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What next for school accountability?   

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Peer review has finally made it on to the political agenda as evidence of its benefits grows, writes Dr Kate Chhatwal, but as politicians catch up, there’s evidence its benefits could go much further than schools alone. Conference season, with a possible snap election around the corner, has brought renewed interest in school improvement and


          

Argentina’s difficult road to redemption   

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The current economic crisis is milder than the collapse of 2001-02. And the country’s politicians are more responsible

          

Lynton Crosby's firm in illegal lobbying inquiry over Boris Johnson link   

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CTF Partners says staff’s unpaid work on PM’s election campaign was not connected to day jobs

Sir Lynton Crosby’s CTF Partners is under investigation for a potential breach of lobbying laws amid suspicions that its employees’ work for senior Conservatives including Boris Johnson could have overlapped with their day jobs representing paying clients.

The Guardian can disclose that the inquiry began in the summer after concerns were raised that the business or its staff could be illegally operating as an unregistered lobbyist. CTF Partners has so far failed to provide sufficient information to satisfy regulators that it did not use its employees’ access to senior politicians to improperly influence government policy.

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Nothing To See Here   

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Click here to view original web page at www.shotinthedark.infoJoe Doakes from Como Park emails: Crime on the Blight Rail is getting worse, the cops know it and need more money to fight it, the politicians are desperately trying to hide it.I particularly like Metro Transit’s response: The train is fine.Joe Doakes I rode the train for a year and a half. It’s not “Fine”. Click here to view original post www.shotinthedark.info

          

Dr. Richard Daystrom on (News Article):BREAKING: NO MORE SECRETS – Google Achieves “Quantum Supremacy” That Will Soon Render All Cryptocurrency Breakable, All Military Secrets Revealed   

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BREAKING: NO MORE SECRETS – Google Achieves “Quantum Supremacy” That Will Soon Render All Cryptocurrency Breakable, All Military Secrets Revealed

 

Saturday, September 21, 2019 by: Mike Adams
Tags: bitcoincryptocurrencycryptographyencryptionGooglemilitary encryptionquantum computingquantum supremacyqubitssecrets

Preliminary report. More detailed analysis coming in 24 hours at this site. According to a report published at Fortune.com, Google has achieved “quantum supremacy” with a 53-qubit quantum computer. From reading the report, it is obvious that Fortune.com editors, who should be applauded for covering this story, really have little clue about the implications of this revelation. Here’s what this means for cryptocurrency, military secrets and all secrets which are protected by cryptography.

Notably, NASA published the scientific paper at this link, then promptly removed it as soon as the implications of this technology started to become apparent to a few observers. (The link above is now dead. The cover-up begins…) However, the Financial Times reported on the paper before it was removed. Google is now refusing to verify the existence of the paper.

Here’s the upshot of what this “quantum supremacy” means for Google and the world:

  • Google’s new quantum processor took just 200 seconds to complete a computing task that would normally require 10,000 years on a supercomputer.
  • A 53-qubit quantum computer can break any 53-bit cryptography in mere seconds, or in fractions of sections in certain circumstances.
  • Bitcoin’s transactions are currently protected by 256-bit encryption. Once Google scales its quantum computing to 256 qubits, it’s over for Bitcoin (and all 256-bit crypto), since Google (or anyone with the technology) could easily break the encryption protecting all crypto transactions, then redirect all such transactions to its own wallet. See below why Google’s own scientists predict 256-qubit computing will be achieved by 2022.
  • In effect, “quantum supremacy” means the end of cryptographic secrets, which is the very basis for cryptocurrency.
  • In addition, all military-grade encryption will become pointless as Google’s quantum computers expand their qubits into the 512, 1024 or 2048 range, rendering all modern cryptography obsolete. In effect, Google’s computer could “crack” any cryptography in mere seconds.
  • The very basis of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rests in the difficulty of factoring very large numbers. Classical computing can only compute the correct factoring answers through brute force trial-and-error, requiring massive computing power and time (in some cases, into the trillions of years, depending on the number of encryption bits). Quantum computing, it could be said, solves the factoring problem in 2^n dimensions, where n is the number of bits of encryption. Unlike traditional computing bits that can only hold a value of 0 or 1 (but not both), qubits can simultaneously hold both values, meaning an 8-qubit computer can simultaneously represent all values between 0 and 255 at the same time. A deeper discussion of quantum computing is beyond the scope of this news brief, but its best application is breaking cryptography.
  • The number of qubits in Google’s quantum computers will double at least every year, according to the science paper that has just been published. As Fortune reports, “Further, they predict that quantum computing power will ‘grow at a double exponential rate,’ besting even the exponential rate that defined Moore’s Law, a trend that observed traditional computing power to double roughly every two years.”
  • As a conservative estimate, this means Google will achieve > 100 qubits by 2020, and > 200 qubits by 2021, then > 400 qubits by the year 2022.
  • Once Google’s quantum computers exceed 256 qubits, all cryptocurrency encryption that uses 256-bit encryption will be null and void.
  • By 2024, Google will be able to break nearly all military-grade encryption, rendering military communications fully transparent to Google.
  • Over the last decade, Google has become the most evil corporation in the world, wholly dedicated to the suppression of human knowledge through censorship, demonetization and de-platforming of non-mainstream information sources. Google has blocked nearly all websites offering information on natural health and holistic medicine while blocking all videos and web pages that question the corrupt scientific establishment on topics like vaccines, pesticides and GMOs. Google has proven it is the most corrupt, evil entity in the world, and now it has the technology to break all cryptography and achieve “omniscience” in our modern technological society. Google is a front for Big Pharma and communist China. Google despises America, hates human health and has already demonstrated it is willing to steal elections to install the politicians it wants.
  • With this quantum technology, Google will be able to break all U.S. military encryption and forward all “secret” communications to the communist Chinese. (Yes, Google hates America and wants to see America destroyed while building out a Red China-style system of social control and total enslavement.)
  • Google’s quantum eavesdropping system, which might as well be called, “Setec Astronomy,” will scrape up all the secrets of all legislators, Supreme Court justices, public officials and CEOs. Nothing will be safe from the Google Eye of Sauron. Everyone will be “blackmailable” with Google’s quantum computing power.
  • Google will rapidly come to dominate the world, controlling most of the money, all speech, all politics, most science and technology, most of the news media and all public officials. Google will become the dominant controlling authoritarian force on planet Earth, and all humans will be subservient to its demands. Democracy, truth and freedom will be annihilated.

Interestingly, I publicly predicted this exact scenario over two years ago in a podcast that was banned by YouTube and then re-posted on Brighteon.com a year later. This podcast directly states that the development of quantum computing would render cryptocurrency obsolete:

Beyond Skynet: Google’s 3 pillars of tech: AI, Quantum computing and humanoid robotics

Google has been investing heavily in three key areas of research:

  • Artificial intelligence (machine learning, etc.)
  • Quantum computing
  • Humanoid robotics

When you combine these three, you get something that’s far beyond Skynet. You eventually create an all-seeing AI intelligence that will know all secrets and control all financial transactions. With AI quickly outpacing human intelligence, and with quantum computing rendering all secrets fully exposed to the AI system, it’s only a matter of time before the Google Super Intellect System (or so it might be named) enslaves humanity and decides we are no longer necessary for its very existence. The humanoid robots translate the will of the AI system into the physical world, allowing Google’s AI intellect system to carry out mass genocide of humans, tear town human cities or carry out anything else that requires “muscle” in the physical world. All such robots will, of course, be controlled by the AI intellect.

Google is building a doomsday Skynet system, in other words, and they are getting away with it because nobody in Washington D.C. understands mathematics or science.

A more detailed analysis of this will appear on this site tomorrow. Bottom line? Humanity had better start building mobile EMP weapons and learning how to kill robots, or it’s over for the human race.

In my opinion, we should pull the plug on Google right now. We may already be too late.

 

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Political Victimization in Pakistani Politics   

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Watch this video
Political Victimization in Pakistani Politics
From Nawaz Sharif to Asif Ali Zardari, several politicians have been arrested on corruption charges. However, the opposition is calling it as the political victimization.
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NBA backs free speech after Hong Kong tweet furore   

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The NBA has insisted it backs free speech, after US politicians accused it of caving to China in a row over a pro-democracy tweet that has cost the Houston Rockets lucrative Chinese sponsors and airtime.

          

Why the Left Needs Liberals   

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Every reform era came about, in the main, when left-wing movements compelled liberal politicians to back some of their key demands and then collaborated with those lawmakers against their common foes.


          

One year timeline...   

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Twelve months have passed since the government announced that the military campaign to recapture Mosul from ISIS terrorists has been finally unleashed. Every one of us was eager to hear that announcement, its time to end the dark night, to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This eagerness was disrupted by the strangling worries when you see all those military hosts equipped with devastating weapons and you know that those weapons will be thrown upon the city where innocent people, your beloved family, friends are still living, suffering from fears, hunger, and an unknown destiny. The battle started on17th of October 2016, we couldnt sleep that night, we were doing nothing but to surf through the news media.
The scenario was fast at the beginning, and the scenes were promising and gave us some hope that innocents are going to be safe. It was fraught to see the people who were lucky to flee safely from the combat zone in that misery, they were emaciated, tired and barely able to breathe and their looks told a story of days full of pain ، worries, and a big questionwhy us? What guilt did we make to deserve this punishment?!
Day by day, things went more wildly and became bloodier, people were buried under their houses, and we all have lost people we love and care about...
On 10th of July 2017, the Iraqi government announced that Mosul is fully liberated from ISIS terrorists, leaving thousands of killed people and a destroyed city that was inhabited, one day, by two million people.

Within the liberation year, Mosul has become a semi-dead city.  While people on the left coast are trying to summon up the courage and to start a new life with the scarce support from the government, the right coast is now is a deserted, destroyed city, people are forbidden to cross to the right coast and many of them are still having relatives buried under the wreckage!
Again, innocent people are the biggest loser from this war and they are always the victims of the politicians and all we need now is the international support and a protection to those innocent people as it is unjust to leave them at the mercy of those who would not care about them and would never bring peace to the city.





          

The distructive liberation   

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Every day , we wake to news about the libration of Iraqi lands occupied by ISIS and the heavy fighting between the latter and the iraqi army helped by sectarian shiite militia known as “hashid shaaby” supervised by coaliation forces. Evidently the term “ liberation “ seems to be a glorious victory that brings back peace to the people there, but the reality appears to be different . It is just a massive destruction that turn the cities to uninhabitable scraps .
Since April , 2015 ,Tikrit ( a city located 140 km northwest to Baghdad , 220  km southeast to Mosul) was regaind from islamic state fighters after fierce fighting which forced 28,000 civilians to fled out of the city . Regaining Tikrit gave some hope to the displaced people to return back to their homes , but everyone was shocked by retributive vandalism carried out by shia militia groups who took the control on the city and started to burn , destroy and steal the property of the fleet people. After a year from liberating Tikrit , the people, who fled to kurdistan in the north,  are between the hammer and the anvil for being afraid to return to their homes and bearing the harassement of Kurdistan government who tries to compel them to leave kurdistan by refusing the renewal of their residency permission. Targeting unarmed civilians continued in Al Muqdadyiah ( province of Dyalah ) under the pretention of fighting terrorism. 

The government tried to improve it’s public image in Ramadi (108 km west to Baghdad ) as it relied largely on official iraqi armed forces together with  the armed tribes and the coaliation air strikes while constricting the role of “Hashid” militia which incensed Shiites as they consider it a depreciation to them . Again the government mass media tried to glorify the victory , but Ramadi liberation was synonymous with that of Tikrit. Ramadi now is a wild city with completely destructed infra structures , the government reports estimated that about 80% of the city is completely broken up ,  Besides the sleeper cells that come between any chances to bring peace to the city .

The big challenge now is “ Mosul “ ،The second largest city in Iraq with 2 millions people trapped there under the role of ISIS . As opposed to the tribal society of Ramady and to some degree of Tikrit , cultured society of Mosul make things more complicated in terms of arming the tribes belong to the city which in some way was helpful in Ramadi.

Mosul is considered as the stronghold of ISIS fighters and one of the most important resource for them , As a result they won’t give up easily and they will fight desperately in order to keep the city under their control taking the advantage of the high popular density and using them as human shields . The government seems to temporize taking serious steps in liberation of Mosul as well as it insist on participating “ Hashid “ militia despite the troubles they made in Tikrit and other cities. All the factors mentioned above make the liberation of the city more difficult and more complicated which mean that the city may undergo  more massive destruction and shedding a lot of blood in comparision of other cities.
Iraq in general is walking toward the abyss , the government is helpless and have lost a considerable parts of Iraq and hand them over to the strangers . the politicians are busy in filling their pockets and don’t care about the people outside their castles .
Iraq really needs a miracle to survive this period which is the worst period in it’s history.

