dismantle the Trump agenda’, Romero acknowledges. But this effort remains non-partisan, he argues circularly, because Trump poses unique and pervasive threats to liberty. It is therefore the ACLU’s non-partisan obligation ‘to fight him at every step – both on traditional civil-liberties fronts and new ones – to prevent the litany of human carnage in the making’. (The echoing of Trump’s inaugural reference to American carnage is probably not coincidental.)

This is not to suggest that the ACLU should refrain from challenging the Trump administration’s policies. From a civil-libertarian perspective, many of the ACLU’s actions opposing Trump are necessary and laudable. Its litigation opposing the travel bans, for example, is a justified defence of due process, as well as religious liberty. But the ACLU’s profound concern for the due-process rights of visitors and immigrants trying to enter the country starkly contrasts with its shameful obliviousness to the due-process rights of citizens fighting charges of campus sexual assault. They can’t rely on the ACLU to defend liberty and justice for all, regardless of politics or ideology, and, as a consequence, neither can you.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Monday, June 26, 2017



Bigoted Leftists

Angus Penfold

I was walking down Castlereagh Street in Sydney during my lunch break and I saw a group of people chanting with signs. I continued walking towards them, half looking down at my phone, half looking up towards them.

No big deal. They're performing their democratic rights. Fair enough, I thought.

To paint you a picture, I was wearing a navy blue suit, black dress shoes, a white business shirt, a navy tie, and a Tag Heuer Grand Carrera watch. Regular work attire, but probably looking like someone who does okay for themselves.

Anyway, I got closer to the group and I began to see what was written on their signs. “White privilege needs to stop”, “No more gender pay gap”, and “Patriarchy is wrong”, amongst a series of more offensive remarks. People were screaming and carrying on, until one remark left me speechless.

A woman (I'm assuming. Gasp!), early twenties, short hair, politically motivated shirt, stepped out towards me and said, “YOU are what's wrong with this country!”

Me? Why me? Judging by the signs I knew what she meant.

Firstly, she assumed my gender and my race, which if you know Australian politics, is a big no-no.

Secondly, this person didn't know me. She didn't know my story, my background or my education. She didn't know my political beliefs or my take on society.

She judged me by the colour of my skin, on the basis of gender, and assumed that my appearance confirmed me as a sexist and racist piece of shit.

I'm sorry. But I wasn't the one being sexist and racist. I was going about my day, and I was vilified on the basis of race and gender.

NB: For those of you wondering, it is possible for white men who have money to be vifilied on the basis of gender and race. Don't believe what the Huffington Post tells you. Racism and sexism is never acceptable, no matter the gender or race.

SOURCE

Angus comes from a rich and distinguished family and regards himself as a style guru so he may have given out vibes that the female who accosted him accurately read.  That still does not excuse her behaviour, however.  I know some immaculately groomed people who are quite poor






The Leftist obsession with group identity

They categorize people relentlessly and mercilesly, apparently because dealing with individuals constructively is too hard for them.  Comment from Australia below:

Clementine Ford, a columnist at Fairfax newspapers, proudly reminded a live television audience this week that she had called News Corp columnist Miranda Devine a c.... It was a trademark shock moment from her; all heat, no light.

Her original term actually was “f..king c...” and it was just one of a string of obscenities she has hurled in public debate before being in­vited, again, to join an ABC debate. Ford has slighted Iranian-born commentator Rita Panahi with a racist barb: “No matter how hard she tries, she’ll never be a white man.” None of this seems to disqualify her as yet another spokeswoman for the left.

Our public debate is becoming increasingly coarsened and superficial and, as I argued last week, this is partly because digital splintering of media is shrinking the shared public square. What few are prepared to point out, perhaps for fear of sounding plaintive, is that the poor standards and green-left jaundice of the media/political class are also largely to blame.

Abuse, vulgarity and ad hominem attacks have become standard weapons of the so-called progressives. Such transgressions are not unheard of from the right, of course, especially the hard right, but in mainstream political debate, the aggression comes primarily from the left.

This tendency also leaves many on the left with a blind spot for transgressions against conservatives. ABC radio host Jonathan Green tweeted this week that “there may well be a moment (soon?) when the hate and anger licensed by social media and fanned by politics will play out in physical reality”. Staggeringly, he shared this thought days after conservative commentator Andrew Bolt was attacked by leftist activists on a city footpath. Just a week earlier, near Washington, DC, a gunman who hated Donald Trump asked whether the politicians he was watching train for a charity baseball match were Republicans before he opened fire on them. We can only presume these examples of “hate and anger” that did “play out in a physical reality” escaped Green’s attention because they didn’t fit the narrative he had in mind.

Since Trump’s victory sent the left into a funk we have seen pop star Madonna cheered for proclaiming she thought about blowing up the White House, comedian Kathy Griffin pose Khaled Sharrouf-like with Trump’s decapitated head, theatre­goers in New York treated to Trump being stabbed to death in lieu of Julius Caesar and actor Johnny Depp applauded for joking about assassinating the President. We can only imagine the reaction of the media/political class if such monstrous contributions to public debate had targeted Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Back on our shores, CFMEU Victoria boss John Setka, told a rally his union would track down government officials charged with enforcing workplace laws and harass them so that they “will not be able to show their faces anywhere” and “their kids will be ashamed” of them. He has attracted less condemnation from the commentariat than Tony Abbott did for not noticing some cranky pensioners with a “ditch the witch” placard a few years ago.

