Sunday, May 27, 2018




Trump gets it

Speaking at the annual gala of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump cited Jeremiah 1:5 in explaining his belief that “every life is totally worth protecting.”

“As the Lord says in Jeremiah, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I set you apart,’” said Trump. “When a mother and a father hold a new baby in their arms, they are changed forever.”

“When we look into the eyes of a newborn child, there is no doubt we see the beauty of the human soul and the mystery of God’s great creation,” said Trump. “We know that every life has meaning and that every life is totally worth protecting.”

“When we stand for life, we stand for the true source of America’s greatness,” said Trump. “It’s our people. Our people are great.”

Here is an excerpt from Trump’s remarks:

"As the Lord says in Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I set you apart.” When a mother and a father hold a new baby in their arms, they are changed forever. When a child says “Mommy” or “Daddy” for the first time, there is nothing like it anywhere in the world. No matter what you do, there is nothing like it. And when parents watch their children thrive and grow, they’re filled with joy beyond words, and a love beyond measure. You know that—everybody in this room.

"When we look into the eyes of a newborn child, there is no doubt we see the beauty of the human soul and the mystery of God’s great creation. We know that every life has meaning and that every life is totally worth protecting. Thank you. Thank you very much.

"When we stand for life, we stand for the true source of America’s greatness. It’s our people. Our people are great. It’s the people who grace our lives, who sustain our communities, and who make America a nation, a home, and this magnificent land that we all love so much.

"As long as we have faith in our citizens, confidence in our values, and trust in our God, then we will never, ever fail. Our nation will thrive. Our people will prosper. And America will be greater than ever before. And that’s what’s happening.

SOURCE






Hungary’s maverick prime minister, Viktor Orban, is questioning current Western values

Four years ago, Orban gave his critics ammunition when he said he was constructing an “illiberal democracy.” This month he doubled down, declaring liberal democracy dead and urging other European leaders to stop trying to revive the corpse.

Instead, Orban exhorted them to get busy invoking a new democracy based on Christian principles.

“Liberal democracy is no longer able to protect people’s dignity, provide freedom, guarantee physical security or maintain Christian culture,” he said in Hungary’s parliament earlier this month. “Some in Europe are still tinkering with it, because they believe that they can repair it, but they fail to understand that it is not the structure that is defective: The world has changed.”

The response, he added, is “to replace the shipwreck of liberal democracy by building 21st-century Christian democracy.”

For many reasons, Orban deserves our attention when he says his ambition—“now we want to hunt really big game” is precisely how he put it—is to change the course of Europe.

He is flushed with an electoral victory in which his party last month captured more votes than all of the opposition combined. He has defeated German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the important philosophical debate over immigration (Orban says it should be lowered). And he has vanquished the leftist billionaire George Soros, who just announced his nongovernmental organization is leaving Hungary.

Most importantly, the question of values is the fundamental issue confronting the Continent. Unlike the United States, modern European states are not founded upon creedal documents that lay out the constituting character and culture of the nation, and how to preserve them.

When “Europe” was more or less coterminous with “Christendom,” that text was the Bible. The culture that defined all the European nations—the paintings, the music, the festivals, the folk wisdom—was suffused with Christianity and its imagery. Greco-Judeo-Christian ethics bonded Portuguese and Finns in the absence of DNA or language links.

As Europe has de-Christianized, at best it has evolved into a values-free, empty husk. At worst it has become a supranational entity that pretends adherence to hate-speech codes, mandatory work rules, open borders, and coercion of everyone into publicly affirming lifestyles they find repugnant—all violations of different freedoms, and ironically of liberalism itself—now form “European values.”

Orban thumbs his nose at European Union pieties with gusto, which is why he can be forgiven if he uses provocative terms to attract attention to an important project.

But first it is important to note obvious downsides. Orban is no Thomas Jefferson, and his emphasis on ethnicity, not civic nationalism contained within borders, is sui generis.

If you believe that all men are created equal, are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that governments are instituted “to secure these rights” and “the blessings of liberty,” then the type of state that Orban wants to build is likely not your bag.

He says he believes that Hungarians are exceptional innately, not as a result of national traits that are acquirable. “We are a unique species,” he said last week. “There is a world which we alone see.”