          

   

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The hateful extremism of the British government

I have just had an extensive look at "Challenging Hateful Extremism", a recent emission of the British government.

There is only one form of extremism in Britain that frequently kills people and that is of course Muslim extremism. So you would think that the report would focus heavily on that form of extremism and leave other forms of extremism to be summed up in a single chapter.  That is not remotely so.

The report does mention Musim hate speech but it is most heavily concerned with the words of British patriots who resent the favoritism shown towards Muslims by the British government.  And that favoritism is surely hateful extremism. 

The Left will deny anything so will probably deny any favoritism towards Muslims but the report itself is evidence of that bias.  It was chaired by Sara Khan, a former  president of an Islamic youth organisation.  No expectation of bias there, of course.

So rather than be preoccupied with the grievous attacks from Muslims that can erupt anywhere any time, the British government wants to muzzle citizens who are concerned about such attacks.  A more hateful form of extremism would be hard to imagine -- JR







British cops covering up for one-another

It's what cops do but it must be exposed

Five detectives were cleared of wrongdoing over their handling of bogus VIP sex ring allegations following a "lamentable and inadequate" inquiry by police watchdogs, a former High Court judge has said.

Sir Richard Henriques believes the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) carried out "no effective interrogations" during its review of Operation Midland, which focused on false allegations by fantasist Carl Beech.

He also expressed alarm at the IOPC's "lack of knowledge of criminal procedure" as it prepares to publish a report explaining why it exonerated officers involved in the disastrous sex abuse probe.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Sir Richard said he finds it "difficult to conceive that no misconduct or criminality was involved by at least one officer" involved in the Midland inquiry.

"Whilst all five, absent any proper investigation, must be presumed innocent, the responsibility of the IOPC was to carry out a high quality investigation in a timely manner," he added. 

"The delay in reaching their findings of almost three years is gross and inexcusable and goes some way to inhibiting any further investigation."

Beech was jailed for 18 years for perverting justice by claiming he had been abused by Sir Edward Heath, the former Prime Minister, Lord Brittan, the former Home Secretary, Lord Bramall, the former head of the Army and Harvey Proctor, the former Tory MP.

He also claimed he had witnessed members of the gang murder three boys, prompting police to launch a £2.5 million homicide investigation.

Instead of testing the claims, the Metropolitan Police declared they were  "credible and true", something Sir Richard said had devastating consequences.

The former judge pinpointed 43 separate mistakes by officers in his own report on Operation Midland.

His scathing report says there were numerous opportunities to spot Beech's lies in the early stages of the inquiry and shut the case down.

In response, Scotland Yard's Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House admitted "mistakes were made" but said the force does not agree with "everything Sir Richard wrote in his report or indeed all of his recent statements regarding further investigations into the actions of officers".

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Anger as BBC Today presenter Justin Webb says Rory Stewart should not try to be London mayor because standing against black and Muslim rivals as a white Old Etonian 'is not very 2020'

BBC Today presenter Justin Webb suggested Rory Stewart should not stand for London mayor because he is a white man and an Old Etonian.

The ex-Tory cabinet minister, 46, appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme to discuss his mayoral campaign.

However Today presenter Justin Webb, 58, argued that Mr Stewart standing in the mayoral race was not 'really 2020'.  

Mr Stewart is up against Conservative Party candidate Shaun Bailey and member of the Labour Party Sadiq Khan.

Mr Webb said: 'You mention that you are proud of the diversity of the mayoral race in London, you are a white guy and Old Etonian - it's not really 2020 is it, really, to be challenging a black man who is the conservative candidate and the Muslim mayor.'

Mr Stewart added: 'You are absolutely right it is a fantastically diverse group of candidates which reflects a diverse city.'

'And you are saying don't elect them, elect a white Etonian,' said Mr Webb who was educated at private Sidcot School, Somerset.

The ex-minister said: 'I'm definitely not saying that.'

'It kind of is what you are saying isn't it because you are standing,' Mr Webb retorted.

Mr Stewart said: 'I am saying that you should not be voting for me on the basis of my ethnicity but on the basis of the fact that I feel that as an ex-cabinet minister, as someone who has run for big projects internationally, as somebody who can get things done and has proved in government that I can turn things around.

'I can make the role of mayor something bigger than it has been in the past - I think there is huge potential in the role of mayor of London.'

Mr Stewart added on the Today programme: 'I think British political parties are dragging towards the extremes. I think there is a gaping hole in the centre...'  'I'm obviously not a partisan of Sadiq Khan's or indeed of any political party - I think that mayoral roles can be done very well by independents.  'And I think the danger of mayors being part of political parties is they carry the whole damage and the baggage of those manifestos with them.' 

Mr Stewart has been highly critical of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's approach to Brexit, leading to him being sacked as a Tory MP by Mr Johnson last month - along with 20 other colleagues - for voting against a no-deal exit. 

Over the coming weeks, the Remain campaigner intends to emulate his walk across Afghanistan in 2002 - which the ex-diplomat wrote about for a travel book - by touring each borough of London on foot as part of a listening mission before the campaign kicks off.

'I can make the role of mayor something bigger than it's been in the past - I think there's huge potential in the role of mayor of London,' Mr Stewart insisted. 'I think it's something that we see in cities like New York, I don't think we've begun to see the potential of it.'

Mr Stewart insisted that he sought to position himself as the London mayoral candidate without ties to either Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson.

He added how mayors who were part of political parties carried 'baggage' of their manifestos and suggested he could 'really focus' on London's interests 'rather than being tied to Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson.'

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted yesterday: 'Rory Stewart wholeheartedly backed Tory cuts that have ripped the heart out of our communities and done so much damage to our police, NHS and schools. He would be a disaster for London.'

Responding to the criticism on BBC Breakfast this morning Mr Stewart told presenter Charlie Stayt: 'You have just put your finger there on the classic thing, which is we are back to party politics again. 'But I think what we shouldn't do is get into this world of everybody throwing personal insults.'

Mr Stewart said London Mayor Sadiq Khan had 'made the most' of the role and that it was 'not clear' what his dreams are for the capital.

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Australia: Journalists won't face facts over false claims of abuse in divorce proceedings

CHRIS KENNY

Astounding as it might seem, fact can sometimes be portrayed as fiction because politicians and journalists are more interested in their own positioning than realistically dealing with the proposition at hand.

Afteryears of campaigning for reform of the Family Court system, Pauline Hanson last month welcomed the government's decision to grant her wish of a parliamentary inquiry, complete with her place as deputy chair.

In one of her first interviews Hanson told Radio National Breakfast's Hamish McDonald that women sometimes used false domestic violence claims so as to win sole custody of their children. "I'm hearing of too many cases where children, or parents I should say, are using domestic violence to stop the other parent from seeing their children. Perjury is in our system, but they're not charged with perjury," said the One Nation Senator.

McDonald, rightly, pressed Hanson for evidence to support her claim, and she, rightly, relayed cases forwarded to her, including one involving her son, as anecdotal evidence while arguing this was one of the issues the inquiry should examine in order to establish verifiable information. Hanson went on to make similar comments on Nine Media and elsewhere, dubbing some women "liars".

Cue outrage. "One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has caused outrage after making a series of comments on ABC Radio this morning, implying women who report domestic violence are often lying," reported News.com.au. "Pauline Hanson sparks fury with claim domestic violence victims are lying to family court," screamed The Guardian Australia. "Pauline Hanson slammed," opened The Project while host Carrie Bickmore said Hanson "sparked outrage taking aim at domestic violence victims" — which seemed to draw a long and inflammatory bow.

In the Sydney Morning Herald, journalist David Leser wrote Hanson "has already demonstrated her lack of fitness for the job by accusing women of fabricating domestic violence claims in order to get custody of their children". The Guardian Australia's political reporter, Katharine Murphy, opined: "Hanson has kicked off with inflammation, ventilating the old chestnut that women are making up domestic violence claims in custody battles."

In Nine Media newspapers Jacqueline Maley and Bianca Hall quoted former Family Court chief justice Elizabeth Evatt: "The first-ever chief justice of the Family Court says Senator Pauline Hanson's claim that women fabricate family violence complaints is 'appalling' and 'not true."

With such outrage afoot the safest place for politicians (especially men) to be was anywhere but agreeing with Hanson. While Labor and the Greens lined up to attack her, even Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton pushed back. "Pauline Hanson is passionate about a lot of issues and she was wrong in relation to some of the comments she made during the course of the week," he said.

Surely for journalists there was one crucial question that had to be addressed — and it wasn't whether or not you agreed with Hanson's language, supported her priorities, or whether you thought false claims were the biggest problem when it came to the Family Court and domestic violence. The question was simply whether she was right.

The ABC ran a story on the second day of this controversy saying domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty had "called out" Hanson's comments, yet in the next paragraph quoted Batty saying there are "some women who abuse the system".

The Project, The Guardian Australia and others went to journalist Jess Hill, whose book on domestic violence cited, among other things, a study showing men made false claims at three times the rate of women. Hill was keen to condemn Hanson but did she disprove her claims? On The Project, Bickmore asked Hill: "Jess, what do you make of Pauline's comments? Are false abuse claims a big problem in our Family Courts?"

The response was emphatic and fascinating. "No," said Hill, "we actually have data for a really long time telling us about the average number of false claims, or deliberately false allegations — they're at about 10 per cent"

On RN Breakfast the day after his initial Hanson interview, McDonald followed up by interviewing domestic violence expert Dr Jane Wangmann from University of Technology Sydney. Asked whether or not false claims happened, her initial response mentioned that this was "a very powerful narrative that has come from men's rights groups" and she went on to say "there is no evidence to support her (Hanson's) allegations".

Yet, live to air, Wangmann cited studies in Canada and Australia tracing false claims involv-ing child abuse and family court matters. "They have found allegations that are false are very, very small, ranging between 4 and 12 per cent," she said. Wangmann clarified that the 12 per cent figure related to the Australian study but insisted: "There is no evidence to support this is a widespread concern in which we might need to have an inquiry."

So here we had RN Breakfast and The Project persisting in their outrage that Hanson was perpetrating a falsehood about women making false claims, at the same time their chosen experts confirmed false allegation rates of 10 and 12 per cent. In neither case did the interviews note that false claim rates of 10 per cent or more only under-scored Hanson's point.

Instead the media angle was to remain aligned with their guests — that is, opposed to Hanson. This is a dear case of the media maintaining their ideological position despite the facts, journalism siding with political style over factual substance.

Judging whether someone is right or wrong is not a matter of making hierarchical comparisons with other issues. Hanson did not say false claims are a bigger issue than the number of women being killed in domestic violence attacks, or that this was easy or that it was the only issue. Hanson said there was a problem with false claims and that it might be a factor in the high rates of male suicide. And while politicians rushed to distance themselves, so did the media.

But even in their efforts to de-bunk Hanson they revealed figures suggesting one in every 10 claims put before the system is false. It seems we have cultivated such a superficial public debate that participants fear conceding any point to Hanson might see them identified with her agenda. So, figures that proved Hanson
had a point were used to pretend she was wrong.

Child psychologist Clare Rowe deals in such matters daily. "People might not like Hanson's politics, or priorities, or how she speaks about these issues, but the reality is false claims are a problem," Rowe told me. "This topic should not be taboo because, while we know the court must err on the side of caution, these cases do occur, and it means hundreds of children are being denied a parent under false pre-tences."

That sounds like an issue worthy of media examination. But it requires a bit more time and effort compared to the usual Hanson backlash angle.

Story from the Brisbane "courier Mail" of 7 October, 2019

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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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I Was Cursed Out of a Coffee Shop for My Views

Marilyn Synek

I never expected my weekly morning ritual of coffee and crepes at a popular local coffee shop would be interrupted by a vulgar, verbal attack that would make national headlines.

On Sept. 11, a cafe employee in Lincoln, Nebraska, named Natalie Weiss recognized me from across the room as an employee of the Nebraska Family Alliance. We’re a local nonprofit that winsomely seeks to protect the unborn, combat human trafficking, support families, and champion everyone’s First Amendment freedoms.

As I soon learned, Natalie, who is transgender, disagrees with many of our views.

After seeing me, Natalie approached me without provocation and began to curse at me for who I am, what I stand for, and the work I do. As other patrons in the crowded shop watched, Natalie called me “f—-ing bigoted trash,” demanded I leave, and shouted that if I tried to return, I’d be refused service.