And they wonder about the “shy Tory” factor. This is the tendency of conservative voters not to declare their allegiance or inclination in surveys or public forums, thereby leaving pollsters and pundits exposed when elections show higher than expected conservative votes. We saw the latest example just this week when, in a by-election seen as a referendum on Trump’s presidency, Republican candidate Karen Handel delivered a victory that disrupted the accepted media narrative of Trump’s premature demise.

Anybody who tries to argue publicly for, say, tough border protection or cuts in government spending knows these are not easy rows to hoe, no matter their merits or broad support.

People arguing so-called progressive cases tend to be aggressive and personal. To disagree with them, apparently, is to cede moral authority. Why risk abuse for defending the integrity of our immigration system when you can just nod your head and deal with it in the privacy of the polling booth?

Most people tend to go with the flow, accept the generally left media narrative and take the path of least resistance, at least publicly. Pointing out the futile self-harm of our emissions reduction targets or saying Clinton was the appalling candidate that gave Trump his chance will ruin the dinner party consensus and have people switching to less divisive topics such as State of Origin deciders.

The flip side of this socialised conservative timidity is that it shelters the left from robust debate. Whether they are at a barbecue or on ABC’s Q&A, they are surrounded by affirmation.

Unpractised as they are in civil debate and basking as they do in their moral superiority, they seem to feel entitled to attack the character of anyone who disagrees with them. And surrounded by agreeable peers, they are seldom pulled up for their ad hominem indulgences. Imagine, for instance, if Bolt or Sky News’s Paul Murray denounced a feminist commentator as a c... — they certainly wouldn’t be inundated with requests to appear on the ABC.

It is this double standard, this sheltering from personal responsibility and public accountability that helps to cheapen and degrade public debate. There should not be different rules depending on what side you are on.

When activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied spoke at the Australian National Univer­sity this week, rather than engage in debate about her political posturing over Anzac Day she assumed victim status and blamed media and political organisations. “Those sorts of power, those institutions of power are geared against people like me,” she said, “because they see votes in it and because fear is so much easier to sell.”

It was a lazy effort, as it was when she suggested our parliamentary democracy “doesn’t represent anyone” yet rejected the idea she should give it a go. “You know how to get to office,” Abdel-Magied said. “I have to go to preselection, which works really well, and I have to go through all these other systems which for women and for people of colour are actually biased.” What a cop-out.

Also this week, Australian Press Council chairman David Weisbrot resigned because he couldn’t stomach the controversy over appointing a GetUp! campaigner as a member. Rather than fix the mistake (GetUp! is an activist group that is the antithesis of what journalism aspires to be) Weisbrot exited the stage. Is it real­ly that hard to stand up to self-serving arguments from the left?

Ford’s crassness, Abdel-Magied’s laziness, Green’s myopia and Weisbrot’s cowardice should not cut it in public debate. But when are they corrected or contested except in a column such as this, pricking their bubble from another universe? Too much of the debate is caught up in identity. Ford and Abdel-Magied promote themselves almost entirely on who or what they are rather than on the power of any ideas or arguments they may proffer. Green is one of a breed of middle-aged white men who win plaudits from the green left for their sense of shame or self-loathing. “Our political leaders must surely have some sense of this country’s deep, and growing, incapacity to service its sense of self,” writes Green. We don’t know exactly what he means but we know it is supposed to be bad.

So debate is characterised by echo chambers on the left and right, diminishing quality of conversation in the mainstream clearance houses, moral superiority feeding personal aggression from the left and a resort to profanity over plain speaking. We are in an age where people are retreating from those things that connect us and create a sense of community; fewer join churches or other community groups, increasingly we shun mainstream media, and the memberships of major political parties are in decline.

The growing tendency is to target a foe by virtue of their presumed identity — male or female, gay or straight, black or while, Muslim or Christian, left or right — and give them both barrels. We need to do better.

SOURCE






Religious Americans Are Pro-Trump

On June 20, Pew Research Center released the findings of a new poll on President Trump's job performance. It found that 39 percent of the public approves of his performance in office, while 55 percent disapproves. But among those who attend church weekly or more the respective figures are 48 percent and 45 percent. This suggests that it is secularists who are driving down his approval ratings.

Among white non-Hispanic Evangelical Protestants, Trump wins the approval of 74 percent; 20 percent disapprove. Among white non-Hispanic Catholics, he wins the support of 52 percent; 42 percent disapprove.

Overall, 48 percent of Protestants approve of the president's performance, while 45 percent disapprove. Among Catholics, the figures are 38 percent and 56 percent. The drop-off in support overall is clearly due to the Hispanic input. Here's more proof.

White non-Hispanics, independent of religious affiliation, approve of Trump's handling of the job by a margin of 50 percent to 44 percent. But among Hispanics, the figures are 20 percent and 72 percent, respectively.

Trump's lack of support among Hispanics is well known, but more controversial is his support among the faithful. To take a line from President Bill Clinton, he feels their pain.