This Hungarian nation is not geographically defined within juridical and electoral boundaries. The Hungarian nation, Orban said four years ago, “sometimes coincides with the country’s borders, sometimes doesn’t.”

Most important, securing individuals’ liberties is most assuredly not the central purpose of the state he is busy creating. As he said, again, in the 2014 speech:

“The new state that we are constructing in Hungary is an illiberal state, a non-liberal state. It does not reject the fundamental principles of liberalism such as freedom, and I could list a few more, but it does not make this ideology the central element of state organization, but instead includes a different, special, national approach.”

There is good reason why ethnic, rather than civic, nationalism gives us pause. Though ethnic nationalism is unassailable from a natural rights perspective, it does de-emphasize the individual’s agency by making citizenship (belonging) non-volitional.

All of this is less of an indictment of Orban than one would think, however. First, he’s building a state for Hungarians, not Americans—and we must remember that even though safeguarding freedom must be our central animating spirit, to do that, we too, must preserve America’s unique culture.

Also, Hungarians are more ethnically separate than­­­­­ most. They are descended from seven tribes that emerged out of Central Asia more than a millennium ago and settled eventually in the Carpathian Basin.

Surrounded by a sea of German and Slavic, they continue to speak a language that is Asian in origin, not European, and to have distinct foods and customs. They are highly homogenous at home, and have enclaves in neighboring countries who are still considered part of the “Hungarian nation.”

And Orban is not—with due respect to his critics—vowing to pursue his project by depriving Hungarians of their freedom or property. He really doesn’t have a beef with liberal democracy, if understood as a system of representative government where the rule of the majority is checked by constitutional guarantees for minority rights and checks and balances prevent tyranny. Though he does not make freedom “the central element” of his project, he does secure people’s rights. He’s not Putin, Castro, or Xi Jinping.

It is instructive that for Orban, the inflection point for systemic change was the 2008 financial crisis. What he saw, what many saw, was intellectual and financial elites, transnational in outlook, suffering less than their working-class compatriots. He is trying to reconstruct a sense of nation.

By attempting to reintroduce the Judeo-Christian ethic into a secularized Europe, Orban arguably is giving Europe a chance to do just that. Even if the ethnic model he and his electorate may be pursuing is irreplicable in America or most of Western Europe, the values model could have a lot to offer.­­­

SOURCE






Morgan Spurlock’s Alcoholism Confession Casts Doubt on His ‘Super Size Me’ Health Claims

Just another Leftist crook

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock caused waves with Super Size Me, the 2004 film in which he claimed eating McDonald’s gave him multiple health problems — but his recent admission to decades of heavy drinking call into question his dramatic claims about his health ailments being the result of fast food.

With his film, Spurlock won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was even nominated for an Academy Award. Phelim McAleer reminded readers of Super Sizes Me’s theatrical acclaim in a recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal.

Spurlock’s super-sized claims were quite dramatic. Before he started filming the expose about the effects of McDonald’s food on a human body, the filmmaker said that he was in a “good spot” with his health. But after a full month of eating fast food, Spurlock insisted that his health took a dramatic, downward turn.

In that one month, the filmmaker insisted that he gained an unhealthy amount of weight, he said he got “the shakes” from the burgers and fries, felt depressed, lost sexual function, and he even made the claim that his liver was damaged by the temporary fast food diet.

In a subsequent interview, Morgan Spurlock congratulated himself on “opening people’s eyes” on the ills of fast food. He also claimed that the experience hurt his body to the point where he gains weight easily.

But, the liver problems were his most dramatic claims. Did eating McDonald’s for a month straight really do so much harm to his liver? He has always maintained that his liver problems were a result of Super Size Me. But new information raises important questions.

Phelim McAleer found that Spurlock himself recently made a statement that seems to put his earlier health claims in doubt. McAleer notes that after he was accused of sexual harassment, Spurlock made a shocking admission:

Fast-forward to December 2017, when Mr. Spurlock issued a #MeToo mea culpa titled “I Am Part of the Problem,” detailing a lifetime of sexual misdeeds. As a result, YouTube dropped its plans to screen his Super Size Me sequel, and other broadcasters cut ties. But overlooked in all this was a stunning admission that calls into question the veracity of the original Super Size Me.

After blaming his parents for his bad acts, Mr. Spurlock asked: “Is it because I’ve consistently been drinking since the age of 13? I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years.”