I was stunned by those hateful words. I’ve always treated the employees of this cafe with respect and courtesy and never broadcast my political beliefs in the shop.

During my lunch break, I shared my experience with my Facebook friends. Within hours, my story had attracted hundreds of comments and made the local news. I soon learned Natalie had been fired for that outburst.

I received considerable support and an apology from the coffee shop owners, but I also received hateful messages, including graphic death threats from complete strangers.

This isn’t the Nebraska I know, love, and proudly call my home. This isn’t the best our diverse and tolerant country can offer. We can do better. We have to.

People who know me can tell you I believe in God, hold a conservative worldview, value the dignity of every human being, and treat people with care. These personal values are why I chose to study political science and spent my undergrad years working in political, government, and policy-related internships, leading to my current job.

Nebraska Family Alliance has received unfair slander in recent days. If even a fraction of the negative stories about our group were true, I wouldn’t work there.

I joined this team because it advocates—carefully and kindly—for policies that serve all Nebraskans. I don’t expect everyone to share my beliefs, but I do welcome rational debate and reasonable discussion.

Some people have suggested that a barista berating me and threatening to deny me future service is no different from a cake artist or a florist declining certain requests that contain messages they would prefer not to celebrate, design, or promote. But it’s incredibly different.

The artists in recent major court cases simply didn’t want to speak messages that violated their convictions. The cafe employee in my case, however, had no such burden.

Jack Phillips and Barronelle Stutzman are business owners who treat all clients with respect and kindness. They serve everyone who walks through their doors. And, like any other business owner, they run their small businesses consistent with their mission and values.

Jack will sell you anything he has made, but he won’t custom-design cakes celebrating Halloween, bachelor parties, or same-sex weddings.

Barronelle happily served a gay customer for nearly 10 years before she told him she couldn’t create custom floral arrangements to help celebrate his wedding. To this day, she says she’d gladly welcome him back.

Both of these business owners, and others like them, have been dragged through long legal battles and repeatedly threatened simply because they don’t want to be forced to create messages or celebrate events they don’t agree with.

If I asked a printer to design a poster for a Nebraska Family Alliance event and they objected to the message, I would understand their decision and go to another business. Tolerance goes both ways, and civil disagreement and discourse on important issues facing our country is a necessary component of a pluralistic society like ours.

I know what it’s like to serve people who don’t agree with me. During high school and college, I worked for a restaurant for seven years and served LGBT patrons. I enjoyed serving delicious barbecue to all my guests.

If I had the chance to serve Natalie, I would do so—and happily—regardless of our differing worldviews.

As Americans, we will inevitably disagree on political and policy issues. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom to peacefully express our ideas and promote what we believe. It also protects our freedom not to participate in speech and events that promote things we don’t believe.

This freedom and the ability to have civil discourse is what makes our country the best nation on earth. Every person should be treated with dignity and respect and not suffer unjust discrimination.

But disagreement isn’t discrimination. We have to be able to discuss our disagreements without cursing, threatening, or banning each other from communal spaces.

I know this kind of shared, diverse society is possible because I’ve participated in it. I have friends who believe I’m wrong in my convictions. We not only coexist and tolerate each other’s differences, we grow and learn from each other.

These are the friendships that make democracy thrive, ones that I hope we all value and pursue.

I enjoy sipping coffee and savoring crepes surrounded by my neighbors who may believe differently than I do. That’s a wonderful thing, and I hope we never lose it.

SOURCE 






In California, the Right to Gender ‘Transition’ Is Threatening Religious Liberty

In the age of transgenderism, the right to medically transition is threatening some of the most basic freedoms we’ve known, such as religious freedom.

Consider a recent case out of California, where a state appeals court ruled that a transgender man can move forward with a lawsuit suing a Catholic hospital for discrimination.

In April 2017, Evan Minton sued Catholic medical provider Dignity Health after one of its hospitals refused to give her a desired hysterectomy, because doing so would have contradicted Catholic teachings against sterilization.

Originally, the San Francisco Superior Court ruled in Dignity Health’s favor and dismissed the case on the basis that Minton received the desired procedure from another Dignity Health hospital with a less restrictive policy.

But now, a state appeals court has reversed that decision, and tossed the case back to a lower court.

This could pave the way for any person, via the court, to compel a religious organization to violate its religious convictions.

As one might expect, Minton applauded the decision. “I feel that this appeals court let [Dignity Health] know that they can’t do that, that they have to treat transgender people with dignity and care. That means the world to me,” he told KCRA, a local news channel.

Minton added: “The fight’s not over because what this appeals court has done has affirmed transgender people, but now we go back to the Superior Court and we make our case there.”

In 2016, Minton scheduled a hysterectomy with a surgeon at the hospital to aid in the transition process from female to male. A couple days before the surgery was set to occur, the hospital became aware of the situation and cancelled the procedure, citing its core religious beliefs.

In a statement last week following the appeals court decision, the hospital said, “Catholic hospitals do not perform sterilizing procedures such as hysterectomies for any patient regardless of their gender identity, unless there is a serious threat to the life or health of the patient.”

Even though Dignity Health offered to find another hospital willing to do the hysterectomy, and another non-Catholic, Dignity Health hospital ended up doing the procedure, Minton went forward with the lawsuit.

With the help of the ACLU, Minton filed a lawsuit against Dignity Health claiming that it had denied medical care on the basis of gender identity, which he said qualified as “sex discrimination in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.”

But this is not what actually occurred.

Dignity Health did not deny Minton care on the basis of gender identity; it simply refused to carry out the sterilization procedures it considered harmful, and would never perform on any patient.

Dignity Health’s faith-based policy means its doctors vow to “protect and preserve the bodily and functional integrity” of patients, and that the patient’s “functional integrity … may only be sacrificed to maintain the health or life of the person when no other morally permissible means is available.”

As such, Dignity Health forbids sterilization procedures since they go against Catholic moral teachings about what is good and conducive to flourishing.

The Court of Appeals decision is especially egregious because it acknowledges Dignity Health’s religious freedom as a Catholic hospital, but goes so far as to say the exercise of that freedom in this case—particularly under California law—amounts to discrimination.

To provide a sampling, the court wrote:

The pleading alleges that Mercy allows doctors to perform hysterectomies as treatment for other conditions but refused to allow Dr. Dawson to perform the same procedure as treatment for Minton’s gender dysphoria, a condition that is unique to transgender individuals.

Denying a procedure as treatment for a condition that affects only transgender persons supports an inference that Dignity Health discriminated against Minton based on his gender identity. This is true even if the denial was pursuant to a facially neutral policy.

Another portion of the ruling essentially states that forcing the hospital to violate its religious principles does not actually violate its free exercise of religion because California has a “compelling interest in ensuring full and equal access to medical treatment,” which purportedly supersedes any religious liberty claims and makes any compulsion claim null and void.

This not only seems like a blatant violation of the free exercise clause, but would pave the way for courts to violate all kinds of organizations’ religious rights if the state holds there is a greater interest at stake than religious liberty.

It remains to be seen how this case will shake out—and whether federal courts will pick it up and, perhaps, strike down the state court’s ruling.

SOURCE 






Maher: Rachel Maddow Wouldn't Shut Up if Don Jr. Did What Hunter Biden Did

We've played a lot of games of political "what if?" and "whataboutism" in the three years that we've been through the looking glass in America. On Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher, the host explored a hypothetical, wondering how the media would be reacting if Donald Trump Jr. were engaged in the kind of cronyism that Hunter Biden was in Ukraine.

The Hill:

"The more I read about this ... no, I don't think he was doing something terrible in Ukraine," Maher said of the younger Biden during a panel discussion on "Real Time" on Friday night.
"But why can't politicians tell their f---ing kids, 'Get a job, get a goddamn job!'" he continued. "This kid was paid $600,000 because his name is Biden by a gas company in Ukraine, this super-corrupt country that just had a revolution to get rid of corruption."

The liberal comedian and host added that it "just looks bad."

Personally, this kind of stuff doesn't bother me much. I'm old fashioned, I think the real corruption happens while politicians are in office, not after they leave and get rich from all of that "public service." Heck, I'd love it if my kid could walk out of college next year and into a pile of money using nothing more than her last name. Unfortunately, that's more likely to bring up law enforcement red flags than job offers.

Still, the media does have very selective outrage about such dealings. It's the epitome of greed, graft, and post-political corruption when a Republican does it, and business as usual when it's a Democrat.

Maher touched on that as well:

"It does sound like something Don[ald] Trump Jr. would do," Maher later added on his show Friday. "And if Don Jr. did it, it would be all Rachel Maddow was talking about."
The all-around sleazy optics of the Bidens' end of this has largely been glossed over in the mainstream media this past week. Conservative blogs write about it, of course, but that's it.

Thankfully, POTUS has been all over it as well.

In the end, there will more than likely be more questions about the Bidens than Trump's phone call. None of which will ever be asked by our intrepid political journalists.

SOURCE 






Australia: Same-sex unions divide what used to be the Methodist church

Uniting Church ministers who ­oppose same-sex marriage say they are being “pushed, harassed and bullied” out of the church by progressives at the helm of Australia’s third-largest denomination.

The Reverend Lu Senituli, minister of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations of the Uniting Church Sunnybank on Brisbane’s south side, said a fissure in the church was widening between large conservative congregations such as his mostly Tongan church, and inner-city churches and leadership “who want to drive us out to make way for the new church”.

Mr Senituli said the issue had come to a head since the “yes” vote in the national plebiscite on same-sex marriage. “They are using church procedures and withholding of funding and all sorts of tactics to get us to toe the line,” he said. “I have people sitting in my congregation taking notes so they can report on me to the church and have disciplinary measures enacted against me.”

However, the Uniting Church says ministers have freedom to refuse to conduct same-sex mar­riages and can continue to teach their belief that marriage may only be between a man and a woman.

Mr Senituli’s church is a member of a breakaway body in the Uniting Church established in 2004 called the Assembly of Confessing Congregations, set up for congregations that reject the progressive line on accepting gay ­clergy and same-sex marriage.

“The church now has two faith statements, or integrities on marriage,” Mr Senituli said. “One is that marriage is between a man and a woman, as according to holy scripture. But the second integrity is the covenant of love between two persons, regardless of sex.

“In practice it’s impossible to live our faith under these two integ­rities as they are contradictory. When a minister makes a statement to a presbytery to say we will not celebrate same-sex marriage, from that point the presbyteries, the regional body, begin to put the pressure on in every way.

“They start turning off the funding tap if you don’t toe the line. Life becomes extremely difficult. Regional bodies are working in collusion with liberals in congregations who find orthodox preaching offensive.

“I was removed from the nat­ional body on doctrine because my views didn’t represent the diversity of the Uniting Church. But I represent a thriving church with hundreds of members who hold traditional, scriptural views and my church has six services every Sunday.”

The president of the Uniting Church, Deirdre Palmer, was unavailable for comment, but a spokesman for the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly and the Synod of Queensland said ministers and celebrants authorised by the Uniting Church had the freedom to conduct or to refuse to conduct same-gender marriages.

“They can continue to teach their belief that marriage may only be between a man and a woman, and can continue to use a marriage liturgy that reflects that conviction,” the spokesman said.

“At the same time, we expect all our members to respectfully engage with those who may hold different biblical and theological views to their own, and to show respect to LGBTIQ Uniting Church members, who are full members, exercising a variety of ministries, both ordained and lay within and through the life of the Uniting Church.

“All parts of the church are accountable to our governance and regulations and when matters of concern arise in particular congregations, the Uniting Church has systems in place to manage those concerns.

“The matters raised with The Australian are known to the Uniting Church and are being addressed through appropriate processes, with ongoing consultation and support provided to the congregations. They are entirely un­related to the minister’s or the congregation’s Christian understanding of marriage.”

Mr Senituli’s church adopted its current name last month, changing its signage from Sunny­bank Uniting Church in defiance of church leadership to make clear its opposition to same-sex marriage and as a protest against allegedly being bullied on the issue.

The national chairman of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations, Hedley Fihaki, backed Mr Senituli’s claims, saying about 150 of the Uniting Church’s 800 congregations were ACC members.

He said ACC assemblies that had changed signs and logos to distinguish themselves from progressive congregations had received letters warning them they would no longer be under the protection of the church for issues such as insurance.

“The Uniting Church doesn’t see the dilemma we are in. The push to embrace diversity is an oxymoron, the two statements on marriage — you can’t have these two doctrines co-­existing together, in our opinion,” Dr Fihaki said.