Two weeks ago, President Trump told religious Americans that the "bitter voices" of elites are responsible for the "hatred" and "prejudice" toward religion. Saying the faithful are "under siege," he vowed to "put a stop to the attacks on religion," pledging to "end discrimination against people of faith."

This is a welcome change from the Obama years where the executive branch used its powers to challenge the autonomy of churches and religious non-profits. The faithful are taking note, redounding to the favor of President Trump.

With regard to the role of religion, two conclusions seem plain. One, religious Americans like the president. Two, secularists don't like him. A third conclusion, based on other data, is also warranted: militant secular activists are the "bitter voices" of hatred and prejudice against the faithful.

This is one more reason why the culture war is not going away, and why practicing Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Mormons, and Muslims must stand up to the bullies who are leading the attacks against them.

SOURCE





Mike Pence assures evangelicals Trump is their "unwavering ally"

Vice President Mike Pence popped into the 40th anniversary celebration of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family to remind members he’s a devout Christian politician who has his back. And, he says, so is President Donald Trump.

After the group’s president Jim Daly introduced Pence as “one of us,” the vice president spoke for 30 minutes on Friday, on both foreign policy and domestic issues. Unsurprisingly, Pence focused quite a bit on abortion, reiterating the Trump administration’s commitment to what he characterized as the "timeless values” Focus on the Family advocates first.

He repeatedly referred to the president himself as both an “unwavering ally" of Christian evangelicals and a believer himself — calling him “a leader, a believer, a timeless defender of the values that will make America great again.” He described Trump as someone who “advocated in the public square for values our public needs to hear, now more than ever.”

Pence’s comments are hardly surprising: after all, his evangelical faith and religiously-motivated stances on abortion and LGBTQ rights are well-known. But the intensity in expressing them on Friday was striking. Pence announced that he would donate an ultrasound machine in his own name to a faith-based crisis pregnancy center. (These centers, which are marketed like typical abortion clinics, but are set up to persuade women to avoid abortions, make up a major part of Focus on the Family’s efforts).

Yet Pence’s remarks seemed particularly designed to remind his evangelical audience that, policy-wise as well as personally, the president stood in their corner. He repeatedly appealed to the president’s personal convictions — referring to Trump and Trump’s family as yet another family “personally grateful” for the faith-based philosophy of marriage that has traditionally stood as the cornerstone of the organization’s advocacy program. Elsewhere, he referred to Trump as a “good friend.” He highlighted the president’s executive order on religion and churches’ freedom of expression (which a number of critics, including Vox’s Alissa Wilkinson, have pointed out is more symbolic than useful), characterizing it as an example that the president has “been standing for the things that the people in this room and this ministry have stood for.”

He said signing the order showed the president “stood without apology for the God-given right of every American to live out convictions in their faith….whatever the country they call home or the creed they profess.” He said Trump stood for the “vulnerable: the aged, the disabled, and the unborn.” He promised a full de-funding of Planned Parenthood, as well as a new post-repeal approach to health care based on “freedom,” “personal responsibility” and the free market — all to raucous applause.

At other times, however, Pence’s remarks seemed to subtly reassure evangelicals of his influence in the White House to bolster religiously-motivated policy. He told the story of how Trump “personally” sent him to the January anti-abortion March for Life highlighting that Pence first brought up the possibility of attending. The way Pence framed the story highlighted the fact that the president, busy with affairs of state, was having a “hard time figuring out how he could get away” to make the customary phone call to the organizers of the March.

"I said rather sheepishly, ‘Well, you know, they invited me to speak too,’ and the president looked up at me…he just pointed at me and said, ‘You should go.’ And I went because Donald Trump wanted me to go!” This year, Pence became the highest-ranking member of government ever to attend the annual march.

It was a skillful rhetoric move: one that conveyed Trump’s support for the evangelical agenda even as it cemented the role of Pence — a more natural evangelical mouthpiece — in shaping Trump’s decision. The delicate tight rope Pence walked reflects the complexity of the relationship not just between Donald Trump and his evangelical voter base, but also the much broader one between Focus on the Family and Washington.

Ultimately, Pence’s speech signals a return of the compact between the Reagan-era style of evangelicalism and the GOP. He’d give Focus on the Family victories both concrete and symbolic, but he wanted something in return: "The President and I are counting on your support. We need your energy, your enthusiasm, your conviction.”

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Sunday, June 25, 2017







Court Dismisses Bogus Charges Against David Daleiden for Exposing Planned Parenthood

In a huge victory, a California court today dismissed almost all of the criminal charges abortion activists filed against the pro-life advocates who recorded undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood selling the body parts from aborted babies.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 15 felony charges against both David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Becerra is a longtime abortion advocate with financial connections to the Planned Parenthood abortion company that the two pro-life Advocates exposed in the videos for selling body parts such as fetal brains and livers.

At the time, pro-life advocates said Becerra’s 15 felony charges were bogus charges meant to belittle the expose’ campaign and to cast aspersions on Daleiden and the organization behind the videos. They said the attempt was about drawing attention away from Planned Parenthood’s sales of aborted baby parts.

The San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday dismissed 14 of 15 criminal counts but the pair are still charged with one count of conspiracy to invade privacy. However the court dismissed the charges with leave to amend — meaning Becerra could re-file the charges with additional supposed evidence against the pair.