“Could this be why his liver looked like that of an alcoholic? Were those shakes symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?”McAleer asked.

McAleer also pointed out that Spurlock’s admission about his drinking raises a question about earlier claims:

Mr. Spurlock’s 2017 confession contradicts what he said in his 2004 documentary. “Any alcohol use?” the doctor asks at the outset. “Now? None,” he replies. In explaining his experiment, he says: “I can only eat things that are for sale over the counter at McDonald’s — water included.”

Morgan Spurlock’s recent admission about a possible chronic alcohol problem appear to be at odds with the claims he made that eating fast food damaged his health.

Naturally, Spurlock has refused to respond to questions about these contradictory statements.

SOURCE





Fake Black Activist Rachel Dolezal Accused Of Welfare Fraud

She's just a fraud, period. She'll make a good Leftist

Rachel Dolezal, the former Washington state NAACP president thrust into the spotlight after media revealed she was a white woman posing as black, is facing welfare fraud charges.

Dolezal, who legally changed her name to Nkechi Diallo in 2016, could face up to 15 years in prison after authorities say she received thousands of dollars in public assistance. She’s accused of welfare fraud, perjury and false verification for public assistance, TV station KHQ reports.

Rachel Dolezal faces felony theft charges illegally receiving $8,747 in food assistance and $100 in childcare assistance from August 2015 through November 2017.  She could face 15 years in jail.

FOX News reported:

Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP chapter leader who resigned after her parents revealed she’s not African-American, is facing a felony theft charge in Washington state after she allegedly made false statements to secure nearly $9,000 in food and childcare assistance.

The charges against Dolezal, who changed her name to Nkechi Diallo in October 2016, were first reported by KHQ-TV.

According to court documents, investigators with Washington state’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) started looking into Dolezal’s finances in March 2017 after the publication of her autobiography, “In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World.”

DSHS investigator Kyle Bunge said Dolezal had claimed that “her only source of income was $300.00 per month in gifts from friends.” However, the department found that she had deposited nearly $84,000 in her bank account between August 2015 and September 2017 without reporting it.

According to the investigation, the money came from sales of Dolezal’s autobiography as well as “the sale of her art, soaps, and handmade dolls.”

Authorities say Dolezal illegally received $8,747 in food assistance and $100 in child care assistance from August 2015 through November 2017.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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Friday, May 25, 2018



Why American men are getting less marriageable

The article below is rather naive -- perhaps blinded by feminism.  The author is male but does look rather epicene.


Drake Baer

The decline in marriage is no mystery at all. Feminist-inspired  divorce laws have made marriage into a financial disaster for most men. And hardly a day goes by without some story appearing in the papers that features such disasters.  Men now know what they are in for and choose to cohabitate rather than marry. Cohabitation is the new marriage. Nearly 50% of births are now ex nuptial in some jurisdictions.

The point about employment made below does however also have some validity -- but it is not limited to manufacturing jobs. ANY man without a job or in a low paying job is unlikely to be a target for a marriage-minded woman.  It's simply practical.  The less money you have, the fewer are your options in life.  Using Occam's razor, that's all there is to this issue.

OK, I will admit that instincts have a lot to do with it too. Women do like to look up to a man and see him as a good provider. And he's hard to look up to if he is not a good provider. And that instinct would go back to our cave-man origins. Feminism has been a total failure at changing human nature.

One cause of male unemployment that bears mentioning is the heavy push to get women into remunerative "male" jobs, particularly STEM jobs.  Women are now often given preferential access to such jobs.  But that is a zero sum game.  The more women in any job  the fewer will be the men.  So some unhappy ladies will have more money but no man. And lots of them regret that quite acutely --  as the Mulvey saga reminds us

I remember a singles party I was at decades ago.  There was a quite attractive lady there whom I knew.  She said to me: "Where are all the men?"  I remarked that there were actually more men present than women.  She replied: "Not THOSE men". She wanted a man she could respect and regretted the lack of one. She went home with me



We're in the middle of a great marriage decline in the US.
This phenomenon is partially explained by economic forces that are making men less appealing partners. Traditional gender roles are also to blame.

If it seems like the number of complaints from your female friends about not being able to find a man is growing, we may finally know why. Somewhere between 1979 and 2008, Americans decided it was much less worth it to get hitched: the share of 25- to 39-year-old women who were currently married fell 10 percent among those with college degrees, 15 percent for those with some college, and a full 20 percent for women with a high-school education or less.