“The Bible is very clear on this. Assembly doesn’t get why we can’t exist in this diversity framework. They are forcing us to accept it, but we can’t.”

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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Stop this foolish war on meat! Eating it could help save the planet

Last night, I ate a steak. Very good it was too. A plump, exquisitely marbled slab of sirloin, beautifully seasoned and cooked blushing pink. It had come from Martin Player, a proper Cardiff butcher, who takes his meat, as well as the animal’s welfare, very seriously indeed. Just like any other decent butcher.

Grass-fed, fully traceable and properly hung, it was a paean to not just fine flavour, but first- class farming practice too. Sensible, sustainable agriculture, where the welfare of the animal is every bit as important as its impact upon the environment.

Yet this magnificent piece of beef is no longer mere dinner. Instead it has become a pawn in the gathering war on meat: a hysterical, ill-informed, one-size-fits-all assault that demonises farmers, butchers and consumers alike. A weapon, if you like, of grass destruction.

Take the decision made by the University of Cambridge catering service to remove beef and lamb from its menus to cut food-related carbon emissions. The head of the service, Nick White, claimed this was because ‘sustainability is extremely important to our students and staff’ and scientists have claimed beef and lamb produce most farm greenhouse gasses.

A few weeks back, beef was also banned from the cafeteria of Goldsmiths College in London for the same reason, to ‘drastically’ cut its carbon footprint.

But the concerns are not only environmental. I have little time for witless attacks on vegans or vegetarians but there is undoubtedly a creeping spread of anti-meat militancy. This week it emerged the vice-chairman of the RSPCA – a vegan and co-founder of Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of the Extinction Rebellion environmental movement – was forced to step down after calling on animal rights protesters to shut down Smithfield meat market in London.

Jane Tredgett, 52, was in charge of training activists in ‘non-violent direct action’, while the group has compared its efforts to the struggles faced by Martin Luther King and the Suffragettes. Seriously.

Each week seems to bring a new threat or outrage, with meat-eaters being turned into social pariahs. Michael Mansfield, QC, a man who should know better, last week suggested that eating meat should be made illegal, with offenders thrown into jail. And he’s not alone in his extreme (and publicity-seeking) views.

Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, declared that meat-eaters should be treated like smokers and be made to sit outside restaurants. Because meat is ‘bad for the planet and our health’.

What next? Could meat become illegal, butchers forced to deal black pudding and chipolatas in back alleys and pub loos? Custodial sentences for eating chops? Life for a leg of lamb? Should we be eating meat at all?

The arguments against meat are so widespread, it’s no wonder they seem overwhelming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared that we must drastically cut our meat consumption to save the planet. We must shift towards ‘healthy and sustainable’ diets ‘based on coarse grains, pulses and vegetables, and nuts and seeds’. The EAT-Lancet Commission, set up to look at how the world’s growing population can eat healthy, sustainable food, goes further still. Over three years, 37 scientists came up with the ultimate ‘plant-focused’ diet ‘for planetary health’. They argue this diet, which contains virtually no meat, would ‘transform’ the planet’s future. Under it we’re ‘allowed’ no more than one serving of red meat, a couple of servings of fish and an egg or two. Per week.

It’s an argument that meat is bad, plants are good. But not everything is quite so black and white. Far from it.

Many of the militants’ reasons for ditching meat are, in fact, completely misleading. Because properly farmed meat is not only entirely sustainable, but good for the environment and economy too. We should be celebrating good farming practice, not condemning it. There’s no doubt that there are some completely legitimate concerns about food production. Not all chickens, for example, are raised equally. On the one hand, you have an old-fashioned free-range chicken, allowed to scratch and peck outside. Slow growing, traditional breeds, bred for flavour. On the other, the wretched intensively farmed bird, which is crammed into vast, stinking sheds, with no more space than an A4 sheet of paper. Profit, not welfare, is its producer’s only concern.

The same goes for intensively farmed pigs, raised in cruelly confined squalor. We should be saving our ire and ammunition to rail against this factory farming. The long-term cost of intensively farmed meat is ruinously expensive, both for our health and for the environment. It follows, then, that the best quality meat will always be more expensive than the cheap, imported stuff. British farming standards are among the highest in the world, yet another reason to buy British meat.

And it’s important to recognise that, despite all the hand-wringing about carbon emissions, livestock production can actually be good for the environment.

Grassland absorbs carbon dioxide, reducing the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere. Two-thirds of the UK is still made up of grassland, and it is essential it remains that way to preserve the carbon in the soil. At the moment, traditional grass-fed cattle and sheep, kept at a low density, are helping to maintain that status quo. But if we reduce the demand for these animals in the food chain, then this delicate balance is bound to change.

We’re also reminded frequently about all the methane produced by cows and other ruminants. So doesn’t that damage the environment? There’s an immense difference between the emissions of the grain-fed cattle in American super lots and sustainably farmed, grass-fed British cattle. Patrick Holden, CEO of The Sustainable Food Trust, explains: ‘The methane emissions from those ruminants are offset by the carbon gain in the soil.’

He also points out that, to be useful for agriculture, arable land must go through a ‘fertility building phase’ lasting three or four years which involves it – by necessity – being grazed with animals such as cows and sheep. Lose those animals, the message is, and we lose that ability to keep our farmland versatile and healthy.

Also – and more controversially – does that mean you should eat MORE beef to save the planet?

‘Yes!’ comes the emphatic response from Holden. ‘Traditional grass-fed beef and lamb can help maintain the soil carbon bank.’

For years, I’ve believed the mantra of eat less meat, but eat better. It’s certainly a good starting point. There have already been huge changes to our diets in the past 100 years. At the start of the 20th Century, Holden points out, 80 per cent of our dietary fats came from animal sources, and only 20 per cent from plants. Today, it’s the other way around.

The surprising – and often overlooked – fact is this: the production of many of those plant fats can be just as environmentally unsound as those vast US intensive farming lots. According to Frédéric Leroy, a professor in food science and biotechnology at the VUB university in Brussels, a shift from animal products to ‘plant-based’ scenarios could make things worse.

They may have vast implications that will generate their own sets of serious concerns, including limiting the land’s ability to grow more than one crop, depleting top soil, using more fertilisers, the potential for nutritional deficiencies and the disturbance of ecosystems,’ Prof Leroy argues.

As far as methane emissions are concerned, he continues, they are real but need to be put in perspective. ‘If a Westerner goes vegetarian or vegan, this leads to only about a two to six per cent drop in their carbon footprint, which is far from being the best thing one can do for the planet.’

There are other, far more effective, ways to reduce carbon emissions – by reducing our reliance on air travel, for example.

Farmer and butcher Peter Hannan agrees. ‘Compared to our appetite for air travel alone, my beef farming pales into insignificance.’

What about the rest of us, then; the responsible meat lovers, caught in the scientific and moral crossfire? Is it really necessary for vegan activists to spray fake blood around McDonald’s? Or harangue and bully butchers and farmers – even Waitrose – in real life and on social media?

Of course not. Whatever happened to decency, common sense, and the ability to listen to both sides of a debate? It is possible to eat meat and have the utmost respect for vegans and vegetarians too. In fact, a couple of meat-free days a week is eminently sensible. So buy British, and the best you can afford. Trust in your butcher. And experiment with more unusual cuts too. Eat good meat and save the planet. Now THAT really is a radical idea.

 SOURCE 






California shocked to find bill decriminalizing retail theft resulted in… more retail theft

This is typical Leftist refusal to look ahead

A few years ago, California passed one in a series of bills aimed at emptying the jails and prisons. Proposition 47 carried the disingenuous name of “the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act and its stated purpose was to keep non-violent offenders out of jail. To achieve this goal, the state decriminalized a number of lesser offenses, including retail theft. The law raised the value of the amount of merchandise someone could steal while still only being charged with a misdemeanor to nearly one thousand dollars.

To the great surprise of the government, people noticed this change and began taking advantage of it. They have now recorded multiple years of steadily increasing, organized robbery. These plots are known as “mass grab and dash” thefts and they generally involve large numbers of young people all entering a store at the same time, grabbing armfuls of merchandise and dashing back out to their vehicles and hitting the highway. Not only are robberies on the rise, but arrests and prosecutions are down. Who could possibly have predicted this? (CBS Sacramento)

After searching police reports and arrest records, CBS13 found that while the rate of these grab and dash crimes is on the rise, the rate of arrest is down. We turned to law enforcement and the retail industry for answers. Both blame a California law intended to make “neighborhoods safe.”

“It’s a boldness like we’re seeing never before and just a disregard for fellow human beings,” said Lieutenant Mark Donaldson, Vacaville PD.

He explained these crimes have evolved into more than just shoplifting. It’s organized retail theft and he says it’s happening across the state. Cities like Vacaville, with outlets and shopping centers located near major freeways, tend to be a target for these organized retail crime rings.

Nobody is seriously contesting the numbers. The local and state police organizations blame prop 47. FBI crime data supports the contention. Retail sales organizations have tracked this trend and agree.

This is a trend that’s been building in a number of blue states and now it seems that the petty crime chickens are coming home to roost. The fact is that there are always going to be a certain number of people who will be willing to break the law if they don’t feel the risk of significant punishment is too high. An understanding of this fundamental principle is why the “broken windows” policies enacted in New York City and other municipalities in the 90s were so effective. If you crack down on even smaller crimes, you lower crime rates overall.

Sadly, liberal elected officials paint a picture of racism and inequity behind effective law enforcement initiatives. The people committing these thefts frequently end up being young black and Hispanic robbers because they are more likely to come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This leads to laws like prop 47 hoping to keep more of them out of the “school to prison pipeline.”

But when you make it easier and less risky to steal larger amounts of goods, people will steal more merchandise. Did it really take a rocket scientist to figure this out? California basically incentivized crime and potential criminals answered the call. And since many of them were only getting the equivalent of a parking ticket for stealing 900 dollars worth of goods, police frequently didn’t expend much energy trying to catch them.

The ball’s in your court, California. Do you plan on doing something about this? Or will you essentially just legalize theft and tell the retailers that they’re on their own?

SOURCE 






Once Again, Progressive Anti-Christian Bigotry Carries a Steep Legal Cost

Masterpiece Cakeshop continues to pay religious-liberty dividends.
Last summer, in the days after the Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop on the narrow grounds that Colorado had violated Jack Phillips’s religious-liberty rights by specifically disparaging his religious beliefs, a bit of a skirmish broke out among conservative lawyers. How important was the ruling? Did it have any lasting precedential effect?

For those who don’t recall, the Supreme Court ruled for Phillips in large part because a commissioner of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission called Phillips’s claim that he enjoyed a religious-freedom right not to be forced to design a custom cake for a gay wedding a “despicable piece of rhetoric.” The commissioner also denigrated religious-liberty arguments as being used to justify slavery and the Holocaust.

While all agreed that it would have been preferable had the court simply ruled that creative professionals could not be required to produce art that conflicted with their sincerely held beliefs, the question was whether Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong condemnation of anti-religious bigotry would resonate beyond the specific facts of the case. For example, what would happen if, in a different case, state officials called faithful Christians who seek to protect the religious freedom of Catholic adoption agencies “hate-mongers”?

In the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, it turns out that such rhetoric has cost the state a crucial court ruling, granted a Catholic adoption agency a vital victory, and demonstrated — once again — that anti-religious bigotry can (and should) carry substantial legal costs.

The case is called Buck v. Gordon. My friends at Becket represent St. Vincent Catholic Charities, a former foster child, and the adoptive parents of five special-needs kids. The facts are relatively complicated, but here’s the short version: St. Vincent upholds Catholic teaching by referring same-sex and unmarried families who seek foster and adoption recommendations and endorsements to agencies that have no objection to providing those services. There is no evidence that St. Vincent has prevented any legally qualified family from adopting or fostering a child. In fact, same-sex couples “certified through different agencies” have been able to adopt children in St. Vincent’s care.

NOW WATCH: 'Trump's Chinese Tariffs Means It'll Cost Americans $1,000 More a Year Just to Live'

In 2015 the state of Michigan passed a statute specifically designed to protect the religious liberty of private, religious adoption agencies. In 2018, however, Dana Nessel, a Democratic attorney general, took office. During her campaign, she declared that she would not defend the 2015 law in court, stating that its “only purpose” was “discriminatory animus.” She also described proponents of the law as “hate-mongers,” and the court noted that she believed proponents of the law “disliked gay people more than they cared about the constitution.”