The court ruled that counts 1-14 were legally insufficient. The state has the opportunity to amend if it can plead a more legally sufficient and specific complaint. The California’s Attorney General filed 15 criminal counts against Merritt, with counts 1-14 for each of the alleged interviews and count 15 for an alleged conspiracy. San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite gave the state attorney general’s office until mid-July to file a revised complaint.

In a statement to LifeNews, pro-life attorney Mat Svaer of LibertyCounsel, representing Merritt, said, “This is a huge victory to have 14 criminal counts dismissed.”

“We will now turn our attention to dismissing the final count. Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong. The complaint by the California Attorney General is unprecedented and frankly will threaten every journalist who provides valuable information to the public. This final count will also fall,” said Staver.

Liberty Counsel argued that the criminal complaint for illegally recording supposedly “private” conversations (in restaurants, hotel lobbies and other public places) – the first ever filed against undercover journalists – was legally deficient for numerous reasons, not the least of which was the Attorney General’s decision to prosecute Merritt in secret proceedings, without identifying even the names of her accusers or purported “victims.” The complaint did not provide Merritt with the minimum notice required by the Constitution and California law as to what she supposedly did wrong, so that she can mount a proper and vigorous defense. The complaint was also vague and full of inconsistencies.

“Today we asked the San Francisco Superior Court to dismiss these outrageous and baseless charges against Sandra Merritt, and the court agreed to dismiss 14 of the 15 counts” said Horatio Mihet, Liberty Counsel’s Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel, who appeared with Sandra in court today. “Sandra did not break any law and the criminal complaint against her is legally deficient, vague and full of inconsistencies. No other citizen journalist or organization has ever been charged with a crime for undercover recordings,” said Mihet.

These charges where the second set of charges filed against Daleiden and Merritt as the first were filed by pro-abortion prosecutors in Houston. Those charges were also eventually dropped and we’re condemned as bogus political charges.

Today’s decision by the San Francisco Superior Court seems to lend additional credence to the fact that abortion advocates and their pro-abortion friends in politics are filing the charges for political rather than substantive reasons.

SOURCE






James T. Hodgkinson: Just Another Well-Intentioned Progressive

R. Emmett Tyrrell

Have you followed the drift of the mainstream media as to what provoked James T. Hodgkinson to attempt the massacre of the Republican House baseball team as it practiced in Alexandria, Virginia, last week? Not the Democratic team, not the Washington Nationals but the Republican team. Well, it was not necessarily Hodgkinson’s politics, we are told. After all, they were pretty much mainstream progressive. According to the MSM, Hodgkinson had a “Volatile Home Life in Illinois.” That is the way The New York Times put it on the front page on Sunday.

There was an allusion to strong drink. Anger and violence were also mentioned as features in his rural Illinois home. Moreover, Hodgkinson was described as abusive toward the foster children that he and his wife of 30 years had under their care. One of the children committed suicide by lighting herself afire. Another died of a drug overdose. And he reportedly dragged his grandniece around by her hair. Hodgkinson was also charged with property damage and a couple of misdemeanor counts in recent years. It makes one wonder what the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services — which the Times mentioned in blasé fashion — is good for.

Yet, as I say, the MSM is soft-pedaling this lunatic’s politics, and I can see why. There was nothing particularly unusual about them. He could have been one of Bernie Sanders’ nondescript supporters at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia last summer. In the world of the American Left, there is nothing extreme about carrying placards denouncing the rich or the giant corporations. There is nothing too extreme one might say about the environment, or the plight of the poor, or the fate of the LGBT community.

And why not bring the whole family down to Central Park in New York for a little Shakespeare in the Park? This month is “Julius Caesar,” and featured in place of Caesar is the president of the United States, who dies of multiple knife wounds onstage. Why didn’t someone, say, The John Birch Society, think of such a skit back in President John F. Kennedy’s day? On the other hand, the whole family can curl up in front of the TV and watch the comic geniuses Stephen Colbert or Bill Maher test the limits of the First Amendment.

The fact is that Hodgkinson was, in many ways, just another progressive — note that they do not call themselves liberals anymore. I wonder why. Is the word “liberal” too tainted by defeat or too moderate? Or is it that the Left pretty much agreed with me when I titled my obituary for liberalism “The Death of Liberalism” in 2011?

Actually, that Hodgkinson is pretty much a standard-issue progressive ought to give everyone the creeps. His politics are no different than those of a local librarian, a schoolteacher or a union guy back in 2014, when it was so fashionable to be a member of the angry Left. In 2011, there was the Occupy movement, and now, in 2017, there is the Black Lives Matter movement. What separates Hodgkinson from Bill Ayers, the bomber of the Pentagon, except that Ayers tried to kill more people? The Left has been on a steady evolution toward homicide, and there are a lot more Hodgkinsons out there than we care to contemplate.

Truth be known, the American Left, and that includes most of the MSM, has become quite morbid in its fascinations. The whole way it talks about poverty, the environment, immigration, race — practically any social problem — is morbid. I look at The New York Times and The Washington Post every morning. They sit there on my breakfast table. Rarely does their front page not feature what the political philosopher Kenneth Minogue called a “suffering situation”: several starving Africans; a corpse or two from some hellhole; an impoverished Appalachian family with at least one child, his head shaved because of cancer or some other horrible malady; a gay couple that has suffered a setback. I could go on, but you get my point. The MSM is obsessed with misery, social strife and — dare I say it — political correctness.