This great American marriage decline—a drop from 72 percent of U.S. adults being wed in 1960 to half in 2014—is usually chalked up to gains in women's rights, the normalization of divorce, and the like. But it also a lot to do with men. Namely, economic forces are making them less appealing partners, and it ties into everything from China to opioids.

The most revealing data comes from University of Zurich economist David Dorn. In a 2017 paper with an ominous title ("When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage-Market Value of Men"), Dorn and his colleagues crunched the numbers from 1990 to 2014. They found that employability and marriageability are deeply intertwined.

The flashpoint is a sector of the economy that politicians love to talk about: manufacturing. It used to be a huge slice of the employment pie: In 1990, 21.8 percent of employed men and 12.9 percent of employed women worked in manufacturing. By 2007, it had shrunk to 14.1 and 6.8 percent. These blue-collar gigs were and are special: they pay more than comparable jobs at that education level in the service sector, and they deliver way more than just a paycheck. The jobs are often dangerous and physically demanding, giving a sense of solidarity with coworkers. Not coincidentally, these jobs are also incredibly male-dominated—becoming even more so between 1990 and 2010. But since 1980, a full third of all manufacturing jobs—5 million since 2000—have evaporated, making guys less appealing as husbands.

Dorn and his colleagues find that when towns and counties lose manufacturing jobs, fertility and marriage rates among young adults go down, too. Unmarried births and the share of children living in single-parent homes go up. Meanwhile, places with higher manufacturing employment have a bigger wage gap between men and women, and a higher marriage rate.

"On simple financial grounds, the males are more attractive partners in those locations because they benefit disproportionately from having those manufacturing jobs around," he tells Thrive Global.

It underscores how in the U.S., the norms around money, marriage, and gender remain—perhaps surprisingly—traditional. Marianne Bertrand, an economist at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, has found a "cliff" in relative income in American marriages at the 50-50 split mark. While there are lots of couples where he earns 55 percent of their combined income, there are relatively few where shemakes more than he does.

While the pay gap is certainly a factor here, Bertrand and her colleagues argue that the asymmetry owes more to traditionalist gender roles and remains a class issue. They reference recent results from the World Values Survey, where respondents were asked how much they agreed with the claim that, ‘‘If a woman earns more money than her husband, it's almost certain to cause problems.'' The results broke along socioeconomic lines: 28 percent of couples where both parties went to at least some college agreed, while 45 percent of couples where neither partner went beyond high school agreed. Spouses tend to be less happy, more likely to think the marriage is in trouble, and more likely to discuss separation if the wife outearns her husband, as well.

"Either men don't like their female partners earning more than they do," Dorn says, or women feel like "if the man doesn't bring in more money, then he's an underachiever."

As manufacturing jobs are lost, there are also increases to mortality in men aged 18 to 39, Dorn says, with more deaths from liver disease, indicative of alcohol abuse; more deaths from diabetes, related to obesity; and lung cancer, related to smoking—not to mention drug overdoses. (These "deaths of despair" have taken over a million American lives in the past decade.) Ofer Sharone, a sociologist at the University of Massachusetts, has found that while Israelis blame the system when they can't find a job, Americans see themselves as flawed when they can't find work, which sounds a lot like perfectionism. And remarkably, half of unemployed men in the U.S. are on some sort of painkiller. Unremarkably, all that makes long-term monogamy less appealing. "This is consistent with the notion that males become less attractive partners because they have less money and start doing drugs," Dorn says.

The precarious situation that American men face has a lot to do with the nature of the jobs they're doing. Germany and Switzerland, which are bleeding manufacturing at a much slower rate, do more precision work (read: watches and cars), which is harder to ship overseas to hand over to robots and algorithms. Traditionally masculine, American blue collar jobs tend toward repetitive tasks, making them easier to replace. (One British estimate predicted that 35 percent of traditionally male jobs in the UK are at high risk of being automated, compared with 26 percent of traditionally female jobs.) There's a race to automate trucking, a traditionally male role, but not so much nursing.