Then, in 2019, the attorney general reached a legal settlement in pending litigation with the ACLU that essentially gutted the Michigan law, implementing a definitive requirement that religious agencies provide recommendations and endorsement to same-sex couples and banning referrals. The plaintiffs sued, seeking to enjoin the relevant terms of the settlement, and yesterday Judge Robert Jonker (a Bush appointee) granted their motion for a preliminary injunction.

His reasoning was simple. There was ample evidence from the record that the state of Michigan reversed its policy protecting religious freedom because it was motivated by hostility to the plaintiffs’ faith. Because Michigan’s targeted St. Vincent’s faith, its 2019 settlement agreement couldn’t be truly considered a “neutral” law of “general applicability” that would grant the state a high degree of deference in enforcement.

Instead, the state’s targeting led to strict scrutiny. Here’s Judge Jonker:

Defendant Nessel made St. Vincent’s belief and practice a campaign issue by calling it hate. She made the 2015 statute a campaign issue by contending that the only purpose of the statute is discriminatory animus. After Defendant Nessel took office, the State pivoted 180 degrees. . . . The State also threatened to terminate its contracts with St. Vincent. The Summary Statement’s conclusion – that if an agency accepts even one MDHHS child referral for case management or adoption services, the agency forfeits completely the right to refer new parental applicants to other agencies based on its sincerely held religious beliefs – is at odds with the language of the contracts, with the 2015 law, and with established State practice. Moreover, it actually undermines the State’s stated goals of preventing discriminatory conduct and maximizing available placements for children.

The last point is key. As stated above, there was no evidence that St. Vincent prevented any qualified couple from adopting. In fact, if the state forced St. Vincent’s to choose between upholding the teachings of its faith or maintaining its contractual relationship with the state, then it risked shrinking the available foster or adoption options in the state of Michigan. The state demonstrated that it was more interested in taking punitive action against people of faith than it was in maintaining broader access to foster and adoption services for its most vulnerable citizens.

The judge rightly called the state’s actions a “targeted attack on a sincerely held religious belief.” Once again, Masterpiece Cakeshop pays religious-liberty dividends. Once again, a court declares — in no uncertain terms — that in the conflict between private faith and public bigotry, religious liberty will prevail.

SOURCE 






Australia: Do sharks have a right to eat us?

That seems to be the Queensland Labor government's position

FOR almost 60 years, the State Government's shark control program has been making Queensland beaches safer. The program has been one of very few public policies to have endured for such a time while remaining blessedly free from the foibles of partisan politics.

The reason for this has been simple. Who would dare argue with the results? From 1915 to 1962 there were 36 recorded cases of shark attacks in Queensland. These resulted in 19 deaths. But since the dragnet of baited drumlines was introduced in 1962, there's been only one fatal shark attack at a protected Queensland beach.

Little wonder the program has been gradually expanded. However, the program finally found a naysayer in the shape of fringe environmental group, the Humane Society. And inexplicably, the Federal Court has agreed with the group's view that the drumlines do little to protect swimmers.

How the court came to such a view simply beggars belief. Surely, they only had to look at the statistics of recent attacks in northern NSW where there are no permanent drumlines to realise how effective the Queensland program is? What was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected

The court's decision was clearly out of step with public sentiment and requires the politicians who've supported the program to fix it. Given the long history of bipartisan support, not to mention the implications for. Queensland's tourism industry, you'd like to think it would be a relatively quick fix.

However, what has ensued instead has been an unedifying display of pointless political point scoring that has done nothing but advertise to the world that some of the Sunshine State's most famous northern beaches are less safe now than they were a few weeks ago.

Much of the controversy has centred around the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' decision to remove 160 drumlines from within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The court's decision only related to the marine park zone and that's why the department only removed drumlines in this area.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been particularly vocal. She's accused the Palaszczuk Government of choosing "public alarm over personal safety" by removing the drumlines when the court only said caught sharks should not be killed.

"Queensland should reinstate the existing drum lines, while increasing surveillance and exploring modern complementary technologies such as drones, smart drum lines and tags," she said.

There's ample reason for Ley to be sceptical about the Palaszczuk Government's motives in ordering the removal of the drumlines within hours of the court ruling. After all, the administration isn't exactly known for doing anything at pace.

And the States handling of last year's Cid Harbour shark attacks —when it first said drumlines were the answer but then recanted and claimed all it could do was erect signs instead — hardly inspired confidence.

However, what on Earth is Ley suggesting when she says the State Government should just drop the drumlines back in and increase surveillance? Is she saying to hell with what the court has ordered? Or does Ley reckon fisheries officers should just harden up and start arming themselves with a decent set of pliers so they can simply release the sharks?

It might be news to the minister but these officers are dealing with marine life a bit bigger than the cod they catch in the Murray River in her electorate. In fact, cutting a cranky 4m tiger shark loose from a hook is nearly as dangerous as getting between Ley and a bargain Gold Coast apartment buy, something she's somewhat famed for.

Yet, while Ley is happily ordering fisheries officers back into the water, the Morrison Government hasn't come up with a timeline for a legislative fix to what the court has ordered.

The LNP Opposition might be right when they say SMART drumlines, where sharks are caught and released,should be considered as temporary solution. However, it would take time to train officers and whether that's worthwhile depends primarily on how long it's going to take their federal colleagues to come up with a legislative answer.

Dropping in new drumlines at 17 locations just outside the marine park was a prudent move by the State but that still leaves 27 beaches no longer with protection.

However, what wasn't needed was State Fisheries Minister Mark Furner's ham-fisted suggestion that Ley would be blamed if there was an attack.

While the politicians squabble, the reputation of Queensland beaches is taking a further battering, the last thing the tourism industry needs after those terrible Cid Harbour attacks.

From the start, what was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected by drumlines again as soon as practical. Instead what happened was the political sharks began circling as soon as they saw an opportunity for a cheap feed.

"Courier Mail" 27 Sept. 2019

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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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Man Behind Slogan Promoting French Preservation

"The great replacement has become a household word. I take responsibility for it. I believe in its relevance."

THOUGH the writer had already lived in his castle for a quarter of a century, it was only three years ago that he finally restored it to its original purpose as a fortress.

The writer, Renaud Camus, rebuilt the top 10 feet of the 14th-century tower, giving him an even more commanding view of his surroundings: the village of 40 souls below; the Pyrenees, faintly visible some 100 miles south despite the midsummer haze; and, in every direction, the peaceful, rolling hills of the “eternal France” that he describes as under assault from what he calls hordes of immigrants.

Up in his castle, the France that Mr. Camus imagines has made him one of the most influential thinkers on the far right in his own country and elsewhere. In his writings, he describes an ongoing “invasion” of France by immigrants bent on “conquest” of its white, European population. To him, the immigrants are “colonizing” France by giving birth to more children and making its cities, towns — and even villages — unlivable.

Others have espoused similar ideas. But Mr. Camus’s portrayal of demographic change — le “grand remplacement,” or the supposed “great replacement” of France’s original population by newer arrivals, mostly from Africa — has become an extremist talking point, cited by mass killers in distant parts of the world.

“It’s a slogan that dramatizes the situation, talking of great replacement the same way we speak of the great barbarian invasions,” said Rudy Reichstadt, an expert on political extremism at the Fondation Jean-Jaurès research institute in Paris. “Now, if you go to a horse race betting bar and talk politics, and you mention the great replacement, people will understand what you mean.”

The idea of the great replacement has directly influenced French politicians and thinkers. Interpreted and repackaged across the internet, it has resonated widely beyond France, including in white supremacist circles.

The men held in two recent mass shootings — at a Walmart in El Paso and at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand — both referred to the “great replacement” and the need to defend white populations against invading outsiders.

While decrying the killings, Mr. Camus said he had no regrets about coming up with the term.

“The great replacement has become a household word,” he said. “I take responsibility for it. I believe in its relevance.”

Stroking his white beard, Mr. Camus, who is not related to the 20th-century writer Albert Camus, sat in his expansive study — half the top floor of his castle filled with books and a handful of African masks. In contrast to the harsh words he chooses to describe France’s immigrants, he spoke softly, and sometimes with the mannerisms of another era. He and his partner of two decades, Pierre, addressed each other as “vous,” though they said they sometimes slipped into the informal “tu.”

Ensconced in his castle in southern France, in a village an hour’s drive across country roads from the nearest train station, Mr. Camus, 73, is perhaps an unlikely source of inspiration for the world’s far right and white supremacists. Until a few years ago, Mr. Camus was known, mainly by other French writers, as a novelist and a pioneering writer of gay literature. An early book about his sexual experiences, called “Tricks,” remains his most translated work.

Growing up in a conservative rural town in central France, Mr. Camus went to Paris in the 1960s and found a niche in the capital’s literary and artistic scene. He befriended Roland Barthes, who wrote the preface for “Tricks.” As a member of the Socialist Party, he became active in politics on the left.

Still, Mr. Camus longed to return to the countryside. He sold his Paris apartment and, in 1992, used the money to buy and restore the castle in Plieux, fulfilling a lifelong fantasy.

A few years after moving to Plieux, he had what he calls an epiphany that would shape his political views. While visiting a 1,000-year-old village in southern France, he said he saw a group of veiled women milling around a fountain.

“And in the ancient windows — beautiful, paired gothic windows — veiled women would appear all of a sudden,” he said. “It was really the population of eternal France that was changing.”

THAT led to the formation in 2002 of his own political party, l’In-nocence, which calls for an end to all immigration and promotes sending immigrants and their children back to their countries of origin.

But it was a decade later, when he publicly began using the term “great replacement” and wrote a book with the same title, that his influence in France began to be felt.

The great replacement, he wrote, indicates the “replacement of a people, the indigenous French people, by one or others; of its culture by the loss of its cultural identity through multiculturalism.”

He says he sees no contradiction between his earlier life as a gay writer on the left and his current role as an ideological beacon for the right, including violent extremists. He contends he has always told “the hard truths.”

Previous generations of European immigrants had been drawn by “love” for France, he wrote. But the newer arrivals since the 1970s — mostly from France’s former colonies in the Maghreb and in sub-Saharan Africa — didn’t come “as friends.” Instead, he declared, they came as conquerors, filled with hatred and a desire to punish France.

He singled out Muslims for “not wanting to integrate” into French society.

According to government data, immigrants now make up about 10 percent of France’s population, many of them nonwhite, up from about 7 percent in the 1970s, or 5 percent in 1946, the year of Mr. Camus’s birth — a steady rise, though far from the overwhelming one described by Mr. Camus…

Mr. Camus’s ideas — and his subsequent call to support Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader of the National Rally party — turned him into a pariah in France’s literary and media circles.

His longtime publishers dropped him, forcing him to publish on his own. “The Great Replacement” was never translated into English. Invitations from mainstream news shows dried up. Lifelong friendships came to an end.

But even as Mr. Camus became toxic, his phrase gained traction, first on French farright websites, like “Observatoire de Grand Remplacement.” Politicians on the right and far right, including Ms. Le Pen, used the term.

Then “great replacement” slipped into the right-wing mainstream. While Mr. Camus’s books went largely unsold, best-selling writers, like Eric Zemmour, have expounded on the idea.

Jean-Yves Camus, an expert on the far right at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, said that the author of “The Great Replacement” viewed the world from the perspective of a novelist and aesthete without recognition of realworld consequences.

“He should become aware that in our universe, where everything happens in real time, what you say from the position of an aesthete or a writer, can instantly be transformed into a gun and bullets,” said the expert, who is not related to Renaud Camus.

Isolated in his castle, Mr. Camus grew even more removed from the actual France he purported to describe — one filled, he believes, with people of Arab and African descent burning with hatred for France and plotting its conquest. In fact, he acknowledged that his understanding of such people was based mainly on Twitter and Facebook.

He said he almost never read newspapers or watched television.

“Distance is very, very necessary for observation,” he said.

SOURCE 






My Book Defending Free Speech Has Been Pulled

James Flynn

I recently completed a book defending free speech. Emerald Press scheduled it for publication but then decided not to proceed. Here’s what it said about the book in Emerald’s September 2019 catalogue:

In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor
Author James R. Flynn, University of Otago, New Zealand

Synopsis: The good university is one that teaches students the intellectual skills they need to be intelligently critical—of their own beliefs and of the narratives presented by politicians and the media. Freedom to debate is essential to the development of critical thought, but on university campuses today free speech is restricted for fear of causing offence. In Defense of Free Speech surveys the underlying factors that circumscribe the ideas tolerated in our institutions of learning. James Flynn critically examines the way universities censor their teaching, how student activism tends to censor the opposing side and how academics censor themselves, and suggests that few, if any, universities can truly be seen as ‘good.’ In an age marred by fake news and social and political polarization, In Defense of Free Speech makes an impassioned argument for a return to critical thought.