As long as these values dominate and there is no mitigating alternative, the public had best be armed.

SOURCE






WHERE ARE THE MEDIA? Innocent Muslim girl killed by illegal alien draws silence from networks

A young Muslim girl was tragically beaten to death and dumped in pond Sunday, a horrific crime that would normally draw 24-hour coverage from mainstream news networks.

But not this time.

Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, is an El Salvadoran in the United States illegally.

17-year-old Nabra Hassanen was eating at a Northern Virginia McDonald’s with friends at 3:00 a.m. Sunday before heading to a nearby mosque for an all-night Ramadan sleepover.

As the group walked and rode bikes to the mosque, they noticed a car speeding toward them.  It jumped the curb, parked in a nearby lot, and Torres leaped out.

Wielding a baseball bat, he savagely beat the innocent girl to death, then fled with her body into Loudoun County, which was on the other side of the road.

Hassanen was later found, dead, in a Loudoun County pond about two and half miles away.

“Please pray for me, please pray for me,” her mother Sawsan Gazzar told The Washington Post. “Pray for me that I can handle this . . . I lost my daughter, my first reason for happiness.”

“Why did you kill my daughter? For what? She didn’t do anything to anybody. I raised my kids to love everybody,” her heartbroken father Mahmoud Hassanen told a local TV station.

Dozens of her classmates at South Lakes High School have been visiting the family’s apartment to offer their support.

“I just can’t think of a worse instance to occur with the loss of a 17-year-old on Father’s Day. As a father of a 17-year-old myself, I can’t think of anything worse than confronting that on this particular day,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Michael Chapman.

Hassanen’s funeral was held Tuesday at the mosque at which she hoped to worship on the morning she was killed.

Torres was quickly arrested and has been charged by Fairfax County authorities with murder.

He has not been charged with a so-called “hate crime,” which is drawing public skepticism. Torres claims it was an act of “road rage” and he was angry about traffic. The attack occurred at 3:40 a.m.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement now has a detainer on Torres, whom they claim they have not encountered since he entered the U.S.

Despite the unspeakable, horrific tragedy of the crime the mainstream media are virtually silent.

When narratives collide, the victims suffer.

SOURCE





Circuit Court Win for Religious Freedom on Gay Marriage

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Thursday that a Mississippi law that protects religious liberty and the rights of conscience in light of the redefinition of marriage may go into effect.

In the decision, the circuit court overruled a previous judgment from a district court judge who had declared the Mississippi law unconstitutional for violating the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

But as the circuit court pointed out, the challengers to Mississippi’s law lack standing because they “have not clearly shown injury-in-fact.” In other words, they did not show how the Mississippi law protecting liberty for people who hold to the pre-Obergefell v. Hodges definition of marriage harmed them.

The court explained that the “failure” of the “plaintiffs to assert anything more than a general stigmatic injury dooms their claim.”

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can't be done alone. Find out more >>

While the ruling focused on the lack of standing of the plaintiffs, there are plenty of reasons to rule in favor of the constitutionality of laws like Mississippi’s on the merits.

As Sherif Girgis and I explain in our new book, “Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination,” there is nothing scandalous about protections for particular views that are at odds with those on which the government acts.

When the government takes Americans to war, exceptions cover pacifists. When the government guarantees abortion, exceptions cover pro-lifers. These exemptions don’t amount to establishments of any religion, and neither do laws protecting dissenters after Obergefell.

Indeed, as law professor Richard Epstein explains, the Establishment Clause—meant to “knock down state coercion for religion”—can’t be used to invalidate “a statute whose whole purpose was to insulate private parties from any form of coercion.”

So, what does the Mississippi law do? As previously explained at The Daily Signal:

Religious organizations, like churches, cannot be forced to use their facilities to celebrate or solemnize weddings that violate their beliefs.

Religious convents, universities, and social service organizations can continue to maintain personnel and housing policies that reflect their beliefs.

Religious adoption agencies can continue to operate by their conviction that every child they serve deserves to be placed with a married mom and dad.

Bakers, photographers, florists, and similar wedding-specific vendors cannot be forced to use their talents to celebrate same-sex weddings if they cannot do so in good conscience.

State employees cannot be fired for expressing their beliefs about marriage outside the office, and individual state clerks can opt out of issuing marriage licenses so long as no valid marriage license is delayed or impeded.

Counselors and surgeons cannot be required to participate in gender identity transitioning or sex-reassignment surgeries against their faith and convictions, while guaranteeing that no one is denied emergency care or visitation rights.

Private businesses and schools, not bureaucrats, get to set their own bathroom, shower, and locker room policies.

This is a reasonable bill. It protects the consciences of people who hold to the historic definition of marriage in the aftermath of the Supreme Court redefining marriage, and it does so while avoiding the awful outcomes that critics fear. The bill provides that the government cannot punish, fine, or coerce specific people and organizations, in specific contexts. It doesn’t harm anyone.

Other states should follow Mississippi’s lead in protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience after the redefinition of marriage. So, too, should Congress pass protections at the federal level.