And the working-class jobs that are being added tend toward what's traditionally taken to be "women's work." Care-oriented jobs like home-care aides continue to go up—a trend that's only going to continue as America gets older and boomers move into retirement. These are not trends that add to the marketability of guys. "The lack of good jobs for these men is making them less and less attractive to women in the marriage market, and women, with their greater earnings, can do fine remaining single," says Bertrand, the Chicago economist. "For gender identity reasons, these men may not want to enter into marriages with women who are dominating them economically, even if this would make economic sense to them."

So what's a man to do within change like this? Dorn recommends, if one is able, to specialize in areas that are harder to automate—jobs that require problem-solving and creativity. But those jobs also often require more education. Then comes the much woolier, complex issue of gender norms. There are individual choices to be made at a personal level for men to take on traditionally feminine work, or for heterosexual couples to settle on a situation where the wife brings home the bacon. But these individual choices don't happen in a vacuum—they're necessarily informed by the broader culture.

"Traditional masculinity is standing in the way of working-class men's employment," Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin said in an interview. "We have a cultural lag where our views of masculinity have not caught up to the change in the job market." (This was captured in a recent New York Times headline: "Men Don't Want to Be Nurses. Their Wives Agree.") Parents and educators will play the biggest role in teaching more gender neutral attitudes regarding who belongs in the home and who belongs in the marketplace, Bertrand says. And eventually, she adds, gender norms "will adjust to the new realities" that are already present in the economy: women are getting better educations and are more employable, and the work opportunities that are growing are—for now—thought to be feminine.

SOURCE





Want to fire your congressman? There's a fund for that

by Jeff Jacoby

A new, nonpartisan political action committee aims to help candidates who challenge incumbent members of Congress.

NORBERT RICHTER, an engineer whose business is the construction of ultra-light turbine helicopters, has a knack for getting innovative contraptions off the ground. That skill may prove handy as he attempts to gain altitude for a different sort of vehicle: a scheme to disrupt the shield of incumbency that makes it almost impossible to dislodge a sitting member of Congress.

Richter has created Fire Your Congressman, a political action committee designed to help candidates of any party who challenge incumbent senators and representatives.

The near-invulnerability of congressional incumbents is one of the most demoralizing phenomena in US politics. Richter, a resident of Gainesville in Florida's 3rd congressional district, got a first-hand taste of that demoralization in 2016. He had been thinking of running in the Republican primary against US Representative Ted Yoho, and was astonished at how the party mobilized to shelter the incumbent from challenge.

"I was aghast," Richter told me in a recent conversation. "The party had no interest in allowing competition." The GOP establishment made clear, he says, that it would thwart his efforts to raise funds or schedule debates. Yoho had a hefty campaign war chest, name recognition, and access to party loyalists with deep pockets. Richter soon realized that he couldn't hope to raise enough money to run a credible race. In the end, Yoho faced no primary opponent. In November, he was easily re-elected from his safe GOP district.

And that, Richter learned as he analyzed his experience, was typical.

Though Americans despise Congress, most incumbents are routinely returned to office. On Election Day in 2016, congressional job approval averaged a miserable 15 percent in national polls. Yet only eight of the 388 members of the House of Representatives running for re-election that day were defeated; five others had previously been ousted in primaries. In short, 97 percent of House incumbents seeking another term had been re-elected. And of the 29 senators on the ballot, 93 percent prevailed.

"In a year that was defined by a political outsider, Donald Trump, winning the presidency," wrote political scientist Larry Sabato, "it was still a really good year to run as an incumbent."

It's always a really good year to run as an incumbent. In the abstract, Americans cherish their power to throw the bums out. But the bums rarely have anything to worry about, so barricaded are they behind the advantages of incumbency — gerrymandered districts, local media coverage, franked mail privileges, government-paid staff, and, perhaps most important, the flow of campaign contributions from those willing to pay for access and goodwill.

The only way to curtail the lopsidedly pro-incumbent dynamic in American elections, Richter decided, is with a counterflow of contributions to challengers. That's the idea behind Fire Your Congressman, his newly launched PAC.

Here's how it works: Donors wishing to remove incumbent members of Congress contribute to the PAC, which creates pools of money to be spent in support of challengers. Donations can be made to pools targeting specific incumbents, or to a general pool that will be used against a "Top 10" list of sitting lawmakers — five Democrats, five Republicans — that PAC researchers determine to be the highest priority for defeat.