I was notified of Emerald’s decision not to proceed by Tony Roche, Emerald’s publishing director, in an email on 10th June:


"I am contacting you in regard to your manuscript In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor. Emerald believes that its publication, in particular in the United Kingdom, would raise serious concerns. By the nature of its subject matter, the work addresses sensitive topics of race, religion, and gender. The challenging manner in which you handle these topics as author, particularly at the beginning of the work, whilst no doubt editorially powerful, increase the sensitivity and the risk of reaction and legal challenge. As a result, we have taken external legal advice on the contents of the manuscript and summarize our concerns below.

There are two main causes of concern for Emerald. Firstly, the work could be seen to incite racial hatred and stir up religious hatred under United Kingdom law. Clearly you have no intention of promoting racism but intent can be irrelevant. For example, one test is merely whether it is “likely” that racial hatred could be stirred up as a result of the work. This is a particular difficulty given modern means of digital media expression. The potential for circulation of the more controversial passages of the manuscript online, without the wider intellectual context of the work as a whole and to a very broad audience—in a manner beyond our control—represents a material legal risk for Emerald.

Secondly, there are many instances in the manuscript where the actions, conversations and behavior of identifiable individuals at specific named colleges are discussed in detail and at length in relation to controversial events. Given the sensitivity of the issues involved, there is both the potential for serious harm to Emerald’s reputation and the significant possibility of legal action. Substantial changes to the content and nature of the manuscript would need to be made, or Emerald would need to accept a high level of risk both reputational and legal. The practical costs and difficulty of managing any reputational or legal problems that did arise are of further concern to Emerald.

For the reasons outlined above, it is with regret that Emerald has taken the decision not to publish your manuscript. We have not taken this decision lightly, but following senior level discussions within the organization, and with the additional benefit of specialist legal advice. I realize that this decision will come as a disappointment to you and hope that you will be able to find an alternative publisher with whom to take the work to publication."


If the book is sober and responsible, and if Emerald’s letter is correct, that poses a question: Does Britain have free speech? The above letter inspired me to change the title from “In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor” to “A Banned Book: Free speech and universities.” I hope that some publishers will contact me (jim.flynn@otago.ac.nz), so they can decide whether the book is worthy of publication and whether it runs afoul of any of the U.K.’s laws. If a journalist gets in touch, I can also send them the text for their eyes only. Let me give an outline of its contents.

The benefits of free speech

First, I give a general defense of free speech and criticize Jason Stanley and Jeremy Waldron insofar as their views differ from my own. I then use the case of Charles Murray being denied a platform at Middlebury College to show what students and staff miss out on when they refuse to hear or read those who offend them:

[My] dividends from reading Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn, and Charles Murray: a plausible case that genetic differences between the major races are unlikely to confer an advantage or a handicap for desirable personal traits; a far better understanding of black America; a method that sheds light on personal development and leaves room for personal autonomy; an understanding of how differently males and females respond to formal education; a case that genetic differences between the genders seem cognitively trivial; a somewhat better understanding of the Chinese both at home and in America; a case for affirmative action that does not depend on racial bias; and most of all, a better understanding of the dynamics of a truly humane and egalitarian society.

This is the sad fate that the mob at Middlebury wanted to save me from. If I had not read these “discredited” scholars, I would still have a half-educated mind full of passion about race and gender and class and not much else.

A history of oppression

I then chart the history of the sins of universities against free speech with an emphasis on the McCarthy era (when conservatives barred or fired those they considered suspect), through the transitional period of Vietnam, to the present (when many on the “left” do much the same, particularly student protest groups). I detail the use of speech codes, and trigger warnings, and departments that have a party line (“Walden codes”) to discipline, expel, fire, and, above all, to defend indoctrination rather than education.

I include among the latter some African American studies departments that will not assign books or papers by conservative thinkers, some women’s studies departments that reject incontrovertible social science that runs counter to the official feminist ideology, and some (almost all) education departments that define their purpose as sending out “missionaries” to convert schools to their vision of an egalitarian society. I also provide a history of America’s schoolteachers, tracing how the low status of their profession has made the schools susceptible to adopting a missionary role.

Finally, I criticize the failure of universities to provide their students with the critical intelligence they need to be autonomous human beings and good citizens, despite the fact that they all state this as their chief objective.

Is this book worth reading?

Well, it will not be read unless it is published. To discuss a point made in Emerald’s letter, every reference to a person is documented by citations of published material or material in the public domain. At present, I can only cite the testimony of distinguished scholars. Some of the following were referees who sent their opinions to Emerald and some read it to give me an informal assessment.

This book is an education in itself…It is a brilliant and courageous book.
—Thomas Bouchard

That’s shocking [the rejection] even by the standards of contemporary restrictions on free speech, and especially ironic given the subject of your book.
—Steven Pinker

It is ironic that a book critical of restrictions on free speech should itself be rejected by a publisher who is worried about the book falling afoul of UK laws on incitement to racial hatred.  In fact this is doubly ironic, given that the book is by Jim Flynn, after whom the “Flynn effect” is named, because the Flynn effect is all about the difference that culture and environment — rather than genes — makes to IQ scores. The draft I have seen has the potential to be an important and controversial work that will be very widely discussed.
—Peter Singer

I must admit I was shocked. Well, anyway, they have given you material for another chapter!
—John C. Loehlin

This is in-[expletive]-credible…Your book should not be considered even close to the fringes of politically correct discourse. If publishers are scared of your book, the censorship problem is a few orders of magnitude worse than I realized.
—Charles Murray

Homily

Discussing why free speech should extend to questions of race and gender necessarily involves presenting views (such as those of Jensen, Murray, and Lynn), if only for purposes of rebuttal, which upset those who believe that racial and sexual equality is self-evident. If upsetting students or staff or the public is a reason for banning speech, all such discussion is at an end. I end the book by quoting from George Orwell’s original preface to Animal Farm, which was itself rejected by Faber and Faber for being too critical of Stalin: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

James R. Flynn is an intelligence researcher who gave his name to the Flynn Effect. He is Emeritus Professor of Political Studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

SOURCE 






As Fundraising Shoots Up, Lawsuits Threaten Southern Poverty Law Center
  
The embattled far-left Southern Poverty Law Center flew past the half-billion-dollar mark in assets for the first time, ending the last tax year with $518.3 million in assets—after raking in $122.9 million that year, according to a newly disclosed IRS filing.

To provide a sense of scale, $518.3 million is more in assets than either the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Inc. ($452.8 million) or Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. ($446.3 million) had at the end of 2017.

Critics say the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a public-interest law firm whose founder, Morris Dees, and president, Richard Cohen, were ousted earlier this year amid accusations of racial discrimination and employee abuse, unfairly tars conservatives as racist as a matter of policy, treats all opposition to illegal or legal immigration, open borders, and multiculturalism as hate, and all political expression of those views as hate speech.

The SPLC, critics also say, deliberately lumps together all sorts of groups on America’s political right in order to intimidate and “de-platform” non-leftists. Conservative, libertarian, anti-tax, immigration reductionist, and other groups are all viewed as legitimate targets for vilification.

The group has its defenders in the media who take its work seriously. For example, in Rolling Stone, Amelia McDonell-Parry wrote that “the SPLC has developed a reputation for being an authority on extremist hate groups, monitoring and exposing their activities to the public, media and law enforcement.”

The Center appears to have brought in donor dollars by blaming something it calls the “Trump Effect” for thousands of cases of alleged “prejudice,” “bullying,” and “hate crimes” in the nation’s schools. Within weeks of President Donald Trump’s election, the group released the results “of a new survey, answered by more than 10,000 teachers across the country detailing the negative effect the election has had on school climates.”

The SPLC called on the president-elect “to immediately and forcefully publicly denounce racism and bigotry and to call on Americans to stop all acts of hate” even though there was little evidence from across the country that Trump supporters had done anything wrong. To the contrary, media reports at the time were bursting with stories of Trump supporters and Make America Great Again hat-wearers being violently set upon by angry liberals and progressives.

As part of its mission, the SPLC brings civil rights lawsuits that attack school choice, tracks so-called hate groups, publishes newsletters, and provides educational materials and grant money to teachers in hopes of reaching young minds.

Among the conservative groups that the SPLC has labeled “hate groups” are the Center for Security Policy, David Horowitz Freedom Center, Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel, and Christians and Jews United for Israel. SPLC official Mark Potok has said, “I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, completely destroy them.”

Some groups resist the label. In June 2018, the SPLC paid more than $3 million as part of a legal settlement to former Muslim extremist Maajid Nawaz for wrongfully placing him and his London-based counter-extremism group, Quilliam, on an anti-Muslim hate list.

Although a federal judge recently dismissed a racketeering lawsuit brought by the nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) against SPLC leaders for blacklisting it as a “hate group,” other lawsuits appear to be in the making.

Liberty Counsel and 60 other organizations are considering filing defamation lawsuits against the SPLC, according to PJMedia.

In a lawsuit already filed, a federal judge in Missouri refused in July to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought against the SPLC by Craig Nelsen a former heroin addict, who created the Robinson Jeffers Boxing Club (RJBC), a 13-week residency “life treatment” program for men with opioid addictions or other serious problems.

Nelsen said the program was “designed to address the specific challenges unique to white males in the United States, [but that] the program was open to, and would benefit, men in distress of any race.” True to form, the SPLC claimed Nelsen was a neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant, and racist, and that his club was for whites only.

Conservatives—and more than a few leftists—have long complained that the SPLC perennially hypes and exaggerates incidents involving racism in America in order to promote its radical agenda and raise a mountain of money.

JoAnn Wypijewski wrote in The Nation magazine that “No one has been more assiduous in inflating the profile of [hate] groups” than the center’s founder, Morris Dees.

The SPLC “spends most of its time—and money—on a relentless fundraising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate,” Ken Silverstein wrote in Harper’s magazine.

The $518.3-million figure for SPLC assets for the year ended Oct. 31, 2018, was up $41.3 million from $477 million the year before.

The Montgomery, Alabama-based SPLC also beefed up its workforce, reporting having 360 employees and 514 volunteers, compared to 302 employees and 197 volunteers the year before. As a result of the workforce expansion, the group paid out $29.2 million in salaries and benefits, compared to $23.9 million the year before, according to a Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (IRS Form 990) signed by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit’s secretary-treasurer, Teenie Hutchison on Jan. 31, 2019.

The SPLC acknowledges in the IRS filing that it “has ownership in several foreign corporations,” indirectly owns “several passive foreign investment companies,” and has financial dealings in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven in the Caribbean.

The SPLC famously ignited controversy when it labeled a conservative group, Family Research Council, a “hate group” because it opposes homosexuality on religious grounds. Liberal Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called it “absurd” for the SPLC to place FRC, which he called “a mainstream conservative thinktank,” “in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church.”

But gay rights activist Floyd Lee Corkins acknowledged he acted based on the dubious hate group report, shooting up FRC national headquarters in 2012, nonfatally wounding building manager Leo Johnson before he was subdued. Corkins said he wanted to kill as many FRC employees as possible, after which he planned to rub Chick-fil-A sandwiches in their faces as they died. Chick-fil-A became a target of LGBT protests in 2012 when its CEO, Dan T. Cathy, acknowledged he was “guilty as charged” of supporting anti-gay-marriage initiatives.

The SPLC has tried to spread its radical views to the education sector through its Teaching Tolerance program, which critics say is a means of ideologically indoctrinating students.

In late 2017, the group started handing out money as part of its Educator Grants program “to support projects that promote affirming school climates and educate youth to thrive in a diverse democracy.” The grants “support social justice work at the classroom, school and district level.”

“Teachers and administrators know best how to come up with innovative ways to teach their students to fight bigotry and hate,” Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance said. “We want to help them turn those ideas into projects that will have a big impact on the way students see themselves and how they view and treat others.”

“Our hope is to build, over time, a network of educators who are enthusiastic about learning from each other and who will share their experiences fighting injustice in their schools with the broader Teaching Tolerance community,” Costello says. “Instead of allowing prejudice and hate to fester in the minds of our young people, we want to cultivate future generations with greater empathy, kindness and understanding for one another.”

On its IRS form, the Center disclosed having given more than $600,000 in grants.

What are educators doing with the money?

Grant recipient Amy Dickerson worked with her students in New Orleans on what should replace Confederate statues.

“We started the project with reflecting on our own identity and generating adjectives to describe ourselves,” Dickerson said. “Students studied the artist Nick Cave, who creates wearable pieces of art called Soundsuits that express his identity and views on social justice.”