Longstanding Precedent on Abortion

There is great precedent for such protections on the abortion issue, as Girgis and I explain in “Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination.”

In 1973, just months after Roe v. Wade was handed down, Congress passed the Church Amendment, named for Sen. Frank Church, a Democrat from Idaho.

While Roe shielded the choice to have an abortion, the Church Amendment protected doctors’ and nurses’ choices not to perform one. It provided that health care organizations receiving federal funds could not force their doctors or nurses to perform or assist abortions.

Some 20 years later, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Coats–Snowe Amendment. It prohibits the government from discriminating against medical students who refuse to perform abortions and medical residency programs that leave out abortion training.

And in 2004, Congress passed the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, which keeps the government from discriminating against health care institutions that don’t offer abortions.

Since 1973, then, U.S. policy has protected a right to choose an abortion right alongside an individual and institutional right to choose against facilitating one.

Our law should now do the same on marriage. It needn’t and shouldn’t penalize private associations for their beliefs on this issue. Doing so would make no appreciable difference to the ability of same-sex couples to receive the goods and services they seek, but it would undermine conscience rights for some.

So lawmakers can and should grant a categorical accommodation.

Current Legislation

A proposed federal law would do that. Much like the Church, Coats-Snowe, and Hyde-Weldon amendments, the First Amendment Defense Act would protect the freedoms of citizens and organizations who hold a belief at odds with one enshrined by courts.

Protecting pro-life consciences did not violate the Constitution—by establishing a religion or engaging in viewpoint discrimination or otherwise. Nor do laws protecting pacifists. Their only aim is peaceful coexistence in the face of disagreement.

The same goes for the First Amendment Defense Act. It would enact a bright-line rule to keep government from penalizing someone just for acting on her belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife. It would protect people who hold that belief for religious or secular reasons, and it would shield organizations from losing nonprofit tax status, licensing, or accreditation for operating by these beliefs.

But even the First Amendment Defense Act’s categorical protections reflect a careful balance. They protect individuals, nonprofit charities, and privately held businesses, but not publicly traded corporations, or federal employees or contractors in the course of their work.

The First Amendment Defense Act makes clear that it does not relieve the federal government of its duty to provide services, medical care, or benefits to all who qualify. It must simply respect conscience in the course of doing so.

Mississippi has shown the way forward on this issue at the state level. And on Thursday, the 5th Circuit allowed that law to go into effect.

Other states should offer similar protections at the state level, and Congress should do the same at the federal level.

Protecting a New Minority

America is in a time of transition. The Supreme Court has redefined marriage, and beliefs about human sexuality are changing.

During this time, it is critical to protect the right to dissent and the civil liberties of those who speak and act in accord with what Americans had always previously believed about marriage—that it is the union of husband and wife.

Good public policy is needed at the local, state, and federal levels to protect cherished American values. Good policy would help achieve civil peace amid disagreement and protect pluralism and the rights of all Americans, regardless of what faith they may practice.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Friday, June 23, 2017



WHITE LIBERAL PRIVILEGE

There is one privilege the white liberal does not want to check . . . the privilege to say any offensive thing that would destroy a conservative’s career and just keep on keeping on. See below:







Poland Shuts Border to Islamic Migrants to Keep Potential Terrorists Out

Despite the threat of sanctions from the European Union (EU), the Polish government has decided to not allow any more Muslim migrants into its country to help reduce the risk of radical Islamic terrorism.

“We, Poland, are learning from the mistakes of others … and we will not open our doors to Islamic migrants,” said Ryszard Czarnecki, the Polish European Parliament deputy, in early June after the terrorist attack in Manchester, England on May 22. 

Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have refused to take in their designated share of some 160,000 migrants, who apparently are overloading Italy and Greece. The EU could take the three states to the European Court of Justice, which could impose heavy financial fines on them.

“Other countries have led to a situation in which those trained on Islamic State territory in Syria, Iraq – young people with French, Belgian, Dutch, British, German citizenship – return to Europe … and somehow [the authorities] were incapable of monitoring them,” Czarnecki said after the attack in Manchester, according to Radio Poland.

The Manchester attack at an Ariana Grande concert killed 23 adults and children and injured 119 people.

“We, Poland, are learning from the mistakes of others … and we will not open our doors to Islamic migrants,” said Czarnecki.

According to Breitbart, Czarnecki also stated:

“When it comes to reducing the chances of Poland being hit by [Islamist] terror attacks, the only proven method is to not allow in Muslim migrants.

“With regards to Britain, we have already told them on several occasions they need to deport, not tolerate, radical migrants.

“If a radical Muslim cleric in a mosque calls on his brothers in the faith … to fight the infidels, well, I think that there are grounds to expel such an imam.”

BBC News stated that, in 2015, the EU voted to redistribute a total of 160,000 refugees from countries with the largest percentages of immigrants, especially Greece and Italy.

Although Poland initially agreed to the quota, the current administration has rejected it. Poland has not accepted any of their allotted share of immigrants, according to BBC.

The Czech Republic and Hungary are also resisting the flood of immigrants, reported the Express. Express quoted a letter from Polish leaders defending Poland’s refusal:

“In 2016 Poland took in over a million migrants and refugees from Ukraine and the East, thus easing the migrant pressure on other EU countries.