In its first weeks, the fledgling PAC has received only contributions from small-dollar donors, but those dollars are trickling in. (The total to date, according to Richter, is in "the low tens of thousands.") Most of the money has been earmarked for pools to defeat two Florida House members: Yoho, the Gainesville Republican, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the South Florida Democrat. "I haven't had a million-dollar donor come up to me yet," Richter says, but he is hopeful that as word spreads, Fire Your Congressman will become a significant vehicle for challenging heretofore untouchable incumbents.

Richter emphasizes the PAC's nonpartisan structure. "Libertarian, Berniecrat, super-right-winger, conventional liberal — it doesn't matter" where a donor falls on the spectrum, he stresses. "If you are fed up with incumbents, if you want to support challengers, we can help."

Why would donors funnel campaign contributions through Fire Your Congressman PAC rather than give directly to the campaigns of individual challengers? For two reasons, says Richter.

First, so a war chest can be amassed against an incumbent even before a credible challenger emerges. In some cases, the knowledge that a pool of funds already exists may give challengers the reassurance to get into a race that might otherwise be unrealistic.

The second advantage to channeling contributions through the PAC? To prevent angry incumbents from taking revenge.

The PAC's website makes the point explicitly: "Challengers can find fundraising particularly difficult, because potential donors are concerned about losing favor with their incumbent representative if they publicly donate to an opponent." Since money given to the PAC is not reported to the Federal Election Commission as a donation against any named lawmaker, donors can "maintain their relationship with incumbents, while making undisclosed donations against them."

The pro-incumbent bias in American politics won't be dismantled overnight. Ultimately it can be whittled away only by emboldening and strengthening challengers. Fire Your Congressman gives fed-up voters a way to leverage the power of money against the fortress of incumbency. Can Richter make it fly? It's too soon to know for sure, but I'm rooting for the engineer.

SOURCE







Social Justice Warrior Accuses Conservative Women of ‘Appropriating’ Feminism—but We’re Not Having It

Kelsey Harkness

Fake news, move over—there’s a new con (wo)man in town. It’s called fake feminism, and according to a woman on the left, conservative women are the culprits.

Liberal feminist writer Jessica Valenti, author of books such as “Sex Object: A Memoir,” and “Why Have Kids?”, took to The New York Times Sunday to argue Republicans are “appropriating” feminist rhetoric in their use of the term. How dare they not ask for permission?

In her article, “The Myth of Conservative Feminism,” Valenti writes:

Conservatives appropriating feminist rhetoric despite their abysmal record on women’s rights is, in part, a product of the president’s notorious sexism. Now more than ever, conservatives need to paint themselves as woman-friendly to rehab their image with female voters.

In an attempt to justify the hypocrisy of feminists refusing to celebrate historic achievements such as Gina Haspel becoming the first female to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, Valenti argues, “Feminism isn’t about blind support for any woman who rises to power.”

Pay no mind to the many faces of the Democratic Party who have long argued women should vote based on their reproductive body parts.

“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in support of the Democrats’ nominee on the 2016 campaign trail.

Women supporting President Donald Trump are “publicly disrespecting themselves,” woman-splained Hillary Clinton.

“Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice,” said Michelle Obama just last year.

So which way is it—does feminism champion individuality and free thought, or is it “my way or the highway”?

Conservative women have long been divided on whether they identify as a feminist. Speaking on a 2018 women’s panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference, I publicly embraced the term to acknowledge that women throughout history were not always equal, and to honor all the work of the first-wave feminists who came before us.

Others argue the term was so badly hijacked to mean supporting an anti-male, pro-abortion without limits agenda, that it’s a lost cause to use the term.

“It’s difficult for me to call myself a feminist in a classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male, and it certainly is very pro-abortion, and I’m neither anti-male or pro-abortion,” White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said at CPAC in 2017. “I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances.”

Disagreement among right-leaning women about the feminist identity exemplifies a healthy debate seldom seen or allowed on the left. As the world witnessed at the inaugural Women’s March, unless you unequivocally support abortion, you’re not welcome to be one of them.

In response to the threat posed by right-leaning women who identify as feminist, Valenti said:

Now we have a different task: protecting the movement against conservative appropriation. We’ve come too far to allow the right to water down a well-defined movement for its own cynical gains. Because if feminism means applauding ‘anything a woman does’—even hurting other women—then it means nothing.