In Boston, a grant was used to “empower” “black and brown girls” to “practice self-love, self-advocacy and sisterhood.” Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman elected to the Boston City Council, addressed the crowd. Pressley, a far-left Democrat, is now a U.S. representative from Massachusetts who is a member of the radical so-called Squad headed up by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist from New York.

Teaching Tolerance embraced the Global Climate Strike protest event Sept. 20.

“From the civil rights movement to recent youth-led movements to stop gun violence, we have asked educators to learn from young people’s activism and to instill students with an understanding of their power and value.”

Educators were encouraged to “introduce students to young people around the world who have truly been at the forefront of the fight for environmental justice—and made a difference in the face of apathy. Perhaps most famously, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg has helped inspire global action and conversation through her activism.”

Educators “should consider introducing students to the diverse coalition of young people calling for climate justice.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center did not respond to a request for comment.

SOURCE 






Australia: Abortion is decriminalised in New South Wales after weeks of contentious debate and heated protests

This is a storm in a teacup.  Abortion has been decriminalized in NSW for years -- ever since the Heatherbrae case. The 1971 case of R v Wald ruled that abortions do not contravene the laws in certain circumstances.

That case involved a criminal trial of five people – most of whom were health care professionals. The five defendants were involved in performing an abortion at the Heatherbrae clinic in Bondi. All were charged under section 83 of the Crimes Act.

The trial judge found that an abortion is lawful if there is an ‘economic, social or medical ground or reason’ upon which the doctor could honestly and reasonably believe that an abortion could avoid a ‘serious danger to the pregnant woman’s life or her physical or mental health.’

All five defendants were ultimately found ‘not guilty’ on that basis – and the ruling opened the doors to women seeking to terminate a pregnancy for reasons such as financial disadvantage or instability, or fears of social stigma and judgment – factors which may negatively affect a woman’s mental wellbeing.

The judgment also affirmed that abortions do not need to be performed in hospitals – paving the way for women’s health clinics around the state.


NSW parliament has passed laws decriminalising abortion following a marathon debate and weeks of protest. There was applause in the lower house on Thursday as the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 passed its final hurdle.

It comes after the controversial bill passed the upper house 26 votes to 14 on Wednesday night following nearly 40 hours of discussion - making it the third longest debate in the state's house of review.

The bill, presented to parliament in August by Independent MP Alex Greenwich, takes abortion out of the criminal code and allows terminations up to 22 weeks.

'Thank you to all members for the role you have played in this historic reform ... we can feel proud that part of our legacy will be the decriminalisation of abortion in NSW,' the Member for Sydney said. 

An amendment passed in the upper house recognised doctors performing abortions after 22 weeks could seek advice from a multi-disciplinary team or hospital advisory committee.

'With the passing of this bill, our parliament affirms that we trust women,' Labor MP and bill co-sponsor Jo Haylen said just before the final vote. 'We trust women to make decisions about their own lives and about their own bodies.'

The legislation was opposed by religious groups, anti-abortion activists and several MPs who raised concerns about late-term and sex-selective abortions, conscientious objection and the way the bill was introduced. 

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, and former prime minister Tony Abbott were both outspoken in their opposition of the bill.

Joyce described it as the 'slavery debate of our time,' while Abbott accused the NSW government of putting forward 'the most radical abortion laws in this country.'

Liberal and Labor MPs were allowed a conscience vote on the bill.

Tensions in the government reached a climax last week when Liberal MPs Tanya Davies, Mathew Mason-Cox and Lou Amato said they would move a leadership spill motion against Premier Gladys Berejiklian over her handling of the bill.

The rebel MPs, who ultimately withdrew the motion, said it had been made clear that 'at an absolute minimum' four key amendments were required to ensure continued Liberal Party membership.

Ms Davies on Thursday supported amendments made to the bill, saying they created more safeguards and brought the bill to a better place.  

Abortions after 22 weeks are allowed with the approval of two 'specialist medical practitioners.'

All terminations after 22 weeks will now have to be performed in a public hospital.

'Many of us within the Parliament, and also outside in our communities, had concerns with the original bill ... concessions, amendments, changes to the original bill were moved through both houses of Parliament and that is a good thing,' she said.

The legislation that passed on Thursday is more conservative than the initial bill that Greenwich introduced after changes were made following opposition.

Labor MP Penny Sharpe, who is one of 15 co-sponsors of the bill, on Wednesday night said the vote was 119 years in the making.

'The current law has meant women and doctors have a threat of 10 years in jail for making this decision and that not okay,' she told parliament. 'This is a massive step forward for women in this state.'

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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Top Israeli Politicians Lament Trump Decision to Pull US Forces From Northern Syria   

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9/30/19   

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ROSH HASHANAH: HAPPY NEW YEAR Government officials and politicians from across the United States tweeted messages of good wishes for the Jewish New Year.

Iranian commander: If Israel attacks, nothing will be left of it Senior Iranian commander warns Israel against attacking his country.

Iran: Eliminating Israel 'no longer a dream but attainable goal' Warning toward Jewish state comes amid increased bellicose rhetoric in recent weeks by Tehran.

Iran says 'bits and pieces of Tel Aviv' will remain if Israel attacks "If Israel makes a strategic mistake, it has to collect bits and pieces of Tel Aviv from the lower depths of the Mediterranean Sea," said an Iranian commander.

Rouhani Has Exposed the Futility of European Diplomacy The reality of the delusional approach adopted by Mr Macron and other European leaders was, though, brutally exposed the moment Mr Rouhani arrived in New York.

UN: Israel's Foreign Minister, a Kohen, Invited All Nations to Third Temple While covering his address to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly last Thursday, most of the media focused on the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affair's harsh words concerning Iran and its renewed nuclear program.

Iran's Rouhani on brinks as opponents torch pro-regime symbols after Saudi oil attacks Iran has been at the epicentre of recent tensions in the Middle East following its role in the Saudi oil attack and now President Hassan Rouhani is facing resistance from his own citizens.

After Saudi Attacks, Russia Makes Its Regional Presence Felt In the two weeks since attacks blamed on missiles or drones shut down half of Saudi Arabia's oil output, the country that has arguably moved most deftly to position itself for any upside is Russia.

Nasrallah: Hezbollah will 'enter occupied Palestine' with improved intelligence Lebanese terror leader says group has 'unprecedented information' on everything that happens in Israel.

Saudi Crown Prince Says Iran War Would Bring Down Global Economy Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman warned that war between his country and Iran would lead to a "total collapse of the global economy" and should be avoided.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz to meet Wednesday Coalition negotiation meeting ends without progress.

          

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*BREAKING: RIVLIN GIVES NETANYAHU MANDATE TO FORM GOVERNMENT President Reuven Rivlin formally gave Netanyahu four weeks to form the government after a meeting at the President's Residence.

State Media in Iran, Russia Indicate Growing Russia-Iran-Turkey Alliance It's in media coverage in these countries, particularly the narratives of Press TV, RT and Sputnik that we can see the alliance emerge.

Constitution Committee Result of Iran-Syria-Russia Coordination: Assad Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the formation of the country's Constitutional Committee was finalized thanks to coordination among Tehran, Damascus, and Moscow.


UK Labour votes by landslide for pro-Palestine foreign policy The British Labour Party on Tuesday voted by a landslide in favour of a motion to end trade relations with Israel if it continues to flout international human rights laws.

Russian military 'advisers' train new Syrian battalion In rare display of Moscow's military operations in war-torn country, regime troops show off new weapons skills, perform mine clearing exercises and carry out mock assaults.

Trump Demands Muslim Countries Show Respect to Israel In his speech at the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke about the common interest of Israel and other Muslim countries of "battling extremism".

Erdogan pulls a Bibi with UNGA presentation on Israeli expansion, condemns West for anti-Muslim 'hate speech' Turkish President Recep Erdogan brought a cardboard map showing Israel taking over Palestinian lands to the UN General Assembly, and railed against populist politicians worldwide for using anti-Islamic sentiment to gain votes.

UK: Brexiteers vs. Remainers, Gambling at The Last Chance Saloon The [British Remainers] opposition camp, having already succeeded in obstructing Britain's exit from the European Union for three years, have now won themselves extra time in which to block the path of democracy.

Rivlin expected to tap PM Netanyahu to form government Absent significant breakthrough in negotiations between Likud, Blue and White, Rivlin to request PM Netanyahu form next gov't, report says.

New Study: Spiritual People Have Stronger Reaction When Hearing Shofar Blast This is the time of the shofar - the ram's horn - that is blown by Jews at synagogue services every weekday during the current Hebrew month of Elul, on Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) and at the very end of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

          

'Politicians need to get Brexit done' - MPs column   

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If there is one message I receive loudly and clearly from the doorsteps it is this. Let’s get Brexit done. The days are ticking down towards Halloween and Ministers are shuttling around Europe in pursuit of a deal.

          

We Don’t Need New Laws to Fight Right-Wing Terror. We Need to Call It by Its Name.   

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We Don’t Need New Laws to Fight Right-Wing Terror. We Need to Call It by Its Name.Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/GettyLast month’s massacre of 22 people in a Texas Walmart by a man aiming to battle “a Hispanic invasion” is only the latest horror story as the radical right continues to murder and terrorize. For the first time in memory, a consensus of U.S. law enforcement officials agree that white supremacist domestic terrorism has become the No. 1 terrorist threat facing the United States. The question now is, what is to be done?I recently attended a conference hosted by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security, entitled “Domestic Terrorism and Its Global Context: Exploring the USG Approach”—an invitation-only gathering of government officials, civil society activists and academics concerned with the threat. The meeting was convened specifically to make suggestions for U.S. government action.I have been studying the radical right for almost 25 years now, and it’s difficult enough to come up with anything approaching a “solution” for private groups or individuals, let alone laws or police actions that must and should be carried out by a government that respects civil liberties in a free society. There is nothing approaching a silver bullet for the government, or for private citizens.The government’s Countering Violent Extremism program, begun under the auspices of DHS in 2011, illustrates part of the dilemma. It directed millions of dollars toward working with community groups to prevent or reverse radicalization by engaging with at-risk youth and others. But while the program is supported by some, large numbers of Muslim and other minority groups say it stigmatizes their communities as likely terrorists, encourages neighbors spying on one another, and is largely ineffective. Many believe it has done more harm than good.Another example is the City of New York Police Department’s Muslim surveillance program, started in 2002, which included listing mosques as potential terrorist organizations, sending undercover agents into Muslim neighborhoods to listen in on conversations, and undertaking a “mapping” of people believed to be vulnerable to radicalization. The program was widely criticized after it was exposed  and drew lawsuits over its religious profiling and suspicionless surveillance and, in 2014, then-NYPD Commissioner William Bratton disbanded the squad. A federal lawsuit against the NYPD ended in 2018 with a major settlement for the plaintiffs.The United Kingdom’s Prevent program, started in 2007, ran into similarly severe criticism for its highly disproportionate targeting of Muslim communities. Many have called for the entire counter-radicalization effort to be scrapped.Of course, there have been some useful efforts, many of them focused squarely on violence from the white supremacist movement. Exit programs, aimed at helping individuals leave the movement, have had some success though the Trump administration has largely defunded them. De-platforming of radical ideologues—convincing private companies like Google and Facebook to remove extremist content—also has had some impact, and major tech companies recently agreed to expand their Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.But those efforts, and others like them, have had limited effect, and most likely never disrupted a violent white supremacist attack. No one yet has come up with a reliable list of indicators of radicalization. In addition, the positive benefits of some programs have been overwhelmed by President Trump and other far-right politicians seeming to endorse ideas of the white nationalist movement while painting Islamist terrorism as the only serious threat.The Texas attack capped a kind of sea change among law enforcement officials, however, as new statistics showed that right-wing domestic terror since the Sept. 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks has been significantly deadlier than Islamist terror.At the Sept. 23 conference, held just outside Washington, D.C., the most substantive subject discussed was the idea of passing a national law outlawing “domestic terrorism.” Proponents argued that right-wing terrorists in the U.S. can only be charged with such crimes as murder and weapons violations, unlike foreign terrorists who face charges like terrorism or materially aiding a terrorist group. A new terrorism statute, they suggested, might elevate the importance of the threat in the minds of criminal investigators, the courts, and the broad public.But at least 40 civil rights groups, including the most important such organizations in the country, staunchly oppose such a law. They argue, rightly in my view, that no new laws are needed to deal with extremist violence. They cite a long and sordid history of government abuse and infiltration of left-wing groups, suggesting that a domestic terrorism law might provide cover for a replay.The changes we need lie elsewhere.The real problem has been the reluctance of generations of American officials to describe racially motivated violent extremists correctly—as terrorists, just as dangerous and criminal as foreign Islamist terrorists. For years, the FBI refused to label the murders of abortion physicians by Christian extremists as terrorism. More recently, it claimed “eco-terrorists” were the main domestic terror threat in the country—an absurdity, given that not a single person has been killed by animal rights or environmental extremists. It is important to call a terrorist a terrorist, but the problem is political cowardice, not the lack of a new law.I walked away from the conference with the sense that many participants were looking for a technical fix—some law or program that would ease or even end the threat of terroristic violence from the domestic radical right.That shows a lack of basic understanding about the nature of the threat. Despite the claims of President Trump and media outlets like Fox News, it is not internet algorithms, mental illness, violent video games or even foreign plots that are driving the violence. The fact is, huge socioeconomic changes convulsing Western societies—including demographic shifts, cultural upheaval, and real economic hardship—have produced this movement.And that means, regardless of the most well-meaning of efforts to confront the threat of resurgent white nationalism, that there are no easy fixes. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