“We would also like to emphasise that no EU member state has so far fulfilled its commitments stemming from the 2015 relocation decisions.

“We reiterate our position that migration policy falls within the competence of nation states.”

According to Breitbart, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said that receiving immigrants would be “much worse” than the EU sanctions.

"Each decision to relocate groups of migrants encourages thousands or millions more at the borders of Europe, to come to Europe, to get on boats and pontoons and risk their lives to reach the European continent," said Polish government spokesman Rafal Bochenek, according to BBC News.

“Fortunately, Poland does not make these mistakes that other countries have made when it comes to our immigration policy, and so we don’t have these headaches,” said Czarnecki.

SOURCE






The Double Murder of Otto Warmbier

Michelle Malkin knows Leftist hate:

We may never know what brutal torture and malign neglect American student Otto Warmbier suffered at the hands of North Korea's dictatorship before losing his life this week at the age of 22.

But it wasn't the first time the free-spirited Ohio native died.

More than a year before succumbing to the unknown illness or injury that left him in a coma thousands of miles away from home, Otto Warmbier's own countrymen murdered his reputation. His character. His humanity.

Click-hungry media ghouls knew nothing about Warmbier's small-town upbringing, his family life, politics, personality, disappointments or dreams. But they gleefully savaged a young man who made a mistake on a doomed trip to a totalitarian hell.

Warmbier's thoughtless taunters instantly transformed him into a bigger, badder villain than the barbaric DPRK goons who beat, starve, rape and kill enemies of the state for such offenses as listening to foreign radio broadcasts, possessing Bibles and disrespecting Dear Leader — in Warmbier's case, by attempting to steal a propaganda sign that read "Let's arm ourselves strongly with Kim Jong-il's patriotism!" as a souvenir.

The Huffington Post published an acid rant by "Blogging While Black" writer La Sha titled "North Korea Proves Your White Male Privilege Is Not Universal." She rejoiced at Warmbier's sentence because, she gloated, it taught him that "the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad."

Instead of faulting a repressive socialist regime, La Sha blamed Warmbier for "being socialized first as a white boy, and then as a white man in this country." The HuffPo's megalomaniac millennial had the gall to compare her daily plight of living and breathing freely in America to Warmbier's captivity:

"The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense."

But it wasn't just babbling diversity bloggers who exploited Warmbier's imprisonment.

For a few cheap yuks, liberal black comedian Larry Wilmore plowed ahead with smug disregard to how Warmbier's parents, family and friends must have suffered as photos and videos of their son and loved one were plastered all over media. To canned laughter, Wilmore mocked Warmbier on his Comedy Central show with a graphic labeling him an "ASS," which spelled out a fake frat name, "Alpha Sigma Sigma."

"It's just tough for me to have much sympathy for this guy and his crocodile tears," Wilmore snarked as he roasted the "Frat Boy."

Left-wing website Salon added another layer to the white male-bashing echo chamber:

"This might be America's biggest idiot frat boy: Meet the UVa student who thought he could pull a prank in North Korea."

Not to be outdone, Affinity Magazine (a "social justice" online magazine for teens) stomped on Warmbier's grave after his death was announced:

"Watch whiteness work," the publication tweeted. "He wasn't a 'kid' or 'innocent' you can't go to another country and try to steal from them. Respect their laws."

This from a rag that had deified Black Lives Matter icons Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin as downtrodden youth whose extensive rap sheets must remain unmentioned at all costs.

Otto's saboteurs engaged in the very same bigotry and stereotyping they recklessly accuse everyone else of at every turn. The far left learned nothing from leaping to conclusions about the Duke lacrosse players or the wrongfully accused members of Phi Kappa Psi at University of Virginia — where Warmbier was a junior double-majoring in commerce and economics.

By all accounts, Warmbier was a charismatic and caring human being whom one high-school classmate called "Everyone's friend." He was a lover of cultures and intellectually open-minded — "a warm, engaging, brilliant young man whose curiosity and enthusiasm for life knew no bounds," according to his family.

Utterly consumed by malignant identity politics, the left-wing intelligentsia have become the intolerantsia. They are bent on dehumanizing individuals, fomenting racial, ethnic and class division in the name of "progressivism," and never taking responsibility for the damage done.

Contrast the no-regrets policy of these "Frat Boy"-bashers, with a former North Korean prison guard, Lim Hye-jin, who escaped recently and recounted the horrors of life in the camps.

"We were manipulated not to feel any sympathy for prisoners," she said. The guards of the totalitarian state "do not see them as human beings, just as animals." After realizing she had been brainwashed by ideological monsters, she spoke out. "Now I know they were normal people, so I feel very guilty."

Will the short, slandered life and double death of Otto Warmbier prompt the American left's cruel character assassins to admit the same?

Soul-searching, alas, requires a soul

SOURCE





Steve Scalise, Nancy Pelosi and a Return to Civility

By the optimistic Lawrence Kudlow

Sometimes terrible tragedies can bring us together, and I'm hopeful that somehow a lasting good will come out of the ballfield shooting in Alexandria, Virginia. And maybe even a rebirth of civility, which has virtually disappeared from politics, and perhaps our culture as well.