In truth, Valenti is right to feel threatened by those of us who’ve embraced the term “feminism.”

We’re reaching out to young women and explaining that disagreement is OK, and we’re showing that standing up for women can also mean standing up for issues such as tax reform, and a strong national defense.

After all, the Trump administration has one of the most pro-women foreign policy agendas we’ve seen in decades. Instead of sending planes filled with cash to regimes such as Iran who arrest women for taking off their hijabs, we’ve exited the Iran deal, sending the message that we stand in solidarity with women and no longer excuse violations of their most fundamental human rights.

And despite being pariahs within the culture, conservative women have played a healthy role in the #MeToo movement, proving that feminism can accomplish so much more when everyone’s involved.

Feminism has evolved, and it appears we’ve reached a breaking point. Lined with Planned Parenthood’s pocketbook, the left’s goal is to define it based on the single issue of abortion.

Conservatives, on the other hand, argue it’s time for a more inclusive version of feminism that focuses on the plights of women worldwide—not just here in the United States.

Valenti and her allies can work overtime trying to discredit our perspective and accuse us of “appropriating” the term. But those of us who embrace it aren’t backing down to her school girl bully approach.

Instead, we’ll use the attack as an opportunity to have a conversation, not just with America but the entire world, about why feminism is about so much more than the single issue of abortion.

We’ll show that real feminism is about furthering equality for all women around the world. And how selecting Gina Haspel as the first woman to lead the CIA was a great first step.

SOURCE






Sexism? Australian Medical clinic comes under fire for charging patients an EXTRA $7 to see a female GP

Patients have been left outraged after a medical centre charged MORE money for them to see female GPs.

The Melbourne clinic, Myhealth North Eltham, has come under scrutiny after it was found charging patients more for standard consultations with female GPs than it does for a consultation with male GPs.

A sign displayed in the clinic showed the discriminatory pricing policy - and it's attracted criticism online.  

The photograph was uploaded to Twitter with the caption: 'This is so f***ed. My friend goes to Eltham North Clinic in #Victoria, and they've just instituted extra fees for female doctors because "women's issues take longer". Surely this is illegal ... if it's not illegal, it's still outrageously sexist.'

The post was shared online by the user's followers, who also vented their anger.

One user said: 'If you're asking people who are paid 30 per cent less to fill that 30 per cent wage gap, it doesn't help. It means even greater financial inequality for those at the bottom.'

Another added: 'I don't think this is the scandal you think it is. I'd pay more to see a female colleague knowing they get ~30% less take home pay than their male counterparts. On top of fewer opportunities, and institutional/societal sexism.'

According to Fairfax, Federal Health Minister Greg is calling for an urgent investigation of the matter.

Kristen Hilton, Victoria's Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner told The Guardian, the Melbourne clinic may be breaking the law and it can be considered discriminatory for charging patients more to see female GPs.

'It is against the law for doctors to treat someone unfavourably because of their gender,' Ms Hilton said.

SOURCE 

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

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

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

***************************

Thursday, May 24, 2018



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

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

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


Venue: The Roy Thompson hall


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

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

Toronto’s elite are anti-PC

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

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

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

It’s okay not to like your teammate

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

It’s also okay to call Stephen Fry offensive names

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

But it’s not okay to call Jordan Peterson white

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

Nobody wants to appear dead-set against #MeToo

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

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

Toronto’s elite are still anti-PC

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

SOURCE






Australia: "Righteous" critics of a reasonable statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They were quick to attract criticism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE 






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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE 





Catholic Therapist Allegedly Fired For Her Religious Beliefs Against Gay Marriage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************


Wednesday, May 23, 2018




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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE






Refugee slowdown under Trump

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

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

The machinery of refugee resettlement has ground down accordingly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE






Democrats Love Playing Sexism Games

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE






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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************




Tuesday, May 22, 2018




The Royal wedding

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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






When Social Media Debunk Conspiracy Theories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE






Iraqi 'Republic': No Christian Converts

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

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

Sounds like a bastion of freedom and representative government.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The lesson: Bush was wrong.

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

SOURCE






Scandinavian Approach to Counterterrorism, Islamist Ideology Is Flawed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Threat Assessment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prevention of Violent Extremism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Integration of Asylum-Seekers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Speed Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE

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

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

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

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