          

Bosnia: A Short History   

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Название: Bosnia: A Short History
Автор: Noel Malcolm
Издательство: Papermac
Год: 1994
Формат: pdf
Страниц: 374
Размер: 33.1 Мб
Язык: английский

To explain the origins of the current conflict in Bosnia, Malcolm reaches back to Turkish occupation, Austro-Hungarian rule, both world wars and the era of Stalinist oppression under Toti. He contends that "ethnic cleansing" is not a by-product of the current war but a central element in the Serbian goal of creating homogeneous Serb enclaves that eventually will join together in a Greater Serbia. Malcolm condemns Western interference, singling out politicians and diplomats who attempt to suppress the war's symptoms instead of treating its causes. He argues persuasively that the United Nations-imposed arms embargo against Bosnia opened the way to that nation's destruction, and that the vaunted Vance-Owen peace plan was only slightly less disastrous. It led to a genuine Bosnian civil war, ruining the only effective barrier against the Serbs, the Croat-Muslim alliance. Political columnist for London's Daily Spectator, Malcolm has covered the Balkans for 15 years.

          

Nature celebrates 150 years   

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It not only publishes original research, but through editorials and opinion pieces Nature calls out to scientists and politicians on key issues.

          

Brexit Stirs the Spirit of America’s Revolutionary War   

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The politicians shout about the economy, but the people understand there's something deeper at stake.

          

Comment on Valentina Nappi Hates Being Italian by Pantokrator    

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I already know that Rightwing Israeli Politicians in high ranking governmental positions promote birth control on Sub-Saharan Africans migrants. Im not familiar with Isreali Porn but with French and Czech Porn. France has a large Jewish minority and Jews are probably also over-representated in the Adult Industry like in US but theoretically ethnic White French male Porn Company Owners could also promote White on Arab/Northern African Interracial Porn. Im not sure at that point. In Czechia there are practically no Jews so there are no Jewish Porn Company Owners and except for Gypsies no Non-Whites so Interracial Pornography nearly doesnt exist in this country.

          

What If a Married Lebanese Female Politician Had Sex With a South African Male Model?   

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A man having sex with a woman.

A male politician having sex with a woman, a model.

A millionaire male politician having sex with a model.

A married millionaire male politician having sex with a model.

A married millionaire female politician having sex with a male model.

A millionaire female politician having sex with a male model.

A female politician having sex with a male model.

A woman having sex with a man.

What differs between all these cases? How would we deal with each of these situations? How would society view the act if we change the genders of the participants? Even for the least privileged, the man comes out ahead of the most privileged woman.

By contrast, a few months ago , religious men and 'protectors of the faith' summoned a female parliamentarian to Dar al-Fatwa (Lebanon's Sunni authority) to berate her for participating in a Christian sermon, calling for the resignation of the same parliamentarian because she was seen sipping coffee during the month Ramadan. The 'electronic armies' did not move to call for the punishment or stoning oft a married man who had sex outside of marriage, as they did when a woman chose to take off her hijab two weeks ago.

Why is it that the private lives of female politicians in #Lebanon are always public, while the $16 million men whose "personal lives" affect our public lives, get to keep their private lives private?
In Lebanon, Women’s private lives are public because men have decided that we are their property, and so they have the right to decide what we do with our bodies.

I cannot claim that I read all the comments and seen all the reactions on the saga of the $16 million affair, but I did not see anyone passing negative moral judgements on him because he had sex outside of marriage, I am not yet concerned with the amount exchanged during that relationship and the dire circumstances of his commercial companies in Lebanon today.

While I write this article, I read that his office proposed a document to solve the economic crisis in the country. In other words, he doesn't bother to respond to the case against him with all its dimensions, and continues his life in politics and his "personal life".

So the question is, where is the boundary at which our personal lives stop being private and become public life? And why is it that the private lives of women are always public and available for all, while the $16 million men whose "personal lives" affect our public lives, get to keep their private lives private despite their overseeing of the squandering of public money and the abused of citizens’ rights; why is their public life always private?

Our private lives become public because men have decided that we are their property, and so they have the right to decide what we do with our bodies - and not the other way round. What we wear, who we have relationships with, where we can move and what the available spaces are for the movement of that body.

A woman is beaten because she says she can't carry out all the household chores by herself and needed help. A woman is detained in her family's home and prevented from leaving because she met someone she loved in a public place. A woman is killed because she had sex outside marriage. A woman is raped because she dared to go out wearing a short skirt. The perpetrator in these incidents is not anonymous; he is a man, in all of these cases. The perpetrator is a man, who was previously elected on several occasions and will elect another man in future. The perpetrator is a man, prepared with all of his weaponry in their various forms to repress a woman, whether it be his wife or mother or a woman he doesn't know but considers to be of his concern for some reason, because she had sex or wore a bikini.

Yet he was also the one who elected the aforementioned female parliamentarian, because she was part of the electoral list of the man who had sex outside of marriage and because the latter asked him to do so. He would not have elected her if she ran alone, and she does not deserve to be elected in any case, but do the rest of the men deserve to be elected? He elected her, but opposed her choice when she attempted to participate in a different religious ritual. What are your standards?

Hypothetical scenario 1: a journalist writes an article about a Lebanese female politician who had sex with a male model from South Africa. What would the result look like? Did she send him a large sum of money or did she not? Is she married with children or is she single? Is she in her forties while he's in his twenties? What are the type of comments that we would have read? Would we have stopped at the comments on social media and some articles, with the politician returning the next day to her office as usual to propose an 'austerity' budget for the next year?

Non-hypothetical scenario 2: a woman is beaten by her husband who is also married to another woman, for many consecutive hours in front of her family, preventing her from seeking medical aid and continuing to abuse her until he killed her, because someone told him that she was in a relationship with another man. She is in the grave, he is in prison: a "television star".

Non-hypothetical and repetitive scenario 3: a man sleeps with a women who is not his wife because his wife doesn't satisfy his needs. He is a "man” whose wife is delinquent in her duties.

Hypothetical and repetitive scenario 4: A woman sleeps with men she likes. She is a "whore", they are "men".

Non-hypothetical scenario 5: a millionaire married male politician has sex with a female model, she became a millionaire.


          

Julian Assange – ‘Find Justice and Make It Quick’   

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By Alison Broinowski
Julian Assange WikiLeaks a2923
With the US on the warpath and Australia sending military, air, and naval support for American activities in the Gulf, three Australian and British nationals are being made an example of in Iran, where they are in solitary confinement on charges of espionage. British politicians have been quick to accuse Iran of ‘hostage diplomacy’, saying the allegations against the academic and two tourists are ‘clearly false’. Australia, which still has an Embassy in Tehran, is making representations on their behalf. But Iran’s response is unlikely to be magnanimous or quick.
In Bulgaria meanwhile, another Australian, sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder in a street brawl, had served 11 years when an appeals court ordered him freed in late September. Australia’s foreign ministry is, of course, assisting Jock Palfreyman, now 32, and supporting his prominent Sydney family. Bulgaria’s Interior Minister commented, ‘When there is deprivation of life, then there is no complete justice…The logic of the law is to find justice and make it quick.’ (SMH, AP, 26 September 2019).
As usual, British and Australian treatment of three alleged spies and an accused murderer is in glaring contrast with Julian Assange’s case. Dragged by British police out of the Embassy of Ecuador, where he had diplomatic asylum, he was quickly jailed in May for 50 weeks. A judge with Tory connections, Lady Arbuthnot, took the opportunity to offer the claim that nobody in the UK is above the law. But justice delayed is justice denied, as the Bulgarian minister observed.
In June, the UK Home Secretary signed an order allowing Assange to be extradited to the US on charges of espionage after a final hearing in London next February. That in itself appears to prejudge the outcome. But the UK, which supposedly doesn’t allow extradition to nations with the death penalty, may prefer Assange to be extradited to Sweden rather than the US, and thereby wash its hands of his extradition. Sweden has a documented record of rendition of detainees to the US.
British officials have been pressing Sweden to reopen its 2010 rape case against Assange, and actually to charge him with something for the first time in the eight years of this slow-moving farce. But Sweden ended its investigation of Assange in May 2017, after he had repeatedly offered to be interviewed, and eventually was, in London. The Swedes clearly don’t want to revisit all that.
In Belmarsh high-security prison, which houses murderers and worse, Assange was seen by Nils Melzer, the UN Rapporteur on Torture, who reported to the US, UK, Sweden and Ecuador on his dire state of health. Australian journalist John Pilger has confirmed Melzer’s view, and so does Assange’s father, John Shipton. But if Australian ministers have sought to intervene on Assange’s behalf, or if consular officials have checked on his welfare, they haven’t said so. The Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, was in London in the summer but has said – and apparently done – nothing. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who was recently in Washington, missed the opportunity, as far as we know, to mention the inmate of Belmarsh Prison and his prospects. Supposition is all we have, as the Australian media don’t even ask.
Assange appeared before the Westminster magistrate’s court by video from the prison on 13 September. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said that although the custody period for his bail offence would end on 22 September, she would not release him for the balance of his 50-week sentence, saying he was likely to ‘abscond again’. His lawyers apparently didn’t challenge her decision. When she surprisingly said he was ‘charged by Sweden’ she was corrected by Assange, but his intervention did not appear in the court transcript.
Pilger has compared Britain’s treatment of Assange to the way dictatorships deal with political prisoners, which is what he is. A sound barrier or a time warp seems to have been imposed on Assange in the land of British justice, as it has on two other political prisoners, Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, whose whereabouts since they were poisoned in Salisbury in March 2018 are unknown. The pattern has become repetitive: nothing has been heard lately from the detective superintendent on that case, or from Charlie Rowley, both of whom were reportedly contaminated by whatever affected the Skripals. If Sergei has died, how would we know?
If Assange – like Jeffrey Epstein in the US – should suddenly die in prison while guards on suicide watch are asleep, or hospital attendants are not looking, will what the authorities tell us be credible? No wonder Assange suffers from anxiety and depression. He is confined alone for 22 hours a day and cannot communicate with his US lawyers. He has no computer. He is locked up, nominally for skipping bail for a non-existent charge, but in fact for publishing American cables given to him by a US army officer, Chelsea Manning, in 2010. This, the US prosecutors will claim, was conspiracy and espionage.
Yet when Britain’s Mail on Sunday did the same in July, publishing the British Ambassador’s cabled comments on Donald Trump, no-one cried ‘spy!’ The then Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, defended publication of the cables, saying that it was in the public interest to read them. As journalist Peter Oborne remarked, Assange had published many more documents on matters that it was much more in the public interest to know about. Oborne perceived ‘a monstrous case of double standards’. (Media Lens, 17 September 2019).
Watch while the same double standards are applied to the CIA man who leaked the transcribed phone conversation between Trump and Ukraine’s President Zelensky, and the American papers which published it. The public has an interest in knowing about that leak, including its authenticity, and so do both sides of Congress. If it’s genuine, there’s no difference between it and what Assange did in 2010, so why is he not a ‘whistleblower’?
Permanent Record, Edward Snowden’s recent autobiography, begins with the words ‘I used to work for the government. Now I work for the public.’ Assange has always got up the nose of governments because he believes that information they collect at public expense belongs to the people, while private citizens’ data are their own. It is this fundamental principle that threatens the authorities, and makes them react aggressively to him while they lavish concern on other political prisoners. The extent of the aggression of the Anglo-allies will be seen next February when Assange’s extradition to the US is decided. But the longer the time warp persists and Assange remains invisible and inaudible, the greater the danger to him. Justice must be quick.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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