Rep. Steve Scalise, who's currently fighting it out in a hospital in Washington, D.C., is an old friend of mine. I watched as he rose through the House ranks to become the majority whip. Like everyone else, I'm praying for his full recovery. He's a wonderful man.

And, like most everyone else, I was happy to hear President Donald Trump talking about unity in the wake of the shooting. He said, "We are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good."

I can say the same for House Speaker Paul Ryan, who, true to form, spoke beautifully and passionately from the House floor, saying, "An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. ... I ask each of you to join me to resolve to come together."

But I want to put a spotlight on one person who really surprised me with unexpected remarks. She got me thinking — praying — that maybe, just maybe, some lasting good will come out of this tragedy.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also spoke on the House floor in the hours after the shooting. She said her prayers were with Scalise, the Capitol Police and the others hit on that ballfield.

And she said much more. "You may not know this, my colleagues, but every time I pray, which is very frequently, and certainly every Sunday, I pray for all of you. All of you, together," she said. "In the earlier years, I used to pray for your happiness, for the fact that we would work together, heed the words of President Kennedy in the closing of his inaugural address, when he said ... 'God's work must truly be our own.'"

That's a central theme in my book "JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity," which I wrote with Brian Domitrovic. Presidents Reagan and Kennedy were civil in public, as they sought to persuade their opponents, not smear them. And they both reached across the aisle to achieve their policy goals.

It's something we need to return to — desperately. And Pelosi spoke in that spirit.

"How do we view what God's will is for us?" she asked. "How do we come together to give confidence to the American people? As our founders intended, we would have our disagreements and we would debate them, and we would have confidence in our beliefs and humility to listen to others."

To listen to others.

For a long time, I have been talking about the need for a rebirth of civility. We cannot continue the meanness, the personal slurs and the polarizing attacks, all of which are doing great harm to America.

And now, sparked by tragedy, Pelosi seems to have said: Let us come together. Let us have civility in our discussions. Let us have a sense of humanity, and maybe even a sense of caring. Let us pray for ourselves and the rest of the country. Let's do this together.

She did add: "And I pray for Donald Trump, that his presidency will be successful, and that his family will be safe. Because it is about family."

When did you ever think you would hear her say that? It was a welcome surprise.

No, I'm not here to defend her politics. I'm a conservative. She's a liberal. I have my beliefs. She has her beliefs. The battle of ideas must go on.

But our tone, our style, our civility, our ability to listen — it seems to me that those have been missing for so many years.

The blame is on all sides. It's in the executive branch, the Senate, the House. Let's add the media and academia, as well. No one in this game is clean.

The political divide is large — across taxes, health care and a whole raft of tough agenda items. I get that.

I'm just saying, if Nancy Pelosi, who has been in Washington a good long while, is coming out and speaking of unity, civility and humility, it's worth giving it a listen.

Many of my friends disagree with this Pelosi kudos. Some believe I am hopelessly naive. They may be right.

But right now, today, I choose to believe that she means for all of us to be calm, to be humble, to be civil and to work together.

I'm praying for that because, if that's the case, we will get important things done to help this country and one another.

Let's hope and pray that something is changing here.

SOURCE







Australia: The REAL cost of dole bludgers: How the long-term unemployed are costing taxpayers a staggering $222,000 EACH

The average taxpayer would need to work for 14 years to pay the $220,00 welfare bill racked up by a single long-term dole bludger.

Over 100,000 welfare recipients are taking hardworking Australians for a ride, failing to turn up to job interviews and reaping the benefits of generous dole schemes.

The latest figures were released by Social Services Minister Christian Porter ahead of introducing a suite of changes to the welfare system to parliament on Thursday.

The widespread changes to the welfare system will include a two-year program to drug test 5000 new recipients of Newstart or Youth allowances in three locations.

'If you are part of that group of 100,00 people who persistently don't turn up to job interviews, you stay on welfare for much longer,' Mr Porter told The Daily Telegraph.

'An average person on an average wage is going to work for a great number of years to support someone in the welfare system who isn't doing the right thing.'

The new legislation will target 'non-compliant' welfare recipients - people who consistently fail to show up for job interviews or welfare appointments.

'Too many people are not meeting the requirements attached to their welfare, such as attending appointments, and most suffer no penalty,' Mr Porter said.

'This not only puts a burden on taxpayers who face a higher long-term cost to meet these people's welfare bill, but does nothing to help them achieve self-reliance by securing work.' 

The Turnbull government insists its proposed trial to drug test people on welfare is not about stripping payments off vulnerable Australians.

'This trial is not about penalising job seekers with drug abuse issues, it is about finding new and better ways of identifying these job seekers and ensuring they are referred to the support and treatment they need,' Mr Porter told parliament on Thursday.

It was part of a range of measures announced in the May budget.

The reforms would make the system simpler, more sustainable and focused on supporting people to move from welfare into work, Mr Porter said.

Central to that is a new single JobSeeker payment, to be introduced in 2020, replacing or consolidating seven different payments.

'The bill demonstrates that the government is completely committed to improving the integrity of the welfare system and ensuring that recipients receive the necessary support incentives to address barriers to employment, to look for work and take a suitable job when it's available,' he sai

SOURCE

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

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

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

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